Is it normal for one handed backhand to be much more powerful than forehand?

Noticing I effortlessly get high pace on one handed backhand just automatically, its really easy and effortless to have power... in fact I'd say its hard not to have power on it :S. Forehand though is way harder to get high pace and have to work a lot harder. Is that normal? Muscles involved on one handed backhand just stronger or more leverage on the stroke or something?
 

Pumpkin

Semi-Pro
I would say it's abnormal although I know what you mean. I was like that for a while.

With the backhand it's the front shoulder hitting. On forehand it's the back shoulder so it has a longer swing path. So you should get more power with the forehand I believe.
 

HuusHould

Hall of Fame
It's abnormal. But you'd be surprised how much power the 1hbh can generate when done well. It's the same lever and I think pushing is normally stronger than pulling. But your torso can be a restricting factor on a fh, but not 1hbh.
 
I can also hit my one handed backhand harder than my forehand. Worked out good in tournaments where nobody knew me. Not so good at the club I played at where everyone knew what was up. Lol. I think my body is not in the way hitting my backhand.
 

SystemicAnomaly

Talk Tennis Guru
I would say it's abnormal although I know what you mean. I was like that for a while.

With the backhand it's the front shoulder hitting. On forehand it's the back shoulder so it has a longer swing path. So you should get more power with the forehand I believe.
Longer swingpath may or may not equate to greater RHS or more power. It more about anatomy, optimal stroke mechanics and effective use of the kinetic chain.

Considered the so-called WTA forehand mechanics compared to the more compact ATP forehand mechanics. The WTA Fh typically employs a significantly longer swing path than an ATP Fh. This suggests that a longer swingpath does not necessarily guarantee a faster RHS / more power.

Another element to consider is that many one-handed Bh players will coil the upper torso (shoulders) quite a bit more than they do for the Fh. Take a look at the amount of coil used by Fed, Gasquet, Wawa, Thiem, Almagro, Shapo, Haas and others. This greater coiling action will offset, in part, the fact that the Bh employs the front shoulder rather than the back shoulder

Possibly, an even more important factor is that a more complete kinetic transfer occurs with the 1h Bh than with a Fh. The kinetic chain starts from the ground on up with both Bh & Fh strokes. The larger muscles of the lower body starts the kinetic (power) chain. Power is transferred from one link up to the next in the chain.

In the case of the 1h Bh, the chest (upper torso) link is completely stopped prior to contact. When the chest link is stopped, power is completely transferred to the front shoulder, arm and racket. These last elements (links) rapidly accelerate forward into contact when this transfer happens. Even Stanimal does this. But then he resumes his uncoiling rotation after contact (after he had stopped it prior to contact).

When the back arm & shoulder is involved in the swinging the racket, the back shoulder must continue to move (uncoil) in order to get the racket head around for striking the ball (and for the follow-thru). This could be considered residual movement of the back shoulder -- this extra movement means that the kinetic transfer from the upper torso is not completely delivered to the shoulder, arm & racket.

Of course, there are other elements in play here which can determine whether a player achieves a higher RHS with their Bh stroke or their Fh stroke. Most players will achieve an average RHS that is greater for the Fh. But this is not always the case. A number of players will achieve an average Bh greater than 70 mph. I believe that Roger's avg is about 66 mph but his top speeds may exceed 75 mph. Some backhand speeds for various 1h Bh players, like Gasquet, Wawrinka, Pancho Gonzales and others have exceeded 100 mph (and have approached 170 km/hr). There may be a few of these Bh shots that have actually approached or exceeded 110 mph. Note that Gasquet's Bh is considered far superior to his Fh
 
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SystemicAnomaly

Talk Tennis Guru
I can also hit my one handed backhand harder than my forehand. Worked out good in tournaments where nobody knew me. Not so good at the club I played at where everyone knew what was up. Lol. I think my body is not in the way hitting my backhand.
Before I developed shoulder problems, my fastest groundstrokes were my 1h Bh rather than my Fh. On average, my Fh it was a bit faster (more powerful) than my Bh -- fastest shots were generated on my Bh side. These fastest Bh shots usually happened when the incoming shot was slow to moderate. A moderate incoming ball made it easier for me to efficiently and effectively use an optimal kinetic chain. It made the timing of the KC easier

Unfortunately, volleyball resulted in damage to my external shoulder rotators. And 2 automobile accidents, resulted in some nerve damage that affected deltoid function for that shoulder
 

Daniel Andrade

Hall of Fame
It isn't normal, however my coach used to tell me I had more acceleration on the backhand than on my forehand. The thing is that to hit a good OHB you really have to let the arm go and travel "loose", otherwise it doesn't work. On the other hand the muscles of the forehand are so strong that you can hit it in a "clunky" way without it being that loose and the shot can still be good from time to time. IMO
 

S&V-not_dead_yet

Talk Tennis Guru
No, it's not normal. Internal rotation [the motion used for the FH] is typically stronger than external rotation [BH].

Think about it: if you had to move a heavy object, would you do it palms outward, as in a FH, or palms inward, as in a BH?

Perhaps the reason your BH is stronger is because your bio-mechanics on that side are more efficient.
 

Arak

Hall of Fame
I think it is not exactly normal but not unusual. Gasquet for example is a backhand specialist, he even sometimes run around his forehand to hit a backhand. For me, on the days when my backhand is working well, it is easily my better shot, but the forehand is the more reliable shot that always works.
 

Rattler

Hall of Fame
Lol it’s not abnormal. Your using bigger muscles in a one handed backhand drive than you are in a forehand.
 

xFullCourtTenniSx

Hall of Fame
If your forehand footwork and general mechanics are awful, it's well within expectations.

Plenty of people on the WTA have better backhands than forehands (hell, this is even true on the ATP). Before people argue that WTA is almost entirely dominated by two handed backhands, it doesn't matter. There are players that can hit one handers on par with the best two handers.

Is it normal? No. People usually will suck with both strokes. But backhands are generally pretty restricted in their movement and as a result are more about rhythm and footwork. Forehands have a much greater range of motion as well as using many muscles you're normally used to using, which encourages many people to arm their forehand and guide the racket to contact in different ways for each shot rather than improving their footwork and mastering a single, consistent forehand.

It's like that one quote, "I don't fear the man who has practiced 10,000 kicks/punches. I fear the man who has practiced 1 kick/punch 10,000 times". Forehands tend to be more flexible under stress because of the extra range of motion, allowing more improvisation. It's a double-edged sword.
 

socallefty

Legend
At lower levels, all bets are off and any stroke could be less terrible than other strokes. If you play at advanced levels, it is uncommon for players to have a better 1HBH than FH - even those with powerful 1HBHs like Wawrinka, Thiem, Federer etc. still have bigger FH weapons and hit more FH winners in their matches. I don’t think I‘ve seen a player in real life with a better 1HBH than FH.

For 2HBHs, it is a different story amongst women, juniors and even rec male players where many players have a better 2HBH than FH - still not the majority though. There are some players who play only doubles and only on the ad court (for righties) who also might have better BHs than FHs.
 
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Dartagnan64

G.O.A.T.
Noticing I effortlessly get high pace on one handed backhand just automatically, its really easy and effortless to have power... in fact I'd say its hard not to have power on it :S. Forehand though is way harder to get high pace and have to work a lot harder. Is that normal? Muscles involved on one handed backhand just stronger or more leverage on the stroke or something?
It must be unusual because I've not seen it in the wild. Usually the guys with great 1HBH's have even greater FH's. Virtually everyone else with a 1HBH sucks off that wing and I spend my match targeting it repeatedly.
 

slipgrip93

Semi-Pro
It'd been like that for me for years with a stronger 1hbh (if hit with good timing, prep, and position), because my fh sucked more in that it often doesn't have enough pace for depth or enough spin. This past year or so my fh's mechanics has seemingly improved, as I tried to work on it harder, as well as heeding more of the good tips from this board. I still enjoy hitting the 1hbh more, for the feel and habit of it.
 
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Pumpkin

Semi-Pro
Longer swingpath may or may not equate to greater RHS or more power. It more about anatomy, optimal stroke mechanics and effective use of the kinetic chain.

Considered the so-called WTA forehand mechanics compared to the more compact ATP forehand mechanics. The WTA Fh typically employs a significantly longer swing path than an ATP Fh. This suggests that a longer swingpath does not necessarily guarantee a faster RHS / more power.

Another element to consider is that many one-handed Bh players will coil the upper torso (shoulders) quite a bit more than they do for the Fh. Take a look at the amount of coil used by Fed, Gasquet, Wawa, Thiem, Almagro, Shapo, Haas and others. This greater coiling action will offset, in part, the fact that the Bh employs the front shoulder rather than the back shoulder

Possibly, an even more important factor is that a more complete kinetic transfer occurs with the 1h Bh than with a Fh. The kinetic chain starts from the ground on up with both Bh & Fh strokes. The larger muscles of the lower body starts the kinetic (power) chain. Power is transferred from one link up to the next in the chain.

In the case of the 1h Bh, the chest (upper torso) link is completely stopped prior to contact. When the chest link is stopped, power is completely transferred to the front shoulder, arm and racket. These last elements (links) rapidly accelerate forward into contact when this transfer happens. Even Stanimal does this. But then he resumes his uncoiling rotation after contact (after he had stopped it prior to contact).

When the back arm & shoulder is involved in the swinging the racket, the back shoulder must continue to move (uncoil) in order to get the racket head around for striking the ball (and for the follow-thru). This could be considered residual movement of the back shoulder -- this extra movement means that the kinetic transfer from the upper torso is not completely delivered to the shoulder, arm & racket.

Of course, there are other elements in play here which can determine whether a player achieves a higher RHS with their Bh stroke or their Fh stroke. Most players will achieve an average RHS that is greater for the Fh. But this is not always the case. A number of players will achieve an average Bh greater than 70 mph. I believe that Roger's avg is about 66 mph but his top speeds may exceed 75 mph. Some backhand speeds for various 1h Bh players, like Gasquet, Wawrinka, Pancho Gonzales and others have exceeded 100 mph (and have approached 170 km/hr). There may be a few of these Bh shots that have actually approached or exceeded 110 mph. Note that Gasquet's Bh is considered far superior to his Fh
 

SystemicAnomaly

Talk Tennis Guru
It must be unusual because I've not seen it in the wild. Usually the guys with great 1HBH's have even greater FH's...
Gasquet & Edberg both come to mind as players with a better, more reliable Bh than their Fh. The Bh of RG is considered one of the most powerful weapons of the past 2 decades.

Other 1h ATP players with formidable Bh strokes that are comparable (or exceed) the Fh side, for consistency, reliability, versatility or power include: Cuevas, Youzhny, Dimitrov, Haas, Gaudio, Ljubicic, Lajovic, and, possibly, Thiem & Wawarinka. The 1h Bh of these guys are considered a primary weapon or very close to their Fh as a weapon

On the WTA side, Henin, Suarez-Navarro, and Schiavone had powerful 1h Bh strokes that equalled or exceeded their Fh side as a weapon
 
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SystemicAnomaly

Talk Tennis Guru
I'm around 4.5-5.0 right now and I think my one handed backhand is stronger than my forehand. @mad dog1 can attest to that.
As a 4.0 & 4.5 player, my fastest 1h Bh drives were faster than my fastest Fh shots. As I got to a 4.5/5.0, some old injuries (vball & automobile) started to affect my Bh more than my Fh -- so they were closer in power at that point
 

SystemicAnomaly

Talk Tennis Guru
The forehand starts from further back and can get more rotation into the shot.
Not a compelling rebuttal. Other factors come into play that will determine RHS at contact.

And your statement is not necessarily true either. Roger & other 1h players coil more on the Bh than on the Fh. Racket actually starts further back and around / behind his body. But his racket does not break his coronal plane on his Fh. And his contact point is much further forward for his TS Bh than for his Fh
 

Dartagnan64

G.O.A.T.
hehe, that's what i was going to say.
I remember having "hit the ball over the fence 4 courts down" contests... and every one of us resorted to a 1hbh type windup to do it
That's funny because I would always hit the ball further with my FH wing because my core muscles are built for that rotation from years of golfing. I was a switch hitter in baseball and I always hit for average from the left side and power from the right side.
 

coolvinny

New User
I’d say my OHBH has more pace on average (and still with lots of top), but is harder to hit as well as the FH due to positioning and timing requirements being more strict. So on serve return, my FH has more pace. But the BH is more natural to me, and I expect my FH to be harder once I fully adjust to my somewhat recent grip change (from 4/4 index/palm SW to 3.5/4).
 

Pumpkin

Semi-Pro

Not a compelling rebuttal. Other factors come into play that will determine RHS at contact.

And your statement is not necessarily true either. Roger & other 1h players coil more on the Bh than on the Fh. Racket actually starts further back and around / behind his body. But his racket does not break his coronal plane on his Fh. And his contact point is much further forward for his TS Bh than for his Fh
Ok. But don't the statistics say that players generally get more pace on their FH than BH? There has to be a biomechanical reason.
 

SystemicAnomaly

Talk Tennis Guru
Ok. But don't the statistics say that players generally get more pace on their FH than BH? There has to be a biomechanical reason.
Reasons, plural. A number of different factors -- including individual physiology (anatomical factors). Strength, muscle power & flexibility differences for different parts of the body. Joint architecture, composition / distribution of muscle types (type I, type IIa, type IIx), various bone lengths or proportions, ROM diffs for various joint / skeletal movements, etc.

There are a myriad of possible reasons why a majority of players generate more power (or greater RHS) on the Fh while some have the potential or ability to produce more power / RHS on the Bh side
 
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coolvinny

New User
I believe the difference is smaller when the BH is one handed. Also the stat often averages the BH drives and slices, which pulls down the average.
 

d-quik

Hall of Fame
All these posts and nobody ia going to mention the fact that ohbhs are hit with a straight elbow vs a bent elbow? This is the explanation. This is simple leverage.
 

d-quik

Hall of Fame
When did I say this?

The OP says he is able to get "high pace" with his bh. He never mentioned anything about whether or not it landed inbounds or even if it made it over the net or anything.

A good bh is more than pace. So no, thats not what I said. I only said more leverage. This is very basic, entry level physics.
 

Pumpkin

Semi-Pro
Reasons, plural. A number of different factors -- including individual physiology (anatomical factors). Strength, muscle power & flexibility differences for different parts of the body. Joint architecture, composition / distribution of muscle types (type I, type IIa, type IIx), various bone lengths or proportions, ROM diffs for various joint / skeletal movements, etc.

There are a myriad of possible reasons why a majority of players generate more power (or greater RHS) on the Fh while some have the potential or ability to produce more power / RHS on the Bh side
I just think if your backhand is superior to your forehand then it means there is a technical flaw with the forehand. That was the case for me but I worked on the forehand religiously to correct the issue. Wasn't easy.
 
So you're saying if you're a teetotaler you'll hit better OHBH's?
When did I say this?
My apologies--I was drunk at the time of posting--I neglected to include this :-D at the end of my humorous (to me) reply to indicate it was in jest--"bending an elbow" is idiomatic for : "To drink alcoholic beverages, especially at a public house or bar." "Public house is an English term for bar, "hence pub." (still sobering up with Bailey's coffees.)

P.s., How come there's no emojis for states of consciousness? : like "drunk"--that would clarify a lot of emotional swings around here--one for "stoned" too--maybe different emojis for "pot", "shrooms", "LSD", "meth", "nose-candy", "crack", etc.--Good morning Colorado!
 

SystemicAnomaly

Talk Tennis Guru
I just think if your backhand is superior to your forehand then it means there is a technical flaw with the forehand. That was the case for me but I worked on the forehand religiously to correct the issue. Wasn't easy.
A technical flaw is only one possibility. But I do not accept this as the only answer. There are just too many other factors. I mentioned numerous physiological as well as some non-anatomical factors that can account for this in post #5 and #33. Are you dismissing all of these as influencing factors?

Eye dominance is another possible physiological factor that can explain why some players are better on one side than the other. Many right-handed players are also right-eye dominant (& many left-handed players are left-eye dominant). OTOH, many players are visually cross-dominant. For instance, a player might be left-handed but right-eyed. For some players, eye dominance can be a very important factor. But for many players, eye dominance might be a relatively minor factor, if it is a factor at all for rhem

Is also important to keep in mind that there is no such "animal" as a perfect stroke. There is no perfect Fh and there is no perfect Bh that will work in all situations. This does not mean that these imperfect strokes are fundamentally flawed. Many strokes can be considered to be an optimal or near-optimal compromise for a given individual.

Many players with a Western or a SW Fh can hit with a massive amount of TS and can deal with high-bouncing balls. Yet they may have a difficult time hitting hard flat drives or dealing with low contact points (especially for falling balls). This does not mean that their Fh "compromise" is fundamentally flawed. It can work quite well for many situations but is clearly suboptimal for others. Roger employs a strong EFh grip (E+) whereas Rafa employs a solid SW grip. Is one of these guys doing it wrong?

Rodger & Rafa arguably have two of the best Fh mechanics, ever, in tennis. Both are straight-arm. Novak, who also has, what many consider to be, a top 10 Fh of the open era. Do Novak and other top players who employ a double-bend Fh have a flawed Fh?

Have you seen the Fh in videos of @MaxTennis in this forum? What would you say the flaw in his Fh might be -- since he tells us that his 1h Bh has some advantages over his Fh?

Relative to their Bh, Edberg & Gasquet have an inferior Fh. Even tho their Fh stroke mechanics might be somewhat sub-optimal, they are/were still world-class Fh strokes. They could still use these "suboptimal" Fh strokes to beat 99+% of tennis players on the planet. Is your new and improved Fh as a good as the Fh of Stefan Edberg? If not, then perhaps you still have a "flawed" Fh.
 
Eye dominance is another possible physiological factor that can explain why some players are better on one side than the other. Many right-handed players are also right-eye dominant (& many left-handed players are left-eye dominant). OTOH, many players are visually cross-dominant. For instance, a player might be left-handed but right-eyed. For some players, eye dominance can be a very important factor. But for many players, eye dominance might be a relatively minor factor, if it is a factor at all for rhem
Yup! I've realized I don't see the ball as well on my BH side--trying to figure it out and fix it. Agree with eye dominance, "watch the ball" being the alpha and omega of tennis. I've found my hat brim gets in the way (don't wear a hat for serious tennis), shadows can obscure the ball more on my BH side, the BH needs to be hit with a closed stance, where as the FH can be hit with an open stance and the eyes can watch the ball better on the FH side. But I've heard that the BH is a more natural stroke anatomically speaking. People who can naturally hit their BH better are just different--something inside their brains IMHO--it ain't normal--I wish it was for me--but then my FH would suck.
 

Pumpkin

Semi-Pro
Is your new and improved Fh as a good as the Fh of Stefan Edberg? If not, then perhaps you still have a "flawed" Fh.
I'm not in the same class as Stefan Edberg. You are comparing oranges with apples. I'm close to my potential on both wings as limited by the talent I possess. In Edberg"s case he was held back by using a continental FH. Although in his case he had no intention of rallying because he was trying to rush the net at the slightest sniff of an opportunity at all times from what I can remember.
 

SystemicAnomaly

Talk Tennis Guru
I'm not in the same class as Stefan Edberg. You are comparing oranges with apples. I'm close to my potential on both wings as limited by the talent I possess. In Edberg"s case he was held back by using a continental FH. Although in his case he had no intention of rallying because he was trying to rush the net at the slightest sniff of an opportunity at all times from what I can remember.
Nope, you & Stefan are both apples.

You are missing the larger picture. Stefan had certain physiological advantages over you that might have given him superior reaction time, reflexes, hand-eye coordination, foot speed, movement skills, etc. Perhaps he had better training as well -- but much of his success was because he was a natural athlete -- with certain anatomical or physiological advantages

So it was with his Bh. His physiology might very well have provided him with a higher potential & skill on his Bh side than on his Fh side. Ditto for Gasquet. He has a better Fh than most ppl but his Bh skills are truly extraordinary -- far beyond what anyone else has achieved.

Perhaps @MaxTennis or @TonLars are closer apple varieties to you. How are your Fh & Bh skills compared to them apples?
 

MaxTennis

Professional
A technical flaw is only one possibility. But I do not accept this as the only answer. There are just too many other factors. I mentioned numerous physiological as well as some non-anatomical factors that can account for this in post #5 and #33. Are you dismissing all of these as influencing factors?

Eye dominance is another possible physiological factor that can explain why some players are better on one side than the other. Many right-handed players are also right-eye dominant (& many left-handed players are left-eye dominant). OTOH, many players are visually cross-dominant. For instance, a player might be left-handed but right-eyed. For some players, eye dominance can be a very important factor. But for many players, eye dominance might be a relatively minor factor, if it is a factor at all for rhem

Is also important to keep in mind that there is no such "animal" as a perfect stroke. There is no perfect Fh and there is no perfect Bh that will work in all situations. This does not mean that these imperfect strokes are fundamentally flawed. Many strokes can be considered to be an optimal or near-optimal compromise for a given individual.

Many players with a Western or a SW Fh can hit with a massive amount of TS and can deal with high-bouncing balls. Yet they may have a difficult time hitting hard flat drives or dealing with low contact points (especially for falling balls). This does not mean that their Fh "compromise" is fundamentally flawed. It can work quite well for many situations but is clearly suboptimal for others. Roger employs a strong EFh grip (E+) whereas Rafa employs a solid SW grip. Is one of these guys doing it wrong?

Rodger & Rafa arguably have two of the best Fh mechanics, ever, in tennis. Both are straight-arm. Novak, who also has, what many consider to be, a top 10 Fh of the open era. Do Novak and other top players who employ a double-bend Fh have a flawed Fh?

Have you seen the Fh in videos of @MaxTennis in this forum? What would you say the flaw in his Fh might be -- since he tells us that his 1h Bh has some advantages over his Fh?

Relative to their Bh, Edberg & Gasquet have an inferior Fh. Even tho their Fh stroke mechanics might be somewhat sub-optimal, they are/were still world-class Fh strokes. They could still use these "suboptimal" Fh strokes to beat 99+% of tennis players on the planet. Is your new and improved Fh as a good as the Fh of Stefan Edberg? If not, then perhaps you still have a "flawed" Fh.
My groundstrokes for reference:

I can hit my forehand bigger than my backhand (top speed I’ve recorded was 95 mph) but I think I can rip my backhand with a lot more consistency and it’s less prone to breaking down.

Side note: I miss having long hair lol
 
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Yeah, it's normal, although it does mean you're hitting your backhand mechanically better than your forehand. When both are hit with peak efficiency, the forehand will be the significantly better shot. That said, I've had tons of periods in my playing life where I'm striking my backhand well, and there's some sort of a glitch in my forehand that I can't seem to work out, and in those instances, the backhand is the more consistent, more powerful, heavier stroke.

Biomechanically, though, even as great as the OHBH stroke is, the forehand is better, and when it's being struck well, it'll be your better stroke.
 
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