"left handed forehand" coaching makes my backhand worse

EddieBrock

Professional
My backhand has been pretty good lately, but my coach made a comment about how the modern backhand is really driven by left side (I'm right handed). When I heard that I tried really swinging with left arm, but then my right arm doesn't seem to want to come through as much and I end up collapsing across my body and tightening up.

In thinking about it I feel like trying to force the left side might be what has contributed to a couple injuries as I hurt my left peck before and now my neck/shoulder is bothering me on that side.

Do you think better advice on the 2 handed backhand is to rotate your body and extend with both arms into the shot starting with your legs and then finishing the swing slightly more with the left side? That's kind of the mental image I was using when I was hitting my backhand really well.

I found this video where he says the right side should be leading the way when it comes to power at contact.

Is there a better concept than what I described? Seems like trying to make it a left handed forehand makes my right arm get in the way.

 

ByeByePoly

G.O.A.T.
Warning: my non-coach strong 2hbh opinions to follow:

I usually like Nick's videos ... but not this one.

I do agree the 2hbh IS NOT a left handed FH ... it's a two arm/two handed stroke ... how in the hell could that ever be the same as a one arm stroke with an extra arm/hand hanging on? (arms weigh 8-10lbs :eek:)

Here is the short version how almost all decent 2hbhs work ... assume right handed player.

1) you swing the two arm shoulder/arm triangle forward
2) before contact, left arm/hand boosts the shoulder/arm acceleration and left arm/hand hits the ball (even Agassi 8-B)

Longer version/rant:

We struggle to describe a 2hbh because there are two arms/hands involved ... arm involvement varies in the stages of the stroke ... and arm involvement (percentage) varies from player to player. That's why you hear phrases like left arm vs right arm dominant ... players/coaches are trying to describe differences in players (Venus uses left arm more/earlier than Agassi ... need a way to describe that).

The two arms have "active" and "less active" phases in the 2hbh ... the two arm/shoulder triangle swing forward is not a constant. For example ... at the start of the forward swing from the slot, typically the left arm is bent ... less active at the start of the swing, the right arm providing majority of racquet position/stability. But I think it's wrong when we describe that as only a right shoulder/arm pull ... I think even with the left arm bent ... the left shoulder and upper left arm are part of the uncoiling into the swing. Players will vary on when they add the left arm/hand "hitting" before contact (Venus earlier, Agassi much later right before contact), but none of them imo starts powering the initial shoulder/arm triangle swing with only the right shoulder/arm/back. Mainly ... maybe ... only ... no. I used to think of (and describe) the initial 2hbh swing as a 1hbh swing. That seems useful to make the point it's the dominant driver at that initial stage ... but it implies the left shoulder/arm is just dead weight at that point along for the ride. I don't believe that anymore.

So tell your coach ... yeah my left arm should become dominant ... but not until left hand gets to around your belly button on the forward swing. 8-B
 

ByeByePoly

G.O.A.T.
This made me pull my racquet out of the bag for some shadow swings. 8-B

I think the point I am trying to make (if there is one) is we should make a distinction between torso/shoulder powering, and arm effort/powering.

When I hit a 1hbh, I feel my right shoulder/upper back and torso power the initial uncoiling, and I jump on that initial momentum and hit with arm and hand (arm has to catch up from being angled back across torso).

When I hit the 2hbh ... I don't feel the upper right back major effort at the start of the swing. What I feel instead is a very relaxed swing of the arm triangle at the start of the forward swing. The shoulders and upper arms is one unit ... arms and hands have variations in active and less active in the forward swing ... but the shoulders and upper arms are a constant in the forward swing.

I also think it's a myth that we power our 2hbh with a lot of rotation speed. I think we get the added power from the bigger unit turn mainly because of the extra range of motion. We get a nice relaxed arm triangle initial rotation ... and then the bigger power comes from hitting late with the left arm.

Check out Djokovic below ... he hits full strokes later in the video. The initial shoulder/arm triangle swing forward is very relaxed ... and then you see the big effort from left arm/hand.

 

SystemicAnomaly

Talk Tennis Guru
@Eddie Brock @ByeByePoly

To my mind, the 2-handed Bh IS very much like a classic OTS Fh (but less so than a WW or some other modern variation of the Fh).

The preferred stances, body coiling and uncoiling all resemble a classic Fh much more so than it resembles a 1-handed Bh. Ditto for the follow-thru.

I prefer a conti grip with the lower hand so that the upper hand (left hand in your case) can take on a more dominant role. Like many, I prefer an Eastern grip or an Eastern-plus for the upper hand. (To use something closer to SW grip, you might need to use a 1.5 grip, weak conti, rather than the standard 2 grip).

At the start of the forward swing, I feel that both arms are pulling the racket handle (racket head lagging behind). However, halfway or so thru the forward swing, the left arm takes on a more dominant role. Andre Agassi, at first, had said the his left hand was not dominant for his backhand. However, he later clarified this statement to indicate the feeling / mechanics I described above.
 

SystemicAnomaly

Talk Tennis Guru
I recall Daniela Hantuchová had one of the better 2-handed BHs on the tour when she was still active. I saw her hitting lefty FHs (classic OTS) at Stanford for some 15 minutes or so during a practice session. After that she started hitting her 2-handers. It was a thing of beauty. (And she didn't look too shabby either).
 

ByeByePoly

G.O.A.T.
@Eddie Brock @ByeByePoly

To my mind, the 2-handed Bh IS very much like a classic OTS Fh (but less so than a WW or some other modern variation of the Fh).

The preferred stances, body coiling and uncoiling all resemble a classic Fh much more so than it resembles a 1-handed Bh. Ditto for the follow-thru.

I prefer a conti grip with the lower hand so that the upper hand (left hand in your case) can take on a more dominant role. Like many, I prefer an Eastern grip or an Eastern-plus for the upper hand. (To use something closer to SW grip, you might need to use a 1.5 grip, weak conti, rather than the standard 2 grip).

At the start of the forward swing, I feel that both arms are pulling the racket handle (racket head lagging behind). However, halfway or so thru the forward swing, the left arm takes on a more dominant role. Andre Agassi, at first, had said the his left hand was not dominant for his backhand. However, he later clarified this statement to indicate the feeling / mechanics I described above.
"However, halfway or so thru the forward swing, the left arm takes on a more dominant role. "

That is the main point ... imo ... all 2hbh discussions should probably started and end there.

But where would the fun be in that? 8-B

I don't see any point to compare a two arm stroke to a one arm stroke. The rotation of the two arm triangle unit is totally unique, and the phases and timing of the two arms is also unique.

What is OTS?

"At the start of the forward swing, I feel that both arms are pulling the racket handle (racket head lagging behind). "

I get no sense of "pulling" the racquet ... the initial rotation is very slow, with relaxed arms just coming around with torso. To me, it just seems like I have set my hand and racquet position spaced away from me ... and my relaxed arms provide just enough effort to maintain that hand position through the initial swing forward ... racquet is held by hands so just comes along for the ride. I take advantage of the backswing and drop momentum to let/help the rh continue to a lagged position. You can see different pros do both ways (set lag before forward swing ... and those were lag happens right after hands start forward). If I remember my pro 2hbh video review days correctly ... Nishikori and Ferrer would be examples of before, and Murray after hands start forward. I always come to the conclusion if you can find one pro doing it like you are ... your way is just fine. I had to go back to Chrissie Evert to find an open rf on 2hbh backswing. 8-B
 

ByeByePoly

G.O.A.T.
I recall Daniela Hantuchová had one of the better 2-handed BHs on the tour when she was still active. I saw her hitting lefty FHs (classic OTS) at Stanford for some 15 minutes or so during a practice session. After that she started hitting her 2-handers. It was a thing of beauty. (And she didn't look too shabby either).
I gave the lhfh drill a full 20+ hour honest try with the ball machine for Jolly and NYTA. I didn't get anything out of it except for a better lhfh ... but I know it works for some. I could have seen that being very useful learning the 2hbh the first couple of weeks ... because my brain didn't get the "hit it with left arm/hand" memo. After 40 years of 1hbh ... that left hand wasn't suppose to do anything.

By the time I tried the lhfh drill (3+ years into 2hbh) ... I was already way past hitting with left hand, and the timing of firing left arm. What I hoped to get out of the lhfh drill was lh touch ... more left hand for sharper cc, touch for ts lobs or offspeed loopers shorter in court. I ended up getting better results for that just drop feeding from baseline, and hitting slow rollers short of opponent service line. Just the exercise of self-drop feeding to your 2hbh is a learning curve ... much easier to self-drop feed a fh. 8-B
 

SystemicAnomaly

Talk Tennis Guru
@ByeByePoly

OTS = over-the-shoulder. This is the classic finish of the 1980s, 1990s and a bit of the 00s.

I've been aware that some ppl try a lefty Fh with a fully open stance (or semi-open), an extreme grip and a WW finish and then declare that it does nothing for their 2hBh.

The way that most, but not all ppl implement the 2hBh, it is much, much closer to a classic Fh than it is to a 1hBh
 

ByeByePoly

G.O.A.T.
@ByeByePoly

OTS = over-the-shoulder. This is the classic finish of the 1980s, 1990s and a bit of the 00s.

I've been aware that some ppl try a lefty Fh with a fully open stance (or semi-open), an extreme grip and a WW finish and then declare that it does nothing for their 2hBh.

The way that most, but not all ppl implement the 2hBh, it is much, much closer to a classic Fh than it is to a 1hBh
Oh ... you are saying the 2hbh left arm/hand stroke is a like the old traditional fh. Yes ... makes sense ... only one that seems to come close to WW on his 2hbh is Nadal.

Found my attempt at lhfh drill ... I explained how I attempted it. I hit cont/east ... low to high over right shoulder.

 

zaph

Professional
My double handed backhand is very left arm dominated, I can actually hit a left handed forehand. However that is just me and that is just one way of hitting the shot. That is the problem I would have with what your coach is saying. Just because something works for one player, doesn't mean it is the universally best way of hitting a shot.

If your backhand is working well, just ignore your coach and carrying on with what you're doing.
 

ByeByePoly

G.O.A.T.
What does left hand dominant 2hbh mean?

If we all swing both arms ... and we all are left arm/hand dominant at contact ... what does the term mean?
 
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SystemicAnomaly

Talk Tennis Guru
@zaph
What does left hand dominant 2hbh mean?

If we all swing both arms ... and we all are left arm/hand dominant at contact ... what does the term mean?
I believe it's quite apparent what it means to be left hand dominant. The left arm is the boss. While both arms are involved, the right arm assumes a lesser, subservient role. It's not completely passive -- but, for much of the stroke, it is somewhat more passive. For many, it provides stability more than anything else.

That is the very reason I suggested a conti grip for right hand -- so the left arm can take on a more dominant role. If a player wants more topspin, most of that will come from the left arm. At the start of the forward swing, the position of the left hand is lower (closer to the ground, that is). As the swing progresses, the left hand ends up higher than the right. It is pulled up faster during forward swing to produce greater top spin.

Likewise, for more of a driving or penetrating shot, many players will focus on what the left hand / arm is doing. It feels like it has a greater role in this.

Maria Sharapova had one of the best 2hBh strokes on the WTA tour in the past 2+ decades. It is probably no accident that she was very adept at hitting left-handed forehands as well. She hit quite a few in pro competition. She had actually hit a lot of lefty shots as a developing junior player. She may be somewhat ambidextrous. Or, at least, bi-lateral.
 

SystemicAnomaly

Talk Tennis Guru
Put another way. For a right 2hBh, the left hand is higher than the right hand on the handle (racket head up). For the forward swing, the left hand starts behind and below the right hand (relative to the court). But it ends higher and forward of the right hand right after contact.

This means that the left hand is moving much, much faster than the right hand. This is why I say it has a greater role in producing spin or in driving thru the ball with more pace.
 

Sir Weed

Professional
Two things re non-dominant hand/2HBH that I think haven't been mentioned before:

* racket face control
* tactile feedback
* spacing

These are the forehand ingredients which are mostly mental, IMO.
 

ByeByePoly

G.O.A.T.
@zaph

I believe it's quite apparent what it means to be left hand dominant. The left arm is the boss. While both arms are involved, the right arm assumes a lesser, subservient role. It's not completely passive -- but, for much of the stroke, it is somewhat more passive. For many, it provides stability more than anything else.

That is the very reason I suggested a conti grip for right hand -- so the left arm can take on a more dominant role. If a player wants more topspin, most of that will come from the left arm. At the start of the forward swing, the position of the left hand is lower (closer to the ground, that is). As the swing progresses, the left hand ends up higher than the right. It is pulled up faster during forward swing to produce greater top spin.

Likewise, for more of a driving or penetrating shot, many players will focus on what the left hand / arm is doing. It feels like it has a greater role in this.

Maria Sharapova had one of the best 2hBh strokes on the WTA tour in the past 2+ decades. It is probably no accident that she was very adept at hitting left-handed forehands as well. She hit quite a few in pro competition. She had actually hit a lot of lefty shots as a developing junior player. She may be somewhat ambidextrous. Or, at least, bi-lateral.
I think every good 2hbh ends up with the non-dom arm/hand as the boss at contact. Therefore, the only distinction we might make is "when" the non-dom arm/hand takes over. We might call Venus left arm dom because her left arm takes the lead role very early ... but than a better term might be "early left arm dominant" and an Agassi would be a "late left arm dominant".
 

ByeByePoly

G.O.A.T.
Two things re non-dominant hand/2HBH that I think haven't been mentioned before:

* racket face control
* tactile feedback
* spacing

These are the forehand ingredients which are mostly mental, IMO.
@SystemicAnomaly

As a right handed player, my 2hbh:

My right arm/hand continental grip controls rf and stability.

Both arms/hands together provide the base low to high swing path

Left arm/hand provides the hitting, touch, and added ts low to high from rh lag below hands. So more ts with same "hands low to high swing path" if also drop rh and manage that rh to contact with left arm/hand.

I don't think of spacing based on one over the other ... the two hands are touching each other. Spacing is just based on reps of hitting with straight left arm at contact (bent/straight). Obviously spacing is going to vary by arm positions ... a Venus bent/bent the least spacing, and an Agassi straight/straight the max spacing. Bent/straight (Djokovic) pretty close to straight/straight ... only one that severely limits reach is bent/bent. I measured this in my sunroom ... highly technical and accurate based on red brick counts. :-D:-D:-D

Poor poor Mr Eddie Brock ... question seemed harmless enough. 8-B
 

SystemicAnomaly

Talk Tennis Guru
@Eddie Brock
I think every good 2hbh ends up with the non-dom arm/hand as the boss at contact. Therefore, the only distinction we might make is "when" the non-dom arm/hand takes over. We might call Venus left arm dom because her left arm takes the lead role very early ... but than a better term might be "early left arm dominant" and an Agassi would be a "late left arm dominant".
I've seen some 2 handed BHs, a few perhaps, that appear not to be left-hand dominant. Some of those look a little bit more like 1-handed Bh than a lefty Fh.

One pro example that comes to mind is the Bjorn Borg Bh. He starts off with both hands on the racket but, at some point, lets go with his left hand. His finish looks a lot like a 1-handed finish.

Jim Courier had a Bh that looked like something of a baseball bat swing. Hard to describe but it definitely had a different look. Jimmy Connors used 2 Fh grips on his double-handed Bh IIRC.

Some ppl have feeling that their right hand is more dominant. They sometimes have a stronger grip (not conti) for their lower (right) hand. But, for the most part, I would expect that the implementation that most ppl use has the left arm in a more dominant role.
 

RajS

Semi-Pro
In the forehand, when the back swing is complete, the right shoulder is stretched. Thus a body turn will pull the racket forward into the stroke, and all the good things happen after that. In a two handed backhand stroke, with two hands grabbing the racket, the take back won't permit a left shoulder stretch as effective as for the forehand. Solution? Feel the stretch on the right shoulder again, when the two handed take back is complete! A body turn will now propel the racket forward, and at a suitable point the left hand can guide the racket as though it were a forehand. That said, it is important not to over rotate - I try to stop my rotation when I feel the tension on my right shoulder, and go no further. This really helps me with the posture which helps my injury prone back.
 

ByeByePoly

G.O.A.T.
In the forehand, when the back swing is complete, the right shoulder is stretched. Thus a body turn will pull the racket forward into the stroke, and all the good things happen after that. In a two handed backhand stroke, with two hands grabbing the racket, the take back won't permit a left shoulder stretch as effective as for the forehand. Solution? Feel the stretch on the right shoulder again, when the two handed take back is complete! A body turn will now propel the racket forward, and at a suitable point the left hand can guide the racket as though it were a forehand. That said, it is important not to over rotate - I try to stop my rotation when I feel the tension on my right shoulder, and go no further. This really helps me with the posture which helps my injury prone back.
All correct ... including protecting my 62 year old back. 8-B But reading your post is a pretty clear explanation why a 2hbh IS NOT a lhfh. The left arm and hand are not free to rome around the cabin (other arm and hand won't allow it).
 

ByeByePoly

G.O.A.T.
@Eddie Brock

I've seen some 2 handed BHs, a few perhaps, that appear not to be left-hand dominant. Some of those look a little bit more like 1-handed Bh than a lefty Fh.

One pro example that comes to mind is the Bjorn Borg Bh. He starts off with both hands on the racket but, at some point, lets go with his left hand. His finish looks a lot like a 1-handed finish.

Jim Courier had a Bh that looked like something of a baseball bat swing. Hard to describe but it definitely had a different look. Jimmy Connors used 2 Fh grips on his double-handed Bh IIRC.

Some ppl have feeling that their right hand is more dominant. They sometimes have a stronger grip (not conti) for their lower (right) hand. But, for the most part, I would expect that the implementation that most ppl use has the left arm in a more dominant role.
I always think Borg is the closest one could point to claiming there is such a thing as a right arm dominant 2hbh. But I think that is not correct either ... to me Borg is a two arm sling at the ball ... with a left arm dominant sling by contact, and then he let's go with left hand. If you think about it ... Borg might have been the original "throw the racquet" player ... just did it with two arms. 8-B Wasn't he a hockey player as a kid?

Pretty obvious left arm/hand hitting to my eyes:

 
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EddieBrock

Professional
Lots of great posts here!

I went out hit some backhands and it's really hard for me to say what arm is taking over when, but I think my left arm is definitely dominate when I'm following through and it's not like Borg's backhand at all. Fortunately I also didn't have any pain when I was hitting.

The best way to describe how I felt would be like if you were to throw a bag of potatoes at the ball. Also very similar to throwing a medicine ball. I definitely finish with the left arm, but when it comes into play I don't know.

The thing with the "left handed forehand" that messes me up is I start trying to just swing the left arm and the right just slows it down/gets in the way. I tried some mini tennis left handed forehands and I can do it there, but it's just not good imagery for me to get both arms working.

What helps my follow through is to imagine extending both arms and then you're going to check your watch on your left wrist after you've followed through.
 

ByeByePoly

G.O.A.T.
Lots of great posts here!

I went out hit some backhands and it's really hard for me to say what arm is taking over when, but I think my left arm is definitely dominate when I'm following through and it's not like Borg's backhand at all. Fortunately I also didn't have any pain when I was hitting.

The best way to describe how I felt would be like if you were to throw a bag of potatoes at the ball. Also very similar to throwing a medicine ball. I definitely finish with the left arm, but when it comes into play I don't know.

The thing with the "left handed forehand" that messes me up is I start trying to just swing the left arm and the right just slows it down/gets in the way. I tried some mini tennis left handed forehands and I can do it there, but it's just not good imagery for me to get both arms working.

What helps my follow through is to imagine extending both arms and then you're going to check your watch on your left wrist after you've followed through.
What worked for me on the follow through was feeling the rh tap me on the back. The way I approached it was nailing down the full low to high stroke ... knowing there are a lot of 2hbh follow through variety in actual play that will naturally happen with play.
 

ByeByePoly

G.O.A.T.
Lots of great posts here!

I went out hit some backhands and it's really hard for me to say what arm is taking over when, but I think my left arm is definitely dominate when I'm following through and it's not like Borg's backhand at all. Fortunately I also didn't have any pain when I was hitting.

The best way to describe how I felt would be like if you were to throw a bag of potatoes at the ball. Also very similar to throwing a medicine ball. I definitely finish with the left arm, but when it comes into play I don't know.

The thing with the "left handed forehand" that messes me up is I start trying to just swing the left arm and the right just slows it down/gets in the way. I tried some mini tennis left handed forehands and I can do it there, but it's just not good imagery for me to get both arms working.

What helps my follow through is to imagine extending both arms and then you're going to check your watch on your left wrist after you've followed through.
I never tried a medicine ball ... I know Jolly promotes it so it must be a good drill. It seems like throwing a medicine ball would tend to be equal with both arms. If so ... if tossing from bh side for 2hbh, I think I would add pushing effort with left arm/hand before release. Maybe that is how coaches tell you to throw the medicine ball. ???

btw ... on your 2hbh follow through ... the right arm bends even for a straight/straight 2hbh like Agassi.

 
Didn’t read the thread, but it doesn’t seem like rocket science. Whichever shoulder is the one moving toward your target is the one providing the power. At the beginning of the stroke, it is the right shoulder. When the right shoulder starts heading off to the right and the left shoulder is headed toward the target, the left then provides the power. How could it be any other way?
 

ByeByePoly

G.O.A.T.
Didn’t read the thread, but it doesn’t seem like rocket science. Whichever shoulder is the one moving toward your target is the one providing the power. At the beginning of the stroke, it is the right shoulder. When the right shoulder starts heading off to the right and the left shoulder is headed toward the target, the left then provides the power. How could it be any other way?
Doesn't our torso and shoulders rotate together? :unsure:
 

ByeByePoly

G.O.A.T.
Didn’t read the thread, but it doesn’t seem like rocket science. Whichever shoulder is the one moving toward your target is the one providing the power. At the beginning of the stroke, it is the right shoulder. When the right shoulder starts heading off to the right and the left shoulder is headed toward the target, the left then provides the power. How could it be any other way?
At 2:00ish ... you can see shoulders rotate together 8-B

 

blablavla

G.O.A.T.
What does left hand dominant 2hbh mean?

If we all swing both arms ... and we all are left arm/hand dominant at contact ... what does the term mean?
some times I think my 2HBH is left arm dominated.
It means that essentially I am hitting with the left hand, while the right hand is providing the support.

think of it as Greg's 2HFH.
think that the left hand alone is too weak to be consistent, hence it needs the support of the right hand.
 

ByeByePoly

G.O.A.T.
some times I think my 2HBH is left arm dominated.
It means that essentially I am hitting with the left hand, while the right hand is providing the support.

think of it as Greg's 2HFH.
think that the left hand alone is too weak to be consistent, hence it needs the support of the right hand.
If you want me to read your posts you can't include any reference to Gregory's 2hfh :eek:

I think all 2hbhs are left arm/hand (non dom) dominant 2hbhs ... with differences in the "when" and "how much". If I get bored enough ... I will create a new thread and stir some sh.!.t up. 8-B I would try and get sir John Yandell to comment ... I relied (loved) his article when I was doing my 2hbh DIY ball machine sessions.

 

oserver

Professional
If you want me to read your posts you can't include any reference to Gregory's 2hfh :eek:

I think all 2hbhs are left arm/hand (non dom) dominant 2hbhs ... with differences in the "when" and "how much". If I get bored enough ... I will create a new thread and stir some sh.!.t up. 8-B I would try and get sir John Yandell to comment ... I relied (loved) his article when I was doing my 2hbh DIY ball machine sessions.

There has been a fixation on two-handed backhand in hand positions - why the ball-side hand should hold the racket at the front position of the cross-body hand? In modern forehand, one-handed or two-handed, the ball-side hand always holds the racket at the bottom position! This is the key to reduce the linear momentum to increase the angular momentum, the siganiture of modern way to hit tennis.

Just created a shot video to show that there is another way; may be better, a big MAYBE :p


I pick the 360 degree rotational shot just for showing the amount of angular momentum can be generated. Using the normal reverse turn to recover would take more time and restrict the followthrough.
 

ByeByePoly

G.O.A.T.
There has been a fixation on two-handed backhand in hand positions - why the ball-side hand should hold the racket at the front position of the cross-body hand? In modern forehand, one-handed or two-handed, the ball-side hand always holds the racket at the bottom position! This is the key to reduce the linear momentum to increase the angular momentum, the siganiture of modern way to hit tennis.

Just created a shot video to show that there is another way; may be better, a big MAYBE :p


I pick the 360 degree rotational shot just for showing the amount of angular momentum can be generated. Using the normal reverse turn to recover would take more time and restrict the followthrough.
Your stroke makes my head spin. 8-B
 
Doesn't our torso and shoulders rotate together? :unsure:
Yeah, but if you try to use them both equally throughout the stroke they will fight each other and kill racquet head speed. For a right hander, before you start the forward swing, the right shoulder is the one heading in the right direction and after it starts moving off to the right, you should focus on the left shoulder driving toward the target. Think of the serve. You toss and the right shoulder descends and the left ascends. When it is time to attack the ball, you don’t push the left out of the way by driving the right up. You also don’t think about moving them in unison, even though they do move together. You start by pulling the left down and shift by driving the right upward and through. That is the only way to keep accelerating.
 

ByeByePoly

G.O.A.T.
Yeah, but if you try to use them both equally throughout the stroke they will fight each other and kill racquet head speed. For a right hander, before you start the forward swing, the right shoulder is the one heading in the right direction and after it starts moving off to the right, you should focus on the left shoulder driving toward the target. Think of the serve. You toss and the right shoulder descends and the left ascends. When it is time to attack the ball, you don’t push the left out of the way by driving the right up. You also don’t think about moving them in unison, even though they do move together. You start by pulling the left down and shift by driving the right upward and through. That is the only way to keep accelerating.
So your shoulders are ambidextrous? Cool.

Not mine ... they can't do sh.!.t. :mad: My torso/core rotates and tilts my shoulders ... my shoulders just lay there like a bad date.
 

sredna42

Hall of Fame
My backhand has been pretty good lately, but my coach made a comment about how the modern backhand is really driven by left side (I'm right handed). When I heard that I tried really swinging with left arm, but then my right arm doesn't seem to want to come through as much and I end up collapsing across my body and tightening up.

In thinking about it I feel like trying to force the left side might be what has contributed to a couple injuries as I hurt my left peck before and now my neck/shoulder is bothering me on that side.

Do you think better advice on the 2 handed backhand is to rotate your body and extend with both arms into the shot starting with your legs and then finishing the swing slightly more with the left side? That's kind of the mental image I was using when I was hitting my backhand really well.

I found this video where he says the right side should be leading the way when it comes to power at contact.

Is there a better concept than what I described? Seems like trying to make it a left handed forehand makes my right arm get in the way.

Watch this from 2.13 buddy, it was a bit of a eureka moment for me
 

ByeByePoly

G.O.A.T.
Watch this from 2.13 buddy, it was a bit of a eureka moment for me
He mentioned Nishikori as someone who sets the lag before hands go forward (basically not momentum pulling racquet into lag ... he manually sets the racquet there with his arms and hands).

Venus is the earliest pro 2hbh lag preset I know of. I came to the conclusion the big takeaway was not the "when" it was set, it's "if" it happened. 2hbhs are just more effortless/smooth/fun with the lag imo. But then you look at Hewitt ... and you can't say it's required ... Hewitt was pretty good.


 

EddieBrock

Professional
Watch this from 2.13 buddy, it was a bit of a eureka moment for me
I had no idea this shot was so complicated! I've had a problem with a backhand that's too flat/racket not dropping enough for years.

When he said that trying to initiate the swing with the left arm would cause tightness I think that's exactly been my problem. My chest and neck/shoulder have bothered me from hitting my backhand.

It makes sense the right arm would lead, but I don't know about actively pushing down with the left arm. Wouldn't that cause more tightness and a shot that is rigid and not fluid?
 

sredna42

Hall of Fame
He mentioned Nishikori as someone who sets the lag before hands go forward (basically not momentum pulling racquet into lag ... he manually sets the racquet there with his arms and hands).
Does Nishikori's bh look like the stroke of someone "forcing" it?
It is the most natural and fluid 2hbh going around, the problem is that you are viewing the stroke dissected, when in reality it is all happening at the same time, the pull/push arms straightening thing is like applying small rudders to the overall movement. Again, if Nishikori's 2hbh is supposed to be consciously or robotically forced, then today is officially opposite day.

When my 2hbh fires up into life, I hit it like Nishikori, and the power and control and fluidity is day and night with the non-lag Hewitt way, much less the abbreviated Venus way. Of course all methods work, and Venus/Lleyton are all time champions, but that is irrelevant to the dynamics of the stroke itself. I feel like I can do anything with the ball, and rip it anywhere. It is the hardest type of 2hbh to hit, but without doubt the most natural/fluid, and powerful/controlled.

And nothing personal, but this is where the tips&instruction section is at its worst, when the hair splitting grows with each subsequent reply to the OP, to the point no one can just use their eyes anymore.
 

sredna42

Hall of Fame
I had no idea this shot was so complicated! I've had a problem with a backhand that's too flat/racket not dropping enough for years.

When he said that trying to initiate the swing with the left arm would cause tightness I think that's exactly been my problem. My chest and neck/shoulder have bothered me from hitting my backhand.

It makes sense the right arm would lead, but I don't know about actively pushing down with the left arm. Wouldn't that cause more tightness and a shot that is rigid and not fluid?
As with everything in tennis, it is hard to accurately describe the feeling of the shot, which is ultimately what you aim for, don't get too bogged in semantics, the hard part is not hitting the 2hbh this way I found, it is dialling in the feeling of it. To keep my arms loose, I try to forget my hands, and imagine the racquet face is like my "hands" and the racquet itself just an extension of my arms/body. The little split second pull with the right arm as you initiate the swing really helps, once you get that down, do it with straightening the left arm simultaneously to then get the feeling of both together, just shadow swing doing it loosely, then put it all together with your step into the ball and shoulder snap.

Just my 2 cents. When it all syncs, it is the most incredible feeling in the world, better than hitting a 1hbh winner even.
 

ByeByePoly

G.O.A.T.
I had no idea this shot was so complicated! I've had a problem with a backhand that's too flat/racket not dropping enough for years.

When he said that trying to initiate the swing with the left arm would cause tightness I think that's exactly been my problem. My chest and neck/shoulder have bothered me from hitting my backhand.

It makes sense the right arm would lead, but I don't know about actively pushing down with the left arm. Wouldn't that cause more tightness and a shot that is rigid and not fluid?
Keep it simple:

1) forget the right arm pulling thing ... just swing both relaxed arms forward with torso
2) if you want rh drop below your hands (lag) add into your swing wherever ... I do it in my backswing right BEFORE I swing forward. Everything relaxed ... a little active hands waggling the racquet into lag ... torso swings arms forward ... all one continuous relaxed motion ... no neck tension 8-B
3) hit dominantly with left arm/hand by contact.

One of the reasons I love the 2hbh is it’s the most relaxed/effortless stroke I hit ... 1hbh slice a close 2nd. With a good shoulder turn ... I feel zero tension in that initial swing forward. No big hip drive, no right arm pulling, no left arm pushing, no shoulder timing ... just let your core/torso bring your arms around. Then ... at the timing that works for you (around belly button for me), my left arm hits the ball (left arm extending to straight and supporting shoulder/torso is where I first feel “effort”. Obviously core/torso initial rotation has to be effort ... but I don’t notice it.

2hbh is all very relaxed ... took me almost two complete weeks with ball machine before I realized how much arm or hand tension killed the 2hbh stroke.
 

ByeByePoly

G.O.A.T.
Does Nishikori's bh look like the stroke of someone "forcing" it?
It is the most natural and fluid 2hbh going around, the problem is that you are viewing the stroke dissected, when in reality it is all happening at the same time, the pull/push arms straightening thing is like applying small rudders to the overall movement. Again, if Nishikori's 2hbh is supposed to be consciously or robotically forced, then today is officially opposite day.

When my 2hbh fires up into life, I hit it like Nishikori, and the power and control and fluidity is day and night with the non-lag Hewitt way, much less the abbreviated Venus way. Of course all methods work, and Venus/Lleyton are all time champions, but that is irrelevant to the dynamics of the stroke itself. I feel like I can do anything with the ball, and rip it anywhere. It is the hardest type of 2hbh to hit, but without doubt the most natural/fluid, and powerful/controlled.

And nothing personal, but this is where the tips&instruction section is at its worst, when the hair splitting grows with each subsequent reply to the OP, to the point no one can just use their eyes anymore.
No ... you took my comment wrong ... and you will notice I just gave Eddie a “keep it simple” post you should like more.

My reply/point to you is it doesn’t matter when you set the lag. I am talking in reference to when the hands start forward from the slot. Venus does it before the backswing, Nishikori and Ferrer do it right before hands start to go forward, Murray after hands start forward. You can call that a segmented observation if you like ... but it’s a rebuttal against the guy in the video (I really like his videos btw) claim that the path to a great 2hbh is the same as the fh pulling the racquet into lag. All we have to do is use our eyes (the guy in the video said as much also) and we see world class 2hbhs where the rh is not pulled into lag. What actually happens for many ... is the racquet/racquet head continues to lag coming around in the backswing and then the hands go forward (almost instantaneously).

If it works for you with the swing thought of pulling with the right arm ... that is awesome. I have the thought/feel I am swinging both arms together ... my right arm isn’t strong enough to pull the left one. At the end of the day ... we might be doing the very same thing ... and failing to describe what we are feeling.
 

ByeByePoly

G.O.A.T.
As with everything in tennis, it is hard to accurately describe the feeling of the shot, which is ultimately what you aim for, don't get too bogged in semantics, the hard part is not hitting the 2hbh this way I found, it is dialling in the feeling of it. To keep my arms loose, I try to forget my hands, and imagine the racquet face is like my "hands" and the racquet itself just an extension of my arms/body. The little split second pull with the right arm as you initiate the swing really helps, once you get that down, do it with straightening the left arm simultaneously to then get the feeling of both together, just shadow swing doing it loosely, then put it all together with your step into the ball and shoulder snap.

Just my 2 cents. When it all syncs, it is the most incredible feeling in the world, better than hitting a 1hbh winner even.
We are on the same page here ... particularly the “no tension” in the hands ... I would add no tension in the wrist. I waggle the racquet back into lag with no arms/wrist/hands tension a nanosecond before hands go forward ... you do it a nanosecond later ... thank goodness neither look like Venus.
 

ByeByePoly

G.O.A.T.
Does Nishikori's bh look like the stroke of someone "forcing" it?
It is the most natural and fluid 2hbh going around, the problem is that you are viewing the stroke dissected, when in reality it is all happening at the same time, the pull/push arms straightening thing is like applying small rudders to the overall movement. Again, if Nishikori's 2hbh is supposed to be consciously or robotically forced, then today is officially opposite day.

When my 2hbh fires up into life, I hit it like Nishikori, and the power and control and fluidity is day and night with the non-lag Hewitt way, much less the abbreviated Venus way. Of course all methods work, and Venus/Lleyton are all time champions, but that is irrelevant to the dynamics of the stroke itself. I feel like I can do anything with the ball, and rip it anywhere. It is the hardest type of 2hbh to hit, but without doubt the most natural/fluid, and powerful/controlled.

And nothing personal, but this is where the tips&instruction section is at its worst, when the hair splitting grows with each subsequent reply to the OP, to the point no one can just use their eyes anymore.
btw ... the 2nd 2hbh below is a good example of Nishikori setting lag before his arm/hands goes forward into the swing from the slot. Note around 00:37 ... he hasn’t started any torso/shoulder forward rotation yet ... but in big lag/rh drop position. This is one of those segments I find informative ... the one right before the shoulders start turning forward (where the forward swing starts)

 

ByeByePoly

G.O.A.T.
This made me pull my racquet out of the bag for some shadow swings. 8-B

I think the point I am trying to make (if there is one) is we should make a distinction between torso/shoulder powering, and arm effort/powering.

When I hit a 1hbh, I feel my right shoulder/upper back and torso power the initial uncoiling, and I jump on that initial momentum and hit with arm and hand (arm has to catch up from being angled back across torso).

When I hit the 2hbh ... I don't feel the upper right back major effort at the start of the swing. What I feel instead is a very relaxed swing of the arm triangle at the start of the forward swing. The shoulders and upper arms is one unit ... arms and hands have variations in active and less active in the forward swing ... but the shoulders and upper arms are a constant in the forward swing.

I also think it's a myth that we power our 2hbh with a lot of rotation speed. I think we get the added power from the bigger unit turn mainly because of the extra range of motion. We get a nice relaxed arm triangle initial rotation ... and then the bigger power comes from hitting late with the left arm.

Check out Djokovic below ... he hits full strokes later in the video. The initial shoulder/arm triangle swing forward is very relaxed ... and then you see the big effort from left arm/hand.

Correction:

“When I hit a 1hbh, I feel my right shoulder/upper back and torso power the initial uncoiling, and I jump on that initial momentum and hit with arm and hand (arm has to catch up from being angled back across torso).”

That is actually not correct. I don’t feel the upper right back muscles at the start of the 1hbh uncoiling. I feel them when I start to swing my arm away from my torso. With the 2hbh ... the action has moved to the left arm by this point ... so no upper right back effort.
 
Keep it simple:

3) hit dominantly with left arm/hand by contact.

no shoulder timing ... just let your core/torso bring your arms around.
Why point out that you want to be left arm dominant by contact? Is it because your left side is providing the power at that point? Maybe it has taken over from the right side initiating the drive toward the target?
Focus on just letting the torso bring the arms around and enjoy your 50mph or less backhand.
 

ByeByePoly

G.O.A.T.
.
Why point out that you want to be left arm dominant by contact? Is it because your left side is providing the power at that point? Maybe it has taken over from the right side initiating the drive toward the target?
Focus on just letting the torso bring the arms around and enjoy your 50mph or less backhand.
No man ... left arm is patient and strikes late ... rare time in tennis when late is good.

You should post a video of your right shoulder and arm rotating while the left shoulder and arm are left behind. That has to be some Cirque du Soleil stuff. 8-B

I will look for the video tomorrow ... about to crash. (y)
 
.


No man ... left arm is patient and strikes late ... rare time in tennis when late is good.

You should post a video of your right shoulder and arm rotating while the left shoulder and arm are left behind. That has to be some Cirque du Soleil stuff. 8-B

I will look for the video tomorrow ... about to crash. (y)
Do me one favor. Sit or stand, doesn't matter, and pin your left arm to your side. Then move your right shoulder, alternately, as far forward and as far back as possible. It should travel 6 or 7 inches, all while your left shoulder doesn't move at all. When a right handed player is furthest back in his backswing, the left shoulder is close to as far back as possible and the right as far forward as possible. When the forward swing is initiated, the right shoulder pulls back to start the stroke and at contact-ish, the left is traveling from that far back position to forward, where it will be at follow through, as indicated by the bicep hitting the chest. It is that sequence of events that is the "timing" aspect. Ignore it at your peril.
One more tennis stroke analogy. I've already written about a similar chain of events with the serve. How about the forehand? Racquet goes back while hitting shoulder is pulled back, the off-hand reaches across the body pulling that shoulder forward. When it is time to hit the ball, the left hand pulls across the the left side of the body via, wait for it, the shoulder. Then the right shoulder that was stretched back, comes forward, drives through the shot and is as far forward as possible as the racquet wraps around the body. The shoulders ability to move back and forth independently aids in stroke production. Heck, a pitcher or QB would hardly be able to throw without it. We might not even have sports.
 

ByeByePoly

G.O.A.T.
Do me one favor. Sit or stand, doesn't matter, and pin your left arm to your side. Then move your right shoulder, alternately, as far forward and as far back as possible. It should travel 6 or 7 inches, all while your left shoulder doesn't move at all. When a right handed player is furthest back in his backswing, the left shoulder is close to as far back as possible and the right as far forward as possible. When the forward swing is initiated, the right shoulder pulls back to start the stroke and at contact-ish, the left is traveling from that far back position to forward, where it will be at follow through, as indicated by the bicep hitting the chest. It is that sequence of events that is the "timing" aspect. Ignore it at your peril.
One more tennis stroke analogy. I've already written about a similar chain of events with the serve. How about the forehand? Racquet goes back while hitting shoulder is pulled back, the off-hand reaches across the body pulling that shoulder forward. When it is time to hit the ball, the left hand pulls across the the left side of the body via, wait for it, the shoulder. Then the right shoulder that was stretched back, comes forward, drives through the shot and is as far forward as possible as the racquet wraps around the body. The shoulders ability to move back and forth independently aids in stroke production. Heck, a pitcher or QB would hardly be able to throw without it. We might not even have sports.
Nishikori goes into great peril in the video above at 00:35 8-B

Nishikori sequence of peril starting from 00:35ish:

- coiled with right arm bent back across torso like all BHs
- @00:36 has set lag before any uncoiling (or any imaginary 6" shoulder magic :eek: )
- uncoiling starts over right hip driven by core/torso
- right shoulder and left shoulder start rotating at exact same moment (no magic suspended right arm pulling, no six inches of shoulder play pulling ... shoulders and upper arms have no choice but to turn with torso ... they are attached
- tricky part here ... arms will not come along with shoulders simply as slung rope ... so there is just enough shoulder/arm "muscling" to 1) maintain two arm triangle structure 2) keep arms turning with torso/shoulder rotation 3) shoulder/arm unit has to swing independently from torso ... that right arm has to travel from bent back to extended from torso at contact ... and yet at same time keep arms tension free :unsure:
- at some point in the forward swing you go from equal shoulder/upper arm effort to left arm/hand dominant at contact.
 
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ByeByePoly

G.O.A.T.
I had these pics from previous 2hbh obsession 8-B

If uncoiling hasn't started yet ... forward swing hasn't started yet. That's a BBP rule. 8-B

You can watch video ... slow motion or live full hitting to see lag setting in context ... my "point" here is the "pulling from right side into lag" is not a fundamental requirement of pro 2hbhs. In fact, I am having a hard time finding a pro 2hbh example that actually does pull the 2hbh into lag. I thought Murray was a good example, but I just watched him again slow motion and he is like Djoker ... sets lag on the drop, not from any pulling even though initial drop and shoulder rotation happen at the same time.

If anyone has a great example of a pro pulling his ride side into 2hbh lag, please post a video and explain. I have heard instructors claim this ... and we have had these discussions here (ttw), perhaps a good pro 2hbh video as an example would prove that is true. I have looked at a lot of pro 2hbh video ... and I have never seen what looks like "pulling into lag" ... it's always "just set the lag with the hands" or "do it as a part of the drop".

Nishikori sets lag before any uncoiling:



Djoker has uncoiled a bit ... but not much ... sets lag at drop around exact time you see the right shoulder start to move



Fognini lag before any uncoiling




Just found a video that might be a good basis for discussion about "2hbh lag creation"... plus who doesn't like to see Fognini hit?

Interesting that we see Fognini drop into racquet lag, but then we also hear in this video "created by forward swing". Maybe we have different definitions of 'forward swing" ... like I said, for me it doesn't start until the shoulders start uncoiling. If you drop before the shoulders start ,,, then I consider you did that before the forward swing.

So to my eyes Fognini obviously sets lag before forward swing. Here is a question for what others see in the following video ... does Fognini increase that initial lag set from drop as he swings?

 

Dragy

Legend
Djoker has uncoiled a bit ... but not much ... sets lag at drop around exact time you see the right shoulder start to move
It's quite evident Nole's racquet head pivots into lag immediately as his torso starts rotating. It's not the full flip as on FH side as racquet is initially taken back and dropped with tip pointing back, but there's very clear how it hits the slot (pointing farther diagonally back than before drop) as arm pull starts. Very alike to DelPo forehand actually.
 
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