OHBH DTL

InSydeOut

Rookie
Any tips for how you guys with OHBH execute the DTL shot? I am talking about on incoming cross court shots with good pace and depth.

At the rec level I see high level two handers go DTL on incredibly difficult balls pretty often. They coil and then explode into the ball with their entire body since the two hander is more dependent on body rotation. But never have I seen an equivalent one hander.
 

socallefty

Legend
I close my stance more and have more spacing when I hit my 1HBH DTL so that I have space to extend my arms and make early contact while I’m turned more sideways - otherwise no change in technique. Doing Figure 8 drills where one player hits only CC and the other hits only DTL is good practice to change the angle and take CC balls DTL.
 

LeeD

Bionic Poster
Obviously...practice it.
Best to first slice dtl until it works, then learn topspin dtl against better players.
 

InSydeOut

Rookie
I close my stance more and have more spacing when I hit my 1HBH DTL so that I have space to extend my arms and make early contact while I’m turned more sideways - otherwise no change in technique. Doing Figure 8 drills where one player hits only CC and the other hits only DTL is good practice to change the angle and take CC balls DTL.
Thanks for the drill idea, I will do it next time.
Sounds like you are taking a CC swing and aiming it DTL. Personally, unlike my FH, my BH CC and inside out stroke is very different. IO is much flatter and I cut more of the inside of the ball. I was unsure what approach I should take with this DTL shot.


Obviously...practice it.
Best to first slice dtl until it works, then learn topspin dtl against better players.
Yes a proper slice is another can of worms I have yet to open..


Incoming cross court shots with good pace and depth = best strategy is to send most of those back cross-court.

IMHO, 1HBH DTL is best used on shorter/weaker balls where you can more easily change direction of the ball.

YMMV...
honestly this is the one shot I am jealous of two handers. Even return of serve I am pretty content with the OHBH.
I think it is also a timing issue. the two handers can abruptly start the swing later and pop the ball back DTL. OHBH needs a earlier read and swing start.
 

LeeD

Bionic Poster
Learn to slice first.
Learn to walk before learning to run.
Learn to stand before learning to walk.
 

Dragy

Legend
Personally, unlike my FH, my BH CC and inside out stroke is very different. IO is much flatter and I cut more of the inside of the ball. I was unsure what approach I should take with this DTL shot.
That’s good you distinguish these. If speaking of DTL shots against CC incoming balls, there are some variations as well:
- if it’s a shorter ball coming closer to the middle (while still CC), it’s better to use your I/O style shot (“fade”) and hit straight forward - square against the baseline - rather than close to the corner. Enough to take advantage and much safer
- if pulled wide, I’d go with what @socallefty likes - more spacing, more closed stance, and I’d focus on hitting the outer part of the ball, aim tighter to the corner and expect a ball to hook in just a tad
- if stepping in to take CC ball on the rise - again use fade and aim lower over the net, depth is not your main concern as is time, ball speed and margin for error. Hit it hard and press it down!
 

Slicerman

Professional
Whether 2hbh or 1hbh, a DTL shot is a LOW percentage shot, especially if the incoming ball is fast and deep. It should really be hit back crosscourt in that situation. This is a major part of "shot selection", which is knowing when or when not to go for a shot. If your intention is to win the point then you have to be willing to stay in the point. Patience is KEY. You have to wait for the right ball to attack or in this case DTL BH, either a slower and/or shorter ball.

In my opinion there's two types of DTL shots, 1) DTL winner (or winner attempt) and 2) DTL position reset. A DTL reset shot is higher percentage shot that goes slower and higher over the net to force your opponent to switch rallying sides. Its a tactic you see Thiem use against Nadal all the time on clay. In contrast, the DTL winner is usually flatter and hit lower over the net. Hit flatter because its typically easier to time a redirection shot. And also lower over the net to prevent the ball from travelling too far (long), especially important because DTL has the shortest court length. This is why you often see pros clip the net cord or hit the net cord when they attempt DTL winners.

Although DTL bh is very difficult against a fast and deep incoming ball, it doesn't mean its impossible. There's certain adjustments you can make to accomplish it, such as compact swing to improve your timing margin. You can see examples of this from Federer and Thiem on some occasions. Its like a short bunt or a 1/4 takeback-follow through. It does require good feel for the ball, but its doable with the proper adjustment.
 

socallefty

Legend
If speaking of DTL shots against CC incoming balls, there are some variations as well:
- if it’s a shorter ball coming closer to the middle (while still CC), it’s better to use your I/O style shot (“fade”) and hit straight forward - square against the baseline - rather than close to the corner. Enough to take advantage and much safer
If I get a shorter ball closer to the middle, I move quickly and hit inside-FHs. So, I would hit an inside-in FH if I want to go DTL. I hit as few BHs as possible as I can be much more offensive when I’m inside the baseline with an inside-FH.
 

socallefty

Legend
Sounds like you are taking a CC swing and aiming it DTL
I don’t know what you mean by CC swing. I have a topspin BH swing (which can be flattened out if needed) and a slice BH swing. Obviously, I make minor adjustments to the spacing and swing path based on my target location, target depth, contact point height, how much spin/loop/pace I want to put on the ball etc. There are also adjustments if I want to put side spin on the ball which happens with inside-out shots.
 

Dartagnan64

G.O.A.T.
Whether you are a one hander or a two hander taking a deep and fast CC shot and re-directing it DTL is a very low percentage shot. Pros do it all the time because they practice hours and hours. If you too are willing to practice hours and hours, you likely can learn to do it. But I’d suggest if you are going to commit hours and hours to practice, use it on your serve and FH and not on 1HBH DTL winners.

My BH is one of the better one’s in the crew I travel in (mostly 3.5-4.0) players and I rarely use it to do crazy things like lean into DTL winners. I will almost always practice Wardlaw’s directionals off that wing (i.e. play high percentage). So deep CC balls, go back CC. Wait on on a short ball before pulling the trigger DTL. And TBH, if I get a short ball into the BH corner, I’m more likely to run around it and hit a FH or hit a slice BH for either an approach shot or a drop shot.

The best time, in my experience to pull out the DTL BH drive is when your opponent has run around his FH and is hitting inside out and you get a ball near the BL to hit. Since he’s put himself off the court, now’s the time to get him running by putting some pace into the FH corner. It’s still a lower percentage shot, but now you’ve got more open court and the shot is much more likely to be a winner.
 

LuckyR

Legend
Any tips for how you guys with OHBH execute the DTL shot? I am talking about on incoming cross court shots with good pace and depth.

At the rec level I see high level two handers go DTL on incredibly difficult balls pretty often. They coil and then explode into the ball with their entire body since the two hander is more dependent on body rotation. But never have I seen an equivalent one hander.
Several things. First, a DTL shot off of a cross court incoming shot is a low percentage shot (as you already know). Therefore, in order to hit it with consistancy, you've got to have an optimal condition, that is a lower pace and shorter incoming cross court shot. It addition, if you try a slice DTL you will be even more vulnerable to hitting it wide off of a higher pace incoming shot so I would choose a topspin backhand to improve control.
 

socallefty

Legend
I’m a left hander and if a righty is pounding my BH with his CC-FH, it makes sense for me to change the point pattern with a DTL-BH to his BH. Now, he might have to hit CC-BHs to my stronger FH. So, a righty might need it for the same reason if he plays a lefty - even Federer needed more confidence to hit his DTL-BH more often with his bigger racquet to change the head-to-head trend against lefty Nadal. Or a player may have a strong BH slice that you don’t like and you might need that DTL-BH to direct the shot to their more conventional drive FH - Djokovic does that against Federer often. Just illustrating that there may be other tactical reasons to hit a DTL-BH than wait for a short ball.

You can’t become a 4.5+ player if hitting a DTL shot on either wing off deep shots is not part of your toolbox. Good players can do it because they have practiced it a lot along with all the other common shots they hit. Practicing changing the angle of shots is one of the most common drills that coaches do with players who have solid fundamentals. Not because they don’t want them to follow Wardlaw directionals, but because it needs to be ready when the opportunity arises to change the pattern of play. I guess at lower levels, you can play more passively and wait for an error as shot tolerance is low.
 
Last edited:

Dartagnan64

G.O.A.T.
I’m a left hander and if a righty is pounding my BH with his CC-FH, it makes sense for me to change the point pattern with a DTL-BH to his BH. Now, he might have to hit CC-BHs to my stronger FH. So, a righty might need it for the same reason if he plays a lefty - even Federer needed more confidence to hit his DTL-BH more often with his bigger racquet to change the head-to-head trend against lefty Nadal. Or a player may have a strong BH slice that you don’t like and you might need that DTL-BH to direct the shot to their more conventional drive FH - Djokovic does that against Federer often. Just illustrating that there may be other tactical reasons to hit a DTL-BH than wait for a short ball.

You can’t become a 4.5+ player if hitting a DTL shot on either wing off deep shots is not part of your toolbox. Good players can do it because they have practiced it a lot along with all the other common shots they hit. Practicing changing the angle of shots is one of the most common drills that coaches do with players who have solid fundamentals. Not because they don’t want them to follow Wardlaw directionals, but because it needs to be ready when the opportunity arises to change the pattern of play. I guess at lower levels, you can play more passively and wait for an error as shot tolerance is low.
I'd agree that playing a lefty requires a different bunch of tools than the standard righty on righty match. I'd also agree that getting to 4.5+ requires good skills at redirecting balls. But I also think that becoming 4.5+ requires an awful lot of practice either as a junior or even more as an adult learner.

So yes, if you have an awful lot of practice time and have shored up your serve and FH as much as you can, then that's the time to work hard on these redirection shots. Most points end before that shot becomes a necessity so if you haven't mastered serve, return and serve +1, then I'd say that's where your practice time needs to be focused first.

Those of us in the more common rec levels, 3.0-4.0, likely will never even master our FH's let alone serves, returns and BH's. So the onus for us is to become functional at high percentage tennis and then try to get the FH and serve stronger so we can win more matches. Or shore up fitness so we can run around and play defender with terrible strokes.
 

gold325

Professional
Any tips for how you guys with OHBH execute the DTL shot? I am talking about on incoming cross court shots with good pace and depth.

At the rec level I see high level two handers go DTL on incredibly difficult balls pretty often. They coil and then explode into the ball with their entire body since the two hander is more dependent on body rotation. But never have I seen an equivalent one hander.
This worked amazingly for me (I have a OHBH). So I hope it can work for you.

Look at the back of the ball intently and try to hit it there. As stupid at that sounds if you have a halfway decent technique the body will automatically adjust itself and even adjust timing and distance to create the shot (DTL, mid court or cross court) you want. If you want to send it cross court look at the outside of the ball and hit that part of it.

Obviously you need practise and repetition to cement this in so you can just think it ("i want to hit DTL") and do it (actually do it) automatically...
 
Top