One Hand Backhand - Waht Force to Start Forward Swing?

One Hand Backhand - What Force to Start Forward Swing?

I have just been watching great one-hand backhands at the Madrid Open. Including excellent slow motion that can be replayed in even slower motion or single frame with my DVR.

Often when I try to swing forward for a one hand backhand the stroke is very weak in the initial acceleration, especially if I'm rushed. The ball contact is extremely late on heavy pace and often the ball goes off at an angle and into the ground.

On very rare occasions in the past, when I was hitting better pace 1HBHs, if I had a set up on the backhand side and ran forward for the ball I could hit a monster TP backhand with confidence. Not for some years now....... So I know that heavy pace backhands are possible. I am wondering where that stroke came from. ?

This question deals with only that time when the one hand backhand backswing is just completed and the the racket is starting to accelerate.

Biomechanical issues -

1) Shoulders orientation, back at about 45°(?) to the baseline, etc., and also the angle of the arm to the shoulder to start the forward swing- the upper arm is out from the body. Why are these angles used and their purpose in accelerating the upper arm?

2) Why does the racket go back to well above the head? Why is the first part of the stroke downward?

3) Does the lat work on the upper arm. How? Is that why the upper arm is always raised out from the body in high level backhands - so that it can shorten and move the upper arm?

4) Effect of body turning to initially propel the shoulder & arm forward. ?

5) Which muscles contribute to downward & forward arm & racket motion? Which contribute to racket head speed and in what degree: lat, rear delt, others? The racket and arm seem to accelerate strongly downward at first picking up speed and then swing to a more forward direction for impact.

6) How is the stretch-shortening cycle at work in the 1hbh? Especially for the initial upper arm motion.


For illustrations, see the one hand backhands at end of the take back and ready for the forward swing.

https://www.google.com/search?q=illustrations+tennis+one+hand+backhand&client=firefox-a&hs=sEp&rls=org.mozilla:en-US:official&tbm=isch&tbo=u&source=univ&sa=X&ei=to-KUe-8EJj54APhh4CgBQ&ved=0CEsQsAQ&biw=1334&bih=702

Some especially good illustrations of just before the forward swing are on tennis.about.com , strokes #5,6,7.
http://tennis.about.com/od/playersmale/ss/photo-tour-male-pro-one-handed-topspin-backhand-grips_6.htm

Slow motion videos on the 1HBH including frames showing the start of the one hand backhand. Racket high, player looking over shoulder, shoulders turned past perpendicular to the baseline, second hand still on racket - the initial position. What are the details of how the racket accelerates from there?

Roger Federer and Justine Henin Topspin backhands
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gqBEErW0vTA

Roger Federer backhands shot with slow motion
http://www.youtube.com/watch?NR=1&v=KQpBaCnVYbE&feature=endscreen

Roger Federer's topspin backhand 360 degree breakdown 2.0
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SNdZtkKPFhA

Federer Wawrinka and more Top spin BH part I: The preparation
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jW2_dyj6QiM

Federer, Wawrinka and more top spin BH part II: The Stroke phase
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tWTPw1l3qIU

Richard Gasquet - Slow Motion Top Spin Backhands in HD
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YuBRallEByc
 
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The purpose of the high takeback for a fairly large loop is to generate speed in dropping the racquet from a higher point.



A closed stance allows the racquet to travel a further distance before striking the ball, and you need this full distance to optimally finish the swing [full arm extension, swing from low to high].

While the swing is initially powered by an partial uncoiling of the hips/shoulders, stopping abruptly lets the arm pivot away from the body at the shoulder joint, so that shoulders and hips do not further uncoil until after contact.

Forget about the specific muscles involved - the key is going to be getting the body weight moving forward and to the side by pushing off the back foot and stepping into the ball with a closed stance.
This is what you are now missing, and explains how moving in on balls in the past led to that forward weight transfer that allowed you more power.


The contact point of a one hand backhand is considerably forward than that of a forehand or a 2HBH - and the stroke mechanics are different.
Therefore our brain/eyes have to develop a separate distance to the contact point to a 1HBH than for a forehand or 2HBH.
I really think this is one of the principle reasons many struggle with a 1HBH.
The initiation of their swing is too late on balls hit to them with any degree of pace.
To train the brain/eyes body I recommend hitting nothing but backhands for several days until the timing is down.
This can be started on a backboard.
Access to a ball machine is great as the next step, starting with easy to hit balls, and turning up the pace/topsin each time you fill the container. Methodically you can build up your stroke rather than the random speeds/spin from a casual hitting partner.

No kidding - today someone at the courts asked me how long it took me to master the 1HBH. I told them at least 3-4 lifetimes, because I certainly have not come close in this lifetime.
 

boramiNYC

Hall of Fame
chas, if you wanna study further about coordination issues, check out Anatomy Trains by Tom Myers. It's much more relevant to coordination than conventional biomechanics approach.

regarding the issue #1, it's ideal to keep the elbow out and away from the chest because that gives maximum shoulder blade travel front to back. when the elbow wraps further toward the opposite chest the shoulder blade travel is reduced and many muscles attached to the shoulder blade are not fully stretched reducing power and robbing the timing. Some pros still make this work with their sheer mental power but it's not the best technique (think fed).
 

rosewall4ever

Semi-Pro
A running backhand gets it momentum from moving forward towards the ball. A staionary backhand from my experience is pushing, with the knees, off from the ground, which relates to body position and orientation as you've dicussed. Cool info btw...
 
As I interpret it - this is the most dramatic example that I know of showing what the stretch shortening cycle can do in a very short distance and time.

What happens in this video at 9:51? Stop the video at 9:50 and use the keyboard arrows to watch this motion single frame.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wCHHev-5K3Q

For tennis, I believe that the initial part of the backhand forward swing has a forceful initial acceleration that is similar to the famous "punch from nowhere".

The stretching of the shoulder blade muscles with the elbow out as described by borumiNYC makes sense.
 
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Nostradamus

Bionic Poster
^^^^I don't like Federer backhand, He uses way too much arm. Power and acceleration comes from your Hip rotation. Hip and Core strength is a must for powerful shot.
Stan Warinka is the Best example to emulate. Classic for Amateurs to learn from.
 
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A closed stance allows the racquet to travel a further distance before striking the ball, and you need this full distance to optimally finish the swing [full arm extension, swing from low to high].

While the swing is initially powered by an partial uncoiling of the hips/shoulders, stopping abruptly lets the arm pivot away from the body at the shoulder joint, so that shoulders and hips do not further uncoil until after contact.

I believe that the initial uncoiling uses some body muscles that were pre-stretched in the backswing, their motion may only involve just a very few inches of travel. Also, that uncoiling as it progresses may farther stretch the shoulder muscles, as BoramiNYC described, because the arm & racket have mass and their inertia will stretch muscles particularly in the shoulder. "stopping abruptly lets the arm pivot away" - this allows the stretched muscles to rapid shorten for racket head speed. Frames 4,5 & 6 above show using the stretched shoulder. This is the interesting issue.

I don't know what to make of the very rapid racket head drop in frames 2 - 4.

Forget about the specific muscles involved - the key is going to be getting the body weight moving forward and to the side by pushing off the back foot and stepping into the ball with a closed stance. I disagree - Why forget about the muscles when discussing motion? After you know what is going on, forget about the muscles as you learn to do it.

I generally think that 'moving the body weight forward' probably means that besides a small forward velocity some unknown muscles are getting stretched to be used later for high racket head speed.

This is what you are now missing, and explains how moving in on balls in the past led to that forward weight transfer that allowed you more power.

When you run in at 10 MPH that would tend to increase racket head speed by 10 MPH plus any unknown contribution derived from extra body rotation and unknown stretch-shortening cycle contributions which I think can be large.

For example, to hit a volley with more pace a forward step is taken ending around/just after impact. I believe that this forward step with its acceleration mostly stretches the shoulder muscles and/or arm muscles and that the forward velocity of the step is not as important. What exactly 'the weight' is doing for racket head speed is not clear.


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Comments in quote in red.
 
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New Daddy

Rookie
^^^^I don't like Federer backhand, He uses way too much arm. Power and acceleration comes from your Hip rotation. Hip and Core strength is a must for powerful shot.
Stan Warinka is the Best example to emulate. Classic for Amateurs to learn from.
Not sure about that.

I read somewhere (probably Yandell's Tennisplayer.net) that Federer and Wawrinka belong to slightly different camps: Wawrinka more western backhand grip, and Federer more eastern. The opening of the body (hip rotation) was mentioned in that comparison.

For forehand, angular momentum generated by hip rotation is important. But for 1HBH, it's more linear momentum than angular momentum, especially if you use eastern backhand grip like Federer.

So, unless you mean to preach stronger, western backhand grip - and the resultant accentuation of hip rotation - is a better mechanism than eastern, I don't see why Wawrinka's style is better for recreational players than Federer's.
 

10isfreak

Semi-Pro
I don't like Federer backhand, He uses way too much arm.
Federer is actually a wonderful example because his movement is a total exaggeration in just about every way.

Notice where he takes his racket back: WAY passed the 90 degrees of rotation with the contact plane, if you look from above. It's so far that you can see the tip of his racket behind his back if you are his opponent. From that position, you don't arm the ball -- you need your back muscles to initiate the arm movement.

If you don't believe my verbal account, you can see it for yourself. If you want to use your arm to hit a backhand without extending too violently at the elbow, the muscle which you will mostly be using is the posterior deltoid -- it's your protagonist muscle, the main one to move the arm in that direction for a backhand. To see how powerful it is, find anything that can serve as a dumbell. Say, get about 10 pounds as it should do the job. Lay face down on a bed with your strongest arm to the side. Pick up the weight and extend your arm totally. Now, lift upward and tell me how weak you feel.

Federer can hit 90-95mph backhands... and you're essentially telling me that a tooth pick like him relies on that weak and small muscle to hit it? Get serious.

Besides, he can't humanly hit a ball in front of him from the take-back position he uses without using his back muscles. And, finally, you might have not noticed it, but a one handed backhand is played with a closed stance where the hip rotation is minimal... which is the case in all one handed backhands, though some open up more than others.
 

10isfreak

Semi-Pro
Chas said:
1-Shoulders orientation, back at about 45°(?) to the baseline, etc., and also the angle of the arm to the shoulder to start the forward swing- the upper arm is out from the body. Why are these angles used and their purpose in accelerating the upper arm?
]With a one handed backhand, you're using a closed stance. If you want your racket to travel a good distance prior impact, showing your back to the opponent is one way to get a little extra in your swing.

Chas said:
2) Why does the racket go back to well above the head? Why is the first part of the stroke downward?
There are a few different ways to set up and take your racket back. The point is that you have to synchronize the beginning of your movement with your heel to toe weight transfer. Regardless of how, if you fail at it, you're failing to tap into a good energy source.

Some players like Gasquet have a huge take back, whereas others like Federer do not. Same with the forehand, however. Furthermore, it's hard to judge with the clips, but you usually adapt your take back height with the desired contact height: if you adjust to a higher ball, your swing begins higher.

Chas said:
3) Does the lat work on the upper arm. How? Is that why the upper arm is always raised out from the body in high level backhands - so that it can shorten and move the upper arm?
I do not understand this question, sorry.

Chas said:
4) Effect of body turning to initially propel the shoulder & arm forward. ?
It's the point of timing your swing and the heel-to-toe step, just like it is the point of showing your back to your opponent. A good tip that many coaches give is to try to step toward the net with your racket foot -- that is, try to always set your racket feet down, heel-to-toe, at about 45 degrees from the baseline.

Chas said:
5) Which muscles contribute to downward & forward arm & racket motion? Which contribute to racket head speed and in what degree: lat, rear delt, others? The racket and arm seem to accelerate strongly downward at first picking up speed and then swing to a more forward direction for impact.
Unless you hit above the net cord and your intention is indeed to give a downward trajectory to the ball, your swing is always rising after the take back is completed. With that said, there are many, many muscles involved in making that movement: nearly the whole posterior racket-side of your body is involved, from the lower back and higher.

Chas said:
6) How is the stretch-shortening cycle at work in the 1hbh? Especially for the initial upper arm motion.
That's a complicated question... But to help you out, I'll tell you how to search for them.

The basic idea of a stretch shortening cycle is that a muscle gets stretched by some tension and, for a limited time frame, a muscular reflex enables it to contract more rapidly than usual. There aren't ten ways to stretch a muscle -- you need to do the opposite movement. For instance, doing a split step stretches your quads as you land. If you want to spot every single SSC that occurs on a professional grade one handed backhand, you need to know the name of anatomical movements (things like spine rotation or forearm pronation) that are involved in every of its steps and, using these, you can spot the muscles that are responsible for them -- and, in doing so, you also can spot the muscles which do the opposite movement...

Then, it's just a matter of spotting key segments of the stroke and seeing if the position of the arm, the hand or else enables a SSC to occur. As you see, it's a daunting task!
 

BevelDevil

Hall of Fame
^^^^I don't like Federer backhand, He uses way too much arm. Power and acceleration comes from your Hip rotation. Hip and Core strength is a must for powerful shot.
Stan Warinka is the Best example to emulate. Classic for Amateurs to learn from.
Not sure about that.

I read somewhere (probably Yandell's Tennisplayer.net) that Federer and Wawrinka belong to slightly different camps: Wawrinka more western backhand grip, and Federer more eastern. The opening of the body (hip rotation) was mentioned in that comparison.

For forehand, angular momentum generated by hip rotation is important. But for 1HBH, it's more linear momentum than angular momentum, especially if you use eastern backhand grip like Federer.

So, unless you mean to preach stronger, western backhand grip - and the resultant accentuation of hip rotation - is a better mechanism than eastern, I don't see why Wawrinka's style is better for recreational players than Federer's.

Federer doesn't arm the ball. However, he is basically throwing his arm forward into the ball, and I can see this being harder for a beginner to learn. Also, he has a pronounced bend in the arm late into the forward swing (see the third frame in the pic above). This is what makes Fed a suspect model for a beginner, imo.

In is interesting to note that Wawrinka uses a mild Eastern (knuckle a half bevel forward), while Federer uses a full Eastern (knuckle on top). Although perhaps Stan uses more of a "hammer" version, which makes it more extreme in feel.

Tommy Haas also uses a mild Eastern, and both he and Wawrinka open up their chests significantly (though Stan probably more). Definitely a different style from Federer/Dimitrov.


Which style, Conventional vs. Wawrinka for rec/beginners is a fascinating question. I can think of a few reasons why a Wawrinka/Haas style might be advantageous for beginners or low-level rec players.

1. Beginners naturally tend to open up their chests on the forward swing, so perhaps this tendency can be harnessed into the stroke, rather than trying to completely stamp it out of them.

2. They can look straight ahead to contact instead of to their right, which should feel more natural.

3. Using a mild Eastern combined with opening up the chest significantly moves the contact point later and closer to the body. This will make timing the shot easier. It will also allow a decent swing if the player didn't turn back his shoulders enough (like if he's jammed or simply couldn't react fast enough).

4. If the player decides to move to a 2hbh, the transition will be smoother since both the contact point and body turn are more similar to a 2hbh.
 
]With a one handed backhand, you're using a closed stance. If you want your racket to travel a good distance prior impact, showing your back to the opponent is one way to get a little extra in your swing.
When the back is at an angle to the net and the player is looking over his shoulder, you are noting the extra swing path and total joint motions that this far-back start gives for the forward swing. I agree. But I see also that this orientation appears to stretch muscles. The main muscles would be those of the trunk, those holding the shoulder blade, the posterior & medial delt and, if the upper arm is high, the lat and probably others. I think that the stretch is more important than the extra travel distance.

This question could probably be tested for your stroke with the same swing distance by comparing:
1) pausing for 1 second with the back turned to the net and swinging so that any stretch contribution is lost
2) swinging immediately after the racket is taken back so that the any stretch contribution is maintained

Of course, an effective stretch has to be created by the stroke in the first place..............
].................
There are a few different ways to set up and take your racket back. The point is that you have to synchronize the beginning of your movement with your heel to toe weight transfer. Regardless of how, if you fail at it, you're failing to tap into a good energy source.
I hope to better understand this issue and add it.
].................
Some players like Gasquet have a huge take back, whereas others like Federer do not. ......................................................
This is one reason that I believe that the quality of muscle stretch is more important than the forward swing distance.
](about the lat stretch and the part it plays) ........I do not understand this question, sorry.
The lat is the largest muscle attached to the arm. It is used in pull ups, one of the strongest motions for the arm. If the upper arm is in certain positions where the lat is lengthened it can contribute. If the upper arm is up or across the front of the chest, the lat can shorten and move the upper arm. But if the upper arm is down against the side of the body - near the end of the muscle's range of motion - it cannot contribute.
(I believe that most powerful tennis strokes start with the lat lengthened so that it can contribute to upper arm movement. The serve and current forehand allow the lat to shorten early in the acceleration of the racket to impact. See the Del Porto & Gulbis forehand for an especially exaggerated use of the lat to start the forward swing.)
]............................................................................
Unless you hit above the net cord and your intention is indeed to give a downward trajectory to the ball, your swing is always rising after the take back is completed. With that said, there are many, many muscles involved in making that movement: nearly the whole posterior racket-side of your body is involved, from the lower back and higher.
See the downward motion of the racket mentioned in the Federer backhand frames 2-4 and the other videos in Reply #1. The racket is taken back high. The first racket head speed acceleration for the stroke is a drop of the racket head that reaches very high racket head speed. It’s almost as if the racket head is first moved very forcefully downward and then some kind of pivot/pendulum action redirects the racket head forward, toward the ball. What muscles are at work there? Is a stretch contribution important?

Part played by the Stretch-Shortening Cycle in the 1HBH -
]
That's a complicated question... But to help you out, I'll tell you how to search for them.

The basic idea of a stretch shortening cycle is that a muscle gets stretched by some tension and, for a limited time frame, a muscular reflex enables it to contract more rapidly than usual. There aren't ten ways to stretch a muscle -- you need to do the opposite movement. For instance, doing a split step stretches your quads as you land. If you want to spot every single SSC that occurs on a professional grade one handed backhand, you need to know the name of anatomical movements (things like spine rotation or forearm pronation) that are involved in every of its steps and, using these, you can spot the muscles that are responsible for them -- and, in doing so, you also can spot the muscles which do the opposite movement...

Then, it's just a matter of spotting key segments of the stroke and seeing if the position of the arm, the hand or else enables a SSC to occur. As you see, it's a daunting task!
Great description of the SSC.

But since the body has 600 muscles, understanding it all is too much work as you say. On the other hand, there are often just one or two muscles or groups of muscles in the last step of the kinetic chain that make very large contributions to the final racket head speed. These muscles have to be stretched in the body motions of the kinetic chain leading up to that final motion.

Often in videos you can see a very clear displays of joint motions. For example, internal shoulder rotation for the serve. ISR occurs over only about 7 frames, before and after ball impact, on all the 240 fps serve videos. In these high speed videos, already displayed at 1/8 speed slow motion, the ISR takes only 1/4 second so you have to look very carefully to see it. Watch the elbow bones axially rotate.
https://vimeo.com/user6237669/videos

Kinesiology is the scientific study of the body motions. The joints, muscles and motions are very clearly identified. Usually it takes a just a few minutes with a reference to understand what the body is doing.

I recently bought an extra copy of The Manual of Structural Kinesiology, 15th ed, C. Thompson, R. Floyd, an excellent college text book, for $0.84 plus shipping. It was like new with just a little highlighting............
 
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Estimate of Velocity Contribution from Racket Drop & Gravity

When the racket is raised for the backhand and drops to strike the ball at a lower height the racket speed gets a contribution from gravity.

How much is the contribution from gravity relative to the final racket head speed?

To simplify the problem for this estimate and get an estimate of how significant gravity is, we can use the velocity of an object that falls from the height of the racket at the beginning of the stroke to its height at ball impact. For a rough estimate, let's say that the increase in racket head velocity at impact is equal to that of a body falling the distance that the racket head fell.

Looking at one of Federer's backhand it looks as if the racket might drop about 1 meter from high point to impact for a lower ball.

This gravity calculator takes various inputs based on gravity and calculates velocities.

http://www.gravitycalc.com/

"What is the velocity of an object that has traveled d meters? Equation: [Latex: v=sqrt{2gd}]
Enter the distance d in meters"

Enter 1 meter.

"ANSWER: The object has a velocity of 4.42869055139 meters per second after seconds on Earth. This is 15.943285985 kilometers per hour, and 9.90669862069 miles per hour.

The object will have traveled for 0.451600755752 seconds to achieve this speed."

9.9 MPH looks like a significant contribution to racket head speed.
 
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mark1

Semi-Pro
In is interesting to note that Wawrinka uses a mild Eastern (knuckle a half bevel forward), while Federer uses a full Eastern (knuckle on top). Although perhaps Stan uses more of a "hammer" version, which makes it more extreme in feel.

Tommy Haas also uses a mild Eastern, and both he and Wawrinka open up their chests significantly (though Stan probably more). Definitely a different style from Federer/Dimitrov.


Which style, Conventional vs. Wawrinka for rec/beginners is a fascinating question. I can think of a few reasons why a Wawrinka/Haas style might be advantageous for beginners or low-level rec players.

1. Beginners naturally tend to open up their chests on the forward swing, so perhaps this tendency can be harnessed into the stroke, rather than trying to completely stamp it out of them.

2. They can look straight ahead to contact instead of to their right, which should feel more natural.

3. Using a mild Eastern combined with opening up the chest significantly moves the contact point later and closer to the body. This will make timing the shot easier. It will also allow a decent swing if the player didn't turn back his shoulders enough (like if he's jammed or simply couldn't react fast enough).

4. If the player decides to move to a 2hbh, the transition will be smoother since both the contact point and body turn are more similar to a 2hbh.
this is a really interesting post.

I am a former 2 handed backhand player trying to make the move to a one hander since it feels much more natural to me.

I also feel much more comfortable with a mild eastern grip (conti / eastern blend) and tend to like to try to rotate a little more when hitting the ball (similar to my SW forehand, which is by far my biggest shot).

Do you have any more links or information on the technique required to play with this style of grip / backhand swing and contact point?

Seems that you can kind of take some cues from each style. right now I am working on keeping my left arm back and out to force myself to stay balanced and not open up my chest too much. I am not a beginner though, USTA 4.5, so I don't want to do anything that will inhibit the growth of my game going forward.
 
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Backswing stretch & forward swing stretch.

See Henin's upper arm and shoulder clearly shown in this video. The shoulder stretch at the end of the backswing and the continuing stretch at the start of the forward swing occur over a very short distance. The stroke has accelerated a lot in just the very early part of the forward swing.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LdDwMj3_WMA

There appears to be
1) a short shoulder stretch at the end of the backward upper body turn along with
2) an additional shoulder stretch (or preserving the 1st stretch) by a forceful forward body turn

and together they contribute a lot to the initial acceleration for the one hand backhand.

Is the posterior delt the most important stretched muscle? Middle delt? [The shoulder joint moves only the upper arm bone.]

https://www.google.com/search?q=shoulder+posterior+delt&client=firefox-a&hs=C7e&rls=org.mozilla:en-US:official&tbm=isch&tbo=u&source=univ&sa=X&ei=8urrUsXtMueisQTY9oC4BQ&ved=0CD8QsAQ&biw=1099&bih=670#imgdii=_
 
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sureshs

Bionic Poster
When the racket is raised for the backhand and drops to strike the ball at a lower height the racket speed gets a contribution from gravity.

How much is the contribution from gravity relative to the final racket head speed?
Careful with that. That can lead to calculations like "pendulum effect" which can be misleading.

The racket is not in free fall. I can bring my racket down real slow if I want. Shouldn't the racket even then fall as fast as gravity will allow? No. I am exerting an upward force on the racket with my palm which acts against gravity.

Personally, I think gravity is not a factor here. A player can swing practically as fast top to bottom as bottom to top. Much of the force is directed along the curved swing path of the racket and is not much aided or hampered by gravity (I think).
 
Anytime a mass changes height in a gravitational field, the potential energy of the height change is available to be converted to kinetic energy - racket head speed.

If you oppose it with your muscles it can probably be converted to heat in your muscles. If you don't you can get more racket head speed.

If the racket is raised to 3 feet above the impact height I would expect some added racket velocity is occurring. The energy from the drop can increase the final the kinetic energy of the racket-arm-body moving assembly. Estimate a few percent increase in ball velocity. 4%?

I made an earlier calculation in reply #16 that I believe was wrong because I added velocities instead of energies. The problem should be done by calculating the energy available at the higher height and adding that potential energy to the kinetic energy of the racket and other moving parts. Compare with or without this contribution. It is a workable mechanics problem but I am very rusty. I don't pursue the energy or power approach very much but more the things that can be observed in high speed video, angles, velocities, etc.

The last reply, #18, on the muscle stretch is an effect that is probably 10 or more times more important than a few percent from gravity.
 
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LeeD

Bionic Poster
I suspect every one of you DO NOT his a 1hbh topspin.
If you have, you will KNOW the first move is footwork to a closed stance, then a oft hip push with your butt muscles that starts the torso turn, THEN the arm/shoulder starts it's swing.
Ignore me if you want, by TRY hitting topspin 1hbh's. The arm/shoulder comes AFTER that initial push with the butt or hip of the oft hand side.
That is why a closed stance is essential for penetrating 1hbh topspins.
 
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If you have, you will KNOW the first move is footwork to a closed stance, then a oft hip push with your butt muscles that starts the torso turn, THEN the arm/shoulder starts it's swing.
.................................... The arm/shoulder comes AFTER that initial push with the butt or hip of the oft hand side.
That is why a closed stance is essential for penetrating 1hbh topspins.
Thanks for pointing that out. It shows in the Henin video that she does move her hips just prior to her shoulder-arm acceleration.
 
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sureshs

Bionic Poster
If you oppose it with your muscles it can probably be converted to heat in your muscles. If you don't you can get more racket head speed.
I have thought about that. To me, it would mean almost not holding the racket and let it just swing like a pendulum. Is that what pros are doing? I don't see that.
 

LeeD

Bionic Poster
Do we need photos or vids.
How about we hit some 1hbh topspin shots?
Once you get consistent, the oft side butt/hip starts the motion of the shoulder/arms.
 

Rokushio

New User
I suspect every one of you DO NOT his a 1hbh topspin.
If you have, you will KNOW the first move is footwork to a closed stance, then a oft hip push with your butt muscles that starts the torso turn, THEN the arm/shoulder starts it's swing.
Ignore me if you want, by TRY hitting topspin 1hbh's. The arm/shoulder comes AFTER that initial push with the butt or hip of the oft hand side.
That is why a closed stance is essential for penetrating 1hbh topspins.

Whats does "oft" stand for??
 

Shroud

G.O.A.T.
HI Chas,

My 2 cents is that 1. you are way over thinking a simple backhand.

2. If you are hitting late, this is just a timing issue.

Here is my "trick" for that.

If you watch all the great backhands there is a part of the swing that is at the lowest. They all end up there. My trick is to just start there. That is the backswing... drop the racket to that point and then swing. It gives all kind of added time and I dont lack for power. Once you get used to that you can get more flashy and start with the racket higher, but i never found the need to.

Here is a vid. I was playing around with open stance so just ignore the footwork. Look at the takeback.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wUgXJjFt3O8&feature=youtu.be

ANd that Avery vid I saw too. Never liked that shoulder hinge stuff. Tried it and well never jived for me. Probably having the racket up like he shows messed with my timing. Though it is probably a good practice.
 

toly

Hall of Fame
ANd that Avery vid I saw too. Never liked that shoulder hinge stuff. Tried it and well never jived for me. Probably having the racket up like he shows messed with my timing.
Agreed, Avery is wrong about extended arm and shoulder hinge backhand, at least in Federer case. :shock:



 

Fxanimator1

Hall of Fame
Do we need photos or vids.
How about we hit some 1hbh topspin shots?
Once you get consistent, the oft side butt/hip starts the motion of the shoulder/arms.
I think we do need video.
How about if you post a video of you hitting a topspin 1hbh?
I'd really like to see it.
 
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Look at Federer's shoulder turn and the upper arm tight against the chest. Next frame his shoulders and upper body have turned a lot and the swing has been accelerated.

During a recent Wawrinka match, there was an excellent slow motion of a backhand winner. I believe the upper arm on the chest is getting the swing up to speed. If the upper arm is not against the chest the effectiveness is probably lost as it first closes down as the upper body starts turning.

Anyway, it looks like a good issue to study with high speed video.

Is this why my backhand is so-so but others that look different at the upper arm-chest contact have much more pace? I don't think that my upper arm is usually snug on my chest and that I turn my shoulder to accelerate.

Shroud, that looks like a very good backhand. I can't see your upper arm and chest area because of the coat and camera angle. Video again from safe viewpoint that would show it.

Also, I am overwhelmed trying to understand and characterize the high level strokes that the pros are doing. I just try to characterize them in high speed videos.

One point always with the upper arm high before a stroke's forward motion is that the largest muscle attached to the arm, the pec, can shorten to pull on that upper arm bone. That can get the arm and racket moving. Downward motion can be converted to forward motion pivoting around the shoulder joint. If the upper arm is low the pec cannot shorten very much or contribute to arm speed very much. I don't know if the high upper arm has any importance yet. See TennisOxygen Youtube comparisons on backhand and forehands for the high take back.

Some pro player don't take the racket back high on the backhand but I've usually noticed that with 2hbhs and not 1hbhs. Venus Williams especially has a low take back for the 2hbh.

The videos seem to indicate that the upper arm is tight on the chest for high level one hand backhands. When you hit 1hbhs be aware of how your upper arm feels against your chest. Take some high speed video closeups of this area.
 
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Fxanimator1

Hall of Fame
Shroud, when I look at your backhand, footwork comes to mind. You have time and you're not pushed wide, so cross over and step into that backhand. Right now it just looks like lazy footwork.
 

Shroud

G.O.A.T.
Shroud, that looks like a very good backhand. I can't see your upper arm and chest area because of the coat and camera angle. Video again from safe viewpoint that would show it.
Shroud, when I look at your backhand, footwork comes to mind. You have time and you're not pushed wide, so cross over and step into that backhand. Right now it just looks like lazy footwork.
Here is an older vid from the front angle maybe it will let you see the upper arm and chest.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w4C6HJyhxZs&list=LLjHaCh_yvH5zzIfJYQWgh1w&feature=mh_lolz

And FX you are dead on. Though as I said when I posted which I thought was clear:

"I was playing around with open stance so just ignore the footwork. Look at the takeback. "

That was a concept vid and not normal for my footwork. In the vid attached here you can see more normal footwork. THough some days my knees dont want to bend and I think that was one of those days. Some lazy footwork there too I think.
 

Fxanimator1

Hall of Fame
Here is an older vid from the front angle maybe it will let you see the upper arm and chest.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w4C6HJyhxZs&list=LLjHaCh_yvH5zzIfJYQWgh1w&feature=mh_lolz

And FX you are dead on. Though as I said when I posted which I thought was clear:
I did not see that part of the post, sorry. I did look at the one video above. It has the feeling that you're flailing at the ball on your backhand. I think the reason might be that you're initiating the stroke with your arm and not your hips and core, so you are not getting any lag in your racquet during the stroke.
The swing path of several of your backhands is not ideal.


 
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RetroSpin

Hall of Fame
Chas Tennis,

Given your knowledge of kineseology, I'm surprised that you are ignoring a key component of all great one hand BHs. They all lay the racquet back parallel to the baseline after it drops. Why? Because that puts their shoulder in ISR. As they use a combination of front shoulder retraction, body turn and abduction to get the arm moving forward, they go from ISR to full ESR in the follow through.
 

LeeD

Bionic Poster
Faximator, if I had a video of my 1hbh, I'd without hit just to spite YOU.
I don't care about YOU at all.
I'm trying to help fellow posters, not my critics.
And yes, I can fire off some pretty solid 1hbh topspins, even against 4.5 level players. I'd rather slice though, and use open stance topspin 1hbh.
 

Fxanimator1

Hall of Fame
Faximator, if I had a video of my 1hbh, I'd without hit just to spite YOU.
I don't care about YOU at all.
I'm trying to help fellow posters, not my critics.
And yes, I can fire off some pretty solid 1hbh topspins, even against 4.5 level players. I'd rather slice though, and use open stance topspin 1hbh.
So no video then?:( Because if you posted a video of YOU hitting this topspin one-hander that you speak of, it would go a long way in lending some credibility, or not.

You're the one that mentioned video in the first place.

Do we need photos or vids.
How about we hit some 1hbh topspin shots?
And your idea of "trying to help fellow posters", is by using this condescending tone and sarcasm of yours, in some sort of superior, know-it-all way to make it seem like you know all of this through experience.
 

LeeD

Bionic Poster
Dude, only YOU want videos. Video doesn't mean anything.
How you HIT the ball is what counts.
I hit the ball at 4.0 levels. No 5.5 would care what I say.
What level are you?
 
I believe that this might be the answer for the initial acceleration for the one hand backhand -
I believe that the initial acceleration for the 1h backhand is the key for a high level backand. I think pro players get that by starting with their upper arm jammed on their chest and turning the upper body.

Yesterday, on Tennis Channel, Almagro hit a high pace backhand winner down the line. They showed nice camera views after the shot. I used the DVR to stop and view his backand from the view from behind. His upper arm was tight against his chest and his upper body turned a lot. See if you can find a video that shows this part of the backhand.

When I look at your backhand I see space between your upper arm and chest. Needs more and better videos.

According to my view, in your case, if you turn your upper body this space will decrease a little and not accelerate your upper arm as I think I'm seeing the upper arm accelerate in the Almagro video. Maybe Almagro's arm is also semi-straight when he starts the upper body turn.

This issue needs some better videos to see how tight your upper arm is. It also needs some more pro videos to establish that the upper arm is actually tight against the chest and also exactly when during the stroke it is tight.
Justine Henin. Other camera angles would be better for this issue.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LdDwMj3_WMA

You can also experiment by keeping the upper arm pinned on the chest when you start your 1hbh with upper body rotation.

Maybe someone who has a high level backhand can comment on this issue or take a video.
See other replies in the same thread after this one and especially the video of Fxanimator's backhand. Click ">" to go to the thread.

1. For your one handed backhand, on your take back I would not have the racquet face as open.
2. On the follow through open up your chest more.

From looking at your "grip" I can't really see because of you bulbous handle, but try and turn it over more. as in knuckles on the top bevel. I think that will fix number 1. Try to get more of your hand behind your handle in other words.

This is a video me hitting a one handed back hand, but I'm sure a video of Dimitrov would be a better example.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PEaXm4ZdJV4&feature=youtu.be
 
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Curiosity

Professional
Take it or leave it: Here's a description of a contemporary 1H topspin BH as it was taught to me....

Start approximately like Fed, but not with his initial "racquet facing the sideline," because that's momentary in case he goes to slice. Have your front foot forward and be in balance.

Have your UB/shoulders turned at least 120 degrees away from the direction you want the ball to depart. (You'll finish 0-15 degrees off that departing line.)

Have the racquet hitting face 90 degrees to your chest, and racquet angled up as much as appropriate for the shot. (This is prep for depth of lag, the deeper the lag desired, the more vertical the racquet.)

Launch with two actions at once, rotation of the UB and a very slight pull of the hitting hand out toward the sideline, still low. (You probably won't be able to see this on a video. It's that brief.) This outward pull initiates the lag of the racquet head downward.

Continue extending your hitting arm out and forward until it is straight but still not high. Keep the angle of racquet to forearm: It's what produces the pivot next.

When the arm is straight, pull the racquet up and right on the desired diagonal. The force of this pull will stop your UB rotation automatically. The change of hand direction (smoothly, naturally) from outward toward the fence diagonally to 'up and right' causes the pivot. The racquet head has to accelerate very fast to "catch up" to your rightward-upward-outward moving hand. The speed comes for free.

Because you started the swing with the lag and extended your hand still a bit low, when your hand/straight-arm rises up and to the right with pronation energy, the racquet head has to rise up quickly. Easy topspin.

All the footwork is extra, adds something, but isn't needed to get the basic speed and topspin.

The initial verticality of the racuet: The more vertical it is at pull-out/rotate-and-extend, the faster the racquet head will drop, which is important for low close-in balls.

The description is "in pieces" but the actual motion is non-stop and easy once you get over the odd feel of that first very brief pull-out. You can swing fast or slow, it still works.

Well, there. Do what you will with the description.
 
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Curiosity

Professional
No edit? Just before launch the upper arm is by your right front chest, and your forearm is parallel to your belt line and thus also parallel to the court surface.
 

Fxanimator1

Hall of Fame
That's a well written description for a one handed backhand "Curiosity". Dang, who was your coach Peter Lundgren?
 
Take it or leave it: Here's a description of a contemporary 1H topspin BH as it was taught to me....

Start approximately like Fed, but not with his initial "racquet facing the sideline," because that's momentary in case he goes to slice. Have your front foot forward and be in balance.

Have your UB/shoulders turned at least 120 degrees away from the direction you want the ball to depart. (You'll finish 90 degrees off that departing line.)

Have the racquet hitting face 90 degrees to your chest, and racquet angled up as much as appropriate for the shot. (This is prep for depth of lag.)

Launch with two actions at once, rotation of the UB and a very slight pull of the hitting hand out toward the sideline, still low. (You probably won't be able to see this on a video. It's that brief.) This outward pull initiates the lag of the racquet head downward.

Continue extending your hitting arm out and forward until it is straight but still not high. Keep the angle of racquet to forearm: It's what produces the pivot next.

When the arm is straight, pull the racquet up and right on the desired diagonal. The force of this pull will stop your UB rotation automatically. The change of hand direction (smoothly, naturally) from outward toward the fence diagonally to 'up and right' causes the pivot. The racquet head has to accelerate very fast to "catch up" to your rightward-upward-outward moving hand. The speed comes for free.

Because you started the swing with the lag and extended your hand still a bit low, when your hand/straight-arm rises up and to the right with pronation energy, the racquet head has to rise up quickly. Easy topspin.

All the footwork is extra, adds something, but isn't needed to get the basic speed and topspin.

The initial verticality of the racuet: The more vertical it is at pull-out/rotate-and-extend, the faster the racquet head will drop, which is important for low close-in balls.

The description is "in pieces" but the actual motion is non-stop and easy once you get over the odd feel of that first very brief pull-out. You can swing fast or slow, it still works.

Well, there. Do what you will with the description.
If you have the chance to view this video below what do you think of this Christophe Delavaut analysis of the 1hbh and how it compares to your description? He has some others, including an excellent Justine Henin to Roger Federer 1hbh comparison, etc.

Click ">" to go to the reply or other thread.
how about this one. he seems to be good at breaking down video
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vq3Pi1KIkT8&list=PL01ADDE36D56DF3F6
 

Curiosity

Professional
Chas, I thought Christophe's emphasis on keeping the angle of racquet to forearm was accurate and useful. The amount of F's turn-back was keyed to the fact that he was about to hit a corner-to-corner cross-court BH. C's discussion of the initial launch (how the racquet goes from hight to low) was over-simplified: Players like Fed (and Sampras before him) help the racquet down with their thumb AS they start the pull out. You'll still get the lag without the thumb control.

I personally cannot often use the footwork he highlights. It is enough for me to get into balance, weight moving onto my front leg. I'm lucky just to execute the swing well with good topspin, following through high. If I were younger....

The details of racquet tilt (how upright at launch) for Fed (as for almost all players) depends on the ball they are going for. A low close ball requires more verticality to get a faster deeper lag, get the racquet head down to the ball. In the video he's going for a moderately high ball, and can get sufficient lag with tilt reduced by his somewhat low release.

I would just comment that the first instant of hand pull out is key to getting the lag. Then, almost instantly, the arm straightening and the hand's moving forward (not just out) begins.

I think Fed's precise form is an excellent exemplar. I just hit it a lot slower and worse. Laugh.
 

Curiosity

Professional
FXAnimator1: I have nothing but admiration for Lundgren. Which is why I was disappointed when I looked in the TT "tips & techniques" section for the heading "When what you need is a psychologist, not technical advice." It wasn't there. I can only imagine what would happen to a player who went to such a section on TT asking for advice. A discombobulated serve would be nothing by comparison. Laugh.
 
Federer doesn't arm the ball. However, he is basically throwing his arm forward into the ball, and I can see this being harder for a beginner to learn. Also, he has a pronounced bend in the arm late into the forward swing (see the third frame in the pic above). This is what makes Fed a suspect model for a beginner, imo.
Very true. Beginners and also people with 2HBs trying the stroke are often "muscling" the ball.

I let my OHB go and then stabilize the wrist at impact.

It's a hard stroke. If beginners try to "let it go", they do this wet noodle stroke with no shape. It's uncoiling/unfolding. It's not simply a loose arm rotating around your body.
 

Fxanimator1

Hall of Fame
FXAnimator1: I have nothing but admiration for Lundgren. Which is why I was disappointed when I looked in the TT "tips & techniques" section for the heading "When what you need is a psychologist, not technical advice." It wasn't there. I can only imagine what would happen to a player who went to such a section on TT asking for advice. A discombobulated serve would be nothing by comparison. Laugh.
I would guess Stefanki probably drew the shortest straw of all.
You could definitely start a thread in this section though.
Maybe named,
" How do you get to your happy place, when your discombobulated serve goes even more awry than it already was". :)
 
Initial Accelerations Similar for Golf Swing and the One Hand Backhand?

Related to the last replies, #38-on, about the upper arm pressed to the chest as the body turns -

The initial acceleration for the one hand backhand is probably closely related to the initial acceleration of the golf swing. Notice how the upper arm is pressed on the chest in many of these golf pictures.
http://www.aroundhawaii.com/lifestyle/health_and_fitness/2011-01-what.html

See pictures similar to this one -


This biomechanical description for the golf swing looks very detailed. The pictures caught my eye for this thread. There are two more parts in this series and other golf analyses by Kelvin Miyahira.
 
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