One handed backhand: takeback question

Discussion in 'Tennis Tips/Instruction' started by 10isfreak, Jan 16, 2013.

  1. 10isfreak

    10isfreak Semi-Pro

    Dec 19, 2012
    I have been wondering lately about the rationale I have myself laid on the table for months regarding the value of a certain type of take back in all of our strokes. Just to be clear, I will broadly sequence a forehand:

    Split step;
    Pivot and shoulder turn;
    Moving to the ball with the appropriate footwork;
    Take back and non-racket arm extension;
    Acceleration and striking;

    What I call the take back, in any shot, is what happens from the shoulder turn, up to the point where you accelerate toward the ball. I used to explain how to improve your forehand swing by saying that the preparation (the two first lines in the above description) should be early and that the take back should be late. I thought that using a continuous swing (that is, no pause whatsoever between the take back and the acceleration) had virtues in terms of enabling players to improve their timing.

    The point I used to make was simple. Regardless of how you swing it, you will do something naturally: before accelerating, you will move your racket, preferring to accelerate a moving racket than one which is standing still. Where you gain consistency and timing is that it's probably easier to synchronize a single sequence of movement than two separate ones. If you stop in the middle of your swing, with the racket fully back, you tend to mess up later on.

    What makes me wonder is not so much how the forehand can be played... as far as I can tell, this tip holds true on the forehand. Maybe I am wrong and someone can bring us an example of non-continuous forehand that is successful on the tour. Where I am puzzled is regarding the backhand. Can I really pretend that it is accurate when so many of the most powerful one handed backhands of all times were struck differently, using either a straight take back or a pendulum swing (the later was, as it happens, very popular back in the 80's and 70's)? Furthermore, nearly every two handed backhand on the tour contradicts this position: taking a continuous swing path! So, where do have to stand on this?

    So, I am willing to here ideas from people on this forum... How do you take your racket back on the one handed backhand, how should it be done?
  2. 10isfreak

    10isfreak Semi-Pro

    Dec 19, 2012
    We may also have in mind that amateur players might face different challenges than pro players. Sometimes, it's irrelevant... when something produces better results with less efforts, there is no point in arguing over different circumstances leading to different outcomes.

    However, when the results may be good or not depending on the situation, it is worthwhile considering which means better suit the goal which we pursue.

    I have recently revised my conviction that the one handed backhand was a necessary disability at the amateur level because of several key distinctions that would apply as well to the women's tour while not applying to the men's tour. Namely the difficulty for the vast majority of amateurs to hit heavy and high kicking balls consistently...

    Moreover, if you ever watch a court-level match on the ATP tour, the number of really high balls is a lot lower than what you might expect. Exception made of rare birds like Nadal, the average contact eight on the tour is slightly bellow the shoulders, which is more manageable than I would have expected.

    Some players and former players predicted the fall of the one handed backhand while others responded that it was a cultural shift, not necessarily driven through material conditions. Salzenstein even predicted years ago that Federer would never get back to the pole because of his backhand, which he did at 30 years old, before loosing it at 31.

    Maybe we are facing a grave misapprehension. Your thoughts?

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