one hander not good for the amatuer level?


I really dont understand why so many people on these boards advocate a one handed backhand. in my 4 years of playing (I know its not that long, but long enough) I've seen one guy with a really good one handed backhand, but that isnt even his weapon, his forehand is much better (hes a rediculously good 4.5-5.0 player) for everyone else ive seen its either just average or a total liability. now, most players ive seen with 1hbhs have good slices but there are plenty of people with two handed backhands who also have great slices. so anyway, is it just unusual for me to have not run into a 4.0 who can just crush their one handed backhands? if not, why do so many use it and think its so superior to the two hander?


Hall of Fame
Generally speaking, you are right. You don't know the members here who advocate the 1hander, and you don't know their level of playing. Maybe they are very good at it. Or like me, not very good at it, but it is the backhand that works better than my 2Hander.

The reason is very simple: 1 handed backhand is much more difficult, and takes much longer time and dedication to become good. So at levels below 4.0, I'd say 2handers dominate. Above 4.0, there are some very good 1Handers. I once watched a 1hander playing a 4.0-4.5 match, his 1handed backhand is very good, powerful, fast.


Hall of Fame
To hit a good one handed backhand requires good footwork -- this is not found in lower levels, so it's very rare. Therefore, it's easy to win since you just have to move them and everything just breaks down. However, a lot of people can hit them when they're not moving or just in practice. Which is nice, but it's not match-level.

However, there are those who can crush it by talent but it's rare.
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yep. i think a one hander is definitely harder to become really good at in match play. there are guys who can do it, but if they are a 4.5 to 5.0 player with a great one hander, you can be sure it probably took them a lot more training than the equivalent 2 handed player.

Even then, in my experience they are easier to attack in my opinion. But i also have a really heavy forehand. High topspin penetrating forehands into a guys onehanded backhand is very tough to handle.

I've lost to 1 guy with a one hander this whole year whereas ive lost against 3 guys with 2 handers. However, I will say the guy i lost to with the one hander was the best of all of them. But he was also a very experienced player who i would guess was about a 5.5 player. So that should tell you something.


New User
If I use two-hands then I just send the ball flying out. With a one-hander power is reduced and I can get much better angles on my shots.


well. theres really ntohign you can do with the 2h that a 1h cant do.

it took awhile to get the stroke down, but once you got it, never want to go back.

if your coming from a 2h, it takes hard work to nail it down timing wise, the power and consistency comes after.

timing is really hard to master in the beginning.
youll begin to notice in the very beginning your timing is so off, any extra pace your dead.


Hall of Fame
You're right. Topspin 1 handers are only better IF (AND ONLY IF) you have the skills in you to do everything right with this shot. Few people have this in them. Definitely, 2 handers are easier to learn, too.


I don't really see one as better than the other. For all the talk about footwork, timing, etc specifically affecting a one-handed backhand, they affect every other shot equally.

I've yet to see someone with mediocre footwork, timing, etc and have anything but mediocre strokes.

I will say one thing - I know self-taught players at 4.0 and below that have decent two handed backhands. Every self-taught player I know with a one handed backhand may as well just let the ball pass them when it get to that side. IMO, it's a shot that has to be properly taught since it's a completely different feel from the "modern" open-stance game.


Hall of Fame
For me its simply how I was taught. 20yrs ago you met few pros that would teach two handed backhands (or maybe it was just mine :)). Tried to learn one a while back and couldn't ever really get to deal with it. That said I play a lot of slice backhand or just flat (I hit very flat a lot anyway). I think for some people just feels natural


I can wind up and hit it as hard as i can and have it go in on some days but the rest i have to use way less force for it to go in with consistency. I use a one hander by the way lol

Mountain Ghost

1HBH at Lower Levels

Learning to develop a one-handed backhand takes time, diligence and qualified professional help. At lower levels you see a greater number of relatively effective two-handed backhands because it’s faster and easier to learn, is (in the short term) more technically forgiving and can be somewhat self-taught. But when you get to higher levels, EVERY player has taken countless lessons, is truly dedicated to the sport and is willing to put in the hard work required to perfect his or her technique, so the difference in effectiveness between one-handers and two-handers is less conspicuous.

As for the footwork issue, a two-handed backhand (and even a forehand, for that matter) can be hit with anywhere between a closed and an open stance. This offers much more flexibility when positioning than a one-handed backhand does, which must be hit with a closed stance. Since a one-handed backhand requires more rigid positioning than most other strokes, learning to position for it forces you to improve your footwork, which in turn helps your positioning abilities for all of your other shots as well.

I'm a 4.0 player who hits a 1 hander, and I really don't see it as much of a liability unless I'm playing stronger players who have the ability to exploit my backhand. I normally feel comfortable going bh to bh against 2 handers because I very seldom see players below 4.5 with good 2 handers. There seems to be some sort of misperception that it's easy to develop a good 2 hander. It might be easier than the 1hbh, but very few people develop good 2hbh without formal lessons. At my level, I find it pretty easy to exploit most opponents' 2hbh. They usually can't handle variety and prefer to bash, so I mix in high loopy shots and low, skidding slices. Works for me.


Hall of Fame
the 2hbh has become sort of an 'instant-gratification-shot" at the beginners level. while with kids in their early years it is natural because of their still weak joints, in the teenager and adult category you will still manage to hit the first few shots already over the net, of course technique comes a little bit later.
amateurs basically want to have fun, and hitting the ball over the net and being able to rally is what they are looking for when on the court. so, in most of the cases, the twohander fits the bill.
if you look into the higher levels (and higher ambitions, even competitive ones), i dare say that a twohander requires the same amount of dedication than the onehander. i simply don't agree that a two-hander (i play one by the way) allows for less precise footwork or setup or timing or coordination as i don't agree that the onehander is a more versatile shot. you can see twohanders hit the same angles like onehanders, with the same pace (check fed and rafa) and precision. slices are hit with one hand in most of the cases by both types of players.
there are players with less flexibility in the upper body, and if they have firm wrists they will naturally be more inclined to play onehanders (flat and topspin i mean), while others with weaker wrists (like myself) will prefer the twohander for added stability.


I'm not sure if I've read anybody here EVER just suggesting out of nowhere that people should learn a 1h'er over a 2h'er. If people give tips on a one-hander, it's because a poster specifically asked for info.

Myself, everybody I teach, and they're mostly friends, I teach a 2 hander. I wouldn't teach anybody a 1 hander from the get go. It's just way too difficult and for the tennis novice, the mechanical cues are incomprehensible.

Even for a person who WANTS to eventually learn a 1 hander, I think the best is to teach them a 2 hander so they can enjoy tennis for a while, then after they learn a backhand volley and slice backhand, they'll start getting used to the concept and physicality of hitting with one hand that way then they can start trying to hit top spin backhands.

In college, as you can imagine, I played mostly guys with two-handers, and overwhelmingly more times than not, I could use my slice to break down their two handers. If we got into a rally, they would almost always blink first. And once they realized I wasn't going to do anything crazier than hit low slices to their backhands, they often self-imploded.

My backhand is NOT a flashy shot, but when I'm in form, it's rock solid. It's more consistent than my forehand side. I know what it can and can't do and I use it effectively with its limitations in mind and that's REALLY what it comes down to, using what you've got smartly.

But I've often wondered how great it would be to a have a good two hander. I could NEVER hit a two hander. Not sure why. But it's true, with two hands your footwork doesn't have to be nearly as good and you can pull the trigger much quicker. But when it's on, there's no shot I love hitting more than my top spin one-hander. It feels so simple and the power you can generate is so disproportionate to the effort you put in.
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randomname, a lot of things that are discussed on this board do not reflect what occurs most of the time on a tennis court. There will always be a certain group of people who are trying to imitate who the most popular tennis player is. Such as trying to hit the 2-hander on the rise and trying to "hit returns like Agassi", we all know only Agassi can hit a return like Agassi... and only someone like Federer can imitate that and take it a step further.

As for many club level players going from 1 hand to 2 hand, for the most part its all in good fun in the end.

I learned my tennis strokes in the early 80s before the western forehand grips and oversize (100"+) racquets were around. It was easier for me to hit a top spin one hander and chip slice shot (flat shots as with most people weren't consistent enough) than it was to hit a topspin 2 hander or returning the low fast shots of the many flat hitters back then. % tennis = immediate results.

As far as what coaches teach on the court, I see roughly 3/4 of the players learning 2HBH. No coach worth their salt is going to recommend a player to 1 hand if they are better with 2..... Of course unless that player happens to be a freak of nature and the coach happens to be Robert Landsrop and the goal is to win Wimbledon LOL.
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Frank Silbermann

in my 4 years of playing (I know its not that long, but long enough) I've seen one guy with a really good one handed backhand, but that isn't even his weapon, his forehand is much better (hes a ridiculously good 4.5-5.0 player) for everyone else i've seen its either just average or a total liability.
To be honest, you're _supposed_ to be weaker on the backhand side! (Unless you're a "good" player -- in which case your one-handed backhand, being "more natural" than the forehand, is supposed to be better than your forehand.)

Traditionally, tennis has been not just about winning but also about looking good and showing some form. If you look at any tennis book published pre-1975, you will see that hitting with two hands on the racket is _unorthodox_ -- if not incorrect. It's true that coaches _nowadays_ have loosened their standards as to what is correct and incorrect, but the with the one-hander you can enjoy the _unanimity_ among experts -- past, as well as present -- that you're hitting the ball the right way.
I'm only a 3.5 but I have recently switched to a 1hbh. I couldn't get the technique right on the 2h. I would over rotate my torso and spin out of the shot when hitting under match pressure. I would sail some balls long (mostly) or into the net.

With the one hand I have less power but my stroke is more consistent and controlled.