One or two hands

Discussion in 'Tennis Tips/Instruction' started by T1000, Jan 1, 2010.

  1. T1000

    T1000 Legend

    Jul 7, 2008
    So I'm 17 and I've been playing tennis for about 10 years, only 5 competitively. I was taught by James Blake's mom (not really important but a fun fact) and I was taught to hit a two hander. I never felt comfortable and I thought it was the only way to hit a backhand. I learned the one hand slice when I was 11 and used in most of the time in matches unless I was going for a winner. For the past 3 months I've been screwing around with a one hander in practice, I was never taught how to hit one or what grip to use. I think I'm using an eastern not sure. I find my backhand is more consistent, has better placement, and more power. It's easier to get topspin and drive it flat up the line. Is it possible that I just naturally have a one hand backhand and the two hander won't really work for me? I'm a serve and volley player so it helps the style I think. I'll try and get a video of me hitting the two different back hands and post them.

    The other thing is I find it hard to hit the high ball. I'm not a big guy, about 6'1" and 135 lbs. Any tips about how to hit them. Taking them early is hard to do consistently and backing up takes me farther away from the net. I usually just slice it and keep it in play but my slice is being attacked. I thought one option would be to get the slice lower or farther back to make it harder to attack instead of taking it early or backing up. Thanks guys
  2. Storm_Kyori

    Storm_Kyori Hall of Fame

    Jun 7, 2008
    Since you kinda know both, maybe you could use the 2hbh for high balls and then the 1hbh for rallying...might work.
  3. Geezer Guy

    Geezer Guy Hall of Fame

    Feb 17, 2005
    Big Canoe, GA
    Taking them early isn't that hard, with practice. Don't take a big swing at the ball, because that's much harder to time and control. Hit more of a blocking shot with a short backswing and a long followthrough. It's a more agressive shot than a slice, and will get on your opponent faster. Don't go for a big winner - get the ball back in play and wait for a better ball to attack.
  4. fuzz nation

    fuzz nation G.O.A.T.

    Oct 20, 2006
    Sounds like the one-hander is coming more naturally for you than the 2hbh. Yeah, the timing is different and it can take some work to learn to set up and swing with a good tempo, but it's hard to argue with the results you seem to be getting with 1hbh.

    I actually use both styles of topspin bh stroke along with the slice. The 2hbh works either for a defensive shot that I'm fighting off or when I need to hit an aggressive return of serve. Both of those shots can set and fire more quickly with the two-handed option, but my one-hander is easily more accurate and consistent and I only embraced it over the last few years.

    If the one-hander is seeming to be your more natural stroke, it's worth working on I think. You might have a place for both styles along with that slice, too. Whatever you feel is useful.
  5. Jaewonnie

    Jaewonnie Professional

    Mar 2, 2009
    I find that 1handers work better with high balls and 2handers for mid-height:confused:
  6. Roy125

    Roy125 Professional

    Jul 8, 2009
    San Diego, California
    How long have you been playing with both?

    USERNAME Professional

    Jun 29, 2009
    No, switching between them in points and even throughout a match is not a good idea. It will screw up your timing against anyone who can hit a decent ball. As for the OPs question, I use a one hander, if you know the ball is gonna kick up up can take it on the rise or back off and let it drop. The latter is much easier but can put you in a defensive situation, also if your gonna let it drop make sure you have space behind you and that your footwork is solid. The other method which is not easy but not super hard is to basically move your contact point up. What I mean is you dont change a thing with your stroke you simply move the swing path up higher. The last one is what I usually do 80% of the time fyi.
  8. Jaewonnie

    Jaewonnie Professional

    Mar 2, 2009
    Pretty equal. 2 and a half years on both but its only been about a year since my 2hander became pretty solid. 2 months on the 1hander. Both are solid, now.
  9. troytennisbum

    troytennisbum Rookie

    Jun 22, 2004
    Yes, it is.

    That is an extremely important factor to consider when deciding which topspin backhand technique to go with. Different people are wired differently. Some players have more potential if they adopt the two-hander and some will excel more if they adopt the one hander.
  10. mikeler

    mikeler Moderator

    Sep 26, 2008
    Central Florida
    I never felt completely comfortable with the 2 hander, so I switched to the 1 hander after 2 years when I was 16. The 1 hander just feels so much more natural to me.
  11. VamosRafa10

    VamosRafa10 Rookie

    Dec 23, 2009
    I broke my left wrist so i had to play with a one handed backhand and i found it very difficult on a high ball in particular. I would recommend taking it early. Its difficult at first but once you keep practicing it will come to you.
  12. trenzterra

    trenzterra Semi-Pro

    May 28, 2009
    On high balls I usually slice.

    And no, it's not a good idea to switch between both. I've been using a one-hander since I started playing but recently I tried some two-handers for the fun of it. However when it came to match time my one-hander was totally off, because the timing for one-hander is different.

    And I think whether you wanna be a one or two hander is up to personal preference.
  13. charliefedererer

    charliefedererer Legend

    Feb 13, 2009
    I recently saw a video interview of the famous tennis coach, Robert Lansdorp, on exactly this question. (It came up as he was as he was asked if he supported Pete Sampras's decision to go from a two hand to one hand backhand when Pete was in his early teens, and already a promising player.)

    Lansdorp said either a two hand or one hand backhand was acceptable and it depended on the player which would be better for him. For players that were essentially ambidextrous, or at least had a natural feel for their left arm movements, a two hander was probably the best. On the other hand, for players's who just looked uncomfortable using their opposite hand/arm for other tasks, clearly a one hander was their best option. He also opined that for some, they probably would be good with either, and included Sampras in that catagory. (He thought Pete might have won perhaps less at Wimbledon, but may have picked up a French Open if he stuck with the two hander, which was Lansdorp's recommendation at the time.)

    From what you say, I think your 1HBH is your best option.

    As for those high shots to your backhand you have two options:
    1. Develop a better deep, more penetrating slice by really moving with your body into the ball, and using much less slicing spin.
    2. Hit thousands of high topsin backhands. Be careful not to let your front shoulder tip up too high, as that means the back shoulder is simultaneously dropping, and you will be hitting the ball consistantly long. You also will have to hit the ball further out in front and not crowd the ball, as your extended arm is "longer" on a high ball at your shoulder level than on a waist high ball. (Some of your extended arm length is going down on a waist high ball, not straight out.) You will need to do more triceps strengthening exercises.

    If you don't have a hitting partner to hit plenty of high balls to your backhand you'll need a coach or ball machine to feed the large number of balls it will take to get proficient at this difficult shot. And you'll have to keep hitting them to maintain proficiency and timing.

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