Slice with 2-handed backhand

Discussion in 'Tennis Tips/Instruction' started by time_fly, Aug 18, 2014.

  1. time_fly

    time_fly Semi-Pro

    Feb 25, 2013
    I'm a long-time tennis player and my preferred backhand is 2-handed with topspin. I have taught myself to hit 1 handed defensive shots and to slice the ball by moving my contact point more in line with my front shoulder and letting go with the non-dominant hand during the swing. However, my slice is really more of a chip or a push, and recently I decided I would try to learn a proper 1 handed offensive slice.

    I am working with a pro who is an excellent instructor and also has a wicked 1hb. However, even after 4 sessions I cannot use a 1h slice in real rallies. The problem is that the setup is completely different than a 2hb; it is really unnatural for me to turn my back to the ball and end up sideways. By the time I think about how to get to that position, it is too late. Also using the rear of my dominant-side shoulder as the power source for my swing feels weak and unnatural; with 2hb it is the pectoral and shoulder of the non-dominant hand that powers the contact and the dominant hand just helps to guide.

    Should I continue to try to learn the proper 1hb backhand technique? Is there a modification of the 2hb technique that might come more naturally to me?
  2. TennisCJC

    TennisCJC Legend

    Apr 20, 2010
    Contemporary coaches will tell you to learn the "proper" 1 hbh technique but Jimmy Connors, Chris Evert, Borg and Fabrice Santoro all could hit good slices with either a 2 HBH technique or by dropping the non-dominant hand during the 2 hbh stroke - sort of like a hybrid stroke.

    I hit a 2 hbh and drop my non-dominant hand during the stroke when I slice. I hit mostly 2 HBH topspin but use the slice on really low, really high, or really wide balls. On short balls I will either hit a topspin approach or a chip as an approach shot. I play a lot of doubles and really like to hit a firm slice CC from the add side off 2nd serves. My stroke ends up being mostly like a 1 hbh because the non-dominate hand drops and non-dom-hand pulls back like a 1 HBH, the shoulders are turned more as you go into contact (front shoulder is closed as you described), and shoulders don't open up as much with body staying more toward side fence.

    Personally, I don't think there is a good method to hit a slice without getting the front shoulder turned and using the front shoulder as the "pendulum" point.
  3. LeeD

    LeeD Bionic Poster

    Dec 28, 2008
    East side of San Francisco Bay
    Lots of guys hit 2hbh slices, some not even letting go.
    Same basics apply, high prep, full sideways turn, bent knees, and torso rotation into the shot. 2hbh just has a shorter followthru.
  4. BevelDevil

    BevelDevil Hall of Fame

    Jun 10, 2010
    You don't have to take your shoulders back that much, just slightly.

    Look at Andy Murray's (quite good) slice backhand. His backswing shoulder turn isn't much different from his 2hbh drive backswing.

    Keep in mind though, Murray closes his shoulders slightly on his 2hbh (closed stance) backswing. If you do too, then this should be sufficient for the 1-handed slice also. Having the same takeback on both shots also has the advantage of disguise and being easy to learn and react.

    I think in your case, the fact that your pro has a topspin 1hbh seems to be an obstacle.

    As for the follow through, don't worry too much. You can get away with opening up your shoulders more than you're "supposed to." Murray opens up a little on contact. A lot of players open up even more, even those with 1hbhs (look at Wawrinka's).

    And you can gradually work on perfecting your follow through while still getting decent use from the more open slice.

    The main power source should be shoulder rotation, though you will also be using your "reverse fly" muscles. But this is just a matter of getting used to. The slice isn't supposed to be a power shot, anyway.

    A 1-handed slice, even an imperfect one, is still very useful.

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