Thoughts on taking racquet straight down on 2hbh ala Venus, Borg, Radwanksa?

HunterST

Hall of Fame
#1
Most pros have the racquet higher than their hands on the 2hbh takeback. Indeed, the players with the best backhands in the world have this type of takeback: Djokovic, Zverev, Nishikori, etc.

A lot of rec players do not seems comfortable with this and prefer to take the racquet straight back and down with the racquet lower than their hands. This can still be yield a world class shot, as the pros in the title use this technique.

However, I'm wondering what everyone's opinion on this is. The big disadvantage I can think of is that it will be tougher to adjust for high balls. There also might be a little less momentum to create power. The advantage would be a simpler shot with less room for error, perhaps?

What do you think of taking the racquet straight back/down? Is it just as good as the higher takeback? Can you think of other advantages/disadvantages to using it?
 
#2
IMO, starting the racquet higher will result in a more relaxed shot with easier power because the racquet drop will add acceleration naturally due to gravity.

The disadvantage of the high takeback would be more difficult timing. I think this disadvantage could be overcome if you can quickly read the incoming ball.
 
#4
Are you asking about 1) initial low position ... or 2) racquet drop or not?

Borg started low and had a racquet drop ... the hands/racquet pendulumed back to a higher position, and then a drop from there.


If asking about "drop" ... that is tricky also ... 1) hands? 2) racquet head? 3) both?

Venus starts in that low and low racquet head broken bird wing look ... but at least on some rh comes up and then drops again:


I have come to the conclusion none of it matters other than your position (body,arms,hands,racquet,racquet head) at the slot. I also don't think gravity drop is significant in rhs ... or Zverev would be hitting twice the mph than Nadal.

This was a pretty good video making a similar point about the slot. It was about FHs ... but same applies to 2hbh:

 
#5
I don't think it matters a whole lot how you get into the slot on the 2HBH, only that you do.

Clearly you can see examples amongst top pros of both types of take back and none of us will ever get to that level. So I'd do what comes naturally and focus more on footwork to set up the shot and keeping the racket head below the ball.
 
#6
I don't think it matters a whole lot how you get into the slot on the 2HBH, only that you do.

Clearly you can see examples amongst top pros of both types of take back and none of us will ever get to that level. So I'd do what comes naturally and focus more on footwork to set up the shot and keeping the racket head below the ball.
A Drop with waggle 2hbh might not make you a better rec player than a shovel 2hbh ... but every swing will be more enjoyable. :p
 

HunterST

Hall of Fame
#7
I don't think it matters a whole lot how you get into the slot on the 2HBH, only that you do.

Clearly you can see examples amongst top pros of both types of take back and none of us will ever get to that level. So I'd do what comes naturally and focus more on footwork to set up the shot and keeping the racket head below the ball.
A Drop with waggle 2hbh might not make you a better rec player than a shovel 2hbh ... but every swing will be more enjoyable. :p
I guess Venus' takeback is most similar to what I'm seeing. I'm coaching some younger players and they almost all do this rather than a higher takeback with a drop.

I agree the slot is crucial, but I also think there needs to be that swaping of hand positions to create topspin. That is, the left hand (for righty) needs to be lower than the right at the beginning of the swing and then swap to being higher in order to create spin. I think maybe the problem is these players end up keeping hands level and getting a very flat shot.
 
#8
I guess Venus' takeback is most similar to what I'm seeing. I'm coaching some younger players and they almost all do this rather than a higher takeback with a drop.

I agree the slot is crucial, but I also think there needs to be that swaping of hand positions to create topspin. That is, the left hand (for righty) needs to be lower than the right at the beginning of the swing and then swap to being higher in order to create spin. I think maybe the problem is these players end up keeping hands level and getting a very flat shot.
"That is, the left hand (for righty) needs to be lower than the right at the beginning of the swing and then swap to being higher in order to create spin."

I hear this a lot in 2hbh instruction video but just seems to be a result of a low to high swing path ... left hand lower at start of slot, hands equal at contact, left hand higher with natural arm rotation in follow through. I love Mario's video (link below) ... but I could never reconcile what sounded like "active wrists" at contact ( snap ) and what I see watching someone like Djokovic hit their 2hbh. To me, watching Djoker ... the release of the lag happens in the forward swing and then hands square and passive at contact.

 
#9
I guess Venus' takeback is most similar to what I'm seeing. I'm coaching some younger players and they almost all do this rather than a higher takeback with a drop.

I agree the slot is crucial, but I also think there needs to be that swaping of hand positions to create topspin. That is, the left hand (for righty) needs to be lower than the right at the beginning of the swing and then swap to being higher in order to create spin. I think maybe the problem is these players end up keeping hands level and getting a very flat shot.
If you defined "the slot" as the straight line between 1) the racquet head right when shoulders start turning forward ... and 2) contact, it is possible Zverev and Venus would have the exact same slot on a given swing. Venus gets to that tract from starting low, and Zverev drops to that tract from high ... but from back of slot to contact they start looking more the same. That's the point.
 
#10
When I would teach beginners/lower level players a two-handed backhand, I would teach them a low takeback. It just makes the stroke much more simple. They get better more consistent contact and so, more power and control. Also, I believe that the high-low-high 2-handed backhand puts strain on the wrist (it does for me), which is why several pro players have had wrist problems.
To me, the best two-handed backhand motion ever is Yevgeny Kafelnikov's, but if any of my students ever had a backhand as good as Gilles Simon's I'd be very happy.
A few good shots of Yevgeny's backhand in here (along with pictures of his fat coach).

Simon's backhand
3:18
Good vid showing all different types of backhands.
 
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#12
When I would teach beginners/lower level players a two-handed backhand, I would teach them a low takeback. It just makes the stroke much more simple. They get better more consistent contact and so, more power and control. Also, I believe that the high-low-high 2-handed backhand puts strain on the wrist (it does for me), which is why several pro players have had wrist problems.
To me, the best two-handed backhand motion ever is Yevgeny Kafelnikov's, but if any of my students ever had a backhand as good as Gilles Simon's I'd be very happy.
A few good shots of Yevgeny's backhand in here (along with pictures of his fat coach).

Simon's backhand
3:18
Good vid showing all different types of backhands.
Different backhands video was great. Interesting if you check contact in all the 2hbhs, the hand positions (left higher,right higher, even) vary ... no common position. Also, to me the robust arm rotation into contact and after is obvious on world class 1hbhs, and much less in the 2hbhs.

Edit: the less obvious/robust arm rotation on 2hbhs makes sense. Typically hitting 2hbh less in front with grips cont/east, eastern/sw. If you watch McEnroe hit a FH with continental ?, obviously arm pronates but not pronounced like modern FH.
 
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#13
Most pros have the racquet higher than their hands on the 2hbh takeback. Indeed, the players with the best backhands in the world have this type of takeback: Djokovic, Zverev, Nishikori, etc.

A lot of rec players do not seems comfortable with this and prefer to take the racquet straight back and down with the racquet lower than their hands. This can still be yield a world class shot, as the pros in the title use this technique.

However, I'm wondering what everyone's opinion on this is. The big disadvantage I can think of is that it will be tougher to adjust for high balls. There also might be a little less momentum to create power. The advantage would be a simpler shot with less room for error, perhaps?

What do you think of taking the racquet straight back/down? Is it just as good as the higher takeback? Can you think of other advantages/disadvantages to using it?
I personally would never use a low takeback, and when I instruct, I don't often teach that shot. Firstly, it doesn't create the same kind of drive that a higher takeback can. Secondly, the high takeback encourages use of the torso and trunk rotation, while a lower takeback does not do so to the same extent.
 
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#14
I would never use a low takeback, and when I instruct, I don't teach that shot. Firstly, it doesn't create the same kind of drive that a higher takeback can. Secondly, the high takeback encourages use of the torso and trunk rotation, while a lower takeback does not do so to the same extent.
I disagree with this. When I teach the two-hander, I teach it basically as "turn, un-turn." This puts the students' focus on the torso and trunk rotation. They don't have to think about swing path, high-low-high, etc. nearly as much.
As I said, a higher takeback can be easily added later for more power.
 
#15
I disagree with this. When I teach the two-hander, I teach it basically as "turn, un-turn." This puts the students' focus on the torso and trunk rotation. They don't have to think about swing path, high-low-high, etc. nearly as much.
As I said, a higher takeback can be easily added later for more power.
I do the same thing. I put heavy emphasis on the torso and trunk rotation, much more than I do with takeback.
But when I am talking about takeback, I much prefer instructing a higher takeback.
 
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