Topspin One handed backhand forward swing

2nd Serve Ace

Hall of Fame
Not read this whole thread, but can you imagine if Stefanos had an open stance, SW grip backhand ala Guga!

Dude would be a beast.
 

Curious

Legend
Correct. Use the left hand to help pull the racquet backward hence stretch the right arm like a band or sling shot. Left hand doesn’t do anything in the forward swing as you said.
I’ll still keep the left hand on the racket in the downward part of the swing at least for now to prevent early release and flat swing to the ball. I have to get the parabola swing, otherwise it’s screwed up. Will test it tomorrow.
 

2nd Serve Ace

Hall of Fame
Correct. Use the left hand to help pull the racquet backward hence stretch the right arm like a band or sling shot. Left hand doesn’t do anything in the forward swing as you said.
The importance of the left hand is to get the forward swing in the proper slot position based on a low or high ball. Then you can fire the right hand and cover the ball whether its knee level or shoulder level contact point.
 

zill

Hall of Fame
I’ll still keep the left hand on the racket in the downward part of the swing at least for now to prevent early release and flat swing to the ball. I have to get the parabola swing, otherwise it’s screwed up. Will test it tomorrow.
Sure but the left hand doesn't do anything in the forward swing apart from staying on the throat that's my point.
 

ballmachineguy

Professional
Hips will naturally support what the upper body is doing, but you shouldn’t have to think about them. Trying to actively use hips makes me think this is being overthought again. Good luck. I wouldn’t go too far down that rabbit hole personally.
 

Curious

Legend
Hips will naturally support what the upper body is doing, but you shouldn’t have to think about them. Trying to actively use hips makes me think this is being overthought again. Good luck. I wouldn’t go too far down that rabbit hole personally.
Don’t worry. I can’t think about any of these while playing even when I want to!
 

Chas Tennis

G.O.A.T.
It looks as if the face of the racket for forehand top spin drives is usually controlled to be closed face approaching impact. Controlling how closed the racket face is, is probably important to control the projection angle (elevation). Small timing errors would still see the ball impact the racket face with the same closed angle. You could hit the ball with a golf-like swing where the closed angle on the racket face changes rapidly, but controlling the projection angle would probably be more difficult?





The side-to-side aiming is one characteristic and the up-down aiming is another.

Up-down is affected by gravity, spin and the wind. Control is important to keep the ball from going into the net, wide or long. In biomechanics, an angle is used for the elevation of the trajectory, the projection angle, the angle between the ball's trajectory and the horizontal direction. To control the up-down direction it appears that the closed tilt of the racket face and racket path are carefully controlled. Forehand and one hand backhand topspin drives have a closed racket face and upward racket path approaching impact.

The above references have a very nice displays of the closed tilt of the racket face and how stable it is approaching impact. I believe that is done to control the projection angle.



Toly's composite videos, pictures and GIFs are also uniquely informative.

GIFs

Videos

Composite Pictures


When looking at these composite pictures vs high speed videos you do not have to remember earlier frames of videos to understand what has happened in the stroke. The high speed video is more complete and shows the complete body position in each frame.
 
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Shroud

G.O.A.T.
It looks as if the face of the racket for forehand top spin drives is usually controlled to be closed face approaching impact. Controlling how closed the racket face is, is probably important to control the projection angle (elevation). Small timing errors would still see the ball impact the racket face with the same closed angle. You could hit the ball with a golf-like swing where the closed angle on the racket face changes rapidly, but controlling the projection angle would probably be more difficult?

are you saying the racquet face is actively controlled?
 

Chas Tennis

G.O.A.T.
are you saying the racquet face is actively controlled?
I am saying that if you look at high level top spin forehand drives, as in the Federer picture (post #214), his racket is tilted closed - holding at the same angle - for a very considerable distance leading to impact. See the last 4 yellow lines. I believe that applies to most current ATP topspin forehand drives.


I was not saying how that came about, I can't see those force details in videos. But I'd guess there was active control. ? Maybe small wrist torque forces?

For a Semi-Western or Western grip (not Federer's grip), extending the wrist can make adjustments to the racket face tilt. Try it. I believe that Toly pointed that out.

@Curious should consider how Federer's racket approaches the ball and how current top level 1H backhands approach the ball. They are examples of the best control and consistency for ground strokes in 2021.
 
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Curious

Legend
Today was one of those days when nothing feels right.
Sleep deprived, tired, aching, unmotivated. Didn’t feel like moving or putting any effort and went straight into old self destructive mode.

 

Morch Us

Professional
I wanted to leave you alone with your experiements... but I couldn't stop after seeing your last video.

For some reason you are still swallowing the "single swing" instruction "literally", and over complicating things. What you are really missing is to understand the fact that once a pull is started, there is no "adjustment" .. no going back ... no drop ... only release. Try taking a rope, and pull.... it will streighten up in the direction of your pull... nothing too complicated here. So if you start the big pull from your racket up position... it wont drop... it will only lag and flat release into contact.

If you don't want to think the swing as multiple parts, fine... just think the swing as a single one.... with delayed pull.... after placing the racket into slot.
Once the racket is in the slot, which is mostly slightly below the contact point of the ball (drop), you pull... and it lags the racket in the direction of your pull (in this case it will be low to high, since racket is already in slot/drop), and release into contact.

Of course you are using some of the muscles in the drop portion, but that is fine detail. You just want a "smooth" action to drop, and higher intensity action on pull into release.

Hip and upper body has its part, but I don't think that is the issue you have here. You just have to understand that it is not a single fast pull from racket up position.

I’ll still keep the left hand on the racket in the downward part of the swing at least for now to prevent early release and flat swing to the ball. I have to get the parabola swing, otherwise it’s screwed up. Will test it tomorrow.
 
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Morch Us

Professional
Hopefully it was because of tiredness, and lazy foot. But it looks like now you started to open up the racket into contact on your OHBH (instead of square) to get more net clearence. Of course this will take away any possibilty for topspin, and will limit how fast you can swing, before gravity can take over.

What was the opinion of your opponent about your OHBH ?

Today was one of those days when nothing feels right.
 

ballmachineguy

Professional
Today was one of those days when nothing feels right.
Sleep deprived, tired, aching, unmotivated. Didn’t feel like moving or putting any effort and went straight into old self destructive mode.

Was it Johnny Cash day in Australia? Even the people on the next court were in black. Not a great Wimbledon vibe.
 

Curious

Legend
I wanted to leave you alone with your experiements... but I couldn't stop after seeing your last video.

For some reason you are still swallowing the "single swing" instruction "literally", and over complicating things. What you are really missing is to understand the fact that once a pull is started, there is no "adjustment" .. no going back ... no drop ... only release. Try taking a rope, and pull.... it will streighten up in the direction of your pull... nothing too complicated here. So if you start the big pull from your racket up position... it wont drop... it will only lag and flat release into contact.

If you don't want to think the swing as multiple parts, fine... just think the swing as a single one.... with delayed pull.... after placing the racket into slot.
Once the racket is in the slot, which is mostly slightly below the contact point of the ball (drop), you pull... and it lags the racket in the direction of your pull (in this case it will be low to high, since racket is already in slot/drop), and release into contact.

Of course you are using some of the muscles in the drop portion, but that is fine detail. You just want a "smooth" action to drop, and higher intensity action on pull into release.

Hip and upper body has its part, but I don't think that is the issue you have here. You just have to understand that it is not a single fast pull from racket up position.
So are you saying that the pull should happen after the drop? Then exactly when? And what drops the racket?
 

ballmachineguy

Professional
Actively?
Yes, but very relaxed. As it falls, that is when you drive forward. Don’t wait until it has fallen so much that it feels jerky driving forward. Also, you are not hitting a Fed/Lopez style,so, you should rotate into the shot more. The reason you will not spin like a figure skater is that you shoot the left hand out and the forces put on your upper body by the right arm accelerating, not because you are trying NOT to rotate via the core (currently you look to be holding back on the rotation). Let it fly! Next time you hit, pull back with the right arm as far as is not painful, relax and let the racquet drop while pronating and then…. let it rip, flying open, and supinating the arm. Sometimes you swipe across the ball with a flat swing. More supination. It is the windshield wiper motion of the backhand.
 

Morch Us

Professional
A combination of many things, thinking about it probably enough to complicate things more and also probably conflicts your theory of single swing (which you will actively resist).

For now... you can think of the drop phase as "active swing"... but don't "pull" .... think of it as a "steady swing" if you want, a controlled swing to put the racket in the right direction and vertical/horizontal place (drop as well as distance to pull) you want in a steady way. Don't worry about any possible power loss because of this "steadiness".

In the second phase of your "single swing", think of it as a more intense pull phase.... and last... release into contact (and that is where the other finer details you talk about on how to finish come into picture)

I think we talked about the example of car accelerating smoothly, instead of stepping on acceleration at dead-still (0mph). You are "actively" pulling from your racket high position because of your affinity with single-swing, which takes away drop/distance to swing.

what drops the racket
 
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Curious

Legend
A combination of many things, thinking about it probably enough to complicate things more and also probably conflicts your theory of single swing (which you will actively resist).

For now... you can think of the drop phase as "active swing"... but don't "pull" .... think of it as a "steady swing" if you want, a controlled swing to put the racket in the right direction and vertical/horizontal place (drop as well as distance to pull) you want in a steady way. Don't worry about any possible power loss because of this "steadiness".

In the second phase of your "single swing", think of it as a more intense pull phase.... and last... release into contact (and that is where the other finer details you talk about on how to finish come into picture)

I think we talked about the example of car accelerating smoothly, instead of stepping on acceleration at dead-still (0mph). You are "actively" pulling from your racket high position because of your affinity with single-swing, which takes away drop/distance to swing.
Yeah it's still a single swing but how about this? Swing high to low in the first stage, then high to the ball, hence a parabola. The first stage doesn't have to be fast.
 

Morch Us

Professional
Sure. Later you will find a right "rythm" for this phase, which will act as addon to power.

But for now you completely lacks this setup phase, which affects your whole swing.
Essentially if you don't have a proper setup with enough distance to pull and release, your action into contact wont be efficient.
Similarly without this proper setup, you won't have enough "low to high" action as well, and you end up cheating with opening your racket for net clearence.

In summary, what I think is that, your affinity with "fast single swing" is not allowing you to do proper steady acceleration.

Am I wrong to feel that Tsitpas' first stage looks quite fast too?
 

Morch Us

Professional
Not sure whether this had been discussed earlier. But do you have proper grip in the backhand? I am not talking about "eastern" /"semi-western"... I am talking about proper area of palm support during impact (instead of weak finger support).

Will examine them to see what's going on.
 

Curious

Legend
Not sure whether this had been discussed earlier. But do you have proper grip in the backhand? I am not talking about "eastern" /"semi-western"... I am talking about proper area of palm support during impact (instead of weak finger support).
I'd just noticed that I'm not really changing the grip properly to eastern backhand. Looks like I get stuck somewhere around continental.
 

Morch Us

Professional
More than that, do you have the support from palm at contact? You can hold an eastern backhand grip with finger support or palm support during contact. The finger support would be weak.
I'd just noticed that I'm not really changing the grip properly to eastern backhand. Looks like I get stuck somewhere around continental.
 

Curious

Legend
More than that, do you have the support from palm at contact? You can hold an eastern backhand grip with finger support or palm support during contact. The finger support would be weak.
I know what you mean and yes, it's lacking support ie more of a pistol grip than a hammer.
 

Shroud

G.O.A.T.
I know what you mean and yes, it's lacking support ie more of a pistol grip than a hammer.
I noticed the grip thing as well. It messes everything up for you.
Fwiw i never got on with the hammer myself. Just feels weird. Pistol here but it is a sw forehand grip hitting on the same side of the strings as the fh. If you use a sw forehand grip try hitting the bh on the same side of the strings. Its way stronger and more closed. So balls will hit the ground or net till you figure out the low to high path
 

Curious

Legend
I noticed the grip thing as well. It messes everything up for you.
Fwiw i never got on with the hammer myself. Just feels weird. Pistol here but it is a sw forehand grip hitting on the same side of the strings as the fh. If you use a sw forehand grip try hitting the bh on the same side of the strings. Its way stronger and more closed. So balls will hit the ground or net till you figure out the low to high path
Strong eastern forehand grip.
 
The video isn't close enough for me to confirm what grip you're holding, but here is my take: -

first bh - your footwork appears to be very inefficient and it causes you to take the ball late with an open racket face causing your shot to sail. May have just been a result of a late split step or bad ball anticipation or overthinking.

The second, running bh looked a lot better footwork wise, you took the ball higher and appear to have gotten a better result. (less thinking more instinct?)

the third bh looks like your racket face is slightly open and it has higher net clearance (not able to tell how much spin/speed it has) but this is ok if it's the trajectory/shot you're looking for. notably your split step and footwork are a lot more natural on this shot

the fourth bh you hit appears to be very awkward, split step & fw seem ok, but your racket prep and timing are late leading to this ball jamming you. tbh i'm not sure if this is just a result of the eastern grip you're using as it has more difficulty with high balls. I would recommend taking the ball earlier here, possibly **** your wrist more to get the racket face closed as well.

the fifth backhand looked pretty clean - you prepped early and took the ball on the rise, racket face looks relatively closed and pretty well struck ball. - stopped watching after this shot

For reference i'm a piddling ntrp 4.0/~6 utr using semi-western 1hfh and 1hbh. my interpretation of your open racket face may just be how the eastern 1hbh is struck, also my understanding is that the eastern 1hbh has a lower and closer to body hitting zone vs the semi-western. i'm sure there are plenty of better players/coaches providing advice so feel free to disregard, it's only worth what you paid for it.
 

Curious

Legend
Update:
Really sick of it. Feeling too old, slow, stiff and untalented to get it right!
No matter how hard I try, even on a 30mph incoming ball I’m only halfway through my take back by ball bounce. Worst yet, without a grip change to backhand.
 

zill

Hall of Fame
Update:
Really sick of it. Feeling too old, slow, stiff and untalented to get it right!
No matter how hard I try, even on a 30mph incoming ball I’m only halfway through my take back by ball bounce. Worst yet, without a grip change to backhand.
Will you give the two hander a go?
 

Morch Us

Professional
Of course the speed of the ball is not the issue here, it is the rythm of your ready to setup to take back to drop to pull.
Did you do the 1hr of drop and hit practice (without worrying about power or single swing)? How did that go?

even on a 30mph incoming ball
 

Curious

Legend
Of course the speed of the ball is not the issue here, it is the rythm of your ready to setup to take back to drop to pull.
Did you do the 1hr of drop and hit practice (without worrying about power or single swing)? How did that go?
No, the turn is too slow.
 

zill

Hall of Fame
I might do better with slice only backhand.
If you want my advice with the backhand, don't think about the drop. Just rotate back then swing forward. The drop will occur naturally when you try to brush up for topspin.
 

Morch Us

Professional
My opinion is just the opposite, if I am his coach. I guess this is why you have to follow one and only one coach, till a specific progression is completed.
In my opinion the drop is one thing which won't occur naturally.

If you want my advice with the backhand, don't think about the drop. Just rotate back then swing forward. The drop will occur naturally when you try to brush up for topspin.
 

Curious

Legend
I tend to agree with Zill. Take it back and swing it forward. Drop clearly seems like part of a single forward swing of a parabola shape. Masterful demonstration here.


 
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