Sunday, March 31, 2019

KEYS TO THE TWO-HANDED BACKHAND






1.    THE BOTTOM HAND

The bottom hand on the grip is responsible for controlling the length of the contact. The further up on top of the handle the bottom hand is positioned, the longer the contact zone.


The further around to the front of the grip the bottom hand is the shorter the contact zone


This is because the bottom hand dictates how long the racquet face can continue forward through the contact zone.


Positioning the bottom hand on top of the handle makes it a lot easier to hit your down the line shots, while positioning the bottom hand in the front of the handle makes it easier to hit extreme crosscourt angles


You need to learn to play your backhand in a variety of positions on the handle. The important thing is not the position of the hands on the handle (grip), it’s having complete control of the racquet face angles and contact zone.


Most coaching that deals with teaching grip positions first, will limit the player later when they start to play competition. Every grip has its benefits and limitations. By shifting your focus off the position of where the grip “should” be, and instead focusing on the racquet face,  you will avoid the limitations of having a fixed grip for all backhands.



2.   THE TOP HAND

The first function of the top hand is to set the angle of the racquet-face before you start the swing. The top hand acts as a rudder on the racquet-face for setting heights.

This process of setting the racquet head with the top hand involves you transferring your focus to what height you want the ball to cross over the net before your do anything else.

As you set the racquet head with your top hand you should also relax the bottom hand slightly and allow it to “find a new position” on the handle. This process has achieved two important functions for you during the preparation (1) it has set the angle of the racquet face to where you want it (2) it has changed the grip of your bottom hand into its ideal position

The top hand is also responsible for generating the swing to the ball. Try to dominate the swing with your top hand in order to achieve a smoother, more versatile and more powerful swing



3.      THE SOURCE OF POWER & TIMING

To add power to your two-handed back hand you need to interact with the ground through the contact foot. This is your source of power.

Learn to create your Contact Foot from either foot and be equally proficient hitting off a front foot or back foot. This versatility is the foundation of a great back hand

The ground is also the source of timing for your stroke. All timing will come from the foot you use as your contact foot.

By sending your awareness there as the ball is arriving you will be able to time the ball better that ever before.

It’s also important again to practice “timing” off both feet AND front foot and back foot


  1. ADDING SPIN

Avoid spinning the contact. Instead, add topspin to the ball by finishing both hands high after contact.

The problem with spinning the contact is that you lose feel for height and you lose penetration at the other end. Sure, it’s safer initially but long term it holds you back.

By finishing with your hands high you maintain the clean ball strike and a better awareness of your heights.

To add underspin to the ball, finish with the racquet face open to the sky


  1. CHANGING DIRECTION
Change direction by changing the position of the contact point.

Hit crosscourt by contacting the ball earlier in the contact zone.

To hit down the line or inside out hit the ball later within the contact zone.


By changing direction in this way it’s much easier to achieve success under all conditions, particularly under pressure. It makes more sense!

These are the key elements that will change your backhand dramatically. 

If there’s something missing that you think should have been mentioned chances are that it is not an integral part of the back hand and could instead be a less important cosmetic of the back hand.