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  Topic Review (Newest First)
03-16-2008 06:03 AM
Junior
Re: The One-Handed Backhand

Ivan Ljubicic's Backhand

Even a tricky high ball is no match for Ivan Ljubicic's backhand.

Perhaps the most difficult shot for players with one-handed backhands is hitting a ball up around the shoulders. There are three options to use in order to return it: You move in and take it early and on the rise, before it gets too high; chip it defensively with slice; or return the favor to your opponent by looping it back. Here we see Ivan Ljubicic going for the last choice, and doing it very well. With early preparation, spot-on timing, and impressive shoulder strength, Ljubicic returns a tough shot with relative ease.


1. As he prepares for his backhand, Ljubicic pulls his racquet back with his left hand while keeping a loose grip on the handle with his right. It’s smart to bring the racquet back with your off hand because it promotes a good shoulder turn. And by not strangling his racquet, Ljubicic can easily switch to his backhand grip and keep his hitting arm relaxed.

2. Since the ball is coming in high and deep, Ljubicic is retreating with crossover steps to get himself in good position. His racquet comes up slightly, and he doesn’t rotate his body yet, as his primary goal is good footwork. Ljubicic has time to run around his backhand, but because of his confidence in the stroke, he is content to hit it rather than a forehand.

3. With all the time Ljubicic has, he continues on to an exceptionally full shoulder turn. You can practically see his back. His body weight is almost completely gone from his front foot and has shifted to his left leg. Notice his body composition—his legs are bent and low while his back is straight. The only thing you want the upper body to do is rotate.




4. Ljubicic starts to rotate back as his racquet drops well below the ball. This shot is going to have ample topspin. His legs continue to straighten as he starts to jump off the court. Instead of bringing his weight through the shot, his momentum is actually going upward, which will result in a high, looping return.

5. At contact you see Ljubicic way off the ground and the ball still above his shoulders. This causes the racquet to be more at an angle rather than level as he rotates his wrist up to meet the ball. To coordinate a swing of this speed with all this movement takes great timing. It also requires plenty of shoulder strength and wrist action to power a ball from this height.

6. Even though he’s airborne, Ljubicic still manages a nice full finish to his stroke. His left arm stays back, keeping that side from coming around prematurely and allowing him to stay sideways and extend through the shot. Ljubicic doesn’t overswing and bring his left side around; he maintains solid mechanics throughout.

03-14-2008 03:46 PM
Topspin Sports
Re: The One-Handed Backhand

Quote:
Originally Posted by HKz View Post
Looks like it is because of my backhand grip. I think I am going to change it to become more of a Western grip because seriously, slicing a high ball is stupid because once one of these top players sees that I am just going to slice their kick serve or high looping groundstroke, they immediately start coming into the net and putting those away.
you should NEVER be caught hitting serves high if you want to compete with these top players you speak of. move in or pay the consequences. Get in position to hit so you can worry less about the high ball.
03-14-2008 01:18 PM
Bernard Black
Re: The One-Handed Backhand

Maybe you should change to the double hander - you seem to have a lot more respect for that shot.
03-14-2008 08:20 AM
HKz
Re: The One-Handed Backhand

Looks like it is because of my backhand grip. I think I am going to change it to become more of a Western grip because seriously, slicing a high ball is stupid because once one of these top players sees that I am just going to slice their kick serve or high looping groundstroke, they immediately start coming into the net and putting those away.
03-12-2008 05:15 PM
sheeter
Re: The One-Handed Backhand

The guy i was talking about had a one hander.
03-12-2008 04:00 PM
Bernard Black
Re: The One-Handed Backhand

It's difficult to answer your question as it's the equivalent to someone with a two handed backhand saying they have trouble reaching angled balls - it's a weakness inherent with the shot.

If you have the talent and are willing to practice hard, you'll eventually master the shot. But if you don't, just remember you're struggling along with 99.99999% of us who have exactly the same problem, so don't sweat it!
03-12-2008 03:47 PM
Topspin Sports
Re: The One-Handed Backhand

No no...please do not pull sideways! You must pull up, but dont pull off (or up on) the ball as quickly. Imagine yourself keeping the ball on your strings longer at the point of contact (thus not pulling off the ball as fast). Your follow through needs to be "lower" than it ussually is. Your follow through should not change, it should be the same follow through, only lower.

Please remember, this was my last of suggestions.

First in foremost do NOT be afraid to develop a great slice and turn your defensive position around. Again, I assume you are on defense (or about to be) if you are not hitting it above your zone. Slicing high balls can be a huge weapon.

In regards to hitting "on the rise." I get extremely upset when i hear other tennis pros teaching juniors to hit on the rise. If you watch the ATP pros you will notice they are hitting the ball at its highest point... not early. Hitting The ball on the rise will rush your shot, hitting at the highest point gives you optimal time to set up, and will still be plenty of time to put your oppenent off guard (remember this is all assuming the highest point is also around your zone). Do not let the ball fall off of its peak. Once that happens, you hit the ball too late! Thats the key is to set up and make contact at the perfect point.


Hopefully this will clear some things up. Dont stress too much about the high backhand, my first recommendation is to use slice since you are on the defense anyway (just keep it deep and low)
03-12-2008 06:06 AM
HKz
Re: The One-Handed Backhand

Quote:
Originally Posted by Blaze-2004 View Post
This is why Federer loses to Nadal so much on clay, so dont feel too bad that you cant do it either

Another suggestion is to try to take it earlier
It is a bit tough to take everything on rise when you play top players Unless I predict every single shot, but I'm pretty sure that is a bit difficult. But I mean when I do have to time to get to the ball nicely, I take everything on the rise off my backhand side.

Quote:
Originally Posted by sheeter View Post
i've seen a player I know who, when he gets in those situations, leaps like nalbandian and takes it pretty high. Otherwise, i really don't what to say. you could let its come down, take it early, or just run around it. the best thing to do in my opinion is to get a ball machine, set it send nasty spin to your backhand, and just hit a @@@@ load of balls until you get used to it. You could even have someone vary the settings a little bit every ten balls or something
But Nalbandian has a two-hander. Two-handers can do that because they can muscle most shots through. I practice with a ball machine regularily, but the spin is quite unrealistic, Lol.

Quote:
Originally Posted by leng jai View Post
The single handed backhand is a very difficult shot even for the pros and generally it will have nowhere near the consistency of a double handed one. The high ball is especially difficult particularly for club level players who aren't the same height on average. I myself use a single handed backhand and while I hit a lot of great winners off it, its nowhere near consistent and I have basically the same problems as you do.

That is why you must appreciate it when you can witness the backhands that the likes of Kuerten and Haas possess.
Well I am at a decent height, almost 6 foot 2 inches. Consistency is not the problem. I can go all day long without missing, my level is past that. The problem is to just hit a high one-handed backhand AS cleanly/solidly/firmly as a low/hitting-zone one-handed backhand. It isn't like I am not getting it back decent; the problem is the ball doesn't land deep enough or get enough topspin to keep the opponent back.

Eh Haas? I don't find his backhand to be amazing. The only one-handed backhands I find nice are probably Kuerten, Gaudio and maybe Gasquet. Kuerten and Gaudio because they can hit the ball so well on clay and hit many winners using their backhands.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Topspin Sports View Post
Hkz,

You pose a problem that MANY players face. Regardless of the forehand or backhand side, hitting a high ball is one of the harder parts of tennis. Here is some help. I am a tennis pro, and college player, so I know what its like to play top juniors, in fact, Im playing top division 2 players.

My first advice, when you refer to "hitting the ball on the rise."

1. Make sure you are not hitting the ball too early. Hitting a ball on the rise is dangerous and although it gives your opponent far less time to react, I suggest hitting the ball at the APEX. This means at the highest point. (assuming you are not getting loopy shots from these top players you should have no problem hitting the ball at the highest point because it will be in your comfort zone). My main point being dont hit the ball too early! Hit it that moment before gravity takes over!

Secondly, regarding the high backhand troubles. The reason you need to hit a high backhand is because you missed your optimal contact point (the apex). Therefore, you are hitting a defensive shot! You must fist admit that. At your level right now, Your NEXT best option is to hit the ball on the way down. What important here is that you are still hitting in your comfort zone, the second you step out you are caught up in a shot you are not used to practicing.

Remember how I said if you are hitting the ball up high you are hitting a defensive shot...well, therefore your next best option is a slice.

Lastly, if you plan on hitting topspin on your high backhand you have to remember two things
1. Get under the ball! Even though its a high ball, if you dont get under the ball you will not produce and spin.

2. Secondly, you need to have a low follow through when you hit a high ball (or a low ball). The low follow through will drive the ball rather than produce a loop which is what will happen if you dont have a low follow through.


Good luck, hopefully this will help
I don't understand by having a "low follow" with a one-hander. Obviously you can do that with a two-hander since you can muscle the shot out, but I don't get how you mean it on a one-hander. If you are saying pull it more sideways instead of the usual pulling up, then that is what my coach has been telling me to avoid. Also I don't understand what you mean by "dangerous" when hitting a ball too early. I never have a problem when hitting on the rise, especially when it is early than hitting the ball before getting to the hitting zone. A clarification on your post is much appreciated.

Thanks for comments by the way everyone.
03-12-2008 05:10 AM
Topspin Sports
Re: The One-Handed Backhand

Hkz,

You pose a problem that MANY players face. Regardless of the forehand or backhand side, hitting a high ball is one of the harder parts of tennis. Here is some help. I am a tennis pro, and college player, so I know what its like to play top juniors, in fact, Im playing top division 2 players.

My first advice, when you refer to "hitting the ball on the rise."

1. Make sure you are not hitting the ball too early. Hitting a ball on the rise is dangerous and although it gives your opponent far less time to react, I suggest hitting the ball at the APEX. This means at the highest point. (assuming you are not getting loopy shots from these top players you should have no problem hitting the ball at the highest point because it will be in your comfort zone). My main point being dont hit the ball too early! Hit it that moment before gravity takes over!

Secondly, regarding the high backhand troubles. The reason you need to hit a high backhand is because you missed your optimal contact point (the apex). Therefore, you are hitting a defensive shot! You must fist admit that. At your level right now, Your NEXT best option is to hit the ball on the way down. What important here is that you are still hitting in your comfort zone, the second you step out you are caught up in a shot you are not used to practicing.

Remember how I said if you are hitting the ball up high you are hitting a defensive shot...well, therefore your next best option is a slice.

Lastly, if you plan on hitting topspin on your high backhand you have to remember two things
1. Get under the ball! Even though its a high ball, if you dont get under the ball you will not produce and spin.

2. Secondly, you need to have a low follow through when you hit a high ball (or a low ball). The low follow through will drive the ball rather than produce a loop which is what will happen if you dont have a low follow through.


Good luck, hopefully this will help
03-11-2008 01:07 PM
leng jai
Re: The One-Handed Backhand

The single handed backhand is a very difficult shot even for the pros and generally it will have nowhere near the consistency of a double handed one. The high ball is especially difficult particularly for club level players who aren't the same height on average. I myself use a single handed backhand and while I hit a lot of great winners off it, its nowhere near consistent and I have basically the same problems as you do.

That is why you must appreciate it when you can witness the backhands that the likes of Kuerten and Haas possess.
03-10-2008 05:31 AM
sheeter
Re: The One-Handed Backhand

i've seen a player I know who, when he gets in those situations, leaps like nalbandian and takes it pretty high. Otherwise, i really don't what to say. you could let its come down, take it early, or just run around it. the best thing to do in my opinion is to get a ball machine, set it send nasty spin to your backhand, and just hit a @@@@ load of balls until you get used to it. You could even have someone vary the settings a little bit every ten balls or something
03-10-2008 03:43 AM
Johnny Groove
Re: The One-Handed Backhand

This is why Federer loses to Nadal so much on clay, so dont feel too bad that you cant do it either

Another suggestion is to try to take it earlier
03-10-2008 03:40 AM
HKz
Re: The One-Handed Backhand

Quote:
Originally Posted by TidusZidane View Post
Wow, I'd highly recommend you speak to a coach about this shot. I won't even try to give you advice on the technique as it's so tough!

I would say this though, don't be so quick to dis-count the slice. A bit of creative slicing can go a long way, especially if you're a one-hander and they're hitting to your backhand with heavy top-spin...it kicks up awkwardly for a backhand drive but nicely for an attacking slice high to low.

Just hit the shot you feel most comfortable with I'd say. If it feels awkward to hit a drive, then be creative (easier said than done, I know!).
I would just stop complaining and use the slice but I'm not getting anywhere with a regular deep slice. Of course in the past when I played against weaker opponents, the slice would be useful since they wouldn't be able to handle a low skidding ball, but the slice against the top players doesn't do much unless I angle it pretty nicely, but that is quite difficult to pull off unless I'm in a good position off the court to do so.

Quote:
Originally Posted by sheeter View Post
Don't try to hit flat. Loop it back with a lot of spin.
That isn't the problem. The problem is to hit the ball cleanly when it is high in the first place. I'm not asking whether I should hit the ball flatter or with topspin, I know that. The problem I find with the one-hander compared to the two-hander is the backswing. With the two-hander, you can have a short backswing and muscle through most shots that you need two, but with the one-hander it is tough to hit the ball firmly without a good, full backswing. So when I play somebody who uses a lot of topspin, they'll first hit the ball flat to my backhand which is fine, and then they'll throw in a heavily topspin shot which then sometimes make the ball just sit there on the bounce taking like what seems like an eternity to kick up causing me mistime the backswing.

My backhand plays extremely well against people who play pretty flat through most of their game since the ball stays low enough to always be at my hitting zone. But the other day, I played against the number 3 in our US region-division who uses quite a lot of topspin especially off the forehand side and my regular flat/topspin backhand was horrible in that match and was probably the only thing that cost me which got me thinking on what I could do.
03-09-2008 10:21 PM
sheeter
Re: The One-Handed Backhand

Don't try to hit flat. Loop it back with a lot of spin.
03-09-2008 06:13 PM
Bernard Black
Re: The One-Handed Backhand

Wow, I'd highly recommend you speak to a coach about this shot. I won't even try to give you advice on the technique as it's so tough!

I would say this though, don't be so quick to dis-count the slice. A bit of creative slicing can go a long way, especially if you're a one-hander and they're hitting to your backhand with heavy top-spin...it kicks up awkwardly for a backhand drive but nicely for an attacking slice high to low.

Just hit the shot you feel most comfortable with I'd say. If it feels awkward to hit a drive, then be creative (easier said than done, I know!).
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