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Old 08-11-2009, 03:41 AM   #1
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Default One handed backhand switch?

I am a 4.5 NTRP highschool varsity player and I need some help with deciding what to do in a situation such as this.

Let's get this straight right away: My two-handed backhand sucks. I've been using it my whole career (or my imaginative career) and I keep stabbing it and it was never natural. My coach got m into the one-handed backhand simply because I was balanced, I moved well with it and extremely talented at it.

It's okay. My one-handed backhand needs work though. IT isn't consistent, and when it is it's got medium pace. Here's my problem.

I have serious ladder matches at my club in September and I need to develop this thing as soon as possible. I don't expect it to be amazing. I just want it to be decent. I want it to be consistent. I want it to be something. It has to be used.

I'm getting a new coach very soon, and I need to know beforehand what to tell him as far as switching and what to do in this situation.

What do you guys think?
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Old 08-11-2009, 09:37 PM   #2
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Default Re: One handed backhand switch?

I was a mediocre college player who used a two-handed backhand my whole life. It was consistent, but not a weapon. The summer after my sophomore year of college I switched to a one-handed backhand because I felt like it could become another weapon for me (I had a huge forehand). I basically just hit against a wall for many hours all summer in order for it to feel natural and I thought it was pretty steady.

I felt like it was ready to go, but once I got into match situations I found that my backhand service return was incredibly unreliable. I ended up getting frustrated and quitting college tennis because I wasn't even able to go back to the two-handed backhand at that point.

I'm thinking you probably want to have someone with lots of pace serve balls to you as much as possible. You should videotape your returns, if you can, to work out any form issues that may develop.
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Old 08-12-2009, 09:23 PM   #3
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Default Re: One handed backhand switch?

Quote:
Originally Posted by illinoisportsfan View Post
I was a mediocre college player who used a two-handed backhand my whole life. It was consistent, but not a weapon. The summer after my sophomore year of college I switched to a one-handed backhand because I felt like it could become another weapon for me (I had a huge forehand). I basically just hit against a wall for many hours all summer in order for it to feel natural and I thought it was pretty steady.

I felt like it was ready to go, but once I got into match situations I found that my backhand service return was incredibly unreliable. I ended up getting frustrated and quitting college tennis because I wasn't even able to go back to the two-handed backhand at that point.

I'm thinking you probably want to have someone with lots of pace serve balls to you as much as possible. You should videotape your returns, if you can, to work out any form issues that may develop.
Thanks man. I agree, I made up my decision to use the two-handed backhand for upcoming matchplay, and, maybe for the team next March.

Again, thank much indeed.
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Old 08-13-2009, 02:30 AM   #4
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Default Re: One handed backhand switch?

Hey man

I switched to the one-hander just over one year ago. It was a great decision. One of my best coaches got me thinking about it and I did it. My athleticism could never really show in my two-hander. I feel much more confortable with my one-hander now. I can be very versatile with it, slice, flat, heavy spin. I can hit passing shots down the line and crosscourt, something I struggled with with my two-hander(at least the down the line shot).

You must be very patient while learning this however. It will take several months for you to feel completely confident in it and it will take you a long time to develop hitting a consistent GOOD ball. Make sure you don't get into bad habits right off the start. Make sure you have your grip right, like Federer's backhand grip.

To answer your question, when I played my first tournament with my one-hander, it wasn't very pretty. I would switch back to 2 hands match in and match out and hit a nothing ball with my backhand. However, learning from different coaches and keeping belief in the new shot, I myself found new things I could do with it. I grew more and more confortable in my backhand and even though it isn't consistently a weapon, it is consistently going in the court without getting me killed. I continue to work hard on it and the variety of shots that you can hit with the one-hander is the key to keeping you comfortable with the shot and out of trouble.

About the return, I continued to struggle with it until 1-2 months ago. I was always defensive and had to scoot back to give myself time, but now I am moving in from the baseline by having a neutral grip that I can hit with my backhand and forehand. The grip gives me a strong western forehand while keeping my backhand grip just a bit eastern of continental.

Good luck with it, work hard and stay confident!
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Old 08-13-2009, 09:49 AM   #5
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Default Re: One handed backhand switch?

work hard on the one-handed backhand.
Just keep hitting balls off it, kgo
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Old 08-15-2009, 08:50 PM   #6
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Default Re: One handed backhand switch?

Well being one-handed can become a nightmare to many players. I know when I played USTA tournaments during my high school years, the top players in my region all had two-handers and would just loop it high all day to my backhand forcing me to either take a few steps back to get a really solid hit and then get dropshotted next shot or try to take it on the rise and then risk them hitting a flatter deep shot putting me way out of position. And this is with already using a one-handed grip more oriented for taking higher balls. If you notice, if you compare fast court players such as Federer and slow court players such as Wawrinka, their backhands are a tad different, especially how they follow through the ball with Federer going through the ball while Wawrinka almost looking like he is starting up a chainsaw. Your grip, positioning and follow through are very important with a one-hander keep that in mind. Improving your backhand slice is also crucial because one-handed backhands in my opinion are worse at being defensive than two-handers because with two-hands you can muscle the ball back even if you are totally in a bad position with the ball. Running around the backhand is also key against those players who do want to hit high looping shots to your backhand because these balls will typically start out short so you want to run around it and really do something with it.

Key thing to remember is that the one-handed backhand is a lot more effective when you are on the offensive. Now if you need grip and such help, I think your coach and watching professional players is your best bet beause it is very difficult to explain in writing.
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Old 08-19-2009, 01:16 AM   #7
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Default Re: One handed backhand switch?

I played against a player who was in the process that summer of going from 2HBH to 1HBH, and he would hit both variations throughout a rally. They were both equally bad however.

My best advice would be, if you're going to 1HBH don't fall back on your 2HBH just keep hitting it good or bad. It does you no good other wise.
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Old 10-16-2009, 02:06 AM   #8
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Default Re: One handed backhand switch?

Just another vote for the 1BH. I switched from a 2HB to a 1HB and sujbected it to every kind of ball imaginable in every drill/hitting squad for a year. Now it's my biggest weapon, and there is nothing more satisfying than when a new opponent begins to probe your BH for weaknesses only to have it tear court back at them. Serenidad is absolutely right though, once you make the change you've made the change, it is a steep learning curve.
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