THE BASIC ONE HAND BACKHAND
The basic one handed backhand begins with a unit turn. The unit turn is
where the upper body turns sideways while the left arm (for right handers)
takes the racquet back.
The grip should be turned over by moving the palm of the hand on top of the
handle and the thumb goes behind the handle. The feet should pivot
sideways or they may step to the side of the ball. Once in this sideways
position with the racquet head pointing back to the fence and the racquet
strings in a vertical position with the ground, the next phase can begin.
Next the player should step forward with the front leg (leg closest to net).
As the step takes place the body opens only slightly as the arm, hand and
racquet handle come forward as the left hand (for right handers) stays back
for balance. At the moment of impact, the body will be almost sideways but
the arm and racquet will be in front of the shoulder closest to the net. Many
instructors refer to this movement as â€œdrawing out a sword from its sheath
by your waistâ€�.
A more advanced shot would be to would turn the shoulders further
around than just sideways. They would look at the ball over their shoulder as
the body coils up at the beginning of the swing. The shoulders would begin
rotating forward and then would stop and let the racquet and arm whip
through the contact. The increased coil and turning of the shoulders at the
start will produce a longer and more powerful swing.
The finish of the swing involves the knuckles of the racquet hand driving
through the contact zone as the racquet begins to point forward. The racquet
finishes by pointing straight ahead where the ball should be going or up to
the sky. The angle that the racquet and the arm make at contact should be
maintained through out the finish. Wrist snap can add power but will cause a
lack of control.
A well timed, smooth, graceful one handed backhand is a beautiful thing to
watch. Just as the two handed backhand took the game by storm in the 80â
€™s, the one hander is making a strong comeback. Just watch Roger
Federer, Tommy Haas, Tommy Robredo, Richard Gasquet, Justine Henin
and Amelie Mauresmo.
Doug Hofer, USPTA www.hofertennis.com December 11, 2007