The Two-Handed Backhand
Maybe you’ve already got a good two-handed backhand. But is it great? Does the spin on your backhand force opponents to hit late? Are you surprising opponents and winning points with your heavy down the line drive? Can you open up the court with your angle backhand and approach the net for a putaway volley? Are you using your backhand to set up your forehand during the big points? Read on to learn how to wear down opponents with your relentless two-handed backhand.
Two-Handed Backhand Grip
Your Non-Dominant Hand
Your non-dominant hand is placed in either the eastern or semi-western grip. Eastern grip for more drive or Semi-Western grip for more spin.
The Dominant Hand
Your dominant hand is placed in the Volley grip for a drive or the Eastern Backhand grip for more spin. A relaxed grip tension promotes better racquet head speed.
Two-Handed Backhand Arms
It’s important to understand the role of each arm during your swing.
The Dominant Arm
Your dominant arm is responsible for setting the racquet during the unit turn. This arm extends into a straight but relaxed position. The racquet head remains above the hands. It is important to focus on holding the racquet from your core. The dominant arm acts as a measuring stick between your body and the incoming ball. Use your feet to make any adjustments in positioning rather than adjust with your arms.
You Non-Dominant Arm
The non-dominant arm in the two-handed backhand completes 70% of the forward swing. This arm drives the racket forward through contact point into the finish. This extension is responsible for adding depth and weight to your shots.
Two-Handed Backhand Drills
Practice these drills with your non-dominant arm to consistently find the sweet spot.
Non-dominant forehand shadow stroke
You should practice several forehand swings using your non-dominant side. Notice any tension in your shoulder muscles on your follow-through. Can you swing fast enough to hear the “whoosh” of your strings moving through the air? Are you holding the grip loosely? Practice with My10sFriends racquet resistance cover to get a feel for creating effortless power.
Non-dominant forehand rally
Rally mini tennis with your non-dominant side as you work on using proper technique and footwork just as you do on your dominant side forehand. focus on square contact. Add topspin as your striking confidence grows. Try to get 20 in a row crosscourt from the service line.
My10sFriends Modern Forehand Course
Baseline non-dominant forehand rally
When you go back to the baseline you might want to practice rallying forehands with a compression tennis ball before using the regular ball. This ball allows you to hit more shots in your strike zone and confidently extend towards your target. Regular practice with the non-dominant arm also helps recognize issues with mobility strength and flexibility. Be aware of any imbalances in your swings so that you can become a more efficient ball striker.
Backhand extension freeze
Practice extending your non-dominant arm towards your target. Freeze the finish before entering your followthrough. Gain effortless power by driving the racquet through your contact point. Check your grip tension as you freeze the finish. Only hold the grip tight enough to keep the racquet from wobbling on contact.
Two-Handed Backhand Athleticism
When struck correctly, two-handed backhand is an efficient powerful and balanced stroke. All of your energy needs to be transferred into the ball. In order to do this, you need excellent balance.
Your body is in a very athletic squatted closed stance. The hips play a pivotal role in transferring your weight from the ground up. Your core is engaged. The more you are able to use the legs, the more likely that your arms will feel the stroke. The closed stance is one of the best stances to practice the two-handed backhand because you can practice looking over your shoulder with your belly button facing the fence. I like to call this starting position “The choulder.” Eyes are locked on the incoming ball as your chin points over your shoulder. the relationship between your chin and shoulder should be free from tension.
Perform this backhand drill to improve your balance.
- Practice 20 Shadow Strokes standing on one foot.
- Make sure to completely freeze in your follow-through for at least 3 seconds. a great way to remove stroke inefficiencies and to check your balance at the end of a swing.
- If this is easy for you, practice doing shadow strokes on one foot with your eyes closed. You should feel your weight distributed throughout your legs core and back.
- Practice hitting backhands that are fed to you while standing on one foot. You’ll quickly figure out that you must generate racket speed to create any power on your shot. Notice that any extra pulling leaning or jumping will quickly make you lose balance.
Why this works-
Create well-balanced swings to efficiently transfer your full energy into your shots. Balance and efficiency are the foundation of effortless power.
Two Handed Backhand Focus
You must enter the court equipped with a plan of how to use your two-handed backhand. An important shot to develop is the deep heavy topspin crosscourt. Once you have confidence in the crosscourt rally, the down the line, flat shots, and angle shots become easier to execute.
Practice hitting 10 feet over the net and seeing if you can get your shot to drop in. While practicing this it’s fine to miss the ball deep just continue to finish your swing. Hit as many shots as you can in your strike zone so that you have your best chance of transferring your energy towards the target.
Use your athleticism to help transfer energy from the ground into your stroke. Engage your legs and core to stay balanced during your swing.
Before entering the court, make sure that you have a plan for your two-handed backhand. When and how will you attack down the line and set up your forehand groundstroke? Discover new sources of power and spin as you drill.
Do you have any comments or questions about the two-handed backhand? Leave a comment at the bottom of the page and Coach Eric will get back to you.
USPTA Elite Professional
Director of Tennis at My10sFriends Academy
Director of Tennis at Woodfield Hunt Club in Boca Raton, Fl
Graduate of Ferris State University’s Professional Tennis Management Program