> >>Interesting that a couple people have suggested that a one-handed
> >>backhand is more powerful than a two-handed backhand. I don't think
> >>that the length of the stroke has anything to do with power. The ball
> >>is on the strings for such a short time that power is all a matter of
> >>force at the point of impact, not follow-through.
> >You may not think that the length of the stroke has anything to do with power,
> >but you are wrong. The longer you can keep the ball on the strings the more
> >power you deliver. A long follow through is critical to impart the most power
> >on the ball. (As well as hitting it flat and in the middle of the racquet).
> I'm not convinced the ball is on the strings longer. BUT, it seems
> to me that the longer stroke, at the acceleration your arm is
> capable of, gives you more time to increase racket head velocity (on
> the one-handed stroke). Essentially what another poster said about
> follow-through--it doesn't do anything itself, but is evidence that
> there was some amount of racket speed at impact.
> HOWEVER, the extra strength with two hands should mean higher
> acceleration (I mean, the ability to develop a similar velocity in a
> shorter distance). In other words, jackrabbit starts and stops. So
> I wouldn't even hazard a guess which one had more power. For me
> personally, I think I lack the upper body flexibility to get the
> same power from two hands.
This isn't about tennis directly, but as a point of comparison there has
been (and still may be) a myth in pro baseball that squeezing the heck out
of the bat when making contact with the ball produced extra distance (pace,
power, etc.). The supporting theory was that the extra inertia of the
batter's body would be transfered to the ball through the bat via the
"tight" coupling produced by gripping the bat as tightly as possible.
A researcher involved in sports science tested this theory and found that
no human - not even Arnold Schwartznegger (sp?) - could hold the bat tight
enough to make a difference. What was found, however, was that bat head
speed had everything to do with it. Seems that at typical swinging
velocities the inertia of the bat so dominated the results that the effect
of batter weight and grip were negligible. When the bat velocity was low
(like when bunting) the grip the batter used had relatively more effect.
So, for full swings, his advice was to hold the bat just tightly enough to
keep from letting go since any tighter could begin to slow the bat.
I heard this on NPR over the summer.
My personal experience has been that for service and ground strokes
(one-handed), staying loose and swinging the through the ball has produced
more pace than I ever wanted. Two-hander friends of mine that generate
pace appear to be accelerating the racquet very quickly over a shorter arc
and in some cases, kind of snapping or flicking their wrists. Their stroke
tends to look very explosive rather than smooth and flowing.