Backhands: one hand vs. two

Backhands: one hand vs. two

Post by sys.. » Tue, 07 Dec 1993 12:55:48



Quote:

>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 am not necessarily suggesting that this is the best way to hit the ball (you
are likely to hit everything into the back fence on the full!!), but it is
the most powerful.

Quote:
>Personally I switched to a two-handed backhand a couple years ago after
>suffering with a miserable one-handed backhand.  It was odd and took
>some getting used to, but I've achieved much greater consistency
>with two hands than I ever did with one.  I'm tall, but don't have
>great forearm or wrist strength and had trouble controlling a one
>handed backhand.  I also didn't have a very good understanding of the
>stroke frankly.

Forearm and wrist strength are not key elements in a proper backhand stroke.
Good shoulder turn and racquet path are.

Quote:

>One advantage with two hands is that timing isn't as critical.  Balls
>that I must short-hop are easier to keep in play.  I also find that I
>have much better disguise with a two-handed backhand.  I can line up
>for a down-the-line pass and with a last minute flick of the wrists
>take the ball cross-court.  I also have no problem using a one-handed
>slice backhand.

Most people find a slice backhand comfortable, but cannot hit a flat or
topspin backhand confidently.

Quote:

>Recently I've begun to experiment with an occasional one-handed topspin
>backhand.  Using the two-hander has helped me get a feel for the proper
>one-handed stroke and I find that I can hit a much more consitent
>one-handed backhand than I ever could when I used it regularly.  But I
>haven't found a compelling reason to abandon the two-handed shot.  I
>find that I have greater power and accuracy with two hands.  And as
>Stanford noted, it's nice to be able to rip both low and high balls
>with a two-handed shot, especially on an agressive approach.

If a two handed shot feels comfortable and is proving effective for you,
continue to use it. A one handed shot is more versatile, powerful and offers
greater reach. An interesting point is that most of the good volleyers use
single handed backhands.

Cheers Mike

 
 
 

Backhands: one hand vs. two

Post by Stanford Guillo » Wed, 08 Dec 1993 01:36:48

Quote:

>Interesting that a couple people have suggested that a one-handed
>backhand is more powerful than a two-handed backhand.  

I certainly do not think that power is what distinguishes the
one-handed backhand from the two-handed backhand. The power of
the two strokes is generated in very different ways, and
two-handers are capable of some incredible power.

Quote:
>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.

Actually, in an indirect way, power IS a matter of follow-through.
Human beings are limited in how fast they can decelerate the
swinging arm. So if a person ends their swing early, it is
impossible to hit the ball with maximum force because you would
have had to begin slowing your arm down BEFORE you even hit the
ball. That is why follow through is so important.

Quote:
>Personally I switched to a two-handed backhand a couple years ago after
>suffering with a miserable one-handed backhand.  It was odd and took
>some getting used to, but I've achieved much greater consistency
>with two hands than I ever did with one.  I'm tall, but don't have
>great forearm or wrist strength and had trouble controlling a one
>handed backhand.  I also didn't have a very good understanding of the
>stroke frankly.

That's not surprising. On a one-handed backhand, all that is keeping
the racquet in your hands is your fingers, unlike the bracing of your
palm on the forehand. Thus it is important to get a lot of backswing
in the preparation and literally throw the racquet head at the ball.

Quote:
>One advantage with two hands is that timing isn't as critical.  

No. Timing is incredibly critical on the two-hander. This is why
footwork is so crucial to the two-hander. A one-hander can hit
a ball a foot late or a foot earlier (not recommended though), whereas
a two-hander does not have that luxury.

Quote:
>Balls
>that I must short-hop are easier to keep in play.  

I'll just put that down to your admission that you did not understand
the one-handed stroke very well.

Quote:
>I also find that I
>have much better disguise with a two-handed backhand.  I can line up
>for a down-the-line pass and with a last minute flick of the wrists
>take the ball cross-court.  

But you see, a one-hander such as myself doesn't need that flick
of the wrist. There is virtually NO visible difference between
hitting a one hander down the line or cross court. You may think
that that flick is last minute, but it is occuring almost a second
before you hit the ball and almost two seconds before I will have
to respond to the shot. If I am looking for that flick, I will see
it.

Quote:
>haven't found a compelling reason to abandon the two-handed shot.  I
>find that I have greater power and accuracy with two hands.  And as

You have pin-pointed the two reasons to use a two-handed stroke,
power and accuracy. For a given strength, a two-hander will
probably be better just because two hands are stronger than one.
Quote:
>Stanford noted, it's nice to be able to rip both low and high balls
>with a two-handed shot, especially on an agressive approach.
> David M. Hansen    |  Department of Computer Science and Engineering


 
 
 

Backhands: one hand vs. two

Post by Stanford Guillo » Wed, 08 Dec 1993 01:43:10


Quote:
>Wimbledon as Chris is with NBC). When someone else mentioned that he had
>more disguise with one-handed backhand, that sounded surprising ! IMHO,
>for one-handed backhand, stroke-preparation exposes the diretion more than
>two-handed (unless it is someone like Pioline with too much of last minute
>wrist-flick).

That was me, and I still hold that view. I also think Cris was wrong
about Seles. With a two-hander, you need to rotate your body more
to get power cross court or else your back arm won't be able to
participate fully in the stroke. With my one hander, the difference
between cross court and down the line is a 5 degree shift in the
angle of my follow through. Many people have a flaw in their one
handed backhand where they open their body up, and if so, then
yes they will give away the direction. But if the stroke is executed
properly, there is virtually no way to tell which way the stroke
is going.

Stanford S. Guillory


 
 
 

Backhands: one hand vs. two

Post by David Hans » Wed, 08 Dec 1993 07:56:29

Quote:

>Actually, in an indirect way, power IS a matter of follow-through.
>Human beings are limited in how fast they can decelerate the
>swinging arm. So if a person ends their swing early, it is
>impossible to hit the ball with maximum force because you would
>have had to begin slowing your arm down BEFORE you even hit the
>ball. That is why follow through is so important.

Thanks for the physics lesson, but that's not what the discussion was
about.  The original comment was that:
        long follow-through => greater power
and I disagree with that.  I do agree that:
        greater power => longer follow-through
The proponent of the first statement was using that assertion to "prove"
that a one-handed backhand was more powerful than a two-handed backhand
because you could have a longer follow-through.  I would suggest that
given equal power, a one-handed follow-through will be longer than a
two-handed follow-through because, as you point out, it's harder to
decelerate the racquet with one hand than with two.  But it's a fallacy
to suggest that a one-handed shot will be more powerful just because
it can have a longer follow-through.

Quote:
>No. Timing is incredibly critical on the two-hander. This is why
>footwork is so crucial to the two-hander. A one-hander can hit
>a ball a foot late or a foot earlier (not recommended though), whereas
>a two-hander does not have that luxury

It doesn't help here to split the context of my comment into two parts.  I
did not assert that footwork wasn't critical to a two-handed shot.  My
comment was that timing the bounce of the ball wasn't as critical with
the two-handed shot.  A two-handed player can accelerate the racquet
more quickly to adjust to having misjudged the flight or bounce of the
ball, or having gotten short-hopped.  In my experience, it's a lot
easier to play inside the baseline and take the ball early when using
a two-handed shot because I can adjust to the ball quicker.

Quote:
>>Balls
>>that I must short-hop are easier to keep in play.  

>I'll just put that down to your admission that you did not understand
>the one-handed stroke very well.

I have no problem admitting that I didn't have good mechanics on
my shot.  People who can't admit a weakness never progress very far.

Quote:
>But you see, a one-hander such as myself doesn't need that flick
>of the wrist. There is virtually NO visible difference between
>hitting a one hander down the line or cross court. You may think
>that that flick is last minute, but it is occuring almost a second
>before you hit the ball and almost two seconds before I will have
>to respond to the shot. If I am looking for that flick, I will see
>it.

Hmm, try telling that to Monica Seles' opponents.  Seems I often hear
about how difficult it is to determine where she's going to hit the ball
because she's so quick with her wrists on her two-handed shots.  
Obviously you are a much better player than any of the one-handed players
I've played.  They must use their body position and preparation to
place the ball correctly.  It's not all that easy for them to disguise
their shots.   When they aim down-the-line, they line up down the line
with their feet and their shoulder turn.

- David
--
 David M. Hansen    |  Department of Computer Science and Engineering

(503)690-1121 ex7367|                   PO Box 91000
fax: (503)690-1553  |               Portland, OR 97291-1000

 
 
 

Backhands: one hand vs. two

Post by Stanford Guillo » Thu, 09 Dec 1993 01:30:18

Quote:

>Thanks for the physics lesson,

You welcome.

Quote:
>but that's not what the discussion was
>about.

But I was only addressing your statement that power is not a matter of
follow through. The two are intimately linked. I was correcting YOUR
error, not joining the argument of your opponent.

Quote:
>  The original comment was that:
>    long follow-through => greater power

And this statement is true. However, only when discussing one stroke so
that there is a frame of reference for how long the follow-through is.
That is, if I hit MY one-handed backhand with a full follow through
as opposed to a 6 inch follow through, I will impart more power on the
ball. The discussion fails to make sense when discussing a one-hander
vs a two-hander because the two strokes use different physical motions
to impart force on the ball, and thus what constitutes a full follow
through differs.

Quote:
>decelerate the racquet with one hand than with two.  But it's a fallacy
>to suggest that a one-handed shot will be more powerful just because
>it can have a longer follow-through.

I agree, for the reason given above.

Quote:
>>No. Timing is incredibly critical on the two-hander. This is why
>>footwork is so crucial to the two-hander. A one-hander can hit
>>a ball a foot late or a foot earlier (not recommended though), whereas
>>a two-hander does not have that luxury
>It doesn't help here to split the context of my comment into two parts.  I
>did not assert that footwork wasn't critical to a two-handed shot.  My
>comment was that timing the bounce of the ball wasn't as critical with
>the two-handed shot.  

NO!!! That WAS NOT your comment. Your comment WAS "timing isn't as
critical on the two-hander". You did give as an example short-hopping
the ball. However there are two components (perhaps more) to hitting
a tennis ball. One is stroke preparation, and one is footwork. You made
a general "timing" comment without addressing the various components.
On stroke-preparation, I will give you that the two-hander is easier
to prepare and more tolerant of preparation mistakes. But as regards
the other components of timing, the one-hander probably comes out ahead.

Quote:
>ball, or having gotten short-hopped.  In my experience, it's a lot
>easier to play inside the baseline and take the ball early when using
>a two-handed shot because I can adjust to the ball quicker.

Yes, but that is really a strength issue. A short-hop ball or an on
the rise ball still has much of its kinetic energy, and two hands are
more able to change the direction of the ball, but I am very strong
from the backhand side and can hit on the rise easily with a one-hander.

Quote:
>I have no problem admitting that I didn't have good mechanics on
>my shot.  People who can't admit a weakness never progress very far.

And I'll admit that my attempts at a two-hander were pretty pathetic.
What frustrated me about the two-hander was that you had to be in
almost perfect position to hit the shot effectively. Now an ambitious
player would have taken this as a hint to work diligently on their
footwork. Being the lazy fart that I am, I returned happily to my
one-hander which I could hit any damn way I pleased.

I find it interesting how many people use Seles as an example. Have you
played her lately? I can read every two-hander that I play.

There are two things that are kind of weird about my tennis
development. From the first time I stepped on a court at 19, I had
a natural, powerful topspin one-handed backhand, and I had a natural
serve. So in I really don't understand people's frustration with
the backhand (although I will have a few beers with them over the volley!),

I think people should hit the ball anyway that they can consistently get
it back deep. The choice of one hand vs. two shouldn't be an intellectual
decision.

One last thing. About three years ago, I injured my shoulder and
couldn't hit my backhand. I had to learn to slice the ball and even
experimented with the two-hander. So the two-handed backhand is
probably more resilient.

Quote:
> David M. Hansen    |  Department of Computer Science and Engineering

 
 
 

Backhands: one hand vs. two

Post by kkw.. » Wed, 08 Dec 1993 01:23:44

Quote:


>>MY QUESTION TO YOU TENNIS PLAYERS OUT THERE IS:  WHICH IS BETTER A TWO
>>HAND BACKHAND OR A ONE HAND?  WHY?
> My advice would be that unless you are very young, say under 12, go
> with a one-hander.

 You can generate as much power as a two-hander
Quote:
> and you will have more disguise on your shot as well as be able to
> handle a variety of situations with basically the same stroke.

The 2-hander can disguise the shot better than 1-hander. eg;- to hit a
1-hander down the line, your right and left leg must be parallel( according to
the books) where as with the 2-hander you can virtually hit the ball to any
position on the court with any stand! Look at Agassi's backhand, sometimes
he stands parallel to the baseline and still make a solid crosscourt drive.
If you still gotta speed go for the 2-hander, most consistency and power. To
generate the power, you must rotate your hip and shoulder.

Top 8 players(ATP Championship)

Sampras    1 hander
Stich      1 hander
Courier    2 hander
Bruguera   2 hander
Ivanisevic 2 hander
Medvedev   2 hander
Chang      2 hander
Edberg     1 hander

On the women side, virtually almost all of the top 20 players have 2 handed
backhands except Graf, Conchita Martinez, Sukova and Martina.

 
 
 

Backhands: one hand vs. two

Post by Kevin Bur » Thu, 09 Dec 1993 07:36:55


Quote:

> [...]

> There are two things that are kind of weird about my tennis
> development. From the first time I stepped on a court at 19, I had
> a natural, powerful topspin one-handed backhand, and I had a natural
> serve.

Maybe not so weird.  This describes my development as well.  Think there is
something related to these two strokes?

- Kevin "*Still* working on that big fore-hand" Burke

 
 
 

Backhands: one hand vs. two

Post by alan johns » Wed, 08 Dec 1993 09:40:26


johnson) says:

Quote:

>Hi yall

>I have a two handed backhand that is fairly consistent but kinda weak.
>I have fiddled with a one hand backhand in recent weeks.  It is
>definitely not as  consistent as my two-hander, but it is a much
>more potent weapon.  My dilemna is:  Should I make a permanent switch?

>MY QUESTION TO YOU TENNIS PLAYERS OUT THERE IS:  WHICH IS BETTER A TWO
>HAND BACKHAND OR A ONE HAND?  WHY?

>All responses will be appreciated!

>Alan Johnson


Hi yall

I am the guy who made the original post regarding one vs. two hand
backhands.

Thank you everyone for ALL REPLIES. After a month of struggling
with the one handed backhand and a week of reading posts, I've decided
to go back to the Two handed backhand (THB).
I never felt confortable with the one-handed backhand (OHB).  I now
know
that my problem with the THB (i.e. lack of consistent power) was due to
poor mechanics.  For the last few days, I have work been working on
improving my mechanics.    Already, I have noticed some improvement.  I
rented an Andre Agassi/Nick Bollettieri tennis video tape.  Watching
the video and applying
Agassi's backhand tips to my game has helped.  Andre's tips on
volleying
have also helped! ;^)

I am a 4.0 player and I play 4-6 times a week.  I do have the time and
skill to develop a OHB. However, since I am a baseliner and I feel
confortable with the THB, I feel " WHY NOT HIT WORK ON HITTING THE
TWO-HANDED BACKHAND PROPERLY!".

I have been using the THB for two years now.  I originally switched
from a OHB to a THB to add consistency to my game.  My recent
experiment
with the OHB reminded me why I made the change to the THB in the first
place!  I must admit that I was able to hit some incredible shots with
the OHB. However, most of shots were very, very WILD!  I must also note
that the
consistency added by the THB to my game allowed me to beat up on
players
I had never beaten, and win a couple of trophies!

So WHY THE CHANGE? you ask.  Well I thought that a OHB would complement
my booming forehand, and maybe indirectly improve my volleying and
slice.  
Maybe it would, maybe not.  However, I'm gonna stick with and develop
my THB!

Thanks again for ALL responses!

Alan Johnson

 
 
 

Backhands: one hand vs. two

Post by Alexander Michael Eberso » Thu, 09 Dec 1993 14:56:39

[stuff deleted]                                                      

Quote:
>>great forearm or wrist strength and had trouble controlling a one
>>handed backhand.  I also didn't have a very good understanding of the
>>stroke frankly.

>Forearm and wrist strength are not key elements in a proper backhand stroke.
>Good shoulder turn and racquet path are.

A certain amount of forearm and wrist strength is needed to hit a
one-handed backhand since the trunk rotation is less than that for a
two-handed backhand and the palm is on top of the handle instead of
behind it (in the 2-hand backhand, the LEFT hand palm is behind the
handle).  As an example, try hitting a 1-hand backhand with your
non-*** arm.  Unless you are ambidexterous, the stroke will be weak
and erratic no matter how good the shoulder turn or racket path is.
This is the reason that most women use a 2-handed backhand.

[...]

Quote:
>continue to use it. A one handed shot is more versatile, powerful and offers
>greater reach. An interesting point is that most of the good volleyers use
>single handed backhands.

>Cheers Mike

Actually, if both the 1-handed and 2-handed backhands are executed
properly, the 2-handed backhand will generate more power due to the
increased trunk rotation and greater racket acceleration.  The reason
that a 1-handed backhand might be more powerful for the average player
is the lack of upper-body flexibility, particularly in older men.
Reach is nearly identical for both strokes if the player is in position
to hit the shot.  If the player has to lunge for the ball, a 1-handed
backhand must be used.
Most good volleyers use a 1-handed backhand since it is easier for them
to go from a 1-handed groundstroke at the baseline to a one-handed
volley at the net.

--Alex Ebersole

 
 
 

Backhands: one hand vs. two

Post by Stanford Guillo » Thu, 09 Dec 1993 01:08:56

Quote:

>The 2-hander can disguise the shot better than 1-hander. eg;- to hit a
>1-hander down the line, your right and left leg must be parallel( according to
>the books)

Which goes to show what books are worth. In the above statement you
are making the implicit statement that to hit crosscourt, you must
NOT have your legs parallel (to what by the way?), which is not true. On
a one-handed backhand, it IS crucial not to open your body up, but within
that constraint, one can go down the line or crosscourt with no visible
difference in the stroke. The only difference in my cross court and down
the line shot is a 5 degree difference in the horizontal angle of my follow
through. I may hit the crosscourt a few inches further in front also. And
I get equal power both ways. Unless a two-hander opens up his upper body
on the cross court shot (thus giving away the direction of the shot) he
will not get full power on the shot.

Anyway, to close this particular issue, disguise on a shot is a pretty
poor issue for a recreational (read amateur) player to base a stroke
mechanics decision on.

Quote:
>Top 8 players(ATP Championship)
>Sampras    1 hander
>Stich      1 hander
>Courier    2 hander
>Bruguera   2 hander
>Ivanisevic 2 hander
>Medvedev   2 hander
>Chang      2 hander
>Edberg     1 hander
>On the women side, virtually almost all of the top 20 players have 2 handed
>backhands except Graf, Conchita Martinez, Sukova and Martina.

I think this situation is very different from say 20 or 30 years ago. This
is probably due to the fact that tennis players start at a much earlier
age now and begin intense competition at a much earlier age. Young people
adopt the two-handed backhand due to their lack of strength, and with
the pressure to win 10 year old tournaments, it is difficult to justify
switching to a one-hander as the youth grows older. Sampras switch to
a one-hander had an immediate negative effect on his effectiveness as
a junior, but it worked out in the end for him, And look at how complete
his game is compared to many on the list above, i.e. Agassi and Courier.

Stanford S. Guillory

 
 
 

Backhands: one hand vs. two

Post by Chris douc » Fri, 10 Dec 1993 10:33:35


Quote:


> > Hi yall
> > I have a two handed backhand that is fairly consistent but kinda weak.
> > I have fiddled with a one hand backhand in recent weeks.  It is
> > definitely not as  consistent as my two-hander, but it is a much
> > more potent weapon.  My dilemna is:  Should I make a permanent switch?
>   ^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^
> > MY QUESTION TO YOU TENNIS PLAYERS OUT THERE IS:  WHICH IS BETTER A TWO
> > HAND BACKHAND OR A ONE HAND?  WHY?

Technically,
the pro's and con's of a two handed backhand:

Pro:  better control due to to closer proximity of the ball to your body;
leverage with two hands to apply control (spin) of the ball or racket
support (ie with younger kids); and shorter swing provides more time to set
up/delay your shot until the appropriate moment. >Net players have much
difficulty in reading the shot of a good two hander.

Con: Most troubles occur when you must stretch to hit a ball out of your
normal swing zone or when the ball is hit towards your body. More emphasis
on footwork and getting your body in position is required. Due to shorter
backswing, some power is sacrificed (depending on the player). > Low,
slicing shots away or into the body are the twohander's biggest worry.

the pro's and con's of a onehanded backhand:

Pro: great flexibility in changing or adjusting your ball hitting
position(ie stretching); more freedom for large backswing and followthru to
generate power; tendancy to hit the ball further in front, allowing more
body weight behind the shot.  

Con: Due to flexibility of range of swing, less control due to many/several
ball hitting positions -  discipline needed to "groove" your shot; shots
made behind the body (ie late swing) require strong upper forearm and
shoulder area to control, shots are predictable due to relationship of body
to ball (ie late swing cannot go x-court); further proximity of the ball
allows less "feel" for where the ball is/should be.

From experience, twohanders tend not to be great netplayers because of the
last minute stretching to cover passing shots at the net. Most strategy
assumes the backhand is the weaker shot, but twohanders usually have more
confidence on the backhand. Twohanders need to run more because body
positioning is a lot more critical for shot making (ie not much range of
motion on the back swing).  I've seen the exceptions too.....
And so, the overall answer is that it depends on player's style, work
effort, and attitude to those technical aspects mentioned above.        

 
 
 

Backhands: one hand vs. two

Post by cja.. » Sat, 11 Dec 1993 06:12:08


Quote:
> I play both one and two handed backhand. Two handed for heavy topspin,
> one handed for slice and deplacement shots.
> If you can play all shots one handed, that'll be the best solution!

> my 0.10 kroner

> :)

 
 
 

Backhands: one hand vs. two

Post by kkw.. » Mon, 13 Dec 1993 22:05:14

Quote:


>>The 2-hander can disguise the shot better than 1-hander. eg;- to hit a
>>1-hander down the line, your right and left leg must be parallel( according to
>>the books)

> Which goes to show what books are worth. In the above statement you
> are making the implicit statement that to hit crosscourt, you must
> NOT have your legs parallel (to what by the way?), which is not true.

Well, very often recreational players(1 hander) have to direct their right foot
to the spot they want to hit. When a 1-hander wants to hit a cross court
backhand, the easier's way is to open up the stance a little bit(thus the legs
are not parallel) and therfore meet the ball earlier. To hit down the line, the
legs should be parallel and ensured that the player's racket meet the ball at a
later time.

   ______________________________________(baseline)
    *****             *****    (right-foot)

    *****          *****   (left-foot)

(right-shoulder     (right shoulder pointing the left-hand
pointing down the    side of your opponent's court)
line)  

Obviously, this is for the recreational player, for the pros is a different
story altogether

Quote:

>>Top 8 players(ATP Championship)

>>Sampras    1 hander
>>Stich      1 hander
>>Courier    2 hander
>>Bruguera   2 hander
>>Ivanisevic 2 hander
>>Medvedev   2 hander
>>Chang      2 hander
>>Edberg     1 hander

>>On the women side, virtually almost all of the top 20 players have 2 handed
>>backhands except Graf, Conchita Martinez, Sukova and Martina.

> I think this situation is very different from say 20 or 30 years ago. This
> is probably due to the fact that tennis players start at a much earlier
> age now and begin intense competition at a much earlier age. Young people
> adopt the two-handed backhand due to their lack of strength, and with
> the pressure to win 10 year old tournaments, it is difficult to justify
> switching to a one-hander as the youth grows older. Sampras switch to
> a one-hander had an immediate negative effect on his effectiveness as
> a junior, but it worked out in the end for him, And look at how complete
> his game is compared to many on the list above, i.e. Agassi and Courier.

Agreed!:) BTW, a 2-hander can also be a all-court player, Chang is already one
but still I think it's easier to accomplish with a 1-hander.

- Show quoted text -

Quote:

> Stanford S. Guillory