There are many components to learning how to play tennis, and the backhand is one of the most important. This shot is used in nearly every rally, so if you want to be a successful player, it’s essential that you master it.
There are two main types of backhand shots: the one-handed backhand and the two-handed backhand.
TL;DR: The one-handed backhand is often considered to be more difficult to learn than the two-handed version. The primary benefit of a one-handed shot is that it allows for much greater accuracy and control of where the ball goes.
However, it does require significant hand, arm, and wrist strength to ensure that all parts are in synchronization when striking the ball.
If this shot isn’t executed properly, an advanced player can easily take advantage of your weak spot with an easier return.
In contrast, the two-handed backhand is a lot easier to learn but harder to master. Because both hands work together in unison on each hit, this makes consistency much easier when compared to the other type of shot.
However, as players progress further up the ranks, they need more precision and skill from their shots. This is why many top players use only one hand even though they are more than capable of using two.
The Elegance Of One-Handed Backhands
When it comes to the classic tennis shot, there is simply no match for the one-handed backhand. This elegant stroke has long been a staple in the game, with its graceful and fluid strokes setting it apart.
What’s more, it is also a tremendously powerful shot, capable of launching balls deep across the court and disrupting even the most efficient opponents.
Despite this, however, the one-handed backhand has somewhat fallen out of use in recent years. Many players nowadays prefer to use a two-handed backhand instead.
And while this variation may be lacking in style, it does offer several practical advantages over its predecessor.
For one thing, the two-handed backhand gives you much greater control over your shots, allowing you to more easily guide and finesse your swings for maximum precision and power.
Additionally, since both hands are working together to hold onto the racket, it is easier to find your balance when executing powerful backhand shots, thereby reducing your risk of falling or making other errors.
How To Hit Each Backhand?
When it comes to playing tennis, your backhand is just as important as your forehand. Although it may never be as powerful or precise as your forehand, a competent backhand is crucial for success in matches.
As a developing tennis player, you need to test out both one- and two-handed backhands to see which suits you best.
There are plenty of excellent players out there who can serve as great role models for developing your own backhand technique.
For example, if you’re looking for a one-handed backhand, Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal are two top pros with some of the best on the circuit.
And if you want to work on your two-handed backhand, watch the likes of Novak Djokovic and Serena Williams – these champions have all mastered this essential shot in tennis.
How To Hit A One-Handed Backhand?
The one-handed backhand in tennis is a highly versatile stroke that takes skill and precision to master. Though it may appear to be a two-handed stroke at first, the one-handed backhand actually uses only a single hand for most of the shot.
Players begin by setting up their dominant hand for a powerful, full-body follow-through, using their weaker hand on top of the grip to pull back and load up.
Once they are ready to strike the ball with force, they release their grip on the racket and let their dominant hand do all the work – firing into the shot with incredible speed and power.
To generate even greater speed, players typically hit this shot with a side-on stance, leaving them facing perpendicular to the net as they rotate their torso explosively at just the right moment.
With proper technique and practice, anyone can develop this highly effective and dynamic stroke.
How To Hit A Two-Handed Backhand?
The two-handed backhand is one of the most challenging and dynamic shots in tennis.
Unlike the one-handed backhand, which involves striking the ball with just a single hand, the two-handed stroke requires using both hands to control and guide the racket as it makes contact with the ball.
This not only increases power and accuracy but also adds a unique level of complexity to the shot.
To perform a two-handed backhand effectively, a player must have excellent technique and timing.
They must stand facing the end of the court where they will hit the ball, twisting their body back slightly to get into position.
At that point, they will use their stronger hand to apply pressure on top of their weaker hand as they take up their traditional grip on the racket below.
As they swing through contact with the ball, both hands maintain firm control of the racket throughout its trajectory, guiding it smoothly through every stage of this difficult but beautiful final shot in tennis.
Why Pick A One-Handed Backhand?
- The elegant one-handed backhand is often considered the most aesthetically pleasing shot in tennis. Perhaps it is the fluidity of the motion or the fact that the player appears to be in complete control. Whatever the reason, there is no denying that a well-executed one-handed backhand can be a thing of beauty. However, the one-handed backhand also has its share of weaknesses. For example, it does not generate as much power as the two-handed version, and it can be difficult to control when hitting cross-court. Nevertheless, when executed properly, the one-handed backhand remains one of the most stunning shots in tennis.
- Players need to generate significant power and spin. This is because the stroke involves twisting and moving the shoulders far back, providing lots of torque for the shot. As a result, one-handed backhands can be incredibly powerful, allowing players to hit harder than their opponents and control the ball with more topspin. This makes them difficult shots for opponents to return, helping players win points and stay ahead in the game. Whether driving an opponent deep behind the baseline or looping a returned serve over the net, one-handed backhands are an essential weapon for any top player.
- Having good footwork and reflexes can make all the difference. This is especially true for players who use one-handed backhands, as they need to be extra quick on their feet in order to set up the shot properly. However, this speed and agility can also come in handy when volleying, as it allows players to react quickly and make adjustments on the fly. Additionally, one-handed backhand players tend to have better volleys on their backhand side due to all the practice they’ve had with this particular stroke.
- This is because having only one arm allows for greater reach, giving a player more room to defend against incoming shots on their backhand side. Additionally, a slice backhand stroke is typically easier for one-handed players to execute, since it involves using only their dominant hand during the swing. As such, most one-handed players are naturally better at slicing backhands than two-handed players.
Why Pick A Two-Handed Backhand?
While two-handed backhands may be easier to teach beginners, they also have a number of distinct advantages when it comes to game play.
- For one, the second hand on the racket provides much-needed power and stability to hit the heavy tennis balls. Greater stability means that a player can hit the ball more accurately to any part of the opponent’s half. In addition, two-handed backhands offer a greater degree of control, allowing players to place their shots with precision. All of these factors combine to make the two-handed backhand an incredibly effective weapon on the tennis court.
- One of the most important skills a player can have is their ability to execute powerful shots from any position on the court. Whether they’re facing an opponent at the net or in deep in the baseline, a well executed two-handed backhand can mean the difference between winning and losing. In general, it’s typically thought that executing a two-handed backhand requires considerably more time and energy than doing so with only one hand. However, research has shown that this isn’t necessarily true.
- Experts have found that players can actually prepare for a two-handed backhand much more quickly than they might imagine. This is because rather than needing to scramble into position like they would with a single-handed shot, players can move into any stance they choose when executing their two-handed stroke. From a parallel stance to perpendicular, or somewhere in between, players are free to use whatever stance best suits them and their footwork at any given moment during play. As such, using a two-handed backhand not only allows players to be more flexible on the court and take advantage of different angles and opportunities as they arise, but it also gives them added time and energy when preparing for their shots.
- When it comes to returning serve on the backhand side, two-handed players have a distinct advantage over one-handed players. Due to the quick setup and unique mechanics of the two-handed backhand, these players are able to hit more powerful shots that are difficult for their opponents to return. They can hit deep lobs or hard spins with relative ease, opening up a wide range of options for aggressive returns. One-handed players, on the other hand, often struggle with this style of play. If they stand too close to the net while returning serve, they lack the power necessary to put any significant pace on the ball; if they stand too far back, they are unable to block out their opponent effectively and end up getting pushed deep in the court.
- One-handed backhand players tend to have more trouble with high balls than two-handed backhand players. This is because they can’t elevate the racket as high to defend in this situation. Two-handed backhand players can use both hands to lift the racket higher and hit the ball more easily. In addition, two-handed backhand players can generate more power on their shots, making it easier to hit the ball over the net. As a result, high balls are generally easier for two-handed backhand players to deal with than one-handed backhand players.
Which Players Use Each Variation?
There are many great players in the history of tennis, each with their own unique strengths and skills. One of the most iconic strokes in all of tennis is the backhand, and players have used a variety of techniques to master this highly-technical skill.
Perhaps the most well-known one-handed backhand players include Roger Federer, Pete Sampras, Roy Emerson, and Ken Rosewall.
These all-time greats dominated on the court with their smooth and powerful strokes, often reaching new heights due to their mastery over this crucial part of the game.
Meanwhile, renowned two-handed backhand players like Rafael Nadal, Novak Djokovic, John McEnroe, Ivan Lendl, Jimmy Connors, Boris Becker, Andy Murray, and Mats Wilander have also made a huge impact on the sport.
With their powerful groundstrokes and exceptional control over where they place the ball, these modern players have had tremendous success competing at the highest levels of tennis.
Overall, there is no single “best” backhand style; instead, what matters most is how effectively a player uses their particular technique to win matches.
Which Backhand Should You Pick?
Which shot is best for you? Whether you are a competitive player or just looking to improve your game, the answer to this question can have a big impact on your performance on the court.
There are several factors to consider when deciding which shot is right for you. For one thing, the structure of the one-handed backhand may make it less accessible to smaller players.
Because they typically have shorter arms and lack weight behind their shots, these players may struggle to reach higher balls and generate enough power in their strokes.
Additionally, one-handed backhands are generally considered more defensive than two-handed backhands.
Since they do not have the same level of stability or control as a two-hander, one-handers may often find themselves struggling during long rallies or failing earlier in matches that require high intensity and mental stamina.
On the one hand, a one-handed backhand can be a hugely effective weapon for aggressive players with fast serves.
The ability to produce winners with this shot can be the difference between winning and losing points, and ultimately, matches.
This is especially true for tennis players who like to volley and play at the net – the one-handed backhand can give them a significant advantage.
On the other hand, two-handed backhands are often seen as the more ‘classical’ choice, and can be equally as effective if trained properly.
Some players simply feel more comfortable hitting the ball with two hands, and this is often down to personal preference.
If you are willing to put in the hours of practice, you can master either variation of the backhand.
Ultimately, it is up to you to decide which suits your playing style best.