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Building A World Class One Hander: Evaluating Players

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  • Building A World Class One Hander: Evaluating Players

    Let's discuss Chris Lewit's latest article in his one-handed backhand series, "Building A World Class One Hander: Evaluating Players"

  • #2
    I love this article.

    Chris Lewit on facing the challenges of juniors with one-handers, I love this quote...

    "To overcome this, one handed players have to be brave and rebellious. They must be willing to stand out from the herd.

    I want players to experiment with both backhands for significant time.
    They need to be iconoclasts with a strong self-image and self-belief, and a strong vision of themselves in the future"

    Amen.

    I have a mix of players at my club, adults and juniors. I also have a healthy mix of one handers and two handers. There are a few kids that I've spotted that have these traits for a one-hander. I briefly went through the stroke with them and told that if they want to play around with it and have some fun then great, if not, we'll continue with the two hander, no pressure. All of these kids commented on how much easier or natural it feels. Other kids I teach with two handers and stuck with it say the same about their strokes. This same story has applied to my adults as well. Everyone is different, therefore everyone is not the same.

    Not every player that we have the luxury of teaching fits into the same cookie cutter shape. Ask, experiment and teach students the best strokes for them and their future...not for our egos or predetermined methods.
    Teaching effective strokes will always be the No. 1 job of a tennis teaching professional. (Hopping off my soapbox now)

    I'm glad Chris is sharing his expertise with us.

    Kyle LaCroix USPTA
    Boca Raton

    Comment


    • #3
      A nice article on the one-hander and particularly what to look for and assess early in a player's development. I appreciate the bold willingness to frequently offer to teach the one-hander to students, including younger ones!

      That said, wouldn't another factor in assessing for a one-hander be foot speed (and, on a related front, great anticipation)? I really think the one-hander demands early preparation on three fronts: the longer swing path that Chris mentions; the contact point farther out in front than the two-; and the greater need to hit the shot in closed stance for power. Thoughts?

      Also, re Mayo Hibi, the one-handed drive that's featured in the article, while "gorgeous," is used relatively infrequently by her; the vast majority of her backhands are slices. While she's done very well (including at the Easter Bowl this year where I had a chance to see her quite a bit) I'm curious to see how a FH/slice combo will work at higher levels of play.

      Comment


      • #4
        Good point re: Mayo. Look in Future Stars! 3 slice and then that gorgeous drive...interesting because it's a Henin (Chris Lewit!) topspin grip!

        Wouldn't it be great though if she was the next Steffi plus a topspin drive...

        Comment


        • #5
          Originally posted by johnyandell View Post
          Good point re: Mayo. Look in Future Stars! 3 slice and then that gorgeous drive...interesting because it's a Henin (Chris Lewit!) topspin grip!

          Wouldn't it be great though if she was the next Steffi plus a topspin drive...
          In a Rick Macci article on teaching the backhand, he claims Steffi Graf had the ideal game for women's tennis because of her slice...
          http://www.tennisplayer.net/members/..._backhand.html

          I've always remembered this article and have waited for the day when this would happen.

          It will be interesting to see Mayo's development. I'd love for another Steffi Graf to come along. Big fan of Steffi's as well.

          http://lovesetmatch.net/wp/blog/stef...matters-to-me/

          Kyle LaCroix USPTA
          Boca Raton
          Last edited by klacr; 01-06-2014, 07:17 PM.

          Comment


          • #6
            Thanks and good thoughts

            Originally posted by dimitrios View Post
            A nice article on the one-hander and particularly what to look for and assess early in a player's development. I appreciate the bold willingness to frequently offer to teach the one-hander to students, including younger ones!

            That said, wouldn't another factor in assessing for a one-hander be foot speed (and, on a related front, great anticipation)? I really think the one-hander demands early preparation on three fronts: the longer swing path that Chris mentions; the contact point farther out in front than the two-; and the greater need to hit the shot in closed stance for power. Thoughts?

            Also, re Mayo Hibi, the one-handed drive that's featured in the article, while "gorgeous," is used relatively infrequently by her; the vast majority of her backhands are slices. While she's done very well (including at the Easter Bowl this year where I had a chance to see her quite a bit) I'm curious to see how a FH/slice combo will work at higher levels of play.
            Good thoughts. I'm on the fence about foot speed as a diagnostic. Considering the longer backswing, I'm surprised the one-hander has survived the advent of the modern power game era and its time requirements--indeed a testament that there are some players who really need to hit one-handed.

            More and more players are hitting open stance one handers, so that is less of a factor.

            John, is it a fact that one-handers make contact farther in front than two, and if so, how much are we talking about?

            What about reach? Is it a fact that one-handers make contact farther away from body than two? I thought that was in dispute. Because some coaches actually recommend teaching one-handers to slower players to give them more reach, which I always thought was somewhat misguided.

            Anyway, good ideas to think about for all.

            If I can convince some coaches to take a more open minded and player centered approach to teaching the backhand, than I have succeeded.

            Thanks

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by klacr View Post
              I love this article.

              Chris Lewit on facing the challenges of juniors with one-handers, I love this quote...

              "To overcome this, one handed players have to be brave and rebellious. They must be willing to stand out from the herd.

              I want players to experiment with both backhands for significant time.
              They need to be iconoclasts with a strong self-image and self-belief, and a strong vision of themselves in the future"

              Amen.

              I have a mix of players at my club, adults and juniors. I also have a healthy mix of one handers and two handers. There are a few kids that I've spotted that have these traits for a one-hander. I briefly went through the stroke with them and told that if they want to play around with it and have some fun then great, if not, we'll continue with the two hander, no pressure. All of these kids commented on how much easier or natural it feels. Other kids I teach with two handers and stuck with it say the same about their strokes. This same story has applied to my adults as well. Everyone is different, therefore everyone is not the same.

              Not every player that we have the luxury of teaching fits into the same cookie cutter shape. Ask, experiment and teach students the best strokes for them and their future...not for our egos or predetermined methods.
              Teaching effective strokes will always be the No. 1 job of a tennis teaching professional. (Hopping off my soapbox now)

              I'm glad Chris is sharing his expertise with us.

              Kyle LaCroix USPTA
              Boca Raton
              Thanks for the compliments and I will check in from time to time this month to answer any questions.

              Best
              Chris

              Comment


              • #8
                A backhand is a more natural shot than a forehand. The technique of hitting a one handed backhand enables the transfer of your body weight into the shot, which makes for lots of power and accuracy. A double handed backhand is only effective as long as you are quite young. Look at Mr Nadal and Djokovics compared to Federer. I learnt to hit a single handed backhand about 50 years ago and are still using it very effectively.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Funny but I agree with this statement. The forehand is kind of like the serve. It is easy to get in and control it. We have a lot of degrees of freedom with which to move the body. The backhand is more restricted and so we have to be able to hit the ball a certain way or else it will not go in. It is often pretty clear to me when to slice and when to topspin. And there are times when I have to be more conservative because I simply cannot hit a great shot. So I settle on neutral.

                  The forehand gives the illusion of being easy but it is not.

                  Not sure if there is a particular age at which one should learn one backhand or another. My guess is that we tend to have a preference regardless of age.

                  Comment

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