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  • The One Handed Backhand: Power and Control

    Let's get your thoughts on John Craig's article, "he One Handed Backhand: Power and Control"

  • #2
    Very interesting! I love the video and agree with it. My only minor addition is the role of the hips in generating some of that power that then reverberates up to the hand. But that is minor and may be better for someone with a more advanced 1hbh.

    My main question is what to do with my 12 year old daughter.

    She wants to hit one handed. So I am not taking it away.

    If I drop feed or hit low she will do exactly what the video states.

    But I have the sense that younger children playing with normal balls will hit the 1hbh differently because they are not strong enough to hit everything in a classic way.

    My main question is how the transition from this more open stanced and sometimes even back foot hitting transitions to a more forward and adult like backhand.

    I have yet to see anything on how kids transition in learning the 1hbh.

    We all know what adults should do.

    But what about kids.

    And what about handling those high bouncing balls with little strength.

    I don't have the answer except that my son made the same transition and at 18 he has no trouble stepping into it and even hitting open stanced.

    And he always gets his weight down and then up.

    But when he was younger he had to hit it differently.

    I think we as adults would do the same if we played tennis with racketballs.

    Sorry to beat a dead horse but I just don't see any content out there on this topic.

    Or maybe I am missing something.

    Comment


    • #3
      Originally posted by arturohernandez View Post
      Very interesting! I love the video and agree with it. My only minor addition is the role of the hips in generating some of that power that then reverberates up to the hand. But that is minor and may be better for someone with a more advanced 1hbh.

      My main question is what to do with my 12 year old daughter.

      She wants to hit one handed. So I am not taking it away.

      If I drop feed or hit low she will do exactly what the video states.

      But I have the sense that younger children playing with normal balls will hit the 1hbh differently because they are not strong enough to hit everything in a classic way.

      My main question is how the transition from this more open stanced and sometimes even back foot hitting transitions to a more forward and adult like backhand.

      I have yet to see anything on how kids transition in learning the 1hbh.

      We all know what adults should do.

      But what about kids.

      And what about handling those high bouncing balls with little strength.

      I don't have the answer except that my son made the same transition and at 18 he has no trouble stepping into it and even hitting open stanced.

      And he always gets his weight down and then up.

      But when he was younger he had to hit it differently.

      I think we as adults would do the same if we played tennis with racketballs.

      Sorry to beat a dead horse but I just don't see any content out there on this topic.

      Or maybe I am missing something.
      No I agree about a lack of content, and not just on one handers for kids. Frankly, I don't think the adult instruction I see is that hot. I was looking through old emails-- the ones I ever printed out-- and there was a tip from a famous pro we probably all know. He said he feels that his wrist gets curled a little then bends the other way as the rolling arm turns it over. Try messing with that and you will see the racket rise more sharply perhaps than ever in your whole life. In my case I have now immediately wanted to reconfigure the arm rise to coincide with the vector of the wrist rise, if that makes sense. One ends up with a high high followthrough that looks like Chris Lewit's in THE TENNIS TECHNIQUE BIBLE, VOLUME ONE, or like that of the young Jimmy Arias before he changed it toward mediocrity and made it look and perform like that of everybody else.

      In UNSTOPPABLE, by Maria Sharapova, she stresses that if you want to be any good in tennis, you need the luck of impeccable instruction right at the outset. It is this kind of tennis determinism that I have bucked my entire tennis life for better or maybe worse. Anyway, tennis is more fun for me through fiddling around with my strokes. If I couldn't do that I don't think I would play, sport for a lifetime or not, and would have found something else.
      Last edited by bottle; 10-05-2017, 06:39 PM.

      Comment


      • #4
        Originally posted by arturohernandez View Post
        My main question is what to do with my 12 year old daughter.
        The answer is to development her game with the following paradigm. The backhand for the time being is to be played with solid defense and subtle tactical offense. The forehand is to be developed to be the aggressive aspect of her game at this point in time.

        The video? What I like most is the title:

        The One-hand Backhand: Power and Control

        I ask the student the rhetorical question...what is power? The answer is control. What is control...I ask? Control is the combination of three elements...speed, spin and placement. On any given shot one of the elements has more emphasis than others. It is the subtle blending of the elements that creates real power. Of course speed in the modern professional game is the emphasis but it seems to me that there is more room for the subtle blending.

        But as a junior it isn't speed alone that will win. Even in the professional game unforced errors play a huge factor in the determination of who wins and who loses. For a junior of your daughters age it is important to stress equally the elements of control. Perhaps you sacrifice some winning in this developmental stage but in the end it is well worth it.

        Forget for the most part that a twelve year old is going to drive the ball with a one hand backhand...at least consistently. Teach this junior instead...the key to disarming a two-handed backhand opponent is to tactically neutralize the power aspect of the two hand backhand. This can be done by simply learning to hit an angled low slice crosscourt backhand to the two handed backhand. This is where you begin. Once you open the court up in this manner there are a number of follow up responses based on what the opponent does with their return.

        Continue to practice driving the ball. Remember the one-hand backhand is really a two handed stroke. The left hand is helping...the left hand side of the body is working. It's rotating shoulders and torso getting behind the ball that is the key. Practice the Bjorn Borg backhand. I find it difficult at time to discern whether Borg was releasing the left hand from his racquet before, during or after contact. It is sort of a baseball swing up until that point.

        This is how you will end up with a "powerful" one hand drive in the end. I remember watching Bjorn playing Harold Solomon at the U. S. Open way back when. Borg was smashing his backhand like a baseball bat from way behind the baseline. It was an amazing site at the time. Solomon was chasing and retrieving the whole time.

        Getting the little princess to turn her shoulders to the ball on the slice is going to lay the foundation for the shoulder turn of the more "powerful" drive. First things first. Learn to drive the slice. Don't let the cart get before the horse. Don't let the hands and arms get ahead of the shoulders. Develop the slice...the all purpose slice. Drop shots and lobs. The whole gamut. The drive will come later...when the student is ready for it. This depends upon the student. It isn't so important actually. It is very important that the student learn to play tactically however...defense and neutralizing and patiently waiting to get the ball on the forehand to be aggressive. Think about the long term ramifications instead of immediate fixes. A twelve year old is not mature enough physically to drive the backhand in most cases. Be patient. Patience is a virtue arturohernandez. There is very little virtue left in this old world of ours.

        Real power is gaining control over your opponent. If you control the ball...you control your opponent. You control the match. This can be accomplished in any number of ways. One of my favorites is to outthink him. Or her.
        don_budge
        Performance Analysthttps://www.tennisplayer.net/bulleti...ilies/cool.png

        Comment


        • #5
          Thanks for the advice. I agree with both points. There is a famous coach in Russia whose name I won't look up again. She was a stickler for technique and she would have children shadow swing a bunch and then develop all the fundamentals very well.

          Then they could compete.

          So, yes, if one is lucky and is able to have great fundamentals taught at an early age, it makes life a lot easier as one gets older.

          I was told by another coach to develop the slice backhand for forearm strength and for timing. Even as adults it is under appreciated.

          She already understands this in a way. My daughter will run around her backhand and hit forehands.

          So now I am wondering. If the two handed backhand is so prevalent and it is a very solid shot for juniors.

          Would most juniors have to be forced to develop the forehand.

          But a one hander is used to being defensive with a backhand. They have to look for a way out when playing a junior with a solid two hander.

          Over time they will develop a better sense of how to hit an offensive forehand and how to setup the forehand.

          So if the two hander is too good as a junior it might actually take away from the development of the forehand and the setup game.

          It's funny that everyone talks about what a nice two hander Sampras had before he switched.

          But I wonder if his setup game and forehand actually improved as a consequence.

          Thanks again!

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by bottle View Post
            He said he feels that his wrist gets curled a little then bends the other way as the rolling arm turns it over. Try messing with that and you will see the racket rise more sharply perhaps than ever in your whole life.
            Now I would like to hear Arturo's or anybody's reaction to that.

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by bottle View Post

              Now I would like to hear Arturo's or anybody's reaction to that.
              Dull people don't react to anything, not even when politely requested to do so. Sorry, but that's how I see it. I know there are people who would like to turn this around and blame me for manner or obnoxiousness or something else that is ad hominem or irrelevant to logical discourse, but I've noticed, at school, that if I stay in someone's face for long enough, just as the education professors insist, I get a response. Saying you don't know, by the way, is a response.

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by arturohernandez View Post
                There is a famous coach in Russia whose name I won't look up again. She was a stickler for technique and she would have children shadow swing a bunch and then develop all the fundamentals very well.

                Then they could compete.

                So, yes, if one is lucky and is able to have great fundamentals taught at an early age, it makes life a lot easier as one gets older.
                Truer words were never spoken..."it makes life a lot easier as one gets older". Everybody is different. But that doesn't mean that not everybody is capable of learning good fundamentals. It means that everyone will not only learn them at a different rate but it may take a different path to get them there.

                Pete Sampras learned to hit a one handed backhand when he was good and ready to. It didn't matter to a large extent what his coach thought or felt about the matter. Pete had to be good and ready to make that switch on his own...and own it. He had to have the maturity to think and believe that there was a goal and it was worth working for.

                That famous coach in Russian...that brings to mind our own hockeyscout. He is developing his daughter to be a competitive tennis player by training her in a myriad of skills before he gets down to brass tacks as to how to develop his/her long range goal of what the final product will look like. Perhaps we will get a peak soon.

                So keeping what I wrote and the other thoughts that are out there in the cosmos...you might want to spend some time on some cross training. Specifically...teach her to hit a two hand forehand and a two hand backhand. Continue with the one hand forehand and one hand backhand. At the same time...get her in the batting cage and work on swinging a bat at baseballs from either side of the plate. Teach her to be a switch hitter. Throw in a little golf for that matter. Both sides of the ball.

                This one hand backhand stroke is in all of the above endeavors. She will see the similarities with some repetition. She will intuitively understand the essentials of the strokes. The "commonalities"...I hate that word. If it is a word. Teach her to hit a left hand forehand and backhand...I left that one out. Show her how all of these "different" strokes are essentially the same thing. The one hand backhand is a bit of a stretch at her stage of development...and if in her mind it is...it is. In the meantime teach her a myriad of other skills.

                One of the inhibiting skills of hitting a one hand backhand is the inability of the player/student to get themselves in position properly. Work on quickness and agility. Ultimately...position on the ball. There is a little drill we call the spider drill. Put five balls at points on the court...two are on where the baseline and the sidelines meet. Two are where the sidelines meet the service line and the fifth is on the service line where the middle service line meets it. Lay a racquet on the center line on the baseline. Have her run and pick up the balls and put them on the racquet. Starting on the baseline retrieve the two on the baseline and then head to one of the corners of the service line, then the other one on the service line and finish quickly with the last ball on the middle service line. Now tell her to put them back. Repeat this twice after every practice session. Join her...you will see your own quickness improve.

                Quickness is one of the physical fundamentals that must be developed. Getting in position is a huge variable in the equation.
                don_budge
                Performance Analysthttps://www.tennisplayer.net/bulleti...ilies/cool.png

                Comment


                • #9
                  Throw a pearl at the feet of little piggies? I don't know. I really don't know. It didn't work for more than a year, then it did work, and now it appears not to be working again. I guess I'll just hit flatter backhands for a while in the hope that it (described above) starts working again. (Finally, when all else fails, you answer the question yourself.)
                  Last edited by bottle; 10-07-2017, 05:12 AM.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by bottle View Post

                    No I agree about a lack of content, and not just on one handers for kids. Frankly, I don't think the adult instruction I see is that hot. I was looking through old emails-- the ones I ever printed out-- and there was a tip from a famous pro we probably all know. He said he feels that his wrist gets curled a little then bends the other way as the rolling arm turns it over. Try messing with that and you will see the racket rise more sharply perhaps than ever in your whole life. In my case I have now immediately wanted to reconfigure the arm rise to coincide with the vector of the wrist rise, if that makes sense. One ends up with a high high followthrough that looks like Chris Lewit's in THE TENNIS TECHNIQUE BIBLE, VOLUME ONE, or like that of the young Jimmy Arias before he changed it toward mediocrity and made it look and perform like that of everybody else.

                    In UNSTOPPABLE, by Maria Sharapova, she stresses that if you want to be any good in tennis, you need the luck of impeccable instruction right at the outset. It is this kind of tennis determinism that I have bucked my entire tennis life for better or maybe worse. Anyway, tennis is more fun for me through fiddling around with my strokes. If I couldn't do that I don't think I would play, sport for a lifetime or not, and would have found something else.
                    He said he feels that his wrist gets curled a little then bends the other way as the rolling arm turns it over. Interesting but not sure exactly what he means....'wrist gets curled'? Where/how/in what way?

                    I think if I was going to have a tennis lesson I would choose Chris Lewit as my coach. Of all the esteemed authors on Tennisplayer, Chris is the most practical and most intelligent. He's been there and won the T-shirt as well. All his articles are Tennisplayer have value, every one.

                    Maria is probably right. Good coaching, right from the grass roots, is probably critical. The Lloyd brothers all played at Wimbledon. All were taught by their mother in their early years. She is dead now but during her lifetime lived on a diet of fundamentals. Was it the Lloyd genes or good fundamentals that got all three of her boys in the main draw of Wimbledon? I say both.
                    Last edited by stotty; 10-07-2017, 01:00 PM.
                    Stotty

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by stotty View Post

                      He said he feels that his wrist gets curled a little then bends the other way as the rolling arm turns it over. Interesting but not sure exactly what he means....'wrist gets curled'? Where/how/in what way?

                      I think if I was going to have a tennis lesson I would choose Chris Lewit as my coach. Of all the esteemed authors on Tennisplayer, Chris is the most practical and most intelligent. He's been there and won the T-shirt as well. All his articles are Tennisplayer have value, every one.

                      Maria is probably right. Good coaching, right from the grass roots, is probably critical. The Lloyd brothers all played at Wimbledon. All were taught by their mother in their early years. She is dead now but during her lifetime lived on a diet of fundamentals. Was it the Lloyd genes or good fundamentals that got all three of her boys in the main draw of Wimbledon? I say both.
                      A strict diet of Fundamentals is certainly key, but genetics, having the luck to be coordinated, both physically and mentally to withstand the grind of the pro tour is the special potion that cannot be taught. Certainly all players must have a bit of both.

                      Stotty, I'm sure there are plenty subscribers and posters on this forum who would/or should select you as their go-to coach. All your posts are spot on, articulate and you are not afraid to ask questions/seek answers when you yourself do not know. Always learning and always teaching.

                      Kyle LaCroix USPTA
                      Boca Raton

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        I got the term "curled wrist" from don_budge back from the time when we still were friends (and getting professional offers-- together-- from two different teaching pros interested in improving their online publishing fate). don_budge and I were conducting separate but equal experiments on opposite sides of the Atlantic with curled wrist as in a McEnroe backhand. I guess you could call McEnroe's wrist "convex" if you wanted. And call Arthur Ashe's wrist curled or convex or strange as well. And you wouldn't be far off the mark.

                        But I don't know. don_budge had a very old pro-- Swedish, I think-- working with him on his experiments whereas I just was doing self-feed, so I guess our separate experiments weren't equal except that we both appear to have-- ultimately-- abandoned the experiment.

                        I do remember hitting a lot of high, weak topspin backhands in a doubles match against one of the teaching pros at the Wimbledon Racquet Club in Grosse Pointe, Michigan. He was quite complimentary in pointing out that although they were high and weak, topspin was bringing them down.

                        So, flash forward. Jeffrey Counts arranges for me to have an email correspondence with Doug King. And Doug describes one day what he thinks his wrist does on his backhand. Or what he feels that his wrist does-- pretty complicated. I have the email here somewhere, but this apartment is chaotic right now, and I think I quoted what he said verbatim in one of these threads.

                        I was pretty amazed. Doug didn't use the word "curled" but I think that's what he meant. He talked about a wrist that looked like McEnroe's to start and Justine Henin's to finish. (My interpretation. He didn't use the names of any players.) "No, it's concave at the end of the gradual change," I thought. "This doesn't make any sense at all." But I tried it. And years later realized that concave turned over is convex, which is a word Doug King did use. You can go from convex to concave with your wrist but if you turn over your arm at the same time the final concave is going to turn into convex too, just convex in a different direction!

                        A year or two or five later I try it again, and this time it seems to work. I decide not to curl or hump the wrist very much, just a little to increase the feel of dealing a card and then turn the wrist into something that looks like Henin's. Maybe it's just that I'm a former oarsman and my right arm is my feathering arm so it ought to be strong from a million billion repetitions. All I'm saying here (and at A New Year's Serve) is, if you combine the wrist transformation with an arm roll you get a really steep, sharp rise of the racket frame on top of anything else you might be doing. And for a few days there I was hitting sizzling topspin backhands that were high and strong and with lots of pace and were coming down in the court and bounding high too.

                        A present goal is to get that back. Thank you, guys, for responding. No response sometimes can be horrible.

                        But if you read this carefully, you will see that there are a lot of really generous teaching pros in the world, and me, Bottle, gets plenty of attention. It's just sometimes that I have a weak moment and complain for more.

                        It was the same way in crew. I wouldn't make mistakes in a race, hopefully, but sometimes would be awful in practice. "Bottle, you're late," the coach would say through his electric megaphone. "Bottle, you're chinning yourself on your oar," Mouse the coxswain would say. "And your puddle is purple." I had a splash stroke that could hit him in the chest.

                        A lot of people thought I did it for the attention. One way or another, I got more attention than anyone else. But we won the Dad Vail three times. That's the national college championship for minor rowing powers in eight-oared crews. (Whoops, there are fours too.) After that we (Brown) were in the bigtime, and eventually that went for men and women both. The women went to the George Bush White House-- ugh!
                        Last edited by bottle; 10-08-2017, 04:55 AM.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Solid fundamentals and athletic skill sets.
                          don_budge
                          Performance Analysthttps://www.tennisplayer.net/bulleti...ilies/cool.png

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by arturohernandez View Post
                            Very interesting! I love the video and agree with it. My only minor addition is the role of the hips in generating some of that power that then reverberates up to the hand. But that is minor and may be better for someone with a more advanced 1hbh.

                            My main question is what to do with my 12 year old daughter.

                            She wants to hit one handed. So I am not taking it away.

                            If I drop feed or hit low she will do exactly what the video states.

                            But I have the sense that younger children playing with normal balls will hit the 1hbh differently because they are not strong enough to hit everything in a classic way.

                            My main question is how the transition from this more open stanced and sometimes even back foot hitting transitions to a more forward and adult like backhand.

                            I have yet to see anything on how kids transition in learning the 1hbh.

                            We all know what adults should do.

                            But what about kids.

                            And what about handling those high bouncing balls with little strength.

                            I don't have the answer except that my son made the same transition and at 18 he has no trouble stepping into it and even hitting open stanced.

                            And he always gets his weight down and then up.

                            But when he was younger he had to hit it differently.

                            I think we as adults would do the same if we played tennis with racketballs.

                            Sorry to beat a dead horse but I just don't see any content out there on this topic.

                            Or maybe I am missing something.
                            Hi Arturo,
                            Thanks for your input. I am pleased to let you know the next video in this series will address some of your questions. Thanks, John

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by stotty View Post

                              He said he feels that his wrist gets curled a little then bends the other way as the rolling arm turns it over. Interesting but not sure exactly what he means....'wrist gets curled'? Where/how/in what way?

                              I think if I was going to have a tennis lesson I would choose Chris Lewit as my coach. Of all the esteemed authors on Tennisplayer, Chris is the most practical and most intelligent. He's been there and won the T-shirt as well. All his articles are Tennisplayer have value, every one.

                              Maria is probably right. Good coaching, right from the grass roots, is probably critical. The Lloyd brothers all played at Wimbledon. All were taught by their mother in their early years. She is dead now but during her lifetime lived on a diet of fundamentals. Was it the Lloyd genes or good fundamentals that got all three of her boys in the main draw of Wimbledon? I say both.
                              Yes, I would certainly like to know more about the wrist curl on the one-hander. I think this is less about fundamentals and more about individual style...

                              Comment

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