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The One Handed Backhand: Power and Control

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  • jeffreycounts
    started a topic The One Handed Backhand: Power and Control

    The One Handed Backhand: Power and Control

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

  • bottle
    replied
    Originally posted by arturohernandez View Post
    I think you should try to experiment with a loose arm in the windup and focus on acceleration after contact. This will create the best contact point on the backhand. From there you can just add more and more.

    My backhand also goes off on me and usually it is because I am not staying still enough at contact. So I will pull it wide or hit it long.

    But if I try to stay as still as possible at contact and use my legs to generate the power then the wrist will naturally come later more as a finish than as a cause of the acceleration.

    I really like John's idea of contact being crucial and the rest of the stroke being a preparation for excellent contact.

    Or maybe I am over interpreting.

    It wasn't until I focused a lot on contact and making it the queen of the stroke that I began to lose all the components that make a stroke go bad.

    But it is hard to do this as an adult. Kids will have a much easier time since they are smaller and don't worry as much about trying to do everything at once.

    I like guest teacher too!
    Pretty good advice. I'm looking at it later. Pretty soon I'll be ready for it!

    Leave a comment:


  • arturohernandez
    replied
    I think you should try to experiment with a loose arm in the windup and focus on acceleration after contact. This will create the best contact point on the backhand. From there you can just add more and more.

    My backhand also goes off on me and usually it is because I am not staying still enough at contact. So I will pull it wide or hit it long.

    But if I try to stay as still as possible at contact and use my legs to generate the power then the wrist will naturally come later more as a finish than as a cause of the acceleration.

    I really like John's idea of contact being crucial and the rest of the stroke being a preparation for excellent contact.

    Or maybe I am over interpreting.

    It wasn't until I focused a lot on contact and making it the queen of the stroke that I began to lose all the components that make a stroke go bad.

    But it is hard to do this as an adult. Kids will have a much easier time since they are smaller and don't worry as much about trying to do everything at once.

    I like guest teacher too!

    Leave a comment:


  • bottle
    replied
    Originally posted by arturohernandez View Post
    Sorry Bottle. My daughter had a tournament, yesterday was Columbus day and I drove around for four hours doing errands, and today is my wife's birthday. So I haven't been on Tennisplayer for the last few days.

    The wrist curl is an interesting thought. I think I feel this too. Kind of like the laid back position on the forehand but in reverse. I used to flick my wrist on purpose and generate a bunch of spin. But it was very unreliable and at times I would shank.

    So now I kind of curl my wrist a bit and then just look for clean contact. I use my legs to elevate into the shot and eventually that releases into the wrist and topspin.

    But I try to keep the contact point pretty still in my mind. If I am very unsure, for example, playing on clay, then I will really focus on keeping the racket in the contact zone as long as possible.

    So the curl I think is like the wiggle on the forehand.

    It is really a point of trying to find the best contact with racket almost square on the ball. To do this we have to resist the face opening to much.

    Hence, we need a bit of a curl to make sure we don't open the face.

    Not sure if that is what you were looking for in terms of an answer.
    No, thanks, and I'm not sure what I was looking for either. I guess I'm developing a bit of bluster from doing substitute teaching. Wow, that can make one so conscious of oneself! Will fight it. I actually like subbing very much. I used to think of it as lion-taming but now see it as theater. Actors don't know the names of their audience either. Communication can happen though if you know how to capture attention. It's a different kind of teaching from real teaching, which I am happy to have done also. In the Cesar Chavez school in Mexicantown, Detroit, where I have worked for the past two days (eighth grade math one day, eighth grade English the other) they never use the term "substitute teacher" but rather "guest teacher." Nice.

    I take to heart everything you say about wrist unreliability and possibility both. I might be drawing back a bit from my big wrist revelation on backhand side, because, as I reported, though it started to work fabulously well, it then went sour on me. Kind of bears out what you are saying. But I think enough of the experiment to continue with it albeit on a minor scale.

    Basics basics basics are best in tennis and rowing both, but we never should let that turn us into dullards lest we get murdered like the title man in the Hemingway story "The Short Happy Life of Francis Macomber." (He was an oarsman too.)
    Last edited by bottle; 10-10-2017, 01:41 PM.

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  • arturohernandez
    replied
    Now, on to my daughter's backhand.

    I like al the suggestions. My daughter can hit a left handed forehand. This would help with finding contact and take her out of having to deal with the weakness of the front shoulder in a 12 year old girl.

    I will work on her hitting different backhands and just getting used to finding contact and to using her body.

    Thanks Bottle!

    But, yesterday, we experimented with just developing her slice.

    The interesting part is that she could keep the ball pretty low and that depth was not as crucial.

    Her topspin backhand just sits up when hit short.

    A slice hit at the service line is very effective. It is not a ball that can be easily attacked unless of course you are Rafa Nadal.

    I can see don_budge's idea of using the slice short to setup an attacking forehand.

    Aside from Nadal I don't see anyone who can kill that shot very well, even on the pro tour.

    The interesting thing is that I was asking her to just slice and slice.

    It improved her approach shots tremendously as she could get close the net and just slice it deep wherever she pleased.

    But the biggest improvement was on her timing of the topspin backhand.

    She was able to improve her timing on that as well.

    She even hit some old school flatter slice backhands.

    And now I am beginning to see how the slice as a foundation helps to create a base for the more "advanced" topspin backhand.

    Thanks everyone!

    Leave a comment:


  • arturohernandez
    replied
    Sorry Bottle. My daughter had a tournament, yesterday was Columbus day and I drove around for four hours doing errands, and today is my wife's birthday. So I haven't been on Tennisplayer for the last few days.

    The wrist curl is an interesting thought. I think I feel this too. Kind of like the laid back position on the forehand but in reverse. I used to flick my wrist on purpose and generate a bunch of spin. But it was very unreliable and at times I would shank.

    So now I kind of curl my wrist a bit and then just look for clean contact. I use my legs to elevate into the shot and eventually that releases into the wrist and topspin.

    But I try to keep the contact point pretty still in my mind. If I am very unsure, for example, playing on clay, then I will really focus on keeping the racket in the contact zone as long as possible.

    So the curl I think is like the wiggle on the forehand.

    It is really a point of trying to find the best contact with racket almost square on the ball. To do this we have to resist the face opening to much.

    Hence, we need a bit of a curl to make sure we don't open the face.

    Not sure if that is what you were looking for in terms of an answer.

    Leave a comment:


  • bottle
    replied
    Originally posted by johncraig View Post

    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...
    Geez. I give more but it's as if I didn't say anything. Okay, I'll clobber myself with a cat 'o nine tails and loose oak stump for including other elements of natural conversation in post # 12 .

    But after that I'm going to be less charitable and accuse people of poor reading skills, English teacher that I am.

    In paragraph five: "He (Doug King) talked about a wrist that looked like McEnroe's to start and Justine Henin's to finish...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!"

    So there it is, the answer to all questions on this topic, an answer which people then choose to ignore.

    You bend the stick one way and then you bend it the other. You do this at the wrist.

    You start with racket curled or humped then turn it inside out while rolling the whole arm forward, with the result that frame zings sharply upward while better placing strings on outside of the ball.

    The movement does not include radial or ulnar deviation.

    It's "wrist flex" and "wrist extension" in the accepted but horrid sport scientist techno-speak that ensures that nobody ever understands anything.

    Can someone express the specific wrist movement more simply? Maybe. I'll listen.

    But as far as standard, pompous, puritanical copout # 1 in all tennis instruction, "This is less about fundamentals and more about individual style," a pox on all you mavens of basics! You think I, a crew coach, don't care about basics just because I find something interesting enough to emulate?

    Well, let me tell you, if I can emulate it, anyone can. So it's a basic, not distant characteristic or "caricaturistic" as the international internet thug Nabrug used to say, so obnoxious he had to be banned from Tennis Player.

    Sorry. I ought to cool down. I simply think people need to understand something enough to try it before dismissing it for any reason.

    Try it and report back. Then tell me whether it's so restricted to one or two players in the world that no "ordinary person" should try it on their home court.

    As far as I am concerned, it either works or it doesn't. And of course the basics have to be in place. But then, I contend, it will work for that person no matter who he or she is.

    And one can, for safety, have a more conventional flat backhand that doesn't use shoulders tilt or this special wrist movement at all.
    Last edited by bottle; 10-09-2017, 04:59 PM.

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  • johncraig
    replied
    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...

    Leave a comment:


  • johncraig
    replied
    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

    Leave a comment:


  • don_budge
    replied
    Solid fundamentals and athletic skill sets.

    Leave a comment:


  • bottle
    replied
    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, 03:55 AM.

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  • klacr
    replied
    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

    Leave a comment:


  • stotty
    replied
    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, 12:00 PM.

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  • bottle
    replied
    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, 04:12 AM.

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  • don_budge
    replied
    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.

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