Modern Backhand Stances:
The Two Hander

John Yandell

Why is the extreme closed stance is the norm on the modern pro backhand?

For the last few years there has been an ongoing, heated discussion of what constitutes “modern tennis.” Much if not the majority of that has focused on the forehand.

And a major topic in that forehand discussion has been stances-- particular open stances. During the same period though there has been little analysis of the corresponding stances in the modern backhand.

"Open stance" may in fact be the number one modern tennis buzz phrase. But when we look at the video evidence, the top men in the world hit the majority of their backhands with the exact opposite stance--an extreme closed stance with a diagonal cross step.

Surprised? It's true on the two handed backhand. And it's even more prevalent on the one-hander.

Looking at several hundred pro backhand-- when the players had the ability to choose how they set up--over 55% of all two handers were hit with closed stances. For the one hander it was over 60%.

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John Yandell is widely acknowledged as one of the leading videographers and students of the modern game of professional tennis. His high speed filming for Advanced Tennis and Tennisplayer have provided new visual resources that have changed the way the game is studied and understood by both players and coaches. He has done personal video analysis for hundreds of high level competitive players, including Justine Henin-Hardenne, Taylor Dent and John McEnroe, among others.

In addition to his role as Editor of Tennisplayer he is the author of the critically acclaimed book Visual Tennis. The John Yandell Tennis School is located in San Francisco, California.

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