What is ISR?
Part 3: One Handed Backhand

John Yandell

Watch the racket face open in the backswing til it is parallel to the court.

If you have studied much slow motion video of one handed backhands, one thing that may have puzzled you—as it did me--why was it almost all top players tend to open the face of the racket to at least some degree toward the end of the backswing.

When I was making the Visual Tennis instructional video many years ago, I wanted to demonstrate the simplest possible on edge swings with the racket face perpendicular to the court throughout the motion, including the take back. Yet in filming to create the models I noticed that I unconsciously was doing the same thing, rotating the racket face back slightly open before starting the forward swing.

Technically this backward rotation is called ISR—internal shoulder rotation, or the counterclockwise rotation of the upper arm in the shoulder joint. In the last two articles we've seen how this works on the serve (Click Here) and the forehand (Click Here). So now let's explore how it works on the one-hander.


You can see this rotation in our classic video of Ken Rosewall above, hitting what appears to be an almost flat slice drive. The backwards rotation is quite extreme.

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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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