What is ISR?
Part 4: Two Handed Backhand

John Yandell

The complex rotations of both arms in the two-hander. Both arms rotate externally and internally. Watch the elbows and the forearms!

In previous articles we explored how arm rotations occur on the serve (Click Here), forehand (Click Here), and one-handed backhand (Click Here). Now let's look at the two hander. It's maybe more complex to understand because we are looking at both arms.

But as we have said it's less about the technical terminology than just understanding the movement and positions. The point of this series is to understand this trendy terminology and integrate it into correct stroke models—and maybe gain some insight into what makes them great.


Regardless of the exact ready position, top players take the racket back with both hands, with the racket basically on edge. They may take it back higher or lower and in various shapes in the backswing.

But at some point they almost always drop the arms and racket below the level of the ball. They do this with a double arm rotation.

The bottom arm rotates to the left or externally. The top arm also rotates to the left, but this is internal rotation.

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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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