Building a World-Class One-Handed Backhand Part 1:
The One Hand
Versus Two Hand Debate

Chris Lewit

The most elegant shot in tennis—but should you learn it?

There is no more beautiful, elegant shot than the one-handed backhand. When executed correctly, it is graceful, flowing, and aesthetically pleasing.

But one of the most interesting debates in tennis is whether the double-hander or single-hander is "better". And which should be taught to whom when. My belief is that the answer depends on many factors.

The two-handed backhand has become extremely popular and is taught almost universally to beginning players, at least in the US. This is because it gives the player early success.

I believe the two-hander is unfortunately over taught in this country. American coaches are obsessed with early success. Our culture values quick results and lacks long-term vision, and no doubt the two-hander will make a young player hit better sooner.

So how can that be bad? In the long run, the player may be better off with a single-handed shot, for individual tactical, psychological or physiological reasons.

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Chris Lewit, former #1 for Cornell and Pro Circuit player, has coached numerous top 10 nationally ranked juniors and is a leading coach, educator, and author. He has written two best-selling books, The Secrets of Spanish Tennis and The Tennis Technique Bible.

Chris runs a popular high performance summer tennis camp in the beautiful mountains of Vermont and coaches players world-wide through his virtual school, CLTA Online (

Chris also produces a weekly high performance tennis video talk show and podcast, The Prodigy Maker Show, which is available on Apple Podcasts and all other podcasting directories. All shows can be accessed at

Check out Chris's blog, also at for free articles on high performance junior development and Spanish training. Learn about his camp at or visit the online academy at

The Secrets of Spanish Tennis

What makes Spanish tennis so unique and successful? What exactly are those Spanish coaches doing so differently to develop superstars like Rafael Nadal and David Ferrer that other systems are not doing? These and other questions are answered in The Secrets of Spanish Tennis, the culmination of five years of study on the Spanish way of training by USTA High Performance Coach Chris Lewit.

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