True Alignment:
The Two-Handed Backhand

Kerry Mitchell

The movement of the legs to create true alignment on the two-handed backhand is critical but not widely understood.

The concept of true alignment refers to the angles between the legs and the hips in relation to the line of the shot. In a previous article I looked at True Alignment on the forehand. (Click Here.) Now let's do the same for the two handed backhand.

The combinations of movements that creates true alignment has changed my whole approach to playing and teaching the game. It applies as well to the one-handed backhand, the serve, approach shots, and the volleys—something I will detail in future articles.


We know that on the two-hander top players set up mainly in semi open stances. They can then hit from the existing open stance, or step into a neutral stance, or step across into a closed stance.

Regardless of stance, we know they push off the ground with the back foot. We also know that the hips and shoulders rotate in conjunction with this push. But what exactly happens to the legs after the initial push, and how does that affect the timing of the rotation of the body?

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Kerry Mitchell was a leading Bay Area teaching pro for 20 years. He developed numerous ranked junior players and coached a series of championship high school teams. He was highly ranked both sectionally and nationally in men's 30 and 35 singles..

After 15 years as the Head Teaching Pro at the John Yandell Tennis School in San Francisco, California Kerry and his partner are now splitting time between homes in Merida, Mexico and Toronto, Canada. He has continued to coach and to have great competitive success winning Canadian National seniors titles—not to mention continuing to write articles for Tennisplayer from his unique perspective.

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