About a year and a half ago, progress had stalled on my student Nathan's two-handed backhand. I tried everything I knew to make the stroke more natural and
fluid, but it didn't look or feel quite right in comparison to the rest of his game.
We tried grip adjustments, stance adjustments, many types of drills. Nothing seemed to push the stroke past a certain point. Then his father made the bold suggestion that we try the one-hander.
I thought it could be crazy to make that switch with a nine year who had been hitting with two hands for 3 years. But as I thought about it more, I relented and made a massive change of direction.
The idea of a one-hander for a nine year old goes against overwhelming conventional
wisdom, especially in the competitive world of Florida junior tennis. And the two hander is no doubt the right shot for many players.
Michael Brandon is the director of Tennis at the Bath and Racquet Sports Club in Sarasota, Florida. He previously worked as an elite private junior coach in the Sarasota area, and at the famed IMG/Bollettieri Academy, where he was a ITF travelling coach, as well as chief video analyst.