Tennis Backhand Technique – Tips for the Backhand Tennis Shot

Whether a player uses a two handed tennis backhand or a one handed backhand, the tennis technique is important. Drills can help make the tennis backhand a better shot for tennis players. Find out the keys of the tennis backhand technique as well as great models that every tennis player can adapt into his or her tennis technique

Tennis Backhand Technique and Tips

Since the tennis backhand is the one of the least practiced tennis strokes, it is often weaker than the forehand. The technique on the tennis backhand must be improved through positive repetition and ample practice time. The proper tennis backhand technique will allow a player to improve their power, accuracy and ability to generate topspin. While most tennis player rely on the forehand as their main weapon, it is just as important to hone the skills of the tennis backhand technique so that the backhand shot can be a dependable under pressure in match situations.

The backhand technique is one of the main areas of focus in tennis. The backhand shot is used in baseline rallies and in approach shots. There are two different strokes in the backhand, one is the two handed backhand and the other on is the one handed backhand. Each backhand technique is described below.

Keys of The Tennis Backhand Technique

Key 1: Fluidity

Developing a fluid, continuous tennis backhand is one of the keys of the tennis backhand. A rigid backhand shot will limit the ability of the player to generate power as well as inhibit the necessary rotation needed to hit a powerful and heavy tennis backhand.

Key 2: Letting the Tennis Backhand Come Along for the Ride

The second key is letting the tennis backhand come along for the ride. This is one of the most important points. The body should help initiate the backswing on the backhand, and the hands and racket should do minimal work in taking the racket back. The only role of the hands and arm is to guide the racket back in a compact and simple motion.

The feet turning sideways on the preparation, helping to begin the coil on the tennis backhand should do most of the necessary work in taking the racket back.

Marat Safin’s tennis backhand technique.

The tennis backhand technique of Marat Safin is very clean, minimal and compact. He allows the racket to come back as a result of the overall body turn and coil. The racket itself is doing very little, and there is almost no swinging on the tennis backhand. Instead, Marat Safin focuses on coiling as much as possible in order to release that energy on contact. This is why Nalbandian’s tennis backhand technique is flawless and allows him the ability to hit the tennis ball with perfect tennis technique.

Safins tennis backhand technique

Key 3: Third Key of the Tennis Backhand Technique

The third and final key of the tennis backhand technique is to make clean contact and extend outwards with the arm and racket towards the intended direction of the ball. This is part of the follow through phase on the tennis backhand. The full extension of the arm and racket is key in order to maximize the line of the shot and create a full and fluid tennis backhand.

This extension happens quickly, but without good extension on the tennis backhand it will be difficult to maximize the depth and spin on the tennis backhand. All pro players with great tennis backhand technique will always have great extension in the follow through. It’s something that happens so fast on TV or in real-time that the human eye misses most of the smaller components of the tennis backhand technique.

Typically, lower level players who have in proper tennis backhand technique will fail to get the same full extension in the follow through of the tennis backhand before wrapping around the right shoulder (for a right handed tennis player) or the left shoulder (for a left handed tennis player) This is due to the swing itself, or an overly active wrist (e.g snapping the wrist at contact, rather than driving through with the backhand)

The Same is true for the one handed tennis backhand technique. Even with one hand on the racket, there needs to be full extension before finishing the tennis backhand.

Two handed backhand

One example of tennis backhand technique is the two handed backhand tennis stroke. This tennis stroke is popularly used by many players from beginners to professionals. It is one of the tennis strokes that are used by many tennis players as their winning weapon in tennis matches they play.


Players use different types of tennis grips when they execute the tennis backhand technique. If you are a right handed player, the most common grip to use in the two handed backhand are the Eastern forehand grip for your left hand (if you are right handed), while the continental grip is used for the right hand.

The initial body turn

At this stage, your body is facing the net with your feet doing the same (toes should be pointing towards the net). Then hold your racket with both hands. Grip can vary based on the player’s choice.


In two handed backhand technique, professional players use either the compact backswing or a loop backswing. From the initial split step position, you have to bring the racket back, and then turn sideways and be prepared to step forward with your left foot.

Down Swing

After the height of the backswing, it’s critical to bring the racket down at about 1 foot below the ball. This movement causes the racket face to brush off the ball producing topspin. You body weight at this stage should be transferring to your front leg.

Point of Contact for the Two Handed Backhand

Less than a second before the point of contact, your racket should still be below the ball at around 8 inches. This is an important aspect of backhand technique to produce topspin. When the ball is short, ideally it is best to make contact with the ball a few inches in front of your knee. However if the ball is high, the contact point can be a bit farther back. When you make contact, make sure that your racket is positioned parallel to the ground, your body is facing sideways and your eyes glued to the ball.

One handed backhand technique

The other tennis backhand technique is the one handed backhand. Although in recent years, the one handed backhand is not popularly used by many players, some players still use this as one of their powerful strokes. Roger Federer’s one handed backhand, for example is one of his main weapons in winning matches.


In the one handed backhand technique, the tennis grip to be used depends on the execution you want to achieve. The eastern backhand is the ideal grip for generating topspin on the one handed backhand.

The initial body turn

At this stage, your body is facing the net with your feet doing the same (toes should be pointing towards the net). Then hold your racket with both hands. Grip can vary based on the player’s choice.


From the ready position, your feet should be facing the net. Ideally, you should step forward using your right foot (remember this instruction is for right handed players) and try to meet the ball early for proper backhand execution. The movement of the foot in a forward direction allows you to generate pace and at the same time keep you in a sideways position. This allows you to move in a forward and upward direction with the use of your legs as you swing your racket.

Forward Swing

The one handed backhand technique, power is generating from the speed and velocity of the forward and upward movements of your arms, legs and body. At this stage of the stroke it is very important that that your eyes are focused where the ball is. If you see that the ball is coming towards you, quickly take out your left hand from supporting the racket and then swing forward your racket. If the return of your opponent is a short ball, you need to bend more to position your racket below the ball. This is to create the brushing effect as you hit the ball. The brushing movement produces the topspin you need. In addition to topspin, you can also add more power in your hit by exerting forward momentum as you swing your racket forward.

Seconds before contact

Before the point of contact (ball comes in contact with the racket face or racket strings), drop more the racket as low as your right knee (right handed player) if the ball is very low. However if the ball is high you don’t need to drop the ball, but still see to it that the brushing effect is still executed perfectly so as not to lose the topspin effect. As mentioned above, whether the ball is low or high, position the racket head as low as I foot below the ball. This gap should be enough to produce enough topspin.

Point of contact

At this stage of the one handed backhand technique, your eyes should be of total focus with the ball. In the one handed backhand, the point of contact differs depending on the grip you use. If you want to create topspin, do not use the continental grip unless you want to hit a slice backhand. If you are using the eastern backhand grip, you have to hit the ball in front of your body.
There are indications if your backhand technique was done correctly. For a topspin backhand, you will know if you were successful by the way your racket moves after you hit the ball. If you executed hit the backhand with the correct technique, your racket should move up at about 1 foot from the point of contact.

Backhand Follow-through

In this instance of the one handed backhand execution, you should have lifted your shoulder and straightened your right foot (if you are right handed). This movement will drive your body in an upward motion. At the same time, your left foot should slide forward.

Backhand technique and all the aspects concerning the tennis backhand is a time consuming process that a player must dedicate practice time to perfect the small components which make up the tennis technique. Although no two tennis backhand technique will be exactly a like, there are fundamental commonalities in the backhand tennis technique of the pros that can serve as great models for tennis players at all levels of the game.

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