Two handed backhand – Advanced Tennis Backhand Technique

The top four professional players that use two handed backhand as their most important weapon in winning tennis matches are Andy Murray, Nikolay Davydenko, Rafael Nadal Novak Djokovic and David Nalbandian.

Several players have this stroke as their most powerful weapon in the game of tennis. The good thing about this stroke is that you have the option to use the backhand slice in case the situation is too tight for you to use the two handed backhand.

Ready position

The ready position in the tennis two handed backhand is when you stand with your two feet pointing towards the net. Your two feet point towards the net and are spread from each other. The distance between the feet depends on how comfortable you are. Some players spread them wide enough but some players don’t.

Backhand Grip

Eastern Backhand / Eastern Forehand Grip

There are a range of acceptable grips for the two handed backhand in tennis, but there are a few common variation amongst the pros. The first is the eastern backhand grip in the dominant hand paired with a forehand grip for the non dominant hand. For this grip, the heel of the right palm is touching on the first bevel. The first bevel of the tennis racket means the top of the handle. While your right hand is already in position with the handle, the knuckle of your index finger should be touching the first bevel of the racket handle.

Then put your left finger on the racket handle. For the non dominant hand, you should assume an eastern or mild semi western grip. The very important thing to remember in backhand tennis stroke is to do it in such a way that your arms should be able to move flawlessly as you execute your shot.

Most common two handed backhand grip

The most common two handed backhand grip is characterized by an Eastern forehand position for the left hand a Continental grip for the right hand (right handed players). You have to see to it that your left hand has the stronger grip and exert stronger force. This is achieved because your left hand rests just below your racket head hence enabling it to be more dominant than the right hand. In addition, this type of grip will also allow you to hit a slice backhand or a drop shot in case you decide to play in the net or your opponent forces you to play in the net.

Players who use this backhand grip variation is Maria Sharapova and Kim Clijsters, and this typically results in both arms bent at the contact point.

Eastern Backhand/ Semi-Western Two-Handed Backhand Grip

This tennis grip is done by putting your left hand in a Semi-Western forehand grip while your right hand is in the Eastern backhand position. This is a common variation amongst men on the professional tour. This grip is ideal if you want to produce topspin in your backhand.

Frequently in this variation, the hitting arm structure will be different. The non dominant arm will usually be straight, while the hitting arm will be slightly bent. We see this backhand grip combination in players such as Rafael Nadal and even David Nalbandian.

In addition, this grip combination is the closest to a one handed backhand tennis stroke. The main disadvantage of this grip is that your contact point will be further out in front and you will need to hit the ball earlier compared to the other grips. This grip is also ideal for hitting high balls to the backhand, but can be more difficult if you are going to hit a low ball.

Initial Body Turn

The initial body turn for the tennis two handed backhand starts with your body still facing the net together with your feet. Once the split step is complete, your right foot should start to rise up on the heel preparing for movement.

Two Handed Backhand Backswing

The two handed backhand backswing should be fluid and compact. The backswing should be done by bringing your racket back by first turning your body sideways. The sideways turn should bring your body and feet facing to the side of the court. Typically, the initial turn is around 45 degrees to your left (right handed).

The top of the backswing is complete when you have reached the farthest point your racket head tip. In this instance, the racket is pointing perpendicular towards the back of the court. At the same time you reach the top of the backswing, you should be prepared to make a wide step forward with your body weight concentrated on the forward direction.

How wide your step will be depends on how comfortable you are. This position allows you to move sideways and allow your legs to push you in a forward and upwards motion as you execute your forward swing.

Forward swing

The forward swing in the tennis two handed backhand starts with the forward movement of the racket and its position should be more or less one under the ball. This position will result in a brushing of the racket face up to the bottom part of the ball (6.00 o’clock position) hence creating topspin. The forwards motion of the racket from the farthest point (during the backswing) produces the power for you to hit the ball with powerful force.

Before contact

Seconds or less than a second before the ball comes in contact with the racket face; the racket face should be at least eight inches under the ball. The racket head should be positioned lower than your hand, allowing you to get below the ball.

At the point of contact, your racket should be in a horizontal position. At this instance, your racket head should have dropped below the ball which will enable you to hit the ball with a brushing effect as you bring up you racket up to hit the ball. Again, this will create the topspin hit on the two handed backhand.

If your opponent‘s return is a high ball, the dropping of the racket head will usually be less pronounced than if the ball is low. If you drop the ball too low in this situation, hitting the ball long is possible, resulting to your miss and a point to your opponent.

After contact and follow-through

Right after ball contact, after the ball just left the racket face, you have to maintain the slight bend in the knees. Then, at the farthest forward point of your racket head, the distance between this point and the farthest backswing point should be 7 feet. The racket should have risen 3 feet from the lowest point of the swing (when the racket has to drop before the contact).

In a two handed backhand in tennis, the more you loosen your arms as you swing the racket, the more potential you have to create a fluid and efficient swing. The racket should end up over your left shoulder in the follow through.

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