Reflections on the 2 Hand backhand

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Reflections on the 2 Hand backhand

Postby btaylor » 12 Dec 2009, 07:03

I've posted this thread because of the interesting parameters between the 2H vs 1H backhands...
No doubt it will lead to some "spirited" wordplay... :wink:

First of all, I've been around the game long enough to have been able to watch it "morph" into tennis as we know it today...so these are some of my reflections...others are welcome...

The first great 2Handers of the modern era were Jimmy Connors, Bjorn Borg, and Chris Evert...
I never knew why or how Connors and Borg decided on using 2 hands rather than one on the backhand, but Chris Evert is on record as saying that when she picked up tennis as a little girl that she simply did not have the strength to use a 1H backhand...

Following the success of these three icons, during the "tennis boom" of the '70's there sprang up numerous "clones" of these players..some great, some not so great...
Many picked up on the trend because they thought that it was "cool" to be like Jimmy, Bjorn, and Chrissie...others (especially beginners) started using both hands because they felt that the control was easier to get than building the strength required and properly learning to hit with the 1 Hander...

It seems that with the last couple of generations in tennis that with young children learning the sport, it's easier for them to use two hands for the same reasons as Chrissie...It's just as they got older and stronger, with tennis evolving ( or should I say retreating) into a baseline duel they decided to forego learning the 1Hander since they were already able to sustain elongated baseline rallies...
In doing so, they also "stunted" their ability to "transition to" and understand the subtle nuances necessary for good net play...
Further more, not many 2 handers have in their repertoire a "biting" slice backhand that "skids" and stays low (Murray may be the exception here) OR a safe and dependable defensive slice for wide balls if they are stretched and have to take off their other hand...

The great Pete Sampras decided to "evolve" into a 1Hander because of the variety that it afforded him in getting to the net, chipping & charging, as well as perfecting the volley techniques that were to win him 7 Wimbledon titles and 7 other Grand Slam titles as well...
He felt that to stay at the baseline using a 2 hand backhand and simply smacking balls back and forth didn't appeal to him...

Roger Federer also has been at the top of tennis for so long mainly because of the variety that the 1 Hander affords him in changing pace during rallies, net play, and so forth...

Of course the main argument used against Federer is that his backhand is "weak", mostly because of the existence of one Rafael Nadal...a left-handed monster who not only can break down Federer's backhand, but most of the right-handed 2 handers as well as other lefty's forehands to boot... :wink:

In closing, I feel that all things being equal as far as conditioning, footwork, and such, that a properly executed and consistent 1 hand backhand has as much control (if not more) as a 2 hand backhand...
Last edited by btaylor on 12 Dec 2009, 09:59, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Reflections on the 2 Hand backhand

Postby CC » 12 Dec 2009, 07:14

Hmmm. :thinking: OK. I'll share my opinion. Well said, btaylor! :yes:

Billie, hold the racket with two hands; you're not big enough yet to use just one.

:roll: :whistle:
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Re: Reflections on the 2 Hand backhand

Postby SC Tom » 13 Dec 2009, 18:13

It seems the players are starting to learn the game at a younger age than they did way back when (for the most part), and seem to have more seasoned coaches instead of a parent who thinks their child is the next world number 1. I first picked up a racquet when I was 14 or 15, and it was just for something to do. I had no training at that time, just me and a bunch of the guys hitting balls on a grass court with wooden racquets (1960 or so). I probably tried to return a backhand one-handed, and more likely than not, flubbed it. I didn't stay with the game, though.

Move forward to about 2001. After bowling for decades, I gave it up since we couldn't get a league started on the two nights I could bowl. My S.O. and I decided to try tennis (she had played quite a bit when younger, plus has a daughter who played through high school and some in college). We went to the local courts and batted the ball around a bit. It didn't seem like I was getting anywhere, so we hired a young guy in town to coach us. I had started by using a 2-handed backhand since my right shoulder sounds like it has rocks in it, and I couldn't control or put anything on the ball 1-handed. My S.O. changed from a 1-handed BH that she had been using to a 2-handed one because the 1-hander started hurting her shoulder. Now we are both good 3.5 doubles and mixed doubles players, and we both still use a 2-handed BH.

I guess my point is, it's not just the young ones going with it for strength reasons, us old fa*ts do, too.

My favorite one-hander is still Justine Henin. I would give anything to have that kind of control, power, and instant speed that she has :D
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Re: Reflections on the 2 Hand backhand

Postby btaylor » 14 Dec 2009, 04:35

SC Tom...Sounds like you first tried playing the game quite some time before I did... :wink:
What, if I may ask, injured your shoulder? :roll:
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Re: Reflections on the 2 Hand backhand

Postby SC Tom » 14 Dec 2009, 21:19

btaylor wrote:SC Tom...Sounds like you first tried playing the game quite some time before I did... :wink:
What, if I may ask, injured your shoulder? :roll:


I believe it's more the fault of age than anything else :wink:
It's not really injured, just worn out :). I think I see rotator cuff surgery some day, but not today!!
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