Two-Handed Backhand – 003

Route One Backswing

The Direct Route

Players need to put distance between racket head and the ball, because they need somewhere to swing at the ball from – no distance, no swing, no power – and the easiest way is to take a straight, fuss-free take-back.

Low and Straight

Michael Chang

We’ve seen this image in the grips section, but its also a good example of a straight take-back. Michael Chang has read the flight of the ball, reacted and switched to his backhand grip on the handle.

And as he turns, he gets the racket back low and straight.

No loop – No fuss – Dead simple.

In this 5 framer, former world number 1 Tracy Austin side-shifts over to cover this ball.

Like Mikey, she takes a simple pull-back of the racket head and in both of these cases, the racket head stays below the hands on the take-back – is made to stay below the hands – which helps to keep it below the oncoming ball, from where you can then hit low-to-high for an upsy topspin stroke.
But hang on a minute – where’s the thumb of the extra hand? Might be worth closer scrutiny later.

The click thru of Mary Pierce reveals another classy example of a fuss-free, straight-back preparation (below).

Jimmy Connors’ racket head, in the 3 frames below, is above is hands – is he starting high so he can loop the racket head?

Nope. With his thumb-to-the-front grip, Jimmy will cut down the back of the ball for slice, as he fades this approach shot deep into his opponents backhand corner.

In 1 thru 5 (below) Andy Roddick is about to do the same… or is he?

No he is not.

Although his take-back of the racket is relatively straight and simple, the racket head is swept back and up higher than the hands, more like Jimmy than Mikey.
So either Andy is going to hit down on the ball for slice – downsy – or he will use a slight loop to get the racket head below the hands and beneath the approaching ball, as he loop-joins the take-back to a swing through (we’ll see the full stroke later).

The Hands are Key

When developing any take-back, try to feel your extra – or ‘dominant’ – hand press down lower than your natural hitting hand, which confirms that your racket head is below your hands, or feel it start high when developing a loop.

Two-Handed Backhand 004

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