As Junior tennis players in Singapore start learning the game at an earlier age, due to strength issues, they are likely to start learning to play the backhand with two hands, also known as the tennis double backhand. In this article, Coach Israel shares his 7 best tennis tips to a powerful and reliable tennis double backhand.
Watch Coach Israel’s video demonstration here.
1. Use a continental grip or eastern backhand grip on your bottom hand (dominant hand), and a continental grip to a semi-western grip on your top hand (non-dominant hand).
Because there are two hands on the grip, the is a very large range of grips that players use, even in the professional level. What is constant is that the range of grips should be between continental or eastern backhand on your bottom hand (dominant hand), and a continental grip to semi-western forehand grip on your top hand (non-dominant hand). A continental-continental grip will result in a flatter shot, while the eastern backhand-semi-western forehand set-up will result in a shot with significantly more spin.
2. Load and store as much energy as possible to release the kinetic chain to generate as much power as possible into the double backhand.
This comes from a deep knee bend. Once you recognise the ball is going to be backhand, turn your hip turn first so store energy in the glutes. The shoulder will turn too accordingly. What is important is to feel that with the hip turn, you will be able to feel your glutes (backside) contracting and storing the energy.
3. Lock-in to the ball by getting your racquet butt-cap pointing to the ball (the lock-in) to prepare to release the energy you have stored into the point of impact.
The simpler the preparation the better in a tennis stroke. There are many ways to take a racquet back for the double-backhand, in a small circle or straight back to the lock-in position. What is important is for the tennis strings to face the side of the tennis court in the power position. It is from this point that you will transition your tennis racquet into accelerating to the point of impact.
4. Accelerate your racquet into impact from lock in by releasing the hip from a semi-open or square stance (step in).
This is achieved from the lock-in position by releasing the stored energy by shifting your bodyweight in the tips and the back leg to the front legs and then into the arms, which will transfer the weight into the impact and into the ball. Whether you hit it with an open stance, semi-open stance, square stance or closed stance depends on the type of ball that is incoming, and how much time you have. You should only use the open stance when you absolutely have no time as you cannot load very well in this stance. You will be able to hit a good ball with a semi open stance lock-in if you do not have a lot of time, if you have time, you should take a step forward into a square stance lock-in.
5. Focus on the Impact of the racquet with the ball
All the set-up is to facilitate the transfer of energy into the impact. From the lock-in position to the release, the energy is transferred from the kinetic chain into the arms that start to take over the stroke to position the racquet into good contact. The contact point should be in front of your hip. It is extremely important to accelerate through the line of the target.
6. Extend long through the contact for your double backhand for
This is extremely important so that the swing of your tennis double-backhand does not break out after impact, resulting in the loss of spin or power imparted to the ball. A common guide from legendary tennis coach Robert Lansdrop who has coached Pete Sampras, Maria Sharapova is to extend the impact zone through 2 or 3 tennis balls after impact and go all the way though as far as possible to the target before breaking off the swing.
7. Finish with full extension and finish with your tennis racquet over your shoulder and elbow pointing to the target, and a pivot step to catch your body after the full rotation, for balance and to facilitate recovery.
The follow through is essential a consequence of all that has happened during the double backhand stroke. As a result, it is useful in shot creation to focus on the finish with full extension, so that all the steps above from the lock-in stage as a start to accelerating the ball through impact and extending the contact zone through the line of the ball are achieved.
If you have fully released the entire kinetic chain to impart maximum acceleration through the impact zone, your hips will be fully rotated and your back leg will feel like it will want to swivel around. In tennis this is known as a pivot step which should be encouraged to facilitate a big hip rotation, to catch the body, and to facilitate the recovery crossover step as you move back to the directional centre of the court depending on which target you have hit the ball to in the tennis court.
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