Tennis Backhand Techniques

In the wonderful world of tennis, mastering the backhand is an essential skill. Whether you’re a beginner or an experienced player looking to improve, understanding the various backhand techniques is key to taking your game to the next level. From the classic two-handed backhand to the elegant single-handed slice, this article explores the different techniques used to execute powerful and precise backhands on the court. So grab your racket and get ready to enhance your backhand technique with these valuable insights and tips.

Tennis Backhand Techniques

Grips

Eastern grip

The Eastern grip is a popular choice for players who prefer a traditional style of hitting their backhand. With this grip, your base knuckle of the index finger and the heel pad of your hand will be positioned on the third bevel of the racket handle. This grip allows for good control and versatility in shots, making it suitable for players of all levels.

Continental grip

The Continental grip is commonly used for executing volleys and serves, but it can also be effective for backhand shots. To use this grip, place the base knuckle of your index finger on the second bevel of the racket handle. The Continental grip provides great stability and a consistent feel for the ball, making it ideal for players seeking precision and control in their backhand strokes.

Semi-Western grip

The Semi-Western grip is characterized by positioning the base knuckle of the index finger on the fourth bevel of the racket handle. This grip allows for added topspin on the backhand shots, making it a favored choice for players who like to generate power and control by utilizing heavy topspin. The Semi-Western grip offers a good balance between power and control, giving you the ability to hit with depth and spin.

Two-handed backhand grip

For players who prefer a two-handed backhand, the grip is slightly different. Your dominant hand should hold the racket with a Continental grip, while your non-dominant hand should grip the racket with an Eastern grip. This grip combination provides stability and control, allowing you to generate power and accuracy with your two-handed backhand.

Basic Backhand Stroke

Starting position

To begin your backhand stroke, place your feet shoulder-width apart, with your knees slightly bent. Keep your body relaxed and face your non-dominant side towards the net.

Backswing

Initiate the backswing by turning your shoulders and hips sideways, while keeping your non-dominant hand on the racket for support and stability. Allow the racket to drop slightly below the level of the ball as you bring it back.

Contact point

As the ball approaches, make contact with the ball slightly in front of your body, around waist height. Your dominant hand should be slightly bent at the elbow, while your non-dominant hand guides and supports the racket.

Follow-through

After making contact with the ball, continue the swing and follow-through. Extend both arms towards the direction you want the ball to go, keeping your eye on the ball as it leaves your racket. Allow your body to rotate and transfer your weight forward for added power and control.

One-Handed Backhand Technique

Footwork

Proper footwork is crucial for executing a successful one-handed backhand. Start by positioning yourself with your non-dominant foot slightly in front of your dominant foot, allowing for a balanced stance. As you swing, transfer your weight from your back foot to your front foot for added power and control.

Preparation

With your non-dominant hand on the racket for support, bring the racket back using your dominant hand, just like in the basic backhand stroke. Position the racket slightly below the ball to create the desired trajectory.

Upper body movement

As you swing forward, turn your shoulders and hips towards the net, keeping your eyes on the ball at all times. This rotation allows for a full range of motion and generates power for your one-handed backhand.

Arm position

Maintain a relaxed and slightly bent arm as you make contact with the ball. Your dominant hand should guide the racket, while your non-dominant hand provides stability and support throughout the stroke.

Two-Handed Backhand Technique

Grip

To execute a two-handed backhand, use a Continental grip with your dominant hand and an Eastern grip with your non-dominant hand. Position your dominant hand on the bottom of the racket handle, while your non-dominant hand should be placed slightly above it.

Footwork

Similar to the one-handed backhand, proper footwork is essential for a two-handed backhand. Start with your feet shoulder-width apart and your knees slightly bent. As you swing, transfer your weight from your back foot to your front foot, generating power and control.

Body rotation

Like the one-handed backhand, rotate your shoulders and hips towards the net as you swing forward. This rotation allows you to utilize the strength of your entire body, resulting in a powerful and accurate two-handed backhand.

Arm coordination

Coordinate the movement of your arms to create a smooth and coordinated two-handed backhand stroke. Your dominant hand should take the lead, while your non-dominant hand provides support and stability throughout the swing.

Tennis Backhand Techniques

Slice Backhand

Grip

For a slice backhand, use a Continental grip. This grip provides stability and control, allowing for precise shot placement.

Backswing

During the backswing, bring the racket slightly behind you, positioning it below the ball. This will create the desired slice effect.

Contact point

Make contact with the ball slightly in front of your body, around waist height. Aim to hit the ball with a slightly closed racket face to generate backspin.

Follow-through

After making contact with the ball, continue your swing and allow the racket to follow through upwards. This follow-through motion creates additional backspin on the ball and helps to control its trajectory.

Topspin Backhand

Grip

For a topspin backhand, use a Semi-Western grip. This grip allows you to generate topspin by naturally angling the racket face towards the ball.

Backswing

During the backswing, bring the racket back and slightly below the ball, setting up the desired topspin effect. Maintain a loose grip on the racket for maximum flexibility.

Contact point

As the ball comes towards you, make contact with the ball slightly in front of your body, around waist height. Aim to brush up the back of the ball with your racket, imparting topspin.

Follow-through

After making contact with the ball, continue your swing and allow the racket to follow through upwards. This follow-through motion helps to lift the ball over the net with topspin, adding depth and control to your shot.

Backhand Volley

Grip

For a backhand volley, use a Continental grip. This grip provides stability and control, allowing for precise volleys at the net.

Positioning

Position yourself at the net with your feet shoulder-width apart and your knees slightly bent. Keep your body relaxed and face the net.

Timing

Anticipate the incoming ball and time your swing accordingly. Stay light on your feet and be ready to adapt to the speed and trajectory of the ball.

Contact point

As the ball approaches, make contact with the ball slightly in front of your body, at chest height. Aim to hit the ball with a flat racket face, directing it towards your target.

Backhand Overhead

Grip

For a backhand overhead shot, use a Continental grip. This grip provides stability and control, allowing for precise and powerful overhead shots.

Footwork

Position yourself with your non-dominant foot slightly in front of your dominant foot to maintain a balanced stance. As the ball approaches, move towards it and position yourself for an overhead shot.

Arm position

Raise your racket above your non-dominant shoulder, preparing for the backhand overhead. Keep your eye on the ball and maintain a relaxed and slightly bent arm throughout the swing.

Timing

Time your swing to make contact with the ball at the highest point of its trajectory. Aim to hit the ball with a flat racket face, generating power and precision in your backhand overhead shot.

Backhand Approach shot

Grip

For a backhand approach shot, use a Semi-Western grip. This grip allows for added topspin, giving you control and depth in your approach shots.

Footwork

Position yourself with your feet shoulder-width apart and your knees slightly bent. As the ball approaches, move towards it and position yourself for the approach shot.

Body positioning

Turn your shoulders and hips towards the net as you swing forward, generating power and precision in your backhand approach shot. Maintain a balanced stance and keep your eye on the ball.

Shot selection

Choose the appropriate shot based on the game situation. A deep topspin shot can be effective for pushing your opponent behind the baseline, while a flatter and more aggressive shot can put them on the defensive.

Backhand Lob

Grip

For a backhand lob, use a Continental grip. This grip provides stability and control, allowing for precise shot placement and height.

Footwork

Position yourself with your feet shoulder-width apart and your knees slightly bent. As the ball approaches, move towards it and position yourself for the lob shot.

Shot execution

As the ball reaches the optimal height, raise your racket above your non-dominant shoulder and swing upwards. Aim to hit the ball with a slightly open racket face, imparting height and depth to the shot.

Tactical considerations

Consider the game situation when selecting a backhand lob. A defensive lob can be effective for buying time and regaining control of the point, while a more offensive lob can put your opponent on the defensive and create opportunities for attacking shots.

By mastering these various backhand techniques, you’ll be equipped with the skills to handle a wide range of shots and game situations. Remember to practice regularly and seek feedback from a coach or experienced players to fine-tune your skills. Enjoy your time on the court and have fun improving your backhand!