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Brad Tinnon

How To Hit A One Handed Backhand

I mentioned a couple of weeks ago that in addition to financial content, I would blog about subjects that I have a personal interest in.  So today, I’ll be sharing some tips on how to hit a one handed backhand in tennis.  And you thought financial planning was boring….

A one handed backhand is a very difficult shot to hit.  This shot can be so effortless and graceful if performed properly, yet if not done properly can lead to tons of frustration.

One of the most common mistakes in hitting a one handed backhand is opening up your shoulders too soon.  Let me explain.  Typically when you start your backswing, you rotate your shoulders with the racquet tip pointed toward the sky.  However, when beginning the forward swing, many people will continue to leave the racquet tip pointed toward the sky (this is what I call “opening up your shoulders too soon”).  This is a huge mistake and will rob you of power and spin.  And perhaps could even hurt your shoulder.

Instead, just before beginning your forward swing, you should drop the racquet tip down, toward the side fence (if you’re facing the court, this is the fence to your right if you are right-handed), and slightly below your wrist.  Ultimately your racquet will be parallel to the baseline.  This is what I call the “power position”.

You are now ready to uncoil your shoulders into the shot.  But don’t uncoil too much or you will lose power and control.  Try to stay somewhat sideways throughout the shot (it’s okay to let your follow through open your shoulders).

I also suggest that as you begin your forward swing, keep your hitting arm relatively straight.  If you don’t, you will have a tendency to lead with your elbow and this will also rob you of power and control.

Post a comment and let me know what you think.  Good luck on the court!!

Brad E.S. Tinnon

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Photo courtesy of peddhapati


6 thoughts on “How To Hit A One Handed Backhand”

  1. Brad you sound too good for me! I think I would rather pay a point than have you wipe up the court with me. Good thing I already paid off my mortgage.

  2. That is my problem exactly – this after playing from the age of 5 (now 44). I think it must be an unnatural swing path and that’s why it’s so hard to do. I am definitely beginning to uncoil the shoulders with the racket still back and up, using up all my rotation before I even swing the racket. This early shoulder turn (or not dropping racket head first) is probably why it’s so hard for me to time the ball – at least I hope that’s why. Somebody needs to come up with some drills to help with this problem. Thanks for the tip.

    1. Hey Jon,

      Thanks for the comment. It’s somewhat of a different swing path b/c you hit a one handed backhand with your lead shoulder. Unlike your forehand which is your rear shoulder. As a result, you can’t take the racquet back as far.

      I’m not a tennis coach (just a 4.5 player), but I’d be happy to take a look at a video of your swing if you wanted. Timing the ball on a one handed backhand is crucial. And sometimes you may think that you are doing everything correctly, but when you look at yourself on video you realize that you aren’t.

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