How to Hit a Backhand Shot in Tennis

Apr 30, 2013 by

While many players have a powerful forehand shot in their arsenal, they are often let down by a weak backhand. If you can develop your backhand skill and power, you will have the upper hand in baseline rallies and have the ability to hit great approach shots. The key to hitting a high quality backhand shot is to make sure that the racket face is not open when the ball is struck. This is possible by making sure that the palm of your dominant hand is holding the top of the racket handle. You then hold the racket’s throat with the other hand for support.

See also: How to Hit a Lob Shot in Tennis

One Handed Backhand Basics
One handed backhand tennis shot

A one-handed backhand is among the most aesthetically-pleasing and versatile shots in the game.

This involves recognizing the tennis ball’s path early so you can get into position quickly and have ample time to make the backhand. Once you manage this, focus on the fundamentals of a good one-handed backhand which are as follows:

Pivot & Shoulder Turn: Once you know a one-handed backhand is the shot you’re taking, pivot and turn your shoulders sideways to ensure the racket begins to come back.

Change Grip: Get into position using the advice mentioned above.

Bring Racket Back: Use the dominant arm to take the racket back and get ready to strike.

Step Into The Shot: Use your inside foot to step forward and put weight into the shot.

Swing: Simply swing the racket forward to make clean contact with the ball.

Follow Through: After making contact with the ball, ensure your striking arm continues moving forward until it is at head level.

Other Arm: Keep your other arm back to make sure your shoulders remain in the sideways position throughout the shot.

Two Handed & Slice Backhand
two handed backhand tennis shot

The two handed backhand is an effective shot in the tennis groundstroke game.

The two-handed backhand involves the pivot & shoulder turn and taking your racket back steps but when swinging the racket, you need to push off your outside leg and rotate your body in the direction of the net. The follow through should see the racket end up over your shoulder.

The slice backhand involves many of the above steps but is a shot utilized when the ball is too high to be met with a topspin shot or a two-handed backhand. You need to move the racket down to make contact with the ball in order to create the backspin. This shot takes the pace off the ball, causes it to bounce low and makes it difficult for your opponent to get the ball over the net.

Instead of focusing on the forehand shot, begin devoting extra time to the backhand shot as it will give you a major advantage over the majority of opponents at regional level.

Image licenses:
One handed Backhand Shot: Creative Commons (view source)
Two handed Backhand Shot: Creative Commons (view source)

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