The two-handed backhand is a versatile stroke for players of all levels. It offers stability, power, and control for returning tough shots and hitting winners. Here’s a breakdown of the key elements and some tips to elevate your backhand game.

The Two-Handed Backhand Breakdown:

  1. Grip: A common two-handed backhand grip involves placing your dominant hand in a similar position to a forehand grip, with your non-dominant hand stacked on top or slightly below, creating a comfortable and stable hold.  The focus should be more on your non-dominant hand’s grip as it should be the driving force of your backhand.

  2. Stance and Preparation: Stand with your non-dominant shoulder facing the net. As the ball approaches, bend your knees slightly for a stable base, keeping your weight balanced more on your back foot so you can transfer the weight during the swing. Extend both arms out comfortably to track the incoming ball.

  3. The Unit Turn: Similar to the forehand, initiate the swing with a “unit turn” by rotating your shoulders and hips away from the net, coiling your body like a spring.  Keep your hands off your body to help with a long and loose swing.  

  4. The Swing: Shift your weight forward and stay low as you swing your racquet forward and up with a full arm extension, keeping your elbows high and pointing towards the net.

  5. Contact Point: Aim to hit the ball slightly in front of your body at its peak for optimal power and control.  I like to focus on my contact point being in front of my front foot to really drive my weight into the shot.

  6. The Follow-Through: After contact, continue the swing across your body, finishing with both racquets pointing towards the opposite side of the court.  Your weight should be on your front foot by now!

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Unleash Your Backhand Beast

  • Focus on Coordination: Practice coordinating both hands for a smooth and efficient swing.
  • Get Low: Ensure you’re getting as low as you can and stay low through the shot.  A good lunging position will be best.
  • Develop Leg Drive: Push off the ground with your legs to transfer power from your core to the racquets.  
  • Maintain Proper Footwork: Move your feet quickly to position yourself for optimal backhand swing mechanics.
  • Practice Different Backhands: Master the two-handed backhand with one hand back for more control, then explore variations like the two-handed slice for greater net clearance and aggressive angles.
  • Visualize Success: Imagine yourself hitting a clean and powerful backhand, and let that image guide your movements.