In this one handed backhand tennis lesson, I’ll explain how you can improve your one hander right away. Likewise, I’ll describe the proper stance and body alignment required to master this classic tennis groundstroke.
Many coaches are teaching you to step in the wrong way, which is a common mistake. You’ve always been taught to lean into the ball. However, I recommend to actually lean back when the ball is coming in your strike zone. You don’t have to run or reach; thus, you should be able to keep a fairly narrow stance.
Let’s get started,
One Handed Backhand Stance
I’ve seen a lot of players who take a huge step and stride out to the ball when they swing. Then, they tend to keep their knee bent when they’re done. I propose to have a narrow stance with a slightly bent knee and straighten the front leg after making contact. In fact, you’ll finish with your feet close together and your body totally upright.
That is a great little tip to help you improve your one hander. You’ll be able to crush your one handed backhand, when you have a narrower base and straighten your leg as you swing. Nevertheless, you don’t want to straight up too early and pull off the ball.
If you keep your head at contact and stay on your side, you should be able to straighten the front leg and still stay down on the ball. As a result, you’ll achieve great balance while hitting your one handed backhand.
Now, sometimes you’ll have to take a big stride to deal with a low or wide backhand. However, I’m explaining the foundational concepts during this one handed backhand tennis lesson.
Body Position On The One Handed Backhand
Let’s get into the lean back. A lot of players get into trouble when they swing, and they bring their back leg around. If you study the pros, you’ll see how they slightly step back with their back foot while swinging on their one handed backhand.
Leaning back enables you to keep great balance on your one handed backhand. Afterwards, you can split step and get ready for the next shot without losing your core position. There’s a nice rhythm to it. You can even do this on your two handed backhand, so that you don’t over rotate and run into the ball.
To recap, this is a great tip to keep your balance upright, and feel like you’re leaning back a little bit. As you hit your one handed backhand, leaning back will actually give you more rotation. In fact, when you swing and lean back a little bit, the racket head is going to drop. Therefore, you can brush up against the back of the ball and hit amazing topspin on your one handed backhand.
By Jeff Salzenstein, Founder Tennis Evolution
Jeff is a former top 100 ATP player and USTA high performance coach committed to helping players and coaches all over the world improve.
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