I hope my last tip on contact points for the one-handed backhand is paying dividends for your game. Now its time to move on to the next part of our series on the backhand contact points: the two-handed backhand!
Grip Combination One
Top Hand – Eastern forehand
Bottom hand – Semiwestern or eastern forehand
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c.2005 Barbara Banks
The forehand is generally the first stroke to be on the lesson pad. There are several variations of forehand grips, but very few players maintain their forehand grip (whichever one it may be) for use with the two-handed backhand. Most players will change their grip to a different combination that is easier to use for the backhand shot.
With a forehand grip on the bottom hand, the power and control is shifted to the top hand. The bottom hand will assume the role of anchoring down the butt of the racquet through the contact zone, and the top hand is the driving force behind the stroke.
The preferred contact zone relative to the above grip is behind the front hip with the arms fairly close to the body. The top hand plays the dominant role with this grip combination, with players hitting as if it were their forehand stroke. The bottom hand is in a fairly laid back position, and will anchor the butt of the racquet through contact. This is a very tough grip combination, and I do not recommend using it.
Grip Combination Two
Top hand – Eastern forehand
Bottom hand – Continental
The shift of the bottom hand into the continental grip will not change the fact that the stroke will still be top-hand dominant. The preferred contact zone, however, shifts slightly more forward than the previous grip combination.
The bottom arm will remain slightly bent at the elbow throughout the stroke. Again, the right hand will work to pivot the butt of the racquet as the left hand creates the driving force. The pivoting action of the body starts as the swing line drives the butt of the racquet toward contact. The hands then travel out across the body, and above the opposite shoulder.
You should practice hitting this stroke from both an open and a neutral stance.
Nick Bollettieri founded the IMG Bollettieri Tennis Academy in 1978, the first full-time tennis boarding school to combine intense training on the court with a custom-designed academic curriculum. He has coached 10 players who have reached No. 1 in the world, including Andre Agassi, Boris Becker and Martina Hingis. To learn more, visit IMGAcademies.com.