The two-handed backhand-once an anomaly in tennis-has become a staple of the modern tennis game.
Here are eight key components players should use whether they're trying out the stroke for the first time or simply want to perfect their existing two-handed, or double-handed, backhand.
The first four tips tackle the preparation phase of the stroke, while the last four deal with proper execution. Follow these eight tips in order.
Bend Your Knees
One of the most common mistakes players make is that they are too stiff in their legs. This makes it really difficult to react correctly to the flight of the oncoming ball (tracking) and virtually impossible to use the ground to help you generate any power.
It's one of the main reasons many players feel they have no power in their backhand. Pros, who do use their legs and the ground properly, find the double handed backhand is the more powerful of the two ground strokes.
Approach With Small Steps
Once you have some "flex" in the legs you'll be able to move around the court more efficiently and athletically.
Approach the ball with a quick succession of small steps rather than the all too common couple of large steps. This allows you to be more reactive around the tracking of the ball and to build up some momentum with your footwork, which will help you increase your racquet-head speed and the power of your shot.
Coil the Upper Body
The other key to developing a destructive double hander is the coiling of the upper body. Getting a good shoulder turn in that allows the arms and the racquet to go back (and up) is crucial and needs to be performed in advance of the ball landing on your side of the court.
Make sure you firmly plant your weight onto your rear foot to set you up for the drive forwards into the ball.
The key here is not to over-rotate and not to perform it so early that you're waiting too long.
Keep Your Arms Relaxed
Now that you're in a good loaded position, it's crucial that you keep the arms relaxed.
Just like having stiff legs is a problem, stiff arms will make moving the racquet quickly difficult. Without racquet head speed, you won't be able to generate power.
Relaxed arms that are a good distance from your body (I see so many people with their arms way too close) will place you in the perfect position to execute the shot.
Please don't underestimate the importance of the preparation for this shot, without this phase in place you will never play the backhand with any authority or power.