The TennisOne staff will be hitting the road to cover the professional tournament circuit over the next few weeks, so look for cutting edge instruction and news on TennisOne on a daily (or near) basis.
Kim Shanley, Publisher
Higher Prep = More Power
The racquet hand height of this club player is at or below waist height at take back.
There are many different variations during the preparation phase of the one-handed backhand among tour players. These variations usually involve the height of the racquet hand on the take back. The height can range from around chest to ear height. However, all too often, many novice players take the racquet back much lower. This is often reinforced by teaching pros in the mistaken belief that a straight back/straight forward” approach to the one-hander will simplify the stroke. However, if the high preparation is taught correctly, the advantages far out weigh the disadvantages of the more simplistic approach especially if one desires a backhand weapon rather than just a “get the ball back in play type backhand.”
The advantage one gains with higher preparation is added power, spin, and fluidity. With the high preparation technique, one only has to use half the effort to produce the same power and racquet speed one achieves with a down low, straight take back. So bottom line, why not attempt to acquire a world-class weapon rather than just settle for a mediocre straight back, down low take back style backhand? Let’s take a look at some examples and point out the differences.
Like all tour players, Tommy Haas uses a high preparation to gain power.
In the video above, you will see the straight down low take back that is very common among novice and club players and in the videos of the pro players below that, the hand height of the racquet hand is higher than the shoulders in all instances.
It is not that one cannot hit a backhand with the straight, down low take back but it is much harder to generate the kind of power the pros need.
Tommy Robredo's hand height at take back is near ear level in his preparation
When one uses the shorter and lower back swing, the racquet will have less distance to travel to the point of impact than that of the higher preparation, and therefore, more energy and effort will be required to obtain power and racquet speed. Because of the greater distance the racquet has to travel during the high preparation, more racquet head momentum and kinetic energy is produced before impact than on a short, low take back. So this equates to effortless power compared to that of the low take back.
I encourage all one-handed backhander's to go out and experiment with the high hand height preparation. I promise you will absolutely love it if you give it enough time. I myself was a converter several years ago (after first learning the straight take back). I simply mimicked the current tour players and now my favorite shot is the big bang down the line with my one-handed backhand. Give it a whirl and let us know how it goes. Until next time.
As always, we would love to hear from you! Questions, comments, personal experiences all create helpful dialogue for everyone! Please click here to send us your email.
Stepping in For Every Ball
Tennis is not a hitting game with some movement, but rather a moving game with some hitting. And at the highest levels, the players dance across the court, quickly, gracefully, and in balance. At the club level, everyone knows to “move their feet.” But Jim McLennan thinks there is something lost in the translation. Are you moving without a purpose or ultimate goal?
ProStrokes Gallery: Xavier Malisse - Backhand
This stylish, explosive, and oh so talented Belgian has a rock solid, whip forehand, and truly incredible foot speed. Malisse has beaten many top tenners in his eight year career. He has tremendous court coverage, quick, graceful, and truly explosive – one of the best movers on tour and a dangerous floater in any draw. Xavier Malisse, the other Belgian, only on TennisOne. New this issue the Xavier Malisse backhand.
Virtual Tennis Academy
Current professional tour coach, Heath Waters and wife, top 100 and former no. 33 in the world ranked tour player, Lindsay Lee-Waters, are proud to release the first predominantly all streaming video based e-learning tennis instructional website at www.virtualtennisacademy.com
Subscribers will receive personal video tennis instruction directly from Heath and Lindsay as well as mental coaching, sports performance training, and much, more from a hand chosen team of experts currently working with professional tennis players on tour. Now anyone in the world, no matter what level, can receive the same world class training the world's best tennis players receive right from the convenience of their own home.
The Etcheberry Experience DVD
For more than twenty years Pat Etcheberry has been providing athletes from around the world with the winning edge. We call this the Etcheberry Experience, and players with an Etcheberry experience have hoisted Championship Trophies at over one hundred major championships, including 28 Australian Opens, 18 Wimbledons, 22 UP Opens, 22 French Opens and 15 Olympic medals.
And now it's your turn! This is your chance to experience the same drills, exercises and words of tennis wisdom that Pat gave to Pete Sampras, Andre Agassi, Jennifer Capriati, Martina Hingis, Jim Courier, Justine Henin-Hardenne, and others, that helped launch them on their incredible careers. For the first time, Pat Etcheberry shares his training secrets in a series of DVDs for players of all ages, their coaches, and trainers.
If you wish to be removed from our newsletter list, please send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org and leave the subject line blank. A confirmation email will be sent to you, and you will be removed from our newsletter list once you reply to that confirmation.
Copyright Notice: The contents of the TennisONE web site and contents forwarded to you by TennisONE are intended for your personal, noncommercial use. Republishing of TennisONE content in any way, including framing or posting of these materials on other Web sites, is strictly prohibited. See our full copyright statement