Many tennis players rely on a strong forehand to dictate and win points. However, your forehand is just one component of your ground stroke game.
If you want to be a more consistent and lethal player, you must become very comfortable hitting your backhand!
The backhand shot is the one you hit when your swing wraps around your body with the back of your hand pointed forward.
For many players, the backhand feels much less natural than the forehand. Because of this, the backhand is a shot that requires a lot of practice.
Check out our great offerings on tennis lessons this summer to practice your backhand!
On top of lessons with our vetted coaches, bring these tips with you out to the court if you want to improve your backhand swing.
Make a C Swing
The backhand is a very compact shot that quickly generates and transitions power from the racquet to the ball.
The best way to do this is through a technique we call the ‘C Swing’.
The C Swing is named after the path your racquet takes when you load up and make contact with the ball.
As you can see above, the racquet comes from low to high and accelerates through the imaginary ball, thus making a C-shape.
The C Swing allows you to become consistent in your backhand swing which limits errors and improves consistency.
The Contact Point
Like any shot, the contact point of your backhand is very crucial to its overall success.
You want to stay light on your feet in order to react to any type of shot your opponent hits at you.
As you approach the ball, try and contact the ball slightly out in front of you.
As the USTA refers to it, you should be in a similar position to as if you were turning a doorknob.
A correct contact point will feel very comfortable while allowing you do dicatet exactly where you want to hit the ball.
The follow through may be the most important part of your swing. It creates the control and pace needed to hit a good backhand shot.
Make sure to keep the pace of your follow through the same as your original swing. If you slow down or speed up your follow through, the whole tempo and rhythm of your shot will be thrown off.
Make sure your swing goes up and over your opposite shoulder. I often recommend beginners exaggerate the follow through in order to guarantee they are holding it long enough.
Hit With Room For Error
Hitting with room for error is very important in tennis, and even more important when hitting your backhand.
If you do not feel comfortable with your backhand, hitting with room for error will allow shots that you do not hit cleanly to still stay in play.
For example, you want to take most of your backhand shots cross-court. By this I mean if you are on the left side of the court, you want to hit it diagonally across the net. Doing this helps you in two ways.
- The ball will be traveling over the middle of the net, which is the lowest part of the net. This is important because backhands are not hit with very much topspin so it is harder to get it up and down over the net.
- Hitting the ball cross-court gives you a very big target to aim at. Aiming down the line is a very small target with a high miss percentage. On most cross-court shots, if you miss-hit the ball, it will still end up in the court.
I believe it is very important to hit with room for error if you do not feel very comfortable with your backhand because it will allow you to drastically decrease your missed shot count. This allows you to stay in rallies and improve your comfortability with the shot!
Wanna know more Tips & Tricks? Check out this blog post!