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I've been playing for about 10 years now, and the backhand has always been a weakness for me. When I first started learning, my father taught me the classic one hander. Then at around 16 I tried the two hander, with better success. I've used the two-hander almost exlclusively since then (I'm 24 now), but lately I've been trying to go back to the one hander.

I can hit either way equally well (i.e. much worse than my forehand), with slightly more pace on the two hander. However, I prefer the versatility of the one-handed shot. It's easier to flatten out, hit up the line, and obviously to slice. I've been working in the gym alot lately to build strength, and I think to have a good one hander you need alot of shoulder strength and good technique. A good two-hander to me requires more core strength and is easier to groove.

According to the numbers, about 70% of the men's side (even more on the women's) is now using a two hander. What are your experiences and thoughts on this topic?

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Like you, I've always enjoyed the versatility of the 1hbh. I find the 2hbh somewhat restricting and limiting. However, it is great on the return of serve or higher balls. They both have their good and bad points. But IMO a good player should be able to utilize both effectively. Either way you need to have a good slice bh in your repertoire.
Hey Jan, nice topic.

I used to play more than I do now when I was a little kid, and I started with a one hander. Mostly because that's the way my dad taught me. Ha, looking back at it now, the way he showed me is very close to Henin's execution. I never really learned to execute it properly, but my favorite shot is a 1-handed backhand slice, which I can do pretty well considering my lacking abilities.
Lately, I've been practicing with a 2-hander (on both sides). I like the power I get out of the 2-hander on the backhand, but for more finesse shots, I go with the 1-hander.
all the greats have one-handers.

MacEnroe, Sampras, Federer, Lendl to name a few, plus most of the old school greats. a tennis racket was made to be swung with one hand. (sorry Santoro....you're still awesome.)

also I would bet that the %age in the pros is closer to 2/3s 1/3 one-handed.
Isn't it strange that the two-hander is ever more prevelant but the top of top always seems to play a one-hander? Maybe that's what seperates the two (great vs. good).

During the coverage of the AO, Tuesday if I remember correctly, Cliff, Patrick, and Bud were discussing the two-hander's influence and history, and how only 30 years ago, only 3 or so players were using it, and now we've got almost 70% on the men's side and even more on the women's side. I really think this is the case because of the ease of which you can groove a two-hander vs. one-hander. Also, its easier to generate pace and power, which is taking over the game now (a little sad), with the two-hander.

To play a one-hander with serious effectiveness such as Roger or Justine, your technique has to be absolutely spot on. Just watching either of them hit the shot is amazing. Us hackers are probably better off with a two-hander, but that wont stop me from trying to play a one-hander....well, maybe it will.
7 out of the current top 10 have 2 handers. But like I said even when you have a 2hander you need to know how to slice, so you need the one hander also. I acutally think it's easier to generate pace with the one hander because it is less restrictive. It's just harder to control, but if you get the stroke mechanics down you could probably hitter bigger with the one hander. It's hard to say one is better than the other but I lean toward the one hander because of the versatility. And even 2 handers need a 1 handed slice but 1 handers don't neccessarily need a 2handed shot.
I also wanted to mention that the prevelance of the 2 hander is a sign of the decline of the serve and volley play style. It is now a baseliners game and the 2hander can be a bit more steady from the baseline given that it is easier to mishit with a 1 hander, if your timing is even slightly off. So there are high numbers of 2handers because the game is transitioning to a baseliners game rather than a game dominated by serve and volleyers.
Yeah, that's a good point. What is going to happen as all us two-handed backhand players age?

I play with a 2 hander primarily, but will switch to one when stretching and slicing. For kicks, when I'm rallying with friends, I'll pull out the ol' one hander and I can hit it pretty good. I've often thought I should switch over as I get older (I'm 38 now). All great older players around here have the 1-h b-h and I realize that that's because they learned before the 2-h came around. Do you think our generation will have a bunch of 65 year olds swinging the two-hander?

M
it's a matter of preference and what the situation is. i can do either. but will stay with the 1 hander.
Having a 2 hbh is also more effective in disguising a drop shot. I believe Nalbandian is very good at this.
A lot of juniors use a two hander because it's easier to learn (little kids aren't strong enough to hit a one hander correctly). Obviously, if you grow up hitting one way you probably won't change so that's why a lot of younger players use two handers nowadays.

Both shots require "good technique." I don't know if one is easier to learn. Probably just depends on the player. If you prefer the versatility of the one hander, switch to that. I personally hit w/a two hander but there are definitely times when I wish I didn't.
Hello Jan! On the tour, I often use my one handed backand, because of, what you said, versatility! However, it's never a bad idea to have a two handed backhand in your aresnal as well. Try focusing on one, and then when you believe that you've conquered it's method, then try learning the other as well as you did the first. Have fun!
Hey Jan - great topic!

I started out with a two-hander, and switch to one. For a few reasons.

First, I have big arms and a wide upper body, so the 2h always felt like I was jammed somehow. I could get plenty of pace on it, but it never felt very natural, always kind of frantic to set it up. Just physically more difficult.

Second, I looooooooooove hitting slice drop shots and it's the ultimate end for me when setting up a point. Much easier to disguise that when you hit with a 1h anyway and can at least keep your opponent honest with it.

Third, defense. I don't play a very strong net game, so being able to stretch out and whack a backhand on the run with one hand reasonably well has kept me in quite a few points where concentrating on perfecting the 2h wouldn't.

I generally hit my bh with a semi-eastern grip from the baseline, and I'll switch it to a pretty extreme eastern if I'm up by the service line on a short shot to really whip it into the corner with some topspin.

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