Master Every Stroke: Backhand
To hit a great two-handed backhand, says Rick Macci, you have to “feel a pull in your front shoulder.” Macci, who has coached Andy Roddick and the Williams sisters, asks his students to turn until the lead shoulder rests under the chin, as shown here. A proper shoulder turn allows you to uncoil into the shot and execute a rhythmic swing. The off hand should push through contact, instead of slapping at the ball. Macci compares it to a hand moving through water in a bathtub.
• Use a Continental grip on your hitting hand and a semi-Western grip on your off hand.
• To get comfortable with a full shoulder turn, practice hitting with an extreme open stance. Stand at the baseline and keep your feet facing forward. Have a partner feed you easy shots. From this position, you’ll have to exaggerate your shoulder turn to hit the ball. “You’ll feel the pull and the stretch,” Macci says.
• Remember that power starts from the ground up. Many club players forget to use their legs when they hit a two-handed backhand—they just use their arms. You need to bend your knees and step into your shot.
Master Other Strokes:
Originally published in the Jan/Feb 2011 issue of TENNIS.