One-Handed Backhand Fundamentals

Richard Gasquet hits a one-handed backhand.

This page contains links to the one-handed backhand.

Introduction to the One-Handed Backhand Fundamentals
This video introduces the one-handed backhand. We have taught the one-handed backhand by focusing on the fundamentals — the things that every single player with a good one-handed backhand does when they hit.

1 Pivot and Shoulder Turn
The first step of the one-handed backhand is the pivot and shoulder turn. You execute this step as soon as you realize you are hitting a one-handed backhand. This pivot and shoulder turn is also how you begin to take your tennis racket back. Because your shoulders are turning sideways the racket will start to come back.

2 Grip Change
The second step of the one-handed backhand is change your grip. As you pivot and turn your shoulders you need to switch to an acceptable one-handed backhand grip.

3 Take Your Racket all the way Back
The third step of the one-handed backhand is to take your tennis racket back. Having pivoted and turned your shoulders, now you can use your hitting arm to take the tennis racket all the way back.

4 Step Into the Court and Drop the Racket Down
The fourth step of the one-handed backhand is to step forward with your inside foot. This step is relatively simple, but it allows you to transfer your weight into your one-handed backhand when you swing.

5 Swing to Contact
The fifth step of the one-handed backhand is to swing to your contact point. Now that you’ve stepped into the court and have brought your tennis racket down, it’s time to swing forward. The swing on the one-handed backhand is relatively simple: your arm and tennis racket swing, as a unit, to your contact point.

6 Follow Through
The sixth step of the one-handed backhand is to follow through. From contact, extend on in the direction you are hitting the tennis ball. Your hitting-arm position — the relationship between your tennis racket and arm — does not begin to break down until your hitting hand is about head level.

7 A note about your Non-Hitting Arm
This video talks about the role of your non-hitting arm during the follow through of your tennis one-handed backhand. You want to keep your non-hitting hand back in order to hold your shoulders sideways during the forward swing and follow through.

  • KD Guest

    —wow, long post.

    TO YOUR FIRST PROBLEM: framing can be easily fixed by watching your contact longer. make sure your head is still or you’ll shank and frame. are you using the right grip, the eastern backhand grip? look it up if you dont. your contact is: stand sideways to the net, stick your arm straight out towards the net with your racquet strings flat. plus youve got to bend your knees to get behind the ball. PLUS DONT HIT CARZY HARD. the point of a one hander is to take it very early, using your opponents pace to help you.

    TO YOUR SECOND PROBLEM: you are right, its related to the first problem, it sounds like its in your head. wills videos will help you get your confidence back plus this advice, but youve kinda got to get back to basics. can u slice? slicing approach shots is good, forces opponent to hit up, hopefully giving you a volley you can put away.

    TO YOUR THIRD PROBLEM: sorry to hear about your neck, but its hard to expect perfect rhythm after 2 weeks unless your form wasnt right to begin with. federers serve is very close to the party stance, what will teaches us. so i cant see why you cant use that instead, it s simple.

    hope this helps. best of luck to you.—

  • KD Guest

    —heres something interesting, try flexing the bicep of the non hitting arm ( with the hand on the throat), it should get the racquet back far enough, make sure your shoulders dont turn any more after the pivot/shoulder turn. and yes your tryin to shape a c, but its a different lookin C than the forehand—

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  • Hyeoncheol Jung

    Hi, I have a question.  When I hit my OH, I don’t realize exactly where I should.  I mean, sometimes, I get very good ball and I can swat it no problem, but there are times when I just frame, and bad.  When is the definite contact point I should focus on (for topspin)? in front of my foot, or at?

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    One thing I’ve noticed when you see Federer, Nadal etc. They watch they ball right on to the strings, other (lesser) players don’t, even on the serve. 

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