Pivot and Shoulder Turn
The first thing professional tennis players do when they hit a two-handed backhand is pivot and turn their shoulders. This puts them in position to move to the tennis ball and starts their racket take back.
Coming out of the split step, pivot with your outside foot and transfer your weight to that foot. At the same time turn your shoulders sideways. The pivot opens your hips up, making it easier for you to turn your shoulders. When you execute this step, your tennis racket will start to come back because your shoulders are turning sideways. You SHOULD NOT be moving your arms side-to-side to bring the racket back. That happens later in the motion.
At 20 seconds in the video we clip to the side view of my two-handed backhand. From this perspective, you’ll see that when I pivot and turn my shoulders my tennis racket starts to come back because my shoulders are turning sideways. This is one of the keys to the pivot and shoulder turn: the racket starts to come back because the shoulders turn sideways. It’s very important that you do not use your arms during this step of the backhand to take the racket back.
At 43 seconds in the video we watch Frank pivot and turn his shoulders on his two-handed backhand. Coming out of the split step, he pivots with his outside foot, transfers his weight to that foot, he gets the heel of his inside foot up, and he turns his shoulders sideways. The pivot opens up his hips, letting him get his shoulders all the way sideways.
At 1:00 we clip to the top view of Frank’s two-handed backhand. From this perspective, you can see that when he pivots and turns his shoulders the tennis racket starts to come back. What’s equally as clear is that, despite the fact that the racket has started to come back, his hands are still in line with his head / body. The shoulder turn is what starts the racket take back.
At 1:23 we look at some pictures of Andy Roddick’s two-handed backhand to illustrate the pivot and shoulder turn. In the first picture Roddick is just completing his split step. In the following picture he has pivoted and turned his shoulders. Andy has transferred all the weight to his outside foot and he has the heel of his inside foot up. That footwork has opened up his hips, allowing him to turn his shoulders sideways. The tennis racket has started to come back because his shoulders have turned sideways, even though he hasn’t moved his arms yet.