Masking the Backhand  


Let’s face it many of us suffer the same affliction, the weak backhand. Having excepted your plight, and as your coach, we must now ensure that we take the appropriate steps to minimize it’s detriment to your game.

There are four main areas to consider.

How to maximize the effect of your backhand
Understanding the particular limitations of your backhand is important. Can you hit topspin, slice, dropshot, lob, approach etc.

Once this is clear we can make a plan to make increase the probability of you playing your preferred backhand.

What to expect from your opponent
Assuming that your adversary is aware of your preference for forehands, it is fair to expect that he/she will attempt to exploit your backhand at all costs. This must be understood and certainly must not become a source of frustration. Conversely, if he/she has a weakness of their own, playing to this may decrease their ability to access your backhand.

How to avoid hitting backhands The most obvious technique to use in this situation is to run around the shot and play a forehand. If you play the ball back using the “Inside Out” or “Off Forehand” into your opponent’s backhand corner and create angle, it may be possible to dominate the rally from your own backhand corner using your forehand. This type of strategy has been adopted by many world class players such as Steffi Graf, Carlos Moya etc.

One very good place to be on the court to avoid backhands is the net. Developing a solid approach shot on and backing it up with decisive volleys not only masks your weakness, it also puts the pressure back on your opponent to maintain his/her depth when rallying. Perhaps the serve and volley technique is appropriate for you to employ.

Where to hit the ball to reduce your opponent’s ability to access your backhand
Playing the ball deep and high crosscourt will usually cause your opponent to play a similar type of ball back to you which can give you more time to get around and hit your pet forehand.

Playing your backhand down the line early in the rally can usually draws a crosscourt response to your forehand. Remember though, the down the line shot must be a strong ball as your opponent will see a large amount of open court crosscourt.

(A note for left-handed players)
As most rallies from the baseline are of a crosscourt nature, it is important for you to be playing your forehand to the right-hander’s backhand and not the reverse.

This may require you to play your backhand down the line early in the rally. Once this pattern is established, using the angle topspin forehand crosscourt so that your opponent is forced to make contact with the ball in the tramlines is a great way to maintain this pattern.

Very few players, even at the highest level, have the complete game. It is important to be as solid as possible because good players are very good at exploiting weaknesses.

Use the advice from your IQ Tennis Coach and employ quality practice routines to improve your weaknesses and strengths and improvements and better results will shortly follow.

Craig Miller
IQ Tennis Pty Ltd
"Learn Twice as Fast"

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