Backhand grip

In Nick Saviano's book, Maximum Tennis, Andre Agassi is said to have a very 'soft' left hand on his backhand, and yet often I hear and read many tips suggesting a very dominant, or active, supporting hand for the two handed backhand. Especially now, with the more semi-open stanced players, what should I suggest when teaching the backhand to developing players?

Tennis CoachCoach
Tennis CoachCoach

Round about answer... My focus is first on positioning and then on the prep of the players shoulders. The key to a semi or full open stance is that the shoulders are still engaged and acting as the catalyst for racquet head speed. If you follow that line of thought wouldn't the emphasis be off of hands and/or arms and place squarely on trunk rotation? My focus would be to have hands and arms just be along for the ride. A machine will be most efficient when all of it's parts are moving freely. Richard Katz U.S.P.T.A / P.T.R

Tennis CoachCoach

when teaching a developing players how to hit a backhand is best to start from the basics foundamentals of the backhand ... start from having yourself in front of your student and have your students behind as your shadow and go to step 1 which is the first position of preparation then 2 which is getting ready to hit a backhand and 3 which is contacting to the ball and 4 which is finishing the swing .. my friend start from the basics is the best way of teaching the best backhand... then after you feel that your student have gotten the feeling of the swing then feed them balls but up close to them see how they feel then feed a couple of balls behind the net so that they can hit with more open space .. try that .. coach joseph Lee usptr for 12 years ...

Norman FreyCoach, United States of America

Since Agassi generally hit the ball early on the rise when the ball is moving faster I would have expected him to use his non dominant hand as if he were hitting a left handed forehand with a harder grip thereby generating more power and using his dominant right hand to control the shot with a very soft right hand. If he were hitting a drop shot however, then I would expect him to soften up his non dominant left hand to take the pace off the ball so that it did not sit up too high which would enable his opponent to get to the ball and put it away.

Tennis CoachCoach

switch to a one hand with an extreme grip...see how your student feels after a few thousand balls...if he or she decides to go back to a two have incorporated and extreme topspin grip.....which will develop tremendous spin and students have developed wonderful backhands on the extreme grip...backhand side...of course for more power you just take that grip and move it down a few notches....however 90% of my players went from a two hander to a one hander...i incorporate attack tennis...

sebastien ScauxCoach, England

I think the problem is the interpretation of the 2 expressions.

Andre Agassi used to hold his racket with his finger tips hence the very soft touch. It is with how much tension you are holding the racket that will determine the result in your action. Try to hit a FH while holding the racket extremely hard, repeat the action with a soft grip holding the racket loosely.

The second point is the dominant left hand. Here again it comes to the mis-interpretation. What you must understand is that a 2 handed BH is nothing more than a left handed FH (or non-dominant BH to be exact) with the support of your right hand. A very easy drill to teach a good 2 handed BH is to ask  your player to hold the racket half way with their non-dominat hand and play a FH when they have got it asked them to palce the dominant hand under and play a FH with the non-dominant hand and you should see a perfect 2 handed BH.

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