The stroke used to return balls which bounce to the left (non-racquet’s) side of the body. Like the forehand drive, it consists of a horizontal swing which imparts some top spin to the ball, and sends the ball forward swiftly to land near the baseline.
Note – This stroke should be just as easy as the forehand drive. The only reason players think it more difficult is that they do not practise and use it as much as the forehand stroke. Except for a change of grip and body position, it is much the same.
Backhand Drive Analysis
a. Eastern grip (there is a change in grip for the forehand and backhand drives).
1′. The racquet handle is shifted slightly so that the first knuckle is on the top side plate of the handle, palm is on top of handle, facing downward.
2′. The thumb may be placed directly up the back plate of the handle, acting as a brace, thus strengthening the grip. However, this position of the thumb is optional, many players preferring the thumb in a diagonal position so wrist action is facilitated.
3′. The opposite face of the racquet is used to hit a backhand from that used in the forehand.
2. Wrist Action
a. Adduction of the wrist, or movement of the wrist toward the body, during the backswing, and abduction, or a definite throw of the wrist away from the body, accompanying the forward swing. Since the hand is more or less on top of the handle in the backhand grip, lateral movement of the wrist takes the place of the flexion and extension used in the forehand drive, when the hand was more on the back of the handle.
b. The wrist holds the racquet well up, so that the racquet head is higher than the wrist, throughout the entire stroke.
The hand is in a strong position on the top side of the racquet handle. The thumb may be placed up the back plate of the handle. The opposite face of the racquet is used from that in the forehand drive.
Note – Players who fail to change the grip find the wrist in a weak position for action, since the hand is on the front of the handle rather than the top. If the player attempts to hit the ball with the same side of the racquet as in the forehand, the wrist faces the ball and is in an awkward position for the stroke. This happens frequently when the incorrect forehand grip has been used.
3. Body Position And Action
a. Body is at right angles to the net, with the right foot toward the net and the left foot away from the net.
b. Because the backswing is across the body, there must be decided body rotation away from the net to insure a full backswing.
1′. Thus it is best to place the right foot diagonally forward toward the left net post.
2′. The player’s back is almost turned on the net during the backswing, with the player looking over her right shoulder at the oncoming ball.
c. Weight shifts to left foot during backswing and forward onto right foot with forward swing, trunk rotating definitely toward net. Continue reading