How to Hit a Tennis Backhand

Many beginners think that the backhand ground stroke is a difficult one. However, once the footwork and basics of the stroke are mastered, it becomes a very natural shot and can be a very effective weapon.

Here are some points to remember for the backhand:

1. For the grip, the hand is placed at the top of the handle and the thumb placed either across the back of the handle or wrapped around it.
2. From the basic ready position, turn the upper body so that you are sideways to the net.
3. Take the racket back in a slight looping motion, so that it is about perpendicular to the net.
4. As you complete your backswing, bring the forward foot around in front of you and step towards the ball, keeping your weight on the back foot until you start the forward swing.
5. Use a firm grip and ensure that it is a strong grip as you come to hit the ball.
6.  Make contact with the ball just ahead of your forward hip.
7. Transfer your body weight as you hit so that all your body weight is on the front foot when contact with the ball is made.
8. Continue the follow through after the ball has been hit and let your rear foot come through as you finish the stroke.

The Championships - Wimbledon 2007 Day Nine

Sliced Backhand

The motion described above can be used for the sliced backhand. The racket head will be slightly open and the position of the racket remains high when coming forward to hit the ball. The swing path is from high to low.

Topspin Backhand

For this shot, the racket head is positioned in a more straight vertical position. After the loop back, the racket head is dropped low and the knees are bent as well. The swing path is from low to high.

Two-handed Backhand

For one-handed shots, the player has a choice of using slice (backspin) or topspin. For the two-handed shots, topspin is invariably used because slice is difficult to achieve. For that reason, the racket head will drop low and scrape the back of the ball from bottom to top, thus imparting topspin.