Just about every player wants to know how to master the high one handed backhand.
It’s one of the trickiest shots in all of tennis. Even the greats, like Federer, sometimes struggle with the high backhand. The good news is that there are a few things we can learn from the best players who have one handed backhands.
I’m going to guide you through a step-by-step progression to show you how to master the high one handed backhand. After following these tips you won’t fear hitting your one hander anymore, and your weakness will soon become a strength.
First off, you want to make contact with the ball at about shoulder height.
If you make contact with the ball above shoulder height, you will probably have to hit the ball more defensively, causing the ball to land short, making it easy for your opponent to attack.
Instead, get your feet into the correct position so that you can push off the ground at the right time to handle the high backhand at shoulder height.
If you want to learn how to master the high one handed backhand, you must use the correct footwork. In this case, the best choice is the back to front footwork pattern.
Here is how to successfully use this footwork pattern.
Load your outside leg behind the ball. When it’s time to swing at the high ball, push off the ground, and make contact when both legs are off the ground.
After contact, you will land on your front foot, while your back leg kicks back behind you for balance. This footwork pattern will let you transfer all your weight into the ball, adding natural power to your shot. Also, because you’re leaving the ground as you make contact, it will be much easier for you to hit the ball at shoulder height.
While using the back to front footwork, it is important that you stay sideways while you hit the ball.
If you rotate too much into the ball, towards the net, you’ll end up muscling the ball. This will cause you to make more off center hits, and lose control. There is a good chance you will also dump the ball into the net.
So, keep your body close to a 45 degree angle to the net while you hit the ball, so that you can get full extension on your swing and feel stable as you make contact.
Let’s move onto the next step on how to master the high one handed backhand.
You also want to use the most efficient swing path for the high ball.
You’re probably trying to clear the net by swinging low to high and aiming high over the net. This is very hard to do on a ball that’s being struck at shoulder height. Instead of using a conventional low to high swing path, I recommend swinging across the body more.
This will help you get more stick on your shot, hitting a flatter drive that is aggressive and penetrating.
To ensure that you make solid contact, keep your head at the contact point when you hit the ball and as you follow through.
If you ensure that your head is stable at the contact point, your body will stay more sideways. This means you’ll be able to swing across your body, giving you more extension, power, and control.
Roger Federer is the perfect role model to follow here. He’s even on record saying that he can see the ball deform on his strings when he hits the ball. This might be tough to do yourself, but keeping your head at contact longer is certainly critical if you want to master the high one handed backhand.
So, go ahead and try out these tips on how to master the high one handed backhand a try next time you’re on court. You should find that they help immediately. Have fun handling those high balls to your one handed backhand back.