Sunday, December 14, 2014

Speed Up Your Backhand

I went down to the park a little while ago to get some time in with the backboard.

I usually begin close (8 to 10 feet) to the backboard, for about ten minutes, to warm up my feet, body and brain - mainly short bounces, but taking some volleys as well.

So I move back to a distance which would be about the same as the deepest half of back-court and I'm hitting alternating forehand and backhand ground strokes. (Come on, I'm not using fresh balls here.) Something is not going right with my backhand. I'm not all over the place, but I'm hitting too high and inconsistently. I know the mechanics and how this should feel, but am I hitting late, with old balls, from about 35 feet from a backboard? I'm not even ripping my shots - my forehand is doing just fine.

I use a single-handed backhand stroke and I feel I am coming up and through with my racket, but something's not working.

It's not like I was doing a big C back-swing (I don't know many who actually do with their backhand.) and I even quit the big C with my forehand decades ago.

Ah, ha! I moved up to about 18 to 20 feet from the backboard and begin hitting with about the same pace as I was from 35 feet. Okay, I can't have a lazy backhand up here, particularly when hitting on the OctaCurve Mach III backboard. It worked. By moving in and hitting ground strokes I was forced to get that racket back much quicker.

Well, obviously my forehand had been playing tennis while my backhand was having a stroll through the park.

I moved back to the 35 foot spot and got my backhand back in gear. I also realized I was beginning to step through my shots more than I had. 

It's wonderful what can be gained by the use of a backboard when you challenge yourself and get out of your comfort zone - it may help another aspect of your game.

Tiny Tip: I occasionally take a piece of colored string and run it about 2 1/2 feet above the net line on the backboard to give me a target window. The string breaks or wears down before anyone ever removes it.

Note: Lobbing a backboard on a fence can be quite time consuming unless you have a Labrador Retriever or a friend with absolutely nothing else to do but shag (careful, you Brits) balls for you.


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