There was a time when running around with a backhand to hit a forehand was all the rage. What about now?
"Run-around forehand! Run-around forehand!" Our coaches told us over and over. The backhand was always seen as a player's weak point.
But things have changed, and now it's an essential stroke. Watch any elite-level match these days and you'll see a lot of well-grooved backhands.
Like the forehand, it's a stroke that can dictate rallies and help build points. One hand or two? It doesn't matter – but we'll explain more in here.
To start off with, let's take a look at the differences between these two backhands.
• Advantages: Greater angle and spin on the ball, touch, style
• Disadvantages: You need to be stronger to control the racket with one hand
• Advantages: Accuracy, helps compensate for poor positioning (thanks to the second hand), power
• Disadvantages: You need to be fast on your feet and precise
The top four players in the world in 2015 are a microcosm of the debate that has raged in the tennis world since the emergence of the two-handed backhand. Two of them use the one-handed backhand and two two-handed backhand.
It's become such an issue that national federations are not always sure which type of backhand to teach their best young players.
So what's the answer? Unfortunately, we don't have it. All we can suggest is that you choose one of them and make it an essential part of your game.
The good news? It doesn't take natural talent or a gift; just a little bit of technique.
As Nicolas Escudé says, players will sometimes target their opponent's backhand. They see it as a strategy for winning a game.
The more at ease you are playing it, the more confident and relaxed you will be hitting a backhand in a rally.
Now that you know what the difference is between the different backhands and their advantages/disadvantages, our best advice is to go forth and practice both!
You'll never know which you'll need for different scenarios anyway, and it helps for an ultimately more well-rounded game.