– Hey guys, Scott and
Nate from PlayYourCourt, and today if you can take
your attention off of Nate’s bright blue shirt,
we’re gonna talk about a mistake you might be
making on your backhand. – I’m sorry we’re not all
filmed in black and white (Scott laughing)
and shades of gray, Scott. (Nate laughing) – All right guys, today Nate
and I are gonna show you a really common mistake we see that causes you to miss
a lot of backhands. This video is for players with a PlayYourCourt rating of 50 to 80. If you’re not in our community or familiar with our rating system,
this is the equivalent of about a USTA 3.0 up to a 4.5. So Blueberry, talk to me here. What (chuckling), what
are we divin’ in on? – All right guys, so what
we’re talking about today is controlling the side,
specifically the non-dominant side of your backhand.
– That’s gotta be your backhand, right?
– That’s the backhand, right, because, I mean, I’m a righty. So the lefty. And what we’re talking about here is, a lot of you out there, when
you’re hitting your backhand, you’re not controlling the side, specifically the shoulder
of your hitting arm. So what’s happening is that
you’re opening up really early and then you’re just dragging
the racket through contact, and you can see that I’m really
tight, got the T. rex arms. – And jammed up. – I’m pretty jammed up, man. And so the follow through
becomes almost impossible. I end up here, yanking the
shoulder, and we start seeing us getting over the ball. A common mistake, and
we’ve all been guilty at every single level, and
we’re gonna show you a drill that actually helps. But let’s talk about what
that drill is for a minute. – For sure.
– It’s gonna be simple, right? So like a lot of you are unaware of what you’re doing with your shoulder. You swear to yourself you’re
keeping it under the chin. We know that this shoulder
needs to stay under the chin when we hit, but what a
lot of you aren’t aware is how quickly it opens. So the quick fix is just aim
down the line, all right? Take some reps and go down the line. It’s a harder shot; a
lot of us don’t prefer the down-the-line backhand,
but as far as drilling and practicing, it’s one of
the best ways to make sure we’re controlling this shoulder because it’s a lot more natural
to swing out to the target and controlling this shoulder. The cool thing is, the subtle difference of going down the line and
cross court is not a whole lot. The down-the-line ball
that squares up to it, that controls the shoulder,
should only change by a fraction, maybe an inch
or two, for the cross court, and then we’re still
controlling that side. – This is where a lot of my
students definitely get confused ’cause they see such a variety because of so much open-stance
action on the forehand side. They think, oh, you know,
my feet and shoulders and everything should look
substantially different if I’m hitting to one side of
the court versus the other, and that’s just not the case. – No, and it’s, I think that open, what’s called the semi-open,
the open stance forehand would suggest something like that, right? But the the semi-open,
where we’re staggered, it happened because of
the evolution of the game. The game happened really,
really fast, right? Or like, the game just
got really, really fast in a very short amount of time. – Yeah, there’s no time
for those extra steps. You had to just fall back
into an open stance to – That’s right.
– deal with the power, right? – And that’s fine for the forehand. You can be a little bit
more open on your forehead. On the backhand, kinda the classic way of hitting it is still king. Yes, can you hit an open-stance backhand, but that should almost
be a very defensive, on the outer third part of the court, or a return of serve. – Even at the highest level, there’s so few players that do this well. Open stance backhand is
a very hard shot to hit. I mean, we know Serena Williams, Novak. There’s plenty of
players inside the top 15 that don’t have a great
open stance backhand. So when we talk to you
guys as rec players, we’re not really gonna recommend this unless this is somethin’ you
just fall into super-naturally. – All right guys, so what are the mistakes that we want you to focus on? The first thing that
we want you to focus on is closing the stance, okay? Not allowing this hip
to stay open unless you absolutely have to, someone’s
hitting significant pace, or pulling you really, really out wide. So return of serve, or defensive backhand. But closing the stance,
ensuring that the shoulder is under the chin, and then
keeping or holding the side, my non-dominant side, by
swinging out to the target for a down-the-line, and
then allowing it to come up. All right, so the easiest
way to feel this, as we said, is gonna be to practice
your down-the-line backhand, and then the variation will just be getting contact a little
bit more out in front, and that’s gonna get the cross court. So if you’re wondering
if it’s you out there that suffering from this mistake. If you’re hooking the
ball wide on the backend. If you’re pullin’ it into the net, this is probably the
mistake that’s causing it. – I see coaches make this mistake too when they’re coaching the backhand. They say, “Hey, step towards your target.” And that’s true to some degree, but like to a very minute degree. You’re not gonna take a full
45 degree step, you know, towards down the line and then
alter it another 45 degrees in the other direction to hit cross court. – Right.
– When we as coaches watch, we shouldn’t even really be able to tell, if you’re doing this correctly, whether you’re gonna hit
down-the-line or cross court until moments before contact,
maybe even at contact if you’re disguising it well.
– That is why, when you do this right,
it is so effective. Why does Djokovic have the
best backhand in the world? – It’s disguised.
– You have no idea if he’s going across
court or down-the-line ’cause they look exactly the same. – Right.
– All right, let’s hit some. So we’re gonna show you now, we’re gonna show you just some drilling. What we’re gonna do is just, if you watch Scott here
hitting the backhand, his down-the-line backhand is gonna look almost the same.
– Substantially better than Nate’s.
– Not true. I’ll be hitting a forehand. (Scott laughing)
There you go, you geometry wizard. (both men laughing) We’re hitting down the line. But you’re gonna see that
his down-the-line backhand looks identical to his cross court, with just a little
difference in the contact. – Let’s take a look. All right guys, so I’m gonna show you a couple of backhands here. What I want you to pay
really close attention to is how long I stay closed. I’m gonna be thinking actively about trying to keep my chin over my shoulder for as long as possible, and
I want to dispell a quick myth that you might have heard
from other coaches too. A lot of coaches will tell
you when you hit the ball late on your backhand side, it’s
because of your foot work and that you haven’t set
up correctly to the ball. What Nate and I just spoke about is actually commonly the cause for you catching the ball late and
missing it wide, and what this is is your chin comes away
from your shoulder, your shoulders open up too quickly, and instead of making contact out in front you catch that ball back here. So the adjustment now is
I’m gonna keep my chin over my shoulder for longer, extend out, make contact out in front, so
now even though I put the ball in the same spot with my
feet, the contact point is out in front and I
don’t spray the ball wide. Let’s take a quick look
at what these look like as I hit some down the
line, and then eventually I’ll shift to cross court so
you can see that there’s really very little difference
in the set up stance. Let’s take a look. All right, so we’re gonna show you first the incorrect way, where one
of two things can happen. When my hips and shoulders open too early I can make contact late
and spray the ball wide or my hips and shoulders
can open too early and my contact, and that’s
obviously exaggerated, but my contact can happen
way too far out in front where I spray the ball
too wide cross court. So now let’s take a
look at the adjustment. The focus, again, is
I’m gonna take my chin and leave it over my shoulder
for as long as I can, focus on that contact
and that reaching out in front of my right hip,
and you’re gonna see me drive the ball down the line,
then we’ll do another example where I hit the ball cross
court, and what you’re gonna see is just a very small change
where just my front foot ever so slightly moves a
little more cross court, and my racquet face ever so slightly moves a little bit further
in front of my right hip. Let’s take a look. So first let’s take a
look at down the line. Now cross court. What you’ll see is a very,
very small adjustment to hit down the line versus cross court. Down the line. And cross court. All right guys, so
hopefully as you saw there, when I’m hitting cross
court versus down the line, the difference is pretty subtle, and I’ll tell you, this is important, especially when I play my
blueberry buddy Nate here, is disguising this ball and
your opponent’s not being able to tell what you’re gonna
do with this backhand. – I know what you do with the backhand.
– Causes some problems, right? Particularly for you,
– Disagree. – And your blue shirt.
– Disagree. – No, okay. All right, bring us
home, you’re obviously, the big points I think are just the stance doesn’t change as
much as you think that might, make sure you’re not
getting these T. rex arms, and we talk about this in other capacities where, when you get
nervous on your backhand you start to grip your racket too tight. We already know this is
bad, so we don’t wanna open our shoulders too early
and just create something we already know is incorrect. – Yeah, just relax here guys. The theme here is control
the side, relax the arms, and make sure this
shoulder is under the chin. Some of you are gonna work on this and it’s still gonna feel
tough, and if this doesn’t quite bring it home, just remember, like, your head should not move. Notice that my left
shoulder has now replaced the right shoulder, and
that’s gonna help you control the side here. So the little drill that
we were telling you earlier that, you know, we suggest you work on if you’re having a hard
time with your backhand, is a rally with a partner,
and for every three balls you hit down the line, take
one cross court, right? So your partner’s hitting
forehands down the line to your backhand, you’re
gonna hit that three times, and then you’re gonna pull across court. And it’s just gonna be
the subtle difference. You’re gonna start
noticing that it’s almost the same exact stroke, just a
little deviation in contact. – Yeah, I think we all
practice cross court so much that we think much differently
when we get into this cross court rally over
and over and over again, that the secret to this
drill, really, is starting off hitting down the line and then throwing that cross court ball in there
and realizing, wait a second, I don’t need to make this huge adjustment. – Yeah, totally agree. – Very cool. Well guys, I hope this instruction helped. As you guys know, here at PlayYourCourt, Nate and I just wanna see
you improve your game. Obviously the instruction we gave today is for a very specific skill level, and we don’t know a ton
about you, so do us a favor, click the button or the link below and let us know what your
specific skill level is. We’ll then send you some
custom video coaching based on the things that you
actually need to be working on. Just click the button or the link and Nate and I will do the rest.

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Dennis Veasley

18 thoughts on “Is This Why You’re Missing Your Backhand??? – Tennis Backhand Lesson”

  1. I have a question look,
    I just watched your X-drill video,
    I just wanna know how to shape well if I am playing against someone who play Very {flat} because the ball is already low so it isn’t gonna drop that much , because I always struggle when I play against someone who play very flat and I find myself unable to apply my spin to try to turn the rally around and I just find myself pushing the ball back.

  2. Just couldn't help to finish watching this input. There is still some visibility on the court. Gonna rush there test your advice. Just switched from 1H BH to the 2H BH. Now got the solution. Great help! Thank you!!! 👍😊

  3. Great stuff!!! One question and one request… For the 2HBH, I have no problem with DTL and CC when the ball sits up a little, however when it is low is there anything to know when the ball is low? On the FH side, any upcoming videos on disguise (w/ consistency of course) between DTL and CC from each of the three FH stances?

  4. 7 min talk before hitting and demonstrating the first ball , for just telling to extend the left arm on the left side of your body 😳😳😳

  5. Very good tip, I have been noticing down the line backhand is easier than cross court, 2hbh. This explains why it is.

  6. Hey Guys, great job first of all…finding your online tips most useful than anyone else. I'm a club level player and l want to check with you what is going wrong here..when I'm practicing the first serve alone in the court(no opponent) I'm able to hit the first serve itself correctly 70% or above and I've a very good big serve over 100mph easily but as soon as I'm playing the match it drops significantly lower to just 20-30% and my second server is very weak at the moment..so two things if you could help me with…1. how to keep the first serve sticking in the games? and 2. Tips for improving the 2nd serve. Looking forward to hear from you.


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