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Backhand loop

Published: 26 Feb 2009 - 01:49 by MarkG

Updated: 05 Mar 2009 - 17:33

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 I have been focusing on developing proper fundamentals, recently concentrating on forehand drives.  As I have started working more on my backhand drives I have noticed a few differences in style.  In relation to a horizontal swing, my understanding is that you should have the racquet face open at the top of the backswing and into the downswing, then rotate the forearm through to impact.  When I have studied some of the top pros as well as my coach, I have noticed, however, that they:  1**. close the racquet face at the top of the backswing ;  2. then lay the racquet open into the downswing ;  3. then rotate through to impact.  So it’s kind of a loop from top of backswing to the downswing.  At first I thought this ‘loop’ was personal preference but I am finding that too many good players are doing it for it to be a coincidence.  Seemingly, it is not ball position/height either.   When I try it, I find it hard to coordinate the closing, then opening, then closing of the racquet face.  Occasionally I get it and it feels powerful, although far less consistent than my normal method.  I am curious why so many players seem to do it?  What are the benefits?  Is it recommended?

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From rippa rit - 05 Mar 2009 - 17:30   -   Updated: 05 Mar 2009 - 17:33

Mark I have added some key words to the Relevant Content.  I tried to change the size of the type before I go blind too but it has turned out a bit weird.

Anyway, I did not get this bit about the tilt too well as it seemed to spoil the whole concept of what we had been discussing, especially when bringing touch shots into it.

"So for drives the racquet tilts fully back, less so for touch shots, when close to the wall, start from a less forward tilting position.  At practice last night it felt like the lights went on.  Welcome your comments."

About the tilt as you call it. The angle of the tilt will depend on the height of the ball at the time of contact and may not have anything to do with power. The tilt could be to get more spin on the ball, it could be to lift the ball, it may increase the length of the backswing especially when hitting horizontally, the angle of the racket face also has some relationship to the distance between the ball and the front wall.  When the ball is stuck on the side wall the open racket will help scrape the ball off the wall, and will be a softer shot and hopefully not break your racket, and not cause a double hit.

Just keep experimenting with various ball heights, and shots, and it will soon make more sense.

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From MarkG - 05 Mar 2009 - 16:08   -   Updated: 05 Mar 2009 - 17:09

Have been working on it some more….I think my previous description may have been wrong in relation to the top of backswing position.  It’s a bit hard to explain in words, so I hope this makes sense:  there is a difference between forearm rotation and elbow tilt.  Some club players I have seen, differing from the standard, do indeed rotate the racquet closed at the top of the backswing and generate power by rotating open through to impact.  Looking at Jonathon Power at the top of his backswing, it also appears (at least to me) that his racquet face is closed.  However , on closer inspection, it is not closed:  it is tilted forward, and so the racquet is really in an open position, even though it doesn’t look like it.  From this position (on drives) he tilts the racquet back, and then rotates his forearm through to impact.  Beyond creating power, I think from this top of backswing position a variety of shots can be easily hit just by varying this simple tilting movement , thereby improving consistency as well as the ability to deceive.  So for drives the racquet tilts fully back, less so for touch shots, when close to the wall, start from a less forward tilting position.  At practice last night it felt like the lights went on.  Welcome your comments.

Rippa Rit, yes, have been playing around with it.  It’s going pretty well.  It’s funny how the little things are often the big things! 



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From rippa rit - 26 Feb 2009 - 07:30   -   Updated: 26 Feb 2009 - 07:50

As hamburglar said, the more loop, the bigger/longer the backswing, the more power (particularly useful in the back corners) where the shot may even be a boast and not a drive. If you are struggling for time the loop will be a bit of a hinderance, and control would be the essence of the return rather than power. The loop has limitations when the ball is within centrmetres from the floor too.

PS - MarkG - Are you still trying to practice throwing the ball at different heights, some using power returns, and some using control, some balls dropped down parallel to the side wall (ahhh what loop!), some coming out of the back corners, some coming out of the front corners, etc..  That will sort out these peculiar aspects in the swing. So we have various criteria, eg

  • Power/Speed/Depth in the stroke (So there is a big open space and you want to beat your opponent by hitting it away into the corner).
  • Control/Tight/Depth in the return (So the opponent is on the T, the ball is tight, you need time to get back into position and force the opponent out of the centre).
  • Control/Time/Recovery (So the ball is tight in the front corner, the opponent is in position behind, the ball is tight, you need height, control, depth).
  • Speed/Quick/Limited time (So the opponent has hit a boast from the back corner, you are at the ready and need to get the ball away into the front corner as quickly as possible before the opponent gets into position).

Just a few more things for your study.




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From hamburglar - 26 Feb 2009 - 02:17   -   Updated: 26 Feb 2009 - 02:17

The benefit is faster racquet head speed on contact with the ball.

Think of a golf swing, the more the club is brought back, and it can even come in front of your body, the more momentum can be built up during the swing.

The racquet is taking a looped path, but not your hand. At the top of your backswing, try tilting your racquet head forward, on the forehand or the backhand. You'll need more time to swing, but will get more power, maybe a little less control, but you should get more power.

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