revers deux mains

Our love-hate relationship with the backhand...

The backhand is a stroke often neglected in favour of running round to hit a forehand. This was common in tennis until just a few years ago. “Play a forehand, play a forehand!” our coaches would say, again and again... It’s always been considered players’ weakest stroke. But times have changed, and the backhand is a now seen as a vital game component. You only have to watch top level matches to see that the backhand is a solid stroke, and that, like the forehand, its chief asset is being able to dictate the rally and dominate the point. So, whether one or two-handed, get out there and hit some backhands!

To start with, let's take a look at the differences between these two backhands.

  Advantages Disadvantages
One-handed backhand

Improved angle and heightened control of tennis shots



Need greater strength to handle racket with one hand

Two-handed backhand


Offsets poor placement (2nd hand)


Requires quicker, more accurate footwork

Why should you choose between these backhands?

The four best players in the world in 2015 reflect a longstanding debate that has divided the tennis universe since the two-handed backhand first appeared. Of these four players, two use a one-handed backhand and two the double-handed version. The issue is so unclear that tennis clubs still don’t know which type to teach their budding young players.

So, what’s the answer to this eternal question? Rather than try to provide an answer, our advice would be to choose which one you prefer and then make it an essential shot in your game.

How do you play a good backhand?

Well, the good news is that you don't need talent or a special gift; just a bit of technique!
As Nicolas Escudé often says, the backhand is frequently used to win a match (“Play your backhand”). The greater your technical ease, the more confident and calm you will be during a backhand rally. Ready?

Here are two videos showing you how to correct or perfect your backhand.

1. One-handed backhand

2. Two-handed backhand

Damien’s top tip:

Do you want to improve your opposite hand? Here’s a really easy exercise: for a right-hander, play a backhand and remove your right hand. Then, without changing your left-hand grip, play rallies without using your right hand (opposite for a left-hander).

Want to know more?

Supination of the right wrist (for right-handers) is vital when hitting a backhand. Supination involves moving the wrist from a palm facing downwards position to a palm facing upwards position.
That’s why the racket head’s path (as it moves from underneath the ball and follows through) is an important part of the movement.

You now have the key to making your backhand another weapon to attack and surprise your opponent. Go on, try it!


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