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One Handed Backhand Like Stan

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In today’s lesson I’ll be teaching you the top three things that you need to do for your one handed backhand to be more like Stanislas Wawrinka’s:

Positioning: way too many club players accept shots out of their “strike zone” while trying to hit their one handed backhand. Find out how to move your feet to deal with those tough, high shots.

Contact point: I’ll how you how to “make a fist” at the ball so that your contact point is further away from your body and more out in front. A comfortable contact point is crucial for your success!

Follow through: don’t use a short, tight, choppy follow through anymore! See what two positions I recommend you try so that your swing can be longer, looser, and more relaxed.

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Leave A Comment


  1. Noushin September 17, 2016 at 8:27 am - Reply

    Many thanks for sharing your experience and invaluable knowledge!

  2. Joe Heydt September 16, 2016 at 2:49 pm - Reply

    I would like to see the same video of you hitting those strokes without the change in camera angle at impact. When you are demonstrating the proper or improper contact point, I don't care about the result of the shot you're hitting. It would be much easier to see from the side.

  3. Dave Jeal September 16, 2016 at 7:42 am - Reply

    Hi Ian,

    what grip do you recommend for the one handed backhand

    i use a semi-westeren forehand



  4. Dick Verona September 15, 2016 at 11:16 am - Reply

    Best yet!

  5. Frank September 14, 2016 at 8:17 pm - Reply

    What I have trouble understanding is how he is able to lift up the the shin-height skidding slices with that grip.

  6. Carey September 14, 2016 at 6:41 pm - Reply

    Another good video – 3 things that I'm sure will help me with my backhand, which has become a more dangerous weapon and with these additional tips will make it better. I love hitting backhands!!!!!

  7. Tim Miller September 14, 2016 at 3:01 pm - Reply

    Great distance from the body

  8. Sean McElgunn September 14, 2016 at 2:42 pm - Reply

    Great breakdown – especially liked the deep back court setup and follow through. Thanks!

  9. Holmert September 14, 2016 at 2:04 pm - Reply

    Thanks Ian, I've been hitting 2 handed backhand, but I will start practicing one hand since I feel more confortable with… thanks for your advice. Holmert – Houston TX

  10. Clyde September 14, 2016 at 1:41 pm - Reply

    3 simple and easy to remember points on the backhand that I can pay attention to now (as I start back from my surgery time off). Many thanks for this, Clyde

  11. Clarence September 14, 2016 at 1:12 pm - Reply

    Good to the point video. I also saw how to hit an inside out backhand in your video, nice bonus!

  12. Rich Sabel September 12, 2015 at 1:47 pm - Reply

    very helpful! Will work on your key points

  13. Mike June 29, 2015 at 7:02 pm - Reply

    Love this advice. Makes a lot of sense. I'll try focusing on these 3 things.

  14. Ted June 29, 2015 at 4:43 pm - Reply

    Really good stuff Ian, thanks for the "to the point" videos. I would like to have seen the other option i.e. taking the ball early technique as well or in a follow up video.
    You are so right about positioning. I find myself too close to the ball way too often, translation poor footwork, to be in the strike zone.
    Thanks again

    Ted in Texas

  15. Gennady June 28, 2015 at 2:17 pm - Reply

    Good afternoon.
    just watched few of your videos , really powerful tools I am lefty playing one handed back hand for while and your tutorials really explain me from holing the grips to actually learning the mistakes as your most club players make really appreciate your videos .
    regards Gennady Utchitel

  16. roger June 12, 2015 at 1:31 am - Reply

    Great presentations. I am sure I am not alone in saying that I have many other tennis sites bookmarked and vow to watch the vids and clips they post. Ian is the only one I actually do. Short and concise for the rec. player. Thanks

  17. marie June 10, 2015 at 3:07 am - Reply

    Great video, Ian. Those tips are spot on – thanks. Concentrating on the follow through makes the entire stroke flow through smoothly.

  18. dan June 9, 2015 at 6:10 pm - Reply

    Thanks, but in addition to your very good points, I would like to have seen a closeup of changing to the preferred grip to use and a closeup slo-mo of the path of the racket at impact.

  19. george June 9, 2015 at 4:09 pm - Reply

    Ian – thanks for the three great tips. If i could look even VAGUELY like Stan, i would be thrilled. george

  20. Patrick Kelley June 9, 2015 at 1:16 pm - Reply


    You are posting very valuable lessons for the club player. You identify problems and solutions in a very constructive way. I like your shorter posts, but don't cut them just for the sake of saving time. You and your team (if you have one) are choosing very timely lessons and spending just the right time to explain solutions to common problems. Keep it up. I'm an old coach who is still learning. Thanks.

    Patrick Kelley;

  21. fsilber June 9, 2015 at 11:40 am - Reply

    When the ball waist level the net limits your ability to blast away. If the ball is high, the net is less of an obstacle — that's why serves and smashes tend to be so much more powerful than ground strokes and volleys.

    So it seems to me that by not developing a method of really smacking a head-high ball at the baseline we are forgoing an opportunity.

  22. marco June 9, 2015 at 11:09 am - Reply

    French Open not Australian? Good demo, but you forgot to show the 'short hop' technique which should be taken a bit lower, no?
    Also Stan keeps his left hand on the throat until going forward, which has 2 benefits.

    Take note that Nole played Stan a good yard further back than he did against Murray. I'm guessing it was because of Stan's power on the backhand. His deeper position allowed Stan to dictate more points.

    Thanks for another good demo.

  23. David Goldstein June 9, 2015 at 9:50 am - Reply

    I was wondering why you kept putting your right hand into your pocket. Controlling the ball machine with a remote controller? What kind of grip does Stan use? Eastern? Does Stan every use a two-handed backhand?

  24. Steve Gershman June 9, 2015 at 8:49 am - Reply

    Ian. He does have an amazing backhand. Taking it one step further than Federer it seems. In my opinion he won by keep his strokes as deep as they could go while Djokovic landed more at service line. When it's done right it's a fun shot to make..:especially with the full extension follow thru. Looks cool. Keep those videos coming. Thanks

    • Ian Westermann June 9, 2015 at 9:40 am - Reply

      I agree, full extension and follow through makes the one hander much more "fun". Without those two things everything feels tight and restricted.

  25. Muhammad June 9, 2015 at 8:28 am - Reply

    Thanks for the tips. Ian I was wondering if you could do a video on the footwork and body positioning for hitting one handed backhands. I have been told that the left hand should stay on the racket all the way up to right before you make contact.

  26. theresa June 9, 2015 at 8:26 am - Reply

    Not sure why I have never noticed you are left handed–but in today's backhand it was not as effective for me to watch you because I was having to imagine myself on the other side. I guess I am more visual and needed to see more of Stan- a right hander– rather than you a left-hander.

    • Ian Westermann June 9, 2015 at 9:39 am - Reply

      We almost always "flip" videos like this now….but this is an older one. Hopefully it was still helpful.

  27. Jude February 6, 2015 at 10:21 am - Reply

    Great video thanks for the tips.

  28. Avery Rattenborg February 2, 2015 at 10:31 pm - Reply

    Ian excellent job making the one handed backhand easy, I didn't know about the fist to the ball.
    I am going to try it out in the a.m.

  29. James B. Cuthbert Sr. February 2, 2015 at 11:03 am - Reply

    Yes I have worked very hard on developing a one handed back hand. I love this shot more than any of the other strokes. I hit the Slice and a very good forehand. but the one handed back hand is my favorite. this lesion was very helpful. thank you Jim

  30. TITOS I. FRAGKAKIS December 6, 2014 at 2:12 am - Reply

    Great video!!! I wonder if there is a special drill to train the correct contact point.
    Thanks a lot!

  31. peter November 27, 2014 at 5:03 am - Reply

    Watching your backhand video with Wawrinka and the need to finish with the butt cap facing towards the court surface,and having watched the Federer forehand previously,I have a question:in the past you have said that it is a myth that topspin is effected by rolling the racket face over the ball on the forehand – that at contact the racket face is vertical and only after contact does the wrist roll over the ball,as in the Federer forehand video where he finishes with the classic ' look at your watch' finish. But why doesn't the racket just continue forward in an upward motion,continue as it were the vertical path,upwards,and in effect end up,like the backhand,with the butt cap facing the court surfacae. In other words,why one rule for the forehand,the stroke finishing across the boidy,and another for the backhand,the racket finishing high above head with butt cap facing surface.

  32. Burnett November 15, 2014 at 2:47 pm - Reply

    I have a one handed backhand and this tip/lesson was right on point.
    Thanks a bunch!

  33. John Gonzalez November 14, 2014 at 6:19 pm - Reply

    Ian, can you emphasize on contact point as to hit flat or hit top spin for the one handed backhand shot . Greatly appreciated !!!

  34. Bakthan Savarirayan,M.D November 14, 2014 at 4:39 pm - Reply

    Excellent tips. Keep up the good works

  35. Hugh McTavish November 14, 2014 at 3:36 pm - Reply

    Great lesson Ian. The tip of moving back (or forward) to get the ball near waist height in particular is one I had not heard before. It would be great if you could do an instruction for the one-handed slice backhand. I feel that the principles are different than for one-handed topspin or two-handed backhands.

  36. Stefan Berg November 14, 2014 at 3:26 pm - Reply

    This is a good session, with good demonstrations of how to hit the shot.

  37. JACQUES LESAGE November 14, 2014 at 3:25 pm - Reply


  38. Dan Rioux November 14, 2014 at 12:54 pm - Reply

    Great Video Ian. I liked the way you broke it down. You make it look so easy… :o)

  39. Gary November 14, 2014 at 12:01 pm - Reply

    Excellent lesson/video. Your example of hitting too close to the body explains why I always seem to have too much side spin on the ball instead of topspin. Thanks for the tip on hitting out and in front.

  40. Edward Blomgren November 14, 2014 at 11:58 am - Reply

    Yet another excellent video, Ian! I might add that with the more fluid backhand stroke you teach, esp. the follow-through, one actually makes most efficient use of one's energy… and the tension – thus fatigue – that comes from short, tense, constrained, follow-through is gone…i.e., less fatigue.

  41. Arturo Hernandez November 14, 2014 at 10:55 am - Reply

    Great lesson! I am wondering if the two finishes just happen naturally. It seems that one is designed to create a higher arc (that is why Stan is so far back in the court) and the other kind of comes over the ball and creates a flatter topspin shot (Stan is further in the court on this one).



  42. ruth November 14, 2014 at 10:40 am - Reply

    Hi Ian,
    Great lesson as usual. One question, what grip should you use for the one handed backhand?

  43. Steve Ross November 14, 2014 at 10:07 am - Reply

    Hi Ian,
    Well- described, clear and helpful- Thanks! On some of the shots players bodies were arched away from the net- should you try to finish with your body arched towards the net?


  44. Carlos November 14, 2014 at 9:42 am - Reply

    Could you comment on grips for one handed backhand , please ? Eastern ? , would continental also work ?. Many thanks for all your very informative and interesting videos and tips !

  45. Norman Fisher November 14, 2014 at 9:33 am - Reply

    10 !!! I appreciate your instructional videos a great deal. I would like to see a similar one for the 2 handed backhand.

  46. Salvatore Lucido October 30, 2014 at 8:05 pm - Reply

    Just the info I needed. I had a comfortable, fluid, one-haneded backhand. However – after re-working my forehand (from scratch), my backhand suffered. I will use this video to drill the basics. Thanks Sal

  47. Brian Perry September 21, 2014 at 12:00 pm - Reply

    Thank you for these wonderful teaching lessons and for free! You look like you're a great player btw!

  48. Joe Timmins September 15, 2014 at 2:33 pm - Reply

    You never seem to talk about what grip you use to hit these shots. Why not?

  49. mindaugas September 4, 2014 at 8:57 am - Reply

    It's look like u watch me playing, and now telling me all mistakes i make.Thanxs that a great lesson.

  50. James Peters August 11, 2014 at 8:55 pm - Reply

    Ian- I like the points you make. I know in this format you cannot cover everything but I think the role of the left hand is big. Many player at the Recreational level tend spin open with the shoulders and are unable to stay sideways during the shot. Stan, Roger, Gasquet- they all use the left hand ….James

  51. Hal June 24, 2014 at 12:40 pm - Reply

    Thx for the informative video. What do you think of Vic Braden's recommended finish – a sort of archway with the arm and racket?

  52. Carol S June 3, 2014 at 5:41 am - Reply

    This was an excellent review of the one handed backhand. I will play tomorrow with them in mind.

  53. Tony wilkinson May 30, 2014 at 1:16 pm - Reply

    This is such a good video, Ian, simple points but effective and well explained. Thanks.

  54. John McCallum May 29, 2014 at 12:41 am - Reply

    I am also a left handed older player (59 yrs) and have used your videos to improve my game immensely. I wish I had taken up tennis way before my 40th birthday as I love the dynamics and physics of tennis and have much control of a tennis ball than say a golf ball. Hitting the ball sweetly and effortlessly is a joy and provides a sense of accomplishment as it is, I guess, with any ball sport.
    Also, I play a lot of vets tournaments & pennants now thanks to you and always wondered why right handed players whinge about playing against left handed players (I know we are gifted) as it seems to me that there should be no advantage being left handed as opposed to being right handed?

    • Hugh McTavish November 14, 2014 at 3:41 pm - Reply

      As a righty we are used to hitting our forehand down the line and backhand cross court to get to the other players backhand. Against a lefty that habit sends your shots to the lefty's forehand. Basically, when a lefty plays a righty, the lefty is used to that matchup and the righty is not, so the lefty has the advantage. Also, in the northern hemisphere playing in the afternoon, the sun is in a righty's eyes on the serve on one side of the court, but it is never in the lefty's eyes on the serve.

  55. polly edwards May 20, 2014 at 10:16 pm - Reply

    Love all you videos Ian. As a lefty I'm learning so much by watching you.

  56. ed April 22, 2014 at 7:42 pm - Reply

    great illustration of the fist facing the ball on contact – great visual to take out onto the court.


  57. mary ann April 2, 2014 at 11:03 am - Reply

    good instructions for the back hand thanks.

  58. Linda Moggio March 23, 2014 at 9:46 pm - Reply

    Your description of the two follow throughs by defining the position of the butt cap was really helpful.
    I always felt that my follow through with the butt cap facing the opposite end of the court was better than with the butt cap facing the court surface. Now I understand that they're both equally as good. I notice that Youzhny almost always follows through with the butt cap facing the opposite end of the court.

  59. Joseph Patafie March 20, 2014 at 12:13 pm - Reply

    Great. I'll be 'shadow' practicing for another good month before I can get back on an outdoor court without the snow. Thanks to your lessons, I can use my imagination to picture the reaults. At least the 'visualisation' part of practice will still give me a purpose. Many thnks.

  60. Douglas Stewart March 20, 2014 at 10:31 am - Reply

    Great illustration on point of contact and follow through. If you could illustrate the use of the body ib the one handed backhand stroke as you did in the forehand video that would be very helpful.

    Additionally if you would do a video on the use of the off hand in all the tennis strokes that would be very helpful.
    i find that in my own game sometimes especially on the serve I do not grab the racquet with my left hand after serving (im right handed) so I end up not having the ability to switch to the correct grip for the next stroke. i only observed this after a video session.
    Topics should include when to hold the racquet with the off hand after each stroke and how long it should be held and the release point.

  61. schuster dan March 18, 2014 at 12:39 am - Reply


    I send you my requst regarding my new order

    Order ID: 224330829

    To send me the link so I can start using it after I paid for it but recived no answer.


  62. Magdi Hanna March 17, 2014 at 6:24 am - Reply

    Thank you for this video. Look forward to apply the lesson on the court

  63. Bobby Stierwalt March 7, 2014 at 9:59 am - Reply

    Ian, Thanks again…Glad that Stan is keeping the one hander in the Top 10! (I think of making a fist at the ball, squaring up to the ball and going vertical for the topspin and finish as simultaneous. Comment?

  64. Tim February 25, 2014 at 12:34 pm - Reply

    As usual, an excellent instructive video. But I noticed one big difference between you and Stan. In the positioning section, when you moved back to hit the ball at a comfortable height, you continued to move backwards. In fact, your left foot crossed over your right as you hit. Stan on the other hand, moved backwards to the right spot, then established a firm base, and hit moving forward. That seems like a important distinction.

    Go Stan!


  65. George February 19, 2014 at 7:54 am - Reply

    Thanks for the video, Ian!

    Another aspect would be body rotation and how much we should get the racket in the back before hitting.

  66. Joowan Ryoo February 18, 2014 at 8:24 pm - Reply

    Good advice….

  67. Carol S February 17, 2014 at 5:08 am - Reply

    This was an excellent video. Having a one-hand backhand, I learned what to do to make it better. Next time I play (later today) I am going to concentrate on the 3 things you mentioned – position, striking ball and follow through. Hopefully, I will see a positive change in my game.
    Thanks so much,

  68. Muhammad February 17, 2014 at 1:26 am - Reply

    ian can u differentiate between stan's and gasquet's backhand technique too?it would be very helpful !

  69. johnm February 16, 2014 at 11:50 pm - Reply

    Will try the follow through. Looks good. Moving up or back so ball is played somewhere between shoulder and knee puts you on the path to be consistent and more power each time you hit the ball.

  70. handler February 16, 2014 at 3:16 pm - Reply

    Love these videos really help with all aspects of my tennis. Can you please email me this one on Stan Warinka's
    one had backhand. Thanks. keep them coming.

  71. Bharat Patel February 16, 2014 at 5:38 am - Reply

    One hand backhand

    Very useful lesson. Why did not not mention point 4 i.e GRIP?

    Kind regards

    Bharat (London)

    • randal March 6, 2014 at 5:28 pm - Reply

      my own, ignorant opinion: the one-handed backhand grip starts with the index finger's knuckle resting on bevel 8, the so-called "eastern backhand" grip. this allows the hand to get behind the ball for maximum power and topspin. morever (and what so many coaches fail to mention, the remainder of the racquet below the knuckle ends with bevel 8 of the butt resting on the smaller of the two fleshy parts of the palm (by which i mean the opposite fleshy part below the pinkie finger and not the fleshy part below the thumb). put another way, the racquet starts with the knuckle on bevel 8, continues at a 45 degree angle across the palm, and ends with the butt of the racquet on the bottom of the palm.

  72. Blake February 15, 2014 at 10:54 pm - Reply

    Good backhand tip; do u have same fore forehand?

  73. Dr. Mohan George February 15, 2014 at 7:36 pm - Reply

    Tx Ian. Ihv been following ur lessons 4 some time now. I am a 68 year old v. passionate basically doubles club player. Greatly indebted to you for a phenominal improvement in my game thr' ur instructions on Serve esp. the kick serve, Volleys, forehand and foremost the backhand, which was my biggest weak point ever since. I hv miles to go in improvising my backhand yet.
    Now, I went thr' ur Wqawrinka backhand lesson, which I am going to try out iun 1/2 hr. I wish u d v. best in emenating your hard earned experience and knooledge.
    Dr. Mohan George

  74. Lee Murray February 15, 2014 at 4:50 pm - Reply

    Nice! Like the way it linked to the way Stan hits the ball.

  75. Ann February 15, 2014 at 3:03 pm - Reply

    Great advice Ian! This one-hander is going to pay attention now.

  76. Ed B February 15, 2014 at 8:08 am - Reply

    Good video Ian. So often we forget about the fundamentals. Best tip is about moving backwards or forwards to the strike zone – I often forget to do that.

    Really looking forward to the video on grips. This is my number 1 issue on the OHBH. When I'm having a bad day I often find my self hitting long due to the racquet face being open. I think this is because I don't move the raquet all the way round to the proper eastern BH grip and only going as far as continental.

  77. William Yeager February 15, 2014 at 2:35 am - Reply

    Another very effective stroke for a high one handed backhand is to develop an excellent slice. Here one strikes the ball at about shoulder high with backspin. One can hit such a shot with great depth and when required, angle. It's often a great approach shot when hit cross court with depth.

    • johnm February 16, 2014 at 11:58 pm - Reply

      Not being a natural slicer on the backhand(very common in older players-wooden heavy racquets) I only slice when the ball has plenty of pace. Regards johnm

  78. Tulio Colares February 14, 2014 at 9:52 am - Reply

    Thanks for being so kind to share this with us!
    It's really profitable for us!


  79. Bob Laudati February 13, 2014 at 10:29 pm - Reply

    Good review. As Carol mentioned, seems like the extension of the thumb parallel to the handle gives much more support and stability to the wrist in zeroing in on the strike zone with proper racquet orientation, all resulting in much better direction and consistency.

  80. Paul February 13, 2014 at 8:31 pm - Reply

    Ian Nice lesson gives me a few things to work into my game as I try and develop more spin on the backhand side.

  81. Bob February 13, 2014 at 5:36 pm - Reply

    Hi Ian:

    Good work indeed. Please review the steps necessary to take the ball on the rise. I believe this to be crucial to a successful one handed backhand

  82. Carol February 13, 2014 at 9:19 am - Reply

    Wonderful lesson. The positioning, grip, and finish are all so important on the one handed backhand. Can you talk a bit more about the grip? I've had coaches tell me to extend my thumb up the racquet handle so it is parallel to the handle, rather than have it wrapped around the handle like the other fingers in the eastern backhand grip. This always has felt awkward to me, and wondered what advice you might have.

    • Ian Westermann February 13, 2014 at 12:19 pm - Reply

      Glad you enjoyed it, Carol! I'll actually be publishing a video that talks about grips very soon. Stay tuned!

  83. JOEL COHEN February 13, 2014 at 5:37 am - Reply

    Great lesson, short and very sweet! Please show the backhand grips! i see Wawrinka actually in a continental, though it's high in the bevel, but not quite an eastern BH grip, in slo-mos of him! What grip did you use in this video?

  84. Fred Gando February 13, 2014 at 5:16 am - Reply

    You make it very simple and easy to understand, thanks Ian, keep up the good work!

  85. Peter February 13, 2014 at 4:07 am - Reply

    This demonstration is not good. I think that you "work" less with your right arm. You even have it in your pocket while hitting. Your right hand should be at the racket when you start the shot, so you can better turn your upper body.

  86. Neil February 13, 2014 at 2:02 am - Reply

    Excellent video thank you. I've working on my one handed backhand for a while & it's pretty robust now – these tips are good reinforcing of the technical elements. I value hearing what are often the same messages in different ways that serve as reminders or give additional aspects, great work!

  87. theresa February 12, 2014 at 11:27 pm - Reply

    Thanks for the great lesson on one-handed backhand. You really explained just how to do it and showed it clearly. You are soooo good!! thanks. theresa

  88. Dae Park February 12, 2014 at 10:35 pm - Reply

    I enjoy very much about your videos.
    Thanks a lot.
    How about two handed back shots?

  89. Mary Moseley February 12, 2014 at 9:04 pm - Reply

    Great information, as usual! While I am still hitting one-handed, I added my left hand to the racquet as a measuring device only. I was hitting the ball too close to my body so my hits weren't effective.

  90. Fred February 12, 2014 at 8:46 pm - Reply

    Nice and simple.

    However, one additional point can be easily made — BACKhands are all about getting part of your BACK facing the net during the beginning of the stroke. This applies to most any backhand, not just one handed backhands.

    This is also perhaps the simplest thing to remember of all when it comes to backhands — the BACK in BACKhand is all about showing some back to the net before making the shot. As one accomplishs this, one is also helped on focusing effort on the other 'simple' stuff, like proper movement to get in position to hit the ball in the strike zone.

    Good stuff. Stan is the man of the Winter so far…

  91. Alan February 12, 2014 at 8:35 pm - Reply

    Your fellow on-line pros are advising that on the one-hand backhand, the racket should finish with the racket parallel to the baseline and high above ones head. The pros on tour seem to be all over the place. I am confused.

  92. Gary C. February 12, 2014 at 8:14 pm - Reply

    Great video Ian, as always. You really have a talent for breaking down what can be complicated mechanics into easy steps to follow. I find myself putting a lot (too much) side spin on my one-handed bh and I assume that is coming from hitting too close to my body and not extending out to the ball at contact. Is that right? Any thoughts on the best way to correct that? Do I need to turn more sideways going into the stroke? Thanks!

  93. George Wachtel February 12, 2014 at 8:13 pm - Reply

    Ian, great three pointers on the backhand. tks,

  94. Ann February 12, 2014 at 7:23 pm - Reply

    Thanks, currently working on the backhand.

  95. Wayne February 12, 2014 at 6:41 pm - Reply

    Good lesson, Ian. Informative, brief, and good presentation on your part. However, almost every time you cut to the reverse camera position I freaked out because the really good angle for learning was the side shot. I know it's great to have two angles for editing, but sometimes to just isn't worth it. Take another look at the lesson and see if you don't agree. Sometimes less is better.
    All tbe best.

  96. Richard Achille February 12, 2014 at 6:38 pm - Reply

    are you making a fist with backhand slice as well.

  97. tomi February 12, 2014 at 6:17 pm - Reply

    a classy video, ian.

    i'd really like to hear your opinion on the following: do you feel there's more supination and top spin (even power) potential with the full release finish compared to the classic one? it suits extreme grips and some additional upper body rotation. at least this is how i feel about it.


  98. Jeebee February 12, 2014 at 5:30 pm - Reply

    Excellent and simple points to stay focused on. I've never heard the "fist" analogy but that made it very clear. Thank you from us 1-handed backhanders! I agree with the comment about wanting a demo of taking it on the rise but I also agree that that would be just a little too much for this one video. Best to work on these 3 points first and then add taking it on the rise later. Thank you for your great, but not too wordy, lessons.

  99. Burnett February 12, 2014 at 5:13 pm - Reply

    I think the one area that is probably the most difficult is reading the ball's trajectory so that you are able to get in better position. I have been struggling with my backhand for years and I think I am beginning to understand the mechanics of the swing. My question is two fold: What relationship should the elbow have in proximity with the body and what position should the face of the racquet be in before swinging forward?

  100. Dakang Wu February 12, 2014 at 4:33 pm - Reply

    Ian, this is a great summary of single hand backhand. Thanks.

  101. Ron February 12, 2014 at 4:21 pm - Reply

    Good work as always Ian!!! I really liked using the butt cap as a reference point for the follow thru. I think this is a valuable tool in my tool box for my students and myself as well.

  102. Jesus February 12, 2014 at 4:07 pm - Reply

    Excellent explanation of the 1HB. One question, What grip do you recommend for the 1HB?

    • Ian Westermann February 12, 2014 at 5:48 pm - Reply

      I'll actually be coming out with a grip video soon, Jesus. I recommend any comfortable variation of the "eastern backhand grip".

  103. Jeff February 12, 2014 at 3:51 pm - Reply

    I think your tips and lessons are extremely well presented and easy to understand. Thank you.

  104. Slice-n-Dice February 12, 2014 at 3:34 pm - Reply

    Nice, Ian, but I was dismayed that you did not demonstrate moving forward and taking the backhand on the rise in order to make contact with the ball in your preferred strike zone — at or near waist high. The reason this is so important, I believe, especially for amateur rec players and weekend warriors, is that so many do not move well enough to (a) get back into a good position where they can still transfer their weight into the shot and (b) recover from 10 feet behind the baseline, so they leave themselves vulnerable to a host of potential winning plays from their opponent. I'd much rather teach people to move forward to catch the ball on the rise, at the same time allowing them to transfer their weight forward as well for additional power and stability.

    It was a good post, overall, but I think we must always take into account the athleticism and speed (or lack thereof) of our students particularly as they age. It's much easier to maintain a strong or neutral court position if one is moving diagonally forward than it is if one is always backing up off the baseline.

    • Ian Westermann February 12, 2014 at 3:38 pm - Reply

      I absolutely love taking the ball on the rise. I did a video lesson on how to work on that just recently: https://www.essentialtennis.com/video/ground-strokes/how-to-hit-on-the-rise-tennis/17480/

      I did talk about taking it early during this video, just didn't demonstrate it. Only so many points I can make before people tell me that I'm "talking too much" 😉

      Thanks for your input!

  105. Jan Dembinski February 12, 2014 at 3:10 pm - Reply

    Just awesome, Ian. One more aspect you might want to look at his how Stan (and Federer) keep their wrists cocked forward in their swings. I noticed Federer doing this in a slow motion video, double-checked to see if Stan does it (yes) and started putting it to use as well. For whatever reason it makes the whole swing feel more solid and steady. Now, with your tips, I'm excited to bring the backhand up another notch–or two or three!

    • Ian Westermann February 12, 2014 at 3:32 pm - Reply

      Not quite sure what you mean, Jan. Can you explain a bit more or maybe show me a picture RE: "wrist cocked forward".

      • Jan Dembinski February 13, 2014 at 6:09 pm - Reply

        Sure, just search "federer slow motion backhand" on Youtube and any of the videos will show this. Perhaps "cocked forward" is not the best expression, however. But the wrist is definitely bent up towards the outside of the elbow. You can also clearly see what I mean in the first picture in the video, "federer slow motion backhand

  106. Gideon February 12, 2014 at 3:08 pm - Reply

    Many thanks Ian. Looks like the best time to hit the ball is on its downward curve after the peak?

    • Ian Westermann February 12, 2014 at 3:33 pm - Reply

      That might not necessarily always be the "best" time to hit but it's almost always the easiest!

  107. Daniel February 12, 2014 at 2:46 pm - Reply

    Hi Ian, great video, I really appreciate the tips. As a one handed backhander myself I will to soak up any advice to improve my shot. I'll have to work on consistent strike zone as I'm sure I've tried to get the low and high balls before.

    The only issue I have with your video is your non tennis racket hand. I noticed you sometimes had it in your pocket and other times it was just at your side, and it would have been nice to see a bit of an exaggerated counter balance arm raise, especially for people just learning the one handed back hand.

    Correct me if I'm wrong but I make an effort on my one handed to open or explode through my chest which results in both arms lifting high to shoulder height.

    Anyways still awesome video!

  108. Sean February 12, 2014 at 2:43 pm - Reply

    The single hand BH is such a great shot and beautiful to watch when done well c. Stanislas. The three pointers you suggest will help me avoid that rushed and jammed feeling. The other I see Stan doing which is a foundation is his shoulder turn and non hitting hand holding the racquet until the point of initiating the forward swing. I've found that this helps me to time the strike better and so hit in the zone, out in front and with a relaxed follow thru. Thanks Ian.

  109. Rick February 12, 2014 at 2:41 pm - Reply

    Stan's backhand would be nice to have, but so would yours. You make it seem quite effortless. Those are all great tips. Especially the one about contact point. I'll be trying them out tomorrow. Thanks.

    • Ian Westermann February 12, 2014 at 3:35 pm - Reply

      You're too kind, Rick. I'd much rather have Stan's, haha

  110. ARiel February 12, 2014 at 2:38 pm - Reply

    Excellent. I know will be very dificult to me the change of my grip (Continental) and to get the point of contact ideal.
    Exelente, ya comence a practicar en mi club, aqui en Republica Dominicana. Creo me sera dificil cambiar mi grip y el punto de contacto ideal. Pienso que pronto lograre el correcto "follow trough". Muchas gracias.

  111. Richard February 12, 2014 at 2:34 pm - Reply

    Really clear discussion, demonstration and example videos of one of the best one-handers. Thanks again Ian for helping us understand how to hit the ball the correct way.

  112. Tom T. February 12, 2014 at 2:30 pm - Reply

    Excellent lesson Ian. Very clear. Now for the practice!!!
    Stan is just great to watch for us one handed backhand strikers.
    Thanks Ian

  113. Ann Raimes February 12, 2014 at 2:24 pm - Reply

    Thanks. This was helpful. I've been playing for years (I started in teens and am now 76) and have most trouble still with backhands even though I work in a small group with a great coach once a week. But I like the way you break it down to 3 things to think about. I tend to think "Oh, help it's a backhand–shall I run around or have a go at it?" and sometimes the "having a go" works but it often looks and feels awkward. I'll work on your 3 tips.

  114. Dag February 12, 2014 at 2:23 pm - Reply

    8 p out of 10 p! Good lessson in the basics of back-hand.

  115. Rick February 12, 2014 at 2:21 pm - Reply

    Very helpful. I liked the way you simplified the techniques which will make it easier for me to focus on a limited amount of variables.

  116. Bill February 12, 2014 at 2:08 pm - Reply

    Thanks Excellent summary of what to avoid and what to do with the one handed backhand. I woild also love to see something like that on the 2 handed backhand. Thanks, Bill

  117. KT February 12, 2014 at 1:54 pm - Reply

    Excellent short video on the one handed backhand. All these many years of high level club and tournament tennis and various tune-up lessons, it was never pointed out about the positioning to get the right consistent contact point height-wise. Thank-you, what an instant improvement in my confidence and backhand overall.

  118. Rob Corder February 12, 2014 at 1:51 pm - Reply

    Absolutely brilliant as always Ian. Thank you a million!

  119. Roy February 12, 2014 at 1:46 pm - Reply

    Thank you Ian for this fine video on how to hit a better one handed backhand. Clear instructions and excellent video of Wawrinka to illustrate. Positioning, contact point and follow through are where my backhand needs help.. Time to go out and practice.

  120. Geoff February 12, 2014 at 1:45 pm - Reply

    Ian – Good points for the 1H BH. Stan is indeed THE MAN for that stroke! One thing that no one talks about in this stroke with regards to topspin, is the rotation at the shoulder that takes place during the stroke. Many people demo the 1H BH with a linear movement of the racket, but your third tip about the buttcap is KEY. After you drop the racket head, straighten the arm and start moving through contact, that “fist” you describe has to rotate (external rotation at the shoulder for you anatomy oriented folks) through contact, which is what increases the brushing motion of the racket up the back of the ball. This is the BH equivalent of the windshield wiper on the forehand. When I am hitting my 1H BH well, it is l o o s e, with that racket rotated outward, palm close to facing upward, butt cap as you described. Stan does this better than anyone! You can really see this on that “full release” clip. My 1H BH idol!

  121. Mark February 12, 2014 at 1:41 pm - Reply

    Thanks Ian: nice analysis of Stan's backhand. I was wondering what his backhand grip looks like. I use the one-handed backhand, but I'm not sure if I use enough of a backhand grip

    • Dude February 12, 2014 at 3:01 pm - Reply

      Index finger knuckle should be resting on the top bevel of the racquet for best topspin effect.

  122. Graeme February 12, 2014 at 1:21 pm - Reply

    Hi Ian I'm really enjoying your lessons on the back hand. I have a question about hitting on the run. Very often I am able to get to the ball and swing successfully from a stable position and hit in my strike zone. But at over times I am still running for the ball when it arrives. It seems I have no choice but to swing while my body is still in motion. Do you have any tips for hitting on-the-run, especially the footwork ?

    • Ian Westermann February 12, 2014 at 1:34 pm - Reply

      Great questions, Graeme. First of all, it's important to realize that hitting while on the run is NOT a bad thing in and of itself. A lot of pros will teach that you must have your feet set, step in, etc etc. That reality is on a lot of shots we just don't have enough time to do those things.

      When it comes to still making a good swing on the run I find that a lot of it boils down to coordinating correctly between the upper and lower body. Many people aren't able to separate the two so when their feet are moving frantically their arm, hand and racquet does as well. The best players are able to move quickly with their feel while remaining calm and relaxed with their swing. Spend some time with a ball machine or partner feeding you wide balls practicing that!

      • greg February 12, 2014 at 3:46 pm - Reply

        After many years of playing solid left handers, I have developed an 'open stance' 1 hbh that I occasionally need to use to hit an offensive shot. Do you think this is good practice or am I better off hitting the slice?

  123. Peter February 12, 2014 at 1:17 pm - Reply

    Ian, Great stuff – love the Stanimal! Another reason for the correct contact point out front and longer finish is to prevent injury. Taking the ball too close to the body and decelerating/stopping on follow-through are major causes of lateral epicondylitis (tennis elbow).

    • Ian Westermann February 12, 2014 at 1:35 pm - Reply

      You are absolutely right, Peter! Close contact almost always results in tight, tense technique which over time is a big strain on the body.