Most beginners now are taught a two-handed backhand. This stroke is more widely used as it is easier to impart top-spin on the ball.

Like in all shots, the preparation for the shot ­– in this case, the backswing – needs to be completed as early as possible. As soon as the player is aware that the opponent has returned the ball to the backhand side of the court, the backswing should be completed.

Due to the restricted reach of the two-handed backhand stroke, footwork is very important in making good ground towards the ball.

For a right-handed player, the right foot and right shoulder should be pointing directly down the court or side on to the net. Contact with the ball should be in front of the body, with weight transference onto the right foot.

Grip on the racquet should be as follows:
Place the right hand on the grip with a semi-western grip; the left hand or more dominant hand should grip the racquet as if for a left-handed forehand. Ideally the two hands should be close together, as this gives greater co-ordination.

After contact is made with the ball, the follow-through should continue on, up over your left shoulder with the left hand on top of the grip. This will help to ensure the desired top-spin with the stroke.

Yours in tennis

Sportsmart Tennis Manager and TCAV tennis coach, Ray James

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