Left Arm at Contact - The Two Handed Backhand
Today we will look at one of the most common biomechanical reference points that should be achieved on the two handed backhand - a technique used by the top male players in the world. No matter how you prepare or take the racquet back, it is important that the left arm achieve full extension at contact.
Click photo to go to website: Agassi left arm is bent during preparation but as he begins his downswing the left arm will gradually extend through contact.
Are there exceptions to this rule? Of course, but we are talking about what one's optimal technical goal should be during execution of the stroke.
Let's take a closer look using Andre Agassi as our first model.
Although Agassi finishes predominantly over the shoulder, observe in the above graphic how he still achieves full extension at time of ball impact. Agassi also has a bent left arm in his preparation phase so as he begins his downswing the left arm will gradually extend through contact.
In the graphic on the left, you can see that Lleyton Hewitt also achieves full extension with his left arm by the time he has made contact with the ball.
Observe Hewitt's position at ball impact and note the left arm is also fully extended.
Hewitt initially takes his racquet back with his left arm straight then the racquet travels from a down low position to almost the exact same high loop final preparation position that Agassi and Safin (below) achieve. He then gradually extends his left arm once again through contact.
I would not necessarily mimic Hewitt's preparation because his racquet travels a greater distance to reach the same position that Agassi and Safin do by simply going from point A to B to reach their final preparation position. This extra distance could lead to issues for the average person when facing harder hitters.
Hewitt must begin his preparation sooner than players who simply start the racquet higher in their ready position and go straight to the final up high preparation by simply coiling the upper torso. However, Hewitt still achieves full extension at contact! This is the key reference point to mimic no matter how you prepare for the
Marat Safin is known on the tour for having the most feared backhand in the world. He also uses a high preparation and is in between Hewitt and Agassi regarding the path to which he takes to achieve this high preparation.
Like Agassi and Hewitt, Safin's left arm is fully extended at ball impact.
But what separates Safin is his ending. Safin remains extended with his left arm well after contact, more than Agassi and Hewitt. However, Safin as you will observe, also achieves full extension with his left arm at contact.
I believe the high, loop backhand preparation and the preparation taken back from a high ready position is more efficient - with less wasted motion than Hewitt's preparation, or the straight-down low take back of Venus, Serena, and Vaidisova.
As for the finish, I believe there are several advantageous endings to be used for the backhand, but one biomechanical reference point that is undeniably a must and cannot be compromised in obtaining a world class backhand is the left arm position at impact - it must be fully extended.
I promise you that if you go out and try to achieve this simple yet elusive biomechanical reference point you will reap the reward of having more power and depth with your backhand than ever before. So give it a shot and let me know how it works for you.
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