Moves like Federer: How to Hit a One-Handed Backhand

Moves like Federer: How to Hit a One-Handed Backhand

Roger Federer’s one-handed backhand is a thing of beauty, but what exactly does he do so well? This video outlines key aspects of Fed’s one-hander and gives you simple ways to incorporate them into your stroke. You’ll also learn about what you don’t necessarily need to have a solid one-handed backhand. Make sure to check out some great Federer backhands via the links below.

Blair DiSesa Henley is a USPTA Certified (P1) tennis professional with over ten years of teaching experience. She is also a writer for Tennis Now.

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  1. YOu did not have to mention Nadal's big muscles to make your point. All you had to do is talk about the best one-handbackand (perhaps men and women) by Henin. Imagine if she had the height and the muscles of, say, a Nadal or a Sewr3ena for that matter.

  2. Very good tutorial on the one handed backhand from a smart intelligent lady. I was impressed with the power she hit the backhand shots and she is right, you don't have to be strong, it helps for sure but is not essential. Technique and practice can give it the power. I've always been a fan of the one handed backhand for loads of reasons. Far superior balance of the body, easier to reach out and get wide shots, faster recovery time when switching to the forehand side, great power too if you get the technique right. I wish more players, especially the women would choose the one handed backhand. Justine Henin played it, see the power she generated with it. Carla Suarez Navarro is the only female player I know of that uses it.

  3. Notice your front foot "spinning out" through impact. There is a lot of stress being put on you front knee. Step in with your toes pointed more at the net and stay closed more with the shoulders.

  4. really nice backhand. I like to have racquet over wrist for leverage but this is more compact, and less error prone. I do prefer to hit big though – too much time watching wawrinka! 🙂

  5. I liked the follow thru part very much, but the emphasis should be more on the impact position way forward and therefore timing, starting early enough. And having enough space to step forward and swing the arm. Having fully extended arm relatively forward towards your intended line of play, you woun't need that much muscles. If you create the support for your racket at impact sideways – parallel to your body, you'd need even more power than Nadal. Make the vectors of power work for you, not against!

    The bunched up wrap around is a result of late start. If you start way late, you end up having the ball in your lap before you finish.

    If one has learned first the two-hander it is more than likely, he'll be late for one-hander.

  6. I'm a 4.0 lefty with a one handed backhand and my take back is lower, like yours. I was feeling a little OHBH shame because many videos are so emphatic about bringing the frame back high and creating that drop. So – thanks for talking me off of the cliff😊… Congrats on your videos, in general. They're to the point and clearly illustrate your intentions. I did just watch your video about returning serves. At some point, I'm wondering if you could talk about length of stroke, since the pace can take away reaction time.

  7. I like that you explained that the one-hander can be learned through proper technique and that it's not just a matter of power. As you say, it is harder to learn but well worth it. I switched to a one-hander at 27 years of age and took lessons to do so.  Unfortunately, almost all girls, almost all women, and many men are paying instructors to teach them to hit two-handed backhands. That money, time and effort could be used to learn the one-hander with can be learned. There are no former one-handed former women pros training girls who are at least 10-12 years of age to learn the one-hander or advocating that girls and women can do so. I hope that you will advocate more for this.

  8. I like the way you turned sideway on every shots.  I have a problem with turning my shoulder toward too soon right after contact.  Any suggestion to help fix this besides making conscious effort not to do it?

  9. Blair, I love your videos and instructionals particularly, and I play the one handed backhand myself.  You mentioned that you see a lot of people stepping across the body with their front foot rather than towards the ball, and yet when you watch Wawrinka in particular, he really looks like he is stepping across his body (and he certainly does so more than Federer – in fact, all the other one handed backhanders seem to).  Is this just a camera angle thing or is there some reason they (other than federer) seem, to apparently no deleterious effect (and I think Wawrinka's backhand is probably stronger than Federer's too), step across their body with their front foot??

  10. These tips should help me. Two hand backhand simply does not work for me. Somehow onehand backhand for me is faster and hits stronger. Idk I'm just wierd like that. Thx for the video

  11. Good instruction, Blair. Though virtually all single handed back pros do what you mentioned in the vid, the key that separates Federer's backhand – to warrant his name in the title – is he most efficiently utilizes all 6 points on the kinetic chain. You yourself aren't utliising the shoulder point properly due to your uncircular backswing. The result is that you have to do a 'pose pause' on the follow through, as opposed to letting go post-contact point like Federer does. This means you are putting on the brakes on potential extra power. In other words he does all the work before contact but you continue to work after it. It doesn't exactly hinder your game but it would improve the mechanics of your swing. 

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