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Can adults learn a double-handed backhand?

The double-handed backhand technique has become increasingly popular over the last years. For most children and juniors, this is the first backhand technique they learn, and it comes very naturally for them.
If you are an adult beginner, you might encounter problems acquiring the double-handed shot. The most common reasons for this problems are rather simple though. Here are some advice that will improve your shot:

  • Be aware of the fact that the double-handed backhand shot is basically like a left-handed forehand shot, meaning that most of the work is being done with your left hand! If you hold your racket too tight with the right hand, you will tend to push the racket instead of swinging/throwing it. In order to solve the problem, do this: let the racket "fall down" with your right hand easy on the grip, then use your left hand to pull the racket up again. Make sure that after your shot, your hands go over your right shoulder (if you are a right-handed player) and that both of your elbows go up. You won't be able to do that when you are putting too much pressure on your grip.
  • Body rotation is essential for having a dynamic shot. In order to rotate back and create a high amount of body tension, you need a good balanced stance. Use either the open stance (as a right-handed player that means setting your left foot to the side, and putting the weight of your body on your left foot before the shot and then shift the weight back to your right foot while rotating), or stand in a square stance with the weight of your body equally distributed on both feet. Avoid the classic, right-foot-forward stance. Check the professional players - you do not see that kind of stance very often nowadays except for single-handed shots, and there is good reason for it.
  • Try hitting a left-hand one-handed forehand! It will feel strange at the beginning, but it will improve your double-handed backhand a lot. One of the reasons that make the double-handed technique so difficult is the fact that you are too much of a right-handed person. By improving your left-handed coordination, your double-handed shot will get better automatically.
  • Do not completely abandon the one-handed shot. To play a double-handed shot, you need to get rather close to the ball, and there are many situations that are difficult to solve with the double-handed backhand, like a low, short ball on your backhand side or when you can barely reach the ball. For those situations, it is best to have a one-handed backhand slice shot in your repertoire to keep you "in the game".