By Jennifer Griffin, GAMMA Contracted Player
Recently, the backhand has become a hot debate within the pickleball community. Should you use two hands, one hand, or learn to incorporate both into your game? Many of the top players are bringing a two-hand backhand from their tennis background to the pickleball courts. I did not come from a tennis background and originally learned how to hit a backhand with one hand. Which method is correct? I say it depends on the situation. You should practice and learn both strokes and add them to your arsenal.
Without any formal tennis training, the two-hand backhand was awkward and seemed unnatural to me. However, I continued to see more and more players incorporating the stroke into the game thus bringing explosive power to a small space. It became evident to me that my fundamental were wrong and it was time to drill, drill, and drill some more to learn the intricacies of the two-hand backhand.
9 Tips to Help your Backhand Stroke
- Bend your knees! The two-hand stroke is much more powerful if you do not have stiff legs.
- Move around the court with smaller steps. Quick small steps allow you to be more reactive to the ball as opposed to a couple large strides.
- Coil your upper body. Your dominant shoulder be parallel to your target and weight on your back leg as you set up to drive the ball.
- Relax your arms! Just like having stiff legs is an issue, stiff arms won’t allow you to generate maximum paddle head speed.
- Limit your backswing. You don’t need a long drawn out backswing in pickleball.
- Keep your head down and eyes on the ball.
- Make contact with the ball in front of you. Attempt to strike the ball when it is near your front knee.
- Rotate your shoulders through the swing while shifting your weight to your front leg. If you only use armand not your body, you are greatly limiting your power and effectiveness of the shot.
- Swing your back leg through to complete the stroke and be in the ready position for the next ball coming over the net.
Improving your backhand all begins with the basics. There are situations where more reach is needed and you need to be able to rely on a single backhand swing. In other situations, the two-hand backhand drive is a better option. Learn and master both shots and continue to dominate on the court.