The One-handed vs Two-handed Backhand Debate

They say you should only stick to one type of backhand play. Either one or two-handed backhand. There’s no official USTA or ITF tennis rule that says so, yet most tennis coaches will advise you to stick to one or the other.

I started playing with one handed backhand when I was in high school. Maybe because I was used to playing table tennis. But 5 years later, when I picked up a tennis racket again, I felt like I had to play with two hands. Maybe because the rackets were heavier this time.

Then I saw Federer and Justine-Henin’s backhands and thought they were the most beautiful shots in the history of sports. Not to mention the longer reach, not having to run around the ball so much, disguised slice shots and natural inclination to come to the net more.

So now I’m thrilled when I manage to hit a clean and if possible powerful one-handed backhand. It’s particularly rewarding when I create some crazy angle that’s probably only possible if you hit the ball with one hand.

But I’ve been playing some guys lately whose serves are just too much. They just boom the ball when serving and blast it like a baseball during rallies. Those are the times when I’m tempted to switch to two-handed backhand. And sometimes I do. The one-handed backhand is just too weak for such returns.

So I wonder what the right thing to do is. Stick to two-handed or “evolve” to a stronger one-handed backhand?

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