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How Tennis Works: Two-Handed Backhand

By Rich Neher in collaboration with Carl Bryan
Photos by Rich Neher

Our guest pro for this demonstration is Carl Bryan, certified coach by the Professional Tennis Registry. Bryan trained at the Weil Academy in Ojai, California. and spent years as the hitting partner for his cousins Mike and Bob Bryan on the pro tour. He also coached in Spain, France and Italy. Today he teaches at the Toluca Lake Tennis and Fitness Club and at Weddington Golf & Tennis, both in the Los Angeles area. His teaching business is called Bryan Bros Practicing Pros.You can reach Carl Bryan at bryanbrospracticingpros@gmail.com.

Mastering the two-handed backhand will give you a powerful stroke in tennis which, when combined with a one-handed backhand slice, will add great variety to your game.

Calr Bryan Split Step and tennis racquet ready
Stand in the split step and ready position. Prepare yourself for an efficienct, compact backswing and two wide shoulder turns.

Keep your feet planted and turn your shoulders and racquet
together. The non-dominant hand will be leading and driving
through the ball while the dominant arm is getting out of the
way. Sidestep your outside leg a bit to make it easier to
tep into the shot. Now you should be looking over your
dominant shoulder.

Carl Bryan sidestep and shoulder and tennis racquet turn

Carl Bryan step into tennis shot
Step into the shot. Let your racquet head drop below the height of the ball for top spin or right at the height of the ball for a flat shot. The butt cap of your racquet should face the incoming ball. Begin your forward swing.

Make contact out in front with your racquet parallel to the net.
Your body will drive through that ball towards your target.
Your legs, shoulders and arms should move in unison.

Carl Bryan tennis racquet contact

Carl Bryan steady head and tennis racquet parallel
Keep your head steady as you watch the ball and drive your shot through and up. Yhe racquet should be parallel to the net before it goes up.

Follow your swing through over your dominant shoulder.
Your elbows should finish high. Keep your eyes at the point
of contact.

Carl Bryan follow through with tennis racquet

Carl Bryan tennis racquet over non-dominant shoulder
When you started out with your two-handed backhand you were looking over your dominant shoulder. As you finish the shot, you should be looking over your non-dominant shoulder.

Recover with either a shuffle or cross-over step, depending
on how wide you were pulled off the court for the shot

Carl Bryan shuffle back to center of tennis court

Carl Bryan back in ready position
Return to the split-step and ready position to prepare for
your next shot.

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