The Modern Two-Handed Backhand by Ron Steege

Ron Steege, Director of Tennis at Greenwood Athletic and Tennis Club, shares his insights on the modern two handed backhand.

1. Eight-year-old Anna Kalabukhova uses a Continental grip with her non-dominant right hand and a semi-western or hybrid grip with her dominant left hand. Notice the high racquet head as she prepares to loop her swing back and down.





2. Often you’ll see players utilizing an open stance on wide challenge balls in today’s game. Here, Anna is more closed in her setup with her shoulders coiled and her weight loaded over the back foot ready to transfer her weight forward and really unload on this ball. The racquet has begun to drop behind her as Anna builds momentum and racquet speed.




 3. Ten-year-old Allison Murphy’s racquet is dropping below the ball with continuous momentum, avoiding a pause at this stage ensures maximum racquet head speed. This swing pattern imparts big time topspin, a hallmark of the modern game.





4. Contact is out in front with her weight over her right foot. Make sure you maintain a loose grip throughout the swing. On a scale to 5, with 5 being a death grip, you want to strive for a 2 grip pressure which is loose enough that the racquet could be easily pulled from your hands. Notice Allison’s eyes are focused on point of contact for centered impact.




5. This photo shows twelve-year-old Jessie Murphy as she begins the release of the left hand as it finishes over the right hand. The left elbow is up and her back leg is coming forward, the result of angular momentum and the early stages of a recovery step.





6. The finish is over Jessie’s right shoulder with the left elbow up and pointing forward. The right elbow is relaxed; the back of her left hand is against her right cheek with the racquet on its edge. This is typical of a topspin drive with contact made around waist level. A high ball finish would wrap more around the outside of the right shoulder.




Ron Steege is the Director of Tennis at the Greenwood Athletic and Tennis Club, in Greenwood Village, Colorado. Email Ron at:


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