Skills tennis-two-drills-for-working-on-your-backhand

Tennis: two drills for working on your backhand

Damien Caby, a partner coach of the brand, takes all the mystique out of the backhand thanks to two drills that allow you to work on and hone it. Make your life easier!

"It's my weakest shot. It's hard to hit." - Gaël, 32 years old. These are the kinds of things you hear on tennis courts all the time. But there's no reason why.

Technique for playing the backhand

Let's start with a few technical reminders on the backhand. The ideal grip for the dominant hand (the one holding the racket) is either the hammer grip of the semi-western. 

Hammer grip

semi-western grip

This popular grip will allow you to apply the right intensity and make the right movement when hitting a backhand. Don't forget. Keep your movements simple! You can dig deeper into technique by reading our articles: "How to do a good one-handed backhand" and "How to do a good two-handed backhand."

Let's get down to it!

Here's a little warm-up you can do before you start.


Step 1: Work on the supination of your dominant hand and the feeling of control.

Length: 5 minutes

Set-up: Standing in the service boxes, you and a partner hit one-handed backhands to each other. You should hit up on the ball and follow through. The tougher the rallies the better the drill. Take a break and repeat the drill, hitting the ball even harder if you can.

Step 2: Work on getting your body weight forwards.

Length: 5 minutes

Set-up: As part of your warm-up, stand at the back of the court and balance on your front leg as you hit the ball (the stork drill). Do this with every backhand. (You can also do it with the forehand).

Once you've warmed up, there are a couple more drills you can do to groove your backhand technique.

Backhand drill 1: repeat your routines!

There's nothing like drilling to build your confidence on your cross-court backhand.

Objective: ball length, ideal grip and positioning.

Length: 10 minutes

Set-up: To practise the cross-court backhand, try to build long rallies and focus on hitting a good length. The longer the rallies the better the drill. Though this is a simple drill, you need to keep your focus to ensure quality rallies that help you improve.

You can add a little extra intensity by placing a target a metre from the tramline and the baseline, on either side of the court.

Find out more

The pros practise shots over and over in training to groove on their technique and build their confidence.

Objective: take the initiative with your first backhand.

At the start of every practice session you need to hit a few shots to loosen up.

Backhand drill 2: now let's dot the i's!

Length: 10-15 minutes

Set-up: Player 1 serves underarm and quite hard to Player 2's backhand. Player 2 is free to hit the backhand anywhere they want. The aim is to take control of the point with your backhand. For a little extra incentive, Player 2 scores a bonus two points if Player 1 is unable to get a racket on their first backhand.


You'll sometimes come up against players who'll throw everything at your backhand. This drill will help you make the most of situations like that.


Damien's tips:

"Keep control! Transferring your body weight forwards is essential to hitting a good backhand. Engage your body when making the shot to ensure maximum control."

"No closed stances! Neutral and three-quarter open stances will get you in the ideal position for hitting a backhand." A closed stance does not allow you to move forward through the shot as your front foot will prevent your body weight from engaging. What's more, you won't be able to hit the ball cross-court because the closed position of your legs will stop your chest from fully rotating with the shot."

Neutral stance

three-quarter open stance

You now know the backhand inside out. With a little technique and a lot of confidence, you'll find all those misgivings about your backhand will disappear. Get working on the cross-court backhand!

You now know the backhand inside out. With a little technique and a lot of confidence, you'll find all those misgivings about your backhand will disappear. Get working on the cross-court backhand!

Two drills to improve your backhand



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