How to Hit an Easy One-Handed Backhand

You have many options for hitting a one-handed backhand. You can hit the ball flat, with topspin or with slice. Add closed, square, semi-open and open stances, and different grips to the mix, and the permutations can make your head spin faster than the ball. Every tennis ball has a forward roll after it bounces, no matter what type of spin it has in the air. Hitting slice groundstrokes is the easiest option because you don’t need to stop and change the spin of the ball, as you do with topspin.


Step 1

Stand on the baseline facing the back fence of the court to practice the motion for a slice backhand. This will free you from worrying about where the ball lands as you practice the motion.


Step 2

Have a partner toss soft balls to you without a racket in your hand, trying to hit the balls with the heel of your right hand, if you are a right-handed player. Put the fingers of your right hand into the palm of your left hand and turn to your left, as if you were bringing your racket back with two hands. Move your right arm forward with your palm down, as if you were clearing a line of glasses off the top of a bar — on an even plane. Hit 10 or so balls in front of your body with this motion, turning your torso sideways each time so your partner can see your back.


Step 3

Grip the racket with your right hand in a Continental, or “shake hands,” grip. Place the palm of your right hand on the strings and slide it down the racket to the handle. Shake hands with the racket, holding it like you would a hammer.


Step 4

Practice hitting backhands into the fence with a racket, the Continental grip and sliding motion you just learned. Point the butt of your racket at the ball as your first move, taking the racket back with two hands.


Step 5

Move to the service line, facing the net, and have your partner feed balls to you from the opposite service line. Practice hitting balls left and right. Move halfway between the service line and baseline after 20 or more practice shots and have your partner do the same. Continue practicing your swing. Practice footwork at this point by stepping toward the net before you hit the ball, rather than stepping across your body toward the service line. Have your partner feed balls that make you move at least two steps left, forward or diagonally forward.


Step 6

Move to the baseline and have your partner move to the opposite baseline to feed balls. Practice hitting balls left and right, deep and short and while moving side to side and forward and back. Practice bending your knees as the ball is coming toward you and pushing up from the ground as you hit the ball.



Experiment with grips, including moving the top knuckle on your right hand to the top bevel of the grip for an Eastern backhand grip, to get more topspin.