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Sherby: Keys to a classic backhand
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If you are a Federer fan, you probably admire his great one-handed backhand drive. It certainly rivals the best two-handers on the circuit and that means it’s a model for a analysis.

How does he do it so well? Here are the crucial elements:

Use an Eastern backhand grip. This grip position rotates the hand a little behind the handle so the index finger knuckle sits on the top plane of the handle. Change grips from forehand to backhand.

Prepare by rotating your shoulders first. The shoulder blade of your hitting shoulder should point towards the intended target. Hit through the ball with a straight arm at contact.

Meet the ball out in front of your hitting shoulder. The Eastern grip dictates a contact point further in front than any other stroke.

Transfer your weight into the ball by stepping into the stroke. Copy the step of a baseball batter to get the idea.

Swing low to high. This is a drive; not a slice. Lift the ball and put a little forward spin onto it. This makes the ball clear the net safely and dive into tahe opponent’s court.

With the preponderance of two-handed backhands around, it appears the one-hander has taken a back seat. However, technique, practice and dedication can make it happen.

Gary Sherby is tennis director at Racquets and Togs Tennis Center, 115 Bradford St., just off the downtown square. His tennis tips appear Sundays.

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