Who Needs the Backhand?

Interesting article by Peter Bodo on the tennis.com site Peter Bodo’s Tennis World.  Below are some excerpts.  It’s an interesting article which in just 13 hours has already received 92 comments (sample comment below) – CLICK HERE for the whole article.

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My son Luke is just 9, and has about as much interest in tennis as I have in clogging. When he took the obligatory annual trip to the U.S. Open last August, about the only thing he really wanted to do (besides get ice cream and pizza) was play around in the Fun Zone. Those of you who don’t have kids have no idea what a great addition these Fun Zones have been for those of us that do.

One feature at the Fun Zone was a net-enclosed mini-court where a tennis pro was hitting in five-minute clips with anyone willing to wait his turn in line. I convinced Luke to wait. When his turn came and the pro fed him a nerf ball on his forehand side, he whacked it. The next ball was to Luke’s backhand, whereupon Luke naturally changed hand and hit another forehand. He went on like that until his alloted time was up, freely changing hands for each shot.

The main stumbling block to having two forehands seems to be notion that it would take too long to switch hands. But I find that caveat absurd, given the typical bio-mechanics of a tennis player in motion. In fact, when you think of what players who use two hands off both wings (like Marion Bartoli) are up against in terms of moving and getting into position, the two forehand option begins to look awfully streamlined and economical.

COMMENT from Abraxas

I believe that truly ambidextrous people should, most definitely, develop a two forehand game. What an incredible advantage that would be!

Could you imagine being able to hit a running forehand on both sides of the court? No ball would be out of reach. What about being able to dictate play from either side of the court? What about being able to naturally serve out wide on both side?. Add to all this the element of surprise and adjustment from the opponent. How exactly do you play an ambidextrous two-forehand player? No weakness.

Having said that, I think that for non-ambidextrous people trying to develop a two forehand game would not work at all. For about 80% of the population the left side of the brain, which controls the right side of the body is, indeed, usually so strongly dominant that the right side of the body ends up being significantly stronger and displays much more motor control and skill than the left. It is not even close. And in a game defined by minuscule margins the difference between consistently developing and using your stronger side, and trying to develop and use both sides equally (including the weaker side)y, would make a big difference.

The same is true, naturally, but in reverse for true left handed players.

My conclusion is that true ambidextrous people would, most definitely, benefit from a two forehand approach, while non-ambidextrous people would be harmed by attempting this.


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