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Tennis Anyone
December 2003 Article

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Two-Handed Backhand Volley vs One-Handed Backhand Volley

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John Mills, USPTA

In my opinion, there is no doubt that the one-handed backhand volley is far better than the two-handed backhand volley. After teaching for almost thirty years and watching thousands of matches, I have come to this conclusion.

Here are some of my reasons:

  • You increase your student's range (what he or she can reach). They can not only reach farther, but higher also.

  • In close, fast exchanges (like doubles) it is by far better. Reflex volleys are easier to recover from with a one-handed backhand volley.

  • It is much easier to hit balls that come directly at your body, especially at your face and chest.

  • It is much easier to pick-up a backhand half volley with one hand rather than a two-handed backhand volley.

  • As a student gets older, it is easier to "dig-out" a low volley. You do not need to bend your knees so low.

  • You do not have to be in a perfect position to hit a one-handed backhand volley vs. a two-handed backhand volley. You will be more flexible with your footwork.

  • What you might lose in power, you will gain in quickness, reach, dexterity and control.

  • If the two-handed backhand volley were that efficient, I believe you would see the top professionals use it. As you can see, it is in the minority. In the same way, in the past you used to see a majority of players use one-handed backhand ground strokes. Now, you can see that a high percentage of professionals use the two-handed backhand ground strokes. It has become more efficient. A two-handed backhand ground stroke and a one-handed backhand volley make a lethal combination.

  • Last, but not least, I believe the one-handed backhand volley is one of the most beautiful shots in the game.

Good luck on the courts!

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This column is copyrighted by John Mills, all rights reserved.

John Mills' experience includes four years as head pro at the Windemere Racquet & Swim Club, where he was responsible for organization of all tennis activities at the club. John also played college tennis at the University of Houston and has spent 20 years teaching tennis at the Memorial Park Tennis Center, the Pasadena Racquet Club, and as the head pro at the Bay Area Racquet Club.


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