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Sample of Oscar Wegner's Teaching on the Topspin Backhand and on the Slice.
There is an easy drill that will grove in this topspin backhand stroke.
Stand sideways to a wall or fence of a tennis court, at an arm's length, your arm pointing to the wall, with the racquet and your knuckles touching the wall or fence. Obviously, you need to have your backhand grip, so that the racquet and arm are perpendicular to each other (90 degree angle). If necessary for supporting the racquet, you can put your thumb against the grip as if pasting a stamp in an envelope.
First press the racquet into the fence, with the head of the racquet slightly downwards. Now move your body a couple of inches away, so as to prevent your knuckles from hitting the wall. Bring the racquet away from the fencel and to your front about a foot or two, lowering the arm and the racquet, then swing close to the wall, without hitting it, and, lifting your arm, rotate the racquet upwards in a clockwise motion, or windshield wiper, as if brushing the wall.
Notice how your body can help this motion in three ways, as you swing: 1) lifting your trunk, 2) moving backwards, and 3) getting your shoulder blades (your upper back) together. Choose the combination or motion that feels the best to you. The top pros, usually, combine all three to help the arm and the stroke.
After you have this movement well grooved in, get someone to toss gentle balls to your backhand. Lift the ball well over the net and finish all the way, perhaps exaggerating the lift, and getting your balance by pulling away from the ball and up. Especially if you are too close to the ball, pulling back will give you plenty of room to swing, with your arm extending towards the target and then across towards the right.
This type movement combination has been shunned by conventional tennis teaching, that tells you to step forward into the hit and stay down. This, unfortunately, destroys the natural acceleration of the arm. Try it both ways, and you will notice the difference.
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The best way to control a backhand slice is to cock your wrist as if you were looking at a ring in your middle finger.
To prepare for the incoming ball, point the butt of the racquet in the direction of the ball.
This racquet butt alignment should be perfected after the bounce, being very aware of where you are going to meet the ball.
The most effective way to stroke the ball firmly is to let it come back a bit into your racquet, and to swing across the body and across the line of the ball as well, using your back as if you are getting your shoulder blades together, and opening the non-playing arm backwards as well.
Find the ball well, pointing it with the butt of the racquet, making sure your elbow is not tucked in and is free to move across your body as if you were elbowing someone. Approach the ball slowly, then, at the last possible moment, very firmly and with the ball already on your strings, accelerate across and past the ball. The angle of your racquet will determine the direction of your hit, rather than the direction of your swing.
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Copyright Oscar Wegner 2011. All rights reserved.