Tennis Backhand LAG And SNAP Explained (DONE IN 3 SIMPLE STEPS!)

December 10, 2019

Speaker 1: What’s the correct wrist lag and
snap technique on the two-handed backhand? Should your wrist be passive through the whole
stroke or is there a whole nother dynamic way to force this racket flip down and up? In this video in the HEB backend series, you’re
going to learn exactly how to execute the optimal backhand lag and snap technique in
just three steps based on the footage of top pros and what the science says. Let’s go. Speaker 1: Now just like the ATP forehand,
the basic movements in the backhand lag and snap technique are flexion, extension, radial
deviation, and ulnar deviation, along with pronation and supination in the forearm. Except this time we’ve got two risks to look
after instead of one. Also, I think it’s important to note that
the wrist action in the racquet flip are affected by exactly how your other parts of your body
are used, such as your trunk and your shoulder rotation. The correct wrist and arm action on your two-hander
starts with your prep. Speaker 1: In our two-hand and backhand backswing
video, which you can check out in the description below, but here are three key checkpoints
to keep in mind right now. First, after your split step, whether you
decide to use the compact loop or the direct take-back, your hands should stay on the hitting
arm side of your body during your take-back. So to make sure that this happens, try to
keep your top elbow slightly bent and slightly raised about 35 or to 30 degrees away from
your torso. Now number two, your hands should be stretched
far enough back on your right shoulder if you’re a righty. And your core, you’ll feel like your body
is being coiled like a rubber band. And with your racquet away from your body,
you’ll have a lot more space to accelerate forward. Speaker 1: Now lastly, keep your racquet head
above your hands during your take-back. If you want to start swinging forward with
your racquet head already down, you’re just going to end up losing a lot of space to generate
that racquet head speed and well, there’s really no racquet flip to talk about. And plus, you’ll feel more relaxed because
gaining that extra racquet head speed is going to be a lot easier. To execute the racquet flip, we’re going to
break this down into two distinct movements driven by your top and your bottom arm. And if you want us to continue this series
on the wrist snap, be sure to leave us one of these. Speaker 1: On the ATP style backhand, your
racquet flip and your acceleration should be initiated by your right arm for righties,
pulling forward. Many players make this mistake by starting
by swinging, pushing forward with the left arm. And this mistake does happen a lot if you
just oversimplify the two-hander into just thinking of it as a left-handed forehand. You see the problem is while you might initially
feel a little bit more control with this technique, you’ll start tensing up and having a much
shallower racquet flip. And ultimately end up with less pace and less
control. So if you want a high level backhand, it’s
really important that you start synchronizing both your top and your bottom arm to execute
the two-hander properly and then start initiating the racquet flip by pulling forward with your
right arm. Speaker 1: Now as we covered in the forehand
risk lag video, the racquet flip on the forehand is pretty straightforward. Keep the hitting arm relaxed and just let
the racquet flip down and back naturally. But you see the backhand side has a slight
twist. Now it’s commonly believed that by simply
accelerating forward from your hitting arm, the top arm, completely passive, you can execute
the racquet flip correctly. And while this is true, other coaches and
biomechanics such as Dr. Brian Gordon, have found that by actively pushing down on the
racquet head by actively straightening your top arm can actually create a more dynamic
and a more powerful acceleration, utilizing what he’s identified as the couple effect
in mechanics. Speaker 1: Now I know what you’re thinking
and yes, this does add a little bit of complexity because depending on how you use your top
arm ,you can change the timing and the depth of your stroke and your racquet drop. Now to understand this, we need to look no
further than the highest levels of tennis. Nishikori is known for his especially deep
flip and he’ll start using this racquet drop before he begins to accelerate forward from
the bottom arm. And Nadal, he’ll go through his backswing
and even drop his racquet lower than other pros due to his style of play, which involves
a lot of heavy topspin shots with high neck clearance. On the other hand, we’ve got players like
Berdych who will accelerate forward with the racquet flipping down and back relatively
at the same time. His racquet drop is typically more shallow
and he’s known for hitting flatter shots. Speaker 1: Ultimately, both methods have worked,
so I recommend that you go out and try to experiment to see what works best for you. Now another thing to note is that this racquet
flipping action can really only happen if your bottom hand and your wrist is relaxed. And depending on the depth of your racquet
flip and your grip, you’ll probably notice yourself having more or less flexion in the
bottom wrist at the end of your racquet drop. Just make sure not to do this too actively,
otherwise you’ll injure your wrist just trying to manufacture this wrist position mechanically. From this position, you might think that the
racquet flip on the backhand looks a little bit excessive, but let me tell you, this rotation
element is actually just like the modern forehand. Speaker 1: The difference is that because
the grips tend to be milder on the backhand side, your racquet is going to flip down and
back in less of a left to right path, but instead travel on edge or straight down. Now what stops most players from getting this
wrist slag action and consequently topspin on the backhand, is tightness. But really quick, here’s a great drill progression
that’ll get you feeling this loose racquet flip right away. Start off with a few light shadows swings
and the key here is to pull forward from your right hand and then subsequently push down
with your top hand. Now a pro tip here, you can use a ball and
put it in the throat of the racquet just to feel a little bit more weight and start feeling
that fluid wrist lag action. Speaker 1: So from here you’re going to start
drop feeding yourself, still with three fingers on the racquet, just like this. Right? And you’re going to make sure that your pinky
and your ring finger is off the racquet on both hands and now you can start drop feeding
yourself. Speaker 2: Feels good. Speaker 1: So note here that you want to think
about keeping your arms loose with less fingers on the racquet. And only after your full racquet drop, when
your racquet is fully down and push straight down, are you going to start to come back
up and accelerate forward. So as you drop feed, repeat to yourself, pull,
push, pull, push. Now after you’ve gotten comfortable here,
we’ll start adding a little bit more racquet head speed with our next progression. Now this drill is similar to Tomasa’s forehand
risk drill over at Field Tennis. So once you’re in the proper back swing, I
want you to focus on keeping your arms loose while you start swinging forward by pulling
from your bottom arm. You’ll probably notice that your racquet naturally
travels back up and forward like a spring. Speaker 1: And finally, try to achieve this
same loose racquet flip action by pulling from the arm and subsequently pushing from
the top with the ball. As for the final racquet flip position of
your top arm, as your ATP style backhand unfolds, you want to make sure that the inside of your
elbow right here is inverted upward, almost completely towards the sky and still close
and slightly in front of your body. On the two-hander, Rick Macy teaches this
arm action by having players focus on lifting the left elbow while pulling forward with
the right arm as shown in this video. Speaker 3: Right arm straight, left elbow
bent, racquet head above. Same concept. The leg drive and the hip is going to activate
the pull. Speaker 1: And this position creates tons
of stored elastic energy in your top shoulder through external shoulder rotation. And as we’ll cover in the next video of this
series, the hitting arm will have nowhere to go but up, resulting in a high octane,
powerful backhand shot. Speaker 1: So to recap, number one, as your
torso rotates at the beginning of the forward swing, your arms are going to lag slightly. And this is going to store elastic energy
like a stretched rubber band. Step number two, accelerate your racquet forward
from the pulling motion of your bottom arm. Step three, experiment to see what timing
and amount of top arm action works best for you. Remember, here’s what you can do. A, push your racquet head down before you
accelerate forward. B, push your racquet head down simultaneously
as you pull with your bottom arm. And C, keep your top arm passive and let the
racquet flip naturally from the force of your bottom arm pulling forward. Speaker 1: And most importantly, number four,
if you want to take all of this out onto the court and make it real, make sure to download
our completely free backhand lag and snap checklist right now by clicking the first
link in the description below. So athletes, I hope you found this video super
helpful. And if you liked the video, watch our full
series on the ATP two-handed backhand right here. Our newest videos right here, and remember
to subscribe and click the bell so that you don’t miss any new videos coming soon. Thank you all for watching. And until next time, go out and train hard. See you in the next video.

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