Student Imagines He Is Drawing a Sword from a Scabbard
Student Imagines He Is Drawing a Sword from a Scabbard

Tennis: Draw a Sword for
Better Backhands

Dick Moss, Editor, Physical Education

When teaching the "straight-back" swing technique on the backhand stroke (in which the racquet is drawn straight back instead of looped), many students have difficulty in visualizing the low-to-high forward swing path that is necessary.

And many start their swing with the racquet too far away from their body, which reduces body rotation. As a result, they generate power only from their arms, which reduces both stroke power and accuracy.

You can use the following coaching cue to help your students visualize the correct swing path: tell them to imagine they're one of the "Three Musketeers" and that they're drawing a sword from their hip.

Be sure they reach across their body, turn sideways and draw their sword from their scabbard using a combination of their arm and body rotation.

If they do, their stroke will start close to the body and follow an ideal low-to-high stroke path to produce a good topspin backhand over the net.

1. Joe Hajducky, "Draw a Sword from Your Hip for Better Backhands." Tennis, April 1989.

2. Richard Wigley, Classic One-Handed Backhand Topspin. Teaching

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