Keep your head still when striking the backhand – just like Federer!

Keep your head still when striking the backhand – just like Federer!

A common mistake on the backhand is an over-eagerness to look for the result of the shot, before the shot is finished.

Like hitting a golf shot and kicking a ball in soccer, the backhand requires you to keep your head still when striking the ball, avoiding the temptation to follow the ball with your eyes as soon as it leaves your racquet. Lifting your head too soon on the backhand will result in the top half of your body leaning back, causing you to lose control of the shot.

NB. Don’t be afraid to exagerate this a touch – fixing your head in the ball contact position a bit longer than you think is necessary.

As the image below of Roger Federer shows, his head is still fixed in the contact position long after the ball has gone. As the racquet extends over his right shoulder he will then look towards the opponent’s end of the court. But not before!

Stronger foundations for the backhand with a still head!

There is no comparison between the foundations and balance of a correctly struck ball with a still head, and one in which the head looks up too soon. The correctly struck shot will have a strong core running through it compared to the flimsy, head flipping option. The incorrect version will also encourage the chest to fully open and face the net too soon, which is wrong!

Trust the result of your shot!

The secret to keeping your head still on contact (assuming your ball position is correct) is to trust the result of your shot. So often the reason for looking for the result too soon is a lack of belief in the result and a doubt as to whether it will land in the court. This lack of belief and the resulting head lift is so often the reason the shot goes wrong – a kind of self fulfilling prophecy!


Whether you are double or single-handed, a still head on contact will result in a stronger, safer and more accurate shot.

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