One of the great things about working on Cliff’s website is that I’m always learning new things. When I filmed Cliff’s racquetball clinics in Michigan last month, my brain nearly went into information overload.
For example: the backhand. I have all kinds of trouble with the shot, and still revert back to my two-handed backhand when I’m tired or lazy (which, frankly, can be a lot of the time). I guess I’ve just always figured that the power afforded by that second hand was equal to or greater than the power I’d get from my twisting myself into a pretzel to hit the backhand properly.
One of my main takeaways from the clinic film shoots, though, is that twisting oneself into a pretzel is not only not necessary – it’s not even desirable.
Look at the following screenshots I’ve taken from the video.*
Cliff is working here with Trevor Tutro-Anderson, a pal of mine who has (on more than one occasion) made fun of my two-handed backhand. In Screenshot 1, you see that Trevor has his racquet pulled way back over his shoulder. Add a twist and a raise of the racquet, as in Screenshot 2, and he’s in what I call the pretzel position – all twisted up and around. And this is what I always assumed the desirable backhand position to be.[row_fluid] [/row_fluid]
During the clinics, however, I saw Cliff repeatedly adjust the players out of the pretzel and into a starting position with the racquet out in front of their chest, as in Screenshot 3. This was something of a revelation to me. I watched over and over as players started their backhands from the new position. Their shots lost virtually no power but gained notably in consistency.
[row_fluid] [/row_fluid] I’ve started working on a new one-handed, non-pretzel backhand and can say I’m happy with the results so far. Now if I could only find time to practice, practice, practice.
See you on the courts!
*B-Level and higher CliffSwain.com members can watch The Non-Pretzel Backhand video.