Kevin Kim's Backhand
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Lee Couillard, USPTA, Head Tennis Professional, Punahou School, Honolulu, HI comments on the conservative grip that ATP Player Kevin Kim uses in today's current game. Kevin holds the grip on the backhand side in between the continental and eastern backhand grip. With this grip he is able to generate good topspin by using a full arm circle follow through and also can rip the ball flat or take the ball early. Kevin's backhand grip is much different than many of the one-handed European clay court player's who use a more extreme eastern backhand grip. So, if you are blessed with good hard-court instincts, try using the more conservative hammer grip to rip into your one handed backhand.
Dennis Ralston's six keys to hitting the backhand:
1. Make sure you have proper balance. Don't lean to far forward as it will end up hitting the ball into the net.
2. Keep the right shoulder up to prevent yourself from leaning too far forward.
3. Reach back with your opposite arm to ensure a backswing that is long enough. If you take too short a backswing, you won't build up momentum; you will brush up and over the ball and it won't go anywhere.
4. Don't think about transferring your weight forward. If you are on balance and let the racket head go through the path of the ball, that is all you need worry about. The weight transfer will take care of itself. If you think too much as you are about to meet the ball, it will only hurt you. Don't try too hard to move your weight into the shot, because you'll end up muscling the ball instead of stroking it.
5. Make contact just in front of your body and get your feet into position. If you have time, your feet should be parallel with the baseline.
6. Follow through out toward your target. For topspin, your racket head should finish higher than it would on a flat backhand.