How to Hit a Backhand in Tennis: 5 Steps to Consistency

Are you looking to improve your backhand in tennis? Want to learn how to hit a consistent backhand that stands up to pressure and can become a weapon rather than a weakness?

We’re going to walk you through every step so you can improve your backhand in tennis.

So, let’s take a look at how to improve your ability to hit a great backhand and get you winning more tennis matches!

Why is it Important to Learn How to Hit a Backhand in Tennis

Hitting consistent groundstrokes from the baseline has become the cornerstone of the modern tennis game. Players are so fit these days that winning tennis points even at the recreational level can become a war of attrition. 

Therefore, having a reliable, consistent backhand that won’t break down and can actually be used to attack your opponents rather than just defend can give you a major advantage on the court. 

The first thing to decide when you are learning how to hit a backhand in tennis is whether you are going to hit a single-handed backhand, or a double-handed backhand

There are definitely pros and cons to both techniques, but bear in mind a double-handed backhand is easier to learn and is usually more consistent than a single-handed backhand. That said, a single-handed backhand tends to be more powerful and has more variety than a double-handed backhand. 

The choice is yours of course, but generally speaking, most recreational players that are picking up tennis for the first time will be best off starting with a double-handed backhand. After all, you can always switch to a single-hander later on! 

Regardless of which type of backhand you hit, most players choose to hit their backhand with the Eastern Backhand grip. This gives you plenty of spin without being too extreme, so you can still maintain plenty of feel and variety on your backhand side.

How to Improve Your Backhand in Tennis

Tennis is not the easiest sport in the world to learn by any means. The technique, timing, and footwork required to make contact with the ball consistently are hard enough, let alone trying to hit spins and angles too! 

Many players find backhands especially difficult as they are hitting on the weaker side of their bodies. However, following our simple, step-by-step guide below will help you nail the basics and improve your backhand stroke in no time!

Step 1: Look at’s Backhand Blueprint Online Course

The first step to improving your backhand in tennis is to take a look at our Backhand Blueprint online course. This is a great resource that we put together to give recreational players more confidence in their backhands. 

Tennis can be frustrating when you are struggling on a particular shot, especially something like the backhand that can be hit to and exploited very easily by an opponent. 

We put together our Backhand Blueprint course with the help of ex-ATP professional turned master performance coach Dave Ireland. He has a wealth of playing experience and coaching knowledge, so is your perfect guide to improving your backhand! 

So, if you want to learn how to hit a single or double-handed backhand, hit better angles, and improve your consistency, check out our Backhand Blueprint course today!

Learn to Dominate on your Backhand Side from Anywhere on the Court
Check out our courses!

Step 2: Unit Turn

Next, it is important to learn how to use your body effectively in the backhand stroke to create more power. The unit turn refers to the movement that you make when you turn your entire body, so you are side on to the oncoming ball. 

The key here is to turn your entire body so you are side on to the ball, as soon as you recognize that the opponent has played to your backhand. Getting ready early will ensure you have plenty of time to take the racket back, dip it below the height of the ball and swing through with plenty of power and control. Doing this will also help you not feel rushed on the backhand shot. 

The reason players do this is to increase the amount of power and momentum they can generate in their swing. This technique is also used when hitting a heavy forehand, as it helps add power, spin, and racket head speed to the shot. 

To use the unit turn, simply turn your shoulders, hips, and torso together as you take your racket back to hit your backhand. Then, as the ball is approaching, turn your shoulder, hips, and knees (in that order) as you swing your racket toward the oncoming ball. This will give you more power as you make contact with the ball and also help you swing more consistently since you’re using your whole body rather than just your arms!

Step 3: Take the Racket Back and Dip it Low

The next step towards improving your backhand swing is to drip the racket down below the height of the incoming ball. This step is so often missed by recreational players and ends up with them dumping the ball in the bottom of the net. 

Getting your racket below the height of the net helps you generate more topspin, and also helps you lift the ball up over the net and into the court. Bending the knees more also helps with this process, since you are already closer to the ground before you make your swing. 

Another bonus tip with this technique is to actually start your racket high, then drop it low before you strike the ball, and then finish with the racket nice and high again. Using this high, low, high technique will create much more momentum in your backswing, which will also help to generate more power. Having a smooth, flowing, powerful backswing will help your backhand stroke become more fluid and improve your consistency and timing. 

Since the backhand is not necessarily the most powerful shot (usually forehands and serves are the most powerful), it is important for it to be controlled, consistent, and solid under pressure. Many of the best professional tennis players use this high, low, high technique on their backhand strokes, and it is something that you can easily implement too!

Step 4: Lengthen Your Swing

Next, adding more depth to your backhand swing can be done easily by lengthening your swing. Trying to reach out in front of you and contact the ball at waist height, is a great way to create more space between yourself and the ball, whilst also promoting a longer backhand followthrough. 

Many players have too shallow of a swing path on their backhand since they are often rushed and become a bit choppy with their technique. Make sure you get behind the ball nice and early so you have plenty of time to take a longer swing at the ball on your backhand, and you’ll be hitting the ball deeper in no time! 

Focus on extending your arms out in front of you and contacting the ball further away from your body, so you have plenty of space to make a full swing at the ball. This way you’ll be contacting the ball at the apex of your swing, rather than being jammed up and not able to hit with full power. 

When adding depth to your shots, it is also important to add a little more height over the net, as this not only creates more margin for error on your backhand but also makes it more likely that the ball will land in the deepest zone on the court.

Step 5: Finish Over your Shoulder

Another simple technical change that is a great addition to the backhand stroke is finishing over the shoulder. If you are a right-hander, starting your backhand stroke on your left-hand side and finishing the swing over your right shoulder encourages you to complete the swing, rather than a stab at the ball. 

This will help to improve the smoothness of your backhand stroke along with your rhythm and consistency. 

Using a full swing rather than an abbreviated swing has a number of added benefits, such as hitting the ball deeper, promoting more racket head speed, and giving you the ability to hit with more variety. 

This is because, with a full swing rather than a half swing on the backhand, it is easier to generate spin, and angles, hit the ball deep, and actually hit with more power. This doesn’t necessarily mean that you have to hit the ball at 100 MPH all the time, but finishing over your shoulder can improve your backhand by allowing you to feel more relaxed and improve your consistency. 

Step 6: Loosen your Wrists and Brush the Ball

Finally, one last tip to help you hit a great backhand in tennis is to loosen off your wrists to allow better brushing up the back of the ball. This is a slightly more advanced technique, but it will help you hit your backhand with more topspin, which in turn will improve your consistency, margin for error and allow you to hit the ball harder. 

As you are dipping the racket down below the height of the ball, also lower your wrists so your racket is pointed down towards the ground. Then, as you start to swing up and make contact with the ball, flick your wrists upwards to generate more topspin, almost like a windscreen wiper. 

What you are doing here is also creating a bit of racket lag. This is something that many of the best players in the world do when they are looking to hit more topspin on their foreheads, and it is something you can also do to add more spin to your backhand! The timing of the wrist flick is key here though. You want to make this a natural movement that generates more spin, angles, and control, rather than aimlessly flicking your wrists at the ball and hoping for the best! 

Your wrists should brush up the back of the ball as you swing through the contact point, giving you a brushing feeling as your top hand follows through and you finish over your shoulder.

Once You’ve Mastered Your Backhand, it’s Time to Improve Your Forehand!

Now that you have learned how to hit a great backhand in tennis, you can become a more consistent tennis player overall. The next step towards taking your game to the next level is to improve your forehand. The forehand is often considered the more offensive shot of the two groundstrokes, so adding more spin, power, and control to this shot will make you a more formidable force on the court!

If you want to take your forehand to new heights and become a more competitive tennis player, check out our Forehand Domination course today!

Start Building a Real Weapon That's Reliable Under Pressure
Buy Now

Simple Guide to Hit a Backhand in Tennis

Overall, learning to hit a backhand in tennis is an essential skill that any up-and-coming tennis player should try to master. The backhand is often thought of as the more defensive of the two groundstrokes, so it is even more important to learn how to hit it consistently, since not as many winners are hit from that side. 

If you can get your body behind the ball, get your racket back early, swing through your backhand, and use your wrists to create more topspin, you’ll be well on your way to improving your backhand in no time! 

Want more free resources to help you improve your game?

We’ve got you covered:

Now it’s time to take the first step to win more tennis matches with your new and improved backhand.

Get our Backhand Blueprint today!

Hit More Power and Spin More Often!
Buy Now

Explore more