The Lawnmower Backhand Swing

The backhand loop can generate a lot of topspin when used to its full potential. Against a cut ball or backspin, your backhand swing needs to change a bit in order to get the ball over the net. It’s important to remember when looping a cut ball on backhand or forehand to aim way over, over the forest, and to not go through like a regular ball. Otherwise, your ball will end up in the net.

backhand swing

Unlike a regular backhand swing,  you need to get lower down and swing much more vertically against a cut ball.

The best way I like to think of it is like pulling a lawnmower.

Bend down to incorporate your legs into the swing. Remember: your legs are much stronger than your arms, so using your legs can generate a lot more power. It also allows you to ease up your upper body (if you want to), allowing for better control, or just to give it a rest.

Open your bat a bit more than your normal swing so that your ball doesn’t end up in the net. Bring your arm down between your legs. Drop your right shoulder down (if you are right-handed) and rotate your wrist to the left.

When the ball comes, start pushing off with your legs and pulling your arm up just like you would pull a lawnmower.

You want to snap your wrist upon contact with the ball. However, you don’t want to allow your wrist to flop back after your shot as this might cause your ball to drop. Instead, keep your wrist stiff. You should end with your wrist in a normal position.

Samsonov has a solid swing which has allowed him to become a top player. Notice the difference between his normal backswing and his loop against the cut ball in this video:

He gets way down and snaps his wrist upon contact, giving him mega-spin. Notice his wrist rotating down when he starts. When he is finished, his wrist is back to its normal position.

The reason his bat can remain so close on both his regular and loop shots is because of his snap and power. He is able to lift the ball over the net because of his wrist power. Timo Boll also has another great backhand to watch.

Backhand Loop Improvement

Many players are wondering about how they can improve their backhand loop against heavy backspin. Some are confused about whether they have to use their wrist or elbow more to do the swing.

If you have the same questions, you should try the following in order to help you get your shot over the net:

Instead of just using your wrist and elbow, try using your legs as well. Start slightly lower than normal and accelerate as you make contact. If it is for heavy backspin, open the angle of your bat more.

Yes, you need to open your bat angle more if the ball goes into the net. You want to come “up” on the ball and lessen the forward motion.

Kinking Your Knee

If you are a right-handed player, try ‘kinking’ your right knee slightly inwards when bringing your arm back for the stroke. This allows you to bring your right shoulder across easier, allowing for a cleaner stroke when you make contact with the ball without putting all the pressure on your wrist and arm.

This maneuver allows power to be transferred from your legs much easier. Follow through with a ‘clean’ action and your backhand ‘loop’ or topspin will improve dramatically.

Adjust Your Racket Angle

You need to adjust the racket angle according to the height and depth of the ball. If it has more spin, adjust it more vertically;  if it has less spin, follow through vertically.

Another thing to remember is that you need to act fast compared to the forehand loop. In the forehand, you have space behind; not so in the backhand. The wrist movement should be fast and it is possible only if your wrist is relaxed.

The more relaxed your wrist, the smoother your stroke will be. Don’t worry about getting it perfect all at once – I’m constantly practicing and improving my backhand loop too!


Warren Davies

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