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The Pickleball Backhand: One-Handed Or Two?

Why Having A Good Backhand Is Important

If you play a lot of doubles, you can get away with playing your forehand the majority of the time. But, it's important to have a strong pickleball backhand for a number of reasons. Here's "How Developing A Great Pickleball Backhand Can Win You More Matches":

Choosing The Right One For You

Each one has it’s own benefits. Choosing the right one for you can be a tough decision as everyone has different needs. Here's some help with choosing the right one for you:

Double Handed Backhand - Pros

1. More Stability At Contact

More stability naturally comes from having two hands on the paddle. If you struggle with power or need a little more stability at contact point then the double hander is probably for you. This is true for all backhand shots including volleys and dinks.

2. More Power On Shots

Two hands on the paddle equals more muscles involved. So you will always be able to generate more power using the double-hander. The inclusion of both arms unites the body as a unit. This incorporates the torso and the larger muscle groups, in turn adding more power. A common mistake with single-handed players is the isolation of their arm and little to no use of the body. They, therefore, rely only on their arm and shoulder to generate the pace.

3. Absorbs More Power

Because of the extra stability at contact point coupled with a naturally more compact swing path, you will comfortably absorb more power. This is why a lot of pro players choose the double hander. Especially for those fast fire volley battles at the net.

Single Handed Backhand - Pros

1. Gain More Reach

The most obvious pro to the single-hander is more reach. Simply having one hand on the grip allows you to extend that arm further away from the body. This is especially useful if you play singles and need to cover more ground. The added bonus of having more reach is that you use less energy. Having two hands on the grip not only requires an extra step to reach well, but also uses more muscle groups.

2. Easier Placement

Having only one hand on the grip gives more wrist flexibility and looseness. This in turn makes it easier to guide the ball to different areas of the court. Achieving crosscourt angles is especially smoother. The wrist flexibility also enables you to make a last-second adjustment to wrongfoot your opponent.

3. Faster Adjustment

Having a singler hander allows you to switch more quickly between shots. Whether you are hitting groundstrokes, dinks or volleys it will always be slightly faster between forehand and backhand switches. It's also more easy to disguise a switch to slice.

Credit: Zack Taylor

Double Handed Backhand - Cons

1. Harder to Disguise Shots

Having a double handed backhand makes it harder to disguise and switch to slice than with a single hander. With two hands you have to let go of the grip and reposition the hand for preparation which takes a little longer and is clearly obvious to your opponent.

2. Needs More Movement

Even though the contact point is similar having two hands on your paddle automatically gives you less reach than just one hand. This often leads to a required extra step to make sure you can play a solid backhand. With one hand you can get away with stretching out to blck the ball a little more easily. It's especially a lot harder on those wider balls at the baseline or kitchen. Often players with limited mobility or injuries choose the single-hander because of this.

3. Requires More Flexibility

This is especially true for groundstrokes. The movement of the arms and body as a unit requires more flexibility in the torso and hips. It’s, therefore harder to get a good high finish on the follow through. Many two hand mistakes end up in the net because of this. Also the low bounce of the ball compared to other racket sports can make the pickleball backhand extra tough.

Single Handed Backhand - Cons

1. Harder Timing

The single-hander requires a contact point that’s ever so slightly further out in front. It also requires a slightly longer swing shape to generate the same power as the two-hander. Footwork and timing are key for a solid one-hander.

2. Promotes Laziness

With the double hander you need that extra step to reach ball well. With the single hander because you have more stretch it’s easy to be a little lazy at times. Make sure you get an extra step in and don’t rely on that stretch.

3. Can Lead to Injuries

Even though the double-hander uses more energy the continual use of one arm can lead to overuse injuries. This is particularly common with the shoulder and elbow.

Summary: How to Choose The Right Pickleball Backhand

Selecting the pickleball backhand for you is a personal decision and one that is often not easy. Don't let anyone persuade you otherwise. There is no right or wrong choice, which is why the best players in the world use both. Ultimately you have to select what's right for you. If you have been playing for quite some time then the answer is probably to stick with what you have and try to improve. If you do decide to make the switch, then the Pickleball TopspinPro can come in really handy for getting enough reps in. Muscle memory is key here and there's no substitute for repetitions. Here's some tips on the "best way to train with the TopspinPro".

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