November 14, 2011 - Forehands from the Backhand Corner

The primary danger of attacking with the forehand from the backhand corner (usually with a loop) is that you are leaving the forehand side open. Yet, you don't have to be a speed demon to cover that shot, though that helps. Balance and technique are more important. Here are keys to how to play the forehand from the backhand side without getting caught on the wide forehand. (Note - the advantage of the forehand from the backhand side is that it's usually easier to generate power with the forehand.)

  • Balance. Often a player is in such a rush to step around that they are off-balance when they finish the shot. Others simply follow through way off to the side. In both cases, by the time they have recovered their balance, it's too late. Imagine a pole through your head, and as much as possible rotate around that pole. This gives you great torque yet leaves balanced and in the same position as when you started the shot.
  • Depth. If your shot lands short, it's easy for the opponent to block aggressively to your forehand. If you keep your shots deep, you have a lot more time.
  • Placement. If you put the ball very wide to the opponent's backhand (for righties), they have no angle into your forehand. In general, go down the line only for winners, since you'll be wide open to an aggressive angled block to your forehand.
  • Speed. The harder you loop, the less time you have to recover. Often it's a good idea to loop slow and deep from the backhand side, since the slowness and depth of your own shot gives you time to recover. Alternatively, loop kill so the ball rarely comes back, so you don't have to worry about the wide forehand as much. It's those medium-speed loops that are regularly blocked to the wide forehand for winners.
  • Backhand loop. There's nothing like a backhand loop from the backhand side to keep you in position!