Updated: Jul 9
There are still lots of people who believe that basic strokes or ground strokes on tennis not necessarily need to start with a back swing. The demand on the actual game is much bigger than a few years ago. Talking to a friend who is also a coach, he said that he still doesn't encourage his players to work on their back swing. Being a coach that travels all around the world working with tennis, I asked him which player among Top 100 does not use a back swing for at least the forehand. He asked me a few minutes to think about it and came with the following answer: "All of them do the back swing." So what is the relation of the back swing with performance? It might sound complicated but actually it isn't. First we have to consider that the back swing is a continuous motion. Once the players starts it, there is no need to stop during the movement. A player that just pulls back the racket to hit the ball, at a given moment will have to stop it to move forward. It is simple physics. So, when he stops the movement he comes to zero energy. He wasted all the energy he used to pull back the racket. Beyond that, when he stops the racket and changes direction, a moment of instability happens, usually with a vibration or oscillation on the racket head, that reduces the accuracy of the stroke. And second, just to name only two good reasons to justify its use, to start the back swing, all the player needs to do is to raise the racket to a comfortable and stable position, pointing the racket up. Not only it is a movement that needs very little energy, but also it activates a free potential energy. Gravity! Just let the racket drop backwards and buy the time it reaches its lowest point on the back swing, the potential energy will be transformed in kinetic energy. Easy, low energy waste, stable! Don't hesitate, tell kids to work on their back swing.
TEXT BY GABRIEL PIMENTEL AND PAULO CÉSAR PIMENTEL