Reaching a wide ball to my backhand

Ask the coachCategory: Tactics & match-playReaching a wide ball to my backhand
William asked 1 year ago

It was an interesting video with you and Ferenc, around 8 months ago, about reaching a wide ball to your forehand.

What I would like to know is I consider myself to have a strong backhand. Therefore, do you recommend I attempt to take the wide ball from my backhand side using a backhand stroke, while trying to centre my balance, maintaining a distance from the table and keeping lower, so that I can then move better to my wide forehand?

Otherwise, is it meant to be easier to move to my forehand side if I am able to play a forehand from my wide backhand, the same way Ferenc instructed you to do in the video?

Also, when you play that wide forehand from your backhand side, do you normally try to go crosscourt or down the line? I ask this question because maybe it’s better to go cross court than down the line, as the down the line stroke to your opponent’s forehand, if he or she is right handed, opens up their angle to go cross court to your wide forehand.

I guess there is no right or wrong answer, depending on what is best for you or me to hopefully end up winning the point.

1 Answers
Tom Lodziak Staff answered 1 year ago

It is absolutely fine to take balls aimed at the wide backhand position with your backhand. This makes complete sense if you have a strong backhand. It also makes complete sense if your footwork skills are a little limited. And as we get older, it becomes more challenging to step around and hit forehands from the backhand corner. So for many players at the amateur level, it is much easier to deal with balls aimed at the wide backhand by using a backhand stroke. I also prefer to do this, despite what Ferenc was encouraging me to do in the video.
In response to your second question, if you do play a forehand from the backhand corner, where should you aim your shot? The conventional wisdom is cross-court, so your opponent cannot block / counter into your wide forehand position. This also works well if your opponent has a weak backhand.
However, it can get a little predictable, as this is what most players do, so therefore your opponent may anticipate you will play cross-court and deal with your forehand attack comfortably. So playing your forehand attack down the line – whilst a little risky – does have a surprise factor which can catch your opponent out. Plus, if you start varying your placement – sometimes cross-court, sometimes down the line, your opponent can never really settle and may find it harder to return all your attacks.