Your nonhitting hand, also called your nondominant hand, plays an important role as it holds your tennis racket -- more than you might realize. The most important jobs of your nondominant hand are to help you set the racket in preparation for hitting the ball and to add more power, angle and disguise to a two-handed backhand. You'll find that the more you practice using your nonhitting hand, the better prepared you’ll be when hitting your shots.
Stand in your ready position and hold your racket as if you were getting ready to hit a one-handed backhand. With your dominant hand near the end of the handle, put your nondominant hand higher up on the handle, at the "V"-shaped throat. Wrap your thumb around one side of the "V" and your fingers around the opposite side. In this position, your hand can quickly turn the racket in your dominant hand to help you get the proper grip for a one-handed backhand stroke -- the eastern backhand is the most common grip. Your nondominant hand also helps to pull your racket back quickly as you prepare early to hit a backhand.
Hold your racket with the most common hand combination for a two-handed backhand -- continental grip with your dominant hand and eastern grip with your nondominant hand. To find the eastern grip, right-handers place the base of their index finger and the heel pad of their left hand on the handle's seventh bevel. Left-handers put their right hand on the third bevel. To find the correct bevel, hold your racket on its edge, strings vertical, and look at the end of the handle. Notice the octagonal shape with eight sides or bevels. Think of the top bevel as number one, the next bevel to the right as number two and so on around to number eight. Grasp the end of the handle with your dominant hand and then put your nondominant hand on the correct bevel. Your hand will be a little higher up on the handle, above and touching your dominant hand.
Grab your racket and hold it in the ready position as if you were near the net getting ready to hit a volley. Whether you are hitting a forehand or a backhand volley, the correct grip for your dominant hand is the continental. The correct position for your nondominant hand is up at the "V"-shaped throat. Wrap your thumb around one side of the "V" and your fingers around the opposite side. When you are at the net, many times you have only a split second to react to a hard-hit shot. The quickest way to get the racket face in the correct position to contact the ball is to have your nondominant hand turn and move your racket into position. This allows your dominant hand to stay relaxed up until the moment you contact the ball.
- Spend time hitting forehands with your nondominant hand. This helps to strengthen your nonhitting arm, which may result in a more powerful two-handed backhand.
- Tennis: A Professional Guide; United States Professional Tennis Association
- Wendy Hope/Stockbyte/Getty Images