Do you have a tennis stroke that you don’t like, and you’ve tried to change? It’s tough right?

On this episode, Carolyn and Erin talked to Mike about changing tennis strokes. Mike is a 4.0 USTA rated tennis player, and Carolyn‘s husband.

Roger Federer’s Influence

After taking many years off, Mike started playing tennis again during grad school. That was at the height of Roger Federer’s career, and he was Mike’s idol. Mike would spend hours hitting against a wall for practice and wanted his backhand to emulate Roger’s. Roger hits his backhand with one hand so that’s how Mike taught himself to hit.

Once Mike started playing in USTA leagues and moving up the rankings, he noticed that players that were experienced could target his backhand and he felt like it was becoming a weakness in his game.

He thought players with a two-handed had better returns, better top spin, and in general had more power using a two-handed backhand vs. a one-handed backhand. Because of that, he decided to work on changing his stroke to a two-handed backhand.

For 6 to 9 months, he worked to try and develop a two-handed backhand without success. Changing something that fundamental just seemed impossible. Carolyn would watch him try and hit his new stroke and she said it looked unnatural. After months of work, Mike decided to go back to using his one-handed backhand and continues to hit a one-handed backhand today.

An unconventional forehand

Carolyn has an unconventional stroke and plays tennis with a two-handed forehand. She started hitting that way because she had wrist issues and was in pain. She felt like she had more control on her forehand if she had two hands on her racket. She recently tried to change her stroke and hit a one-handed forehand, but it has not gone well!

She has been taking lessons for several months to try to change her stroke. It feels very foreign to her since she’s been hitting with two hands for so many years.

Hit like Hsieh Su-Wei

Like Mike, Carolyn has decided to stick to her original two-handed stroke because it was too hard to change to a one-handed. But she has made a slight change. What she’s doing different now is she’s switching her hands so that her dominant hand is on the top of the racket. Carolyn saw a video on YouTube featuring Hsieh Su-Wei, a pro tennis player. Hshieh also hits her forehand with two hands. What Hsieh Su-Wei does differently than Carolyn is she switches her hands back-and-forth whether she’s hitting a forehand or backhand.

It’s amazing how hard changing tennis strokes can be once you’ve got muscle memory! Mike, Carolyn, and Erin all agree that everything is harder as an adult rec player.

If anyone listening has had success at changing their tennis stroke, please contact us! We want to hear all about it and if it was possible.

Mike joined Carolyn and Erin earlier this month for a fun episode about grunting. Listen here.