The most trending shot in pickleball right now is the two handed backhand, perfect for players looking to add power and control to their game.

The two-handed backhand was historically rare in pickleball, but it is now a dominant shot. This blog post explores the rise of the two-handed backhand shot and how it’s changing the game. You will learn why top players are adopting this technique as well as how it impacts power, dinking, and overall strategy. 

The way people play pickleball today vastly differs from how it was just a decade ago. Equipment, players, and strategies have constantly evolved, making pickleball a dynamic and ever-changing sport.

One of the most noticeable changes is players of all levels’ widespread adoption of the two-handed backhand. Watching YouTube videos of matches from 2010 to 2015 reveals that the playing style of pickleball looks quite different from today’s fast-paced and powerful version.

two-handed backhand on the women’s side

Simone Jardim was among the first players to embrace the two-handed backhand when it was rarely used by other women players on the courts. Her success, particularly during the years before Anna Leigh Waters became dominant, likely influenced other female pros to adopt the two-handed backhand. The use of two-handed backhand spread quickly among women’s pickleball, transforming it from a unique shot used by Jardim to a standard part of the game for most top female players today.

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The Men’s two-handed backhand Evolution

The adoption of the two-handed backhand on the men’s side was slower. There’s virtually no footage of male pros using the shot ten years ago. However, players like Dave Fleming, a former top senior pro who transitioned from tennis, and Riley Newman, a young player known for his innovative style, began using the two-handed backhand in the late 2010s. Fleming’s experience with the two-handed backhand in tennis led him to utilize it in pickleball despite being told by experienced players that the backhand should be one-handed. Similarly, Newman’s tennis background led him to develop a topspin two-handed backhand that he used effectively at the net and from the baseline.

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Ben Johns: A Case Study

Ben Johns is the best example of the current men’s pros using the two-handed backhand. While videos show him using a one-handed backhand exclusively in pre-COVID tournaments (2018-2019), today, he primarily uses a two-handed backhand from the baseline. He still uses a one-handed dink but occasionally opts for a two-handed dink, especially when hitting an ATP shot.

Ben John Is playing With the two handed backhand pickleball

The two-handed backhand in Today’s Game

Players like Connor Garnett, Rafa Hewett, and James Ignatowich use the two-handed backhand for their maximum shots in today’s game. Others, like Collin Johns and Tyler Loong, use it selectively for blocking or driving, respectively. On the women’s side, the two-handed backhand is even more dominant, With more than half of the top professional players using it for drives and volleys.

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Why Two-Handed Backhand Is Popular?

The two-handed backhand has been a tennis staple for decades, so why did it take so long to catch on in pickleball? The size difference between a tennis racket and a pickleball paddle is a likely factor. Paddle grips are extending to accommodate two-handed play, and this trend is expected to continue as more players adopt the two-handed backhand. Here are a couple of reasons why the two-handed backhand is so vital in pickleball:

Power and Versatility: Pro Pickleball Players hit the ball harder than ever in today’s game. The two-handed backhand allows players to generate more power and counter-powerful shots from their opponents. This makes the two-handed backhand a natural fit for today’s aggressive baseline game and volleying.

Improved Versatility: Another interesting development is using the two-handed backhand in the dink game. Players like Newman, Ignatowich, and Bright now hit topspin dinks with two hands. However, a two-handed grip makes it easier to generate topspin, and as topspin dinks become more common, so will the two-handed backhand shot in the pickleball game.

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The Future Of The two-handed backhand

Pickleball is a young sport with ever-evolving strategies. The two-handed backhand has surged in popularity in pickleball due to increasing power and topspin, with players like Simone Jardim, Dave Fleming, and Riley Newman leading the way. We expect to see even more players adopting the twoey in future years.

Conclusion

As pickleball continues to evolve, the two-handed backhand shows no signs of slowing down. Consider trying the two-handed backhand shot, whether you’re a seasoned player or just starting. You might be surprised by the power, control, and versatility it can offer your game.

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