Mastering the Two-Handed Backhand in Pickleball

Introduction: The two-handed backhand

Win more pickleball games with a strong backhand, especially a two-handed backhand. The two-handed backhand is a crucial shot in pickleball because it can give you power, control, and versatility. Ready to add this great shot to your repertoire? Here’s our comprehensive guide on mastering the two-handed backhand in pickleball. We’ll cover:

  • An overview of the two-handed backhand
  • Benefits of a two-handed backhand to elevate your game
  • Tips for both beginners and experienced players looking to master this shot

Table of context

  1. Understanding the Basics
  2. Mechanics of a two-handed backhand
  3. How to hit a consistent and accurate two-handed backhand
  4. Drills and exercises to improve your two-handed backhand
  5. Common mistakes to avoid

Understanding the basics: Two-handed pickleball backhand

By utilizing both hands on the grip, you can generate more strength and stability, and hit effective shots from any position on the court.

Whether you’re a beginner looking to improve your game or an experienced player seeking to refine your technique, this guide will give you the knowledge and skills to elevate your two-handed backhand game in pickleball.

First, what are the benefits? A two-handed backhand will give you:

  • Enhanced control and stability
  • Increased power and accuracy
  • Ability to handle low and high balls effectively

We will delve into the intricacies of the two-handed backhand, exploring techniques, tips, and drills to help you master this essential skill.

Two-handed backhand mechanics: Grip, swing, and more


You need to fit both of your hands on your grip!

Your dominant hand will be on the bottom of the grip. It is the same position as your forehand; moving your dominant hand is unnecessary. Your non-dominant hand will grip the top of your paddle right above your dominant hand.

If your paddle has a long enough grip for both hands, that’s great.

But if your paddle grip is a little shorter, you’ll want to put the top of your non-dominant hand on the bottom of the paddle, like with your pointer finger out. Many higher-level players do this.

Beginner Note: 
A lot of beginners overlap their hands. Avoid this! When we hit a two-handed backhand in pickleball, you want your hands touching but not overlapping. 

If you're right-handed, your left pinky touches your right index finger.
Advanced Note: 
You may be especially familiar with a few grip options if you're also a tennis player. When it comes to the two-handed backhand, here's how your hands should grip:

Dominant hand: A combo between an Eastern Backhand and Continental Grip.

Non-dominant hand: A combo between Continental and an Australian Grip. Your non-dominant hand should touch your dominant hand so you're not leaving too much space to allow for a loss of control.


When your paddle hits the ball, your dominant wrist should be firm to stabilize your strike.

Your non-dominant wrist should be more flexible. The non-dominant wrist should point towards the ulna. Keep your non-dominant wrist relaxed (or as relaxed as possible). Flexibility allows you to use more complex techniques as you become more advanced (like adding spin, speed, or angle to the pickleball).


Lastly, when it comes to your arms, an excellent two-handed backhand in pickleball should have relaxed shoulders. Keep those shoulders low.

It’s common for some players to have one shoulder try to rise just before or during the strike. Be sensitive to your shoulders. If your shoulders rise, it leads to tension. This shoulder tension will make your two-handed backhand less fluid and reduce control and power.

Stance and footwork

Bend with your knees, not with your back.

Get nice and low to the ground. Please don’t hit it with straight legs.

Good bent knees help you get the ball up and above the net. You’ll get much more power since the depth will come from your legs. As you strike the ball with your two-handed backhand, your back will stay straight up.

Lastly, this form will help you with control and flow nicely into a good follow-through.

Beginner note: Many beginners try to get low by bending or hinging at their back. If you do this, your swing will look and feel more like you're shoveling the ball. Avoid this because you lose control and power. You'll also notice bending at your back because you'll likely not bend your knees.

Follow-through over your shoulder

The follow-through is critical to maintaining control and power on your two-handed backhand.

Follow through all the way over your shoulder so that your paddle comes up and over your dominant shoulder.

Your dominant elbow should finish by pointing off to the side.

  • Pretend like you’re flexing and showing off your bicep on your dominant arm.
  • Don’t jam your under your side or near your ribs.

You end up standing square 90 degrees to the net.

Putting it all together

See how to put all the mechanics of a two-handed backhand together.

How to hit a consistent and accurate two-handed backhand in pickleball

As you continue to practice and refine your two-handed pickleball backhand, focus on developing consistency and accuracy in your shots.

Consistency is important in any pickleball shot. It allows you to maintain control and keep the ball in play. Aim to consistently hit the ball in the desired location, whether cross-court or down the line.

Accuracy is just as important because it enables you to hit precisely and place the ball under challenging spots for your opponents—work on hitting the ball cleanly and directing it to specific areas of the court.

Here are four tips to improve your hit consistent and accurate backhands in pickleball:

  1. Practice proper footwork and positioning
  2. Have a consistent grip and maintain your wrist work
  3. Bend with your knees
  4. Follow-through over your shoulder consistently

If you can hit your two-handed backhand consistently and accurately, you’ll create strategic advantages and pressure your opponents.

Still having trouble with your backhand? Don't worry. You'll get a more consistent two-handed backhand with practice. In the meantime, if you're playing doubles you can add strategies like stacking. Stacking helps compensate for weaker backhands (and more). Learn more about What is Stacking in Pickleball?
Got your two-handed backhand consistent and accurate? Adding some surprises into your game might be fun, like switching hands! Learn more about the Pros and Cons of Switching Hands in Pickleball.

Drills and exercises to improve your two-handed backhand

You can practice your two-handed backhand by shadowing, doing a wall rally, or practicing sessions and games. Another excellent way to improve consistency and accuracy is using drills. Remember to always focus on quality over quantity when it comes to drilling.

It’s better to do a few awesome repetitions with proper technique than to rush through many poor repetitions. You want to build strong muscle memory for a reliable two-handed backhand.

Here are some good drills to improve your shot – start watching at 2:07 for drills:

With practice, you’ll add a consistent, reliable, and wicked two-handed backhand and take your pickleball game to the next level.

3 common mistakes to avoid with a two-handed backhand in pickleball

When it comes to executing a two-handed backhand in pickleball, there are a few common mistakes that players should be aware of to improve their shot quality.

  1. Gripping too tightly: One of the most important aspects to avoid is gripping the paddle too tightly. Tight grips affect your wrists and can negatively impact your flexibility and how fluid your swing will be. It’s crucial to maintain a relaxed hold for better control and power.
  2. Overextending the swing: Maintaining balance and control throughout the shot is essential, as overextending can lead to loss of control and accuracy. A controlled swing with proper timing and footwork can result in a more consistent and effective shot.
  3. Lack of follow through: Bend your knees and get low to the ground to generate power and maintain balance. Follow through over your shoulder to maintain control and power. Consistent, full follow-throughs will give your two-handed backhand control, energy, and accuracy on the pickleball court.
A portable pickleball net can make practice easy. Here are our picks for the 7 Best Portable Pickleball Nets.


In conclusion, the two-handed backhand is a game-changing technique in pickleball. Its unique blend of power, control, and versatility makes it a formidable weapon from which players of all skill levels can benefit. Whether you’re a beginner looking to improve your game or an experienced player aiming to take your skills to the next level, mastering the two-handed backhand will undoubtedly elevate your performance on the court. So, grab your paddle and start practicing this essential stroke – your opponents won’t know what hit them!

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