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The Grip
By: Andrew S. Rosz

South Florida Professional Tennis Instruction
Hollywood, Florida
, USA
(954) 922-8040

GENERAL TECHNIQUES COMMON TO ALL GRIPS

  1. The grip should be held as tight as humanly possible at impact; this means squeeze your fingers tight.
  2. The wrist should be locked through the entire forward swing.
  3. The grip must be checked after every shot. As discussed in the "Ready Position" lesson, catch the racket with your free hand and push with your thumb to adjust the grip.

TECHNIQUES FOR PROPER GRIP DEVELOPMENT

  1. Learn to be aware of your grip on each and every shot; begin with awareness of the grip while in the ready position.
  2. Squeeze your fingers tightly as you BEGIN to bring the racket back.
  3. React early and use a slow and concise backswing to maintain grip awareness throughout the entire stroke.
  4. YOUR STROKES SHOULD GO ONLY AS FAST AS YOUR FINGERS AND WRIST WILL LET THEM GO (AS TO MAINTAIN A FIRM WRIST THROUGHOUT THE ENTIRE STROKE). If you break your wrist during the stroke, you cannot obtain pinpoint accuracy on that shot.
  5. Note: This explains why most professional men players hit harder than most professional women players. Most men have stronger wrist and finger muscles than women. Both sexes recognize that they can only hit as hard as their wrist will let them (without their wrist breaking) and neither sex exceeds this limitation at the professional level of the game.
  6. The grip is responsible for ultimately making the racket a linear extension of the forearm. Thus the grip is used to point the racket down (low) when hitting groundstrokes; i.e. maintain a perpendicular to open racket face while pointing the racket head toward the ground in the full backswing position.
  7. Remember that the grip is exclusively a TM1 technique.

GRIP EXERCISES

  1. Hand squishers; a good (but boring) way to strengthen your wrist and finger muscles.
  2. When hitting groundstrokes, tap the ground with your racket head as your racket is waiting for the ball in the low, 5 o'clock position. This helps you develop awareness of your firm wrist as you are getting ready to hit the ball.

A simple self-test to determine if you are holding your grip tight... hold your right wrist (assumes a right-handed player) with the thumb and forefinger of your left hand and hit forehand groundstrokes. Your left hand will detect any motion in your right wrist, hence this exercise will let you know if your right hand is holding the racket tightly. If you can do this exercise comfortably, you probably also have a good racket wrist-forearm extension in your groundstroke backswing.

Note: Each of the tennis tips outlined above are more fully discussed in a series of expertly-written tennis instruction training manuals and book publications for players who prefer to be "self-taught."  For more information on our world-renowned SFPTI tennis instruction training manuals and book publications CLICK HERE.

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