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The Tennis Business Discussion Forum Archive

[tennisbiz] let the racquet do the work

From: Jim Leupold <>
Date: Tue 7 Aug 2001 01:52:09 EDT

Dear Manny,

I agree with Ron Woods. I usually use the phrase you mention on the serve.
It's all a matter of "feel." Those who have a death grip on the racquet on
the serve will never feel the racquet do the work (nor will they have a good
serve, particularly without pain and injury). In order to feel this
yourself, hold your bottom three fingers on the serve very tightly and hit a
few serves. Then hold them with 50% tension and hit a few serves. Finally,
allow the bottom three fingers to be completely loose and hit a few more.
You will automatically begin to feel the racquet doing the work (rather than
the arm and body) as you get looser.

Even on the groundstrokes, many recreational players hold the racquet way too
tightly. While you want to be extremely loose on the serve, your bottom
three fingers should be firm but flexible on groundstrokes and volleys.
However, only if the ball is coming at your player really fast should the
racquet be squeezed really tightly. Our muscles can't swing efficiently
when we're squeezing liquid graphite out of the bottom of the racquet. I
often ask my students to squeeze only enough on groundstrokes and volleys so
that the racquet doesn't twist in their hands. Any more than that is wasted

I'll then feed them different speed shots and let them feel what it's like to
block the ball with a tight squeeze when I feed them a very fast ball as well
as how to swing effortlessly and much more relaxed when I've fed them a slow
ball which requires much less squeeze.

So, in general, "let the racquet do the work" means "stop squeezing so
tightly." A player will find it very hard to have feel and be creative
(spins, pace), and what the racquet can do is greatly diminished with a
really tight hand.

Jim Leupold
Director of Tennis
Marriott's Desert Springs Resort & Spa
74855 Country Club Drive
Palm Desert, CA 92260 (a work in progress)

Received on Tue Aug 07 2001 - 08:30:19 CDT

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