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The Tennis Business Discussion Forum Archive

[tennisbiz] Questions about gripping the racket?

From: Paul Fein <>
Date: Wed 29 Oct 2003 12:40:39 EST

Hello everyone,

     Gripping the tennis racket -- which is closely related to but not
identical to tennis grips -- has always interested me. Why?

1. The first sentence of "Fundamentals of Tennis," a 1970 book written by
Stanley Plagenhoef, then an Associate Professor of Physical Education,
University of Massachusetts, and Director of the Bio-Mechanics Laboratory,

     "The firmness of the grip at impact is the single most important factor
in hitting a tennis ball."

     Do you consider that statement correct? An overstatement? Mostly
wrong? What do you think?

2. I have wondered about well-intended advice by leading players, coaches,
and pros about the firmness or tightness of grips. For example, I tell
students that they should grip the handle most firmly for volleys and rather
loose (but not too loose) for serves. But, for all shots except for serves,
doesn't the firmness or tightness depend to a considerable degree upon the
player's hand strength?

     For example, handling a 90 mile-per-hour passing shot so that the
racket doesn't turn in one's hand would be far easier for a 25-year-old man
who is 6'4 and weighs 200 pounds and can bench press 350 pounds than a 45-
year-old woman who is 5'4" and 120 pounds and can bench press 80 pounds.
Thus this woman would actually have to grip the racket rather tightly for
such a powerful passing shot, whereas this man would not because is his
inherent great strength.
     What do you think?

3. I recommend racket grips with clearly defined sides, as opposed to
rounded or very round grips. I do this because clearly defined grips make
it both easier to demonstrate and find the correct grip and also easier to
hold onto the correct grip when playing.
     What do you think?

Paul Fein
USPTA Pro-1 Rating
Former top 10 New England open player

Received on Wed Oct 29 2003 - 21:56:45 CST

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