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Grip Tension needs vary throughout skill development. A beginner often:
1.cannot place the ball in the "strike zone" and misses the sweet spot
of the racket and/or
2.has incorrect face alignment when contacting the ball - both resulting
in torque on the racket.
Beginners usually respond to these conditions with a "death grip" on the
racket and/or deceleration of the racket prior to ball contact.
As a player develops technique and judgement, a decrease in hand tension
becomes vital in developing topspins, drop volleys, serves, etc. The
less grip tension, the easier to change face alignment and accelerate at
contact - both which are needed for topspins, sidespins, drop volleys,
serves, blocking service returns, etc.
I advocate teaching drop volleys early in development to help students
distinguish different levels of grip tension. "Soft hands" can also be
developed in blocking extremely hard, flat serves during the service
return. Grip tension is a factor in generating head speed during the
Obviously, grip strength, grip size, string tension, hand size,
humidity, ball type(clay or hard), racket head size, etc., all play a
role in how hand tension reacts to ball speed, off-center hits and
incorrect face alignment.
Some players deal with these variables by stringing up or down 5-10
pounds so they don't have to radically change hand tension levels. John
McEnroe was a master of hand tension levels as was Rod Laver.
Received on Thu Oct 30 2003 - 10:19:27 CST