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The Tennis Business Discussion Forum Archive

[tennisbiz] Re: Questions about gripping the racket?

From: Miguel A. Hernandez <>
Date: Thu 30 Oct 2003 20:56:36 -0800 (PST)

Edward Fagen <> wrote:

>"The firmness of the grip at impact is the single most important factor
>in hitting a tennis ball."
>I have to be careful not to micro analyze but I would say, mostly wrong.
>Making contact is the last sequence in a whole chain of events. They all
>are important.

Making contact is the most important part of the three parts of the stoke.
The backswing is to generate power, the contact is to give direction and
depth, and the follow through is a continuation of the contact which begins
when the ball leaves the strings. The follow through helps you to relax the
arm and get ready for the next shot. Is just momentum created by the swing.
That is why on volleys we rarely see a backswing or a followthrough because
volleys are a control shot.

>What is the Gestalt theory? The whole is greater them the
>sum of its parts. Well, actually that is not even correct, you still have
>the follow thru. Having said that, if you have done everything perfectly up
>until making contact, it would be a shame to not have the right racquet
>head angle and to lose power because the loose grip absorbed a lot of the
>energy. If you are accelerating the racquet thru the strike zone the flesh
>on the hand is compressed and will transfer more energy to the ball. If you
>are not accelerating the racquet thru the strike zone a firm grip will
>transfer more energy to the ball vs a loose grip. Well now, everybody is

You bet I'm confused. If you loose power with a loose grip, why do we loosen
up the grip for the serve. The answer is that you don't loose power with the
grip compression. You loose control of the impact and there is less surface
of the racquet hitting the ball meaning power is going to be lost. What
makes you loose power are off center hits. Griping tighter just gives you
better control of the racquet so you can contact the ball with the "sweet
spot" of the racquet.

>I tell my students that they should grip the handle most firmly for volleys
>and rather loose (but not too loose) for serves. I agree but for the
>reasons stated above. On volleys most players are not seriously
>accelerating the racquet thru the strike zone and don't generate much
>racquet head speed so they need a tight grip. On the serve they have a much
>greater range of motion to generate the inertia required to power through
>the ball.
>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. Well, yes and no. If they both exerted 50 lbs. of
>grip pressure the man would still have a great advantage because of his
>greater hand size. The fulcrum point and the leverage created would be much
>greater for him. Assuming they both grip the handle the same way she might
>have a lever range of 3" and he might have a range of 4". That is one big

This part really confused me so I'm not going to elaborate.

>I recommend racket grips with clearly defined sides, as opposed to
>rounded or very round grips. Absolutely agree, you have got to be able to
>move your hand on the racquet handle with precision to make grip changes.

This in combination with preparing the racquet with the non-hitting hand in
the throat of the racquet with the index finger giving you a feel of where
the racquet face's positioning, are two things we should impart to our

Hope this helps.

Miguel A. Hernandez

Tennis Director Ritz Carlton San Juan Hotel, Spa and Casino

Received on Fri Oct 31 2003 - 11:28:58 CST

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