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View Full Version : Should my Hand be loose when I serve?


Roy125
07-10-2009, 03:14 PM
My friend said this somewhere. If it's supposed to be loose, what fingers should be?

Djokovicfan4life
07-10-2009, 03:26 PM
You should grip the racquet as loosely as you possibly can without actually throwing your racquet.

Don't understand what you mean by "what fingers should be", sorry.

Bungalo Bill
07-10-2009, 03:54 PM
My friend said this somewhere. If it's supposed to be loose, what fingers should be?

Yes, the basic concept to grip firmness for the serve is to have it as loose as possible without having the racquet fly out of your hand during the motion. Believe me, it can get pretty loose.

I also recommend having the pinky off the handle so only your index, middle, and ring finger are on it along with your thumb.

I should be able to pull your racquet out of your hand on a couple gentle tugs.

BU-Tennis
07-10-2009, 10:29 PM
To get the feeling of a loose grip, try only holding the racquet with your pointer finger and thumb. this will give the feel of what the racquet should be doing during the motion. I also recommend holding the racquet lower, so that your pinky is partially off the racquet, perhaps even all the way. I've heard that sampras had his pinky and part of his ring finger off teh racquet when he served.

Double bagel
07-11-2009, 09:44 AM
Death-grip=tennis elbow.

cliff
07-11-2009, 01:57 PM
You want a loose hand and arm, but not too loose that the racket comes out of your hand. Check your knuckles or finger tips, if you squeeze too hard they will appear white, relax your hand and let the blood flow back in.
Rusedski often took his bottom finger off the grip prior to hitting the ball. Here are some clips of him serving
http://www.procomparetennis.net/search/videos:all/rusedski%20serve

Verinsess
07-11-2009, 07:37 PM
Hold it as if you were opening the refrigerator; firm but relaxed

SethIMcClaine
07-11-2009, 07:58 PM
should you grip be lose in a forehand and backhand as well?

Kedar
07-11-2009, 10:24 PM
My coach said: on a scale of 1-10,
grips on serves are about 2
grips on groundstrokes are about 5
grips on volleys are about 10

SystemicAnomaly
07-12-2009, 10:26 AM
My coach said: on a scale of 1-10,
grips on serves are about 2
grips on groundstrokes are about 5
grips on volleys are about 10

Somewhat true. The grip force for all shots should start out loose/relaxed (perhaps a 1 or 2 on a 0-10 scale). As the racquet head is accelerated forward or upward (on the serve) to meet the ball, the hand should be allowed to tighten up naturally (ie, not a forced, conscious effort for the most part). Don't think that I characterize the grip force for a volley as a 10. On the volley, you should squeeze firmly just prior to contact or as the racquet head moves forward -- but this does not need to be a death-grip.

Djokovicfan4life
07-12-2009, 12:35 PM
My coach said: on a scale of 1-10,
grips on serves are about 2
grips on groundstrokes are about 5
grips on volleys are about 10

Hmmm. My coach said it was more like 5-6 for volleys, 2-3 for groundstrokes, and as loose as possible for serving.

ser_renely
07-12-2009, 12:37 PM
hmmm, will have to try loosening up a bit on my serve and see what I get.

SethIMcClaine
07-12-2009, 04:30 PM
hmmm, will have to try loosening up a bit on my serve and see what I get.

I tried losening up my grip today, I'd suggest starting out with a racquet that you dont mind if it gets thrown. I went a little to lose with my [K] Six-One 95 and sent it into the net scuffing up the face :cry:. After that I knew exactly how tight I had to hold it though

austex
07-13-2009, 07:50 AM
Close your fist with a tight grip and try to snap your wrist forward....Now open your hand up and try to snap it again...You will see how much looser your wrist becomes when your hand is open...That is the same or similar as when you have a loose grip...You want to keep it as loose as possible.

WildVolley
07-13-2009, 09:18 AM
There is definitely a learning curve when loosening up the grip. Especially when my overgrip gets old and it is hot, I've bounced a few rackets hard off of the court.

Staying loose is good for any high speed movement. It doesn't mean that your muscles aren't contracting quickly and hard, it just means that you aren't fighting your motion by tensing up at the wrong time with the wrong muscles.

mordecai
07-13-2009, 12:10 PM
I actually keep a somewhat firm grip until I reach the trophy pose, where I relax my hand as much as I can while I start to torque my right shoulder up to the ball.

myservenow
07-13-2009, 12:24 PM
I've been playing tennis off and on since the late 80s and never knew you were supposed to grip the racquet so loosely during the serve. I stopped playing for many years in the late 90s and am just now getting back into it. I have posted in other forums about my TE/GE problems that cropped up after practicing my serves. After reading the forum, I've started to grip more loosely and I think it really has helped my TE/GE problem. So thanks.

Bungalo Bill
07-13-2009, 12:25 PM
I tried losening up my grip today, I'd suggest starting out with a racquet that you dont mind if it gets thrown. I went a little to lose with my [K] Six-One 95 and sent it into the net scuffing up the face :cry:. After that I knew exactly how tight I had to hold it though

B-U Tennis ans SA gave you guys good tips. "Looseness" to a certain degree will vary amongst players but should be within a range of acceptablness.

For example, for serves, my hand is very very loose. This allows me to relax my entire arm, wrist, and shoulder area for maximum flexibleness and helps my arm act as a whip on acceleratiom.

For the most part, on my volleys, I have a firm wrist and soft hands. That softness depends on the incoming ball and what I am trying to do. But it will never go to a death grip or so loose that I lose control of the racquet head. This goes for groundstrokes.

For the serve though, I want it as loose as I possibly can. I rarely (if ever) go to more firm.

SethIMcClaine
07-13-2009, 12:29 PM
This has been a very useful thread thanks for everyones response

plasma
07-13-2009, 09:20 PM
ptr guy here, in a serve and fh the grip starts loose and gets progressively tighter. While it's true you are using racquet momentum like hammering a nail you need some stabilizers so the hammer doesn't go torquing.

BravoRed691
07-13-2009, 09:56 PM
Dunno if this will help but i was always told: Pretending your holding a lil birdie, or a baby...tioght enough so that they won't fly or squirm away but not hard enough to let them escape...hehe

Br

BravoRed691
07-13-2009, 10:12 PM
Dunno if this will help but i was always told: Pretending your holding a lil birdie, or a baby...tioght enough so that they won't fly or squirm away but not hard enough to let them escape...hehe

Br

Oops i meant, "...not hard enough to kill them!!!!"
Br

albesca
07-14-2009, 03:02 AM
Like many expert players write, the more loose is the grip the more the wrist is free to snap.
the question:
The "snap" involves a volontary hand action ? So, Is it possible to have a loose hand and to do a volontary snapping ?
Thanks

plum
07-14-2009, 05:33 AM
WOW, just tried the four finger minus pinky grip. My serve was the most effortless yet with just as much and more power-- with a heavy racquet-- and they were all landed in with incredible spin. Then I went back and served Five fingered again and i started missing and was confused a little for the rest of the practive session. now I don't know what to do.

Bungalo Bill
07-14-2009, 10:16 AM
Oops i meant, "...not hard enough to kill them!!!!"
Br

Hmmmm...sounds like a post I metioned this on awhile back. ;)

plasma
07-14-2009, 10:26 AM
go back to the five finger but don't try for so much power. Try to get your whole body into the serve, not just the arm. Serve is about synergy, 1+1=3. Looseness+timing=force.
Forget about force. Do it right and it will come. Hold the hammer super loosley until the last second, your wrist stays loose but you use some hand muscles in a progressive fashion, just like the fh, not like volleys and bh where the hand tension is constant.

Bungalo Bill
07-14-2009, 01:00 PM
WOW, just tried the four finger minus pinky grip. My serve was the most effortless yet with just as much and more power-- with a heavy racquet-- and they were all landed in with incredible spin. Then I went back and served Five fingered again and i started missing and was confused a little for the rest of the practive session. now I don't know what to do.

You dont need to have all four fingers on the grip for the serve. The serve, because it is all about how fluid and loose your your entire arm is, having the pinky off the handle is well within reason for serves.

For years, players have used this way of serving and there is nothing wrong with it. If you serve better then go for it. That is how I serve and a ton of others.

I wouldn't go as far as having more than the pinky off because that is where you start testing the limits on things. Perhaps it worked for Sampras, but we aren't Sampras. Stick to the pinky off and it will work out well. Stay loose, relaxed, use the ground to push off, along with good rotation and the braking that happens and your serve will thrive.

Double bagel
07-14-2009, 02:06 PM
I can feel the force of pushing off the ground more so when using 4 fingers. It causes me to concentrate on the kinetic aspect, and once I got the timing down it was a no-brainer. My balls have a lot more action on them now, although I've lost a tad bit of placement potential. However, my double-faults were cut in half. More practice at the targets will solve this.

Double bagel
07-14-2009, 02:07 PM
Do you guys who hang the pinkie off still use the trigger grip with the index finger? Also, do you rest the butt-cap against the top of the pinkie, or allow a little gap? Thanks.

Bungalo Bill
07-14-2009, 04:00 PM
I can feel the force of pushing off the ground more so when using 4 fingers...

I beg to ask, how? Fingers and ground?

Bungalo Bill
07-14-2009, 04:03 PM
Do you guys who hang the pinkie off still use the trigger grip with the index finger? Also, do you rest the butt-cap against the top of the pinkie, or allow a little gap? Thanks.

Let me clarify. You do not have to serve with the pinky off the handle to be a better server. This is a preference that many servers choose to do and use. I choose to use it and do it.

The pinky off the handle helps a person get the feel of a loose wrist area and light pressure on the handle for the serve. If you can do this with all fingers then there isn't a problem there just as there isn't a problem with choosing to take the pinky off.

Both are neither right or wrong.

I have the pinky against the handle there is not gap.

The bottom-line to what you choose is that some of the biggest serves have some of the loosest and relaxed grips. If taking your pinky off helps you here then do it. If you dont need to do it, dont. The other thing to think about is to keep the fingers as relaxed as possible through the entire motion knowing that at impact there will be some tightening.

Everyone has heard about the instruction for loose serves that involves using the thumb and index finger to serve. This is a demonstration for how loose you want to get your hand knowing that you can still hold on to the racquet with a very relaxed grip. The two finger serve is only for demonstration and is not to be considered a viable way to serve.

When a player weakens their grip (especially in the ring and pinky fingers) this will help you not squeeze to tight during impact. Your two strongest fingers in the grip are your bottom two fingers (ring finger and pinky). By weakening the grip by taking your pinky off and considering the two-finger instruction mentioned above, you will have plenty of grip strength to hold on the racquet throughout your service motion. Therefore, you can use the pinky-off method to your advantage.

If you want to have four fingers on the handle, loosening up the pinky and ring finger or by taking the pinky off and loosening up the ring finger, will help your serve loosen up and help it act more like a whip which is what you want.

Double bagel
07-14-2009, 04:15 PM
I beg to ask, how? Fingers and ground?

In essence, I believe it allows me to concentrate more because of incorporating this new technique. Maybe because of changing my normal routine a bit, allows me to focus on other irregularities in my motion. My arm feels so much looser and I guess I feel the disparity more with the explosion of the legs.

Bungalo Bill
07-14-2009, 04:24 PM
In essence, I believe it allows me to concentrate more because of incorporating this new technique. Maybe because of changing my normal routine a bit, allows me to focus on other irregularities in my motion. My arm feels so much looser and I guess I feel the disparity more with the explosion of the legs.

I would agree that it is in your head. Realistically, the two dont have anything to do with each other except from energy transfer. In other words, pushing off the ground has no connection as to how hard or relaxed your grip is. Your grip is either loose or it is not.

Double bagel
07-14-2009, 06:28 PM
I would agree that it is in your head. Realistically, the two dont have anything to do with each other except from energy transfer. In other words, pushing off the ground has no connection as to how hard or relaxed your grip is. Your grip is either loose or it is not.

Of course the two don't have anything to do with each other. Why are you suggesting I was implying anything different?:confused:

plum
07-14-2009, 07:39 PM
Stayed with the Five finger approach today and much improved now that I understand how the grip should feel (loose) when serving. I think everyone with a FIVE fingered grtip should try it just to see how loose they actually are!

Bungalo Bill
07-14-2009, 09:05 PM
Of course the two don't have anything to do with each other. Why are you suggesting I was implying anything different?:confused:

Read post #28.

firstblud
07-15-2009, 02:04 PM
question... do you guys keep your hand consistently loose throughout the entire serve process? (eg windup, trophy stance, racket drop... etc)?

Bungalo Bill
07-16-2009, 07:23 AM
question... do you guys keep your hand consistently loose throughout the entire serve process? (eg windup, trophy stance, racket drop... etc)?

Mine is loose.

HitItHarder
07-29-2009, 12:07 PM
I have a problem with death gripping my racquet during serves and now I have tennis elbow. I had no idea what I was doing until someone pointed it out to me. Now I have to constantly tell myself to loosen my grip.

The problem is when I get in a match and I am trying to hold serve in a close one -- the death grip comes back, right along with the tennis elbow.