How the grip rests in your hand

Discussion in 'Tennis Tips/Instruction' started by TheLambsheadrep, Mar 16, 2013.

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When I was talking about forehand beta angles, I was referring to the angle between the forearm and the racquet, where the beta angle would change depend on the amount of wrist extension (being naturally extended, that is). I did not mean the angle that changes due to wrist ulnar/radial deviation, which is in the same plane of motion as shifting from a pistol to hammer grip in your hand.

In my mind (I hope I can explain this right), I’m seeing the beta angle being most relevant for forehands between the x and z axes, and the beta angle being most relevant for serves between the x and y axes. For everything below, I see the x axis as being horizontal and the y axis as being vertical.

On the serve, I can see an advantage of pronation with the hammer grip from what you are saying and from this video http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1t6bLABbebc since increasing the beta angle (angling the racquet from the y axis closer to the x axis) increases the opening of the cone (that you were talking about before), which is a visualization for increasing pronation’s range (or radius). Wrist radial deviation also, technically, increases that beta angle. The way I was taught to hit a flat serve (with pronation) intentionally has a small beta angle between the y and z axes (wrist is being flexed, only to hit higher or lower trajectory over the net, resulting in a shallower or deeper serve) and I’d say even less for the x and z axes (since you mostly turn the body to impart horizontal direction on a flat serve, not the racquet face), and when all the rust if off my shoulder I can hit +100mph. Now, as I’m trying to visualize this in a mall before work and without a racquet, I can see the x and z beta angle being more relevant on a second serve when trying to impart spin.

But if I think of a beta angle between the x and y axes for a forehand, I don’t see an advantage of using pronation, I see a disadvantage. I am imagining the arm outstretched and parallel to the ground. A high beta angle will angle the racquet from the x axis closer to the y axis, making the long axis of the racquet more perpendicular with your arm (and the ground). From this position, pronation results in a downward slapping motion like nothing seen on the pro tour haha. Now, if the beta angle was between the x and z axes, like all of the photos I posted and the Fish photo posted above (Im trying to find pictures of forehands at contact taken from overhead for even better examples), at contact the racquet will brush up on the ball, not pat/slap it down. The greater the beta angle, the more windshield wiper motion will occur and the greater pronation’s range (or radius) is. So the same rules about beta angle apply, I just think they are in different axes. Look at pictures of Nadal and Novak’s forehands at contact, the majority have the long axis of the racquet horizontal, so somehow they are compensating for the additional 30 degrees given by their hammer grips.

I will try to get some edited pictures with the axes on them later today to further illustrate.

Last edited: Mar 26, 2013
2. Power PlayerTalk Tennis Guru

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Holy cow..how do you think about all this stuff and hit balls?

3. tolyHall of Fame

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Sorry, I didn’t recognize you were talking about wrist extension.
IMO, in case of FH, the wrist extension/flexion are poison motions, because they just can open or close a racquet face. The wrist extension/flexion should be locked around contact. See also post #180 http://tt.tennis-warehouse.com/showthread.php?t=395364&page=9

Last edited: Mar 26, 2013

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Certainly not thinking of this during match play haha. As I'm trying to utilize the SSC now for my fh, I'd say the biggest thing that I'm thinking of during the shot is to try to hit the ball with my hand, not the racquet head. This seems to help get the racquet head back where it's supposed to be without me locking it back there. Though I don't know what the difference between that and leading with the elbow is...

Anyway, I just saw a new vid of Nadal practicing at IW, and path behind him that the racquet travels is insane. I will post about this in another thread soon, and it may not be until late for me to upload some pics of what I was talking about before, late dinner plans tonight.

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toly, I can't get to post 180 from the link you posted. Also, any and all wrist extension (there should be minimal to no flexation because of pronation) should be occurring naturally from the SSC, there should be no intentional "flicking" (ties in with lack of flexation). When in the PTD position, the opening of the racquet face is necessary, so I wouldn't say that's a poison motion. And I don't think the wrist should be locked from the beginning of the forward swing on to contact, it naturally extends from the "whip" of the SSC. That's what I've gathered from reading about the SSC on the boards and from instruction on my forehand, also from the boards haha.

Btw, I have found the pictures I want to edit on and post so I will have those done tonight.

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7. cornersLegend

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Not with eastern grip. In my opinion, Federer uses wrist flexion in concert with forearm pronation in various combinations to vary contact point, rebound angle (side to side shot direction) and racquet-face angle (closing/opening). This is why his forehand has such incredible situational and positional versatility, disguise, and heavy spin with relatively flat swingpath, respectively.

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OK, this link works fine. I completely understand and agree with post 180. I now see why you would think they are poison motions, but only around contact. If you look at pictures of pictures of Nadal, Federer, and Novak's forehands at contact, they all have their wrist in essentially the same position (same position from post 180, where fexation/extension would move the wrist up/down, not side/side). So 3 different grips pretty much have the same contact position, and if you look at their slow motion video, they all exhibit wrist extension at the beginning of the forward swing. If I did not make it clear WHEN I thought extension was occurring, that was my fault, and to be honest, I'm still learning the tiny details as I go haha. This is the whip aspect of the SSC, and again, it happens with all those grips (E, SW, W, plus pistol and hammer) and with both a double bend or straight arm forehand.

So here are the edited photos with the x, y, and z axes on them. What I was describing in post 51 can pretty much be summarized as the racquet being parallel with the ground and perpendicular with the long axis of your arm (for maximum beta angle). In this case, the ground is the x axis and being perp. with the arm is the z axis. These 3 pictures and toly's picture of Fish all have very high beta angles. toly's picture of verdasco has a very low beta angle. With this being my definition of beta angle for the forehand, plus what I mentioned above about all the many different grip combinations leading to essentially the same position at contact, I hope you can see why I'm not 100% sold on it being said that a high beta angle can not be achieved by both the pistol and hammer grip. That, and saying the hammer grip will naturally produce more topspin than the pistol (Besides using Nadal as evidence (which, by definition, one person isn't really evidence)). I just don't see how it could be in terms of angles at contact. I may understand an argument that an increase in topspin is coming from how the hammer grip effects parts of the back and forward swing, since I do feel a difference with them when tinkering with the hammer grip. Or an argument that since the hammer grip naturally starts more perpendicular to your arm, that may give more room for error (since the forearm and racquet are perpendicular at contact anyway), but again, all grip combos tend to make contact about the same on a standard shot.

Last edited: Mar 26, 2013

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Here's a visual on what I was seeing wrong with the beta angle of a serve (using x and y axes) being applied to a forehand.

If that was a forehand ground stroke (not volley) and pronation was going to occur, it would be the same motion as pouring water like in this (kind of bizarre) picture

That's no good. toly, I can't imagine that's what you were meaning when you said a higher beta angle will produce more spin but less power

10. CheetahHall of Fame

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What is the 'beta angle'?

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The angle between the long axis of the racquet and an imaginary continuation of the forearm. I can alter another one of those pictures, or you can look at toly's "beta angle of the serve" pictures http://tt.tennis-warehouse.com/showpost.php?p=5276723&postcount=62 look at 2.2.2, same concept just a different set of axes for the forehand IMO

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12. CheetahHall of Fame

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and toly is saying a larger beta angle for a fh will give more topspin?

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He is, but I think he is in the realm of the x and y axes. My confusion started when he said that a pistol grip won't get as much beta angle as a hammer grip after posting http://tt.tennis-warehouse.com/showpost.php?p=7288797&postcount=26 , where Fish uses a pistol grip (based on a google image search) and got the 90 degrees of beta angle as described by toly in that post. He went on to prove this by showing the naturally higher beta angle of the hammer grip just from resting in the hand, which does occur, but in the same plane as a serve (x and y axes). So to me, it looks like post 26 we were on the same page, and then he changed his definition of beta angle for the forehand. In my mind, that beta angle from http://tt.tennis-warehouse.com/showpost.php?p=7301323&postcount=48 has nothing to do with a forehand (my example being the picture of the bryan bro and the pouring water). I would think the important beta angle was between the x and z axes, so the greater the angle, the more of a right angle the racquet and forearm make. This seems to be the position used when hitting the ball far out in front of the body, regardless of the combination of grips you're using. Even I was able to get the position (as shown in the snapshot on that great feeling shot from my 2nd uploaded video) haha

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14. CheetahHall of Fame

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welcome to the world of toly.

the purpose of the 'beta angle' in a serve is leverage. not spin.

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I think it may be an error in communication. For like 9 out of 10 "forehand at contact" pictures on google, the forearm and racquet are (essentially) parallel to the ground, which means there is (essentially) no beta angle between x and y. At the same time, 9 out of 10 of the same pictures have the forearm and racquet making a 45-90 degree angle, which is a 45-90 degree beta angle between x and z.

Now, Nadal and Novak both use the hammer grip and they still fit the description above, so I think that adds to my argument. I am curious to know if the hammer grip adds any benefit in terms of the x and z axes. This is what I think may be possible - I may understand an argument that an increase in topspin is coming from how the hammer grip effects parts of the back and forward swing, since I do feel a difference with them when tinkering with the hammer grip (I would just need to be shown how/why). Or an argument that since the hammer grip naturally starts more perpendicular to your arm, that may give more room for error (since the forearm and racquet are perpendicular at contact anyway), but again, all grip combos tend to make contact about the same on a standard shot.

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16. CheetahHall of Fame

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what is your definition of a hammer grip on the fh?

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The same as toly's - where all the knuckles line up on the same bevel. If you raised your arm straight up in the air and gripped the racquet with your hand in a neutral position (no wrist ulnar/radial deviation), the racquet and you forearm would make a right angle. Doing the same thing but with a pistol grip moves the angle up a little aka decreases the beta angle (x and y axes). toly's 2.2.2 figure is a good visual since this description is like a serve position for the arm. This grip can obviously be used for a forehand even thought I'm describing how to locate it like a serve (I know Nadal and Novak use it at least).

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18. CheetahHall of Fame

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That's what I thought.

Ok. well... nadal and djoko are not using a hammer grip on their fh.
In fact I doubt anyone uses a hammer grip on a fh.

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But, but, but (in a little kid whining voice) I thought that's what I was seeing in pics. I've found it on the boards in various places, too (I know that doesn't make it right haha). What would you say they're using?

Btw, bedtime, so I will need to check this as soon as I can in the morning. I hate doing that haha

20. CheetahHall of Fame

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nope. no way. no how.

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No, because he doesn't use a hammer grip or because no one does (by my definition above which was based on DarkXBlazer's picture from toly's post where he claimed the hammer grip was better for forehands/most strokes http://tt.tennis-warehouse.com/showpost.php?p=7282039&postcount=12) ?

I'm seeing something very close if not completely what I was defining with these two:

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Not as much with these two:

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Again, seeing something very close if not completely what I was defining with these two:

24. Power PlayerTalk Tennis Guru

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I grip my forehand almost the same as Nadal. SW, same grip.

It is not a hammer grip. What happens is the index finger separates from the pack. It is almost subconscious as I do use a hammer for everything else.

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And not as much
[/IMG]

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I was going to comment on the raised index finger. I'm seeing it in a lot of the pictures of Nadal and Novak after contact, and I think that the index finger's release of grip on the racquet handle causes the handle to natural shift due to gravity, the force of the forehand motion, a new grip balance point/fulcrum point, stuff like that. When using a relaxed grip, this shift misaligns some of the knuckles from the once-common bevel (more near the index knuckle, less near the pinky knuckle). That's just what I can imagine happening from the pictures.

So does the hammer grip for a forehand start with all knuckles on the same bevel but then is expected to end with some knuckles misaligned? Or is it more like my hammer grip from the first post, where the knuckles start misaligned (and the only difference from the pistol grip is the index finger being group with the rest of your fingers) and then the index finger releases the grip after/around contact? If so, we've gone full circle since all the descriptions/definitions/visualizations of the hammer grip after I started the thread show knuckles on the same bevel (again, http://tt.tennis-warehouse.com/showpost.php?p=7282039&postcount=12 ). Sigh, this is fun haha

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27. tolyHall of Fame

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You are correct, but op is about Semiwestern/Western.
Federer FH is very “wristy”. Perhaps wrist flexion is faster than ulnar deviation. Maybe you know some data regarding that?

28. tolyHall of Fame

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Let’s talk about spin maximization. Take a look at next picture.

Verdasco uses arm pronation with angular speed Ѡpron. If racket long axis is horizontal and string bed is vertical then racquet’s tip moves upward with velocity Vlin and has only one vertical component which produces topspin.
The linear speed of the racquet’s tip is Vlin = Ѡpron x Rpron,
where Rpron = 27” x sin(β),
27” – racquet’s length’
Then linear speed will be
Vlin = Ѡpron x 27” x sin(β)
Maximum magnitude of Vlin could be on condition β = 90° then sin(β) = 1.
Maximum of this linear speed is Vlin = Ѡpron x 27”.

In relation to power - see post #324 http://tt.tennis-warehouse.com/showthread.php?p=6941453

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29. cornersLegend

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No, no data unfortunately. It might be safer for the wrist joint, but I've got no data on that either, nor even an argument really. Just a hunch. But I thought it interesting that Brian Gordon recently said that "releasing" the wrist at or just before impact, by flexion and/or ulnar deviation, probably does not contribute to racquet-head speed but is rather used to alter shot direction at the last moment, in other words for deception.

I also have a hunch that developing a forehand with the primary objective of deception and disguise might very well result in something that looks like Federer or Nadal's forehand, depending on whether eastern or SW was chosen.

30. CheetahHall of Fame

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The pictures are deceiving. They are not holding the racquet in a 'hammer' grip. That would require the bevel to run along under the knuckles instead down the hand to the base of the palm which they are doing. Noone uses a 'hammer' grip on a fh.

31. Power PlayerTalk Tennis Guru

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Lambshead the raised finger happens before contact. It is the grip. Trust me and give it a shot. It should feel very natural or its not for you.

32. tolyHall of Fame

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So, Brian Gordon agreed that the wrist orientation is crucial for directional control. Important question here is in what particular moment pros change position of the wrist to provide proper racquet orientation?

It seems pros keep the wrist in bend back position before last moment of the contact and then racquet should travel for example 45°. Hence, they have to move the racquet very fast. But, fast motion means high speed of the racquet. Thus, we conclude: Fast wrist alignment = fast racquet speed = power = powerful FH. The wrist could be the main source of the powerful FH. We cannot separate fast wrist alignment from power. They are inseparable entities.
According to my calculation the wrist can contribute 80% to the RHS.

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Before contact...wasn't seeing that in the pictures but ok. So instead of starting the stroke with the index finger extended (pistol grip), it extends sometime before contact (for you at least). Does it happen during the back swing or the forward swing? I imagine this is as natural to you as the pistol grip is to me, and if you were to start with the pistol grip it would feel as unnatural to you as having the index finger kept bunched in (not extended) would for me.

I do have to say though, I have been practicing the western fh with the hammer grip that was described/defined for me on this thread - all knuckles on the same bevel for the entire stroke (at least I assumed it was for the entire stroke. Now that I'm hearing it should be otherwise and that it's not how Novak or Nadal grip the racquet, idk anymore haha). As I said before, I can actually hit a western this way, and not to shabbily (after all this time of failure haha) if I do say so myself. I tried again yesterday holding the western with the pistol grip, same results as always, ball hardly made it to the net no matter how much I tried to give it height. I kind of want to film the two shots and see if I can identify the difference. There's a lot of stuff I want to film, I wish it was a little nicer outside already!!!

34. Power PlayerTalk Tennis Guru

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Honestly, I have never thought about it before now. All I can tell you is my index finger is not gripping the racquet that much.

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OK, but you're saying the index finger definitely is not "not gripping much" (aka index finger is not extended) at the beginning of the stroke...? Since "not gripping much" at the beginning of the stroke is probably closer to the pistol grip, unless the index finger is essentially just "floating" while still in contact with the middle finger.

36. Power PlayerTalk Tennis Guru

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uhhh...sure?

I dont know man, I just hit the ball and that is how my hand grips it.

37. CheetahHall of Fame

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Can ypu a pic of your hand holding the racquet in a fh hammer?

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OK PP. I was just trying to make this a technical thread as you could probably see with all the axes and position pictures and so on.

But let's take what you gave me. You started off by saying
"I grip my forehand almost the same as Nadal. SW, same grip.

It is not a hammer grip. What happens is the index finger separates from the pack. It is almost subconscious as I do use a hammer for everything else."

So that's where most of your info is from. From there, I was just wondering when the index finger does in fact separate, since both you and Cheetah said that what I was being described as the "hammer grip" was not Novak or Nadal's actual grip. To take steps closer to trying their actual grip, I need to see what Cheetah says on the matter (because the guy seems to always be freaking right haha) and until then, I'm trying to get a better picture of your grip. Since you claim to be using the same grip(s) as Nadal, understanding what you're doing is a step in the right direction as long as (not to discredit you) you are correct in claiming so.

Since I can see the index finger extension and knuckles not all on the same bevel in some (I still can't say all) of Novak/Nadal pics, that goes in hand with your info (the index finger, at least). After that, I think whenthe index finger extends is essentially the only important question, with whyjust being interesting, not necessary.

So if there's nothing more for you to add about the index finger right now, what about your knuckle alignment? Are they all on the 4th bevel from start to finish of your fh? Do they misalign during the stroke? Are they not all on the same bevel, but your index finger is not extended (picture in my first post)?

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Me or PP? I have pics in the first post of this thread of what I initially thought was a hammer fh

40. Power PlayerTalk Tennis Guru

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Here's the thing. I use the hammer grip for volleys, backhand and slices. The hammer grip to me is basically like a fist. All the fingers are close together. This seems to help me with the conti grip for whatever reason.

Its the same basic grip on the forehand which is why you think it is a hammer.the difference is mainly that the index finger is not as pressured on the grip..it is barely gripping it.

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Conti grip, as in the index knuckle on the 2nd bevel? I think in this thread the conti (continental) is said to also be the same as the hammer, which is foreign terminology to me. I have always known the continental grip to be the grip of serves/volleys/fh slice and it has the index knuckle and heel pad (for the pistol grip) on the 2n bevel. I want to make sure we're on the same page.

And if you're saying the index finger "is barely gripping it (the handle)" and you still are keeping the fist-like grip (whether all your knuckles are on the same bevel or not), then I think my description earlier of the index finger "'floating' while still in contact with the middle finger" is occurring. So from here, it's a question of when the index finger extends and when the knuckles shift (if they are independent events, and if the knuckles did in fact start on the same bevel for your fh. if you don't know off the top of your head, the next time you have a racquet available can you tell us if they are or not?). I say it's video makin' time haha

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this is WAY too much thought man..WOW!!! lol.

I can't think this much about it or it screws me up. Again :

I use a continental grip with a close fist (hammer) for everything but a forehand. The hammer grip is what it is - it should feel like how you grip a hammer. Thats it.

When do I switch? Easy. When I am turning to prepare for a forehand, I twist the racquet throat to the SW grip with my left hand.

That's it. That's literally all there is to it. I have no more info I can give you past that, and I am not going to post pics or vids..its really, really, really simple to get this down. If it is not, do not use it. I can barely explain it because it feels natural and i dont think about it.

43. CheetahHall of Fame

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A picture of lamb holding fh in hammer grip at take back right before ptd and a one at contact positions requested.

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I can do this for you Cheetah, on top of the wrist drop I was talking about before.

But just so I know exactly how you want me to start the stroke (and then see what happens from there), for these pictures is the hammer grip:
1) as described by DarkXBlazer and toly http://tt.tennis-warehouse.com/showpost.php?p=7282039&postcount=12 with all the knuckles on one bevel
2) like my picture in post one (fingers bunched together but knuckles are not all on one bevel)
3) something else?

Just let me know and I'll have footage for you asap

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OK, so I got as much info out of you as you can give. Thank you

46. CheetahHall of Fame

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are you saying the second pic in post 1 is hammer?

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The second photos in the two different picture angles are both what I thought would be considered the hammer grip when I started the thread. Only because the fingers were all touching. As the thread went on, that's when I learned about the hammer grip having all your knuckles on one bevel, where you can see in my pictures they are not. After that being said, you and PP are saying that that is not how Nadal and Novak grip the racquet for forehands, so even though I now know the definition of hammer grip I want to know what Novak and Nadal's grips are considered and how they differ from the definition of hammer grip.

48. CheetahHall of Fame

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those pics are correct. that's how they are holding the racquet. so if you are holding that way it's fine.

it's not a 'hammer'. the term hammer, which some ppl don't like yadda yadda yadda, was originally meant to describe 1hbh grips. not fh grips. then ppl on this forum starting using it, incorrectly, for fh's. with a 1hbh hammer grip you can get the 90degree angle pretty much. on a fh it's not the same due to hand being behind / under the handle etc etc.

extended finger = easier to control
non extened = faster rhs

u can do all the pronation/deviation/ssc with both and even w/ more extreme grips. if u are having problems getting ssc then it's your technique not the grip. to get ssc u need to use virtually no arm. or at least the less the amount of arm u use the easier it is to get ssc. if u are not getting ssc then you are arming it or moving arm before torso or have the wrong setup in takeback or u are too stiff or you are not 'throwing' the racquet. if it's not happening then you are killing it with one of the links. links being shoulder/elbow/forearm/wrist/setup/extension/rotation. one of those is probably messed up.

it took me freakin forever to figure it out. literally 1000's of hours of trying. then one day i did something somewhere somehow and i was 'oh sh***t.' it's easy!! wth was i doing all this time!!".

you need to throw the head of the racquet like a baseball on a sidearm throw. on a side arm throw the arm is loose and the hand/ball is the last thing to go forward. it's whipped around by the body and everything else. also like pitching a baseball. forget the racquet, forget the wrist and arm. just throw the head. feel the weight of the head lag behind. no tension in elbow and hand. look at a sidearm baseball thrower or even pitcher. the wrist and elbow is loose and the ball lags behind. ppl who can't throw have the ball near their ear and the push the ball. just like when ppl arm a raquet around.

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Awesome, thanks for the confirmation. I hope that post was not you venting about my questions or quest for utilizing the SSC. I just started this thread since there were so many terms thrown around and, like you said, people are using them incorrectly. I wanted to set the record straight and at the same time learn about the differences, since I had grown up using the pistol grip and never considered that there would be another way to hold the racquet.

I will still get some video and pictures for ya, and I am happy to now know what the grip is, even if I had to go full circle to get it haha

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