Where to place hand on racquet handle?

Discussion in 'Tennis Tips/Instruction' started by JackB1, Sep 25, 2013.

  1. JackB1

    JackB1 G.O.A.T.

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    Question is about where on the handle you should place your lower hand when hitting forehands?

    Is it bad to let your hand go all the way down the handle, so that your pinky is wrapped around the very bottom? Should you leave a little gap at the end and "choke up" slightly? Is this just personal preference or is there an "accepted best way"?

    Also is the thumb hanging off or is it also completely wrapped around the grip?

    Is this the proper placement? This shows a slight "choking up" on the grip and the thumb wrapped.
    [​IMG]



    thanks
     
    Last edited: Sep 25, 2013
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  2. 99% of pros and all tennis players hold the bottom of the handle with all fingers and the thumb wrapping around the grip. I dont know anyone who chokes up on the grip.
     
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  3. JackB1

    JackB1 G.O.A.T.

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    I think u misunderstood. By "choking up" I mean where the pinky is not around the very bottom of the handle....like in the pic above.

    I have been holding the racquet with my pinky around the very bottom, as low as it can possibly go and I don't think it's great for control.

    I'll see if I can upload a pic of how I hold it.

    Edit. Here is a photo of how I hold it:
    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Sep 25, 2013
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  4. Tamiya

    Tamiya Semi-Pro

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    there's no concrete hard rule

    I like pinky higher up nearer the crease of buttcap
     
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  5. mad dog1

    mad dog1 Hall of Fame

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    some pros who played with an extended length racquet would choke up on groundstrokes. roddick and chang are 2 that come to mind. i don't know of any pros using standard length racquets choking up though.
     
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  6. Ok just for you I went out a hit a few tennis balls like that.

    I felt less control.
    I felt I was working harder and having to hold the racquet tighter in my hand as I couldnt really get a solid grip of the racquet.
    I felt as if my forehand was less secure. More whippy and it was harder for me to control. It felt weird like my racquet was longer.

    I think you need to change this.
    Heres my tip leave your racquet on the ground. Put your hand down and grip the racquet (it is lying face up so you instantly grip it with semi western if you just pick it up)

    Note how your hands are (they should have breathing space), they should not be all clumped up at the end of the handle.
     
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  7. mad dog1

    mad dog1 Hall of Fame

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    jack, i recall you saying you played baseball in the past. where you place your hand on the handle of a tennis racquet is not unlike a baseball bat. the same principles apply.

    choke up or place your hand higher up the handle for more control. if a batter can't catch up to a fastball, he can choke up to increase bat control by making it easier to swing.

    place your hand lower down the handle for more power because with a longer lever, you can generate more power. you hold the bat at the end if you want to generate hr power.

    bottom line, you can hold the racquet where ever you please depending on what provides you with best combo of power and control. if you move the hand up, you lower the swingweight of the racquet. if you move the hand down, you increase the swingweight of the racquet. if you like to switch racquets (which i know you no longer do since you've been devoted to the Blade 104 and have no plans of ever switching ;)), you can vary the position of your grip depending on the racquet. in other words, if the racquet swings sluggishly, choke up a little. if the racquet swings easily, grip it at the bottom.

    after you've chosen the position you want to grip the racquet, then you can either grip it 'pistol' or 'hammer' style.

    to further complicate things, you can grip the handle at different positions for different strokes. you can grip it very low on serve and choke up on bh and grip it normally for the fh. the combinations and options are endless.
     
    Last edited: Sep 25, 2013
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  8. skiracer55

    skiracer55 Hall of Fame

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    Bingo...

    ...it is personal preference, but I think what Tamiya describes is a good starting point/default for comfort and control. One thing you ought to pay attention to is spread grip vs. hammer grip. You might think hammer grip gives you more control, but I think it tends to make the hand and arm muscles knot up, so you can't articulate your arm, wrist, and hand to effectively stroke the ball (we don't hit tennis balls, we stroke them).

    Spread grip, hold the racket handle loosely, squeeze at contact. Peter Burwash used to make students hit shots with just the thumb and forefinger on the grip to get this feeling.

    Naturally, you have to have the right sized grip and it has to be tacky enough for you to be able to hold it loosely. This is another religious war (handle size), but I will note that the trend has been to smaller grip sizes (Nadal and Federer reportedly use a 4 and one eighth) because the handle sits more comfortably in your palm and it is easier to manipulate. I went from 4 5/8 to 4 3/8, and it worked for me. I also don't change actual grips very often, I use a very thin overgrip (Wilson, or Volkl, now that I've switched to Volkl rackets), which I change every time I restring...which I do after every 6 to 8 hours of hitting with the stringset on a specific frame...
     
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  9. cperda

    cperda New User

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    That grip is not going to help you on your forehand because you will lose control. Try it on your serve, it's really helpful for me.
     
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  10. JackB1

    JackB1 G.O.A.T.

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    My problem was I ALWAYS grip it at the very bottom, which isn't the best for control. I know there are different grips for different "situations", but I was referring to the usual grip used for most forehand shots...not special circumstances.
     
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  11. Fingers should not be tightly cramped on the bottom of the handle. Just grip it how it feels comfortable and like a shovel or a brush, you cant really control it that well if you have all your fingers on the end of the handle.



    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 25, 2013
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  12. mad dog1

    mad dog1 Hall of Fame

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    i'm not talking about grips. (eastern, conti, semi west) i'm talking about how high or how low the hand is on the handle. as an example, maybe you want to choke up on the handle for the bh which you use an eastern bh grip for and you hold it lower on the handle on the fh with your semi western fh grip.
     
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  13. Jay_The_Nomad

    Jay_The_Nomad Professional

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    I think you got to be comfortable. There's no wrong or right.
    Nadal and fed seem to be holding it very close to the butt cap.

    Personally I also hold near the butt cap because it also gives me more space for me second hand on the 2hbh.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Sep 25, 2013
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  14. mad dog1

    mad dog1 Hall of Fame

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    btw, jack, i couldn't help noticing...that's a very well manicured hand you got there. :mrgreen:
     
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  15. You know what they say good looking hands equal good looking strokes!
     
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  16. JackB1

    JackB1 G.O.A.T.

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    I think he was being sarcastic. Yes it's time for a little nail trimming!
    Thanks for bringing that to my attention :)

    But back to the topic....I never realized I was doing this (holding it so low) until my Pro pointed it out to me.
    After moving my hand up a little, I starting hitting my forehand targets much better. He also pointed out how
    my thumb was off the grip.

    Sometimes little things you don't think anymore about can make a difference. Simple things like this.
     
    Last edited: Sep 25, 2013
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  17. mad dog1

    mad dog1 Hall of Fame

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    actually, it wasn't a sarcastic comment. it was an honest observation. no dirt, oil or grime under the nails. no unsightly callouses, bunnions or warts. nails are neatly trimmed. that's a picture of a nice looking hand.
     
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  18. Fintft

    Fintft Hall of Fame

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    I think you are right! Now only was I doing what you were doing, but often a finger would slip off the handle with disastrous results on my FH...This problem has plagued me over the last few months.
     
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  19. Fintft

    Fintft Hall of Fame

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    I can't play with nails as long, so I trim them daily after showering.
     
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  20. JackB1

    JackB1 G.O.A.T.

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    you're scaring me a little there maddog :shock: :)

    But yes, I am an accountant, so no heavy lifting or getting my hands dirty during the day!
    Every now and then I may get a little ink toner or highliter on them, but what are you gonna do?
    The perils of being a beancounter :)
     
    Last edited: Sep 25, 2013
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  21. LeeD

    LeeD Bionic Poster

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    Farther down you hold, the more RHS and whip you can apply.
    Higher up you hold, the more control with a slower swing.
    Use what you need, everyone is different.
    I think I have the power, and I know I don't have the control, so I choke up a bit, even on flat first serves.
    I don't want more whip, as that is just blind spin, while I need to hit deeper placements and smarter shots.
     
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  22. TennisCJC

    TennisCJC Legend

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    Farther down = power, leverage and RHS

    Up on the grip = less power and more control of the racket head

    Analogous to holding a baseball bat. Hold low for power, and choke up for more control of the barrel of the bat.

    McEnroe choke up a bit even on serve in his prime. Wawrinka and Murray look like they are up a little bit in the photos above.

    Federer and Nadal are pretty low with the butt cap embedded in their palm in photos above.

    I will sometimes move up a little for control or down for power. Especially on the serve. Just a small difference but you can definitely feel it.

    Also, choking up is in effect reducing swing weight as you have made the racket length to the tip shorter. You will feel more weight if choked down.
     
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  23. LeeD

    LeeD Bionic Poster

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    Still, personal preference.
    Who is the leading home run hitter in baseball? He chokes WAAAAY up on the bat.
    As for "power". For sure, longer leverage is faster, possibly whippier swing, but is that "power"? Can't "power" be a slower swing, shorter swing, but a more solid contact with the ball, resulting in a faster moving ball off the racket? Is that considered "power".
    Or is "power" just more spin, regardless of pace?
    More spin is basically lower level stuff, unless you can hit more spin like Nadal, and he's the ONLY one who can hit with enough spin to bother his peers.
     
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  24. TennisCJC

    TennisCJC Legend

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    Bonds doesn't count - his head was too swollen from all the juice he used.

    The real home run leader was Henry Aaron and he held it low. He also had the sweetest swing easiest looking power you will ever see.

    Yes, you can get power from more solid contact when choking up. That's why you choke up. But, if you control the head from lower on the grip as well as you can when choking up, you will get easier power. Either can work - Henry Aaron or Pete Rose.
     
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  25. officerdibble

    officerdibble Semi-Pro

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    I think you're holding it too far down. I say this because, after reading another post here the same thought crossed my mind, and experimenting today was like playing a different game!

    I found I had much more control, could hit a much more solid shot and had a better degree of feedback from the ball at contact. I'm somewhat depressed that no coach had ever suggested the change but I am definitely switching as of today!

    I was holding it exactly as you indicated in the picture and am now doing what Stan does. A small shift but a huge difference.
     
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