Anyone have any tangible advice or specific triggers to work on loosening their grip on both the serve and forehand?


New User
I'm a strong 4.5 or a weak 5.0 working on my game, and I feel like maybe my grip on these strokes isn't as loose as it could be. I've always played very flat off the ground, and while I can consciously hit a loopier stroke to generate spin, it's nothing to write home about and I feel like my grip/wrist tightness might be a factor in my missing the whip necessary to generate more spin. Likewise, I never learned a kick serve until recently, and I'm not satisfied with the amount of work I can get on the ball. I'm a big guy, so it hasn't hampered my ability to hit hard generally, but I feel like this might be part of the secret sauce that could take my game up a level.

I was never taught anything about grip tightness as a child. I've tried a few times to work on it, but I can't find the feel. I know people use numbers and such, eg: grip 2/10 on serve, 4/10 on forehand or whatever, but that sort of advice is hard to implement for me. Does anyone have any specific triggers or techniques they used to find the right balance on these strokes?



Serve: literally have your pinky off just touching the base of the grip; you must make sure that your racquet is on the right side of your body (right handed) or vertical, before you start the racquet drop that should be triggered by your legs driving up
FH: keep your off hand on the racquet longer and focus on the hitting hand being relaxed; timing your swing with the racquet drop as the start such that the drop is totally gravity driven; i personally recommend a smaller grip size and holding the racquet really low, so that the end of racquet is just inside the palm
I'd just keep things as they are unless there's an injury issue.

Also have in mind that few competent coaches post here and 95% of posters are 2-3 levels below you.


Presuming you are a right handed player: As you recover from each stroke, move the racket to your left hand (ie ready position) and completely relax, even flex, the fingers of of your right hand. Use your left hand to position the racket for the next stroke before you apply any tension with your right hand.


Sliding the heel of the palm down off the racquet makes it almost impossible to overgrip with the pinkie.

Putting the index finger up higher in that trigger position, separated from the middle finger, makes it almost impossible to overgrip with it.

What remains uses only the middle and ring fingers to apply pressure, ensuring plenty of play in the grip. If you're gripping like this, you should be able to do the "i love you"/headbanger horns with your hand without changing the pressure on your grip.

If this proves in any way difficult for you, consider adding a tackier overgrip to help with the learning process.
Hold your racket with your three fingers (thumb, index and middle), hit some serves and strokes and get the loose feeling. Your lack of spin may be due to tight gripping by the remaining two fingers. That causes your racket face to open up reducing forehand top spin + less pronation on serve.
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Nishikori lifts his bottom two fingers (pinkie and ring) to adjust tension of grip. You can watch on his FH, but he does do it on the BH at times. Might be something to consider. Some players spin the racquet between points to remain loose gripped, but there has been some discussion about that possibly causing timing issue.