Do you tighten your grip only at contact, instinctively?

Do you tighten your grip only at contact, instinctively?


  • Total voters
    23

Fintft

Legend
I got this today, again, from a coach.
I'm usually hitting with no tension in the arm, nor in the grip ( an advice from Boletierri), but that doesn't deal well with hard incoming balls, or if you want to do the same.

What do you think?
 

Dragy

Legend
I feel pressure around index finger base knuckle around contact in FH. Clearly not tightening the whole grip.
I try to avoid tightening on serve - more like pulling with pinky and ring.
I think I get some tightness on OHBH as I don’t have palm behind/below the handle, so need to rely on fingers to push racquet where it needs to go.
I do righted on shorter volleys and bunts/slices, as I use them because I have less time, cannot rely on smooth runway and have to manipulate the racquet to get it in place rapidly.
 

Raul_SJ

G.O.A.T.
Ideally, you want to keep a loose grip and tighten grip only at contact on groundstrokes. Don't think anyone disagrees with this.

Putting it into practice is another matter. There is a natural tendency to grip too tight prior to contact as the rally gets longer. Suspect most players are too tight.

Goid idea to catch with left hand to release the grip tension.

Even the pro Peter Freeman was too tight when he took a lesson from Macci .
 

Slicerman

Semi-Pro
I usually use a moderately relaxed grip most of the time. I might occasionally tighten up the grip on some compact strokes to give the shot a bit more power or depth.
 

SystemicAnomaly

Talk Tennis Guru
@Fintft @Rosstour
Ideally, you want to keep a loose grip and tighten grip only at contact on groundstrokes. Don't think anyone disagrees with this.
Yes, but no. Need to qualify this.

If you wait until contact to firm up your grip, you are almost certainly too late. Touch RT (reaction time) is something on the order of 150 ms. Contact time is on the order of 4-5 ms. See the problem?

I believe that I instinctively (subconsciously, for the most part) squeeze into contact on ground strokes, volleys, serves & OH smashes. So, I am actually firming up the grip as the racket is accelerated on the last part of the swing just prior to contact. To me it just seems like a natural response to accelerating the racket. But once the ball has left the strings my grip is very relaxed once again.

Sometimes, the squeeze feels more deliberate on volleys. Not reaction of all these so much but on more agreesive volleys, squeezing feels like an intent. The racket head has not usually been accelerated much before contact on a volley. However for a slow or medium-speed incoming ball, I can actually use a squeeze technique to accelerate the racket head at the last split second before contact.

In badminton, this technique is sometimes referred to as "finger power". It is not so much an active action of the wrist. But what's the finger action is applied and the racket head is accelerated, as a result of this, the wrist responds (passively, for the most part).
 
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Dartagnan64

G.O.A.T.
Why would you want to tighten at contact? What’s the reason?
To apply last second correction. My grip gets tighter the more I've recognized my stroke is in trouble (jammed, late, early). It requires less grip pressure if everything is flowing in rhythm into the ball. Thats of course why nothing feels better than a properly struck sweet spot stroke.
 

Dragy

Legend
To apply last second correction. My grip gets tighter the more I've recognized my stroke is in trouble (jammed, late, early). It requires less grip pressure if everything is flowing in rhythm into the ball. Thats of course why nothing feels better than a properly struck sweet spot stroke.
That’s a good reason, but that will be tightening into contact as @SystemicAnomaly noticed earlier. It will also be not just grip tightening, but arm effort.
 

nyta2

Professional
I got this today, again, from a coach.
I'm usually hitting with no tension in the arm, nor in the grip ( an advice from Boletierri), but that doesn't deal well with hard incoming balls, or if you want to do the same.

What do you think?
haha, it depends... what's the score?
in general i try to be loose (grip like holding a bird)....
but when it coiunts i get tight, grip harder, etc...

regarding your "doesn't deal well with hard incoming balls"... maybe you're hitting off center (fast balls tend to be harder to time).... in the end if i'm smoothly swinging a continuous loop, it should be easy for a 12oz racquet to direct the energy of a 2.5oz ball... my issue with harder-than-i'm-used-to balls coming at me, is that my footwork isn't perfect, i'm off balance when reading the spin, etc... so my swing has pauses/hitches - generally not smooth and continuous. but if i'm paying for a hitting coach (eg. usually 5.5+ they can put the ball in my strikezone, hit hard, and i can stay loose on contact)
 

Raul_SJ

G.O.A.T.
If you wait until contact to firm up your grip, you are almost certainly can I see the problem already too late. Touch RT (reaction time) is something on the order of 150 ms. Contact time is on the order of 4-5 ms. See the problem?

I believe that I instinctively (subconsciously, for the most part) squeeze into contact on ground strokes, volleys, serves & OH smashes. So, I am actually firming up the grip as the racket is accelerated on the last part of the swing just prior to contact. To me it just seems like a natural response to accelerating the racket. But once the ball has left the strings my grip is very relaxed once again.
This likely relates to the eyes not being able to physically see the moment of contact. We track the ball close to contact and then lose sight of it. If it turns out that we also lose sight of it 150 ms before contact, everything works out. Grip right at perceived contact.
 

SystemicAnomaly

Talk Tennis Guru
Grip right at perceived contact.
I'm not sure I agree with that statement. Not sure what it means exactly. But I can feel when my racket is Significantly accelerating and I'm pretty certain I'm firming up grip pressure BEFORE impact.

Just as our brain calculates when (and where) the ball will arrive at our hitting zone, it also has a very good idea of when the racket will get there.

I am not usually consciously aware of an increase in grip pressure on g'strokes & serves. My grip is relaxed for the most part (perhaps a pressure of 2 or so of 10). The racket does not twist in my hand when I hit off center, so I assume that my grip pressure increases to at least 5 (half grip strength) just prior to contact.
Measurements of pros in the 90s revealed about half grip strength max on many shots.

On volleys, I am often consciously aware of an increase. That is, I purposely squeeze into contact. But still probably not much more than half grip strength.
 

cha cha

Professional
I concentrated on the grip today, and I was wrong. The pace coming from the other side does not change anything for me.
I only grip tighter when I hit the ball hard and do so during the wrist lag on the ground strokes and acceleration from the drop on serves. And it is not super tight. Just so the racket does not fly out of my hand.
 

Raul_SJ

G.O.A.T.
I'm not sure I agree with that statement. Not sure what it means exactly. But I can feel when my racket is Significantly accelerating and I'm pretty certain I'm firming up grip pressure BEFORE impact
Try to track the incoming ball to the strings. It has been discussed here that the human eye is not capable of seeing the contact point. Don't know when the eye loses sight of the incoming ball (presumably lose sight before contact?), but if that time also roughly equates with the 150 ms Touch RT (reaction time), then it will work out.
 

SystemicAnomaly

Talk Tennis Guru
Try to track the incoming ball to the strings. It has been discussed here that the human eye is not capable of seeing the contact point. Don't know when the eye loses sight of the incoming ball (presumably lose sight before contact?), but if that time also roughly equates with the 150 ms Touch RT (reaction time), then it will work out.
Still not following the point you're trying to make. Perhaps you need to restate what you mean in a different way. Exactly when do you believe Touch RT comes into play here?

Kind of amusing that you are telling me that we are not capable of following the ball all the way into the strings. I've stated this very thing countless of times in threads over the years and I'm fairly certain I am the one who first ever brought this up on TT (back in 2006 or 2007). I do not recall anyone ever mentioning the limitations of smooth pursuit tracking and saccadic tracking until I introduced those terms on this forum. Don't believe that anyone here has ever mentioned Touch RT until I brought it up either.

Here's the reason I brought up Touch RT. Once the ball impacts our stringbed, it will take us something like 150 ms to feel (or hear) that event. But, by the time our brain registers that, the ball is already long gone since it was only on the strings for 4 or 5 ms.

Note that touch & auditory RT are about the same. (Both are quicker than visual RT and both are significantly faster than the ability for our skin to feel heat or cold).

Whenever I am consciously aware of feeling "the squeeze", it is well before feeling or hearing the contact. Whenever I am not consciously aware of "the squeeze", I'm certain that it still happens prior to contact. Otherwise, an off-center will cause the racquet to twist in my hand and change my grip -- rather than twisting my racquet face and hand / forearm to the same degree.
 

Raul_SJ

G.O.A.T.
and do so during the wrist lag on the ground strokes and acceleration from the drop on serves. And it is not super tight. Just so the racket does not fly out of my hand.
The common advice is to grip very loose on the serve.

Jeff S. says that he is sort of impressed when he sees racquet come flying out on serve as it means the player is gripping it loose.

I never had racquet fly out on serve. Not even close. This probably means I'm not gripping loose enough... The other factor is that nobody wants to damage a $250 racquet.
 

Raul_SJ

G.O.A.T.
Still not following the point you're trying to make. Perhaps you need to restate what you mean in a different way.
The instruction is to grip it loose and squeeze at contact. As the player tracks the incoming ball with his eyes it is possible he may end up squeezing an instant before actual contact (prematurely estimating the contact as the ball becomes a blur). There also may be a natural tendency for players to "brace" for impact an instant before actual racquet collision with ball.

IF this is the case, the 150 ms delay to the brain may not be an issue.
 
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Well, there is no one perfect model for everyone and to some extent you have to find what works for you.
If the racket spins or jars out of control a firmer grip might help, or you could try to hit more consistently
In the center of your strings.

As far as firmness of grip- to get that small "pendulum" effect at the moment of contact, the grip needs to
be loose enough to allow this motion. Gripping too tightly not only affects the tightness on the racket
handle, but also stiffens the wrist and limits that free play. This is true for the serve as well as ground strokes.

Other factors may come into play. A heavier, or just a head heavy racket may allow for a bit firmer grip and have enough inertia to overcome the stiffer wrist.

Alice marble became one of the top five or six players in the world, but only after working to
loosen up her grip did she advance to the be number one. Finding that balance between gaining some free and easy power while not flinging your racket into the neighboring court may take a little experimentation.
 

SystemicAnomaly

Talk Tennis Guru
@Bagumbawalla
Never tighten grip on groundstrokes. See how Federer racquet flips in his hand during contact with off-centre balls.
Don't agree. And I don't believe that Roger's racket is flipping in his hand either. No grip change happening there. On off-center hits, it appears that Roger's hand & forearm are turning at the same rate as the racket face is.

If this is the case, then that is a good indication that Roger's grip is probably not completely relaxed at contact. If it was, then the racket would be spinning in his hand. I suspect that his relaxed grip pressure has increased to half grip strength during his contact phase.


Think Jack Groppel might've done some studies on this stuff in the 90s or 00s
 
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enishi1357

Rookie
You don't want your grip to be loose when your opponent blast a ball right at your feet. So yes, you hold it tight from the very beginning. But you don't hold it so tight that it messes up your accuracy.
 

jga111

Hall of Fame
You don't want your grip to be loose when your opponent blast a ball right at your feet. So yes, you hold it tight from the very beginning. But you don't hold it so tight that it messes up your accuracy.
More importantly you don’t want to hold it so tight that it will injure you. Too tight on the forehand side can give you a big case of golfers elbow (I speak from experience). On the OHBH side - tennis elbow.

Need to find the right balance - ideally before any potential injury
 

SystemicAnomaly

Talk Tennis Guru
You don't want your grip to be loose when your opponent blast a ball right at your feet. So yes, you hold it tight from the very beginning. But you don't hold it so tight that it messes up your accuracy.
I believe the studies from Jack Groppel indicated that top players rarely, if ever, use (much) more than half-grip strength -- during the contact phase -- not from the very beginning.
 

Raul_SJ

G.O.A.T.
I believe the studies from Jack Groppel indicated that top players rarely, if ever, use (much) more than half-grip strength -- during the contact phase -- not from the very beginning.
This video says ATP players have very strong grip strength -- greater than many athletes that do more intensive training. . So it raises the question of why their grip strength is so strong when they are playing with a very light grip pressure. Is their grip strength developed by weight training? Or from playing?

 
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cha cha

Professional
You don't want your grip to be loose when your opponent blast a ball right at your feet. So yes, you hold it tight from the very beginning. But you don't hold it so tight that it messes up your accuracy.
That is the one thing which surprised me yesterday. When an absolute flat bomb is heading my way and I am only deflecting the ball back, that is when I grip the softest. I suppose in expectation of a necessary mishit compensation.
 

PilotPete

Hall of Fame
@Bagumbawalla

Don't agree. And I don't believe that Roger's racket is flipping in his hand either. No grip change happening there. On off-center hits, it appears that Roger's hand & forearm are turning at the same rate as the racket face is.

If this is the case, then that is a good indication that Roger's grip is probably not completely relaxed at contact. If it was, then the racket would be spinning in his hand. I suspect that his relaxed grip pressure has increased to half grip strength during his contact phase.


Think Jack Groppel might've done some studies on this stuff in the 90s or 00s
there are video of it spinning in hand, let me try to dig one out.

Here you go. Starting at 1:13

 
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SystemicAnomaly

Talk Tennis Guru
This video says ATP players have very strong grip strength -- greater than many athletes that do more intensive training. . So it raises the question of why their grip strength is so strong when they are playing with a very light grip pressure. Is their grip strength developed by weight training? Or from playing?

This YT channel appears to be from some guy in Honolulu (Hawaii). I don't know if he is a recognized expert in this area. Jack Groppel OTOH is a recognized expert in the field of human performance in sports. He has done quite a bit of work in tennis as well as other sports I believe.

I have seen a couple of studies that appear to indicate that grip strength might be developed in high level tennis players as a means to minimize the occurrence of injuries to the wrist and forearm (GE/TE). However, I don't believe that those two studies had suggested that elite tennis players ever used anything close to maximum grip strength while playing tennis.

In the past 2 decades or so, we have seen greater use of wrist actions. With RF & a few others, we have seen a greater ROM of the wrist. Roger employees a very extreme wrist extension at the start of his Fh forward swing. Don't believe that this is a particularly active wrist extension tho. Primarily passive that happens as a result of his racket head lag & his Fh mechanics.

There are numerous videos & articles from other reputable sources, reputable sources, that indicate that tennis players should employ a fairly relaxed grip in order to generate a fluid motion and high RHS.

There may be a relatively small percentage of time, while playing, where grip pressure is firm (not relaxed). However a vast majority of the time (perhaps 98% or more), grip pressure is fairly relaxed. My own guess is that, on a scale from 0 to 10, grip pressure is normally at 2 (or 3). On this scale a grip pressure of 0 would have the racquet falling out of your hand.
 

SystemicAnomaly

Talk Tennis Guru
@bagumwalla @Dragy
there are video of it spinning in hand, let me try to dig one out.

Here you go. Starting at 1:13

Does the racket handle actually spin wrt his hand (altering his EFh grip) on the shank / frame shot? Don't know. Perhaps so. But this is an extreme example -- a shank during a practice session. If his racket does, indeed, twist or spin within his hand on a framed shot, this could be a sign that he does not employ a death grip on his racket. In this situation, the racket does not fly out of his hand either. This would be an indication that his pressure is not minimal either. It is likely somewhere in between.

Elsewhere on this video and in the video I presented in post #23, there are quite a few examples where Roger has hit an off-center shot (but not framed shots). Many of these are shots where the ball is struck rather hard / fast (or the incoming ball is fairly fast). These other examples, we do not see the racket handle spinning in his hand. His racket face, hand and arm (forearm) all appear to be rotating together -- at the same angular speed.

No change in his grip in these off-center examples. This would would probably be an indication that his grip pressure is not minimal during the contact phase. If it was, I would expect to see the racket spinning in his hand in these situations as well.
 
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PilotPete

Hall of Fame
@bagumwalla

Does the racket handle actually spin wrt his hand (altering his EFh grip) on the shank / frame shot? Don't know. Perhaps so. But this is an extreme example -- a shank during a practice session. If his racket does, indeed, twist or spin within his hand on a framed shot, this could be a sign that he does not employ a death grip on his racket. In this situation, the racket does not fly out of his hand either. This would be an indication that his pressure is not minimal either. It is likely somewhere in between.

Elsewhere on this video and in the video I presented in post #23, there are quite a few examples where Roger has hit an off-center shot (but not framed shots). Many of these are shots where the ball is struck rather hard / fast (or the incoming ball is fairly fast). These other examples, we do not see the racket handle spinning in his hand. His racket face, hand and arm (forearm) all appear to be rotating together -- at the same angular speed.

No change in his grip in these off-center examples. This would would probably be an indication that his grip pressure is not minimal during the contact phase. If it was, I would expect to see the racket spinning in his hand in these situations as well.
Geez, no one said to let go of the racquet. The point is you do not consciously tighten at contact, if you did, it would not spin on a shank the way it did especially with a slow practice ball coming at you. No one would expect a complete spin for a slightly off-centre shot, but you would expect a quick close of the face for a little below centre which is what usually happens on such shots indicating he maintains a loose grip through contact.
 

SystemicAnomaly

Talk Tennis Guru
Geez, no one said to let go of the racquet. The point is you do not consciously tighten at contact, if you did, it would not spin on a shank the way it did especially with a slow practice ball coming at you. No one would expect a complete spin for a slightly off-centre shot, but you would expect a quick close of the face for a little below centre which is what usually happens on such shots indicating he maintains a loose grip through contact.
Ok, so what is your point here?

I am saying that Roger often hits powerful off-center shots that cause a torquing of the racket face without having the racket handle spinning in his hand. OTOH, frame shots might result a slippage (twisting in the hand). Given these two scenarios, my contention is that, during the contact phase, Roger's grip is neither minimal nor extreme.

Most likely somewhere in between. However, I believe that most of the time his grip is fairly relaxed and it only firms up (somewhat) just prior to contact and during the contact phase.
 

PilotPete

Hall of Fame
Ok, so what is your point here?

I am saying that Roger often hits powerful off-center shots that cause a torquing of the racket face without having the racket handle spinning in his hand. OTOH, frame shots might result a slippage (twisting in the hand). Given these two scenarios, my contention is that, during the contact phase, Roger's grip is neither minimal nor extreme.

Most likely somewhere in between. However, I believe that most of the time his grip is fairly relaxed and it only firms up (somewhat) just prior to contact and during the contact phase.
Disagree. Don't think Roger tightens his grip at contact on normal groundstrokes, unless out of position.
 

SystemicAnomaly

Talk Tennis Guru
Disagree. Don't think Roger tightens his grip at contact on normal groundstrokes, unless out of position.
The evidence says otherwise. As do the studies from experts like Groppel.

Some of the off-center shots he hits are off balls coming in with massive spin and with speeds in excess of 70 mph (a serve of 130+ may reach his racquet close to that speed). If he really did not increase from his normally relaxed grip, those shots would certainly spin the racket in his hand rather than twist his arm.
 

SystemicAnomaly

Talk Tennis Guru
@Dragy
What is this poster's counter claim to Groppel? That Fed keeps the same grip pressure prior to and during contact?
PistolPete claims that RF rarely changes his grip pressure. Points to videos of the racket spinning in Roger's hand when he hits the frame and shanks the ball. He believes this is proof that Roger is not changing grip pressure prior to contact.

However, videos of other significantly off-center shots reveal that the racket does not spin in Roger's hand in these situations -- even tho he is often dealing with very high spin rates and high ball speeds on incoming balls. Provided video evidence & the reasoning behind my observations & beliefs in posts #23, #31, #33, #35

Jack Groppel, Bruce Elliot, Duane Knudson and numerous others have published quite a few studies from the 1980s up thru this past decade. Groppel, himself, has done a number of grip studies during this time period.

One Groppel study from the '80s detailed grip pressures before & after impact for both elite players and intermediate amateurs. Grip pressures before and after definitely showed a difference for both groups. However the gripping patterns were noticeably different for elites than for lower level players. (Will try to dig up details on this later).

A subsequent study from Groppel indicated that elite / pro players did not appear to use much more than about half grip strength prior to contact (and at contact).

Knudson & White have shown that grip forces vary considerably on regions of the hand & throughout the the Fh stroke, with gripping forces increasing in the 50 ms prior to impact.

Unfortunately, many of the studies that were available online 8+ years ago, are now behind paywalls. I will try to dig up one or two links in my next post. In the video below, Jeff talks about a natural "bracing" pressure going into contact (sometime after the 3:20 mark below)

 
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bitcoinoperated

Professional
I'm usually hitting with no tension in the arm, nor in the grip ( an advice from Boletierri), but that doesn't deal well with hard incoming balls
With a laid back wrist, the racquet has enough inertia for this not be be an issue. Fixed wrist is a different story, it is a much more unstable position.

I'd also caution interpreting the data on grip pressure. What you may be seeing is pros trying to minimise tensing up as actively tensing up. Amateur vs pro is certainly a useful comparison however.
 

Raul_SJ

G.O.A.T.
In the video below, Jeff talks about a natural "bracing" pressure going into contact (sometime after the 3:20 mark below)
To summarize, you believe that at the very start of the forward swing, Fed may be about a 2/10 or 3/10 grip pressure and at 5/10 just prior to/during contact ?... This issue would seem to be a straightforward thing for researchers like Groppell to measure.
:unsure:

Note that article states that it is not clear whether this grip pressure into contact can be consciously controlled.

Article says that firmer grip is advantageous for off center hits. That makes sense as the racquet will shake and firm grip will stabilize racquet. But don't understand the discussion about reduction in flight time and trajectory.

the idea that increases in grip pressure may be advantageous for shots not hit in the central area of the racket-head has received partial support through the study of Choppin et al., 2010, which linked a firm grip in the forehand with a reduction in the ball’s flight time and trajectory following impact​

With regard to releasing grip pressure after the contact, that sounds difficult, Jeff does advise catching racquet with left hand, which may be the best solution for rec players.


Grip Style and Pressure
There are three broad classifications of forehand grip: eastern, semi-western and western. Each grip influences the kinematics of the swing and therefore the behaviour of the ball post-impact. Tagliafico et al., 2009 have also reported the type of forehand grip played a role in the wrist injury profile of non- professional players. Approximately 13% of 370 adult players monitored over a 20 month period reported injuries to the wrist that were related to the forehand grip. Injuries or pain on the ulnar and​
radial sides were associated with western/semi-western grips and eastern grips respectively. This fits with the data of Elliott et al., 1989 that associated increased ulnar wrist flexion with the western/semi-western grips and subsequently in the production of increased vertical racket speed. Grip position therefore needs to be considered in the diagnosis of wrist injuries as well as in any suggested remedial technique work following injury.​
Historically, grip pressure was reported to have little effect on the rebound velocity of simulated forehands using a clamped racquet (e.g., Elliott, 1982). Intuitively, this fits with what is observed and encouraged by many coaches: to reduce a player’s grip pressure than vice versa. Players can be asked to reduce grip pressure during the swing up to impact, where a slightly ‘firmer grip’ may be applied. The extent to which this can be consciously controlled is unknown; however, Knudson and White, 1989 have shown that grip forces vary considerably on regions of the hand and throughout the forehand stroke, with gripping forces increasing in the 50 ms prior to impact.​
More recently, the idea that increases in grip pressure may be advantageous for shots not hit in the central area of the racket-head has received partial support through the study of Choppin et al., 2010, which linked a firm grip in the forehand with a reduction in the ball’s flight time and trajectory following impact. Further work is clearly needed to fully understand the interaction between grip pressure and forehand shot performance, particularly with vary racket technology in mind.​
 

Raul_SJ

G.O.A.T.
Investigations into the effect of grip tightness on off-centre forehand strikes in tennis
S Choppin*, S Goodwill, S Haake
First Published December 2, 2010 Research Article
https://doi.org/10.1243/17543371JSET75

Abstract
Abstract
Previous experimental studies into the dynamics of a ball–racket impact have recorded ball velocities and trajectories in one or two dimensions. These studies were limited in terms of possible impact positions and the ability to represent realistic impact conditions.

As the number of dimensions in an experiment increases, it becomes difficult to isolate single variables and to monitor their effect on the output.

This paper describes a method of accurately assessing the effect of specific independent variables in impact experiments with a large number of variables. A total of 900 impacts on a Head Ti-S6 tennis racket were recorded within bespoke impact apparatus. The impact velocity, the impact angle, the impact position, and a restrictive torque about the handle were varied between each impact.

Each test was recorded with two Phantom high-speed video cameras at 600 frames/s; the use of two cameras allowed the ball trajectory to be tracked in three dimensions. A multi-variate fit based on a second-order polynomial was used to establish trends within the data. It was found that applying a torque about the handle reduced the angular deviation for all impact positions along the racket's transverse axis.

In a standard forehand shot, a firm grip reduces the flight time and angle of trajectory of the ball after impact, suggesting that a firm grip is beneficial during competitive play.

Keywords

grip tightness, off-centre forehand strikes, tennis
 

SystemicAnomaly

Talk Tennis Guru
To summarize, you believe that at the very start of the forward swing, Fed may be about a 2/10 or 3/10 grip pressure and at 5/10 just prior to/during contact ?... This issue would seem to be a straightforward thing for researchers like Groppell to measure.
:unsure:

Note that article states that it is not clear whether this grip pressure into contact can be consciously controlled.

Article says that firmer grip is advantageous for off center hits. That makes sense as the racquet will shake and firm grip will stabilize racquet. But don't understand the discussion about reduction in flight time and trajectory.

the idea that increases in grip pressure may be advantageous for shots not hit in the central area of the racket-head has received partial support through the study of Choppin et al., 2010, which linked a firm grip in the forehand with a reduction in the ball’s flight time and trajectory following impact​

With regard to releasing grip pressure after the contact, that sounds difficult, Jeff does advise catching racquet with left hand, which may be the best solution for rec players.


Grip Style and Pressure
There are three broad classifications of forehand grip: eastern, semi-western and western. Each grip influences the kinematics of the swing and therefore the behaviour of the ball post-impact. Tagliafico et al., 2009 have also reported the type of forehand grip played a role in the wrist injury profile of non- professional players. Approximately 13% of 370 adult players monitored over a 20 month period reported injuries to the wrist that were related to the forehand grip. Injuries or pain on the ulnar and​
radial sides were associated with western/semi-western grips and eastern grips respectively. This fits with the data of Elliott et al., 1989 that associated increased ulnar wrist flexion with the western/semi-western grips and subsequently in the production of increased vertical racket speed. Grip position therefore needs to be considered in the diagnosis of wrist injuries as well as in any suggested remedial technique work following injury.​
Historically, grip pressure was reported to have little effect on the rebound velocity of simulated forehands using a clamped racquet (e.g., Elliott, 1982). Intuitively, this fits with what is observed and encouraged by many coaches: to reduce a player’s grip pressure than vice versa. Players can be asked to reduce grip pressure during the swing up to impact, where a slightly ‘firmer grip’ may be applied. The extent to which this can be consciously controlled is unknown; however, Knudson and White, 1989 have shown that grip forces vary considerably on regions of the hand and throughout the forehand stroke, with gripping forces increasing in the 50 ms prior to impact.​
Looks like you picked up some detail there that I had missed (in my skimming of the material).

My guess was that Fed & others who maintain a relax grit most of the time is at 2/10 (mostly by going what I feel while I'm playing tennis or badminton). Jeff put it at 3/10 for a relaxed grip. But he's going from 1 to 10 and I'm going from 0 to 10 (where 0 means the racket is literally falling out of your hand.

From another study, Groppel had indicated half grip strength, at most, for pro players. So that might be about 5 (maybe 6) on a 1 to 10 scale. I don't know if Groppel was looking at as many pressure points as.the Knudsen and White study did.

An earlier Groppel study had measured pre-impact pressure and post-impact pressure for both elite players and intermediate players. I have not been able to find free access to that steady so I don't recall all the details. But, to the best of my recollection, all players appeared to show a moderately high pressure or an increase prior to contact. I think there was more variation in pre-contact pressure (and postcontact pressure) for int players than for ite players. This would make sense since more int players then elite players would be gripping too tightly well before contact. I do not recall if that particular study was looking at serves and volleys as well as ground strokes. Max grip forces for other strokes might or might not vary from what is seen with ground strokes.

The Groppel studies as well as the Knudsen & White study both seem to show that there is an increase in grip force prior to impact for elite players as well as intermediate players.

This would appear to be an anticipatory squeeze (or a bracing squeeze) that is automatic for all players. Jeff appears to be saying pretty much the same thing in his video.

On the matter of controlling the normal pre-impact squeeze... I found the wording to be a little confusing. I am not sure if it is at all easy, if even possible, to turn off the normal "bracing" behavior that happens immediately prior to impact.

Are they referring only to the last 50 ms here or are they referring to a longer period of time? Perhaps that last 50 ms is difficult, if possible at all, to control voluntarily. It might take considerable behavior modification to do so.

However before that last 50 ms or so, I do not see why grip forces cannot be consciously controlled. I'm pretty sure that I can make a conscious effort to keep my fingers relaxed much earlier in the forward swing (and during the time before that).

On volleys, particularly on slow or medium incoming balls, I am often aware of initiating a very deliberate, very conscious squeezing of the fingers in order to further accelerate the racket head into the ball. This is the so-called "finger power" action I have talked about in other threads. I have employed this in both tennis & badminton with very satisfactory results. It is usually a very short arm swing coupled with this finger power action. Something like an extended version of Bruce Lee's 1-in punch.

However, this deliberate squeezing of the fingers is likely much longer than the 50 ms window that K & W talk about in their study.

Not sure about that section highlighted in red. I do not know if further studies were done on this idea. Other studies I had read or heard indicate that the ball has no idea how firmly we are gripping the racket. But perhaps that was only referring to balls hit in the sweet spot.

I'll have to come back to this post again later. to see if there's more here I can see in the study and in your post.
 

Fintft

Legend
The advice I am getting now from 2 coaches in Romania is that you only allow your wrist to relax for the lag to happen, but one needs a firm grip/locked wrist in order to accelerate the racquet head
 

SystemicAnomaly

Talk Tennis Guru
The advice I am getting now from 2 coaches in Romania is that you only allow your wrist to relax for the lag to happen, but one needs a firm grip/locked wrist in order to accelerate the racquet head
Are they teaching you the Halep Fh? ;)

I have a very relaxed grip and wrist to achieve a good amount of wrist extension for the lag. I feel like my wrist is moving to a neutral position at contact. But I never really think about firming or locking the wrist at all. I believe I am firming up my grip tension but not aware of any deliberate (or automatic) locking or firming in the wrist at all.

For me, thinking about deliberately firming or actively changing the wrist is unnecessary and maybe even counterproductive.
 

daman sidhu

Rookie
I think it's somewhere in between, you cannot have too loose of a grip otherwise there will be a loss of control and too tight will take the power away plus potentially cause injury. The swing needs to be loose but some tightness will occur just before contact to stabilize the wrist.
 

SystemicAnomaly

Talk Tennis Guru
On every shot, the racquet must be held only by the friction of your grip
Probably true most of the time. Perhaps 98% of the time? However, numerous studies in the past 4 decades, appear to show that we normally, instinctively firm up the grip a bit just prior to contact. A bracing or anticipatory act that is usually done on an unconscious, involuntary level.

This has been seen with both pro and amateur athletes. In their study, Knudsen and White indicated that this happened about 50 ms prior to contact. Because most elite players are normally gripping in a fairly relaxed manner and only squeeze moderately prior to contact, they could very well be only a moderate amount of total squeezing action.

The increase might be so slight or moderate, that players might not even realize that it's happening at all. They may often be unaware of it and may assume that their grip was relaxed for the whole motion.
 

FatHead250

Professional
Probably true most of the time. Perhaps 98% of the time? However, numerous studies in the past 4 decades, appear to show that we normally, instinctively firm up the grip a bit just prior to contact. A bracing or anticipatory act that is usually done on an unconscious, involuntary level.

This has been seen with both pro and amateur athletes. In their study, Knudsen and White indicated that this happened about 50 ms prior to contact. Because most elite players are normally gripping in a fairly relaxed manner and only squeeze moderately prior to contact, they could very well be only a moderate amount of total squeezing action.

The increase might be so slight or moderate, that players might not even realize that it's happening at all. They may often be unaware of it and may assume that their grip was relaxed for the whole motion.
This happens unconsiously, the player shouldnt ever deliberately squeeze their grip
 

SystemicAnomaly

Talk Tennis Guru
This happens unconsiously, the player shouldnt ever deliberately squeeze their grip
Again, for the most part. There are certain volley situations where I (and others) have been taught to execute a very deliberate squeeze. Probably sooner than the 50 ms that Knudsen and White wrote about in their study.

I learned this deliberate squeeze technique in tennis in the mid-80s. In the early 90s I learned of a "finger power" squeeze technique utilized in badminton. It occurred to me that this was the very sin technique that I had been using for tennis volleys.

For most reaction volleys, however, the squeeze happens much more on a subconscious level
 

FatHead250

Professional
Again, for the most part. There are certain volley situations where I (and others) have been taught to execute a very deliberate squeeze. Probably sooner than the 50 ms that Knudsen and White wrote about in their study.

I learned this deliberate squeeze technique in tennis in the mid-80s. In the early 90s I learned of a "finger power" squeeze technique utilized in badminton. It occurred to me that this was the very sin technique that I had been using for tennis volleys.

For most reaction volleys, however, the squeeze happens much more on a subconscious level
It's impossible to execute a deliberate squeeze less than 50 ms prior to the contact. Human reaction is 200ms
 
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