Loose Grip FH

Discussion in 'Tennis Tips/Instruction' started by Traffic, Mar 11, 2018.

  1. Traffic

    Traffic Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Jan 11, 2017
    Messages:
    2,652
    I've heard of holding a loose grip on the racquet when swinging. And I just couldn't get it. How do you hit hard with a loose grip?

    But I was recently hitting with my daughter and was focussing on hitting into her strike zone. I had a relaxed grip as I didn't feel the need to crush the ball back to her like I have to with my son.

    But then I started working on my own full swing and found myself holding the grip with only my fingers, thumb, index finger palm "pad" and the palm area just beyond outside of my wrist. The rest of my hand was barely in contact with the grip. This is with SW grip.

    I felt like I had an, "ah-ha" moment.

    I felt a very natural and easy swing would yield quite a good trajectory with spin. I started to put more behind it and the ball speed just increased but the arc of the ball looked the same. Best of all, there was no jarring felt through my wrist or elbow. It was as if the jarring was absorbed by my fingers. The racquet would finish more complete instead of my stopping the racquet short like I typically do.

    Am I on the right path?
     
    Last edited: Mar 11, 2018
    #1
  2. Pete Player

    Pete Player Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    May 19, 2012
    Messages:
    1,765
    Sounds about right.


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
     
    #2
  3. Shroud

    Shroud G.O.A.T.

    Joined:
    Apr 17, 2013
    Messages:
    12,834
    Location:
    Bay Area
    How are you holding it? Its not clear because you list a litany of things in contact but say nothing else is in contact. Its confusing
     
    #3
  4. Traffic

    Traffic Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Jan 11, 2017
    Messages:
    2,652
    So rather than a firm bro handshake, it's like some women give as a token handshake.
     
    nytennisaddict, heninfan99 and Shroud like this.
    #4
  5. FiReFTW

    FiReFTW Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Aug 13, 2016
    Messages:
    2,323
    The looser the grip and the racquet is the more speed and power potential it has aswell as spin since its all related.

    You should always be very relaxed and loose, but have a firm stance being balanced on your feet.
     
    Vanhalen, Traffic and Curious like this.
    #5
  6. ptuanminh

    ptuanminh Semi-Pro

    Joined:
    Jan 23, 2014
    Messages:
    737
    Yup, similar to me, gotta warm up a lot, hit in the middle, drills for bit, then when you loosen up, you will feel your wrist very loose, but you don't miss out on anything. feels great.
    prepare for mishits and blisters :)
     
    Traffic likes this.
    #6
  7. Curious

    Curious Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Feb 1, 2016
    Messages:
    2,883
    Location:
    Australia
    Absolutely. The looser the grip the harder I hit. Because that way I can feel the throwing of the racket at the ball. Who grips a rock very firmly when they are throwing it?!
     
    Last edited: Mar 12, 2018
    #7
  8. nvr2old

    nvr2old Professional

    Joined:
    Apr 13, 2017
    Messages:
    960
    Just like for golf. Like holding a bird. Lightly and securely.
     
    nytennisaddict, Curious, Znak and 2 others like this.
    #8
  9. Traffic

    Traffic Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Jan 11, 2017
    Messages:
    2,652
    Oh boy, the other shoe...

    Very good point. Just enough to keep in under control. But I don't hold the rock like I'm trying to keep it from someone snatching it out of my hands.
     
    Curious likes this.
    #9
  10. Pete Player

    Pete Player Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    May 19, 2012
    Messages:
    1,765
    Firm, yes, but not fixed. Good dynamic balance would be the desired way, cause legs are driving force.


    ——————————
    On pain meds - all contributed matter and anti-matter subject to disclaimer
     
    #10
  11. sshin12

    sshin12 Rookie

    Joined:
    Nov 5, 2017
    Messages:
    138
    Location:
    Brooklyn
    One of the best cues I've heard was from YouTube (I think Feel Tennis, but don't recall the channel). He said you should think of your groundstrokes like "swinging a weight" instead of "hitting the ball". If you were to swing a kettlebell, you wouldn't death grip it and use just your arms. You'd get a solid grip, just enough so it doesn't slip from your hand, and then swing it upward using your legs, hips thrust forward, core being tightened and back muscles pulling upward. Your arms are relaxed the entire time until the very end when you decide to stop the kettlebell at chest height or pull overhead. Even at the top, you wouldn't death grip it, but instead "catch" the kettlebell so it doesn't fall and hit your face.

    Same thing with your forehand and backhand. I find myself with a smoother one handed backhand stroke because I can't force it, aka "hitting at the ball", but have to swing the racket around. This happen naturally bc the groundstroke pattern itself prevents me from muscling it. Imagine putting the back of your hand against a wall and trying to push the wall forward. Not much force can be exerted with your muscles b/c they aren't conditioned or built to exert force in that motion/manner.

    On the other hand, the forehand is the opposite because the muscles are positioned in a way that is meant to push (think bench press or pushups). This means that you can hit the ball at a variety of heights because you can simply "muscle" it over. To hit a better forehand, I have to actively think about staying loose and swinging the racket around because the natural inclination or muscle memory tightens up the motion to hit at the tennis ball, or "push at the ball". When I swing the racket around the forehand side, I find I get more topspin, power and speed because I use my legs, hips, core, back and finally my arms to rotate the racket to the ball. Staying loose also lends itself to faster racket head speed which in and of itself will give you more power, speed, and topspin.

    Grip itself is the final element of swinging at the tennis ball vs pushing at the tennis ball. If you have a tight grip, you are forced to tighten all other muscles and you end up pushing instead of swinging the tennis racket.

    Does this make sense? I'm having trouble putting it into words...
     
    JEDBERG1, TommyA8X and Traffic like this.
    #11
  12. Curious

    Curious Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Feb 1, 2016
    Messages:
    2,883
    Location:
    Australia
    A good indicator of how loose you are is the amount of lag you get unless you're using a wrist already locked in bent back position(WTA forehand). Even though this is more about the wrist being very loose and relaxed( lag I mean) I doubt that you could have a very loose grip but tense wrist anyway.
     
    jga111 and Traffic like this.
    #12
  13. Pete Player

    Pete Player Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    May 19, 2012
    Messages:
    1,765
    This is why you do not want a stiff wrist, which will occur, if you squeeze the handle too much.

    Throwing hand motion from ESR thru ISR AND loose wrist.



    If you play that on youtube with .25 speed, you will see the whole.

    The hard part is to combine that into a coherent forehand motion, where the initial velocity of your arm, ie. shoulder is create by the body.

    ——————————
    On pain meds - all contributed matter and anti-matter subject to disclaimer
     
    zalive likes this.
    #13
  14. Pete Player

    Pete Player Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    May 19, 2012
    Messages:
    1,765
    The bird and tooth paste comparition is not valid. You really have to squeeze the butt at impact, if you hit past 120 mph with your driver. Otherwise the shaft will not deliver, or it delivers in wrong time.


    ——————————
    On pain meds - all contributed matter and anti-matter subject to disclaimer
     
    #14
  15. FiReFTW

    FiReFTW Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Aug 13, 2016
    Messages:
    2,323
    Another good vid of how loose you should hold the racquet for every shot, well not exactly THIS loose but close:

     
    Traffic likes this.
    #15
  16. Traffic

    Traffic Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Jan 11, 2017
    Messages:
    2,652
    Broke the poly cross on a miss-hit during warm-up.
    This was of course only a few days after I broke the strings on my other racquet. I better dial this in quickly...
     
    Last edited: Mar 14, 2018
    ptuanminh and Shroud like this.
    #16
  17. NuBas

    NuBas Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Feb 1, 2016
    Messages:
    3,116
    Opposite for me, I grip using more pinky, ring, and thumb then middle less pressure and lastly index being least pressure. If you make a fist, the more powerful gripping muscles are towards the pinky and ring finger not the index. I hold the racquet like securing a bird from flying away. I'm not sure how being completely loose can be all good since it will cause blisters and control diminishes. For me gripping 'loose' you need to grip more surface area and having fingers spread a bit to make it work.
     
    FiReFTW likes this.
    #17
  18. FiReFTW

    FiReFTW Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Aug 13, 2016
    Messages:
    2,323
    Perfect way to describe the optimal and perfect way to grip a racquet handle for ultimate racquet speed, looseness, fluidity and control.
     
    #18
  19. NuBas

    NuBas Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Feb 1, 2016
    Messages:
    3,116
    peRFect
     
    #19
  20. zalive

    zalive Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Nov 23, 2015
    Messages:
    3,795
    This vid looks like *ss slapping during a foreplay, so funny...ok, it's obviously a forehand but are you sure it's tennis? :D
     
    #20
  21. Dou

    Dou New User

    Joined:
    May 7, 2018
    Messages:
    15
    The fastest part of the swing is the follow thru... that's why you need a loose grip.... to hit the ball with the follow-thru part of the swing.
     
    Pete Player likes this.
    #21
  22. zalive

    zalive Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Nov 23, 2015
    Messages:
    3,795
    For the sake of discussion...

    I think different muscles are involved still. There's connection of loose grip and loose wrist, but I can manipulate how loose my wrist will be - for now I don't let it loose fully, seems an easier way to migrate (plus, I use big SW racquets so I don't need that big a lag so far). At the same time my grip is completely loose while it happens.

    I may be wrong on this, but this motion looks like an active throwing motion.
    I'm not sure if passive lag works the same way.
     
    #22
  23. Pete Player

    Pete Player Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    May 19, 2012
    Messages:
    1,765
    It does. The amount of lag, you get using throwing motion exceed any deliberate effort to lag the racket by far. And activates the stretch shortening cycle.

    Also, the stiff make lag effort shall make it even worse on the release, which is even more important to gain efortless power.

    ——————————
    On pain meds - all contributed matter and anti-matter subject to disclaimer
     
    #23
  24. zalive

    zalive Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Nov 23, 2015
    Messages:
    3,795
    Passive lag should be without any effort put in creating lag. Just pulling the racquet, loosening the wrist and letting a lag happen by racquet's head inertia.
    Whether a throwing motion as on vid creates a bigger lag than passive, IDK, that's possible. But I'm not expert on this, I really don't know...
     
    Curious and FiReFTW like this.
    #24
  25. FiReFTW

    FiReFTW Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Aug 13, 2016
    Messages:
    2,323
    Exactly spot on.
     
    #25
  26. stephenbbb

    stephenbbb Rookie

    Joined:
    Aug 23, 2013
    Messages:
    117
    This is recommended way according to sword fighting gurus. Kendo instructors teach that and that is also the grip recommended by Musashi in his book. Federer, Delpo and Murray use it. Nadal is the opposite holding with 3 fingers. So, maybe it's not the grip.
     
    #26
  27. dman72

    dman72 Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Nov 7, 2006
    Messages:
    2,372
    Location:
    Long Island, NY
    I took some of the lead tape off of my frame and moved my hand down so that my pinky is off the end of the handle. Played last night and saw noticeable improvement in forehand. It's always been my best shot, but I think I've been gripping too tight for the last 6 months and it's fallen off. Same idea.
     
    #27
  28. zalive

    zalive Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Nov 23, 2015
    Messages:
    3,795
    For some reason I like to put my index finger (or even index plus middle finger) in direction of the handle instead of gripping the handle. On both FH and OHBH grip. I feel it aids precision though I'm not sure why.
     
    #28
  29. ByeByePoly

    ByeByePoly Legend

    Joined:
    Aug 2, 2016
    Messages:
    6,695
    My wife does that with the index finger on her FH. The head pro at our old club tried forever to get her to stop, but gave up. It looks like she kind of guides the FH, and she would break that finger ... but she hits it where she aims it.
     
    zalive likes this.
    #29
  30. Curious

    Curious Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Feb 1, 2016
    Messages:
    2,883
    Location:
    Australia
    If a wife playing tennis means a wife not bugging you about the time you spent for tennis, I would be a 6.0 by now with a different wife. Why did you get stuck at 4.0?:D
     
    #30
  31. ByeByePoly

    ByeByePoly Legend

    Joined:
    Aug 2, 2016
    Messages:
    6,695
    I didn't get stuck at 4.0 ... just revisting it.
     
    #31
  32. ByeByePoly

    ByeByePoly Legend

    Joined:
    Aug 2, 2016
    Messages:
    6,695
    The early clockwise arm (esr | supination) roll has to happen active or not, or you won't get that big butt cap past the line lag. There is nothing wrong (I think sometimes required/helpful) to train that clockwise arm roll actively. You just need to end up as muscle memory. I promised myself I would not discuss this in 2018. :eek:
     
    #32
  33. zalive

    zalive Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Nov 23, 2015
    Messages:
    3,795
    If I understand, it's from the forearm (rotation), not the wrist?
     
    #33
  34. watungga

    watungga Professional

    Joined:
    Nov 7, 2011
    Messages:
    942
    For having unhealthy body and could easily get tired, I have to really apply relaxed forehand technique starting with the grip.
    But the intense game and explosive groundstrokes from my opponent, I must have to rely on particular posture to keep reminding myself that I cannot be tensed in hitting the ball back.
    If I only think of relaxed grip to start with, I get tense with timings. So it has to start somewhere, like feet position and racquet head posture.
    To get my feet position correctly, I have to train my eyesight with proper anticipation on how on pace of the incoming ball.
    Racquet head posture is very critical to achieve relaxed FH stroke. Its highly dependent on my feet positions which is based on my eyeball anticipation.
    Everything is so freaking difficult. I could still hit paced shots back but in a tensed manner... I. am. not. freaking. happy.
     
    zalive likes this.
    #34
  35. watungga

    watungga Professional

    Joined:
    Nov 7, 2011
    Messages:
    942
    #34
  36. nytennisaddict

    nytennisaddict Legend

    Joined:
    Aug 20, 2007
    Messages:
    7,818
    i used to practice holding the racquet with 3 fingers (fh) to really loosen up... idea is to "throw" the racquet at the contact... let the racquet do the work.
    most rec folks "muscle" the ball, because they are tense, and guiding the racquet to the contact
    any sport involving movement, will tell you that loose muscles are faster than tense muscles.
     
    Traffic likes this.
    #35
  37. nytennisaddict

    nytennisaddict Legend

    Joined:
    Aug 20, 2007
    Messages:
    7,818
    lol, or how some beta males give the dead-fish shake.
     
    Traffic likes this.
    #36
  38. nytennisaddict

    nytennisaddict Legend

    Joined:
    Aug 20, 2007
    Messages:
    7,818
    woulda been hilarious if he "hand balled" it, and verdasco dropped his racquet too to play "hand ball"

    side note, gasquet probably holds a loose grip, then built up his grip so it's less likely to accidently let it go.
     
    zalive likes this.
    #37
  39. zalive

    zalive Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Nov 23, 2015
    Messages:
    3,795
    Or yet better: perhaps he uses a loose grip to get additional RHS from handle rotating in hand. Butt cap build up can help if he's doing this.
    I know I used to hit BHs like described (self taught developed at the wall), it works. Only I didn't build up the butt cap. But old type racquets used to have a butt cap of a decent size. Recently I started building up a bit because I completely dislike small butt caps like Wilson puts on their racquets, for the example.
     
    Last edited: May 17, 2018 at 6:17 AM
    nytennisaddict likes this.
    #38
  40. ByeByePoly

    ByeByePoly Legend

    Joined:
    Aug 2, 2016
    Messages:
    6,695
    Yet another reason to ban the handshake ... all the judging.
     
    Traffic and zalive like this.
    #39
  41. carbonti

    carbonti New User

    Joined:
    Jan 4, 2018
    Messages:
    19
    Location:
    NYC USA
    I agree - use a very light grip. Which is needed to execute a ATP-style FH but also a light grip adds an additional feedback component: you can feel the racquet grip tug against the feel in your hand if you are indeed swinging the racquet head through the stroke rather than arming it.

    As far as judgments implied by studly handshakes - fuhgeddaboudit. One only has to see two heads of state in the Trans-Atlantic alliance conduct this ritual to witness the zenith of hyper masculine stupidity, at least as fostered by one party. BTW, Ringo Starr never shakes hands as he avoids the germs. Sounds reasonable to me.
     
    #40
  42. ByeByePoly

    ByeByePoly Legend

    Joined:
    Aug 2, 2016
    Messages:
    6,695
    Yes ... I think all ATP flip FHs have the arm roll ... and some players/FHs will also have some release of forearm/racquet angle by contact (I don't think @Limpinhitter believes that second part).

    But to the point of "relaxed everything gets you there automatically", I think we 1) have to define "there" ... and 2) have those that think they got "there" automatically ever checked their FH lag on video ... one can think they are doing x all they want ... often aren't 3) define what "there" is for them ... a player might say not shooting for the full lag in the pic below, shooting for something less than that, and then check for that "less than" in their videos.

    So ... did everyone that says "I got there automatically by being relaxed, with no active action" actually get to this THERE:

    [​IMG]

    My position after attending the Limpin Flip Academy ... and almost graduating ... is that you can't get to the THERE above without the arm roll. All the "relaxed" in the world without the arm roll won't get you with that amount of lag ... butt cap pointing was past the line. I think the degree you can get close to that with just relaxed and no arm roll will depend on grip. My weak eastern didn't get close, but I suspect from playing around with shadow swings and Western (freak a $ $ grip) ... you can get closer with Western.

    On the active vs passive part while learning the stroke, I will just explain what I ran into. There was nothing I tried that made my arm naturally roll (or at least roll enough). I tried racquet face down, I tried trying to match the fed drop, yada yada yada. I don't need a lesson in relaxed grip... been doing that for 40+ years. Nothing made the butt cap go past the line ... best I could do was get close to butt cap pointing at the line (ball). Then one day ... on yet another frustrating ball machine session trying to hit a flip, and saying bad things about Limpin (out loud probably), I just had the thought. Oops... back up ... just remembered that is NOT EXACTLY. Something clicked reading yet another "ISR,ESR,pronation,supination" post ... OH, just go make that arm roll on purpose (actively as he!!) with a shadow swing, and see where the butt cap points. Not even a shadow swing ... just hold the racquet out in approx spot as Del Po above ... and then roll the frickin arm. Butt cap happily, with zero arm stress pointed past the line. So I headed to the next ball machine session with the thought in my head "f*ck all you got to do it passively ***** :D On my first FH, I dropped the racquet to the slot just like usual, and then right when I swung forward from the slot I actively, on purpose without apology turned my arm/hand to the right. BINGO MFs ... BBP is flipping the cr@p out of these FHs. OK ... not quite that fast, some timing issues, some shanking, and figured out in a hurry you better not have an abbreviated shoulder turn with this whippy type FH.

    I don't think the avg rec player should hit that huge lag Del Po is hitting above. I think if you are going to hit a flippy FH, settling at what came out of "just relaxed" might be the best choice. I also think you would mess up the FHs of the vast majority of my friends/peers FHs with ANY lag. They haven't needed it for any reason to play at high levels of adult rec tennis. I ended up at a very small lag, and sometimes mess around with a bit more because I can see it's attraction. Good timed whippy feels pretty effortless.

    That's my story, and I'm sticking with it.
     
    zalive likes this.
    #41
  43. Limpinhitter

    Limpinhitter G.O.A.T.

    Joined:
    Jun 10, 2010
    Messages:
    16,583
    The shortest distance between two points is a straight line. Apparently, you prefer the scenic route.
     
    #42
  44. Traffic

    Traffic Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Jan 11, 2017
    Messages:
    2,652
    I've got a skills and drills class tonight. I'm going to try to "throw" the racquet.
     
    ByeByePoly likes this.
    #43
  45. nytennisaddict

    nytennisaddict Legend

    Joined:
    Aug 20, 2007
    Messages:
    7,818
    lol, gl, and don't let go/hit someone :p
     
    #44
  46. LeeD

    LeeD Bionic Poster

    Joined:
    Dec 28, 2008
    Messages:
    45,054
    Location:
    East side of San Francisco Bay
    Different shot.
    Loose grip for spin and rally balls.
    Grip tightening near impact for added pace and less spin on winner attempts.
     
    comeback likes this.
    #45
  47. FiReFTW

    FiReFTW Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Aug 13, 2016
    Messages:
    2,323
    The tighter the grip the less racquet head speed and less spin and less pace, so this is not correct.

    I hit the fastest shots when my grip and swing is completely loose and I almost feel the racquet being thrown into the ball.

    Sometimes I tighten the grip out of nerves when going for winner atempts, but I find that im putting alot more effort into the ball in order to get the same speed as before if I was loose and swing with much less effort.
     
    #46
  48. nytennisaddict

    nytennisaddict Legend

    Joined:
    Aug 20, 2007
    Messages:
    7,818
    sometimes more effective to just nod and smile.
     
    #47
  49. FiReFTW

    FiReFTW Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Aug 13, 2016
    Messages:
    2,323
    haha, what do you mean, I didn't quite get what you are getting at?
     
    #48
  50. comeback

    comeback Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Oct 13, 2010
    Messages:
    1,835
    better than the Alpha male who shakes your hand before the match and almost breaks it;)
     
    ByeByePoly likes this.
    #49
  51. LeeD

    LeeD Bionic Poster

    Joined:
    Dec 28, 2008
    Messages:
    45,054
    Location:
    East side of San Francisco Bay
    Look at tennis pro pictures.
    When just rallying, normal face expression and relaxed.
    When going for a winner, total grimace as the whole body tightens up at impact. Are you guys just blind or too dumb to see this? Tell me, which are you?
     
    #50

Share This Page