Discussion in 'Stringing Techniques / Stringing Machines' started by 10shoe, Aug 4, 2018.
Teenage girl with a Steam 99S. Hybrid strings, tournagrip over factory grip.
Does she hold the racquet very low on the handle?
Or perhaps her grip size / or overgrip or something needs to change
This is the way she holds the racquet.
Typically, you see this sort of blister/wound located more in line with the ring finger (as opposed to actually being closer to the thumb pad).
Does she happen to use an full western/extreme grip for her forehands? The location has me thinking she does.
If she/you doesn't already do this... when putting on her overgrip, she/you should make sure that the overgrip is begun so that it extends just a tad beyond the butt cap, so that there aren't any exposed plastic corners of the butt cap do dig into her palm. Pull the overgrip quite taut when starting it and it will more or less "curl" aroung the end of the butt cap, so that there really isn't any excess overgrip "hanging over".
If she's been using the absorbent style overgrips (orig. Tourna Grip etc.), she should try a tacky style (Tourna Tac, etc.) overgrip. The absorbent style ones may slip around in her palm more than a tacky one will. If things aren't slipping/sliding in her hand, that should help tremendously. I happen to like Vokl V-Tac, Gamma Grip 2, and Tourna Tac as far as tacky ones go. Gamma Supreme or Wilson Pro overgrips are a nice combination of tackiness and cushioning (comfort). If she wants/needs something super tacky, try Tourna Mega Tac.
If she doesn't change her overgrips frequently enough, she should try that. How long is she waiting to put a fresh one on?
For forehand groundstrokes, does she use a "trigger" grip (forefinger separated from the rest of her fingers)? If not, she may want to start using it. Without the forefinger separation, her arm/hand may not be lined up well, in relation to the handle/grip of the racquet, potentially causing the grip to move/shift in her hand every time she hits a forehand.
Skin tears easier when we're dehydrated. Is she staying hydrated? If yes, is she already employing the use of a skin balm/salve/hand lotion too?
Is this strictly/solely from tennis? Does she have a side job swinging a hammer?
If she feels that she has overly sweaty hands, she could also try out some of those liquids/sprays (rosin?) that can be applied to the hands before playing/during changeovers (even Serena uses something like this).
Lots of good stuff there Wes. Thanks!
The overgrip in the picture (post #3) is a MegaTac which I put on for her to try.
I think the grip looks a little big for her but using the old ruler method from 2nd lateral crease to tip of ring finger she measures 4-3/8 which is what she is using. I know it's an antiquated method and everyone is using smaller grips these days, but there it is.
Looks like you completely covered the butt cap edges, as I suggested.
Before you put that Mega Tac on her racquet, were the butt cap corners exposed before?
What about my grip questions... full/extreme western?
Trigger grip or not for forehand groundies? (Now that I can see that 2nd photo, it looks like she does not use the trigger grip... if that is supposed to be her forehand.)
I used to hold my racquet like that and get a blister there. It would eventually callous and then no problem until I quit playing for the season. Of course any extended time off would just repeat the process again.
I’d recommend building up the butt cap (look up the thread- I like big butts) and possibly playing a longer frame like a 27.5” frame.
My phone was acting up so I didn’t finish editing.
A player who does this likes the free wristy feel you get from holding it there. I’d also recommend a smaller grip with the built up but and extended length.
Is this happening over and over, or just the one time?
I would recommend that player take some time off to let that hand fully heal. So long as the conditions are warm, and potentially humid, I’d try to talk that player into switching away from tacky overgrips.
My 2 cents. I may be wrong, but still want to share my hypothesis.
Wes to some degree addressed this. Looking at the picture of her gripping the racquet, one sees that her sore spot does not match the position of the butt cap. I think it comes from racquet wobbling too much in her hand around this sore spot and rubbing the hand at this spot in the process. She may have a small hand, and she keeps her fingers very close together, gripping the handle maybe by 1/5 of its length. She could try spreading her fingers a little bit, especially the index finger (as Wes suggested), more or less like in the pictures below, to grip maybe half of the length of the handle. This will enable her to reduce movements of the handle relatively to the palm of her hand and will allow her to hold the racquet more firmly.
(Maybe she intentionally tries to keep the handle loose in her hand to allow the racquet head accelerate more, but clearly it does not work too well for her.)
Staple of butt cap?
I've been working with this customer about a year but unfortunately have really NOT been keeping good notes. So, I see that I have replaced one of her butt caps (generic) and also I think I sanded down all the edges so there are no points. Her old tournagrip was covering the butt cap well and not particularly worn or old.
I'm not clear on what grip she is using. I put up the post here because to me this is not where I would expect to get a blister, especially not from a butt cap. The picture that @kkm posted a link to, now THAT is where I would expect to get a blister.
I suppose I should have asked the player but maybe you can help me out here in understanding what is happening that causes blistering in that location and why the butt cap is the key. This is really foreign to me. When I hold a racquet, that part of my hand has almost no pressure on it.
The way she holds it very low allows for her smallest (pinky) finger to come loose off of the bottom of the racquet. This requires all of the other parts of the hand and the other 3 fingers to pick up the slack. The plus side is it allows her to whip through the ball. The con is what you see.
By building up the butt cap, she’ll learn to hold the racquet higher up the handle and spread her fingers as others have noted. Her pinky finger will not slip off and the rest will not have to work as hard. She’ll likely want a smaller grip over time to make up for the loss of whip. Overall, she’ll become a more consistent player too. She’ll also avoid those nasty blisters.
It doesn’t need to be built up ridiculously but it should be big enough that the hand goes naturally up the grip where it belongs. Her fingers will then spread more naturally and she’ll have better touch. That’s just my opinion and experience. Since doing this, I rarely get blisters and I take 6 months off at a time before playing very often for approximately 3 months of the year. I played 4 hours yesterday. It was very hot and humid and nothing. In the past, my pinky nail would be almost gone and my hand would be blistered.
Thanks @dak95_00 , this makes a lot of sense.
Just a bandaid but what about a golf glove?
Actually, I suggested to her mother that she look at racquetball gloves if she can't find tennis gloves. Virtually every racquetball player I string for wears a glove. Cliff Drysdale played his entire career with a glove if memory serves. Not a bandaid at all.
Sorry, I realize my initial response was useless. I assumed the client was using tacky overgrips and this happened. Now that I actually read the OP (duh) I see she was using tournagrip.
A lot of reasonable and well thought out ideas and potential causes and remedies have already been posted. If this injury is chronic in nature, then I think many of you are spot on with thinking that the injury has to do with how she is holding the racquet and/or the shape of the handle itself.
If, OTOH, this injury has not happened before...then I wouldn’t rush to assume there’s anything wrong with the shape of the handle, or how she holds it. Rather, I’d be more inclined to think the issue arose due to environmental factors (ex. weather, water intake, sweating, etc.). Bottom line, blisters happen due to friction. Find what is causing the friction, and it’s unlikely you’ll suffer a blister.
From a coaching standpoint, if (and that’s potentially a big if) she holds the racquet as illustrated in that picture...IMHO there’s nothing wrong with it...and it shouldn’t cause a blister.
Player just confirmed on the phone that indeed her pinky does slip off the racquet. I think we are on the right track. Am going to build up the butt cap now. Thanks!
Switch to a less tacky o.grip.. wilson or yonex, tourna tac is very sticky..
Interesting - that she is aware (and admits) that her pinky actually slips off the racquet during play. There’s a potential source of friction right there.
The question now is, why is that happening? Building the butt cap up is logical - it will be much harder for her pinky to do anything other than stay on the handle. But if that doesn’t solve the issue, i would advise her to book a private lesson with a certified teaching pro to find out if there is something technical that is causing or contributing to the injury.
Funny...the way this was presented to me, the player had to stop in the middle of a lesson because she was in so much pain. They came directly from the lesson to me. My first thought was...the coach has no ideas?
Could be that the coach was teaching something improper, or not addressing something that needed to be addressed.
It’s also completely plausible that a combination of environmental and physical factors caused the injury - if it was hot, she sweat a lot, and therefore had trouble holding onto the racquet...and she was being asked to hit balls over and over...it all could have been a perfect storm.
About a month ago I worked with a JV level high school junior. He needed work on his backhand. He hadn’t played much in recent weeks prior to the lesson. We spent 20 min or so hitting exclusively backhands. Near the end I saw him shaking out his off hand. I stopped and asked him what was wrong. He had developed a blister on his off hand. Long story short - he was holding the racquet fine, and the grip size was a good fit for him. It was, however, over 90+ degrees, and very high humidity that day. I chalked it up to the combination of the conditions and his lack of recent play. Obviously, we stopped hitting backhands at that point.
Weird thread for this section.
Ya'll stringers out there take on this sort of consulting?
^^ IMHO it’s gray area. Even with the detailed info and pictures OP has provided...there’s quite a bit of speculation going on - myself included.
I guess another way of looking at it is, if not in this section, where should it be? Tennis tips/Instruction? Health and Fitness?
From my standpoint...it could be an equipment problem, a technique problem, or environmental (or 2 or 3 of these). So where to put the question in the first place...one might be able to make an argument for a few different sections.
Tell her to wear a glove holding the racquet till it heals.
Blisters come from rubbing, heat, cold, or chemical. Could be chemical in the OG. My guess is this was caused by rubbing but could be from something totally unrelated to tennis and the tennis won’t allow it to heal. Let it heal and switch OGs if that does not help consider changing grip size. Nadal has had blisters on the palm of his hand too (different location) and he uses tape.
I would also advise her to keep area dry as muxh as possible after play,, kids tent to have clammy hands, thus making situation worse
until it heals though, gause or sometype to protect area, under a golf glove..
Super busy here in my shop but I wanted to log in to thank everyone for their help with this problem and update the thread.
Player has 2 racquets. I put a Mega Tac overgrip on the first one in the hope she would experience less movement of the grip in her hand and waited for her feedback. She gave me the ok to put another one on racquet #2 but I handled that one differently. I took off the base grip, put on a layer of double face tape and then a Solinco Wondergrip which I did not overlap at all. Then I wrapped a few layers of a halved tournagrip around the lower portion of the butt cap and secured it with some finishing tape so it hopefully would remain in place and finally covered the entire handle with a Mega Tac including making sure to overlap the edge of the butt cap. Goal was to make handle smaller and butt bigger. The jury is out on whether this will work. Tourna has a product called a Power Cap. Tried to order, but not in stock till Sept. Might be a better solution. Can't really see from the picture, but for a couple bucks, why not?
My hope was I would be able to have a conversation with the customer when she picked up (about her forehand grip, her coach,etc) but I had another customer here at the time so it was a very quick pick up.
I spoke with players mother on the phone a couple hours later. She tried to hit today and the blister was now bleeding. She did not get a chance to try racquet #2. She did order a tennis glove, from Amazon. I found out who her coach is. I know him. He is a phenomenal player. Not sure that makes him a great instructor, but he is certified. He is out of town. Substitute coach commented that she had never seen a butt cap enlarged like that. I guess she never heard of Richard Gasquet.
So, glove is arriving Thursday and player is giving hand a chance to heal.
Thanks again all. As you can see, I've incorporated a bunch of info from this thread.
@10shoe, I know Kafelnikov used that white medical tape cut in half wrapped around the butt cap to build it up. I'm not sure about Gasquet.
I hold the racket much like the player the OP pictured. I love slightly built up caps, or easier yet Unique Sports Power Caps and Solinco Heaven overgrips. (What I don't understand is why there is only 1 online retailer of Power Caps and it is not TW. Those "guys" are out of Power Caps until 9/1/18.)
Incidentally, had a 19 yr old D1 gal borrow a couple of my cutdown to 27" PCG100LBs using Power Caps and Solinco Heaven overgrips for a few weeks. Ended up giving them to her as she liked "old school" graphite better than her modern Head MP something or other. If she needs more I have 6 more hanging on the wall. I also know a hard hitting 14 yr old gal who borrowed one of my POG OSs who said she could use these all the time due to the comfort over her stiff Babolats. But her dad/coach (who played big school tennis) feels she needs to stay with the power rackets that everyone else is winning with. Probably so.
Maybe OPs teenager could use a racket with a bigger sweet spot to mitigate twisting.
All my blisters went away when I went up in handle size. So seems like the bogger butt should work.
Imho its a myth that players are using smaller handles these days. Its just that no one is reporting overgrips and that the common wisdom about ogs adding 1/16 is flawed.
Handle is too big. Go one size down.
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