Struggling with finding proper grip, gap between handle and palm HELP!

Krulik

New User
Have only been playing tennis a couple of years and inconsistently at best. I've always had trouble with my forehand grip, switching from eastern to western to somewhere in-between. I've looked at all the grip guide videos on YouTube and the concept makes sense to me, placing the base of the index knuckle and palm of your hand on a certain bevel whether that be continental, eastern, or semi or full western. The problem is that I never feel like I can get solid contact with the ball. Granted I know that it also comes down to form, takeaway, stance, follow through, etc. but the racquet never feels comfortable in my hand. I have big hands, my group practice tennis instructor said I need a bigger grip and I bought a 4-5/8 racquet, but I also feel like I'm placing the racquet incorrectly in my hand. Issues arise when I look at online images of proper grip and I don't see a gap between the racquet handle and the palm. For example with the two images here. In one it looks like there is 0 space and in the other (image of my semi-western grip) you can clearly see space. Does anybody else have this issue? Is this an issue?
 

Krulik

New User
Gap? Space? Where? Don't see what you're talking about here.
Yeah, between the racquet handle and the top part of the palm of my hand you can see a triangle of space. Can't you? In the second image. The first one is of an example I found online and it has no visible space.
 

SystemicAnomaly

Bionic Poster
It's hard to see how the pros grip it in their palm from he videos I've seen. Do you have any links that would help me out?
Inside joke. He was pulling your leg

Yeah, between the racquet handle and the top part of the palm of my hand you can see a triangle of space. Can't you? In the second image. The first one is of an example I found online and it has no visible space.
Hmmm, ok. Are your base index knuckle and heel pad on the same bevels in both cases?

Looking at my own implementation of the SW grip, it looks very much like it your top image. Couldn't quite figure out how to get the ∆ gap shown in your 2nd image.

But I suspect that your hand was not lying at the same angle in your palm. The racket handle should be lying diagonally crossed the palm of your hand -- from your base index knuckle to your heel pad. The std SW grip has the base index knuckle on bevel 4. For the heel pad, variations are acceptable. And your images it appears that bevel 4 is hitting a different part of your heel pad. Whichever variation that works best for you should be okay.
 
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Krulik

New User
Inside joke. He was pulling your leg


Hmmm, ok. Are your base index knuckle and heel pad on the same bevels in both cases?

Looking at my own implementation of the SW grip, it looks very much like it your top image. Couldn't quite figure out how to get the ∆ gap shown in your 2nd image.

But I suspect that your hand was not lying at the same angle in your palm. The racket handle should be lying diagonally crossed the palm of your hand -- from your base index knuckle to your heel pad. The std SW grip has the base index knuckle on bevel 4. For the heel pad, variations are acceptable. And your images it appears that bevel 4 is hitting a different part of your heel pad. Whichever variation that works best for you should be okay.
Ah shoot, didn’t get the joke. My bad.

For me, in order to feel like I can get leverage on the racquet the meaty part of my palm needs to feel like it’s on the bevel. If I put the racquet diagonally from base of the index knuckle to the base of the palm it feels like it’s too much in the palm of my hand. I hope that makes sense.
 

SystemicAnomaly

Bionic Poster
Ah shoot, didn’t get the joke. My bad.

For me, in order to feel like I can get leverage on the racquet the meaty part of my palm needs to feel like it’s on the bevel. If I put the racquet diagonally from base of the index knuckle to the base of the palm it feels like it’s too much in the palm of my hand. I hope that makes sense.
Perhaps only a dozen ppl here would have gotten joke / reference.

How LARGE is your hand? Mine is larger than most but not plump. 25+ yrs ago I was using an L5 (4-5/8) as my strokes evolved to and more modern style, I switched to L4 (or L4 with an overgrip). My reach on a standard piano keyboard is a bit over an octave (18 cm). But from tip of my thumb to my pinky fingertip is closer to 9" (23 cm).

When holding a badminton racket the grip is mostly lying diagonally in the lower part of my fingers. With an L5 or L4+ tennis racket, the grip is more in the meaty part of my palm. I do see a bit some gap if I am forced to use an L3 or smaller tennis grip.
 

Krulik

New User
Perhaps only a dozen ppl here would have gotten joke / reference.

How LARGE is your hand? Mine is larger than most but not plump. 25+ yrs ago I was using an L5 (4-5/8) as my strokes evolved to and more modern style, I switched to L4 (or L4 with an overgrip). My reach on a standard piano keyboard is a bit over an octave (18 cm). But from tip of my thumb to my pinky fingertip is closer to 9" (23 cm).

When holding a badminton racket the grip is mostly lying diagonally in the lower part of my fingers. With an L5 or L4+ tennis racket, the grip is more in the meaty part of my palm. I do see a bit some gap if I am forced to use an L3 or smaller tennis grip.
Ah, nice.

Hand measures in at 8.5” from base of the palm to tip of middle finger but I wouldn’t say I have a mit of a hand, more long fingers. I can definitely relate to the piano keys comparison because I played piano as a kid. Can hit just over an octave as well measuring 9.75” when stretched sideways from pinky to thumb.
 

shamaho

Professional
Have only been playing tennis a couple of years and inconsistently at best. I've always had trouble with my forehand grip, switching from eastern to western to somewhere in-between. I've looked at all the grip guide videos on YouTube and the concept makes sense to me, placing the base of the index knuckle and palm of your hand on a certain bevel whether that be continental, eastern, or semi or full western. The problem is that I never feel like I can get solid contact with the ball. Granted I know that it also comes down to form, takeaway, stance, follow through, etc. but the racquet never feels comfortable in my hand. I have big hands, my group practice tennis instructor said I need a bigger grip and I bought a 4-5/8 racquet, but I also feel like I'm placing the racquet incorrectly in my hand. Issues arise when I look at online images of proper grip and I don't see a gap between the racquet handle and the palm. For example with the two images here. In one it looks like there is 0 space and in the other (image of my semi-western grip) you can clearly see space. Does anybody else have this issue? Is this an issue?
The racket butt is "sitting" on different places of your palm in the two images, why don't you adjust that to close the gap and forget whatever other people say ?
 

SystemicAnomaly

Bionic Poster
Ah, nice.

Hand measures in at 8.5” from base of the palm to tip of middle finger but I wouldn’t say I have a mit of a hand, more long fingers. I can definitely relate to the piano keys comparison because I played piano as a kid. Can hit just over an octave as well measuring 9.75” when stretched sideways from pinky to thumb.
I've got rather long fingers as well but it sounds like the "wingspan" (or keyboard span) of your hand might be nearly 2 cm greater than mine. Even tho I rarely use an L5 grip anymore, it could very well be suitable for you -- even with an overgrip. Have you tried an L4 with one or two over grips?

You might experiment with these sizes a little bit to see what seems most suitable for your group choices. Note that the heel pad does not necessarily have to be on the same bevel as the base index knuckle. So grip preferences can vary accordingly. As long as the grip lies across your hand at some suitable diagonal angle, you should be okay
 

SystemicAnomaly

Bionic Poster
The racket butt is "sitting" on different places of your palm in the two images, why don't you adjust that to close the gap and forget whatever other people say ?
One size does not fit all. So too, one version of a certain grip is not necessarily suitable for all players.

Those grip choices are often a matter of personal preference. Some pros have the heel pad on the same bevel as the base index knuckle. Some do not. OP appears to have a somewhat large hand with rather long fingers.

If his fingers were short / stubby relative to the size of his hand, he might have a different grip preference. I'm not referring to overall size here but to the ratio of finger length to palm size. This can affect the way a grip is implemented
 

Krulik

New User
The racket butt is "sitting" on different places of your palm in the two images, why don't you adjust that to close the gap and forget whatever other people say ?
I hear ya, and that's exactly what i've been trying to do, but it feels weird in my hand. Like I can't get that whip feeling.
 

shamaho

Professional
I hear ya, and that's exactly what i've been trying to do, but it feels weird in my hand. Like I can't get that whip feeling.
I see, Have you tried gripping it lower so that your pinky is almost flush with the buttcap (or very nearly there), and also tried to loosen your grip on the handle?
 

SystemicAnomaly

Bionic Poster
I see, Have you tried gripping it lower so that your pinky is almost flush with the buttcap (or very nearly there), and also tried to loosen your grip on the handle?
Yes, you will often see a lower or "long grip" like that when hitting groundstrokes in the back court (around the baseline). But many players will adopt a higher "short grip" when playing at the net.

But the difference between the long grip and the short grip might be only 2 cm or so. And, of course, you would be using a Conti or Aussie grip at the net rather than a SW grip
 
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Bagumbawalla

G.O.A.T.
You can try this and see if it helps any- if not- well, try something else.

Draw a line from the bottom of your little finger (where it attaches to the hand)
across to the bottom of the thumb. Tty holding the handle so the end of the buttcap
lays along that line. Losen/spread your fingers out just a bit to increase the contact surface.
This grip will allow for a bit more flex- but may not feel as "grippy" as you are used to.
 

Krulik

New User
I've got rather long fingers as well but it sounds like the "wingspan" (or keyboard span) of your hand might be nearly 2 cm greater than mine. Even tho I rarely use an L5 grip anymore, it could very well be suitable for you -- even with an overgrip. Have you tried an L4 with one or two over grips?

You might experiment with these sizes a little bit to see what seems most suitable for your group choices. Note that the heel pad does not necessarily have to be on the same bevel as the base index knuckle. So grip preferences can vary accordingly. As long as the grip lies across your hand at some suitable diagonal angle, you should be okay
I will definitely try sizing up on the grip and see if that helps. Thanks for your input and help on this.
 

shamaho

Professional
Yes, you will see a lower or "long grip" like that when hitting groundstrokes in the back court (around the baseline). But many players will adopt a higher "short grip" when playing at the net.

But the difference between the long grip and the short grip might be only 2 cm or so. And, of course, you would be using a Conti or Aussie grip at the net rather than a SW grip
@SystemicAnomaly first time ever hearing the term "Aussie grip" - is it just another term for the Continental one or a slightly different grip ??
 

SystemicAnomaly

Bionic Poster
@SystemicAnomaly first time ever hearing the term "Aussie grip" - is it just another term for the Continental one or a slightly different grip ??
The Aussie grip is another name for the semi-continental or the bevel 2.5 grip (about halfway between bevel 2 and level 3).

Do not know how I thought the game but it has often been used for first serves and for some volleys. Aussie, Patrick Rafter, a prolific & accomplished S&V player use this grip for many of his volleys. For very low volleys, he appeared to use a standard conti grip. But often use the Aussie grip for medium and high volleys.
 

shamaho

Professional
The first image is from MyTennisHQ and the second one is of my hand on the racquet.
ohhhh! then you're not doing it right ;-) ie. the grip on the second image (your hand) is NOT the same as the grip on the top image.
bevel 5 is sitting on different places of the hand... so just close that gap...
 

Krulik

New User
I see, Have you tried gripping it lower so that your pinky is almost flush with the buttcap (or very nearly there), and also tried to loosen your grip on the handle?
No, but I will try this. I notice that the issue comes up when I do have the proper grip in the palm with no gap the pinky is an inch or so above the butt of the racquet.
 

Krulik

New User
ohhhh! then you're not doing it right ;-) ie. the grip on the second image (your hand) is NOT the same as the grip on the top image.
bevel 5 is sitting on different places of the hand... so just close that gap...
Yeah, I'm definitely struggling with this. Do you mean bevel 4? This would be for the semi-western grip.
 

Krulik

New User
Just to give you an update, here is the racquet in my hand without the gap. Feels very weird and my pinky is nowhere near the end of the racquet.
 

Krulik

New User
You can try this and see if it helps any- if not- well, try something else.

Draw a line from the bottom of your little finger (where it attaches to the hand)
across to the bottom of the thumb. Tty holding the handle so the end of the buttcap
lays along that line. Losen/spread your fingers out just a bit to increase the contact surface.
This grip will allow for a bit more flex- but may not feel as "grippy" as you are used to.
So the butt of the racquet would essentially be in the middle of my palm? That's interesting. I will try.
 

SystemicAnomaly

Bionic Poster
@Krulik
ohhhh! then you're not doing it right ;-) ie. the grip on the second image (your hand) is NOT the same as the grip on the top image.
bevel 5 is sitting on different places of the hand... so just close that gap...
Important to remember that grips will look different in hands of different sizes. Especially with differences in hand proportions (that is, the length of the fingers compared to the size of the palm). Also, a very meaty (or fat) paw will grip the racket somewhat differently from a very lean or svelte hand

What looks and feels comfortable and what works for one hand, might not necessarily work for someone with a very different hand shape / proportion

Note in the first image that there is quite a gap between the tip of the middle finger and the rest of the hand. Perhaps more than a finger's width of gap. In the 2nd image, the tip of the middle finger is nearly touching the opposite side of the hand around the grip. To make the second image look more like the first, the OP would probably need to use a racket with a larger handle circumference

Note also that there are many elite players who use a variation of the standard SW grip. Some do not have the base index knuckle squarely on bevel 4. It might shade toward the Eastern in some cases. Or, in Novak's case, the base index knuckle is closer to level five than the standard SW

Also, not everyone has the heel pad on exactly the same bevel as the base index knuckle. It will often vary by a half bevel (one way or the other). In some cases, as seen in the link at the bottom of this post, it may vary by up to a full level

The standard description has both of the primary reference (knuckle) and the secondary reference (heel pad) on the same bevel. But this is not always the case. I recall when I was studying the document ation for USPTA certification nearly 20 years ago, they were promoting something different. The heel pad was offset by a half bevel or more for many, if not all, of the grips. This was different from the grip instructions I had learned in the 90s

However, it appears that the USPTA has now gone back to the simpler, standard grip descriptions. Here is another source from 8 years ago, that shows something different from the simple, standard grip descriptions

 
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SystemicAnomaly

Bionic Poster
Yes, it's a fairly common grip, but each person has to find what works for them.
If you like this grip, play sparingly at first, until you build up a new set of calluses.
Calluses? People still get those? Don't think I've gotten any since the late 70s or early 80s. Even though I'm using different grips than I was back then.

Perhaps I'm not gripping the racket as tightly as I was 40+ years ago. When I picked up badminton in the very early 80s, I learned the secret of the relaxed grip. (Just left the hand firm up naturally just prior to contact).

Or maybe I'm not mishitting the ball as much.
 

Chas Tennis

G.O.A.T.
These comments are for Continental and Eastern Forehand grips and not the Western grips.

I found that the internet descriptions varied and most importantly did not seem to match what I saw being used by ATP players. Ignoring handle and hand size issues, two identified spots on the racket handle must be placed on two identified spots on the hand. The fat pad pictures and words were not consistent with what I saw in pictures and videos of ATP players, particularly the 'fat pad' was hardly ever used.

Look carefully at ATP Continental & Eastern Forehand grips - count
1) grips where the butt cap ends around the little finger
2) grips where the butt cap gets to the fat pad.

Notice the different forearm-to-racket shaft angles.
 
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Bagumbawalla

G.O.A.T.
Calluses? People still get those? Don't think I've gotten any since the late 70s or early 80s. Even though I'm using different grips than I was back then.

Perhaps I'm not gripping the racket as tightly as I was 40+ years ago. When I picked up badminton in the very early 80s, I learned the secret of the relaxed grip. (Just left the hand firm up naturally just prior to contact).

Or maybe I'm not mishitting the ball as much.
Note: for the particular grip I was explaining, the but end of the racket will tend to rub against the palm (a sensitive area) of the hand- which tends to be not as "toughened" as other areas. I Believe my advice was good.
Additionally, I collect a variety of tennis rackets- especially rackets with some odd shape or gimmic. When I take them out to hit a bit with them, I find that even small differences in the handle shape can cause rubbing in areas that have not been toughened by previous use, and if I continue too long, I might blister. Notice also the professional (and other) players that tape up their fingers- I wonder why they do this?
Of course, there are other styles of play that are less prone to "abrasion"- flat hitters, for example. Type "callouses" in the search box and hundreds of examples will show up (also blisters). Calluses and blisters are still around.
I would not like to give someone advise- then have him get blisters.
 
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Shroud

G.O.A.T.
Note: for the particular grip I was explaining, the but end of the racket will tend to rub against the palm (a sensitive area) of the hand- which tends to be not as "toughened" as other areas. I Believe my advice was good.
Additionally, I collect a variety of tennis rackets- especially rackets with some odd shape or gimmic. When I take them out to hit a bit with them, I find that even small differences in the handle shape can cause rubbing in areas that have not been toughened by previous use, and if I continue too long, I might blister. Notice also the professional (and other) players that tape up their fingers- I wonder why they do this?
Of course, there are other styles of play that are less prone to "abrasion"- flat hitters, for example. Type "callouses" in the search box and hundreds of examples will show up (also blisters). Calluses and blisters are still around.
I would not like to give someone advise- then have him get blisters.
I went huge on the grip years ago and zero callouses or blisters
 

Udey

New User
Have only been playing tennis a couple of years and inconsistently at best. I've always had trouble with my forehand grip, switching from eastern to western to somewhere in-between. I've looked at all the grip guide videos on YouTube and the concept makes sense to me, placing the base of the index knuckle and palm of your hand on a certain bevel whether that be continental, eastern, or semi or full western. The problem is that I never feel like I can get solid contact with the ball. Granted I know that it also comes down to form, takeaway, stance, follow through, etc. but the racquet never feels comfortable in my hand. I have big hands, my group practice tennis instructor said I need a bigger grip and I bought a 4-5/8 racquet, but I also feel like I'm placing the racquet incorrectly in my hand. Issues arise when I look at online images of proper grip and I don't see a gap between the racquet handle and the palm. For example with the two images here. In one it looks like there is 0 space and in the other (image of my semi-western grip) you can clearly see space. Does anybody else have this issue? Is this an issue?
I feel you bro, got the exact same problem here. I keep going between holding it more in the fingers (for more feel) vs shifting it up diagonally to close the gap.
What’s helped me is to practice holding it at the top of the grip with the index finger in the throat of the racquet. Then I slide my hand down and notice, that I don’t need to spread my fingers as much. I also try to feel the wrist cocked back at impact and to do that the bottom three fingers squeeze the racquet towards the pad at impact, while remaining not as intense otherwise. This allows me to apply the pressure as needed and also sort of traps the racquet between the bottom three fingers and the pad, with the fingers pushing towards the pad and not pressing with the pad.
This also allows for change of grip as needed as I can impart desires pressure as needed.
 
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