RacquetWorld's Newsletter Racquetball Tip of the Month
You and Your Grip (Part Duo)
By Pat Bernardo
Last month’s grip article generated more Q&A e-mails than any other article to date…so I figured everyone really liked starting at the beginning. So this will be “Part Duo” of the grip saga. To all you people who wrote in…YES, there are 2 different grips…one for your forehand and one for your backhand. I’ve learned my lesson and incorporated pictures this time.
A great grip (whether forehand or backhand) has a few key characteristics. The most important thing is that however you’re holding your racquet, it needs to make square contact with the ball at impact and at the same time the racquet head should be perfectly perpendicular to the direction you are hitting the ball. (specialty shots like ceiling balls & splats excluded) It’s a little confusing so look at the pictures. See insert.
This is what you should see as you look down your arm at the racquet at impact. In addition, your grip should also allow for maximum wrist flexibility for added power and reach. (dropping the pinkie off the bottom of the handle allows for this).
How do we get there??
Well, let’s say your handle in configured in the shape of a squashed
insert. We talked about how to
hold your racquet horizontally last article (drop the pinkie off the
bottom)…this time we’re going to talk about how to grip the racquet
correctly “around the handle”. Your thumb and pointer finger form a
“V” when you grab the racquet handle. Grab
your handle and look for that “V”. We’ll come back to it later. With the pictures
below, we assume the front wall is always towards the left as you face this
page. Also assume, I'm not a great 3-dimensional artist.
Incorrect Grip Below
Forehand Grip (aka – “My Rollout Machine Gun”)
Here’s where we combine concepts…the “V” in your hand should be on the backside of the stop sign on the top of your handle..see Fig above. The "V should hit exactly on the crease of the handle..the real picture has it perfect. As you swing the racquet with this grip you will strike the ball flush and send it hurling to the front wall. You can see that the racquet and front wall are parallel. This is true for all straight in shots.
Backhand Grip (aka – Oh God…don’t hit it to this side”)
As you switch from forehand to backhand grip…you rotate the racquet approx ¼ inch. What you want is to again get the “V” over the back side of the stop sign…see Fig above This ¼ inch rotation allows the racquet to strike the ball squarely in relationship to the direction you are hitting the ball.
The last picture above shows how the racquet would be orientated if you kept the forehand grip on the backhand side...see the incorrect orientation the racquet would contact the ball.
As a backup plan for finding your backhand grip…right handed players…stick the racquet under your left arm. Pretend the racquet is a sword that stabbed you and you have to pull it out. 9 out of 10 of you will pull it out with the perfect backhand grip. Remember to drop your pinkie low and your good to go.
If you never rotated your grip here is a drill to help you.
Stand like you’re ready to take serve…take a step and get ready for a forehand…swing…move your feet and switch over to a backhand grip…swing and keep switching…it front of a mirror works the best. You can make sure that the racquet is coming through correctly. You’ll also learn that the racquet will want to rotate because of centrifugal force…all you have to do is learn to stop the rotation with your fingers to lock in the correct grip.
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