Teaching and Coaching
In our last Blog, we discussed using the non-racquet hand to support the racquet and help relax the hitting arm for a more fluid swing. However, some players will still over-squeeze the grip even though their non-racquet hand is on the racquet. To test if you still need to relax, take your racquet hand off the grip entirely and put it on your hip. Then, when the ball comes, just turn your shoulders with your non-racquet hand and then slide your hitting hand onto the grip to hit the ball. Another option is to put your racquet hand in your hip pocket in between shots. This little tip should give you a feel for what it is like to properly relax your racquet hand. Just practice it enough to get a feel for the degree of relaxation you need in between shots. While top players do not really “slap” at their forehands, they do have a whiplike motion that is incorporation to generate the racquet head speed needed to result in powerful groundstrokes.
Since about 70% of all groundstrokes are forehands, it only makes sense to be ready on the baseline with a forehand grip. However, although your hand is in the forehand grip position, the actual weight of the racquet should be entirely in the non-racquet hand or left hand for a right-handed player. Why is this important? The reason is to keep your hitting hand and arm as relaxed as possible. There are two choices for the left hand position. The first option is to place your index finger up on the throat of the racquet to feel the strings and accurately set the racquet face. The second choice is to support the racquet lower on the handle if you hit your backhand with two hands. But don’t think that all two-handers should hold the racquet down low. Many two-handers also use the first option and slide the hand down for their backhands. The choice is yours. Just be sure to be consistent and to use your non-racquet hand to absorb the weight of the racquet.