Everybody has felt a firm handshake, a limp handshake and a “death grip.”
Tennis players should use a firm handshake pressure on most groundstrokes because this firms-up the wrist and forearm, insuring good racket head control.
Pressure at contact actually varies from firm to extra firm depending on the force of the on-coming ball.
Between shots there’s no need to squeeze the handle; hold it like a canary. Some players struggle with all this. They use a limp wrist as they swing and the ball sprays unpredictably. Others use an overly-right death grip that stiffens-up the stroke; mis-hits abound.
Perhaps the ultimate combination is a firm grip coupled with a loose but deliberate swing from the shoulders. The shoulders provide the power while the firm wrist provides ball control and accuracy.
Gary Sherby is tennis director at Racquets and Togs Tennis Center, 115 Bradford St., just off the downtown square. His tennis tips appear Sundays.