How many times do we get distracted playing tennis because something feels like it ´slips out of control´ during practice or play and it sometimes leads to poor performance?
Get a good grip of this, in my personal experience as a player and coach I´ve seen it happened quite often and I am not just talking at the club level but practically at all levels of the game, well, maybe with the exception of the Elite Pros (top 100 or so).
When we talk about grips we often associate it exclusively with the racquet grip but this is not totally so. There is also a hidden side to ´gripping´ which we often don´t see, which contains 2 other gripping elements which will also help you deliver better performance on-court:
Racquet Grip. Get a good grip from your racquet
There are several makes and materials out there you may choose from. There are over grips and cushion grips. Choosing the right grip for you will depend on your own preferences as well as the playing conditions you are in. Wearing wristbands helps your grip last longer because it keeps it drier, as a general rule the more you sweat the more you may need to look into replacing and keeping your racquets´ grip nice and fresh. Cushion grips are great as it can prevent injuries such as tennis elbow.
Tennis Shoes. Get a good grip from the court.
Wear tennis shoes: wearing the right tennis shoes on a tennis court is often overlooked. It is important to consider which surface you are playing on and get the right sole accordingly, i.e. Clay, hard, grass, this will not only aid you at getting a great grip on the court and at sliding safely but also at preventing self-injuries or court damage. Wearing regular trainers on a tennis court is not recommended as you may also damage your own shoe.
Racquet Strings. Get a good grip from the ball. Yes, strings act as the ultimate grip during practice and play because their properties allow you to actually ´grab´ the ball when you make contact, this is done so by applying undersping or topspin which is a must in today’s game. Strings may be available to you in many makes, gauges and materials. You may ask your local Pro which set or combination may be the best fit for you. Hybrid stringing has also proved very effective. Get the ultimate ¨ball grabber¨ you can get a hold of, it pays off.
By following these 3 gripping elements you are getting an excellent grip of things and you will perform better and safer on a tennis court. All the best.
Francisco Martinez is a USPTA Certified Elite Pro since 2011. He is from Mexico where graduated from ITESM, obtaining a Bachelor’s degree in Tourism while playing tennis. Over the last 18 years he has served at different Clubs and Resorts in Mexico working with a wide array of students and players coming from different parts of the world. He is now a freelance tennis coach based in Riviera Maya, Mexico.