Tight Hitting Arm Fix

October 21, 2014 10:00 am

Today, I want to share a quick tip with you that can really help you when your arm tends to get tight on a certain shot. So, you probably know that feeling maybe when the ball comes to your backhand and you automatically start to tighten up that arm. This can be technically related, or it can also be mentally related. Even when you have improved your technique, you can still get tight in the arm because, for many years before, you were struggling with that backhand, for example. One very effective tip that I’ve used recently with students is to take your fingers off the grip on the backswing. That can really help you with this because then it’s almost impossible to tighten up the arm. What exactly do I mean with that? So, if I set up to a one-handed backhand, I want to turn and I want to focus on getting the body in position. The backswing is all about getting the body in position, it’s not about doing anything with your hitting arm. So, what we can do is we can take the fingers off the grip, like this, and that forces me, on the one-hander, to hold the racket in the left hand, which is what I want anyways. So, when I turn for that one-hander, I can slightly take the fingers off the grip. Actually, I’ve seen some videos where Federer does that. Not to this extent, but he certainly kind of loosens up the fingers here sometimes on the one-hander on the backswing, and I’ve seen that with other players as well. We can practice that, and as the ball comes, we focus on turning the upper body, getting the body in position and taking the fingers off the grip. On the two-hander, it’s the same thing. Now, I’m not holding, obviously, the racket in the left-hand but I can take the fingers off the grip a little bit like this, and that assures that I don’t tighten up my arms and forces me to focus on getting the body in position. Same thing on the forehand. I turn — once again, I have the racket in the left-hand and I can take the fingers off just a little bit here, and that way I assure that I do the right things with my body in order to hit with a loose arm, which is absolutely crucial. Now, let’s take a look at that in super-slow motion. So, here’s a one-handed backhand example. Take a close look at the hitting hand here. As the ball is coming, I start to move my feet and get my body in position. You can see that the fingers are completely off the grip here. Essentially, I’m holding the racket in the left hand, which forces me to relax the hitting arm. Of course, this is a bit of an exaggeration, but in order to work on this, it makes sense to take the fingers off that much. At this point, the fingers go back on the grip and I can focus on executing a good swing. Let’s take a look at a forehand example. Once again, we’ll see that the fingers of the hitting hand go off the grip. Right now, I’m holding the racket more in the left hand, and the hitting arm and hand are relaxed. That way, I can focus on getting my legs and the upper body in the proper position. Now, the hand is going back on the grip and I can focus, once again, on executing a good swing.

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