What Ails You…and Why?
Do you have something bothering you and your tennis game? Well, join the crowd! A lot of people have tennis issues!
Getting to the root of the issue is sometimes an issue in itself but we must do it if we want to continue playing tennis at our level, or above.
The most obvious issue is pain. Wrist pain, elbow pain, and shoulder pain are the ones I hear about most often and try to eliminate or reduce. This can be done by several approaches which over the years have proven affective. Most issues can be mitigated by slight customization of the racquet. Adding weight is the first modification because it can be accomplished without restringing. The next step is to reduce string bed stiffness, or effective stiffness, by reducing the tension setting on the stringing machine.
Of course using a racquet that is less stiff will help. But what if none of this solves the problem?
Go to the grip! Not only is grip size critical but the grip shape is also a consideration. It is known that most players are using a grip size that is too small! This is tough on your wrist.
This is anecdotal for sure but I have a client that simply must have a grip shape that is more rectangular as opposed to the more rounded style of Wilson, Babolat, Prince, Yonex, and others. A few years ago, and before I knew him, this client bought a very popular racquet but found that quickly the arm/shoulder began to hurt. He of course had several medical meetings but ultimately returned to his previous racquet. With the previous racquet he did not have any pain!
The current/previous racquet is the antithesis of what I would recommend. Why? Because is is very light, very stiff, very dense string pattern, and rectangular grip shape! But, it worked for him. To understand why he took a racquet to try that was heavier, softer, more open pattern and a rounder grip shape. Guess what! Arm pain!
The take away, then, is this player needs a rectangular grip shape! Who would have thought a grip shape would be a major factor when selecting a racquet.
Take a look at your grip and be sure you are using the correct size and shape for your playing style. Most racquets are fitted with a synthetic grip material that will mitigate shock a little. A good leather grip will contribute to definition and feel.