Using the Opposite Hand to Improve your Tennis Game – Part 1
The number-one reason for learning to use your opposite hand in tennis: to RELAX the grip hand. By relaxing the grip hand we gain two benefits immediately. First, we save wear and tear on the hitting arm, which significantly diminishes chances of injury or the dreaded tennis elbow. I, for one, am tired of seeing all of these recreational players wearing tennis elbow braces because they haven’t learned to relax their grip hand. Federer, Djokovic, Nadal — you won’t see them with a tennis elbow brace, because they have mastered using the opposite hand to RELAX the grip hand. Second, using the opposite hand to RELAX the grip hand will improve the power of your groundstrokes. Remember, relaxation is speed and speed is power. Again, watch the likes of Dimitrov, Wawrinka, Murray, and practically every other male pro; all of them use the opposite hand to set up those big forehands.
Here’s how we’re going to teach you to RELAX that grip hand. First, place your opposite hand out in front of you as if you’re holding your favorite drink and getting ready to take a sip. Now place your racket right in the opposite hand like it’s the cup you’re getting ready to drink out of. If you’ve done this correctly, your opposite hand should be holding the throat of the racket straight out in front of you. I even like to place my index finger on the strings and my bottom three fingers and thumb on the throat. If done correctly, the racket should feel very balanced in the hand. I call it putting the racket back “in the shelf.” Now here are a few FUN drills that will get you used to relaxing the grip hand as you play.
Drill 1: Have someone feed you balls or hit with you (a ball machine will also work). Every time after you hit, put the racket back “in the shelf” (your opposite hand) and clap your leg with your grip hand.
Drill 2: Same thing as above, but wave to your opponent with your grip hand. They’ll think you’re crazy, but it’s fun.
Drill 3: Same thing as above, but just let your grip hand rest on the grip without closing your fingers around the grip or squeezing it.
Learning to use your opposite hand to RELAX the grip hand will have you well on your way to becoming a Master of the Game.