When you are playing tennis, your racket’s angle and the direction in which it moves determines what the ball really does after you hit it. If the racket slips in your hand, you will no longer be in control of the movement of the racket face, and the ball could go almost anywhere. As control and accuracy are very important in tennis, you will want to do everything you can to stop your racket from slipping. So what might cause this problem, and how can you fix it?
Racket slipping may happen due to a weak grip, an old overgrip, or sweaty hands. Players can stop the earlier by holding the racket with the appropriate strength. Replacing an old overgrip with a tacky new grip can help stop slipping. Lastly, special products are available to help players with sweaty hands.
How Hard Should You Hold The Racket?
There are many theories about how tightly you should grip your tennis racket. Some players and coaches advise maintaining quite a firm grip to enhance control. However, the more common view is that some shots (like serves or volleys) require a firmer grip than others.
For example, when playing shots like service returns and volleys, the ball arrives at speed, and it requires a solid grip to keep the racket stable and control the ball.
However, in a rally situation, the ball’s impact on a racket is likely to be less fierce, and there should be no loss of control if you adopt a looser, more relaxed grip.
This relaxation will help you to develop more racket-head speed and potentially more spin and pace. If there is one shot for which a loose grip is likely to be most beneficial, it is the service for which the ball is barely moving at the point of contact.
A relaxed grip will help with pronation and produce an efficient and effective action. Also, gripping the racket tightly can contribute to problems like tennis elbow and rotator cuff injuries.
Therefore, the logical thing to do is hold the racket as loosely as you can for serves and groundstrokes. Unfortunately, this will increase the risk of the racket slipping in your hand or even falling to the ground.
Some of the other solutions below might help with this, but essentially if your racket is slipping in your hand, you may have to practice playing with a tighter grip until you find the lightest pressure needed for this to stop happening.
Do You Need A New Grip?
Professionals will have new grips put on their rackets every time they use one, as they do not want to risk losing even just one point due to a slippery grip. Many club players take the opposite approach, using grips that have obviously seen better days.
If your racket grip is no longer as tacky as it once was and shows clear signs of wear and tear, you should change it. Replacement grips only cost a few dollars and are relatively easy to fit with practice. A new grip will make your connection to the racket more secure and cut the risk of errors due to slipping.
Some players like to use overgrips, which are thin pieces of tape that wrap around the racket handle on top of the existing grip. These are quicker to change than the main grip, but they also need to be changed more frequently.
Leading French player Richard Gasquet appears to put on a new overgrip at each change of ends! Certainly, no overgrip should be expected to last more than a few weeks.
Some players prefer to replace the main grip regularly, and others favor overgrips, but the key point is that neither should be allowed to deteriorate significantly before being changed.
Slippery vs. Tacky Tennis Grips
Some overgrips, in particular, are designed to be very tacky. While they are new, this allows you to keep a firm grip on the racket very easily. On the other hand, some players find that this limits their ability to make quick grip changes, as the racket almost sticks to their hand.
These players are likely to prefer the dry-feeling overgrips, which are also available. The latter are designed to absorb sweat, and when they do, they become more grippy. Tacky overgrips will need to be replaced more frequently than the dry, absorbent ones, as once they become dirty and lose their tackiness, they are simply smooth and slippery.
Best Tennis Grips For Sweaty Hands
In terms of overgrips, players who are prone to sweaty hands will prefer absorbent grips like Tourna Grip, as these will become grippier as they sweat, while those with dry hands will tend to favor the tacky ones.
However, there is another option in that some types of replacement grip are also very good at absorbing sweat. These will tend to be slightly thicker grips with perforations to allow the sweat to be absorbed. If you have this issue, try both options to find out which works best for you.
Problems Caused By Slippery Rackets
If the racket slips in your hand as you are playing a shot, you are likely to lose control of the ball and will probably lose the point as well. There is one other potential issue, which can become expensive. If you serve or hit groundstrokes with a loose grip, the racket can fly out of your hand. When it slips out like this, it can travel quite fast, and on a hard court, a costly breakage can result.
Always ensure you are using the right grip and that it is in good condition, and your racket should stop slipping. If not, you may have to hold it a little tighter!