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Tuesday, April 17, 2018

Grip Pressure

Getting the fundamentals right...

Today's post continues the Jordan Briones Primetime series with a short discussion of grip pressure while dinking. The video, Grip Pressure Explained with Dave Weinbach | Pickleball, features Dave Weinbach, one of the best pros in the world of pickleball.

Dave explains that he rarely sees players in his clinics who are aware of the need for grip pressure adjustments. He teaches that grip pressure should be measured on a scale of 1-10 where "0" means the paddle falls out of your hand and "10" is an iron-fisted grip. Dave recommends a grip of 3-4 on his scale. In other words, the paddle is gripped very lightly.

Dave explains that the benefit of the light grip is increased sensitivity (feel) for the ball on the paddle. The lighter grip allows the paddle to "give" as it absorbs the force of the ball. When this happens, the ball actually stays on the face of the paddle longer instead of "popping" off the face. The result is more control.

I have briefly discussed grip pressure in Don't Strangle Your Paddle. In that post I stated:
I have read and heard coaches talk about a grip tension scale of 1-10 and associate specific shots with points on that scale. Shorter and softer shots are on the low end as the grip should be looser in order to absorb more of the ball's energy. Longer but soft shots, like a drop shot, should be somewhere in the middle of the scale as the ball must have some energy to cover greater distances. A groundstroke hit with power requires maximum energy and the grip should be tightest on these shots.
When I give clinics, I often talk about grip pressure, but I use it to describe allowing the paddle to absorb more or less energy from the ball with a loose or tight grip, respectively. I even demonstrate a dink holding the paddle loosely between only the thumb and the index finger. The paddle moves a lot on that pivot point but the ball still has enough energy to get to the NVZ asa dink. My description has been more about the desired softness of the shot than the feel as described by Dave. But I get it - time on the paddle is a big benefit. Now, I just have to focus on keeping my grip loose as the dink rally progresses.

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