The Thumb Guide Grip
After seeing players at all levels occasionally hit a ball that goes off in a random weird direction, I started to wonder what was going on. For instance, an ordinary back court passing shot might hit the bottom of the net. Such a shot might not be slightly low, but very low. Another case is an overhand smash that goes way off target to the right or left.
It seems the problem is that the players’ bodies aren’t quite aware of the angle of the paddle in the hand. If the paddle is twisted just one or two degrees the wrong way, they’ll have a crazy shot.
So how can you recognize the angle of the paddle? The handle usually isn’t definitive enough, generally being a sort of nebulous oval or symmetrical polygon.
Here’s what what you can do: You can switch to the thumb guide grip which is pictured below.
Thumb guide gripWith your thumb resting on the edge of the paddle, your body will know exactly the angle at all times. Oh, it is mostly a subconscious thing – you don’t have to think about it. But suddenly, the problem with angle goes away. I have used this grip extensively, and can report that it doesn’t interfere in any way with ordinary play. Furthermore, you can quickly and easily switch to any other grip if needed.
Variations of the thumb guide grip can include the forefinger grip, the two-finger grip, and a combination of all with the finger and thumb grip. These might be a bit more problematic, because they don’t allow for quite as firm a hold on the paddle, and your fingers might contact the ball in a backhand.
Alternate grips with which you can feel the angle of the paddle.