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Tennis Lesson: Where To Place Your Index Finger

Hi! This is Jeff Salzenstein, CEO of Tennis Evolution,
and USTA High Performance coach and I’ve got a powerful forehand tip that has to do with what you do with your index finger when you
hold the racket and when you swing and this very tip can take your forehand
to a completely new level. Alright, so, what the heck am I talking about? Your index finger can jump your forehand
one or even two levels? YES. In all of my years of coaching,
I’ve seen a lot of forehands and many players – not all, but many players hold the racket incorrectly, and coaches
are not correcting them. It actually boggles my mind, because this is one of the first things you have to check if you want to improve your forehand.
Now, what’s the problem? You got many players holding the racket, and they essentially have their fingers
very close together. Now, it’s okay to have your fingers close together, except for the index finger. You’ve gotta spread that index finger we call
the Trigger Finger. You’ve got to make sure that the hand is
angled on the racket like this. You cannot be holding it in this block grip formation, because when you do this, you’re going to have too much tension in your hand when you swing, and you’re not going to have the feel that you want,
and tennis is a game of feel. You’ve gotta feel that ball hitting the strings and you have to do it by holding the racket correctly
with the index finger spread. So, when I swing, I make sure that I have the correct grip so that I can feel the ball, and I have to make sure that that index finger is spread. So, I make sure that all of my players have that index finger spread on their grip before they do anything else. I don’t try to correct their forehand until I check that. It’s going to give you the relaxation that you need,
it’s going to give you the feel. Now, if you enjoyed this lesson, go ahead
and click the Like button and feel free to leave a comment.
We’d love to hear from you. We also want you to subscribe to out Youtube channel, so that you can get updated on all the new video lessons and tips
that we deliver to you. So, thanks for your time hope you enjoyed this video, and we’ll see you at the next one.

David Frank



  1. David W Posted on January 10, 2017 at 12:55 pm

    does this apply to the backhand, too?

  2. Francesco Arioni Posted on January 10, 2017 at 2:18 pm

    going to try it out

  3. Dan Le Posted on January 10, 2017 at 10:00 pm

    Do you recommend to consciously using the index finger as the guide for the racket swing path: to come up and across the ball?
    Dan Le

  4. Jim Arthur Van Wyck Posted on January 11, 2017 at 6:10 pm

    Absolutely right on!
    Feel and a loose comfortable grip are essential… thanks for the great reminder.

  5. Richard Atherley Posted on January 12, 2017 at 9:58 pm

    When I saw this I thought to myself, of course I do that. So I grabbed my racket and you know what? I don't!! But I will now…thanks for all the great advice Jeff!

  6. Tennis Posted on January 16, 2017 at 2:25 am

    Do you apply pressure to the index finger? what do you mean when you say "DO NOT hold it in the block grip formation"?

  7. Davidamir Posted on January 23, 2017 at 7:22 pm

    I am inconsistent with this, but have noticed better shots and ability to generate topspin when my grip is as you described. Great tip.

  8. claudio caffa Posted on February 16, 2017 at 6:08 pm

    excellent tip….thank you….

  9. William J Pwa Posted on February 17, 2017 at 2:12 am

    Nice tip, Teacher Jeff!

  10. Eben Cooley Posted on May 15, 2017 at 1:41 am

    Interesting… I naturally hold my racquet like this but lately I have had some pain on my hand/ pointer finger and when I asked my coach about it I was told not to have my pointer finger angled like that.

  11. Gutemberg Sczcepanik Posted on June 2, 2017 at 4:35 am

    Man… Game changing tip, mainly because I thought I already had a decent forehand…
    I used a straight up finger, but just after this tip, it all made sense, my grip got much more stable, my feeling+perfect grip resulted in my consistency raising to a level I can take much more aggressive swings.

    Should I use this on overheads / volleys / backhand ?

  12. MJH Posted on June 20, 2017 at 1:07 pm

    Hi Jeff. I notice you are using the 2015 Babolat Pure Drive. What strings and tension do you use? Im struggling for control right now, hitting past the baseline and unable to swing fully because of this.
    Can't seem to get enough spin so maybe time for a restring? what setup would you suggest?

  13. Joseph Dasnevis Manoj Vaz Posted on July 27, 2017 at 1:20 pm

    Wow! This makes a lot of sense. I always have my fingers close together. Let me try this out today. Thank you.

    Jeff, could you also please let know where to place the little finger. Do I place it right at the bottom rim of the handle or just above it. Some say placing it right at the bottom will give you a relaxed grip, thereby feel and power. Advice please

  14. Some 1 Posted on August 26, 2017 at 7:53 am

    A well deserved "like"! I agree! Instructors are NOT correcting this. Even top instructors with credentials are missing this. Are some doing it on purpose so that they can ask for more instruction time and more money? Maybe. It sickens me. I meet players who had ok or great forehands and then are badly instructed and their FH hits the net now. You are the only coach I know who is pointing this. Well done!

  15. Muneeb Nagori Posted on August 27, 2017 at 7:46 pm

    I have a question here. This index finger out works very fine in my forehand but then i feel it effect my single handed backhand in terms of spin. I dont know but index finger more out make me more stiff in my single handed backhand stroke. Can you help me out where i am lacking. Just in this case

  16. ByrdmanOG Posted on September 3, 2017 at 12:48 am

    WHY HAS NO ONE TOLD ME THIS, this tip is insanely good, I was watching a video of someone playing and noticed their index finger was up so looked it up and found this and I tried it out and it nearly doubled my spin

  17. Rafael Nadal Posted on April 26, 2018 at 7:51 am

    Hey Jeff. Nice video. I have a question that when I keep my index finger above the other fingers my middle finger also moves a bit with the trigger finger. Is this correct. Saw your live stream at the tennis summit!

  18. Glen Schneer Posted on May 24, 2018 at 4:09 pm

    I agree with you that this is fundamental step to hitting a higher level forehand. Thanks for another great tip.

  19. Daniel Gomez Posted on May 24, 2018 at 4:30 pm

    Great ! Thank you Jeff !!!

  20. Mark Smith Posted on May 24, 2018 at 6:33 pm

    A coach once "corrected" me by saying something like, "Why is your index index finger separated like that? Don't do that" !?! Is it possible that I might have been separating it too far away from other fingers? Or was he just wrong?

  21. famille Béchonnet Posted on May 24, 2018 at 8:15 pm

    super idée. merci

  22. H. S. Posted on July 6, 2018 at 8:31 am

    Hi Jeff, can i spread out that index finger on every stroke in tennis, or is it only effective by the forehand?

  23. some vino Posted on November 1, 2018 at 10:41 pm

    Many of the best do not spread. Angled hand yes, a bit distance between index and middle finger yes, but a spread index not really, see, for example Djokovic.

  24. Nils Watenphul Posted on November 21, 2018 at 11:50 pm

    An extremely valuable advice! Thank you very much, Jeff!

  25. Tennis Evolution - Online Tennis Lessons Posted on November 22, 2018 at 4:36 pm

    Forehand myths debunked: Former Top 100 ATP Pro, Jeff Salzenstein, is exposing 3 common myths that could be crippling your forehands potential. Most players make at least 1 of these 3 mistakes… Do you? https://goo.gl/vLkrE4

  26. Svetlana S Posted on January 4, 2019 at 1:34 am

    Can wrong grip cause an index knuckle pain ?

  27. Kevin Topolewski Posted on February 21, 2019 at 2:44 am

    would you recommend a spread index finger on a one-handed backhand?

  28. Patrick McCall Posted on March 22, 2019 at 4:20 pm

    Great video Jeff. I love your channel. Does this finger spread apply to the Semi-Western forehand as well or just when using a continental or eastern grip?

  29. Willian Fernando Frasson Posted on May 17, 2019 at 11:52 am

    Jeff good evening. I'm changing the handle from semi western to eastern because I was not feeling the ball anymore. So far so good, now I feel much better, but after 40 minutes of play. I can not feel the racquet, do you think it could be the index finger? thank you very much