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Smash grip: "LJB" Vs. "Finger power"

Discussion in 'Techniques / Training' started by Gollum, Jan 18, 2005.

  1. Gollum

    Gollum Regular Member

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    I'd like to discuss the precise grip used for a smash. We all know roughly how to hold the racket in a forehand grip, but there are small differences between grips that can make a big difference to your stroke production.

    Let's compare two good types of grip: the "finger power" grip ("Kwun's grip") and the grip that Lee Jae Bok teaches (the "LJB grip"). You can see Lee's grip in this video, but you need to be a member and you need to pay £3.

    There are two main differences: the angle of the racket face, and how tightly the racket is held. Kwun's grip is a classic generic forehand grip, like the one in this photo. The LJB grip is rotated *slightly* towards a panhandle.

    Kwun's grip, in order to use finger power, is held loosely; the grip only tightens on impact. I give similar advice in my grips guide. The LJB grip is held tightly all the time: the thumb is placed below the index finger, and above the other three fingers; all five fingers clench the racket.

    I think that Kwun's grip is similar to what most of us are familiar with and have been taught (and teach to other people!).

    When I spoke to Lee, he explained his reasons for the LJB grip. He said that using a standard forehand for smashes causes you to slice the shuttle slightly, because the racket face is angled at impact. The finger positioning - thumb between the other fingers, not at the top - prevents the butt of the racket wobbling about. I also asked him, specifically, whether you should hold the racket loosely and then snap it forward for more power (i.e., whether you should use finger power for a smash). His answer was an unequivocal "no": hold the racket tightly for the whole stroke.

    So, what do you think? Which grip is better for smashes? Should the same grip be used for clears and drops?

    At the moment I'm in favour of the LJB grip, and use it for clears and drops too.

    Note: I've chosen the name "Kwun's grip" for convenience, since I think most people here are familiar with the discussion on finger power. Of course, that doesn't necessarily mean that Kwun holds his racket exactly as I've described!
     
    #1 Gollum, Jan 18, 2005
    Last edited: Jan 18, 2005
  2. jamesd20

    jamesd20 Moderator

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    Personally I prefer loose grip, since holding the grip tightly on any shot causes tension in the arm, and reduces the fluid movement of the stroke, however I cant really picture the LJB way to compare.

    Can you take a picture of it Gollum?

    If Jonas is reading this thread, what smash grip do you use?!
     
  3. Gollum

    Gollum Regular Member

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    Maybe I emphasised "tightly" too much. By "tightly", I meant that there is no space between the palm and the handle.

    In these (rubbish) pictures, the red tape is on the large flat "front" bevels, the yellow tape is on the smaller side bevels, and the diagonal bevels are black. To put that in context, a classic backhand grip puts the thumb flat along a red bevel.

    The racket handle in these pictures is too small for my hand, too ;)

    Note that the "V" between the thumb and index finger is positioned slightly towards the right side of the handle, rather than exactly in the centre.

    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
     
    #3 Gollum, Jan 18, 2005
    Last edited: Jan 18, 2005
  4. gerry

    gerry Regular Member

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    Pretty good pictures Gollum, I think that Lee's grip definitely helps you to hit the smash square on especially when you take the head back straight in preparation. It's hard to argue if you've seen Lee smash the shuttle and I agree with him that quite a few players do hit the smash with a slight angle which can unintentionaly take away some of the power.
    I do hold the FH grip at about a 10/15 degree anti clockwise tilt when smashing. it does feel more comfortable but I still hold it loose until impact.

    I suppose the bottom line is do whatever that works well for you but you should also experiment with other grips to find that out.
     
  5. Iwan

    Iwan Regular Member

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    I have just recently taken notice that most of the professionals uses this LJB grip too. I myself am in the middle of getting used to it. What I find out is that with the forehand grip that I used to use, the racket actually hits the shuttle at an angle not parallel to the net even when I want to hit the shuttle straight. While it is adjustable by twisting the wrist out of its natural form a bit, it sometimes give me inaccurate placement in desperate situations especially in times where I haven't practiced placement for a long time.

    LJB grip on the otherhand, I still can't really get used to. The way you hold racket makes it practically impossible to flick the shuttle with your wrist to give some extra punch for deceptive lobs. As a singles player with a lack of build, I find this quite discouraging because the stroke motion for my lobs, smash and dropshots were almost similar thanks to slices and flicks of the wrist. With this grip, you definetely need a strong arm to play well. The other downside, is that you have to rotate the racket more when changing from forehand to backhand :crying: I have gotten used to making a small rotation that it just feels awkward rotating the racket so much. So sometimes when I hit a backhand, it just goes awry :(
     
  6. jamesd20

    jamesd20 Moderator

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    The pictures are quite good actually, but the type of grip makes it hard to see which is the flat bit and the curved bit.

    I will it sometime. Although it can be hard to have to think about so many things at once, I feel that it would be more advantage to a doubles player, who hits a highernumber of smashes and has a higher premium on a slightly faster smash than a singles player who needs to have the flexibility to hit a quality clear, and an accurate smash.
     
  7. Furqan

    Furqan Regular Member

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    what grip does lin dan, taufik hidayat and peter gade, current top players use? any pictures? ideas?
     
    #7 Furqan, Jan 18, 2005
    Last edited: Jan 18, 2005
  8. cheongsa

    cheongsa Regular Member

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    My friend played with Wu Chibing at the NYC Badminton Club, and was told by Wu to play backhand shots with a panhandle grip.

    He came back and tried doing backhand clears with this grip. Apparently with enough practice, it is possible to do a full length backhand clear. With the same stroke preparation, the backhand clear can be converted into a fast backhand drop shot, by slicing across the shuttle. In this way, there is no need to switch grip.
     
  9. ViningWolff

    ViningWolff Regular Member

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    I use pretty much the traditional grip shown in the picture, but when I'm smashing my bottom three fingers are clamped onto the handle like a vice and the core of my grip strength centers on my ring finger/ middle finger.
     
  10. Iwan

    Iwan Regular Member

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    Hey Gollum, I noticed that your racket grip seems pretty small in your picture compared to your hand size. Try doubling up your grip with an over grip wrapped quite tightly. I just did that and, using the LJB grip, it feels much more comfortable. I dont have to clench my hand to make sure the racket isnt moving to different positions in my hand, definetely better control. Ofcourse, you will lose some finger flick power as the racket will flick less with a larger grip.
     
  11. Furqan

    Furqan Regular Member

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    Oh well, I have read about both grips now, and seen illustrations of both, today I am going to try each of them.
    Then perhaps i will come to a conclusion.
     
  12. Gollum

    Gollum Regular Member

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    That isn't my playing racket in the picture. It's a Slazenger Pro, worth about £15 :p I used it for demonstration purposes.

    Thanks for the tip - but I've already done it!
     
  13. SystemicAnomaly

    SystemicAnomaly Regular Member

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    Panhandle

    Interesting! The panhandle grip is basically a type of forehand grip, not really a backhand grip, often used for net play (net kills). However, it would seem to have applications for the backhand as well! I think that I use something similar for backhand to the side of my body or for shuttles that are starting to get past me on the BH side.
     
  14. SystemicAnomaly

    SystemicAnomaly Regular Member

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    LJB & grips

    Lee Jae Bok apparently uses this so-called LJB grip for power shots like smashes. However, for net kills & many other applications I believe that he holds the racket more in the fingers and uses finger power very effectively. in fact, LJB was the 1st coach I ever heard that talked about finger power quite a few years back in his excellent Play to Win video.

    If Gollum increased his grip size, it could very help with the LJB 'power' grip but then it would probably compromise his ability to use finger power for other situations. My own bias would be to stay away from a very large grip (even tho' I have long fingers).
     
  15. Gollum

    Gollum Regular Member

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    Dammit, how many times do I have to explain that this isn't my normal racket? ;) I know the grip is too small for my hands; the racket I play with has a larger grip. I even asked Lee to check that I had the right grip size!

    I asked Lee about net kills too, and again he suggested that the grip should be fairly tight (not so tight as the smash grip, perhaps). This may be different advice to his earlier coaching, or I might have misinterpreted him.

    There is a simple way to "reduce" the size of the grip on court, to give better finger power: hold the racket by the cone, which is narrower than the shaft :D
     
    #15 Gollum, Jan 19, 2005
    Last edited: Jan 19, 2005
  16. SystemicAnomaly

    SystemicAnomaly Regular Member

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    One more time.. with feeling!

    I actually thought that the towel grip in your other pictures seemed to large for your hand... anyway, it did obscure the bevels on the racket for clarity on grip positions. I think that the bottom line is that grip size is somehat dependent on the predominant grip techniques that you choose to adopt. There are several shcools of thought on grip techniques.

    Lee's English is not all that great... oft times you've got to carefully watch what he is doing to fully understand what he is trying to say.

    However, I recall on one of his vids that Lee says not to use the power grip for a particular situation/stroke. I'll have to research which vid it was & what the specific stroke or situation was.
     
  17. Iwan

    Iwan Regular Member

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    In such situations I probably wouldn't use it:

    1) When jumping to the rear forehand corner, taking the shuttle behind you with body facing sidelines. For this shot I think the "Kwun's grip" is best because it allows you to use the full flick of your wrist to provide power. To top it off, your racket is more likely to be parallel to the net or slightly tilted towards the center of the court which is much safer.

    2) When taking a backhand shot. I think its better to use a universal grip or backhand grip because with LJB's grip you cant really use your thumb to generate power, unlike the universal/BH grip. Another point is that it is much easier to do double actions with the universal/BH grip when getting to a backhand netshot.

    edit: Oh Gollum, you could've told us from the beginning about the grip size :mad: geez... it took me a day of looking at pros' grips to figure out that I need a bigger grip size to get rid of that awkward feeling :D hehehe jk. Anyway, good point about gripping up to the cone, I wrapped my grip all the way up :D
     
    #17 Iwan, Jan 20, 2005
    Last edited: Jan 20, 2005
  18. SystemicAnomaly

    SystemicAnomaly Regular Member

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    Looser grips

    It's driving me crazy that I can't find the vid where LJB was demo'ing something other than the smash & specifically said not to grip the racket down in the palm of the hand... or did he say not to use the power grip? I know I saw it somewhere.

    2 years ago I came across some vids done by Dick Ng (of the SF bay area). His vid on grips had the racket handle way up in the fingers (rather than in the palm)... pretty loosely. He demo'd a lot of finger manipulation... rolling the grip in his fingers to change the angle of the racket face for various shots. He also created a substantial gap between the butt of the handle and the palm of his hand so that he could squeeze with his last 3 fingers to generate finger power. However, it seemed that he was showing these grips only in midcourt & forecourt situations.

    I believe that this is the gripping style that has been referred to as Kwun's grip in this thread. Kwun, is this where you picked up this gripping style? Unfortunately, SportsID.com that had coach Ng's vids, has been 'under construction' for the past 2 years.

    BTW, Dick Ng has coached a lot of the top juniors in the US during the '80s & '90s. Most notably, he coached Howard Bach (who is/was #1 in the US) as a junior. I think that he may have also coached Ben Lee as a youngster.
     
  19. Gollum

    Gollum Regular Member

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    BTW, it's important to note that this grip is not a "general purpose" grip; it's only use is for forehand overheads. Indeed, I believe that for optimum stoke skills, there are NO general purpose grips; different shots require different grips.

    As Iwan said, you wouldn't use this grip for a backhand. Nor, indeed, would you use it for a forehand netshot, or for a forehand drive.
     
  20. SystemicAnomaly

    SystemicAnomaly Regular Member

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    Oops!

    I had forgotten that you were specifically talking about smash grips in your original post. Kinda got off on a tangent when the mention of grip sizes came up. Back on track... Retraction ahead...

    While many good players do use the looser 'finger' gripping style (with finger power as a component) for smashes, I don't think that LJB has ever advocated this gripping style for smashes in any of his vids.
     

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