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Cocked Wrist

Published: 13 Jun 2008 - 04:12 by doubleDOT

Updated: 03 Dec 2008 - 16:10

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Everybody talks about keeping the wrist cocked.What I wanted to ask was whether you are supposed to keep your wrist cocked at the beginning of the shot and the release your wrist as you play so that at the point of contact your wrist is completely loose.

OR do you keep your wrist cocked throughout the shot and only rotate it to as you play the shot? That is your wrist is firm at the point of contact.

The reason I ask this is that when I see professionals play, their rackets always travel parallel to the floor when they play shots no matter how low the ball gets. However, as an amateur my racquet travels at an angle to the floor (like playing a cricket shot) when I keep my wrist loose.I don't know whether this is because I'm not bending enough to the low ball.

But if I play the shot with my wrist cocked througout the shot, the racket head keeps parallel to the floor and I'm forced to bend down if the ball is low. However, this puts a lot of strain on my wrist and it starts hurting after a few shots. Also, I'm not able to get the same speed in the racket head as when I keep my wrist loose.

Moreover, if you compare Jonathon Power's game to someone like Tierry Lincou you see that Power's shots are a lot more fluid and wristy. Is this because he kepts his wrist loose when playing?

Thanking you,


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From bosartek - 17 Jun 2008 - 19:19   -   Updated: 04 Nov 2008 - 15:11

I agree with Adz and jimbob here. My expanded reply...

Many beginners confuse wrist flexion/extension with forearm pronation/supination, but they are not the same. Pronation refers to rotation of the forearm from a palm-up to palm-down position (and vice versa for suppination), and it is this rotation that generates racquet-head speed. Racquet-head speed, in turn, creates power by accelerating the racquet head through the ball during the stroke (which is why you must start the swing by leading with the end of the handle... to facilitate this rotation). If your wrist is too loose or floppy, the kinetic energy of the swing is largely transferred into [unintentional] movement of the wrist rather than into the ball. Not only does this decrease accuracy and power, but it twists your wrist. Ouch! Your wrist will always move slightly through the swing as it must absorb some energy into the follow-through (to slow the racquet and bring it back up into position), but in a responsive, almost elastic fashion. That said, neither does a "firm" wrist mean a "stiff" wrist.

A completely stiff, unyielding wrist will retain/reabsorb energy as vibration of the hand, forearm, elbow, etc. Again, ouch! There must be some movement allowed (just imagine how uncomfortable it would be to play with a fixed splint or partial cast on your wrist; NOT a good idea). "Firm" should be interpreted as "with control" or "elastic," and the swing should be smooth and efficient, with most of the energy going into the ball. It's a balance, but one that you become increasingly sensitive to the more you practice with proper technique. Eventually, your strikes will begin to feel uniquely "right" and "on the sweet spot" with increasing consistency (at least, that's the goal!) and with less vibration or discomfort in your hand/wrist.


It's somewhat analagous to string tension: too loose ("floppy") and the strings will move more than the ball, too tight and the racquet will feel like a plank of wood, vibrating your entire arm! In both instances, you lose control and struggle to generate any power, or even hit a solid shot for that matter! Rather, there is a balance, or range, between the two extremes. Keep practicing and you will find the balance that works for you. Then you can try experimenting with the wrist for digging, deception, flicks, etc.  :)

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From rippa rit - 17 Jun 2008 - 08:16   -   Updated: 17 Jun 2008 - 08:19

There has been quite a bit of talk about power and pronation/supination in the swing, and this article might expand your thoughts on the grip and swing.

Here is the Gold Video showing a Vertical and Horizontal Swing.

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From jimbob1965 - 16 Jun 2008 - 09:27

Doubledot, I still would say that Razik's videos show a fairly firm wrist technique.  I agree with Adz - what most players tend to do is to use wrist flexing, as you need to slightly adjust the wrist during the stroke for most basic shots, but essentially keep it fairly firm. 

The cocked wrist is essential in the preparation to keep the racket up, but as you move to strike the ball, the wrist should straighten out somewhat, which in conjunction with bending the knees to get down low to the ball, is what enables the racket to move parallel to the floor as you have noticed with the pros. 

Also, as Bosartek has mentioned, the power in the shot will come from the forearm rotation, rather than any wrist snap, with the wrist staying quite firm during this rotational movement.  It is easy to confuse this with wrist snap as the force of the rotation is felt greatest in the wrist area, even though the wrist does not move apart of course from rotating with the forearm.  Think of throwing a frisbee or skimming a stone.  Appreciation of this fact thanks to this website came as a real revelation to me and I feel I now have greater power and control over my drives than I ever had before (and less tired arms as well!).

As I said, all this tends to apply for most basic shots like deep drives and cross courts, but for the more difficult shots, like digging it out of the corners straight when the ball has gone past you rather than boasting it out, flexing of the wrist really comes into its own!  You only have to look at some of the pictures posted up in the forum on this subject to appreciate this!



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From bosartek - 15 Jun 2008 - 02:58   -   Updated: 15 Jun 2008 - 03:00

Also, make sure you are not confusing what you perceive as wrist-snap with forearm rotation.

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From doubleDOT - 14 Jun 2008 - 06:46

Sorry. What I meant by a loose wrist was a flexed wrist. I wasn't aware of the term.

I'll try tightening my fingers like you mentioned and see what happens.

Other than that, in the original post I mentioned how the pros always have their racket parallel to the floor at the point of contact with the ball whereas mine tends to form an angle. Is this something that needs to be practiced and conciously taken care of by beginners before it starts coming naturally (like footwork)? Or is it something that automatically happens as a result of having the correct wrist position.

The reason I ask this is that if it happens automatically as a result of the wrist position then I might need to change my technique. Otherwise I just have to practice.


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From Adz - 14 Jun 2008 - 00:25

Hang on...... loose and flexing are two different things.

Loose wrist - hand goes limp and wrist is free to "flop" around

Flexed Wrist - Wrist under full control but free to move in any position

Firm Wrist - Wrist "locked" in one main position


Now having a firm wrist throughout the shot is not the best way to play, and neither is having a loose, floppy wrist in your shot. Holding the wrist firm but having the greatest range of flexibility is the best way forward, but you'll need strong wrists to do this.

I'd also (personal opinion!!) say that you're coach might not be giving you 100% accurate advice! Try holding the grip firm with your top 3 digits (index finger, middle finger and thumb) and then tightening your ring and little finger as you make contact with the ball. This will give you a "snap" in your swing, adding to the power.







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From doubleDOT - 13 Jun 2008 - 23:43   -   Updated: 13 Jun 2008 - 23:55

I have actually asked the coach at the courts I play at. He asked me to keep my grip as tight as I could and keep my wrist loose.Not completely floppy, but not rigid either. I guess a good example to illustrate would be the way a drummer holds on to his sticks while drumming.

However, I checked out the tutorials on and they say the wrist sould be firm throughout the shot. When I tried this in court I found that my wrist started hurting after a few shots. On the up side it gave me a lot better control on my shots.

I've checked out Razik's videos on youtube as well. Although not explicitly mentioned, the slow motion analysis seems to indicate he keeps his wrist loose rather than firm throughout the shot.

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From jimbob1965 - 13 Jun 2008 - 19:55

Shahier Razik of Canada has some very good videos on Youtube showing both the forehand and backhand swing, in which he clearly shows the coked wrist and appears to have a fairly firm wrist technique.

Go to for the forehand.

And for the backhand

At the end of each video, there is also a very useful slow motion clip.

Hope you find this useful - I know I have, as they clearly demonstrate other good techniques, such as keeping the racket up in the preparation and leading with the butt of the racket.  He also has other useful videos showing grip, footwork etc. which will appear in the related videos list.



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From Adz - 13 Jun 2008 - 17:58

Really tough one to comment on........

As you quite rightly put, there are two main schools of thought..... a flexed wrist and a firm wrist.

A very wristy player (Power) would use above the normal level of flex in their wrist, allowing for some fantastic pieces of skill and spin in their shots and ball control that some people might think is impossible. However, to think that they play with a "floppy" wrist is far from the truth. I play with a lot of flex in my wrists and often try to use this to compensate for my own flaws in my swing / body position. But to do this you do need to have VERY strong wrists / forearms. Floppy doesn't come into it as you need the strength to be able to generate power from your wrists, forearms, bi/tri-ceps and shoulders. The flicked wrist shots with power are probably the most difficult power shot that there is to do and if you can master it then you're doing extremely well (I've only ever met a handful of non-pros who can and they were all top players).


By contrast you have the firm wrist shot which is what I was always taught as a child. Keep the racquet up, and the wrist cocked ready to play your shot. Power was generated from body rotation and played more like a golf-swing. This doesn't however make it wrong! In fact the easiest way to generate power is to keep the arm firm and transfer the whole body-weight into the shot during the swing (Examples to look at: Palmer and J. White). They keep their body very stiff through the shot and still seem to generate huge amounts of power in their drives. Notice if you can that despite this firmness to their swing, they don't keep their wrist "locked" in one position. They actually break their wrist to give the ball direction almost at point of contact with the ball.


Do you have any players in your club that would be willing to show you, as this thing is far better demonstrated than described? If you can find someone who'll take just 5 mins to give you the starting point, you can use the pro's to copy the rest (but you may have to watch in slow motion!!)





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