Ever wonder why your racquet head is worn only on one side (usually at 10:00 for righties and 2:00 for lefties)? Low backhand volleys typically cause this, and you’re probably a one-sided player.
Ever wonder why your strings seem to break more frequently than other players? It’s mainly attributed to excessive spin on forehands and serves, and you’re probably a one-sided player.
The Difference Between One-Sided and Two-Sided Players
If you are the type of player that is comfortable holding either side of the racquet grip and play, you are a two-sided player. That means you could twirl your grip in your hand, and then hold whichever side of the grip that ends up in the palm of your hand and hit.
However, if you are the type of player that always holds the racquet grip the same way, you are a one-sided player.
The Three Types of One-Sided Player
This is the most common. You typically hold your racquet based on how the grip feels in your hand (due to the overlap). This will cause excessive wear on one side of the head and one side of the string bed.
The remedy? Each time you regrip your racquet, start wrapping your grip from the opposite side of the butt cap. Rotate this every time. You will then be able to grip your racquet the same way you usually would and allow for more balanced wear on the head.
Unfortunately, it won’t extend the life of your strings since you’ll still be hitting forehands and serves on the same side of the string bed, which does tend to cause the most wear compared to other shots.
You are the type of player who aligns the racquet based on the stencil.
The remedy? You can even out the wear on the head by stenciling the strings the opposite way each time you restring. Unfortunately, this technique will not extend the life of your strings, since you’ll still be hitting forehands and serves on the same side of the string bed.
You are the type of player who looks at something on your frame (logo, graphics, or sticker) before serving or returning.
The remedy? You could change the location of a label if that’s what you’re using as your guide.
Unfortunately, you can’t do anything about the cosmetics on your frame. There is no remedy in this instance. To eliminate wear on the top of your racquet head and extend the life of your strings, you would need to become a two-sided player.
To summarize, two-sided players have more even wear and tear on their racquet heads. They also have more even wear on their strings, which extends the life of the strings, resulting in less frequent restringing.
One-sided players tend to wear down their racquet heads unevenly and restring more often.
If you’re reading this and can’t relate, keep twirling your racquet and “Let your strings play!”
Albert, I liked the Are you a one-sided player? Coach Gregg Takata told me during a BH lesson, his full Western FH grip doesn’t change when smacking a BH essentially using only one side on groundies. He had to resort to that change to eliminate hurried grip changes vs big servers. Made sense to me but with that extreme of a grip my BH goes into the net. Can you advise?
Just food for thought . . . if you normally use a continental grip for your BH, and you still want to produce topspin on high balls, try switching your grip to an Eastern BH grip for only those types of balls. Or, you could switch your grip halfway, which I refer to as a “strong continental” grip, and is what I use. But, then again . . . you could always stick with continental grip and slice those high backhands!
Justine Henin at 5’-6”, makes you think it’s possible for us shorter guys . . . I wish I had her backhand. Although, I think she switches to a BH grip that appears to go slightly beyond BH Eastern.
Check it out: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sUfMgmkaqqU
I just finished reading your newest article & I enjoyed it! Makes a lot of sense about grips, racquets, & strings wearing out unusually quickly in certain situations. Makes me question my own experiences playing tennis as well as some friends I use to have that broke strings fairly quickly. Great read & insight!