Probably the most important aspect of a player's game is their grip. Having a proper grip is essential for maintaining consistency and accuracy in ones stroke. Here we will examine some of the basic grip configurations and discuss their advantages and disadvantages.
The Straight Grip
The straight grip, in some form, is probably the most commonly used grip in carrom today.
For the straight grip, the hand is held palm side down, with the fingertips resting lightly on the carromboard. The wrist rests on the frame of the board. The shot is made by the index finger (or sometimes the middle finger) with a simple forward "push" of the finger. Many players find that if they hold the striker between the thumb and third finger (as shown in photo), and release the striker as they are making the stroke, it adds greater stability and increased accuracy to their shot.
A common mistake made by beginners is to "cock" their index finger behind the tip of the thumb, and then release the finger violently, "smacking" the striker with the tip of their finger. This can have a painful result, and more importantly, it is very difficult to maintain accuracy when making the shot in this fashion. A better approach is to rest the index finger lightly on the carromboard, directly behind and just touching the striker, and to make the shot with a slight "push" of the finger, as opposed to a "smack". This approach will result in far greater accuracy and a more pleasant experience of the game.
The Scissor Grip
The other, less common grip used for forward shots is known as the "scissor" grip. This grip is best understood by looking at the photograph at right. In the scissor grip, the stroke is made by the middle finger, which is laid flat on the carrom board, perpendicular to the intended path of the striker. The index finger rests atop the middle finger, holding it back until the moment of release, which provides a "snap" that can create great power when performed correctly. As a result, many players who use the straight grip for their normal shots are known to use the scissor grip when breaking.
The advantage of the scissor grip, in addition to the increased power, is (at least in theory) that the the finger, while resting at right-angles to the path of the shot, more likely, in the arc of it's stroke, to propel the striker in the proper direction. One can imagine, for example, that when making a shot with the straight grip, the striker may tend to "roll off" one side of the fingernail or the other, due to the roundness of the nail.
Most importantly, a player should feel "at home" with whatever grip they have chosen. It is important that the position feel quite stable, while at the same time allowing the player to feel relaxed. If it does not feel comfortable to address the striker and take your normal stroke, you may want to experiment with another grip. And, like everything else, practice is the only way to truly achieve the result you desire!