The main goal when holding your drumsticks is to have control, but also let the stick move freely in your hand by creating a fulcrum between your finger and thumb. Below is a list of the 7 common mistakes drummers make that hinders their performance and technique on the drums.
MISTAKE #1: HOLDING YOUR STICKS TOO TIGHTLY
When playing drums you want to get more for less effort. If you are white-knuckling your sticks you will have to work so much harder to play smooth and concentrated strokes. Also, you will not be able to take advantage of any of the natural rebound you might get from your drum heads. There should be natural space in your hands and most of your grip is between the thumb and index finger. The rest of your fingers wrap around the stick at the first knuckle.
MISTAKE #2: RELYING ON YOUR ARM MORE THAN YOUR WRIST AND FINGERS
Mistake #2 is closely related to #1 because if you’re holding your sticks too tight you will have to rely on your arm and elbow as your main pivot point to get out strokes. This is going to have you expending a lot of unnecessary energy. You arms should simply function as vehicles for the sticks to get to different locations of your drum set, not for strokes. If your drums are set up ergonomically, your arms shouldn’t have to move too far to get from different locations on your kit depending on its size.
MISTAKE #3: NO FULCRUM OR TOO LOOSE OF A FULCRUM
The fulcrum created between the pointer and thumb is the most important aspect to your drumstick grip because it will net you more strokes by taking advantage of rebound. This will allow you to play different techniques such as double strokes and rolls. If you have most of your grip in your middle, ring, and pinky finger then you won’t have a fulcrum and thus less control.
MISTAKE #4: FULCRUM IS TOO TIGHT
If you have your fulcrum between your pointers and thumb too tight this will squelch the rebound. Try to make sure you are holding the stick firmly, but make sure the stick can freely move in your hand. If you throw your stick down and you don’t get any rebound you probably have it too tight, but if the stick is falling out of your hand it’s probably too loose.
MISTAKE #5: POINTERS OUT
This one is a very fresh newbie mistake when holding the stick. If you put your pointers out on top of the stick you are preventing yourself from having control over the rebound and velocity. Make sure those pointers are curled around the stick for your fulcrum instead. Your fingers and your playing will thank you!
MISTAKE #6: PINKYS OUT
The middle, ring, and pinky fingers are guides to your sticks. If you take one away it weakens the system. Your pinky plays a very important role in creating lift and taking advantage of rebound. It’s very common for beginners to put their pinkies because they think it will let the stick rebound better, but it actually does not. Keep those pinkies in!
MISTAKE #7: CHOOSE THE WRONG STICK AS A BEGINNER
As a beginner, it’s very common to choose sticks based on comfort, local store availability, and lack of weight. However, it is much better to choose a stick that has a good amount of thickness and weight when starting out. I recommend to my students to choose a 5B sized stick or even Vic Firth SD1 Generals. This will give you more opportunity to develop your technique and once it’s developed you can move onto other sticks for different effects and comfort. I would discourage your from practicing with small sticks like 7A when you’re working on improving your technique.