I read a lot of news reports about Sumo, and from time to time I encounter the word 手応え and I don't really understand what it means.
Here is an item from Sports Hochi about the wrestler Ōnoshō. It says:
So he is saying that his match with Yokozuna Hakuho has been a breakthrough, as after his injury, he lost his form, and this match proved it was back. The reporter then says this was his 手応え, and I don't understand why.
Sanseido defines 手応え as something like tactile feedback, response to pressure.
① 打ったり触れたりした時に、手に受ける感触。また、確かに当たったという感じ。 「槍で突くと－があった」
But I can't see either of these in the quote from Hochi above.
Here is another example from an old Nikkan Sports news item from the time Yokozuna Kisenosato was trying to make a comeback after an injury. At the time, almost every report from his practice sessions included the word 手応え. In this case, two former Yokozuna severely criticize Kisenosato's performance during the practice session. This is followed by:
The word is never said by the person interviewed. It is added by the reporter to describe the interview. But what does it mean? Why not "〜と振り返った" for example?