Which Grip is Best for YOU?
The type of tennis grips you use will have a huge bearing on the types of strokes you develop, and on your overall game. For instance, if you would like to develop an aggressive serve and volley game, you should avoid using the Western grip for the forehand. Likewise, avoid using a grip that limits your serving and smashing ability. There's nothing surer to keep you away from the net than a weak overhead.
Over the years, tennis grips and strokes have changed significantly. Although the semi-Western grip is easily today's most widely used grip, believe it or not, there were players in the early 1900's who used a semi-Western grip. W.M. (Bill) Johnston was one of them. He was the best player in the world in 1919.
Below are the different types of the major tennis grips:
To find the Eastern forehand grip, simply "shake hands" with the racquet. To change to the Eastern backhand grip, turn your hand approximately a quarter circle counter-clockwise. (If you're left handed, the reverse applies.)
This grip is halfway between the Eastern forehand and backhand grip. This grip is virtually obsolete as topspin is severely limited. Any spin that is imparted is done so exclusively with the wrist, which significantly increases the margin for error.
This is the grip used by the majority of today's tour players. To find the semi-Western forehand grip, lay your tennis racquet face down on the ground, and then pick it up. You should be holding the grip about a quarter turn further clockwise than for the Eastern forehand grip. The semi-Western grip is ideal for generating both tremendous power and topspin.
The full Western is found by holding the grip of your racquet with your knuckles pointing towards the ground. Although used by some players, particularly clay-courters, it isn't a hugely popular grip because of the limitations it imposes on certain shots.
For example, short, low balls are extremely difficult to counter, as are any shots that are hit with real pace, particulary flat or sliced balls on faster courts. Forehand returns-of-serve also pose a huge problem.
For the service grip, the two most commonly used tennis grips are the Eastern forehand grip and the Continental grip (and anywhere in between). While many great champions have possessed great serves with various grips, the vast majority of great servers have tended far more towards the Eastern forehand
The grip most preferred by great volleyers is, like the serve, the Eastern forehand "shake hands" grip. It's extremely practical to use this grip as it doesn't require a grip change from forehand to backhand volley, and, in many cases, from the serve or to the smash.
While the above offers a guide to tennis grips, I can't stress enough that tennis is a game of options. If you have unorthodox grips, but you find that they are both natural and effective for you, think long and hard before changing to something else.
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