In the Old Days, many players used the Continental grip for every stroke (forehand, backhand, volley and serve); but today’s male pros have mostly switched to the full forehand Western grip for more topspin. But what grip – or grips – should us “normal players” use?
Finding the Bevel
The standard tennis racquet handle has eight flat spots (bevels), which can be numbered 1-8 clockwise from the top of a perpendicular racquet face. The placement of the hand on those bevels will determine which forehand grip you are using:
- The Eastern Grip: This is the most common forehand grip for most amateur players and has the base knuckle of the index finger and the lower pad of your hand on bevel #3.
- The Semi-Western Grip: About 7-8 years ago, I spent a New Hampshire summer teaching myself how to use this grip, which provides more topspin to the forehand. For my way of thinking, you just rotate that base knuckle and heel pad one more bevel clockwise onto bevel #4.
- The Continental Grip: For most players, this is the grip for the serve, volley and overhead; but many use it for the slice forehand. The base knuckle and heel pad then move up to bevel #2 for this stroke.
How Many Grips to Use?
For me, I have become comfortable moving between the flatter Eastern grip and the increased topspin of the Semi-Western grips; but have not successfully integrated the Continental/slice forehand into my repertoire.
Are two grips enough or should we all have the options of choosing from all three?
And when is it best to use each of these grips/shots?
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