The Different Grips in Tennis

Often players struggle with their technical game and how to play their shots, but this could have a lot to do with a basic thing, and that is your grip.

There are prefered grips for certain shots, but if you feel uncomfortable using them you will always struggle trying to deliver. You need to work closely with your tennis coach on your grip, a sample change of tension, or where the fingers are located may take your games to another level.

The way you grip your racket is extremely important as it is the major contributor to what angle your racket face has. In turn this also means how much spin you put on the ball and how much pace you generate.

One particular grip is no better than another, just should select an overall grip that suits your kind of play, if you are aggressive choose a grip to allow you to play through the ball. If you are a more percentage player choose a grip like Nadal that allows more spin.

Grip Bevels

The tennis racket grip is divided into 8 bevels or notches. Based on a clock face 1 would be at 12 O’clock and 5 would be at 6 O’clock, with the other three bevels on either side spread out evenly. The clock face represents the racket handle.

The type of grip depends on which bevel the Index Knuckle and the Heel Pad rest.

Serve

  • Continental Grip – Use this grip for the serve, volley, overhead and slice. The Index Knuckle and Heel Pad rest on bevel 2.

Forehand

Basically there are three grips that can be used on a forehand shot,

  • Eastern Forehand – Index Knuckle and Heel Pad rest on the third bevel. Using this grip you can hit the ball flatter than with a Western or Semi-Western grip. But there is not much spin generated.
  • Semi Western – This grip is for speed and spin.
  • Western – This grip enables you to hit with more top spin than any other grip.

Backhand

Some players use both hands for this shot and some do not, so it is hard to say which is the better, it all depends on the player. In general two hands give better stability and is slightly easier to perfect. The one handed shot obviously gives you more reach.

  • Two handed grip – The right hand is at the bottom, left hand slightly higher. The Index Knuckle is on bevel 2, the Heel Pad of the right hand is on bevel 1. Index Knuckle and Heel Pad on bevel 7.
  • Eastern Backhand – Index Knuckle and Heel Pad on bevel 1. This grip gives power but not much spin.
  • Extreme / Semi-Western Backhand – Inside Knuckle and Heel Pad on bevel 8. This grip is hard to master but does let you generate more spin.

Discuss all the options open to you with your coach and then practice to see what suits you the best.