Using the Correct Grips

tennis-grip

Proper Tennis Grips

After playing tennis for over 20 years I can confidently say that I have mastered the way I grip my racket and also the way I switch between grips for different shots during point play. If you are unable to do this properly I suggest you take a step back from whatever you are currently working on and check to see if you are using the proper grips.  Without using the proper grips in tennis, you will not be able to execute your shots effectively. Be that as it may, I most certainly believe there are players that can use the wrong grip and get away with it, to a certain extent. Players who are using the incorrect grip simply because they are used to it and are skeptical of change are losing about 50% of the power, spin & control they could be getting otherwise. YES, that does mean if you decide to switch your grip you will undoubtedly struggle for some time, but you will have the potential to improve by 50%.

For example:

You cannot maximize your rotations per minute on your topspin groundstroke with a continental grip.

You cannot maximize your control on your volleys if you have an eastern or forehand grip.

Rubric:

grips

Guide to using the correct tennis grips.

All you have to do is make sure your pointer knuckle and the bottom part of your hand are located on the same bevel.Remember that this is the opposite for lefties.

Bevel 2 = Continental
Bevel 3 = Eastern
Bevel 4 = Semi Western
Bevel 5 = Extreme Western

The grips I strongly recommend:

Serve: Continental

Why?
Without the continental grip you will be able to get a limited amount of spin and therefore, minimal control. In addition, you will more than likely find it difficult to utilize different spins like slice, topspin, inside out etc. Usually players that choose not to use a continental grip, or find that their current grip “gets the job done” use a “panhandle grip,” which is basically like picking up your tennis racket as you would a frying pan and hitting a serve. Players who get comfortable with this grip can usually serve at a moderate pace with little to no spin. These individuals will also find that some days are worse than others when it comes to making the serve in effectively at a high percentage.

Overhead: Continental

Why?
Please refer to the above explanation (regarding the serve) and apply that to the overhead. The overhead is similar to the serve, as it is almost identical to the last 50 % of the service motion.

1. You can easily transition from hitting volleys to hitting an overhead (a very common scenario in tennis)
2. More control
3. More spin variety

Volleys: Continental

Why?
1. You can utilize the slice volley
2. More “bite” to your shots
3. Ability to hit the different target areas with different spin and power levels
4. Much more control and consistency
5. Less likely to hit down on the ball & miss in the net
6. Better pick up volleys and ability to keep the ball low

Forehand Groundstroke: Eastern

Why?
1. Easy to change grips quickly during transitions from baseline to net
2. Easy and quick grip changes between different shots during points (topspin to slice etc.)
3. Low shots and high shots are not necessarily a flat out weakness like they are with a continental or western/semi-western grips
4. Great range
5. Ability to utilize the wrist properly
6. Reduced risk of injury when compared to other grips (My educated and experienced opinion. Remember that I needed surgery on my wrist after using a western grip for years on end.)

One Handed Backhand Groundstroke: Reverse Eastern (*Important* – reverse eastern is on the second bevel not the third.)

Why?

1. Your racket is closed at the start of the stroke
2. Increased topspin
3. You will have more control with topspin when you are reaching
4. Increased ability to diversify the height of your shots
5. Simple grip changes between transitions and differing shots
6. You can return high shots with more topspin

Two Handed Backhand Groundstroke: Reverse Eastern (bottom hand); Eastern (top hand.)

Why?
1. Your racket is closed at the start of the stroke
2. Increased topspin
3. Increased power (because of the top hand)
4. You will have more control with topspin when you are reaching
5. Increased ability to diversify the height of your shots
6. Simple grip changes between transitions and differing shots
7. You can return high shots with more topspin
8. You are protecting your wrist from injury

Conclusion: I must point out that I failed miserably whenever I tried to change grips and I hated the thought that I had just lost a point or a match because of my newly changed grip. Admittedly, I reverted back to my old incorrect grips several times during the course of these changes only to realize that this only slowed my improvement down. Remember to make yourself worse off in the short run in order to make yourself better off in the long run. Give yourself the mental and physical challenge of staying disciplined with your new grips! More on how to create and execute these challenges coming soon!

  • Carlos Bermudez Tennis

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