Thursday, April 17, 2014

Your tennis grip guide

Kristianne Bontempo | Towpath Tennis Employee | Online Shop Manager

It's great to see players experimenting with new grip positions, since it shows us your dedication in wanting to raise your game to the next level. However, too many times we've seen players pick up their racquet, re-position their hand after Googling how to do so, and then expect to hit a topspin forehand exactly like Rafael Nadal's--if only it was that easy! Along with having little to no instruction in how to utilize a new grip, many players are simply not experienced enough to execute them properly. So what is the right grip for us based on our level of play? We have compiled a guide of common grip positions and what it takes to master the shot.

Beginner-Intermediate Level


Eastern - The eastern forehand is one of the easiest grips to master as it is universally taught among beginners. Simply shake hands with your racquet and you've got an eastern forehand grip! This grip is great for generating power and is easy to transition to a backhand. Con: It tends to give a flatter shot performance, which is why it is not ideal for advanced players who want more topspin to outlast longer rallies. 


Two-handed backhand - The most popular backhand grip, this is ideal for players who don't have the strength for a one-handed backhand. It creates awesome topspin and is great for reaching lower balls that you can power through with double the strength. Con: It can be restricting on how far you can reach. 


Intermediate-Advanced Level


Continental - This is the most versatile grip since it can be used on all tennis shots, but it's commonly used for serves, volleys, overheads and slices. The continental grip is slightly harder to learn but is easier to master overtime. It's best for players who are committed to hitting at least 2-3x/week to get used to the feel of the 'V' shaped grip. Con: Despite being a model position for the two-handed backhand, it is rarely used for the forehand as it is restricting on the backswing. 
One-handed backhand - A very versatile option for the backhand, this grip is an easy transition to volley with and can be used to create a fantastic kick serve. However, to master a one-handed backhand you need the strength to hit through any kind of ball coming at you--low, high, spin and slice! Con: Generating topspin is more difficult to master, but can be done!  


Advanced-Pro Tour Level


Semi-western - Used by many of the pros on tour, this grip not only will generate more topspin, but it'll also allow you to flatten and power through any shot. This grip, however, is very difficult to learn so it's not recommended unless you are willing to put the time and effort into working on it. We're talking about those training 5-7x/week! Con: It's all about muscle memory with this grip, because it will take some time to get over the unnatural feel.  


Western -You want topspin? You got it! Talk about a safety net, this grip will give you tremendous control over your shot selection, and force your opponent to deal with a difficult high bounce. This is a grip you don't want to mess around with, unless you know what you're doing. Con: Not many pros play with this grip because it's limited to baseline players and is difficult to transition to and from a service and volley grip.  

We encourage players to step out of their comfort zone by experimenting with a new grip position, but as a club player you shouldn't get over-anxious and go all willy-nilly with a new grip every time you play-that will just mess you up! The grip position should only be used as a fine-tuner of the stroke, so if you're not trained properly you can easily injure your arm. If you're serious about improving or modifying your game, set up a lesson with a pro to see what grip is best for you and continue to work with them until you're ready to rip balls down the line with it!

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2 comments:

  1. Before playing any kind of games, we should first learn the basic techniques of the game. In the case of tennis, we should choose best tennis racquet and change grip position to get better results. Proper gripping will bring a positive result, we can easily hit the ball in the right direction and do better server. From this article also, we learn some basic tips regarding tennis racquet and it's gripping position. Thanks for this wonderful article.
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