A very important aspect of tennis is mastering 2-3 grips for different shots and learning when to use them. In order to understand the grips, it is important to appreciate the octagonal shape of the racket handle. Why? One – it provides a firm grip. Two – the edges help in muscle memory – they aid in changing grips while our brain focuses on watching the ball and choosing our next move. It would be difficult to change grips on a round handle without looking at the racket face.
The eight sides of the handle are called bevels which are used for different types of shots. The type of grip will depend on which bevel the index knuckle and heel pad lie on. There are three main types of tennis grips: the continental, the Eastern and the Western.
The bevels are numbered 1 through 8 going clockwise for right-handed players while they run counter clockwise for left-handed players. Bevel 1 will be the bevel facing up if you were to hold the blade of the racquet perpendicular to the ground. Keep this in mind as we continue onto the different types of tennis grips.
Continental grip (also known as the chopper or hammer Grip) is formed by placing your hand on the racket so that the V formed by your thumb and forefinger are at roughly 11 o’clock. In order to use a Continental grip, your index knuckle and heel pad will rest on bevel 2. It’s a flat grip used for service, volley, smash, overheads, slices and some defensive shots.
Advantages – Results in more power and less stress on your arm.
Disadvantages: It is hard to put topspin on the ball when using a Continental grip for forehand shots.
Move your hand clockwise around the racket, so that the thumb and index finger V is somewhere between 12 and one o’clock. It allows for a small amount of racket acceleration up, which will spin it slightly, keeping the ball relatively flat.
EASTERN FOREHAND GRIP
It is used for fast and flat shots. Can also be changed quickly from the Eastern forehand to the Continental grip for volleys.
To achieve a proper Eastern forehand grip, you will need both your index knuckle and heel pad to rest on bevel 3. You can also place your hand flat against the strings and slide down to the handle to achieve an Eastern forehand.
Advantages: One of the easiest grips for learning forehand and suitable for players who enjoy attacking the net.
Disadvantages: It doesn’t provide enough control for long rallies.
The Eastern backhand grip provides both spin and control for a one-handed backhand. For an Eastern backhand grip, place your index knuckle and heel pad on bevel 1.
Advantages: It provides control and ability to put spin on the ball. It’s easy to change from an Eastern backhand to a Continental grip for players who enjoy playing at the net. It can also be used for a kick serve.
Disadvantages: It gets difficult to hit shots at shoulder-height.
It isn’t used much since it is harder to play with consistency, but offers the ability to apply extreme topspin to the shots. Hitting the ball with the opposite face of the racket, which generates a lot of racket speed to get spin. For a Western grip, place your index knuckle and heel pad on bevel 5.
Advantages: It creates more topspin than any other type of tennis grip and the contact points are in front of you.
Disadvantages: It gets very difficult to return low balls.
The Semi-Western grip has become a very popular option for baseline players as it allows you to hit up the back of the ball a lot more and generate more spin is able to produce both topspin and power, which can be devastating if mastered correctly. The point of contact for balls will be between waist and shoulder-height. Place your index knuckle and heel pad on bevel 4 for a Semi-Western grip.
Advantages: It provides topspin and power. More safety and control. Allows for contact points in front of you.
Disadvantages: It is difficult to hit low balls.
DOUBLE- HANDED BACKHAND GRIP
The double-handed backhand grip provides stability and control. Place your index knuckle on bevel 2 while the heel pad on bevel 1. There are three or four different grips you can use, but a standard two-handed backhand positions the right hand in a continental grip, while the left hand adopts an eastern forehand grip. The two- handed backhand depends solely on shoulder rotation and proper swing to produce power.
Advantage: It is great for low shots and can produce a lot of power and topspin.
It limits a player’s reach, making wide shots harder
The Continental grip is the most commonly used. But as you progress you’ll want to add a couple of other grips to your toolkit to add more sting to your shots and dimensions to your game.
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