semi-western forehand grip

Perhaps the most confusing and poorly explained, yet important aspect of tennis mastery, are the tennis grips.

If you are a tennis beginner, or unhappy with your ability to control the ball’s accuracy, power, or spin, the first thing we need to perfect are your tennis grips.  For some of you, the proper tennis grip are going to feel awkward. PUSH THROUGH IT! If you are holding the racket incorrectly, it doesn’t matter how many YEARS you play the game, you will NEVER be a real tennis player.

It’s a little difficult to explain the nuances of tennis grips using words, it is much easier to just see it. So get your FREE Beginner Tennis Lesson #1 and How To Play Tennis Process Maps you will understand EVERYTHING about tennis grips in minutes.

There are four basic grips in tennis: Eastern Grip, Continental Grip, Western Grip and Semi Western Grip.

Look carefully at the racket handle. It is an 8 sided solid. Each side has a tedious name, so to keep things simple we’ll just give each side a number.  Holding the racket perpendicular to the ground, the flat plane on “top” will be 1. Moving clockwise, the “right bevel” will be 2. Next, the “right vertical panel” will be 3, and so on.

tennis grips hand guide

To find the correct grip, place the heel of the hand (the red dot) and the base knuckle of the index finger (the green dot) on the proper corresponding numbers. (This chart is for right handed players.)

The forehand grip most professionals use is the Semi Western Grip (red 3, green 4,) or to generate massive topspin, the Western Grip (red 4, green 5.) Old fashioned tennis players like John McEnroe and Chris Evert use the Eastern Forehand Grip (red 2, green 3) but I would not recommend this tennis grip for today’s game.

The backhand grip for a topspin, two handed backhand is the Eastern Grip (red 1 , green 1.) Or for a one handed topspin backhand consider the Extreme Eastern Grip (red 1 , green 8). For a slice backhand, use the Continental grip (red 1 , green 2.)

The service grip and volley also use the Continental grip (red 1, green 2.)

It is essential that tennis beginners learn how to quickly transition from one grip to another without looking at the handle. The wrong grip results in improper racket positioning and, to compensate, you will do all kinds of crazy motions to hit the ball square and get it over the net.

You may have heard that “practice makes perfect?” Untrue! “Practice makes permanent!” So do yourself a favor and start with proper tennis instruction.  Learn the correct tennis grips first, and then practice them until they become automatic. Get your FREE Beginner Tennis Lesson #1 for simple grip exercises you can practice around the house.  All it takes is a few minutes a day! Before you know it you’ll be able to switch from the forehand to backhand tennis grip in your sleep. Let’s play tennis!