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Sports & Gaming

Tennis Grip Guide: 4 Grips to Tighten up Your Tennis Game

Written by MasterClass

Last updated: Aug 11, 2020 • 3 min read

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Tennis is a physically rigorous sport that requires every muscle group of your body working in tandem for long periods of time. Tennis is also a mental game, requiring players to think quickly and decide which is the best shot they’re going to use to win the point. Different shots sometimes require different grip changes—knowing when and how to use the correct grip is key in determining the best strategy to win.

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4 Types of Tennis Grips

There are a few different types of tennis grips players can use to help facilitate consistent, powerful groundstrokes and shots. There are eight angles on the handle, and each is called a bevel. The head of your racket lines up with bevel #1 at the top, and each racket grip (depending on whether you’re a righty or a lefty) will line up with a different bevel. Check out a list of the different grips you can use during your tennis game:

  1. The Continental grip. For the Continental grip, also known as the “Chopper” grip, the palm side of your index knuckle should line up with bevel #2 for right-handers, and bevel #8 for left-handers. The Continental grip is the best tennis racket grip for slice serves and overheads (unless you use an Eastern grip), drop shots, and volleying. Continental grips are great at handling low balls, giving you easy access to pick up shots, and the ability to add sidespin or underspin. However, the Continental grip doesn’t contribute much to your power or topspin, the latter of which is essential for controlling the tennis ball.
  2. The Eastern grip. For right-handed players, count to the right to find bevel #3 and place the base knuckle of your index finger there to find an Eastern forehand grip. For left-handed players, it’ll be at bevel #7. Eastern grips offer tennis players a way to smash flat shots, giving the ball more power and speed. The Eastern backhand grip is also one of the better grips to use for a kick serve. However, when it comes to forehand and backhand strokes, an Eastern grip provides less topspin than a Western or Semi-Western grip, and is less reliable for hitting high bouncing balls at the baseline.
  3. The Semi-Western grip. The Semi-Western grip is one of the easiest grips to play with, and falls between the Eastern and Western grips. For this grip, right-handers use bevel #4, and left-handers use bevel #6. The Semi-Western grip is an all-around grip—great for clay, grass, and hard courts. It’s also perfect for grip changes, allowing players to slip between their forehand grip for baseline play and a Continental grip for serving and volleys. Low balls can sometimes be a problem for this grip, as the closed tennis racket face may not provide the right contact point to return them successfully.
  4. The Western grip. This type of grip is a more extreme version of the Semi-Western grip, and is used to generate maximum topspin. With the Western grip, you can take the most advantage of slow-moving clay courts, and have an easier time tackling high ball bounces—the spin helps keep it in. Since the racket face is slightly closed, low balls can be a problem for this grip, as can quickly changing the grip for a volley. Western grips can also be tricky for beginners to learn. Regardless of whether you play with your right hand or left hand, the Western grip requires the midway point on the handle, which is bevel #5.

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