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Snake holding a racquetHow to Grip a Tennis Racquet

  • To get started in tennis, you first have to pick up a racquet, so here are some notes on choosing and using the right grip for your tennis game.

Eastern Grip

  • Note that the eastern grip is popular with beginners and is widely used with forehands because of its comfort. The grip can also be used to hit backhands, serves and volleys.
  • Hold the racquet in front of you in your left hand (or right hand if you’re a left-handed player).
  • Rotate the racquet so that the face (strings) of the racquet is perpendicular to the ground.
  • Lay the palm of your free hand flat on the face of the racquet.
  • Move your palm toward your body, down the shaft of the racquet, until it hits the end of the handle.
  • Wrap your fingers around the handle and space them slightly apart. Your thumb and forefinger should lie almost directly on top of the handle, forming a V that points toward your right shoulder (toward your left shoulder if you're left-handed). Your thumb should lie across the top of the handle.
  • An eastern grip is also called a "handshake grip" - it's like shaking hands with your racquet.

Continental Grip

  • Note that the continental grip is used by more advanced players in serving and volleying. Begin by forming an eastern grip.
  • Ease your grip and turn the racquet with your left hand (or right hand if you're a left-handed player).
  • Turn the racquet until it is perpendicular to the ground, or pointing to the "12 o'clock" position. Then, if you are right-handed, turn the racquet to about the "1 o'clock" position. If you are left-handed, turn the racquet to the "11 o'clock" position.
  • Wrap your fingers around the handle and space them slightly apart. The V formed by the thumb and forefinger should point toward you, and the thumb should lie along the length of the handle. The bottom knuckle of your index finger should lie right on top of the racquet.


Western Grip Steps:

  • Note that the western grip is excellent in forehand play but feels awkward for beginners, especially when used for backhands, serves and volleys. Advanced players often use it to enhance their forehand play.
  • Start by holding the racquet with an eastern grip.
  • Relax your grip and turn the racquet counterclockwise until the top of the racquet points toward the "11 o'clock" position. Left-handed players should turn the racquet clockwise to the "1 o'clock" position.
  • Wrap your fingers around the handle and space them apart slightly. The V formation should point to your right (or left), and your thumb should lie across the top of the handle.
Overall Tips:
  • Choke up, or slide your hand toward the racquet's face, for more control. The amount of control depends on which stroke is used.
  • Don't squeeze the handle too much, and keep your arm relaxed while swinging.
  • Keep your wrist straight and your fist tight so that the racquet doesn't spin out of your hands.
  • The best grip is the one that's most comfortable for you. If you find grip variations that work particularly well, use them.

Semi-Western Grip

  • Study the racquet handle. It is eight-sided: four sides are flat; four sides are beveled.
  • Place the racquet in your hand in the Continental grip.
  • Move your hand to the right from this grip, with the base knuckle of your index pointer finger on the bottom right bevel of the racquet.
  • Use only on a forehand. In fact, Semi-Western grip is recommended by some schools as the number one forehand grip.
  • Hit shots with a quick, upward motion when using this grip.
  • Keep your fingers together, just as you would on the Western or Eastern grip.
  • Use this grip no matter what your playing level. It is the preference of clay court baseline players.
  • Be aware that when using this grip, it is more difficult to make the move to another grip for a backhand or a volley.
Tip from eHow

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