How to Find a Tennis Grip

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The term “grip” refers to how you hold the racket in your hand any time you go to strike the ball. The grip is the foundation for any shot you hit in tennis, and it’s extremely important to understand the different grips, but the fact is that many tennis players just head to the court, pick up their racket, and don’t give their grip any more thought.

Your grip is so important for several reasons. How you hold the racket in your hand affects how you swing up to the tennis ball, and how you swing up to the tennis ball can influence the type of ball you hit. For example, some grips make it easier to swing directly through the ball. When you swing through the ball, you produce a shot that is hit hard but doesn’t have much topspin on it. Other grips make it easier to swing up across the back of the ball. Swinging up across the back of the tennis ball puts more topspin on the ball, but it makes it more difficult to hit hard and put the ball away for a winner. These factors make it important to know what type of grip you are using and how it might be affecting your game.

Attacking players, for example, tend to have more conservative grips that allow you to swing through the ball because the ball is flatter, they hit harder, press their opponent more, and can shorten points. But because they swing through the ball more, they can’t generate as much topspin, so players who like to extend points, or “grind them out,” generally choose more extreme grips that make it easier to swing up on the ball and get that spin. Addditionally, putting more spin on the ball lets you hit higher over the net but still have the ball pulled back down into the court, making you more consistent. So again, your choice of grip can actually heavily influence your game.

Let’s now talk about the technical definition of a grip, and exactly how you find any particular grip. To start off, we’re going to look at the butt end of the racket handle. The handle has eight sides, also called “bevels,” and the topmost bevel is Bevel 1. Bevels 2, 3, 4 etc. follow going clockwise around the handle. Bevel 5 is located on the “bottom” of the handle. As you can see on your own tennis racket, the bevels extend from the buttcap all the way up to the throat of the racket.

Let’s now talk about the hand. There are two places on the hand that you need to identify, the heel pad and the index knuckle. If you follow a line from the tip of your pinkie finger down your pinkie to your wrist, your heel pad is the fleshy area of your palm just before your wrist. Your index knuckle is the first knuckle of your index finger, where it connects to your palm. Technically, your grip is defined by which bevel (or bevels) of the tennis racket handle your heel pad and index knuckle rest on.

If you look at the bevels of the tennis racket handle again, your grip is determined by where your hand is resting on those bevels. Specific grips (ie Eastern, Semiwestern) mean that your heel pad and index knuckle are resting on specific bevels. For example, the Continental Grip, which most pros use to serve, overhead and volley, is defined by the heel pad and index knuckle resting on the second bevel (thats one over from the top, clockwise).

Let’s get back to how your grip can influence your style of play. You may have been around the clubhouse and heard someone say that “X grip is better than Y grip, so you should use X.” Well, that’s simply not true. One grip isn’t better than another, but some grips are better for certain styles of play. What you want to do when selecting a grip is think about how your choice of grip will fit into your style of play. For example, Roger Federer is an all-court, attacking player, and he uses a more conservative grip thats very close to an Eastern. This allows him to swing through the ball, drive the ball, stay on the attack and dictate play. On the other hand, Rafael Nadal uses a more extreme grip, very close to a Western. Because he swings up on the ball so much more, he generates more topspin, keeps the ball in play, and grinds opponents into the ground. Both of these forehands (and the grips that go with them) are extremely, extremely effective. But more than anything, it shows that their choice of grip is closely related to the style of tennis they play.

Your grip needs to work into the larger framework of the tennis game you are trying to build, and you need to ask yourself if it currently does. If it isn’t, you should be open to considering a change.

  • http://www.fuzzyyellowballs.com/ Will Hamilton

    Weird. Did you check your spam box? Send me an email and I’ll get you set up with the last lesson.

  • Anonymous

    I am a high school teacher that was asked to coach tennis two years ago. I didn’t know anything about tennis when I took the job. I have taken it upon myself to learn the game, and I am now about a 2.5-3.0 level player. I recently discovered this site, and I love the teaching tips. I wish I would have discovered the site 2 years ago. I am definitely going to use the teaching stratagies to help my kids improve their play as well as improve my own. Thanks.

  • Patricio

    I suscribe a long time a go. And I can´t see the video . It´s apear me the sing to suscribe me to the news letter . Do I have to sign in some where ???

  • Anonymous

    this video is very awesome for learning.

  • Erwan

    Shall a player have one and only one grip for his forehand ? Do some players have a different grip when they do the windshield forehand for example ?

    Awesome site. Excellent job.

  • http://www.fuzzyyellowballs.com/ Will Hamilton

    Hey — One forehand grip. You don’t want to change your grip depending on the type of forehand you’re going for.

  • Michael Tucci

    Will,
    Love your sight! Truly fantastic concept. Like any other coach I’m sure, you’ve had your content questioned. Based on the bevel system of teaching grips, you might note that Federer and Nadal both use an Eastern (3,3). Look at the contact shape of the arm which is determined by the grip and the fact that the racquet face will be vertical at contact. Eastern equals extended arm. Semi Western (4,4) equals square elbow at contact. I can provide images to prove this theory if you wish and I’m happy to contribute to your content if you want. Food for thought… Happy to communicate via email. By the way, a 2,2 continental is not mechanically strong. Can discuss this with you too if you want. Hope to hear from you soon!

  • rick

    Awesome sight, better lessons than any other.

    Thanks

  • Damon from Poland

    Great site Will!! and good vid about grips!! BUT I WONDERING ABOUT GRIP SIZE! and I can’t find anything about it here! I think it’s very important to pick a racket with correct grip size ! So something about it will be very helpful! Thanks!

  • jonny_temperance

    great videos to introduce a newbie (like myself) to the propoer way to hold a racquet and what grip to use when. Before these videos, I was hitting everything with MY version of a continental grip (if you want to call it that) and understanding what bevel to line up your hand was very helpful. as a result, I saw more consistency in my hitting. Still have a way to go before Wimbleton calls, but the mechanics introduced in these videos are helping me to atleast move in the direction of improvement

  • vanness

    great vedio

  • Greg

    Excellent

  • hannah

    Hi Will,
    Fisrt of all, many thanks to your site. I just watched yesterday and tried to play today and I can say that it did make a big difference.
    I’m a newbie in tennis, just started a month back… you mentioned that the grip will fit my style of play. But I don’t even know what style of play I have, I guess I don’t have a style yet.. Is it something I should decide on? Or is anyone a natural in certain style and just have to find out which style and then focus on that for improvement?

  • Kattambas

    Excellent work, your site is super!!!!!

    Just keep doing your job and you will help a lot of people, who want to improve.

    Regards,
    Ana Isabel

    Portugal

  • Kattambas

    Excellent work, your site is super!!!!!

    Just keep doing your job and you will help a lot of people, who want to improve.

    Regards,
    Ana Isabel

    Portugal

  • LoveVika4ever

    Will I have a question : Personally I use a “Semi-eastern” in between eastern and continental, obviously I’ve for now seen no pros use that type of grip, although I’m kind of suspicious on Andy Murray’s but I’d like to know is hitting top spin always a question of grip ? With my grip I’ve always had the sensation that I hit a fair amount of top spin maybe not as much as a Semi-western or Western would but still…

  • Kaisu38

    Thanks for the lesson given. it is beneficial to improve my playing style. Want to ask, how to increase the strength of a tennis stroke, is it necessary to do weight training. Thank again.

  • moeez

    HEY Will tht wus a wonderful vid but thts nt exactly my problem m a begginer at tennis n i dont knw which style of play m better at…. i dont have stamina and prefer staying at the baseline…need help!!!!

  • peter

    nice very useful thanks

  • anand

    its so very nice …when i will be a player then i will com to your school

    anand

  • Martin

    Well if you stay on the baseline, you must play with topspin. And I think that all beginners must play with topspin so that they learn the hits. Then you’ll decide what is your style, because your game will change a lot. Hope I’ve been helpfull ;)

  • Martin

    muscles dont help a lot. In fact many muscles could cause a problem …
    You need fast swing … Sorry I don’t know how to say it. You need to have a fast swing => fast hands. So I think you should train with a ruberban ;)

  • Pharishreddy

     well illustrated and excellent narration.i liked it

  • Im

    Hi the info is great and has improved my overall game.

    I am a doubles player can we have more info for doubles play i.e strategy etc..

  • Ryangriffith23

    would you recommend changing my grip depending on the type of opponent i am playing?
     

  • Enlevin

    How tightly should the racquet be held at the point of contact? If held loosely, will the force generated by the thighs be transmitted to the ball?

  • faris

    شكرا جزيلا على المجهود الرائع

  • KD Guest

    —Your grip on the racquet should be firm yet relaxed. Making sure you have the proper handle size and a freshly-wrapped grip helps.—

  • KD Guest

    —Most likely not necessary. Although different grips produce different looking shots, you still the same variation of shot (i.e. classic or windshield-wiper forehand) not matter what grip you use.—

  • Sam

    well yes actually u have to hold the racket tightly

  • Omarianopop

    awesom

  • Bachduongkimcuongcz

    please! sent us high level double strategy.
    thank U so much
    bachduong-praha
    czech rp.

  • Bachduongkimcuongcz

    please! sent us high level double strategy.
    thank U so much
    bachduong-praha
    czech rp.

  • Ddd

    could have been better with some simple pics than lengthy explanations…

  • Haidar

    TOO many fight going on here where is ”peace” ???
    OH YEAH I FORGOT …. can you guys do some longer videos and and further explanation and you should give us some examples about the grip ( what I say ”examples” I mean like test a grip … hit a ball using that grip )
    oh yea I dont think they will see this so where can I tell them ??

  • DadaNiPotpot

    thank you for the tip

  • Ian Allso

    KD Guest, I agree firm but relaxed, if you hold too tightly your arm and shoulder tense up and this restricts your swing.

  • Bruce

    I feel a little difficult to serve with continental grip, especially when go pronate, what is wrong

  • Mark Woodruff

    Excellent primer. Maybe it’s obvious, but left-handers like us have to reverse the order of the numbers, moving from 1 to 8 counter-clockwise. (And it’s great for me to see videos of a left-handed player. Thanks.