To Change or Not to Change Your Grip in Tennis?
To Change or Not to Change Your Grip in Tennis?

In today’s lesson we’re gonna talk
about whether it’s a good idea to change your grip for any stroke in your game. If
you have been playing tennis for a while and you want to change your grip for any
shot it could be a forehand a backhand or a serve you’re gonna have a difficult
time in changing your grip and this has to do with the muscle memory of your
wrist. Let me give you an example of my forehand. So I have a semi-western
forehand grip. So my wrist is used to a certain level of wrist extension at
contact and since the contact with the ball on the forehand is occurring when
the stroke accelerates to the max I’m not aware of my wrist position and therefore
cannot change it and I’m solely relying on muscle memory. So what happens if I
hit a forehand with a continental grip I’m likely going to have the same
position of the wrist and that’s going to open the racquet face. So I’ll hit
forehand with a continental grip and most likely this ball is going to go
long I have no way to control it. On the other hand if I go into an extreme
western grip my wrist will have the muscle memory to be in a certain amount
of wrist extension which will close the racquet face down too much resulting in
net errors. So if I try to hit a forehand it’s very likely that I’m going to hit
it into the net if I hit it with an extreme western grip. In the case that
you have an continental forehand grip you’re most likely the wrist is going to
be more in a straight position and so now if you try to even change it
to an eastern grip you’ll see that in that same position the racket face
closes. It’s not that much of a difference in angle so you might be able
to get away with changing from continental to eastern, however, if you go
one over to semi-western you see that in that same wrist position the racket face
closes too much and you will not be able to get the ball over the net. Now on the
other hand if you’re someone who has an extreme western grip you will see that
the wrist will be almost completely straight at contact and now what happens
as you go over into a semi-western grip that’s more conventional with that
straight wrist the racket face will open up and you will likely start hitting
balls very long. So whether you can change your grip or not will depend on
how long you’ve been playing tennis and how much muscle memory you have
developed. And this is the case for any other shot in tennis whether you’re
serving with a forehand grip on the serve it depends on how long you’ve been
doing this because on the serve if we serve with a let’s say a semi-western
grip, at contact the wrist is more straight and your body gets used to that
you develop this certain muscle memory. Now as soon as you go into a continental
grip with that straight wrist position the strings are angled off to the side
and you going to started missing everything wide. So my recommendation for
you is if you have a forehand grip on the serve you must change it no matter
how long you’ve been doing it. You must practice a lot to get your wrist used to
the continental grip. On the forehand if you have a continental grip, that is a grip of
the past and I advise you to change it to at least an eastern grip. However, if
you have an eastern grip a semi-western and a western grip there’s nothing wrong
with any of these three grips and it might not be worth changing the grip
because it’s gonna take a lot of balls is gonna take a lot of time committed to
changing the grip and it might not be necessary. If you have problems on the
forehand, the cause of these problems might be something other than the grip.
On the two-handed backhand it’s really only one grip you can use which is the
your dominant hand being at semi-western and non-dominant hand between the semi
western lefty and the eastern lefty and really this is the only way to hit
a two-hander. Now on the one-handed backhand you have the option of going
eastern or you can even go to the western backhand grip. Both these grips
are fine, the eastern backhand will give you a more neutral position of the
racquet head and it’s gonna be easier to hit the ball flat or with topspin. If you go
over towards a western one-handed grip it might be more difficult to achieve a
flat backhand. Another very common problem recreational players experience
is the changing of the grip mid stroke. So on the serve for example players will
go into a continental grip and then somewhere around this area there will
regrip the racquet that will move their fingers and go back into their
forehand grip. Or on the forehand if they change their grip they might be in a
correct grip and then right before the drop the racquet they turn the racquet
around. And there’s a great way for this to stop happening and all you need is a
piece of paper. So now let’s talk about the serve. You’re going to take a piece
of paper and you’re going to go into your continental grip and now you’re
gonna put that piece of paper right beneath your fingers right here and
you’re gonna hold the piece of paper. Now if you serve and you move your fingers
this piece of paper is going to come out. So the only way to keep that piece of
paper on the racket is by holding and not changing the grip throughout the
motion. And this works the same way on the forehand where you might need two
pieces of paper one small one and one bigger one and you place it underneath
your fingers like this and you place another piece of paper right here
because you do want that spreading between the next finger in the middle
finger. And the same way if you have muscle memory where are you changing
your grip mid stroke and you let go the piece of paper is gonna fall out. This is
a great way to maintain the grip throughout the forehand stroke. Thank
you guys for watching this video. Please leave a comment in the section below
I’ll be happy to respond. Hit that like button and subscribe if you haven’t
already. I’ll see you next time.

19 thoughts on “To Change or Not to Change Your Grip in Tennis?”

  1. _zumba_ says:

    Great as usual. An almost uncovered topic. Kudos!

  2. Intuitive Tennis says:

    Changing your grip can be a frustrating experience. If you have an eastern, semi-western, or western grip on your forehand it is unnecessary to change your grip. There is nothing wrong with any of these grips because the wrist gets used to a certain position at contact. Therefore, problems attributed to a certain grip are from the experiences of the individual player. In other words, the fact that I can not get the ball over the net with a western forehand grip does not mean that these are general characteristics of this grip.
    The best players in the history of the game Federer, Nadal and Djokovic use the eastern, semi-western and western forehand grip and through countless repetitions, their forehands have adapted to all surfaces and hold up in any situation on the court.

  3. Dmitry Private says:

    Hi Nikola, As always, your inner knowledge of tennis and how it applies to recreational players is amazing. Every point you make is spot-on. One point – among many useful – you made is if your forehand grip in eastern, semi-western, or western there is no pressing need to change. My experience: after playing for many years (longer than you have been alive :)), this year I decided to change the forehand grip from eastern to semi-western. And it has been a big struggle. I keep switching the grip during the game, depending on what I or the muscle memory remembers. And now I have confused myself and my muscle memory. I know you can’t help. I am just venting :).

    Thank you!

  4. iKarla says:

    Absolutely love this video! Thanks again for the amazing quality. Are you available as a coach in south florida??

  5. Christopher Fung says:

    what i want to say is that NEVER CHANGE YOUR GRIP WHEN YOU ARE IN BAD CONDITION ,thank you Nikola

  6. Lingua Kaji Utama says:

    It has always been useful coach. Thank you so much.

  7. Natachi Nnate says:

    Nick, I like that you touch on every aspect of Tennis! Getting us well equipped!👍🏽

  8. Aren Godinez says:

    Currently use a grip in between eastern and semi western and it’s usually god well but sometimes when I try to go for spin my racket face tends to open up and it’s hard to feel that, so I was thinking of changing to a semi western grip?

  9. Lance Lee says:

    1. You just convinced me that there is no value in trying to move from a lifetime of Eastern to SWestern. There are other things to work on that will do more good. Even though on high balls I will sometimes shift to SW without thinking, to good effect.
    2. 2hbh, you say the dominant hand on SW, but it looks like a version on Continental(index knuckle on 2), which also is what I would expect.
    Another helpful video, thanks.

  10. George Oberlander says:

    Something I think worth discussing, Nick, is a player's use of several grips for a particular stroke, e.g., on the forehand (e.g., semi-Western and Eastern), serve (Continental and a near Eastern backhand), backhand (Eastern backhand and Western backhand), etc. I use both a semi-Western and Eastern forehand and a Continental and near Eastern backhand service grip. On the serve, this is quite conscious because I have time to choose the grip deliberately. On the forehand, I always receive with the semi-Western and rally with it often but in hitting passing shots and quick reaction forehands, I often wind up in an Eastern grip by habit since I learned the Eastern forehand as a kid. For me, this has advantages and disadvantages on the forehand. I find I can hit effective passing shots with the Eastern forehand because it causes my stroke to be flatter and go through the court faster. The disadvantage is that, hitting flatter from a defensive position deeper in the court, I may fly the ball due to the flatter trajectory combined with a fuller backswing than I take with a passing shot.

    I think you are spot on with the issue of the habitual wrist position. I find it possible, though, to become aware of the orientation of the racquet head and, accordingly, adjust its angle for a different grip. This helps me to compensate for different grips although I have to admit that it is hard to do consistently with all that's going on in hitting a return.

  11. T-Hits says:

    Nico I'm a little confused about having the Continental grip. It is exactly the same between volleys and 2-handed backhand? Can you explain a few different ways of finding the Continental grip? Thanks!

  12. Alen X says:

    This is a bit offtopic here so I apologize, but was wondering if you plan to make a vid about how to crush slow dead balls any time? Or maybe offer some tips?
    I tend to hit great against pace and against heavy spin, but when I face someone who hits slow loopy deep balls that bounce extremely verticaly up and have no forward energy (almost sitters) that just sit up and jump up, I tend to have alot of problems with controlling them into the court.
    I can hit decent spin from these balls and high arc (very controlled) but I struggle to really hit aggressive shots from these balls, and its worse if the balls bounce higher also.

  13. softkdp says:

    Perfectly timed for my problem. I'm struggling to change from western to semi-western. The thing is I like aggresive playstyle, and its really hard to drive the ball with western grip, instead of massive topspin. But my wrist is so used to winshield-wiper motion right now, damn it's so frustrating. I'm confused and don't know what to do honestly :< Great video though!

  14. Penn Su says:

    Very informative!! Thanks!

  15. Alejandro Melamed says:

    Hi Nicola nice video. I have a western forehand and I struggle returning sliced balls

  16. Aleksey Plotnikov says:

    Please. I need your advice. I've been playing tennis since 14 years. Now I'm 34. Since 14 till 26 I've played with Easter forehand grip. Then I've changed my grip to semi western. And until now I can't feel this grip naturally. I can't control my forehands as I want. My groundstrokes has some side spin. Maybe it's because of that my racket face is too close. Could you advise me change my grip to eastern back ? By the way, I don't feel eastern grip now too)

  17. poida smith says:

    Excellent video Nik, and something not well understood or explained by most coaches. I know a guy who played on tour, top 100 singles, who said it took almost 4 months to switch from Western to SW and hitting 3 hours a day or more. That speaks volumes about the difficulty of a grip change.

    Now if someone has an inflexible wrist in extension plane, would a Western grip be worth working on regardless of what they used previously if they were prepared to do the work? How would you approach working with a player to make a grip change in addition to the paper on the grip? Keep pushing out the great content! 👍

  18. DeceitfulDestiny says:

    I started naturally with an eastern grip, but as soon as I started taking lessons or learning online I switched to semi-western. I played with that for 3 years, but I found that I wanted more spin on my shots because they kept sailing long. I now changed to a western grip (just barely), and I found the change natural in a few weeks. It helps to hold the racquetly softly in your hand and really feel the racquet face position as you swing it. Think about bring the slightly closed racquet face through contact, and you will figure out how to orient your wrist and everything else. Just my experience

  19. madmax797 says:

    i play eastern on forehand and continent on backhand (right handed player). before receiving, i keep it say continental, i get forehand, i switch to eastern, and then do i switch back to continental again? this way i dont have to remember my last changed grip, since i am always in continental and only hitting forehand i switch to eastern.. ? or do players change grip to forehand and keep it in that position, until they have to switch to backhand?

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