Reply Sun 14 Sep, 2008 03:56 am
My daughter is 13 and has been playing tennis for the lat 10 months (she is no. 129 in the national Romanian classification for girls under 14). She started with an forehand Eastern grip but her Pro discovered she moved to a Semi-Western grip with which she feels much more comfortable. However, the Pro told her that she must struggle to move back to the Eastern grip. She has tried to do during the last week but it is not easy...

The problem is that I am not quite sure that she should do all this considerable effort aimed to go back to the Eastern grip because it seems that the Semi-Western grip is currently quite popular, she likes it and it allows a better topspins.

What would you suggest to do in this situation?

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Reply Sun 14 Sep, 2008 06:44 am
The grip you use should match the overall style of the game you intend to play. For youngsters, this is a strategic choice intended to maximize their potential once they reach their late teens.

You should ask the pro, "why" he wants her to use an Eastern grip, and then decide if you trust his choice of strategy. You might want to get several other opinions from other pros to see if there is a consensus.

Western grips allow you to impart more topspin onto the ball, but that diverts energy into the spin of the ball and away from velocity. It's really nice to have both shots available to you, but most people become good at one or the other. Some coaches prefer young players to start learning their weaker shot, knowing that in a few years they can switch to their more natural shot, leaving them with two skills instead of one. Other coaches think it's better to focus on the primary shot immediately, and thus maximize it's potential. That's why I say this is a strategic decision which needs to be matched to the players ultimate style of play.

Good luck,

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Reply Sun 14 Sep, 2008 08:42 am
The most basic idea of tennis grips is that the racquet head should always be straight up and down. Angle the head upwards (open) and you hit the ball up into the sky, downwards (closed) and the ball goes into the ground.

That says that for forehands you usually want the V of your hand straight down on top of the racquet, and for backhands the weight of the hand on top of the racquet. Many players use the free hand to shift grips from forehand to backhand, I never seemed to need that.

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Reply Sun 14 Sep, 2008 09:45 am
Another way to look at the thing, assuming I'm right handed....

If I hold the racquet on the right side of my body with my left hand with the head straight up and down and then simply take the most natural grip with my right hand, and then do the same thing on the left side of my body, then I'll have my natural forehand and backhand grips.

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