I am guessing some of you have never even noticed the way a player holds a racket. You probably thought it was all the same…well in case you were wondering, it is not.
The basic grips used are the continental, semi-western, and eastern.
The continental grip was developed in Europe and is considered to be a versatile grip for all shots. At one time it was the dominant grip, but as topspin became more popular, players have moved away from using it for groundstrokes. The continental grip produces a flat shot. While it is considered more of an “old school” shot now, it is still generally used for serving and taking volleys.
The eastern grip was developed in the Eastern United States and is said to be the easiest grip to learn. It is popular with beginners and is known as the handshake grip. This is grip allows the racket to contact the ball at waist height. The eastern grip is used to help flatten out a shot, but it does not produce as much topspin as the western grip.
The western grip originated from California and is the popular grip with players who are looking to generate large amounts of topspin and power. To a beginner, this grip feels extremely awkward. With this grip, players hit the ball starting below their hip and finishing above their shoulder. This helps in giving the ball its topspin and also gives it height to clear the net.
Next time you watch the pros check to see what grip they are using!