There are four grips that can be used to produce the forehand:
- Continental: this is the grip that I learned to use for my forehand when I started playing tennis, eons ago. It is also good for serves, volleys, overheads, slices and defensive shots. Disadvantages of using this grip are the inability to put topspin or backspin on the ball.
- Eastern: also gives you topspin and flat power shots. Disadvantage is that it can be inconsistent in long rallies.
- Semi-Western: good for power baseliners and more topspin-which gives you more safety and control. The disadvantage of this grip is that it closes the face of the racquet which gets you into trouble with low balls.
- Western: is the best grip for heavy topspin. However, the disadvantages are that low balls are poorly handled; your balls will land short if you don’t hit with enough speed, and it is bad for transitioning to the net.
Way back when, beginners were taught the Continental grip for their forehand; however, tennis has evolved so much that this is no longer the grip taught to beginners. If you have been playing tennis for a while, you have probably transitioned to the Eastern or Semi-Western grip for your forehand.
Whatever your level is, you must become comfortable with your chosen grip, especially if you want to use your forehand as a weapon in your game. Remember that each grip has advantages and disadvantages. Your grip affects the angle of your racquet face, which in turn impacts how the ball makes contact with the strings and ultimately determines the pace, spin and placement of your shots.