What’s a tennis grip?
A tennis grip is essentially how you hold your tennis racquet. The way you do so will have an impact on your different shots during a game.
There are many different types of grips: western, continental, and eastern. This article is specifically about the eastern forehand grip. This grip is normally used by offensive players wanting to land aggressive shots.
This grip is especially good when it comes to hitting flat and powerful shots. It is rather widely used, but it’s not as popular as it used to be. This grip gained momentum in the 1920s as it is one of the easiest to learn and apply.
Today, we dive into the eastern forehand grip specifics, its pros and cons, its applications and of course, how to properly apply this grip.
Eastern Forehand Grip History
Also called the handshake grip for obvious reasons, this grip has notoriously been used by players wanting to give more power than spin to their forehands. The base stance when using this kind of grip allows you to hit the tennis ball with more force without breaking a sweat.
According to the New York Times, Bill Tilden was widely known for inventing the Eastern grip in the 1920s. In the 1970s, Bjorn Borg revolutionized the Eastern forehand grip by using it even more aggressively by hitting the ball harder than his opponents. Most people started to argue that he was using a slightly different grip, yet that was not the case. The only difference resided purely in his tennis technique and skills.
How Do You Hold An Eastern Forehand Grip?
To execute forehands with the Eastern grip, place the base-knuckle of your index finger on bevel 3 and close your hand on the racquet handle. For first time players, this grip should feel really comfortable and quite natural. This grip is the simplest to learn, especially for beginners, since it gives you more options and flexibility.
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Benefits Of The Eastern Forehand Grip
As we begin to learn how to hit the ball, this grip allows beginners to easily and consistently hit quality shots. The eastern grip also comes out without practice since it comes naturally as the eastern forehand grip. It is also the best for changing between various grips, and one can easily transition to other grips. The Eastern forehand grip allows for rough play since this gives the player a chance to hit the ball at a lower surface forcing the other players to bring it back to higher grounds.
It also comes in handy when the player wants to hit the ball hard, at a higher hight since it’s a comfortable grip. It’s also one of the best, especially for players who like to play around their backhand and hit hard shots. This grip is suitable on any tennis court, even when playing on slow surfaces such as clay.
Another strong case in favor of the eastern forehand grip is that it gives you the ability to hit the ball at different height levels which in turn gives you a bit more security and room for mistakes.
This technique is great if you are confident and want to push your advantage.
Drawbacks Of The Eastern Grip
The eastern forehand grip also has some drawbacks. First, it isn’t ideal for topspin shots. If you have a tendency to hit the ball in a topspin fashion, I would advise you to hold a western grip.
If your opponent is a great defender, the lack of shot variation provided by the eastern grip can be a big disadvantage. You will want to switch things up and hit more topspins to catch him/her off-guard.
Another drawback to using this particular grip is that it is less forgiving for players with poor footwork. Hitting high balls will be a bit more difficult and will require a bit more getting used to.
Getting to learn the correct grip and being able to apply it to each shot in a game is what separates the good from the great. Nevertheless, the eastern forehand grip remains one of the most commonly used ones in modern tennis.
Of course, players have different preferences. Certain players will feel much more comfortable using the eastern forehand grip, while others would prefer the advantages that come with using the semi-western, western, or continental. All of these have their own benefits and drawbacks. Some pro players like Roger Federer still uses the eastern forehand grip, but switches to different grips depending on the type of shots he wants to take or the height of the tennis ball.
Believe me though, if the greatest tennis player of all time uses the eastern grip on his forehand, you probably should too!