Activities Sports & Athletics Photo Tour of the Forehand Grips for Tennis Share PINTEREST Email Print Sports & Athletics Tennis Playing & Coaching Gear Baseball Basketball Bicycling Billiards Bodybuilding Bowling Boxing Car Racing Cheerleading Cricket Extreme Sports Football Golf Gymnastics Ice Hockey Martial Arts Professional Wrestling Skateboarding Skating Paintball Soccer Swimming & Diving Table Tennis Track & Field Volleyball Other Activities Learn More By Jeff Cooper Updated May 24, 2019 01 of 05 Eastern Forehand Grip Jeff Cooper The eastern forehand grip is the classic grip most often taught to beginning students, and although it has been largely displaced on the pro tours by the Semi-Western grip, it is still used by many advanced players. It places your palm on the side plane of your handle, parallel to the plane of your strings. (To place your palm on a given plane of your handle, place the base knuckle of your index finger on that plane.) With your wrist straight and relaxed, the Eastern forehand grip results in a vertical racquet face when your racquet is even with your front hip. For a classic swing style, this is the most natural and physically most secure relationship between body, racquet, and point of contact. The Eastern is also the most versatile forehand grip because you can easily open the racquet face for slice or keep the racquet face vertical to hit topspin. Many players find that they can hit heavier topspin and better handle the high kick of the opponent's topspin with the more western grips, though, which accounts for the reduced popularity of the Eastern at the pro level. 02 of 05 Semi-Western Forehand Grip Jeff Cooper The semi-western forehand grip places your palm on the lower right slant bevel, the plane 45 degrees clockwise (for a righty) from the plane of the strings. To counteract the resulting natural downward tilt of the racquet face, you must meet the ball slightly farther forward (at a given height) than you would with an eastern grip, and while it's possible to hit flat, you will generally need to swing upward more sharply, which encourages you to hit topspin. The average grip among the pros now is semi-western, primarily because of the importance of topspin in the modern, advanced game. The Semi-Western grip does well both at generating topspin and handling high bounces from the opponent's topspin. It is not well suited to hitting slice, and it's less comfortable on low than on high balls. 03 of 05 Western Forehand Grip Jeff Cooper The western forehand grip places your palm on the bottom plane of your handle, a full 90 degrees clockwise from the plane of the string bed. This makes the racquet face tilt downward severely, and you must meet the ball even farther forward (at a given height) than you would with a Semi-Western grip to get the stringbed into a vertical plane. The most natural swing pattern with a Western grip is sharply upward and very fast, which explains why most Western hitters generate heavy topspin. The Western grip handles high balls much better than low ones, in large part because a higher point of contact need not be as forward. Some players manage to hit flat with a western grip, but doing so forces your wrist into a very awkward position. Hitting slice Western is only for the true contortionist. 04 of 05 Continental Forehand Grip Jeff Cooper The continental grip places your palm on the upper right slant bevel, 45 degrees counterclockwise from the Eastern for a righty. This makes the racquet face tend to tilt upward, which is especially appropriate for hitting slice. You can hit flat with the Continental, but you must meet the ball in a weaker position, slightly farther back, than with the eastern. The continental grip can be used for both forehands and backhands, but it's rarely used anymore for forehands because it's poorly suited to hitting topspin. It was popular until the early 1970s, when the US Open and the Australian Open stopped playing on grass and left only Wimbledon to be dominated by the low bounces for which Continental grips are best adapted. 05 of 05 Hawaiian Forehand Grip Jeff Cooper The "Hawaiian" forehand grip is, to put it simply, weird. Even its name is a bit of a joke. The Hawaiian grip places your palm 135 degrees clockwise (for a righty) from the Eastern, or 45 degrees farther west than the Western. The Western grip got its name from having evolved in California. What's west of California (short of Asia)? The Hawaiian grip is rarely used, but it had a moment in the spotlight when Alberto Berasategui used it to make the 1994 finals at Roland Garros, where he lost to Sergi Bruguera. One way to find the grip is to place your hand in a Continental position, then twist your wrist and forearm 180 degrees clockwise so that your knuckles are facing forward. Just trying this without hitting a ball can hurt a little, and actually getting the ball over the net requires a point of contact way out in front or quite high. To use this grip consistently, you must also whip upward severely, generating heavy topspin. As you might guess, the Hawaiian grip is unsuitable for hitting flat or slice.