Playing tennis is one of those activities that looks way easier than it really is. There are a lot of technical aspects which tend to be overlooked by the average Joe because pros make everything look simple on TV.
One of these seemingly easy technicalities is how to properly hold the tennis racket without losing grip of it. You can also use top-rated tennis overgrips, but ultimately, your holding technique will determine your performance.
Knowing how to hold the racket will allow you to strike the ball with more strength than you would if you didn’t hold it well, improving your game by one or two levels. A proper grip permits better volleys, half-volleys and serves. If you’re here, you probably don’t underestimate the importance of knowing how to hold a racket, so we’re going to help you figure out what you need to do to improve your game.
We’ll also give you some additional pieces of info that might prove to be quite useful.
The Proper Way to Hold A Tennis Racket
There are three different techniques that you can use to hold your racket while playing tennis. Each has its own set of advantages and disadvantages.
Choose whichever one you feel more comfortable with – but remember to try them all first!
Method 1: The Continental Grip
Hold your racket with your left hand first. Make sure it’s pointing away from you, as you’ll need to place your right hand on the grip.
Don’t look too much into this step. Just hold the racket with your left hand without covering the handle, so you can make the grip with your right hand.
Look for your grip’s first bevel and place your hand in a way that the base of your index finger’s knuckle is aligned perfectly with said bevel.
The bevels are located on the sloped side of the grip. This slopped side is there to give you a better hold of the racket, but if you don’t know how to properly hold it, it will do nothing but trouble you.
Use it to your advantage!
Close your hand around the grip. The bevel that you used as a guideline during the past step must end up going diagonally across the palm of your right hand.
Your thumb will end up near the base of the racket and your hand should be fully wrapped around the handle.
Method 2: The Western Grip
Hold your racket with your left hand – not necessarily from the handle, any part will do. Be sure to point it away from you. Just like in previous methods, this is done to keep the handle aimed at your body while you get a proper grip with the right hand.
Aim the strings perpendicularly towards the ground. This grip will allow you to hit a very powerful topspin, but it limits your racket’s movement in any other sort of situation. You’ll need to practice when and how to use it properly.
Place the knuckle of your index finger on the large flat underside of the racket’s handle. If you hold your racket in front of you, your thumb will look like it’s close to you, while the rest of your fingers should be on the other side of the handle.
Method 3: The Eastern Grip
Start by grabbing the racket with your left hand. Again, just like in the last couple of methods, simply hold it away from your body and with the string area pointed to the ground in a perpendicular way
You’ll have to rest your right index finger on the outer side of the racket. Simply move your hand like you would do if you were to greet someone and keep a strong grip of the racket handle.
More Tips on Holding Your Tennis Racket & Different Types of Grips
Each of the methods we’ve shown you today has a unique purpose inside every tennis game. Pros, beginners and seasoned players should be able to interchange these methods as they see fit, depending on the situation they are facing.
Not every player likes to swap between styles during a match, but pro players are known to do it as it helps them respond better to different situations.
Don’t worry, though: keep in mind that practice makes perfect. Beginners usually have a hard time adapting to situations when playing under pressure, so you might want to use a single grip to practice at first.
Don’t worry about not having a practice partner or coach all the time, there are best tennis ball machines that you can use to practice all you want.
Using each grip to the best of your ability
As we’ve told you before, practice makes perfect. Regardless, there are a few things you should note whenever you attempt to use any of these grips during the game – especially if you intend to switch between them.
The continental grip is suitable for almost any in-game situation. This grip is also very easy to understand, which is why coaches tend to show it to newer players before any other method.
It allows the player to react quickly to any situation, but ideally, the ball should be going towards the player’s right hand when attempting it.
Playing with the continental grip permits the racket to respond to volleys or quick reaction shots, such as those you’d have to face if you were near the net of the court.
Continental is also the way to go if you want to strike the ball firmly during serves, and it’s still a very effective way to volley the ball quickly towards the opponent’s side.
It might not be the most preferred method to be used by professionals, but it’s the easiest one to learn.
The eastern grip is known to be the preferred methodology of near-net duo players. This grip allows the player to switch between grips instantly, which is a priority requirement if you’re going to play in front of the net.
You can easily change from eastern to continental or from eastern to western without making too many moves.
Additionally, it just does an awful job of controlling higher shots. Again, this shouldn’t be an issue at all if you’re playing in front of the net… But you might want to keep it in mind if you intend to use this method anywhere else on the court.
The western grip is the least common method of the three we’ve shown you today. People refer to this method as the “topspin” grip, basically because that’s the one style of hit that it excels at performing. It’s an awful method to use if you intend to hit a low ball, and ineffective for elevated hits as well.
If you’re looking to hit the ball just a few feet above the net, this is the best grip out of them all.
You could also try these methods as reverse grip. Each one can be used like this very effectively, but you’ll need to master them before getting the best out of each. Reverse hits are way more difficult than regular hits in most cases.
What Did We Learn?
We’ve shown you how to hold your tennis racket using the most popular techniques in tennis. Now, it’s up to you to practice them all and decide which of these works best for you as a player. Remember: practice makes perfect!
Keep in mind that you’ll need to change these methods constantly during a game if you intend to play competitively. Invest on a good racket too, like how competitive swimmers invest on their best goggles.
Casual players could stick to the continental grip without batting an eye, but if you want to start winning matches consistently, you’ll need to know when to use each of these methods to the best of your ability.