One of the first decisions you have to make as a beginner tennis player is what forehand grip you should use. Even if you are not a beginner, you may have chosen a more conservative forehand grip when you first started playing tennis but now you want to make a change so that you can progress in your game and compete at a higher level.
This article will look at how you find the various forehand grips in tennis and which ones are the best to use. I will also look at the pro and cons of each of the different forehand grip options.
How to find a Forehand Grip on a Tennis Racket?
Before I discuss what the various forehand grip options there are, I want to quickly explain how to find a forehand grip on a tennis racket. The two main reference points I will use for each of the different forehand grips is the location of your index knucle and your heel pad on the racket.
Each forehand grip involves placing your index knucle and your heel pad on a particular bevel of the tennis racket. Tennis racket handles are hexagonal in shape so there are a total of 8 bevels on a racket with each of the bevels being numbered 1 to 8 (see image below).
Hold the racket perpendicularly and then if you are left handed, start at the top bevel and number the bevels from 1 – 8 in anticlockwise direction. If you are right handed then you will number the bevels in a clockwise direction.
Once you know the number of each bevel, you will be able to find the forehand grips detailed below by placing your index knuckle and heel pad on the bevel number given for a particular forehand grip.
Best Grips to Use for your Forehand in Tennis
Eastern Forehand Grip
The Eastern Forehand Grip is the most conservative grip on this list and you can find it by placing your index knuckle and heel pad on bevel number 3. The Eastern Forehand Grip is a good grip for beginners to learn as it feels very natural in your hand and allows you to hit flat and with topspin using the one grip.
Pros of Using an Eastern Forehand Grip
- Good on Low to Medium Balls
- Easier to hit flat and go for winners with an Eastern Forehand Grip
- Feels more natural to hit balls with this grip in comparison with more extreme grips like the western forehand grip
- The Eastern Forehand Grip makes it easier to disguise a drop shot as you can quickly switch to a continetal grip
- The Grip is closer to the traditional one handed backhand grip so it is easier to switch between your forehand and backhand grips.
Cons of Using an Eastern Forehand Grip
- Harder to generate top spin on high balls
- Opponents may hit high top spins balls to your forehand as it is hard to attack on balls lile these with an eastern forehand grip.
Tennis Pros Using an Eastern Forehand Grip
Semi Western Forehand Grip
The Semi Western Forehand Grip is probably the most popular grip used on the professional tour with around 70% of pros using it. It is also very popular at the recreational level as it is much easier to generate topspin using this grip in comparison with the Eastern Grip.
You can find the Semi Western Forehand Grip by placing your index knuckle and heel pad on bevel number 4. If you are used to an eastern forehand then it will take you some time before you get used to hitting the ball with a semi western forehand as you don’t hit through the ball as much as you would with a Eastern Forehand.
Pros of Using a Semi Western Forehand Grip
- It is easier to generate top spin on your balls
- It is easier to hit high balls at shoulder height or above
Cons of Using a Semi Western Forehand Grip
- Extremly Low Balls can be more difficult to hit with a semi western grip
- Has a smaller hitting zone than an eastern forehand
- It is harder but not impossible to hit flat balls with this grip
Tennis Pros using a Semi Western Forehand Grip
Western Forehand Grip
The Western Forehand Grip is the most extreme grip on this list and provides players who are proficient with it a ton of top spin on their shots. The Western Forehand Grip Isn’t that popular at pro or recreational levels as it is incrediable hard to hit flat using this grip and low balls are nearly impossible if you are at the recreational level.
You can find the Western Forehand Grip by placing your index knuckle and heel pad on bevel number 5. It is very hard to switch to a western forehand grip if you did not start playing tennis with it as it offers a completly different feel when compared with an eastern or semi western forehand.
Pros of Using a Western Forehand Grip
- Much easier to hit high balls with good top spin
- In the right hands this grip can generate tremendous topsin
- Is effective on clay courts where you need to hit more higher balls
Cons of Using a Western Forehand Grip
- Hard to hit the ball flat with a western forehand grip
- Low balls will be an issue with this grip, which opponents may try and take advantage of
Tennis Pros Using a Western Forehand Grip
- Jack Sock
- Kyle Edmond
So What is the Best Forehand Grip to use in Tennis?
If you are an adult beginner or an older player then I would recommend using the Eastern Forehand Grip as it gives you a good mix of power and spin. In my opinion it is also much easier to learn as a beginner as the stroke feels natural and more intuitive than the other forehand options.
If you are a junior or more of an advanced adult player then I would highly recommend the semi western grip as one of the biggest weaknesses of the eastern forehand is that it can be difficult to deal with high balls. With the semi western grip these high balls are much easier to hit and you are much more likely to be able to be more aggressive when returning high balls to your forehand.
I wouldn’t recommend that anyone opts for the western forehand as it is a very difficult grip to master as its weaknesses outweights its strengths (especially at the recreational level) so I would stick to using an eastern or semi western forehand.