Hi guys, I’m Clay Ballard with Top Speed
Tennis, and today we’re going to talk about the differences between the eastern and the
semi-western grip, and which one’s right for you. Now before we get started I will mention that
about 70 to 80 percent of the ATP players, the top pros in the world, are using a semi-western. But I believe that we should all start out
with an eastern grip, and I’m going to go over why in this video. Let’s go ahead and get started. All right, so to get started let’s going
ahead and talk about what is the eastern grip so that those of you who aren’t familiar
will know, and what is the semi-western grip, and how do we create spin with these grips. First off, when I’m talking about a grip
I wanted to assign these numbers due to the bevels on the racket. The top bevel here is bevel number one. As you go the next bevel clock-wise, bevel
number two is at a 45° angle, bevel number three is on the side, and then four, five,
six, seven, eight, all the way around the racket. Now when we’re talking about an eastern
grip, we want the index finger, the bottom knuckle of the index finger, to be on bevel
number three. So that’s the bevel on the side of the racket. If we talk about a semi-western grip, we’re
going to be all the way underneath to bevel number four. So we’re turning the hand with an eastern
a little bit to the right, and with a semi-western more to the right. If we start out, the reason this creates spin,
let’s go ahead and start out here with a continental grip, which instead of being on
three with an eastern, or four with a SemiWestern, a continental, or your serve grip, is going
to be on bevel number two. It’s the exact same way if you’re just
going to grab this racket like you were going to hammer it down into the ground, that would
be a continental grip. The index finger on bevel number two. Now if I was going to hit a shot with a continental
grip, the natural way to do this would be…let me grab a tennis ball here. I’m going to have the racket face vertical,
and to come in kind of horizontal with the ground. This is going to create actually the most
power, the most energy transfer, because all the energy from my racket, my racket face
is pointing directly forward, and my racket head is moving directly forward. So any energy I have in the racket is going
to be directly transferred into this ball. If I hit a shot doing this, the only disadvantage
is it didn’t have any topspin, so it’s really easy to fly way too far over the court
like that one did, or to go too short. So that’s not going to work for a forehand. We need to have topspin to pull that ball
down into the court, and that’s why we use a semi-western, or an eastern or a semi-western
grip. So with an eastern grip, here’s my continental. What I’m doing when I turn my knuckle over
to bevel number three, look what that does to the racket face. It shuts the racket about 45° closed. Now if I was to make the same horizontal swing,
I would hit this ball directly down into the court. So I’ll go ahead and do the same thing here,
and the ball’s going to go right down in the court. Naturally, instinctively, I’m not going
to do that too many times. I’m going to start to adjust, and our body
naturally does that. So if you get an eastern grip, you’re naturally
going to start to come up into the ball and your racket is going to move upward. And now look how that’s going to square
up the racket face so that now it’s facing forward, because my racket is moving up to
kind of adjust for that. And if I had a nice easy shot here with an
eastern grip, you’ll see how that starts to dive down into the court. Let me hit one a little harder so you can
see the spin. So it dives down into the court, makes it
much more forgiving when I do that. That’s an eastern grip, and that’s closing
that face. Now if I do a semi-western grip, over to bevel
number four, I’m going to close this even more. And now I’m really going to have to swing
up into this ball to make sure that my racket face is more level. As I do that, I’m going to have to swing
harder up and I’m going to get even more topspin. So you can see that ball really turns down,
and I’m just hitting those nice and easy, but you can definitely see the spin starting
to happen on there. So a continental definitely won’t work for
a forehand, we’re coming in level. An eastern grip, we’re going to have to
come in a little bit more vertical into it. Again, continental has the most power. As we start to go more and more vertical with
an eastern, and then much more vertical with a semi-western, that’s creating more spin
but we’re losing power. So we’re really looking for that balance
between spin and power, that consistency and power that we can get by adjusting this racket. That’s why I recommend to start out with
an eastern then move to a semi-western. There’s a couple advantages we’re going
to have when we’re using the eastern grip. And that’s the grip that a player like Roger
Federer, Grigor Dimitrov, they’re going to use an eastern forehand grip. Other players like Nadal use a semi-western
grip and create more spin. So if we’re starting out with this eastern
grip two things are going to happen that are good. Number one, we’re going to have a little
bit more transfer of energy, a little bit more power. As I mentioned before, if we’re coming in
more level to this ball, all the energy from the racket is getting transferred directly
into this ball and we’re maximizing our power. As we start to go more up into the ball, now
we’re creating more spin but we’re losing out on that power. So if you had Federer and Nadal hitting side
by side, and they’re both swinging 60 miles an hour, Federer’s going to have more power
transferred into the ball because he’s coming in a little bit more level. Maybe his ball’s going to clear the net
by a couple of feet. Whereas Nadal’s ball is going to spin more,
and go four or five feet over the net. So he’s going to have more power, Federer
is, for the same amount of swing speed. Now how does Nadal make up for this, because
he definitely has tons and tons of power. He just swings harder, right? So he’s getting more topspin and he’s
got tons of speed to burn, he’s a powerful guy. So he just swings another 20 miles an hour
faster and he gets tons of speed. So if you can do that, that’s great, semi-western
is a great way to do it. If you can create all your own speed, nothing
wrong with doing that with a semi-western grip and getting a lot of spin on there. If you’re an older player, maybe feel a
little bit weaker, you can get a little bit more power, and a little bit more penetrating
shots with that eastern forehand grip. Now the second thing here is it’s going
to teach us to use our wrists properly as we’re doing this motion. Every professional player, every great player
has learned how to get the wrist to snap upward. I mentioned this in a lot of other videos,
about how we’re going to turn a doorknob. Feeling like you’re grabbing a circular
doorknob and turning it to the left, that’s what’s happening as you’re creating topspin
and that snap, as you’re coming through contact. And that’s with any type of grip that you
use. And with an eastern grip, you’re not going
to be able to kind of cheat and just do that with your arm to create all the topspin, you’re
going to have to use the wrist a little bit more to learn how to create your own topspin. So it’s not going to be as easy. If we go
all the way to a full Western, which would be like the hand completely underneath. I’ll see some people doing this every once
and a while. Now I don’t have to use my wrist at all,
I just can kind of do this chopping motion to get the topspin. It will create topspin, but we’re really
never learning how to get that speed and that snap from the wrist which we see in all good
players. So we start out with that eastern, now I’m
having my hand turned over, I’m going to have to create my own topspin. I’m going to have to learn how to get that
ball to turn down by using my wrist rather than just using overall motion of my arm. So those are the two things. A little bit more power, and you’re going
to have to learn to use the racket properly to create that topspin. Now from there, once you’ve done that, you
can play great tennis with either one. You can play great with an eastern or a semi-western. Tons of great players playing with either
one. Go ahead and try the semi-western at that
point. Once you learn to create your own topspin
with an eastern, switch over to semi-western, try it out. If you like it better, if you’ve got power
to burn, if you really want those shots to dive down in the court, go ahead and go to
semi-western and you’ll play great. So practice these grips out, do some drills,
and I’ll see you guys soon. All right, so finally let me go ahead and
give you a couple drills to really get familiar with these grips and start practicing them
on your own. First let’s start out with the eastern grip. I’ll go ahead and start with my knuckle
on bevel number three, or on the side of the racket. I’m going to hit three different height
shots. My first shot, I want the ball to clear the
net by maybe a foot to two feet. I’m going to try to hit that nice and firm,
and land down in the court. I got a little bit high, I didn’t get it
nice and deep into the court. So you’re just going to practice that out,
that one was much better. Until you hit about, maybe 15 or 20 reps,
getting those nice, low shots. After that, we’re going to kick it up a
notch and go a little bit higher. Now as I’m going higher, and wanting to
clear that net by more, I’m going to have to create more topspin with my wrist. That’s the second motion I was talking about
earlier in the video. So here you feel like your racket is lagging
down, and then you’re letting it kick up. This is a windshield wiper motion, and as
it’s kicking up, it’s kicking up and forward just like this. So we’re feeling like we’re taking a doorknob
and turning it to the left. As I do this, I can start to clear the net
by a little bit more, and the ball is going to still dive down into the court. So now, I’m going to try to clear the net
by maybe three feet, two to four feet, in that zone. That was even a little bit higher, but I still
landed in the court, so that was good. Another 20 shots doing that, 20 sucessful
shots. Finally we’re going to really turn it up,
still keeping this eastern grip, and really get that racket to snap vertically. I’m going to fill like my racket is going
straight up and down, and I’m going to get a lot of topspin. On this one I’m going to try to clear the
net by maybe seven or eight feet, just like that one, and still get that to turn down
into the court. So we can see I’m generating that topspin
with my wrist. Now from there, another 20 repetitions, then
you can switch over to the semi-western. You’re going to feel an immediate difference
because now my racket is going to be turn down much more, and I’m going to try and
do the same thing. You’ll see that I have difficulty hitting
those more penetrating shots. I naturally want to swing much more up on
the ball and get more spin. So try out all three of those again. 20 low
shots, 1 or 2 feet over the net, 20 mid shots, 2 to 4 feet over the next, and 20 high shots
getting 4 foot plus over the net, maybe even 7 or 8 feet using that semi-western, and you’ll
definitely feel the differences. You’ll start to get some more awareness
of how that changes up your spin and your speed as you’re doing these grips. Go ahead and practice those drills, they’re
going to give you a better awareness of where your grip is. It’s going to help you to control your penetrating
shots, your more spinning shots, and you’re going to just do better overall forehand. So good luck, and I’ll see you guys soon. All right, so I hope you guys really enjoyed
this video, if you did I have a great bonus for you all. It’s going to be a video from the Topspin
Forehand series. We’re going to have five individual videos
talking about how you can really maximize that topspin. We’re going to go into much more detail
how to use the wrist like I mentioned in this one. And I’m going to play a preview from one
of those videos from this series in just a second. If you want to see that entire video plus
that entire series, just click the link that’s in the bottom of your screen or down below
in the description. You’ll get access to the entire series free
of charge. If you have any questions post them in the
comments below. If you enjoyed this video click the like button,
and remember to subscribe to this channel. That way as we come out with new videos you’ll
be notified. So good luck to you guys, good luck to that
forehand, and I’ll see you all soon. …and make this L-type motion with our arms. Then the racket needs to be pointed out at
basically a 45° angle. The racket is going to be at a 45°, and the
tip of the racket from the butt end, will be pointing right over towards 3:00. That’s the first motion we want to get into. As we’re loading up the racket tip is going
to be pointing out towards 3:00 and at about a 45° angle. Now the second move is where really the magic
starts to happen, and that’s the loading of the forearms. This is called a stretch-shortening cycle. Any time you’re going to have a lot of power
and fire your muscles with good speed and good power, we need to first stretch those
muscles and then fire them. So what’s going to happen here from this
first move, we’re now going to make a motion which will be very similar to turning a doorknob
to the right with your wrist. As we’re doing the first motion, first piece
here, racket’s out to the right. Now as I’m coming back I want to go ahead
and turn my hand to the right as though it’s a doorknob. I’m going to do this until the tip of my
racket now instead of pointing at 3:00 is all the way back to about 7:30. Now don’t
mistake this with your…

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Dennis Veasley

100 thoughts on “Best Tennis Grip? Eastern Vs. Semi Western (Top Speed Tennis)”

  1. Hey Clay: As usual your tips are very clear and assertive. Now I have a proposition for you abusing your kindness. Could you tell us the relation between the angle of the racquet head the different grips and the resulting trajectory of the ball. I consider it of utmost importance to really understand the handling of the racquet. Thanks you very much Clay.

  2. Thx for the vid Top Speed. I been playing eastern all my life but a few days ago I video taped my hitting session and I noticed I go very low to high and I don't hit through the ball unless I get a fast paced lower ball hit to me. Then I flatten out my stroke with good technique and hit a real nice penetrating shot. I started hitting the semi western 4 months ago and I agree with you saying learn the eastern first cause I picked up the semi western very quickly. I found using the semi W actually allows me to hit less low to high, like the shot I hit with my eastern against fast paced lower shots at me. Put away shots from short balls or sitters is a good example of hitting less low to high with semi western. The only way I hit fast paced ground strokes with an eastern forehand with hitting more through the ball and not so much low to high is if I step a few more feet behind the baseline and let the ball drop into my contact point. But if I stand closer to the baseline I have to use the low to high swing with correct technique but I like hitting more through the ball and the semi western seems to be the answer. What's your thoughts on this? Thanks

  3. Hi, Thank you for another good video you offer. I'm wondering if it is recommendable to mix up with two grips depending on the situation if I can handle.

  4. I'm wondering how you hit a shot where the ball is at about shoulder length. The grips work well for low to high but I'm having problems with the ball when it comes at shoulder height (or a little less).

  5. hey I have a semi western grip and I was wondering how my backswing should go? Like what's the proper way? Just go straight back or sorta flick the wrist a little to the left a little so you go to the right when you get

  6. I put my hand on the bevel to the right of the big top one when the racket is flat facing the ground. I guess that's semi western, I was told to use that to help my topspin and I guess it works. I always struggle for consistent contact when I play, I've been putting in lots of hard work. Regionals is coming up so I'm watching as many of your videos as possible to improve my game

  7. Wow, so that's why some of my shots seemed to just snap down into the court and some landed deeper.
    I tend to adjust which grip I'm using in the middle of a drill or something, which explains a lot. I need to get a grip and stick with it because I hover in between a semi western and an eastern.
    Thanks a lot for the advice.

  8. Helped me a lot! I'm playing a E/SW grip (3.5 bevel) but my strokes are too deep (it's awesome sometimes) but it do often go out the line. So the current grip to me is great for double match but in 1vs1 I need more consistent strokes, especially in long and tiring match. After watching your video I will change a bit to SW grip and wait for improvement in my 1vs1 matches! Clay~

  9. Definitely noticed I have more control with the semi-western. Even if it seems counterintuitive at first. But switching all the way to a continental grip for backhand shots is really annoying, whereas it felt natural from my eastern forehand.

  10. Ignore this coach, he hasn't got a clue what he's talking about.

    Federer has a semi western grip not eastern

    I also a coach.

    Proper grips are as follows; Eastern: bevel 1, Semi Western: bevel 2, Western: bevel 3 Extreme western: bevel 4

    Continental is for backhand, bevel 8, and also used for serving by some pros.

  11. im playing with a semi-western since the time i started to play tennis(10 years ago)and i believe everybody should start with one of these grips and never chance them because then you will lose the control of the balls

  12. I'm beginner.. Struggling to place the ball on to the other court.. Saw ur video and immediately applied ur tips in the court.. My surprise, i could straight way place the ball right and play easily.. Thnx so much..

  13. eastern grip is hard for me to work with , the ball mostly goes out of the court. semi western grip works for me, gives better control but sometimes hard on the wrist , still working on the technique. I have been playing for 2 years so just getting the hang of it right now haha. western grip is my secret lethal weapon, put enough force it drives and ends a rally.

  14. Superb video, Clay. Thanks for posting! I learnt more from this video than I have from three hours of private instruction. The wrist movement, the grip, the motion of the racket all make sense now. Quick question: should the feel of the racket as you strike the ball be different with different grips? at some point does one of these grips feel more natural to the player? thanks again!

  15. Hey buddy I've been playing tennis for 20 years , the most impressive video I never watch the net explaining the mechanics of the grips congratulations you're very talented

  16. Hey buddy I've been playing tennis for 20 years , the most impressive video I never watch the net explaining the mechanics of the grips congratulations you're very talented

  17. Great video. I play at a low level and one situation I commonly come across in my games are opponents who hit slow, short, high-bouncing balls (the type I feel almost obliged to hit hard back and punish). But I frequently hit these shorts balls long by trying to put too much power into my return. I use an eastern grip for most forehand ground strokes, but for this type of scenario (short, high-bouncing ball) would I better to switch to a semi-western to give me a better chance of pulling the ball down into the court with topspin? Thanks

  18. The #1 reason to use an eastern forehand grip: Federer and Sampras, the two greatest players to ever pick up a racquet, used an eastern forehand grip. Great video, thanks.

  19. Is top spin really a product of grip form or follow-through? Gasquet pretty much uses a continental grip n generates good topspin

  20. wrist motion can cause tennis elbow people!!! Dumb people who follows his instruction you will end up using strength on your arm and end up injuring yourself….. adjust your wrist and elbow out and pratice swing first… Don't use your wrist…

  21. if you are an advance player, is it still advisable to switch to a new grip a part from what you got right now?

  22. I have been playing tennis for 10 years and I started with an eastern grip however for the past 7 years or so I have been using a semi western grip

  23. I've been playing for a year no one has told me what position to hold my grip in but I guess I just naturally learned to play a semi western and how to snap

  24. If you can generate plenty of power than you need to consider other things than that in order to decide what grip to use. You have to think about do you want the grip that is best for high balls or low, for return of serve or putting away high bouncing slow balls. I personally can't stand having a good rally, taking control of the point and then when they just barely get back a loopy high ball deep, I would have a harder time with it than the previous much harder hit shots. The best grip for slow high bouncing balls is an extreme western grip. And then for balls I have to really reach for either out wide or short I switch to continental. I find going back and forth is no problem at all. For return of serve I can do one or the other, depending on the type of serve. Of course Federer, Sampras and Lendl handled those slow loopy balls well enough with an eastern.

  25. Great explaination for your video. I use to play with continental and eastern grip and now i'm trying to switch to semi western and i just feel awkward on holding it and playing for my forehand

  26. I think most lower-level players should use Eastern or Extreme Eastern. None should use full Western. Some should use Semi-Western. But I think Eastern or Extreme Eastern is the best choice for "lower" level players.

  27. Nadal uses a Western grip, not a semi-Western. I think most professionals use a Western grip which is rarely practical for amateur players given the strain it puts on the wrist and the time it takes to develop.

  28. Possibly the single most instructive exposition on here on the forehand: just the right amount of detail on what to do and why to do it (which is only ever rarely explained elsewhere) – it was all I need to cure my forehand of beginner ills! THANK YOU!

  29. thank you for the vid but correct me if i am wrong. The continental grip is between the eastern- usually referred as the backhand grip- and the semi-western- often termed as the forehand grip- grip. Therefore bevel no 1 – where the bottom knuckle of the index finger as well as the heel of the hand is placed -should be representing the eastern grip.

  30. 4:25 I thought that Nadal would have used a Full Western grip! I know Jack Sock uses the Full Western grip and that is how he generates tons of spin. So does Nadal use a Semi-Western or Full Western grip?

  31. Hi Clay, great video. Does an Eastern grip promote a more extended swing than a semi Western grip? I use semi western but get too much top spin almost and find that instead of extending my arm, tend to swing from the elbow. I've experimented with Eastern and seem to hit it better and fuller.

  32. Which grip does Berdych use? It’s definitely not as extreme as Nadal’s semi western grip but not eastern. Not strong eastern either??

  33. I needed this esp now that I am playing Mix Doubles Social comp (2 doubles n 1 singles) each week and from time to time I test myself at Advance Singles Social.

  34. I always use a continental grip for all of my shots. In order to get topspin I rotate my forearm a little to get an angle similar with what you would get with a semi-western grip. Do you think I should correct that and adjust my grip? If I want to hit a defensive shot – deep and high – I just adjust my forehand and change my swing path and make it more vertical. Do you think this will limit me? Is this a bad practice?

  35. Super video! what I recognised on court with other players – people use the semi western or even the full western because they think they play better then… but as you mentioned in the video it's difficult to add length to the shot. If you are using or wanna change to semi or full western grip make sure you swing to the ball not just brushing the ball. If you focus on adding drive to the shots you're going to be successful with semi or full western if not you will loose length in your shots.

  36. How come pros don’t learn both and use both to optimize effectiveness on different courts surfaces and on certain players

  37. eastern grip requires way more skill, timing and focus to play modern day tennis. It would be great to see more top players using it to finish points faster.

  38. Great video! I’m new to your channel but great info. Do you have anything on footwork? Setting up a shot? Thanks again!

  39. Eastern best for mature doubles because you need to react fast and won't get overpowered with deep topspin shots.

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