Are you still using that old school tennis grip, the Continental? If so, it’s time to make a change to a more classic grip -- the Eastern. While the Continental grip may have been popular back in the '70s in the days of wood rackets, today’s game requires a more versatile grip. Whether you’re a Nestie tennis newbie or an advanced women's league player, the Eastern grip is worth a try. The advantages of the grip just might take your game to the next level.
Easy to Learn
One of the biggest advantages of the Eastern grip is that most beginners find it easier to learn. If you place your palm on the strings, slide your hand down the racket's shaft to the handle and then wrap your fingers around the grip, you'll be holding the racket with an Eastern forehand grip. Note how most of your hand is on the side of the grip. In this position your wrist and hand are in a natural alignment with the racket. This allows you a better feel for the angle of the racket's head. Unlike the Continental forehand grip, which requires a strong forearm and excellent timing, the Eastern forehand grip is more comfortable and provides more support when hitting incoming balls.
Some grips are better suited for a particular type of surface. While the Continental grip is most effective on grass courts, the Eastern grip is effective on all court surfaces. And, when it comes to spin, it's harder to hit topspin when you use a Continental grip. With the Eastern grip, forehand or backhand, not only can you effectively hit topspin, you can also hit flat and slice strokes. The Eastern grip also allows you to flatten out your strokes with pace -- especially when hitting low, passing shots.
High Bounce Advantage
The grip you use also dictates the best height, in relation to the court's surface, for contacting the ball. The Continental is a good grip to use to hit low bouncing balls, but today's game is played with a ton of spin, which results in higher bouncing balls. With the stability of an Eastern forehand or backhand grip, you're able to handle a wider range of heights.
Two-Handed Backhand Advantage
You've several grip combinations when it comes to hitting a two-handed backhand. One of the more commonly used combinations is with your dominant hand using a Continental grip and your non-dominant hand using an Eastern forehand grip -- as if you're hitting a forehand with your non-dominant hand. The non-dominant hand actually plays a more dominant role when you hit with two hands. The biggest advantage of the Eastern grip is to get your non-dominant squarely behind the racket's handle to generate both power and racket head acceleration.
- Bollettieri Classic Tennis Handbook; Nick Bollettieri
- The Tennis Server; Turbo Tennis; Ron Waite
- David De Lossy/Photodisc/Getty Images