Everything You Need to Know About the Western Forehand Grip in 2021.
The Full Western Grip has been described as one of the most difficult grips to use for recreational tennis players in comparison to the other grips.
Although some professional tennis players the Western Forehand use it, using it effectively requires lots of tennis playing and meticulously practicing because it needs excellent timing and precision.
There is probably no grip in the game that can provide more spin than the Western Forehand. It requires a great deal of skill to master.
This article will serve as a step-by-step guide that will walk through the essentials of the Western Forehand Grip.
You’ll get a tutorial on how to use it, as well as highlighting the advantages and disadvantages.
History of the Western Forehand
Around a century ago, the Continental Grip was the grip of the go-to sport used by almost all tennis players in the game.
Because the game had a much slower pace at that time and simple equipment, there wasn’t a great deal of need to switch this technique up.
However, as the game has started to become a lot more competitive, there has been a natural evolution away from the ultra-conservative Continental Grip into the rather extreme variation that is the Western Grip.
Consequently, the Western Grip has become one of the most popular grips, as it offers the perfect amount of spin when hitting the ball, desired by both recreational players and professional players alike.
Kei Nishikori is one example of a professional tennis player who makes strong use of the Full Western Grip.
This type of grip has increased in popularity among players across all age ranges, and ability levels as the game of tennis has progressed and shifted towards centering around hard-hitting baseline rallies.
How to hold a Western Grip
For casual tennis matches, the grip Western Grip is a difficult grip to use.
Some professionals do use it; however, beginner players will not be so inclined to use it because of the precision, accuracy, and perfect timing required to execute it successfully.
Additionally, the fact that this grip has the most spin of any grip in tennis makes it more challenging to employ.
Beginner players should start working with an Eastern or Semi-Western grip at first to develop their game.
When these grips have been mastered, it is best to work towards a Full Western Grip. However, the most important thing to keep in mind is that the grip used should be what feels most comfortable for the individual player.
To achieve a Full Western Grip, the player must hold the racket at the neck of the racket with the left hand, with the strings facing down, to achieve a full western grip.
The side of the racket must be gripped.
When contacting the ball on the forehand with a Full Western Grip, the hand will be under the racket, with the palm facing upwards.
Below is a step-by-step guide that explains exactly how to go about using the Western Grip.
- Begin by using an Eastern Grip to hold the racket.
- Relax the grip and switch the racket counterclockwise until the tip of the racket points to 11 o’clock.
- Left-handed players can turn their racket clockwise to the 1 o’clock position. This grip is also known as a Semi-Western grip.
- Follow the same technique for a Full Western Grip, but rotate the top of the racket until it points to the 10 o’clock position, or “2 o’clock” for left-handed players.
- Spread the fingertips around the handle and slightly space them out
- The V should be pointing to the right (or left), and the thumb should be resting over the top of the handle.
Advantages of the Full Western Grip
There are plenty of benefits that using a Full Western Grip can bring to a game, all of which will be pointed out below.
For players who want to develop a hard baseline play with large groundstrokes and a lot of topspin, the Full Western Grip could be the best grip.
- Easy Topspin Generation: His grip has the ability to produce significant amounts of topspin, which is useful because it helps you to hit the ball powerfully while still holding it in play and not out of bounds.
- Good net clearance: being able to travel over the net without hitting it is a real advantage of using this grip as making your game a lot more consistent, thus forcing your opponent to take more risk since you are not likely to give away cheap points.
- The fast and high ball bounces: due to the momentum that this grip can provide, this can make the ball bounce high and fast, which will be difficult for an opponent to manage
- Easier contact point: as the contact point for this grip is further out in front of the player; some may find this grip much more comfortable and easier to maneuver
Drawbacks of the Full Western Grip
Unfortunately, while the Full Western Grip can be an outstanding grip, as highlighted above, it does have some disadvantages.
It is important to be aware of these downfalls, as this will help the player assess whether it is better not to use it in a particular situation.
- Difficult to switch: changing from a Full Western Grip to the Continental Grip used for slice shots and volleys, for example, can be difficult because it requires the player to move the racket in his or her hand a bit, which can cause control issues
- Longer switch time: when running up to the net, the Semi-Western grip takes a while to turn into a Continental grip, but the Western grip takes much longer.
- Not suitable for beginners: because of the difficulty of this transition, this grip can be too complicated for inexperienced players. However, most players will grow used to the change over time.
- Low bounce potential: when using this grip, there is the potential for players to strike a tennis ball with a low bounce, which can hurt their gameplay and offer an opportunity for the opponent to win the point.
Should I Use a Western Grip?
The Full Western Forehand grip can be a good option for certain players, but it is mainly advantageous for the more experienced players.
For novice tennis players, it is best, to begin with the Eastern or Semi-Western grip and work their way up to the Full Western grip if it feels more relaxed.
Unfortunately, there is no one-size-fits-all solution for which grip a player should use.
However, by practicing and becoming more agile, it will become much easier to find a grip that fits your playing style.
The Different Types of Forehand Grips in Tennis
There are many options for gripping the racket on forehand shots. Every tennis player will have their own preferences, based on what feels most natural and comfortable.
Roger Federer employs an Eastern grip, while Nadal employs a Semi-Western grip.
This choice is solely based on personal opinion, but most recreational players with strong forehands will tend to use an Eastern or Semi-Western grip.
The Octagonal Handle
To better understand the types of grip in tennis, it is crucial first to understand that the grip of a racket has 8 sides, otherwise known as an octagonal shape.
A square shaped handle would be painful to the hand, while a circular shape would not have enough friction to achieve arm grip, which explains why this octagonal shape is used.
The eight sides of the handle are known as bevel and are numbered from 1 to 8. If the racket blade is perpendicular to the floor, the bevel pointing up is bevel number 1.
Spinning the racket clockwise, the next bevel face up is bevel number 2 for right-handed players, and counterclockwise for left-handed players, and so on until all 8 bevels are found.
What Type of Forehand Grip is Best?
The Eastern Forehand Grip is a type of grip used on the forehand.
It was the most traditional tennis forehand grip in the past.
The Eastern Forehand grip is now used by Roger Federer and many other professional tennis players. It is a preferred choice as it enables a strong balance of power and spin on your forehand.
The dominant hand should be stretched out to use the Eastern grip, with the palm facing up.
Then, the racket should be held with the strings facing up. Close the fist around the grip, creating the Eastern forehand grip.
When in the ready position, the palm should be on the side of the grip, with the strings facing to the side.
The Semi-Western grip is the most traditional forehand grip. In the professional tennis world, Andy Murry and Rafael Nadal have some of the best Semi-Western forehands.
For players who want more spin than an Eastern grip can give, the Semi-Western is a good option to take.
To use this grip, start with the hand on the right side of the handle as if using an Eastern grip. The index knuckle and heel pad should be placed on bevel number 4 for a Semi-Western grip.It is the go-to grip for new tennis players who are still working on their groundstrokes.
To conclude, the Western Forehand Grip has come under the spotlight, garnering attention from professional and expert tennis players.
Although it is an excellent grip to use, as it can generate hefty topspin, it can be difficult to use, especially for beginners.
However, it is definitely an important grip to have on the radar as you progress throughout your tennis career.