Choosing the correct tennis grip will effect your game tremendously. Have you ever watched Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal? Their ground strokes look nothing alike, but they are both amazing players with different styles of tennis. This guide will teach you how to grip your tennis racket and hit the ball with fewer errors and higher level of consistency. Once you have these fundamentals down, you will easily be able to change between grips depending on what type of shot you wish to hit.

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The handle on a racket is octangular, which means it has eight sides. How to know what is the number one bevel is grab the racket when it is perpendicular to the ground, and the number one bevel is the one on top. If that is confusing, it will be shown in a picture right down below to help you. On a tennis racket, each side of this shape is called a bevel, so there are eight bevels all in all. When discussing grips on a tennis racket, most people tell you to use the base of your knuckle on your index finger. That knuckle is what you put on whichever bevel the article is referring to, while the rest of your hand just grips the racket comfortably around that.

Continental grip

This grip is also called the chopper grip and your knuckle rests on the second bevel. It is an easy grip to obtain because it looks like you are using the racket as an axe. This is a grip commonly taught to beginners of the game that allows players to do every shot with this one grip. It does not allow that much topspin to be put on the ball, but is a very versatile grip. Players in the old day used to use this grip for all of their shots because most people sliced the ball back then. Players nowadays use it for slices, volleys, serves, and overheads. This is a grip taught to everyone and should be used by everyone.

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Eastern forehand grip

Another way to grip a tennis racket is to use the eastern forehand grip. In this grip, your knuckle is resting on the third bevel of the racket, which is shown above. With this shot, you will be able to drive through the ball with your forehand and hit it hard, but it will be more difficult putting topspin on the ball, so many of your shots might go out without enough practice. Roger Federer and Pete Sampras used a modified version of this grip, but the days of this grip are almost completely gone thanks to the need of more topspin.

Semi-Western forehand grip

This is the most popular tennis grip on the professional tour, and the one I currently use. It is used by placing your knuckle on the fourth bevel, and the best hitting range for this grip on your tennis racket is between your waist and shoulder. You can hit flat with this, but not as flat as the eastern grip, and with a lot of topspin, though not as much as the full western. I would recommend this grip to everybody because it is a good beginning point for beginning to intermediate players to decide on what their game is like and what grip to ultimately choose.

Western forehand grip

You guessed right, you put you knuckle on the fifth bevel for this grip. This is the most extreme grip to hit your forehand with and creates a ton of topspin. The preferred hitting range for this grip is around your shoulder. If you want to see what this grip looks like, watch 10 seconds of Rafael Nadal and you will get the picture. The problem with this grip is it hard to flatten out the ball and low balls can be challenging to get under.

Two-handed backhand grip

I definitely suggest hitting with a two-handed backhand starting out. It is easier to learn right and what the majority of the pros use. You can create more pace and power than hitting with a one-handed backhand. I am going to assume you are right-handed. Place your right index finger knuckle on the second bevel and your left hand index finger knuckle should be on the seventh bevel. You might want to move this around based on what feels right and is most effective for you before deciding on how to grip your tennis racket.

Eastern backhand grip

How to grip a tennis racket for a one-handed backhand would be to put your right index knuckle on the top bevel. It is harder to create pace and power with a one-handed backhand, but it does offer a lot of different options, so I recommend trying it once you have a grasp on hitting the two-handed backhand.

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My recommendation

I recommend to you starting with a semi-western forehand and a two-handed backhand. These are both solid foundations to learn your strokes on and you can change from there. I currently play with a Wilson Kblade 98 and am a 4.5. I love the game of tennis and highly recommend it to anyone that wants to get physically active and in shape. Learn how to grip a tennis racket, and you already have the foundation down to start playing the game.