A Complete Overview of The Semi-Western Forehand Grip

3 replies
  1. Hein Beek
    Hein Beek says:

    I have used the continental grip for over 15 years. Now Iwant to add more power and spin to my strokes. Is it difficult to learn the semi Western? Any experiences from other players?

    • TennisCompanion
      TennisCompanion says:

      Hey Hein,

      Great question! The quick answer is yes, it can be challenging for a player to move from one grip to another. In your case moving from a continental grip to a semi-western grip will feel like a pretty extreme shift, however if you’re committed to changing it’s worth the effort.

      Here are a few suggestions to help in the change:

      • Identify your goal(s). What are the top 1-3 reasons for shifting from a continental grip to a semi-western grip? Identify them and then write them down. As silly as this may sound, identifying goals and writing them down have been shown to significantly increase the likelihood of achieving the desired result.
      • Fully commit yourself to the change. One of the biggest pitfalls I’ve seen with players that try to change grips is that they give up and revert to their old ways before the’ve even really given themselves a chance to succeed. Once you decide to make the change, commit yourself to sticking with and don’t let yourself revert to your old grip.
      • Practice, a lot. You’re going to need some time to adjust to the new grip and there’s no better cure than to practice with the new grip. If you’re a recreational player and you just play pickup matches with friends, make a point to go out and practice only hitting with your new grip. A patient friend and a basket of balls can go a long way.
      • Get a coach. If possible, work with a tennis instructor on the change. It is extremely hard to self correct and to get a sense for what you might be going wrong when you’re trying to make the switch. Little tweaks and helpful advice from an expert will go a long way.
      • Think about timing. If you have a match or tournament coming up in the next few weeks consider postponing the change until after. You’ll likely want to be at your best and you may find yourself frustrated playing with a new grip and you’ll be more likely to revert to your old habits.
      • Be patient. The change won’t happen over night or after a few practice sessions, however if you have well defined goals for why you want to shift and you’re committed the change it will be well worth the effort
      • Have fun with it. You’re going to hit some epic shanks and initially you’ll probably look pretty silly hitting. It’s all part of the process… so do your best to enjoy it. After all, it’s tennis!

      Hopefully that helps, but please feel free to follow up with any additional questions you might have. If you decide to move forward with the change, good luck!

      All the best,


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