The frying pan grip or the pancake grip, the Semi-Western grip has become one of the most popular grips today. It allows you to hit aggressively with good topspin and net clearance that allows for high consistency play.
I personally use this grip. As stated above it allows for good topspin generation and forward pace through the shot. However, I started off with a Western grip and changed to an Eastern grip and finally settled into the Semi-Western grip. Transitioning from grip to grip to a lot of time and not recommended if you have a tournament coming up.
This allowed me to experiment and decide on which grip suited my personality and style of play.
How the Semi-Western is Held:
Advantages of the Semi-Western Grip
Being in between the Eastern and Western grips, it allows for more spin than the Eastern and more forward pace than the Western grip.
The great benefit of using the semi-western forehand grip, is that it provides a greater margin of error than many of the other grips in tennis. The natural angle at which you will strike the ball when using this grip, will impart much heavier top spin on the ball than other grips, such as the eastern forehand. The racquet face will naturally be slightly closed, so when the ball comes into contact with the racquet on the upswing, the strings will brush up and over the ball and naturally apply topspin without much effort.
The semi-western forehand grip, will send the ball over the net at a higher trajectory, meaning the chances of the ball hitting the net and you losing the point are reduced. The top spin on the ball, brings it back down and ensures that it still lands inside the court, despite comfortably clearing the net.
You will also find, that it’s easier to deal with high balls using the semi-western forehand grip.
Drawbacks of the Semi-Western Grip
Returning low balls, can be a problem while using the semi-western forehand grip. Low balls, shots that are barely off the ground, can be tricky since the face of the racquet is already slightly closed. Players will have to adapt and change in accordance to the situation, be it going for side spin hook shot or deciding to slice or change to a more neutral grip like the eastern to flatten out the shot.
In addition to this, it can be difficult to move in to the net and play a volley when using this grip. The transition back to Continental grip after hitting an approach shot may take some time for a beginner but with practice this drawback can be rather easily overcome.
The red arrow is is how the racket should rest in your palm, from the base to the index knuckle, diagonally across the palm. (Not like holding a bicycle handle, straight across). The type of grip is determined by which bevel the right index knuckle base is on.
Should I Use this Grip?
As with any grip, what feels comfortable for one player, may feel uncomfortable for the next. That being said, it’s worth practicing using a semi-western forehand grip, as it will allow you to stay in points consistently. Furthermore, as players are hitting the ball with increased top spin in the modern game, this grip will allow you to join them.
Give it a try and see how it compares with other grips you know, both in terms of the grip itself and the shots you can play when using it. In all honestly, there will be situations where you would have to change to a different grip just to hit a particular shot, so there is no “best” grip.
Novak Djokovic uses this grip. Probably the most used grip today. It allows for pace and spin. In between the eastern and western grip. Natural contact point is between the waist and shoulder.
It would be best to work with a tennis coach regarding this and have him or her assess you and provide specific instructions. If you are in Singapore, Banana Tennis provides tennis lessons for all tennis levels for both kids and adults. If are non in Singapore, check our our tennis forehand page to learn how to do the shot and some tips on how to practice by yourself.
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