Tennis Western Forehand Grip | Complete Guide

This extreme grip is gaining in popularity with players of all levels. The game has become much more competitive making players evolve to hitting harder and more aggressive shots from the baseline. Coupled with the advancement of tennis gear technology; rackets, strings and balls, this extreme grip became a feasible option. The Western grip can impart unprecedented amounts of topspin onto the ball changing how the game can be played.

The Western grip is considered an extreme grip considering not too far in the past, the most effective grip was the Continental grip. This was when the main style of play was a lot on service and volleying. Trickery and touch was the aim of the game. But with the game becoming more competitive and tennis gear technology advanced to allow a more aggressive and powerful game, the Continental grip became outdated and unfeasible as a groundstroke grip.

How The Western Grip is Held:

The Advantages of the Western Grip

The most significant benefit would be the ability to generate massive amounts of spin with this grip. If your style of play is to grind and hit heavy spin balls from the back of the court, this grip might be suitable for you!

With such spin, players can confidently rip the ball with a good amount of racquet head speed and the ball will still dip back into the court. Really good net clearance can be achieved, making your game a whole lot more consistent thus forcing your opponent to take more risk since you are not likely to give away cheap points.

Topspin can be tricky to receive. Especially if it clears the net high, this causes the ball to bounce really high. Together with the top spin, the ball really “jumps/accelerates” off the ground making it hard to judge and hence tough to retaliate. Naturally your opponent will either be forced a couple of meters behind the baseline or step in to take your shot early before it gains too much air. Both of which you have forced your opponent out of his comfort zone which is a very good thing!

Lastly, high balls are no longer difficult to receive!

Drawbacks of the Western Grip

If the Semi-Western grip takes a while to transition into a Continental grip when rushing up to the net, the Western grip will take even longer. But just the same, with enough practice this drawback can be easily overcome.

Low balls now become a nightmare to receive, especially if your opponent hits really flat shots or has a good slice that skims the courts a few inches from the ground. You may be forced to slice back, use an alternate grip or if you have biceps the size of Nadal’s you could probably whip the living daylights out of the ball and send it back with massive pace and spin.

Should I Use this Grip?

The Western grip may be difficult and unnatural for a beginner due to how it is held and how the racquet head faces.

It’s clear, having watched Jack Sock play over the years, that he is a very fit and strong athlete.  His strength allows him to play using a Western Grip, without the worry of injury.  Furthermore, timing is also key to playing a successful Western Grip forehand and without these elements in place, problems, such as wrist injuries can occur.  The majority of tennis related wrist injuries, in a study conducted by Dr. Alberto Stefano Tagliafico, were from players using the Western Grip.

It’s certainly not the easiest grip to use but if performed correctly, it can be devastating.

Like any grip, there is no one “best” grip. Do experiment with different grip and find a suitable fit. 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 looking how to do a tennis forehand shot, you are in luck! We have done up a simple video to teach you the basics of a tennis forehand groundstroke and tips on how to practice it on your own.

If you like such content, we have more tips for you on our Banana Tennis YouTube Channel.


  1. Venkat Reddy on 18/05/2016 at 5:20 pm

    I prefer Western Grip mostly as major players do while playing on courts. I love the way you explained the overall benefits and drawbacks of it.

    • Itsmejoel on 18/05/2016 at 5:44 pm

      I personally use the semi western grip as I like the flatter rout.
      Thanks for reading =)