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Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Coaches Q and A: What Grips Do You Teach?

Today Harold Solomon of the Harold Solomon Tennis Institute in Fort Lauderdale, Florida discusses his views on the grips that will enhance a player's long term development.

At the Harold Solomon Tennis Institute. we think it is really important to work with students from an early age to master the grips that will help them become successful tennis players in the future. Let me say that there have obviously been many successful players who have not used conventional grips on all of their shots but these players are the exception rather then the rule.

We prefer to teach the semi-western grip on the forehand. This grip allows the player to either hit with top spin or flatten out the shot for more penetration. This grip promotes more of an attacking style of play. You will see many clay court players use more of a Western grip, which helps on a slower surface and allows the player to have increased spin and margin of error on their shots. A downside of the Western grip is that it is more difficult to hit sliced balls and balls on surfaces such as grass.

On the two-handed backhand, we teach a Continental grip with the right hand and a semi-Western to Eastern grip with the left hand. This allows the player the ability to drop the racket head under the ball and get the necessary spin and penetration on the shot. It's important to remember that women tend to hit the ball flatter than the guys so their left hand would probably be closer to the eastern grip. On the one-handed backhand, we prefer our students hit with a full Eastern backhand grip which allows the student to get their hand and wrist behind the ball. This grip needs to be shifted to a Continental grip for slices.

On serves, volleys, and overheads we teach the Continental grip. Young students may have trouble at first serving with this grip, so we will at times allow them to start with a Eastern forehand grip and gradually move it over as they get stronger. On the forehand volley the grip remains the same but players will shift the racket a bit so that they get the palm of their hand more behind the racket.

We think that the grips we teach here will allow the students to maximize their potential. Bad grips or incorrect grips on shots have the potential of severely retarding the growth of students and should be discouraged.

Do you have a question for Andy Brandi or Harold Solomon? If so, please send it to clewis[at]zootennis[dot]com with the phrase Coaches Q and A in the subject line.


Tom C said...

Hi Colette,
Any word on who won the USTA COSAT playoff this past weekend in Boca... Zandrix Acob , Jordan Belga,Jared Donaldson,Christian Garay,
Timmy Kane,Daniel Kerznerman, Carter Lin and
Noah Rubin were to participate. Thanks

Amtex said...

Don't agree at all. The grips can be a highly individualized thing, there is no set answer. I have seen coaches at IMG and Rick Macci just tell the kids to hit the ball hard or with topspin or soft or whatever. They let the grip be what it is and focus on the result. They almost never change a grip. The kids naturally develop various grips....and almost all of them naturally end up close to a semi western on forehands with a few Nadal type westerns. The serves are gradually moved to the 'hammer' grip, the easiest way to explain it to a kid.