View Full Version : Player height and grip choice

07-14-2009, 06:19 PM
I'm 5ft 7inches tall and find that when I play with younger players I'm always hitting balls around my shoulders. I used to play an eastern forehand, dappled in the semi-western for those high balls, and now dwell in the purgatory between those two grips. I think I'll commit to the semi-western just because I don't think I can be competitive otherwise against those type of players that kick it up out of my strike zone. I think I'm more comfortable in general with the eastern forehand on balls of reasonable height, and I wonder if I were 5 inches taller if it would be feasible to keep the eastern. So, should a players height be a factor in choosing their grip? I'm 36 and looking to stay competitive with the young 4.5's in the area. Help!

07-14-2009, 06:26 PM
With all due respect, if you're still strugging with what grip you should be using on your strokes, I can't see how you're possibly a 4.5

That aside, consider that it may be your footwork that is the problem. When hitting against flat hitters, it's easy to stand in the same spot and just hit it back. Topspin balls are heavier and will kick off the ground unlike flat shots. I think that's why you're catching the balls to high. A grip choice will not replace bad footwork when balls are out of your contact zone.

07-14-2009, 08:36 PM
Thanks for the reply Pvaudio - I started out playing an eastern and did so for 20 years - I am unfortunately a step slower than in my salad days, so the footwork issue is certainly there, but beyond that, the guys that I play with now happen to hit really heavy balls, which I find difficult to begin with, not helped further by my elf-like stature. The semi-western fh was an attempt to compensate. I appreciate your comment about questioning my 4.5 rating -I know it's hard to believe that better players than you try to tweak their games from time to time, but I want to encourage you to continue to aspire in your own game - If an aging dwarf can get to 4.5, then so too can you, someday...;)

07-14-2009, 08:57 PM
i think height has a lot to do with grip choice. You dont see any short atp player using open grips like eastern, on the other hand, many tall players use that grip with no problems, because theyre tall so his comfort zone is much higher than the one of a short player. I say continue using the sw grip, it will help you a lot with those high balls.

07-14-2009, 09:25 PM
i'm 5' 7" as well. yay us! but not a 4.5 T_T i've played w/ some eastern grip players like u and i really have a hard time w/ those super low and flat balls! don't think you're not doing any damage to your opponent. heh

anyways, a semi western would work well and you don't have to hold it as extreme as some people do. i use it to hit those high topspin shots u talk about on the rise. always messes my friend's rhythm. keeps the ball in as well. so u should give the sw grip a try!

hope u get adjusted to the new grip w/ some success. it took me some time to switch from western to semi-western. about a month or so to get really comfy...or maybe sooner for u. :D

07-15-2009, 07:28 AM
Couple dings....
Shorter players often play higher balls, so they tend to migrate towards Western forehands... Dibbs and Solomon back in the mid '70's, every short pro nowadaze.
Tall guys generally, not always, have trouble with low skidding balls, so they tend to hit more eastern to counter those.
OTOH, main thing is YOUR play. Should you choose to allow your opponent to dictate the pace, placement, and height of the ball, you're gonna lose anyways, so what diff which grip you lose with ? :shock:
Maybe, if you decided to dictate the point from your very first shot, your opponent will be running around barely returning your well placed shot, so you might win a few points. :shock::shock:
You can easily learn to hit head high approach shots from both sides, ala Connors, McEnroe, Edberg, or anyone who volleys.
If you so choose NOT to volley, then you will lose to the moonballers of the present generation.
Your height is not an impediment to a net game. You skill and movement might be, but the passing shot depends on YOUR approach, so you actually have a say in what you do, and it's responce.
So after this long blah blah blah, I'll let you decide how to tune up your 4.5 game.