View Full Version : Eastern to Semi-Western Switch question...
01-03-2010, 04:38 AM
I was a 4-4.5 player in my hey day. I currently hit a very flat forehand and topspin backhand. With the flat forehand I use an Eastern grip. I am trying to move towards a more topspin forehand. In my hey day I had more time to devote to the sport, but with family and work commitments I have less and less time so I need something that will be a little more dependable. I find with the flat forehand I have to be exact or they sail long or into the net.
I was hitting with the wife the other day and swung for the first time with a semi-western grip just to see how it worked. I was able to hit some heavy topspin the first time out which is what I am hoping for. The only thing is my wrist has been hurting every since then (about 2 days). I think it was caused by a couple things but I am hoping someone can either tell me I am smoking crack or I might be on to something.
I think I was gripping the racket harder than normal because of the change in grip. Do I need to take the ball a little more out in front of me with a semi-western? Also I think I was getting really wristy since that is what you have to do to hit topspin with a eastern. With a semi-western do you physically turn your wrist over to get the topspin or does all that happen naturally with a normal low to high swing?
As you can see it was a little much for my little bird brain to handle the change after hitting with an eastern grip for 20 years. When you respond please use no more than 3 syllables...I is slow. ;)
Thanks in advance.
01-03-2010, 07:46 AM
Stick with the Semi western grip. I went through the same stuff when I got back into the game in my mid 30s after a long break. Had a eastern grip back in the day and ever since I've gotten back into it I have had the semi western grip. Do not roll your wrist. Definitely loosen your grip. Hit more in front of you, go nice smooth low to high with a more windshield wiper follow through. I'm no teacher so the best thing I can tell you to do is go to www.fuzzyyellowballs.com. Will is the MAN when it come to helping people with strokes. He has a great video on the windshield wiper forehand. Good Luck!!!
01-03-2010, 08:01 AM
I did much the same thing as you last summer and my wrist still isn't back to 100%.
I backed off the SW and tried hitting with the eastern more out in front of me with the racket tilted slightly forward with a low to high swing and was able to put plenty of topspin to suit me. Using a pistol grip instead of the handshake also helped in my case. I could sort of split the difference between the east/sw if you get what I mean.
Same with the backhand. Tried the EBH grip but discovered I could do as well with the conti or even eastern except if the ball was high. Then the EBH was better. It' all a matter of practice til it feels comfortable.
Sorry for all the multi syllabled words, but I hope this helped a little.
01-03-2010, 08:09 AM
I think I was gripping the racket harder than normal because of the change in grip. Do I need to take the ball a little more out in front of me with a semi-western? Also I think I was getting really wristy since that is what you have to do to hit topspin with a eastern. With a semi-western do you physically turn your wrist over to get the topspin or does all that happen naturally with a normal low to high swing? About a year ago I finally became convinced that unless we go back to grass courts, sets without tie-breakers, and tiny-headed heavy wooden rackets -- the incorrect semi-western forehand technique that is taught nowadays is superior. (Current recommended technique, however effective, is incorrect because great tennis teaching authorities such as Mercer Beazly and Ed Faulkner said so a half century ago.)
No, you don't need to grip the racket harder. Yes, you do have to take the ball a little more out in front -- which is easier to do if you use an open stance (which is recommended despite the fact that it is incorrect footwork -- see above).
I find that I hit it best if I keep my wrist and elbow relaxed, and use my shoulder only for raising and lowering the racket (e.g. for producing topspin). I rely primarily on rotation of the shoulders and hips for the forward motion. The racket turns over at the end of the follow-through, long after the ball has left the racket, as a result of the incorrect (but more effective) semi-western grip.
I find that this conservative approach gives me control, decent power, and adequate topspin (despite being the uncoordinated kind of person who was called a "spaz" in elementary school). I suggest you start with this approach; it won't strain your wrist, and you can add a little extra oomph to it later once you have the basics down.
Better yet, learn it where I learned it -- on www.fuzzyYellowBalls.com (see the video clips on hitting forehands).
I notice there are a lot of people, like you and me, who are returning to tennis later in life. I switched from the classic eastern to a extreme eastern, which is halfway to the SW.
Try to watch some of the Pros in slo-mo to get a feel for how it is hit. The SW FH is part of a more elaborate system for striking the ball. For example, it works great with a semi-open or open stance, can involve a lot of wrist whipping, forearm pronation, etc.
You may want to get a few lessons from a reputable teacher to get the body mechanics set up.
Oh, you shouldn't abandon the classic closed stance FH with an eastern grip because it is more accurate when you have time to set up and need to surgically place the ball.
If you hit a 1HBH you may want to try the SW there too. On the BH I switched to a full SW and love the more solid feel I get combined with a lot more topspin.
01-03-2010, 01:11 PM
I wouldn't even change the grips if I were you. You can generate an absurd amount of topspin with the Eastern forehand grip if you practice the windshield wiper forehand, similar to Federer's.
01-03-2010, 01:53 PM
I truly appreciate all the great responses I have received on this. I am really starting to get into the game more seriously now after only playing a handful of times over the last 8 years or so. I am 32 and started back when I was 10/11. The game is played A LOT different than it used to be. When I played in high school (early 90's) you were just starting to see people hit with a topspin, but even by the time I graduated (95) there were a lot more people hitting topspin.
Back then all I did was play so it was easy to devote a lot of time to honing all my shots. Now I just don't have that time to hit that much. And I notice my swing becomes way to erratic especially in pressure situations with the E.
I did not know that you hit the SW with a more open stance. I was trying to hit it with the same stance (closed) I was hitting my E. I looked at the fuzzyballs site and saw the stuff on the WW forehand. Maybe I will look at it again and see what I can figure out.
Thanks again guys.
01-03-2010, 06:40 PM
Yea, the semi-western's good, and I felt a bit of wrist discomfort at first.
I started tennis a little over a year and a half ago, and I had been playing with a pretty conservative eastern grip up until this May (for some stupid reason, I thought I was playing with a semi-western; actually now I think about it I was oblivious to what grip I was using). It does take some getting used to. I wouldn't say I'm fully dialed in with it just quite yet. It's really helped me to handle high balls and to hit harder with with more top. The one thing I think that takes longer than anything to adjust to is the changing of the swing path from more horizontal to a bit more vertical, as well as the bending of the wrist.
Just my two cents
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