View Full Version : Forehand grip for an 11-yr. old girl
12-31-2011, 08:16 AM
My 11-yr. old daughter has played recreationally for a few years. She can rally a bit and hit a basic serve. Eventually she will play on her HS team but is not going to be playing USTA or trying for a college scholarship. She does get a weekly lesson that is fairly informal (college students at a local tennis facility).
Specifically, at what point would she move from an eastern to a SW forehand if at all?
My thought is that, long term, she would be better off switching sooner rather than later. I had her spend 20-min. trying it out and she had the typical issues (hitting into the net, "it feels strange", etc.).
12-31-2011, 08:24 AM
Yes, switch her to SW. Its the highest percentage grip for success with girls in the long run. Just be careful, sometimes kids will let it slip to an extreme western if you let them. She will adjust her swing pattern to the SW, just keep at it.
Go SW for the forehand and conti for serves and volleys. Good long term fundamental grips for kids.
12-31-2011, 09:23 AM
Funky question just because the answer can widely vary from one young slugger to the next. Some kids really like to let it fly when they swing at the ball while others instinctively want to keep things measured and controlled, but for different reasons. That makes for another dimension to figure out.
Some of the more measured swingers simply won't readily take the leap of faith and swing away. Sometimes they don't really have the comfort zone with their physical abilities just yet. Others may be "holding back" because they're clinging to limited technique and can't manage any more than a 3/4 speed swing with any sense of control.
Finding that new swing (with an altered grip) is a huge challenge when it makes that shot sort of evaporate on a kid who simply wants to get better. Grasping the long term benefits can be a tough sell when it initially doesn't work, right? When I'm working on something new with a kid or even an adult, I try to encourage those students to spray the ball around. Vic Braden refers to this as a license to miss. If they understand that they're applying an old habit to a new technique and that the ball has to go kerflooey on them, that can make it easier to recognize the progression toward the new style.
Focus on good consistent contact when you first address the grip change. It's not reasonable to expect a great shot with the ball landing in as soon as we forget what we know and sample a new technique. If I'm feeding to someone who is working with a new grip or swing, I try to purposely NOT look at where the ball goes, just to reinforce that it doesn't matter right away. Once solid contact becomes repeatable, that's when we can start worrying about where the ball is going, but not before then.
12-31-2011, 01:54 PM
Don't forget there is always the intermiate grip: the Strong Eastern (aka, "extreme eastern"), with the index knuckle on the corner formed by bevels 3 and 4. This is a great grip that is often overlooked.
She should probably do this now. The good thing is that she may even choose to stick with it and have good results. Or she could move to SW later with an easier transition.
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