Going from a Western to a Semi Western...

Discussion in 'Tennis Tips/Instruction' started by DavaiMarat, Jan 13, 2010.

  1. DavaiMarat

    DavaiMarat Professional

    May 16, 2006
    Hi guys,

    A large part of my development happened on clay courts so my style adapted to big heavily spun forehands and a western grip. However as I'm getting a bit older I'm going thru a transition period. I play mainly on hard courts now so the ball bound lower. Also, generating the racquet head speed to pull off 5.0 competitive forehands is killing my wrist. After some matches I can't open a door knob or lift a glass without extreme difficulty. So after some consultation with a few friends (pros) I decided to adapt to the semi-western. It's been something I've only been working on for the last 2-3 weeks but here are some observation.

    Good things.

    - No Pain. Unless I shank it then it hurts a lot since my wrist is in a unusual position so it's weaker stance. This will improve. It's nice to be able to play without worrying about whether I packed the freeze gel or not.

    - Cleaner Ball. Striking the ball with more face. Western had me hitting with a close face. Sound is cleaner.

    - Depth. I can get more depth without ripping the felt off ball. Could also be the result of less spin.


    - Controlling the racquet face. When I try to accelerate the racquet face on occasion my wrist position reverts to the western and the racquet face opens resulting in a shot hit half way up the back wall. This happens more on the higher shots then the mid waist ones.

    - Hitting everything in front. The Western has the luxury (due to the laid back wrist & elbow) to hit things late and sometimes almost in line with the body. However with the SW you must hit all things in front of you. If you don't you have zero leverage and you'll probably hurt yourself. However, this is coming along nicely. It seems like my contact zone now is where start of my follow thru started with the western. But control seems to be better...well eventually anyways.

    -Controlling the WW. Like I posted in the paragraph above it seems my striking zone is closer to where my follow thru started before so sometimes the wrist roll over can start early in the swing and drive the ball with a really close racquet face and spin into the bottom of the net or the ground. I'm really trying to focus on almost touching the ball before I begin the follow thru, this seems to help a correcting this problem.

    I know this might sound basic but the things that have helped me the most in this process is focusing on keeping my head down and body down during the shot. With the western I was very comfortable so I could cheat a bit but not so anymore. I really focus on keeping my head at the contact point until the ball has at least traveled over the net. I find the most racquet head control doing this.

    Has anyone else gone thru a transition like this? I've seen a plethora of posts talking about becoming more extreme but not so many going back the other way.

    Any tips are welcome. I've pretty much share everything I've learned till now.
    Last edited: Jan 13, 2010
  2. mikeler

    mikeler Moderator

    Sep 26, 2008
    Central Florida
    I've always dabbled between Western and Semi-Western but due to elbow problems I'm now trying to move more to Semi-Western or even just past it. I think what you are doing is a good move to preserve your arm for the rest of its tennis life.
  3. LeeD

    LeeD Bionic Poster

    Dec 28, 2008
    East side of San Francisco Bay
    Let me get this straight....
    You've been playing tennis for years with a full Western forehand grip on clay.
    Now, 2-3 weeks of practice on hardcourts, you expect to be able to hit a good SW gripped forehand ???????????????????
    How about 2-3 YEARS of hitting SW gripped forehands on hardcourts?
  4. TennisKid1

    TennisKid1 Semi-Pro

    Dec 3, 2009
    if you keep hitting it then the forehand will become more or less natural to you. Go out there and hit some semi western shots!
  5. DavaiMarat

    DavaiMarat Professional

    May 16, 2006
    Well I'm trying...I don't expect to be great at 1st but if I want to keep playing tennis for years to come, I better learn. It's an investment I guess.
  6. Power Player

    Power Player Talk Tennis Guru

    Sep 2, 2008
    On my iPhone
    Hey man I am in the same boat. I simply prefer the SW but I grew up hitting a western and it takes away power and depth on hardcourt. I found a lot of the exact same things you said when I was switching.

    It's not as bad as Lee makes it. I always switched between the grips for different shots, so what you want to do is focus on hitting more in front and making sure your footwork is there. Make sure your head is down and you are transferring your weight into the shot. Just work on hitting 3/4s speed and not killing the ball. Make sure your head is down through contact also.

    Also you can swing more vertical when you to put heavier spin on it and more horizontal for a flatter shot, so practice your variation.

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