How do You find/feel your forehand grip?

tennisbike

Semi-Pro
Given that we know where the index knuckle should be for say eastern, semi-western forehand grip, how do you find the grip without looking at it.

Federer spins his rackets as he prepares for a return of serve.. how do you key in/lock into that grip?

I originally was taught, decades ago, to align the V between the thumb and index finger to center of bevel 1 for forehand. Then I try moving from a more continental to eastern or extreme eastern so that index knuckle is on bevel 3. But I tend to use my thumb and index finger to feel/pinch bevel 1 and 5. But I think if I keep a loose grip, or turn the racket face a little more closed with off hand, that makes the index knuckle over the edge of bevel 3, making it a mild semi-western. Consequently, I found that I often hit wide/low forehand into the net. I think I ought to use my off hand to align/push index knuckle against bevel 3 square center.

What are your thoughts on this?
 

Dragy

Hall of Fame
1. Use your off-arm to put your racquet in a position you comfortably grip it with dominant hand.
2. I clearly feel bevels through my index knuckle and fingers.
3. I wouldn’t fight against slight lean towards SW. It’s a good grip. Focus on hitting the ball out in front, give it a tad more lift, it will work great.
 

movdqa

Talk Tennis Guru
My default is the forehand grip. I use my left hand to change to a backhand grip. I actually don't know how it gets back to the forehand as it's not something that I think about it. I do believe that the Head rectangular grip makes it easy to find the right grip.
 

golden chicken

Professional
Leather grip plus Wilson Pro overgrip in 4 5/8" gives me great feel for each bevel. I use the reference points of index finger knuckle and thumb knuckle. I have "Medium" hands and should probably be playing with a 4 3/8 or 4 1/2 grip but I like the larger grip size.
 

rkelley

Hall of Fame
Initially use your eyes to get your hand in the right position and to learn the feel of the grip, but ultimately it's the feel that matters. Don't worry if it's not exactly where you started.
 

fuzz nation

G.O.A.T.
Leather grip plus Wilson Pro overgrip in 4 5/8" gives me great feel for each bevel. I use the reference points of index finger knuckle and thumb knuckle. I have "Medium" hands and should probably be playing with a 4 3/8 or 4 1/2 grip but I like the larger grip size.
I've never been able to successfully move into a smaller grip size - 4 5/8" has been "right" for me pretty much forever. No impression that a larger grip restricts my swing speeds compared with a smaller one. And I think that because I can more easily feel the bevels of a larger grip, I can swing faster with more control and confidence.

I also still go to the net a lot and a smaller grip just doesn't give me the ease of maneuvering for good volleys compared with larger options. Never fun when I have that feeling of "squeezing a pencil" when I'm trying to volley against some serious incoming heat.

Also love having a bit of a flare on my grip down at the butt cap. Much easier to swing fast when that bump helps me keep the racquet in my hand without too much grip pressure.
 

fuzz nation

G.O.A.T.
Given that we know where the index knuckle should be for say eastern, semi-western forehand grip, how do you find the grip without looking at it.

Federer spins his rackets as he prepares for a return of serve.. how do you key in/lock into that grip?

I originally was taught, decades ago, to align the V between the thumb and index finger to center of bevel 1 for forehand. Then I try moving from a more continental to eastern or extreme eastern so that index knuckle is on bevel 3. But I tend to use my thumb and index finger to feel/pinch bevel 1 and 5. But I think if I keep a loose grip, or turn the racket face a little more closed with off hand, that makes the index knuckle over the edge of bevel 3, making it a mild semi-western. Consequently, I found that I often hit wide/low forehand into the net. I think I ought to use my off hand to align/push index knuckle against bevel 3 square center.

What are your thoughts on this?
I play with bigger 4 5/8" Volkl grips that have a blocky shape to them - not hard to feel the bevels on these handles. When I set for my forehand, I typically do most of the gripping of the handle with my middle and ring fingers along with my thumb. Since my index finger is a bit more "slack", I can feel the bevels with the edge of that finger and rather easily recognize my hand position that way.

Not quite the same for my one-handed backhand. That's more the case where my non-dominant hand sets the racquet and my gripping hand naturally sets so that the base of my fingers are pretty much right there on the top bevel - sometimes called bevel #1. But I think that I also get a little feel for the bevels with my index finger here, too.

I sometimes look at the hand position of somebody I'm coaching for a spot check and I might also point out what an eastern vs. a semi-western grip will usually look like. The base of the index finger on this bevel or that one is a decent guideline, but I try to encourage them to associate that look with the accompanying feel so that it can become a quick and unconscious move sooner than later. Since I can't really feel too well with the base of my index finger, I'd have to bet that the tip of my index finger or the "thumb side" of that finger gives me the most feedback in terms of where my hand is set.
 

Dartagnan64

Legend
Federer spins his rackets as he prepares for a return of serve.. how do you key in/lock into that grip?
Don't spin the racquet. There seem to be a group of players that think they need to do things like this because Federer does. Federer can do this because he's able to unconsciously get his grip right at a seconds notice. If you are struggling finding your grips, keep things simple and use your left hand as a guide. Practice switching between FH, BH and Conti so you can do it seamlessly on the court without thinking about. Then you can fuss about racquet spins.
 

Enga

Hall of Fame
To avoid having to quickly find my grip on returns, I used to try using the same grip on forehand and backhand by having a western forehand and eastern backhand. But I ended up not being very satisfied with it because you cant really block the ball like that, so I switched to using the continental grip to return serve. With that its really easy because you can block the ball back with the same grip on both sides, and if you have a read on the ball you can always turn the grip more eastern or western just in time. It pretty much gets ingrained into muscle memory over time like "I want more spin so I'll hit it like this" after a while you can find yourself switching from grip to grip like crazy, not really thinking about it.
 

tennisbike

Semi-Pro
Lately I found myself using the thumb, the edge of pad, or at around the joint to locate/grip the racket. On the eastern forehand, it goes to no. 8 bevel, or one from top bevel. For eastern backhand, the thumb pad goes to bevel no. 6, or next to the bottom bevel. The thumb is clearly more sensitive than the first knuckle. Once there the knuckle DOES naturally line up to their proper bevel. Plus the thumb seems to latch onto the handle pretty securely so that very little grip pressure is needed to hold the racket during the strokes. I think this is a keeper.

I want to know how it feels to you when you try it.
 

Fairhit

Semi-Pro
When I started I made a point to be really aware of the bevel I'm on and practiced constantly the switch, today I find myself switching without thinking, like when you drive stick or play the guitar, you just make the movement without even noticing, I use SW fh, eastern 1hbh and continental for slice and volleys, my default grip is sw.

Just take the racquet and switch really fast when you're not playing, with time it will take no effort at all.

All you need is to practice, it'll become so easy that you'll find yourself doing the switch with just one hand if you need to.
 
I don't think about it. I spin the racquet sometime but the grip is ingrained so I always find the right position. I'm worrying about my footwork and achieving clean contact.
 

Curiosity

Professional
Given that we know where the index knuckle should be for say eastern, semi-western forehand grip, how do you find the grip without looking at it.

Federer spins his rackets as he prepares for a return of serve.. how do you key in/lock into that grip?

I originally was taught, decades ago, to align the V between the thumb and index finger to center of bevel 1 for forehand. Then I try moving from a more continental to eastern or extreme eastern so that index knuckle is on bevel 3. But I tend to use my thumb and index finger to feel/pinch bevel 1 and 5. But I think if I keep a loose grip, or turn the racket face a little more closed with off hand, that makes the index knuckle over the edge of bevel 3, making it a mild semi-western. Consequently, I found that I often hit wide/low forehand into the net. I think I ought to use my off hand to align/push index knuckle against bevel 3 square center.

What are your thoughts on this?

Your grips have to provide multiple tactile clues, I think. Perhaps my grips are idiosyncratic? Racquet's grips are leather 3/8, one Wilson Pro overgrip.

FH: Eastern. My first pointing-finger knuckle is at the far side of bevel 3. The butt cap right bevel (corner) (looking at bevel 1) is pressed into the V between the pad of my thumb and the heel of the hand. My thumb first segment lays across bevel 8, with thumb second segment in the air.
BH: Eastern? My first pointing-finger knuckle is at the far side of bevel 1. The butt cap left bevel (corner) (looking at bevel 1) is pressed into the V between the pad of my thumb and heel of the hand. My thumb first segment lays across bevel 6, with thumb second segment in the air.

I find these two grips very easy to feel, repeatable and stable. I close the fingers together more in the BH grip. I always start with a forehand grip unless I'm at the net. I can take a continental grip one-handed if needed. It rarely seems necessary.

Well, that's my solution. It's lasted for years. My service grip is just Continental, slightly adjusted for different serve types.
 
Top