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  1. #1

    How to swap from Western to Eastern.

    Ok, after much deliberation, and a bagel against me on the weekend, I've decided I have to do something about my forehand. It's too short, too high and too error prone. I used to play with a western forehand and it was my strength, but now that I've gotten a bit taller I don't think it's for me anymore. I now want a solid, heavy, but penetrating forehand. I play with a single handed eastern backhand and have no problems and now I want the same on my forehand. So my question is, what's the best way to get used to an eastern forehand? Obviously it's going to be hard for me given how long I've played with the western, and the techniques are so different. Any advice welcome.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Sep 2004
    Location
    New England
    Posts
    707

    We've been down this road before and I thought you were very satisfied with your grip however given that you are mentioning your height, an obvious question I would ask is, how well do you get down to the ball?

    I know a lot of taller guys that stand upright when playing. Some even seem to lock their knees at times but the point is, your Footwork is probably the most important element in Shot Construction.

    With the correct leg & footwork, you can almost use just about any grip to produce the shot you like best.

    Although the Eastern grip is used frequently, you won't find too many Pro Players utilizing the Eastern Grip. It's all about the transition from defense to offense. On return of serve, at the moment the ball is coming at you, you are essentially in a defensive position because that's the one shot your opponent has the advantage. Taking that advantage away as quickly as possible is the key to successful game play.

    I personally swear by the western grip because it provides many more options. I find the Eastern Grip needs to be held exactly correct and wasn't designed for extended play whereas you can rally with your Western grip for as long as you don't make an unforced error.

    I think the Eastern Grip is perfect for the Serve & Volley Player. Is that your game, serve & volley? If not, before you abandon your style, pay attention to your legs during times you're not getting the results you need

    Coach
    The only acceptable loss is when your opponent was better than you on that given day.
    It is never acceptable to lose when your opponent was not.

  3. #3

    Question

    Hi Coach, and thanks for getting back to me so quickly. In answer to your questions, I'm by no means tall (about five ten or eleven), but I guess I'm taller than I was when I was 16 and the grip worked so well for me. It might not be a problem with my grip, like you say, because when I'm just hitting it actually seems fine, just as soon as I get into a match the forehand falls apart. Sometimes the ball doesn't even make the net. (Very embarassing given the rest of my game is fine!).
    And the other interesting thing is that I do serve a volley a lot these days. In fact, as soon as my forehand started to fall apart, I relied more and more on getting to the net to win matches. Now it's probably my preferred tactic (maybe another reason to flatten out the grip?).
    What's frustrating me is that my back hand feels so solid. I can flatten it out, or hit with topspin as the situation requires and it sort of sounds "heavy" off the racquet, if that makes any sense. So now I want this reliability on my forehand. To be honest, I don't care if my forehand becomes the weapon it once was, I just want a solid, consistent forehand that will help me get to the net.

    Edit: One more thing. I used to use what I would describe as very "dead" racquets. Pro Staff classic, Pro Kennex Kinetic, etc. I then swapped to a pro staff surge, and now an nCode nPro (the green, white and black one). There's definitely a bit more power in these racquets. Good be something to think about.
    Last edited by Cloud Atlas; 03-18-2009 at 06:43 PM.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Sep 2004
    Location
    New England
    Posts
    707
    Ever notice how great you hit when you're just hitting? But as soon as someone says, "Let's play a Match and points are being tallied, all the shots that you hit before seem to go out the window? Even the serves in real Match play aren't the same. It's all about confidence. Believe me, confidence is something that plagues even the Pros. You will hear the Pros say, I hope my confidence is good or I played with confidence, etc.

    Makes you wonder why in the World would a Professional Tennis Player be concerned about confidence? To be able to consider yourself a Pro, you must be good enough already (right)? Well no not really ...

    It's what we tell our brains what's at stake in this match. How important is this match to an individual? It could be something as little as not wanting to embarrass yourself on the Court. If there happens to be people standing around watching, then there's a different type of pressure because we all want to put on a show. We need to demonstrate how good we are in the eyes of others. The harder one works at doing that, the more you increase your pressure level and that means the more you will probably make mistakes.

    If a person were able to approach a match with the calmness of merely hitting or being grateful that you are enjoying a nice game of tennis, then we would all do just fine. If you are at least a 4.0 to 4.5 Level Player, you already know the shots. At one time or another, you've hit just about every shot you see the Pros hit.

    If you can sustain a fairly powerful rally at full stroke where the ball crosses the Net from your Racquet at least 5 or more times, then you've accomplished what most people only dream of doing someday. But how do you make that happen in Match play?

    There are catch phrases like, "No Guts No Glory" or "All or Nothing" and even "You won't know unless you try" and of course there's the old, "Go For It!"

    All of those slang phrases were crafted to help a person understand that unless you put into practice what you know you can do, then you can not claim you can do it. When you hit a ball and it doesn't even reach the net, that tells me, you are so nerves that your muscles are loosening too much.
    Nerves takes away all of your strength. I have a tendency to play the best when I'm down. If I'm at 0-40 serving, you will most likely see a couple of aces fly by because I play a game with myself. And for me, that's the key. It doesn't matter who is standing around, when I'm playing Tennis, I'm standing there totally alone in charge of my own little World.

    Did you ever read my Signature? If you did, do you understand what it is that I mean by that? That statement is something I take with me everytime I play Tennis and I make my kids play with that in the back of their heads.

    It's ok to lose ... it's really ok to hit a ball long or wide. It's ok to double fault. Nobody is going to die or suffer as a result. It's even ok to lose with a double bagel because if you played the best you can and still got your hat handed to you, then there was nothing you could do. But if you played like somebody who never held a racquet before and allowed someone who isn't good to beat you because you were beating yourself, then you might want to give up the game or figure it out and make the correction.

    There's nothing wrong with knowing how to attack the Net when necessary. That is a great weapon to have in your pocket and it keeps your Opponent off-guard not knowing if you'll come in or not, so don't drop that if you suddenly get your forehand back so-to-speak. But if you're going to become a good Net Charger, Chip & Charge with a nice penetrating backhand slice is the preferred method as well as a nice powerful strike to an opposite corner of where your opponent is standing and charging the net, works very nicely but always being prepared for the overhead of course.

    Point is, there's no better shot than a powerful topspin shot with plenty of heat on it like the Western provides for you. I tend to hit with extreme western which I don't recommend because it is very unforgiving if your timing is off just a tad. But to switch to an Eastern Grip will not serve you well at this point. My recommendation is two things,
    1. Make certain you are getting down into your shots with FOLLOW-THROUGH
    2. Hit your shot as if you've been praying for the opportunity to bring it out.

    I like my backhand as well especially on the service return but there's no replacement for a strong forehand. A steady confident forehand wins matches. You can't win matches by running around your forehand and hitting backhands. Ya gotta do what ya gotta do .. Just go out and hit the damn shot and stop worrying about it.
    The only acceptable loss is when your opponent was better than you on that given day.
    It is never acceptable to lose when your opponent was not.

  5. #5
    Yeah I think that's probably good advice. And I too play better when I'm behind, or when I get angry. For example, if a line call goes against me I tend to get better rather than worse. And I also think you're right about the confidence issue. I get into a match and I try to counter punch, or get to the net. Counter punching was never my game. Thanks heaps for the advice. I'll stick with the western and hit the practice courts. What's your background by the way? Not being disrespectful, but I like to know what level a player is at before I go taking their advice. Thanks again for the response. You've helped me make a decision. Hopefully in a couple of months I'll have one mean looking western forehand again. Cheers.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Sep 2004
    Location
    New England
    Posts
    707
    Quote Originally Posted by Cloud Atlas View Post
    Yeah I think that's probably good advice. And I too play better when I'm behind, or when I get angry. For example, if a line call goes against me I tend to get better rather than worse. And I also think you're right about the confidence issue. I get into a match and I try to counter punch, or get to the net. Counter punching was never my game. Thanks heaps for the advice. I'll stick with the western and hit the practice courts. What's your background by the way? Not being disrespectful, but I like to know what level a player is at before I go taking their advice. Thanks again for the response. You've helped me make a decision. Hopefully in a couple of months I'll have one mean looking western forehand again. Cheers.
    As for my background, you can always read a Member's Profile however I will save you the trouble this time because our Members are important to me.

    I teach High School Tennis ... although I shy away from Private Lessons because I truly don't have the time anymore. I'm in my 50's and have played Tennis on what I would consider a serious level since 1984. I currently live in New England however Calif. is my home and we (family) are currently discussing plans on moving back to either Calif. or possibly back to the Phoenix area where I lived for a few years.

    I've played numerous Tennis Tournaments throughout my time and given singles is my preferred Game, I've just started getting into Doubles slowly.
    Even though I understand the strategy of doubles, I must confess that I haven't taken Doubles into my Heart the same way as Singles.

    I play not only for the joy of Battle & Skill but for the exercise as well, which I don't get as much of when playing doubles. In our School District, which by the way has a very impressive Budget for Athletics, I share Tennis Instructions with another Coach. My forte with the Kids is having a game plan when you go out on the Court. I'm all about what goes on inside the head and how to quiet it down when it's most appropriate.

    I also work closely with the USTA and have Sponsored numerous Summer Leagues both in Phoenix AZ and now here where we utilize the City Municipal Parks that not only bring in money for the City but helps entice the City in keeping the Public Courts in great shape.

    Two Years ago, after much negotiations we added two Grass Courts to compliment the 10 Clay Courts in our largest Facility and they are all well lit for night playing.

    Four Years ago, I received a Wall Plaque for my contributions to our Community from the Mayor and City Counsel. And all of that really centered around bringing Tennis to the 21st Century along with others because stuff like this, you can't do alone. You have to convince the Cities how important it is for activities like Tennis to help give kids something to do instead of hanging in the streets after school.

    Lastly, Although I do not and will not Coach or Manage a Kid who wants to turn Pro as quickly as possible, I have on many occasion, counseled Parents on what I feel their kid should do if I felt their kid actually had something above the rest in terms of Tennis ability. And although Nick B. is not a friend of mine per se I know him well enough to write or call if I think there's a kid that might fit well in his Academy to see what he suggest.

    Normally, it always ends up with a Kid having to send a Video of them playing or just hitting so his Staff can evaluate. I know of two kids that have gotten into the Academy through my efforts and if they should become successful someday, I will smile in knowing I might have played a small part in their success but you know as well as I that, becoming a Pro isn't that easy.

    Coach
    The only acceptable loss is when your opponent was better than you on that given day.
    It is never acceptable to lose when your opponent was not.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Posts
    173
    I'm exactly your height.
    I'd forgo the Eastern grip and embrace the SEMI WESTERN !!
    Lots of second serves up around my chin to top of head, so SW can hit either top, side or slice returns.
    SW allows plenty of topspin on groundies, but still can hit flat off chest high balls, for putaways and really forcing shots.
    The majority of top pros use SW forehand grips, NOT eastern or western.
    WW the finish for extra top, or extend the followthru for faster moving flatter balls.
    Best of most worlds, except you still gotta switch to conti for volleys and overheads...and Eback for backhands.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Location
    Naples, Florida
    Posts
    12

    Eastern Grip

    I have to agree with Lee. If you want to reach your full potential, fo not change to an eastern FH grip. When you find a pro on the tour with one ... then I will think about it. It is vital in todays game to hit topspin. It gets the ball when struck at the speed needed to compete, to drop into the court. Yes you can get top with an eastern but not enough. Try splitting the difference between the full western and the eastern and use the semi-western. It is easier to hit and will give you the spin you need to compete.
    Michael Burge
    USPTA Master Professional
    www.dynamicdoubles.com


  9. #9
    now were i play, you're shunned if you dont have a semi-western i have a western and my coaches deal with it fine, but anyway, is an eastern grip for more or less topspin?

  10. #10
    Quote Originally Posted by Dynamic Doubles View Post
    When you find a pro on the tour with one ... then I will think about it.
    Found one. And he's the greatest player of all time. Watch the whole thing.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aXcsblS3Jl4

    Just thought I'd res this post for this reason.

  11. #11

    Talking Most important

    Quote Originally Posted by Cloud Atlas View Post
    Found one. And he's the greatest player of all time. Watch the whole thing.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aXcsblS3Jl4

    Just thought I'd res this post for this reason.
    I think the MOST IMPORTANT point is what is more likely to work the best for most players. We can always find an example that differs. An example is John McEnroes serve. Did he have a good serve? YES. Should you copy it? I think you would find it would hinder you.

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Apr 2009
    Location
    San Antonio, TX
    Posts
    1,109
    Quote Originally Posted by haretrigger View Post
    I think the MOST IMPORTANT point is what is more likely to work the best for most players. We can always find an example that differs. An example is John McEnroes serve. Did he have a good serve? YES. Should you copy it? I think you would find it would hinder you.
    one must imitate/learn some style whether it be the recommended or not.

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Sep 2005
    Posts
    176
    Very interesting topic, and I am going to approach in few steps.

    First; I would like to say that I never had this situation in my teching that someone wants to go from western to eastern grip on forehand, and I am in tennis for more than 40 years (competing and teaching).In my teaching the normal situation is to start with eastern, and if a player has competitive ambitions slowly go to semi- western.If person wants just to play recreational tennis eastern grip is just fine, and going somewhere will just cause unnecessary troubles.


    With players who came to me from other coaches I had following situations:

    - good recreational players using continental grip for forehand
    - young children using western grip

    In first case I try to change to eastern (no way any further) so to enable them to do the same thing in easier way

    In second case I change grip to semi-western, and at the same time work on proper body mechanics because I saw that besides being introduced to too much too soon, bad or nonexistant body mechanics causes ineffective forehand using western grip


    www.mytennistory.com

    In Depth Description of Bringing a Child Up a Competitive Ladder with Advices and Recommendations
    Last edited by Bubo; 08-05-2009 at 05:37 AM.

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Sep 2005
    Posts
    176
    To further develop second case.That was in 2007, and one day father of 10 year old came to me, and asked if I would take his son, and try to change his grip for forehand from western to semi-western.10 year old at the time played tennis for 4 years,and came from tennis school whose motto is that lot of hard work will make of someone good player.This is completely opposed to my motto that states that quality of work is above all.
    The kid was small, but with good coordination.When I tried him out, it was terrible.His balls would not hit the bottom of the net, but they would hit his part of court and roll into net.He was vary frustrated, dissaponted, and on the verge to break his racket.The reason for that was not grip, but poor body mechanics.They did not know how to teach him, and he was using just arm and wrist to produce shot, and this is far too weak to be able to do it.I knew that it will not be enough just to change grip, but I will have to teach him proper body mechanics.Proper grip for forehand will be effective only in the case if it is supported by proper body mechanics, otherwise nothing will change.
    After 30 hours (very soon) the kid was able to hit long forenand balls using semi-western grip.This was the result of sinergy: change in grip and proper body mechanics.

    www.mytennistory.com

    In Depth Description of Bringing a Child Up a Competitive Ladder with Advices and Recommendations
    Last edited by Bubo; 08-05-2009 at 05:36 AM.

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Sep 2005
    Posts
    176
    "With the correct leg & footwork, you can almost use just about any grip to produce the shot you like best".

    I would very much disagree with the statement by Coach.
    The proper grip means nothing without proper body mechanics, but if one does not have proper grip (proper position of hand and racket at the moment of impact) proper body mechanics will not be as effective as it should, because one will not be able to transfer generated energy(by proper body mechanics) to the ball.So these two go hand in hand.

    Good ilustration what I am talking about would be good car (engine, suspension etc) without good tires, or quality tires with poor quality of a car.The same thing.


    www.mytennistory.com

    In Depth Description of Bringing a Child Up a Competitive Ladder with Advices and Recommendations
    Last edited by Bubo; 08-05-2009 at 05:37 AM.

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