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  1. #1

    Why do they all like the Semi-western?

    My son recently attended one week's tennis camp at Evert Tennis academy. He had a great time there. However, the coaches there told him that he should change his grip from western to semi-western. They mentioned that all their boarding students are required to change from a western grip in the first week there and saty away from tournaments for 6 months. These guys sure all heard of Nadal and Courrier and the other western grip holders, right? Is it just a personal preference or is there more to it?

  2. #2

    Talking Times change

    It may be specific to their academy or it may be a new direction being taught. You will just have to do the research. I do remember seeing a Jimmy Connors, Chris Everet video stating that you finish your stroke pointing your racquet tqward were you want the ball to go. I belive it was a fairly recent clip. Watching pro tennis i dont see one pro doing this?
    I find i am using my foam ball more on the rebound net.(It alows me to swing harder in a confined space and be able to work more effectively on weight transfer and follow through )
    How are you going with your rebound net?

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Sep 2004
    Location
    New England
    Posts
    707
    Quote Originally Posted by rchen83 View Post
    My son recently attended one week's tennis camp at Evert Tennis academy. He had a great time there. However, the coaches there told him that he should change his grip from western to semi-western. They mentioned that all their boarding students are required to change from a Western Grip in the first week there and stay away from tournaments for 6 months. These guys sure all heard of Nadal and Courier and the other western grip holders, right? Is it just a personal preference or is there more to it?
    Of course everyone knows the incredible success that Jim Courier achieved with his signature Inside Out Forehand Cross-Court shot which he would not have if not for his Extreme Western Grip. And no doubt about it, Rafael Nadal gets more mileage from the Western Grip than anyone I know or knew.

    Anyway your question is excellent and I'm very pleased you asked because it's one that has been asked by many. The Semi-Western Grip is one that I also recommend to my Student and so does my Co-Instructor. The reason is simple. More control than it's cousin can offer. An equal amount of power depending on how much thrust you give it on contact and when i say thrust, I'm generally talking about racquet head speed.

    Although both Western approaches require serious concentration on low balls, the Semi is more forgiving since essentially scooping the ball up and then driving through it is necessary. The very reason players that hit with the two forms of Western appear as though they hit harder than players that don't.

    The Western's Racquet Face is totally closed whereas the Semi gives a little more daylight to the face of the racquet. But when coming to the Net for a put-away volley, you will still need to adjust to a Continental or Eastern.

    Nadal's method of striking the ball is atypical giving he brushes up and out with tremendous racquet head speed. Very unorthodox yet very effective. Going from Semi to Extreme is a much easier transition than the other way around. But when it comes to low balls, beginning Players will have a much harder time dealing with it using the Extreme Western Grip as opposed to the Semi-Western and high balls are much easier than with the Extreme given you need to open the face of your racquet sometimes very quickly and if you are hitting with a semi-western, that transition is far easier to handle. And when I say handle, I'm not just talking, striking a defensive return but being in a position to pound the ball from up around your head which you can't do with the extreme.

    The reason your Coach wants his Students to give at least 6 months is obvious. When you adapt a new approach in Tennis, this is the period where you're training your muscles to correspond with your brain to where it's automatic. 6 Months is a conservative estimate however when referring to an Academy where the kids are practicing 24/7 that sounds about right.

    When your kid gets the hang of his new grip, you'll see an instant change in his overall options (shot-selections) which brings forth a new level of confidence. And I'll end on that which I talk about all the time. Confidence is crucial in Tennis. It's really ok to hit with an extreme Western grip but a bunch of unforced errors comes with the territory because you are hitting low to high and clearing the Net and having the top-spin bring the ball back down absolutely requires getting down low to the ball each & everytime you make contact. The Semi-Western allows you to stand slightly upright (still with bended knees) on low balls and still provides the same amount of power when driving through the ball.

    The Semi-Western Grip is my favorite because it's the most versatile if a higher powered game is what you want.

    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.

  4. #4
    Haretrigger, the rebound net is great. I think hitting against it makes you focus on contact and not all the other things going on when you play against an opponent. Thx for the recommendation!

    Coach, thanks for the insightful analysis. I think I probably would recommend semi-western to a new kid now that I have read the pros and cons. However, since changing grip is a painful process for a player, it runs the risk of affecting one's confidence and possibly passion for the game. My son is adamant about not switching his grip and his regular coach in NJ is a western holder himself. On the other hand, I don't want us to find out a few years from now that he has to change grip. Again, thanks a lot for your insights and would appreciate any further comments as always.

  5. #5
    Join Date
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    707
    Quote Originally Posted by rchen83 View Post
    Haretrigger, the rebound net is great. I think hitting against it makes you focus on contact and not all the other things going on when you play against an opponent. Thx for the recommendation!

    Coach, thanks for the insightful analysis. I think I probably would recommend semi-western to a new kid now that I have read the pros and cons. However, since changing grip is a painful process for a player, it runs the risk of affecting one's confidence and possibly passion for the game. My son is adamant about not switching his grip and his regular coach in NJ is a western holder himself. On the other hand, I don't want us to find out a few years from now that he has to change grip. Again, thanks a lot for your insights and would appreciate any further comments as always.
    I do want to say that if your kid is comfortable with what works then don't change. In the game of Tennis, there really is no way to say to someone they are doing it wrong.

    When you consider Professional Tennis, many of the best in the business have unorthodox styles of playing. Listen the bottomline is, a coach's responsibility is to look at the big picture. You can instruct a kid on immediate results or what they see will carry them throughout their playing experience. To sum it up, the Extreme Western Grip requires much more work to get the same results and many coaches feel the semi is more reliable. It's all up to you and your kid and yes you are right, there are those who have made a very comfortable living with the Western Grip.

    And I'll end by saying this, at one time Pete's Sampras's Coach insisted on him using a 2handed Backhand which he tried for awhile but like your Son, that wasn't what he wanted and switched back to the 1 handed backhand and the rest is history.
    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.

  6. #6

    Talking Volley work

    I credit that rebound net with me being able to hit a clean ball.
    I am glad you find it the same.
    Get your son to do some volley work. It will force him to use a continental grip. This will expose him to what different grips do without putting the pressure of change on him

  7. #7
    I just realized that Novak Djokovic uses a full western also. Given that a small percentage of players uses the western, the fact that two out of the top five in the world uses the full western says something, does it?

  8. #8
    Quote Originally Posted by rchen83 View Post
    I just realized that Novak Djokovic uses a full western also. Given that a small percentage of players uses the western, the fact that two out of the top five in the world uses the full western says something, does it?
    Actually, most pro players use semi to full western grip these days. Those NOT using the western are the minority. If you want to play like the pros the semi to western grip will become part of your game.
    How good can your game get? You too can play like the Pros with The Wegner Method.
    Discuss The Wegner Method here at TW in the MTM forum or visit www.tennisteacher.com for more info.

  9. #9
    Quote Originally Posted by Coach View Post
    Of course everyone knows the incredible success that Jim Courier achieved with his signature Inside Out Forehand Cross-Court shot which he would not have if not for his Extreme Western Grip. And no doubt about it, Rafael Nadal gets more mileage from the Western Grip than anyone I know or knew.

    Anyway your question is excellent and I'm very pleased you asked because it's one that has been asked by many. The Semi-Western Grip is one that I also recommend to my Student and so does my Co-Instructor. The reason is simple. More control than it's cousin can offer. An equal amount of power depending on how much thrust you give it on contact and when i say thrust, I'm generally talking about racquet head speed.

    Although both Western approaches require serious concentration on low balls, the Semi is more forgiving since essentially scooping the ball up and then driving through it is necessary. The very reason players that hit with the two forms of Western appear as though they hit harder than players that don't.

    The Western's Racquet Face is totally closed whereas the Semi gives a little more daylight to the face of the racquet. But when coming to the Net for a put-away volley, you will still need to adjust to a Continental or Eastern.

    Nadal's method of striking the ball is atypical giving he brushes up and out with tremendous racquet head speed. Very unorthodox yet very effective. Going from Semi to Extreme is a much easier transition than the other way around. But when it comes to low balls, beginning Players will have a much harder time dealing with it using the Extreme Western Grip as opposed to the Semi-Western and high balls are much easier than with the Extreme given you need to open the face of your racquet sometimes very quickly and if you are hitting with a semi-western, that transition is far easier to handle. And when I say handle, I'm not just talking, striking a defensive return but being in a position to pound the ball from up around your head which you can't do with the extreme.

    The reason your Coach wants his Students to give at least 6 months is obvious. When you adapt a new approach in Tennis, this is the period where you're training your muscles to correspond with your brain to where it's automatic. 6 Months is a conservative estimate however when referring to an Academy where the kids are practicing 24/7 that sounds about right.

    When your kid gets the hang of his new grip, you'll see an instant change in his overall options (shot-selections) which brings forth a new level of confidence. And I'll end on that which I talk about all the time. Confidence is crucial in Tennis. It's really ok to hit with an extreme Western grip but a bunch of unforced errors comes with the territory because you are hitting low to high and clearing the Net and having the top-spin bring the ball back down absolutely requires getting down low to the ball each & everytime you make contact. The Semi-Western allows you to stand slightly upright (still with bended knees) on low balls and still provides the same amount of power when driving through the ball.

    The Semi-Western Grip is my favorite because it's the most versatile if a higher powered game is what you want.



    That is some great information. You answered any questions I might have about it!

  10. #10
    Time for me to revisit this old question. If you could spare a few moments on this, Coach, I would really apprecaite it.

    Last week, my son attended the Princeton University summer camp which he really liked. At the end of the camp, the coach, who is a former No. 47 on the pro tour and current head coach for the university men's team, suggested one thing, ie. change the extreme grip. Now my son likes and respects the coach a lot. So He agreed to change, to SW.

    Two days later, he is not sure anymore, since he lost his forehand completely. He thinks the extreme grip is his "natural" grip.

    Should I help him switching completely, once and for all? Or should he change gradually so that he can keep his confidence?

  11. #11
    Another reason that both my son and I are more convinced now is that he seems to have more trouble with low and flat hitting opponents, which is exactly the weakness of a FW (his is even more extreme than that).

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