| By Steve Annacone


There is a lot of conversation about the different grips that players use when hitting a shot, especially on the forehand side.

Many players lean towards a semi-western forehand grip but the grip varies slightly from player to player. Coco Gauff has a pretty extreme western grip on her forehand and the consensus is that she would benefit greatly from an adjustment more towards a semi-western grip. Even though changing a player's grip can be very painful, I believe the process could be relatively smooth if done gradually.

Try showing the player the ideal positioning of the grip that you are looking for. Then, have them hit some balls with the grip they have been using. After a few minutes, move the grip slightly towards the desired grip and have them hit balls for another five minutes. Try to check the position of the grip every minute or so since there is always a tendency for it to slip back to what the player is used to. After the short hit with the new grip, mark the spot with a sharpie on the grip where the "V" formed by the player's thumb and index finger is positioned on the grip.

Repeat hitting with the new grip for five to ten minutes. Next, hit some balls for another five minutes alternating between the forehand and backhand so the player can get used to the movement of the hand to find the new grip. Repeat this process for three or four days in a row, gradually moving the grip towards the new, ideal position. After that, try to have the player do a regular practice using the new grip. Don't dwell on the grip position. Just keep reminding the player to check the position every once in a while, and get a good feel for where the hand is on the racquet.

Even though the player has hit many shots with the original grip, they will get used to the new grip very quickly if it is done gradually and encouraged regularly. Remember to emphasize good footwork for consistent set up positioning, using the same swing each time, and repeating the follow through with the racquet ending up in the same spot at the end of every shot.




Steve Annacone, USPTA Elite Pro, is the Director of Annacone Tennis, www.annaconetennis.com and MyHamptonsPro, www.myhamptonspro.com throughout the Hamptons, NY.  In addition, Steve and Miguel Coelho have introduced the JET (Junior Elite Tennis) program at the Tucson Jewish Community Center (Tucson, AZ) for high level players ages 8-18. Please contact Steve at info@annaconetennis.com