The Semi Western: Getting to grips with the modern forehand!

The Semi Western: Getting to grips with the modern forehand!

The Semi Western grip is one of three primary tennis grips used to hold a tennis racquet when hitting a forehand. 

It is so popular because it offers a good balance between easy topspin and still being able to hit through the ball

Players using a semi-western grip can hit the ball higher over the net and ensure the ball drops back into the court due to the topspin generated. Ultimately, this allows players to hit much more aggressively and with a higher margin for error.

Some simple steps to find the right grip! 

  1. Let’s start by placing the racquet on the ground 
  2. Next make a “V” shape with your index finger and your thumb
  3. Finally, line up the bottom of the “V” to the flat edge of the racquet that’s facing you and pick it up just like you would if it were a frying pan



Congratulations! You have mastered the basic modern Semi Western forehand grip!! 

Another way to check if your grip is correct is to understand the anatomy of the tennis racquet grip. If you hold your racquet with its edge facing down and look at the but cap of your racquet, you’ll notice that it is octagonal shaped. 


Each side (or bevel) has a number, 1 through 8 (FYI the numbers are reversed for left and right handed players). 

A player looking to hold the racquet in the semi-western grip should have the knuckle of their index finger resting on bevel number 4.

One final check point would be to make sure that when you hold your hand straight out in front of you as if you were going to shake hands with someone and then place the racquet into your hand with the semi-western grip, the strings of the racquet would be pointing towards the ground at a 45 degree angle (roughly).


Is the Semi Western Right for Me?

There's no simple answer to this question, except to say it's a good place to start if you want to learn how to hit the ball with spin. 

With that said, most players will need to experiment to get a sense for what feels comfortable and what works.

It can also be helpful to recognize that it can take some time to grow into the grip that works best. The key is to be flexible and enjoy the process!




Looking for a coach to help improve your game? Check out our new app:
Tennis Plan App



Extra Credit

It’s important when we’re playing tennis to stay as loose as possible. 

Listen to world-renowned coach Patrick Mouratoglou talking about it here:

Let’s check how loose / flexible you are with your grip.

  1. Hold the racquet out in front of you using the semi-western grip
  2. Gently rotate the racquet from left to right in a kind of windscreen wiper motion 
  3. On a scale of 1 - 10 (10 being the highest) how tightly do you feel you are squeezing the racquet?
  4. Try squeezing the grip less tightly and repeat steps 1 and 2 
  5. Now try doing the same thing but this time try spread your index finger 
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