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Change your grip according to the shot you want to play.
If you're new to tennis, you probably grip your racket comfortably, then maintain that grip throughout the match. That's fine when you're just learning the fundamentals. To progress, however, learn the correct hand positions for each shot so you can reach your full potential on the court.
To determine the proper hand positioning for each shot, it helps to understand the various parts of your racket's grip. Hold the butt end of the racket in front of you with the racket head perpendicular to the court and examine the grip's eight flat sections. The segments on the top and bottom of the grip are, as you'd expect, simply referred to as the top and bottom. The wider sections on the right and left -- parallel with the racket head -- are the sides. The remaining four angled sections are the bevels. The bevels are numbered 1 through 4, with bevel 1 in the upper-right corner, between the top and the right side. The numbers progress clockwise, with bevel 2 between the right side and the bottom, bevel 3 in the lower left and bevel 4 the upper left.
The Continental grip is standard for most serves. The tip of the V formed by your thumb and index finger should be on top of the grip and slightly to the left, for a right-handed player. Place your thumb's middle knuckle on the left side and the base knuckle of your index finger on bevel 1. The Continental grip affords the most power, which is why you'll also use it for overhand smashes. The grip is also recommended for volleys, so if you serve and volley you can retain the same grip. If you hit a kick serve -- spinning the ball so it bounces to the right, from your perspective -- try the Eastern backhand grip by rotating your hand so the index finger's base knuckle rests on top of the grip.
As a beginner, you may wish to use Eastern forehand and backhand grips because your hand won't have to travel as far when you're adjusting to different shots. Assume an Eastern forehand grip by placing your index finger's base knuckle on the right side and your thumb's base knuckle on top. If you like to apply topspin, use the semi-Western grip by positioning the base knuckle of your index finger on bevel 2, with your thumb's middle knuckle on top. Slide your index finger's base knuckle to the bottom for a full Western forehand grip to apply heavy topspin.
Backhand shots offer the most grip options. The Eastern backhand grip is a good all-around choice for newer players. For more experienced players, use a Continental grip to hit a backhand slice. Highly advanced players can use an extreme Eastern backhand grip, also known as a semi-Western backhand, to hit strong topspin shots. Move your index finger's base knuckle to bevel 4, leaving your thumb's base knuckle at bevel 3. To hit a two-handed backhand, position your right hand in a Continental grip, then set your top hand in a left-handed semi-Western forehand grip, with your index finger's base knuckle on bevel 3.