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Bollettieri Q&A: Use the Right Grip; Let it Rip

Thursday, December 16, 2010 /by

Dear Nick, when should I hit an inside-in versus an inside-out forehand? Also, I have a really hard time hitting high balls with my backhand (I have a one-handed backhand).—Manoj Moholkar
You should hit both your inside-out and inside-in forehand when you have control of a point. Force a short ball that lands inside the baseline (4 to 8 feet). You should be standing on the backhand side of your court. As for your backhand, the following tips might help you: Your grip should be a strong Eastern backhand to weak semi-Western. You must have control of your body and make sure your lower body foundation gives you balance, lift and power. Try holding on with your non-hitting hand a little longer and release just after making contact with the ball.

Hi Nick, I play varsity high school tennis. My serve averages around 105 mph; I was wondering if there was something that I could do to make it faster and stronger.—Daniel Do
Check with your trainer and try to develop more strength with your upper body. Work on your hip and shoulder rotation (your legs must be part of your serve). Check your toss. It should be slightly in front and to the right of your front foot. You must also pronate your wrist and hit left to right rather than coming around the right side of the ball. Lastly, add a little spin and hit the tar out of the ball (the only time you have two chances in tennis is on your serve).

Hi Nick, I’m teaching my 9-year-old son, who has a good forehand and backhand. But when he goes for topspin, the ball regularly falls short. I’m not sure why. Any advice?—Prakash Srinivasan
First, a few things about grips. If he uses an Eastern forehand grip, he’ll hit less spin. The semi-Western allows for more spin, and the full Western creates extreme spin. Not knowing your son’s grip prevents me from giving a more specific answer, but try telling him to not let his racquet head drop too low below the ball. He should hit through the ball rather than low to high.

Have a question for Nick? Write to him at

Nick Bollettieri of the Bollettieri Tennis Academy has trained many collegiate and professional players, including 10 who reached the world No. 1 ranking.


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