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Hedges
09-23-2004, 07:13 AM
I'm working with my wife to take her game to the "next" level...she's maybe a 3.0 player. Over the last month she's learned a slice backhand, a topspin forehand and she's developed a nice punch volley.

The one area where I'm failing is her serve. It's a decent slice serve...but she just can't generate power with the serve.

For me, I *think* I generate serve power in several ways:
1) Via the back-scratch loop, I build up racket head speed.
2) Via my legs; my feet come together, my knees bend and I launch myself up and into the ball & court.
3) Via wrist snap.
4) Via a well-placed toss.
5) Timing.

One thing I'm seeing is her back-scratch loop is slow motion...no racket head speed. Should I focus on this?

Don't get me wrong; she's hitting a decent slice serve. But, she's a strong woman, and I know she's capable of much more power.

I'd appreciate any tips for teaching power generation for serve. Is it time to invest in real lessons from the loca pro?

Thanks!
Hedges

kevhen
09-23-2004, 07:24 AM
Has she tried a simple flat serve without the slice? My 2.5 level 5'2 girlfriend has been practicing her flat serve and she gets about 50% in at around 60mph which is good for a 5'2 2.5 level player. She has a pretty simple motion and low ball toss which I think she could toss higher to get more power and a better angle but she is still working on it.

Hedges
09-23-2004, 07:28 AM
No...I've haven't allowed her to hit flat. Good idea...we'll give a flat serve a try today. Thanks!

--Hedges

Bungalo Bill
09-23-2004, 10:37 AM
Check her grip, and get her into the continental grip for the serve.

Get the ball on a string tool and have her use that to get the feel of a continuous motion then practice it with her racquet.

Most women migrate to the eastern forehand grip. What this grip tends to do is cause a "stall" in the motion as they flip back the racquet and their palm is facing the sky. This is known as the "waiters wrist".

Hedges
09-23-2004, 10:51 AM
Bungalo Bill,

I was hoping you'd chime in on this. I think you are on to something; I've noticed that the racket face is up when she hits the ball sometimes. I figured she was just compensating for a bad toss...but it sounds like "waiters wrist". That would explain where the power is going.

She is using an eastern forehand grip...so I'll change her over to continental.

Thank you!
Hedges

Rickson
09-23-2004, 10:58 AM
Eastern grip is fine for a flat serve. Continental is a better grip for a topspin serve.EFH grip is not a good serve grip.

Bungalo Bill
09-23-2004, 11:11 AM
Eastern grip is fine for a flat serve. Continental is a better grip for a topspin serve.

Oh I hope no one listens to this advice. First off, Kevhen likes to challenge things just to challenge things especially things I say. He is not a coach and is not certified. He is an improving player that now thinks he is an "expert" on things. An ego trip if you will.

The Eastern grip is NOT a good serving grip. It places the hand and wrist in an awkward position as it meets the ball and does not allow it to rotate naturally as you hit through the ball. If a player tries to increase racquet head speed you are asking for tendon injuries and other problems.

The Continental grip can hit flat serves and you can hit with some spin on the ball (some players can hit with a lot of spin with this grip). The Eastern backhand grip is best for massive spin. The wrist position throughout the Continental serve motion allows the wrist to be in a "free" position which is essential to generate a lot of racquet head speed and reduce the risk of injury.

If you're going to teach someone to increase power, you are teaching them to increase racquet head speed from a smooth motion without slow downs or hitches. The Eastern Forehand grip does not promote this. Increasing power in the serve means you want as much kinentic energy going into the ball.

Please dont listen to Kehven's advice I have been around this sport way to long to know when someone is saying a bunch of junk.

a529612
09-23-2004, 11:53 AM
Don't forget shoulder rotation.

Puma
09-23-2004, 11:56 AM
The grip thing:

I have been teaching my wife and my daughter as well. And, yes, they do seem to migrate to the E. Backhand grip. But, as Bill says, it is NOT proper. It does not allow for the proper rotation of the hand and forearm which is commonly called "snap".

This is not to say someone cannot hit 110 mph with it. It DOES say that someone that hits 110 mph with the E. Backhand could in fact increase the ball speed significantly if the continental grip were properly applied. Period.....

Bungalo Bill
09-23-2004, 12:36 PM
Sorry, this is Bill's site. I do hit 110mph serves with an Eastern grip and have never had any wrist injuries. Please ignore my previous posts. Bill has all the right answers. There is only one way to play tennis.

Well lets see if Kehven really knows what he is talking about. I have said many times he doesnt but just likes to argue so he can be viewed as "an expert" when he is only a 3.5 - 4.0 player and still in his infancy in learning this game. So lets see. Here is another coach that has seen lots of students and has a found the "truths" and the "lies" of tennis. Can you hit with an Eastern Forehand grip - I already said you can, but I answered the question in light of increasing racquet head speed and therefore power as the poster wants to know. I also answered the question for future development and enjoyment of the game.

Kehven views the game from his little world. He doesnt see the many other players that have got injured using this grip by insisting they hit more powerful balls with the Eastern Forehand grip.

So lets see if another pro agrees with me:
http://www.tennisserver.com/turbo/turbo_03_12.html

As I find more sites I can guarantee you the evidence that I provide will far out weigh what Kehven provides. If Kehven wants to go around proving the world wrong let him. But if your smart you would realize a lot of coached and good players have been there and done that. So it would behoove you to disregard his above recommendations.

kevhen
09-23-2004, 12:40 PM
I am 4.0/4.5 and we are talking about a newbie 3.0 and how to help her serve with more power. The author said she was slicing her serve. I just said that may be the problem and she should try hitting flat. Grip may or may not be the problem. Continental or Eastern shouldn't be slowing her down that much. It's probably more in the technique that we can't see that is hindering her.

But anyway, waaaaaaaaaaaaaaahhhh, if that will make us all feel better. I feel better already.

http://national.usta.com/Reports/NTRP/SearchResults.asp?Search=Name&LastName=Henriksen&F irstName=Kevin&SearchType=X&submit2=+Go+

vin
09-23-2004, 12:42 PM
I agree that the eastern forehand is a poor choice to teach a beginner. Why teach something that will only have to be relearned later? Unless you're dealing with a player who doesn't care to ever advance beyond 3.5 or 4.0.

I disagree with the approach of taking the route of immediate gratification through doing things the easy way just to get started. Before you know it, you have a solid 3.0 or 3.5 player that doesn't want to learn a new grip because they don't want to lose. Why not teach the proper fundamentals at the 2.5 / beginner level where expectations and pecking order is not yet rooted as deeply?

I think it's pretty much fact that pronation is a big part of the serve and it is the continental and eastern backhand grips that allow it to happen. These grips also allow the best range of motion for applying spin.

Sure, there's probably a lot of people who can hit 100 mph serves with the eastern forehand grip and not hurt themselves, but what happens after they do that for 20 years? Is it worth the risk to try and disprove the common knowledge that it restricts your range of motion? I also think the eastern forehand grip encourages muscling the ball.

For what it's worth, I started my girlfriend with the continental grip on her serve immediatley. She was a raw beginner and could barely hit the ball at first with this grip, but after a few weeks of my persistence in not letting her change the grip and ensuring her that she'd get used to it, she does fine with it now. I see it pay off every once in a while when she hits a nice serve with an effortless looking motion.

Hedges, if your wife can already hit spin, I would have her try to gain control over how much spin she hits instead of having her hit flat. Power is not worth much when it doesn't go in and having a high first serve % is difficult when you are hitting the ball without much spin. I've been enticed a few times in the past to hit flat to gain the extra mph, but have found that it's just not worth it. With good mechanics, it's still possible to hit hard with spin. Besides, I think it's harder to return a 90 mph serve with spin than a 100 mph flat serve. If you take a look at www.advancedtennis.com, you'll see that the big serving pros have a good amount of spin on their first serves. If there was an advantage to hitting flat, don't you think they'd be doing it?

Bungalo Bill
09-23-2004, 12:43 PM
More evidence:

http://www.tennisserver.com/turbo/images/turbo_03_12/DanielaHantuchnova1sm.jpg

http://www.tennisserver.com/turbo/images/turbo_03_12/JustineHenin7sm.jpg

http://www.tennisserver.com/turbo/images/turbo_03_12/Henman2sm.jpg

http://www.tennisserver.com/turbo/images/turbo_03_12/RitaGrande3sm.jpg

http://www.tennisserver.com/turbo/images/turbo_03_12/DenisaChladkova2sm.jpg

http://www.tennisserver.com/turbo/images/turbo_03_12/JelenaDokic5sm.jpg

http://www.tennisserver.com/turbo/images/turbo_03_12/Korda2sm.jpg

Bungalo Bill
09-23-2004, 12:49 PM
I am 4.0/4.5 and we are talking about a newbie 3.0 and how to help her serve with more power. The author said she was slicing her serve. I just said that may be the problem and she should try hitting flat. Grip may or may not be the problem. Continental or Eastern shouldn't be slowing her down that much. It's probably more in the technique that we can't see that is hindering her.

But anyway, waaaaaaaaaaaaaaahhhh, if that will make us all feel better. I feel better already.

http://national.usta.com/Reports/NTRP/SearchResults.asp?Search=Name&LastName=Henriksen&F irstName=Kevin&SearchType=X&submit2=+Go+

LOL, you chose the wrong topic to argue with me on. I am not the type to let it go easily. When I see an opening you can count on me blasting it away.

You have been providing poor advice for awhile and I have been quite of late but not now. I do not take it lightly when someone pretends they know something. When someone types things on this board I can tell very quickly if the person really knows what they are talking about and you do not.

Bungalo Bill
09-23-2004, 12:54 PM
3.0 serve - 7.0 serve is quite a big range. Can a 3.0 hit with spin and be consistent? If they can then continental is the best grip. Topspin serve motion is quite difficult to learn though. Why can't that be taught when they get to 3.5? Are people really that fixed they can't re-learn stuff. I feel like my game evolves as I learn and try new stuff. It doesn't sound like other people have evolving games, just one style and stick with that until it someday clicks.

You teach the continental serve - period. There are tools and training aids to help someone get used to the serve motion and grip. Immediate gratification is the easy road.

You think you're trying new stuff - the cutting edge? This is stuff already written about and documented. People have gone down your road only to find the long road back. There are always fools in the world. Remember your just a 4.0 player and are just now "discovering" yourself. LOL

Hedges
09-23-2004, 02:37 PM
Gotta love the pictures!!! :D

Thanks to *all* you guys for paying it forward. I'm amazed.

I would like to see the wife stick with the slice. I'm a spin player...so that's what she wants to do too.

She tends to choke under pressure and fall back on the "waiter's wrist" serve Bill described earlier. If she can develop some power/snap with her slice serve, she'll be able to just hit out when she's nervous and depend on the spin to bring the ball in.

I remember the conversion to continental after many years of junior play. It sucked...I double faulted complete matches away...and I hated my coach for it...until it started working and a serve/volley game developed from it.

So, I would agree; now's the time to learn the more advanced serve. Heck...we've got all winter to work on it!

Thanks again...I'm really looking forward to her trying out the continental grip!

BTW....what is a "string on a ball tool"?

--Hedges

papa
09-23-2004, 05:03 PM
Hedges wrote:

"...I think you are on to something..." - commenting on a post from BB.

Do yourself a favor and go back and read BB's numerous posts regarding serving and just about anything else related to tennis. I don't think you'll find many/if any errors in his advice - its solid and you can bring that to the bank. Some of it you might not understand immediately or you "might" think is wrong but thats experience talking. If your smart, and every indication is that you are, take the advice - you won't go wrong.

In every sport there are "some" who do things somewhat differently and are successful. However, don't waste your energy in trying to re-invent the wheel. As BB and others have said, learning the "wrong" way can really put yourself (and in your case, your wife) clearly behind the 8-ball because trying to "re-learn" can be extremely difficult and in many cases seemingly impossible.

jun
09-23-2004, 06:59 PM
I would try to keep things simple.
- consistent and SLOW toss.

-I would teach her to relax the arm, and body. So she can learn to swing smooth and long.

-going into so-called backscrath motion. I think this is often ignored by coaches.

-getting weight into it. I would teach hip stretch first and then a llittle bit of leg bending.

-Rhytm to the serve. So many female players I see, have no rhythm to the serve. They would kinda jerk their arm up to toss, and then try to swing hard. You have to start out slow and raise your tossing arm slowly, and then explode into the ball.

jun
09-23-2004, 07:06 PM
I was watching Sonic Video the other day and Nick B said something interesting.

He said that continetal grip is way to go. But if a beginner, especially a kid, is having tough time making a contact with continental grip, then it's not a bad idea to start with eastern forehand grip, and make a change.

His argument was that it's important for the beginners to feel that they can make clean contacts with the ball so they feel confident. Then changes can be made maybe drastically, or gradually..

I know I had much trouble serving with continental grip at first. Then a coach suggested that I try eastern forehand grip. My serve felt so much better. And once I had consistent toss, and motion, I could switch.

Hedges
09-23-2004, 08:00 PM
Hey papa...yer preaching to the choir, man. I'm in the BB fan club.

Rickson
09-23-2004, 08:20 PM
I too am guilty of using the EFH grip on serves in the beginning, but when I made the switch to a continental grip, my serve became more consistent and much more powerful. The continental grip is the way to go on 1st serves and the backhand grip is great for 2nd serves.

ohplease
09-23-2004, 09:28 PM
I was watching Sonic Video the other day and Nick B said something interesting.

He said that continetal grip is way to go. But if a beginner, especially a kid, is having tough time making a contact with continental grip, then it's not a bad idea to start with eastern forehand grip, and make a change.

His argument was that it's important for the beginners to feel that they can make clean contacts with the ball so they feel confident. Then changes can be made maybe drastically, or gradually..

I know I had much trouble serving with continental grip at first. Then a coach suggested that I try eastern forehand grip. My serve felt so much better. And once I had consistent toss, and motion, I could switch.

And that's the problem with trying to pull rank or out credential someone. Only I'm betting Nick wouldn't have such poor taste as to look at BB and ask him who he's worked with. How many grand slam champs he's got under his belt. That's typically the difference between people who are confident in their record and/or accomplishments and those who aren't.

Regardless of what kevhen may or may not have said, it's still poor form - particularly for a teacher/coach.

Some people get serving with the continental grip right away. Some don't. Some teachers are able to adapt to their students. Some can't. That said, there's almost always more than one way to get something done, and it's more than a little alarming when teachers can't grasp that.

Rickson
09-23-2004, 09:38 PM
There's such a thing as unorthodox and there's wrong. Serving with an eastern forehand grip is wrong.

ohplease
09-23-2004, 10:32 PM
Know what else was wrong? Topspin. Two handed backhands. Two handed forehands. Swinging volleys. Aggression from the baseline instead of at the net. Weight on the back foot. It's all just dogma and fashion, anyway.

Sometimes you have to start off the "wrong" way in order to feel the sensation you're after. Bode Miller probably started with the snow plow, for example.

I'm imagining a coach yelling at their students to get their skis up on edge while they're sprawled in the snow, unable to even stand upright.

jun
09-23-2004, 11:37 PM
ohplease-
You can't compare using eastern forehand grip on a serve to using two handed backhand, camping at the baseline, or swinging volley.
It's just a poor comparison.

In addition, who on the earth told you weight on the backfoot is NOT wrong. Weight on the backfoot happens naturally when you are forced, rushed, etc. You don't intentionally hit shots with weight on the "BACK"foot, unless you are attempting a topspin lob.

Now going back to former issue. Two handed backhand was considered to be unorthdox. I am assuming not many people advocated at the beginning. However, it turned out that two handed backhand proved to be worthy. It allows you to hit solid, consistent shots off backhand wing. It's been shown and proven.
In nutshell, hitting backhand with two handed backhand turned out to be an efficient and effective way of hitting shots.

Now two handed forehand- it's a little different issue. It actually maybe comparable to hitting serves with eastern forehand grip.
Two handed forehand has been proven by "SOME" pros that it's a effective way of hitting. It allows you to handle power better, hit with more power, and allows you to be more consistent. Yet, there are still not enough cases that shows it's worthy. In other words, it's really not worthwhile hitting forehands with two hands.
If you want to sacrifice versatility, court coverage with power, then maybe you can go ahead with two handed forehand.

On the other hand, hitting serves with continental grip turned out to be more efficient and more effective than with eastern forehand grip. There are several evidence to this fact. Sure for beginners, eastern forehand grip allows them to make much better contacts. But as you increase your swing speed, continental grip simply allows better wrist snap etc. That's why almost every coach will support continental grip on serve.

It's true that unorthdox grips and strokes came along in the history of tennis. If they are proven to be effcient, and effective way of stricking the ball, then they will be advocated. If it's not, then they simply won't be. And I don't think eastern forehand grip on the serve will be.....

Tomek
09-24-2004, 05:51 AM
I'm a coach in Poland, working just for a year. But in case od serving grips I would highly recomend continental or even EB. But EF is not a good one for any level! Just try to convince advanced player that he has bad grip... Change it... It's not an easy task!
And why EB is bad? It doesn't allow you to make a proper snap withou stressing your wrist- so it speeds down your serve and harms your wrist. Not a good idea....

vin
09-24-2004, 07:34 AM
Sometimes you have to start off the "wrong" way in order to feel the sensation you're after. Bode Miller probably started with the snow plow, for example.



The snow plow is not the 'wrong' way. It is a building block for learning to edge. Instead of completely abandoning the snow plow, you gradually advance into regular turns. I guess you can apply this to serving with the contintental grip by starting with the eastern forehand and gradually, but from the start, move the grip towards continental.

The difference here is that a player that can already serve with the continental is being told to go back to the eastern forehand. If the player is already comfortable with the continental, why not continue it's development rather than regress?

Hedges
09-24-2004, 07:49 AM
Kevhen...thanks man. If we were looking at playing real matches in the next month or two, I'd keep things simple and run with the EFG she's using now. She's actually hitting pretty consistent spin serves with it...

Fortunately, she's committed to reworking everything this winter in order to become more competitive for next spring/summer. So, it's time for her to make the transition to continental; she's really ready for the change.

The cool thing is that by reading through the archives of this forum, I'm learning lots of techniques for teaching the basics. However, we'll get some professional instruction next week to make sure I don't teach her bad habits.

Not sure why the kevhen bashing was necessary. Oh well...I guess even online families are a bit dysfunctional at times ;-)

Be nice,
Hedges

Bungalo Bill
09-24-2004, 02:45 PM
Know what else was wrong? Topspin. Two handed backhands. Two handed forehands. Swinging volleys. Aggression from the baseline instead of at the net. Weight on the back foot. It's all just dogma and fashion, anyway.

Sometimes you have to start off the "wrong" way in order to feel the sensation you're after. Bode Miller probably started with the snow plow, for example.

I'm imagining a coach yelling at their students to get their skis up on edge while they're sprawled in the snow, unable to even stand upright.

Now I am laughing...

sometimes you have to start out the wrong way in order to feel the senstation you're after"

If this isn't a bunch of BS I dont know what is!

Why not start out the right way to feel the sensation?

The point I am making here is this:

An Eastern Forehand grip:

- produce a flat serve

- can produce power

- will increase the chance of injury

- is only a USEFUL grip if you are at least 6' 4"!

The reason why the Eastern Forehand is only useful for a tall and stronger player is:

- The extra strength can help decrease the chance of injury, especially when this person tries to serve harder and harder with this grip.

- A flat serve from a shorter person is a low margin serve. You have barely any net clearance to hit the flat serve consistently in. The flat serve which is what the Eastern Forehand grip produces is a low margin serve for people shorter than 6' 4". Unless you slow down the serve and hit it higher in the air, you will win some and lose a lot.

When I read the posters direction, I was under the assumption that he was after more power. There is no way I will ever say the Eastern FOrehand grip is the way to go.

Kehven mentioned if I thought humans couldnt learn something later. I think if Kehven has evere read my posts he would know that this is a ridiculous statement. Further, although I think humans can learn something later, I also think they can learn soemthign right now. Beginners are the perfect students to teach the right things right off the bat. They have NO unlearning to do. The brain adapts easily as it has no memory of doing something another way.

There is a huge difference between playing this game and coaching this game. When coachinng this game you have to undertand human learning theory and other important bodies of knowledge to help good information get transferred to the student and eventually to their strokes.

If the poster wants this person he is helping to hit with more power then this person should spend a little time learning the continental instead of the Eastern Forehand grip for a power serve. This will allow more spin to be on the ball to give it more of an arc, instead of being more flat.

I doubt this person is 6' 4". I will still say teaching the Eastern Forehand grip is a poor choice and is bad advice. The advice given is only being said from the "players" perspective and not taken from an excellent body of knowledge of Sports Medicine professionals, professional coaches, biomechanic professionals etc.

Everyone keeps forgetting that Kehven said he is 6' 4". So his 110 flat serves up the T are coming from his perspective.

Bungalo Bill
09-24-2004, 03:03 PM
I was watching Sonic Video the other day and Nick B said something interesting.

He said that continetal grip is way to go. But if a beginner, especially a kid, is having tough time making a contact with continental grip, then it's not a bad idea to start with eastern forehand grip, and make a change.

His argument was that it's important for the beginners to feel that they can make clean contacts with the ball so they feel confident. Then changes can be made maybe drastically, or gradually..

I know I had much trouble serving with continental grip at first. Then a coach suggested that I try eastern forehand grip. My serve felt so much better. And once I had consistent toss, and motion, I could switch.

And that's the problem with trying to pull rank or out credential someone. Only I'm betting Nick wouldn't have such poor taste as to look at BB and ask him who he's worked with. How many grand slam champs he's got under his belt. That's typically the difference between people who are confident in their record and/or accomplishments and those who aren't.

Regardless of what kevhen may or may not have said, it's still poor form - particularly for a teacher/coach.

Some people get serving with the continental grip right away. Some don't. Some teachers are able to adapt to their students. Some can't. That said, there's almost always more than one way to get something done, and it's more than a little alarming when teachers can't grasp that.

Ohhplease,

I have never taught anyone that is a professional, nor was on the Davis Cup, nor won Wimbledon.

Come to think of it, not many have. Sort of like you not being a 5.0 tennis player.

But I can tell you this learnign the Eastern Forehand grip is not the way to go. I really dont care what you think. It simply is not and you know it.

It produces a flat serve with little spin if any. When someone tries to appply power to this serve with this grip, you better be tall, very tall.

I really dont care if you dont like anything I say. I really dont care if you didnt like my tone of voice. when someone thinks they are giving good advice only to be corrected and then continue insisting it is ok, I will gladly say, they are a knucklehead.

You can certainly hold your "view" that teaching the Eastern Forehand for a power serve with a person shorter than 6' 4" is an excellent choice and should be pursued because "you never know". I will laugh and ask you to read the last sentence of the paragraph above. Coach or no coach I really dont care!

When I start getting PAID for all the good tennis instruction I provide, which right now is an awful lot, maybe at that time I will be a little more tackful. But right now, I dont give a damn.

If another knucklehead post comes in, I will gladly post again.

fastdunn
09-24-2004, 07:06 PM
I don't think one can take full advantege of pronation in serving, .. interms of both power and spin, if done with Eastern Forehand Grip.

Becker got away with it aparently... Also volleyed with eastern
forehand grips (for backhand volley, I think). Well I was told
he also had flat feet (that's why he often kinda flat footed and
jump for the stretch volleys..., I heard. I could be wrong here, though....) Well, he got away with many things...

Bungalo Bill
09-24-2004, 07:27 PM
I don't think one can take full advantege of pronation in serving, .. interms of both power and spin, if done with Eastern Forehand Grip.

Becker got away with it aparently... Also volleyed with eastern
forehand grips (for backhand volley, I think). Well I was told
he also had flat feet (that's why he often kinda flat footed and
jump for the stretch volleys..., I heard. I could be wrong here, though....) Well, he got away with many things...

Dont be so quick on agreeing with the person that talked about Becker and his grip. There is an awful lot of garbage tips as you can see from the threads above about using the Eastern Forehand grip for the serve.

If Becker did use this grip, he did not use this grip very often. Unless this poster can prove it - dont believe it. What Becker was famous for was the KICK in his serve. This afforded him a lot of time to come in. The Eastern forehand grip does not help a player produce a lot of spin. If they can generate the spin from this grip then this serve becomes extremely unique, unnatural and is not a good serve to imitate or teach!

Plus, in an interview with him, he never attributes his serve to his unique use of the Eastern Forehand grip.

Q. You're obviously most noted for your serve. Can you say a little bit how you developed such a big serve at such an early age?

BORIS BECKER: Well, it had something to do with my trainer and coach, now famous guy, Ion Tiriac, who had an early eye in seeing the talent that I had. The different thing with my serve was my bend, that I was bending down so low. I was able to get the power and to produce the power actually more through my legs than through my arms. That's something we trained on early on. That's why my legs were rather big, and that's why I was able to serve with that much power.

Other coaches have said the following

Boris Becker's serve was unique to him, I think. Becker's follow-through was odd; the racquet would end up pointing straight down on the right side of his body.

He didn't naturally follow through across his body like most servers. I'm surprised he didn't have more injury problems during his career because of that. (my comments: this is the only thread that indicated Becker might have used an Eastern Forehand grip on some serves). If you're going to adopt a Becker-style serve, where the back foot crosses over the front one and steps into the court, you're better off copying the smooth, fluid stroke of Yannick Noah.

I will have to see film as I have not really followed Boris Becker. But I am going to doubt the posters comments above unless I see proof.

If there is no doubt that Becker used the Eastern Forehand grip (which he very well could have because of his hieght and strength) I will be satisfied that this person is telling us about something they really has learned about - instead of what he may have "heard" or his "opinion" from one picture, etc...

jun
09-24-2004, 08:04 PM
There was Becker's serve analysis done on Tennis Magine, in 1997, either August, September issue. I remember because it was my sophomore year...I was talking to one guy about serve while looking at that magazine. The magazine clearly said that becker used eastern forehand grip on the serve.

On this board, there were a few discussions about using eastern forehand grip on the serve.. Pat Daughterty commented on Becker's grip a little bit. If I remember correctly, he said IT was eastern forehand grip, but the position of heel on the grip allowed for better snap or something.

ohplease
09-24-2004, 09:41 PM
http://www.advantage-tennis.com/becker/305_5929.jpg

andreh
09-25-2004, 01:53 AM
I have a couple of matches with Becker in DVD. He seems to be using a semi-continental grip. It's definietly not anywhere near full eastern forehand grip.

C_Urala
09-25-2004, 04:24 AM
Well, I have a mixed feeling.
On one hand, I've told it several times - BB can sound very insulting (often without enough reasons).
On the other hand, in the beginning of this thread I didn't find many words of him that can be considered as too stinging. I think he was more tactful this time than he was during the discussions with Eric or Predrag. Or maybe, I just got used to his style (?)
Anyway. I think it's useful to state some credentials. We, the haunters of this 'tips and discussions' board, already know who BB or MK or Kevhen are. And we can weigh the value of advice given by these posters. But new readers can not do it. So, there was some rationality in BB's words, when he said that Kevhen is not a coach and speaks basing just on his own experience. Could BB choose other words? Of course, but "it's not he". Nobody's perfect. BB chose to be blatant and persists in it. So, people, stop trying to convince him to change. He doesn't want ( not that he hasn't right for this)
We can write 50 new posts about this - it's useless.
So, let's stop right here. We all know now what a person BB is, and whether we want to read his posts or not, everybody decides for himself.

jun
09-25-2004, 05:10 PM
Man, you guys are just being ridiculous.

Just let it go. None of us are perfec. Yet I believe we can manage to show some respect and sincerity, instead of trying to rip each other apart.

At the end, the fact is
-Contiental grip is way to go on any serves.

-Eastern forehand grip is not bad for beginners to hit flat serves, but change should rather be made later on.

-Did Becker use eastern forehand grip for serve? In the picture, it seems like he is. I know I read in Tennis Magazine (1997 Aug or Sept issue) Becker used eastern forehand grip, even on slice serve.
However, is that really important? Just because it worked for him, it doesn't mean it's going to work for others.

Let's just end it here before you guys become even more ugly.

papa
09-25-2004, 07:19 PM
Well actually I'm somewhat surprised that after 1000 views and over 60 post nobody has even mentioned the eastern backhand grip - doesn't anyone use it? I know some think it (EB grip) as superior to any of the other grips - especially advanced players. Just seems odd that it hasn't been mentioned.

Rickson
09-25-2004, 08:36 PM
I don't always like what Bill has to say, but one thing I don't lack for Bill is respect. I was and still am to a certain degree, an unorthodox player. Bill pointed out several mistakes in my advice. I would point out certain unorthodox moves like a semi western grip kick serve on the ad side as good tips, when in fact, these unusual and unorthdox maneuvers worked well for me and not the general public. I went back to basics, continental grip on all first serves, and my serve actually got better. My point is that although the eastern fh grip can seemingly work well for a small percentage of tennis players, the continental grip works better. I was unorthodox, but went back to the basics just like Bill wants us to, and my game got better for it. Bill has enough experience to know when something is not right so don't hate him for being a little hard and just listen. Use the continental grip for first serves, not the eastern forehand. Your serve just might get better if you gave fundamental tennis a chance.

andreh
09-26-2004, 03:24 AM
There's a man in his 40ies or 50ies at my club who serves pretty darn well with an eastern grip and a very open stance. Maybe 80-90mph on the really good ones I'd say, but definetetly nowhere near 110mph. That being said, I believe he would serve much better if he switched to a proper serve grip.

Most people, I think, won't reach 80-90 with forehand grip, much less 110. I'm not saying it can't happen, but I'll believe it first when I see it.

papa
09-26-2004, 07:40 AM
papa wrote:

Well actually I'm somewhat surprised that after 1000 views and over 60 post nobody has even mentioned the eastern backhand grip - doesn't anyone use it? I know some think it (EB grip) as superior to any of the other grips - especially advanced players. Just seems odd that it hasn't been mentioned.

twistserve wrote:

"The topic of the thread is adding power to the serve.. not adding spin."

So, you are of the opinion that the eastern backhand grip is just for spin?

I guess my question is: if the optimum service grip "might" be the eastern backhand grip, and that changing grip positions is difficult, can a case be made for starting out with "that" grip? Is it just too difficult to teach a beginner?

KingBugsy
09-26-2004, 01:09 PM
I read more than I post on this board. I just wanted to say that I have learned a WHOLE lot from BB's posts. If their are others on this board with as much knowledge as BB, then I wish they would post as much as BB.

As far as BB not having the "skills" to deal with "real life" students and the like, I would ask you to review the posts he made responding to video analyisis of peoples games. Several posters put up videos of their game, and I learned alot from BB analysis. It seems like much of his comments are dead on accurate. These "free" lessons online have already PROVEN to help may players on this board. The proof is in the pudding.

Lastly, GOOD tennis instruction is very expensive. By some miracle of fate we have someone like BB on these boards GIVING away professional advice. Who the hell cares if he is gruff! Let him be gruff! Gruff is good! For players like me who are looking to improve, I want to know when I am practing less then perfect standards in my game. His posts have continues to be knowledgeable, interesting and thoughtful. More than many other posters, or should I say im-posters, can say.

I hope BB does not leave the boards after the disrespect some of you have shown here. If YOU have the skill set to replace him, then fire away. If not appreciate his efforts and shut up.

Hedges
09-26-2004, 01:25 PM
The wife tried out the new continental grip today for the first time. I explained to her that she was in for a long, difficult transition. I showed her the grip and we stood at the fence and went through the service motions with the face of the racket ending on fence where the ball is to be struck.

Then, she tried hitting a serve. The first serve was in the net and she basically said "There's no way this is gonna work." Fortunately, our teaching pro was on the adjacent court and chimed in to encourage her to keep trying. So, she tried it again and it popped in. From then on, she pretty much had figured it out!!

Her serve is MUCH improved with this grip; it looks more like a real serve, has some nice action and a little more snap. Only problem we have now is she tends to admire her serve now instead of preparing for the next shot.

She's soooo psyched! And I can't wait to see her try a top-spin serve ;-)

Thanks again to all

Rickson
09-26-2004, 03:14 PM
Thank goodness. Fundamental tennis wins again.

JohnThomas1
09-26-2004, 04:23 PM
One thing i notice with near all women where i am Hedges is that they fail to use the shoulders correctly at the start of the swing. As you toss the ball the shoulders should turn and coil slightly which loads the kinetic chain properly. Quite a bit of stored power when done correctly, Sampras is a good example tho maybe extreme. I think it is an easy habit to create and would be more than achievable for a 3.0 if it is not already being done.

Smashlob
09-26-2004, 05:09 PM
All I can say is that I have found BB's posts to be accurate, and for the cost, you really can't complain.

Going back to adding pace. I have found for myself that the key is in two elements: body weight and wrist snap. If you can throw the ball far enough forward, and get enough of a wrist snap, you can probably add 10 mph to your serve.

kevhen
09-27-2004, 06:50 AM
I think I have said that for most people, the continental grip is the way to go, but some beginners find hitting an eastern flat much easier and can at least avoid the DF's until they have a chance to work on the continental.

Since the Eastern produces less spin, at the higher levels, I think mostly only taller players will benefit. I tried hitting hard the other night with continental and noted that I had to keep all my fingers on the handle to keep a solid grip on the racquet. Then when I went back to Eastern, I was able to drop my pinkie off the bottom, and had a more relaxed grip and was able to generate much more wrist snap. My eastern serves move about 10-15 mph faster than my continental flat ones. More energy is put into the pace of the ball vs adding spin to it.

I did add another half ounce of tape to my racquet (12 ounces now) and still slightly headlight and it played and served well, thanks Bill for the weighting advice.

Bungalo Bill
09-27-2004, 09:49 AM
The wife tried out the new continental grip today for the first time. I explained to her that she was in for a long, difficult transition. I showed her the grip and we stood at the fence and went through the service motions with the face of the racket ending on fence where the ball is to be struck.

Then, she tried hitting a serve. The first serve was in the net and she basically said "There's no way this is gonna work." Fortunately, our teaching pro was on the adjacent court and chimed in to encourage her to keep trying. So, she tried it again and it popped in. From then on, she pretty much had figured it out!!

Her serve is MUCH improved with this grip; it looks more like a real serve, has some nice action and a little more snap. Only problem we have now is she tends to admire her serve now instead of preparing for the next shot.

She's soooo psyched! And I can't wait to see her try a top-spin serve ;-)

Thanks again to all

If someone has not learned something and it is not engrained, the human body adapts fast after some practice. Always strive to learn things the "correct" way that way you won't have to relearn something later - which is harder because you have unlearn and learn at the sametime. Once success has been achieved with something (wrong or right) it is hard to change because you now have to go through failure again - most people dont like to be uncomfortable again.

Changing engrained neurological pathways is always tougher. The word "correct" can apply to a lot of areas that have been already studied such as:

1. Biomechanics

2. Physics

3. Technical

4. Efficient

5. Effective

I am glad you chose the right route to help your wife. I am also glad a coach was there to back me up!

Bungalo Bill
09-27-2004, 10:06 AM
http://www.advantage-tennis.com/becker/305_5929.jpg

Well, that is a great picture. But that is not an Eastern grip. It is inbetween and Eastern grip and a continental grip in case you didn't know. You can tell by where the base knuckle resides. :) This is a grip used by some pros. I in fact will migrate towards it but not too far where it messes with the natural rotation of my wrist.

Bungalo Bill
09-27-2004, 10:50 AM
I read more than I post on this board. I just wanted to say that I have learned a WHOLE lot from BB's posts. If their are others on this board with as much knowledge as BB, then I wish they would post as much as BB.

As far as BB not having the "skills" to deal with "real life" students and the like, I would ask you to review the posts he made responding to video analyisis of peoples games. Several posters put up videos of their game, and I learned alot from BB analysis. It seems like much of his comments are dead on accurate. These "free" lessons online have already PROVEN to help may players on this board. The proof is in the pudding.

Lastly, GOOD tennis instruction is very expensive. By some miracle of fate we have someone like BB on these boards GIVING away professional advice. Who the hell cares if he is gruff! Let him be gruff! Gruff is good! For players like me who are looking to improve, I want to know when I am practing less then perfect standards in my game. His posts have continues to be knowledgeable, interesting and thoughtful. More than many other posters, or should I say im-posters, can say.

I hope BB does not leave the boards after the disrespect some of you have shown here. If YOU have the skill set to replace him, then fire away. If not appreciate his efforts and shut up.

Actually I deal with real life students real well. they are usually hungry to learn and they dont come with an attitude spitting out bad adivce like Phil or Datacipher have done.

Real life students listen and work on things. I also can show what I mean. If a student bucks the instruction and insists they do it the wrong way, I tell them to go find another coach - it is that simple.

All this mumbo jumbo is from people that are jealous because they want the so called "lime light" and they cant get there limelight for several reasons:

1. They cant write and explain themselves well - unorganized thoughts lead to a poor coach. If you cant explain things clearly in writing how do you think this person explains themselves on the court?

2. They provide false information

3. They love to attack the sources so they can undermine and "get" a following.

4. They dont consistently provide sound instruction over and over again.

5. They dont like that I am here because I will jump in as soon as they bark there false information that just "happened" to work for them.

6. They cant promote themselves to hustle money as I provide excellent instruction for free!

7. They don't take the time to analyze film or provide sound feedback to players videos: a. Because they dont know how, b. They really dont want to spend there time doing so c. They really dont care.

Well, I CARE! I care that the information you are reading is correct or corrected before you try it. If someone wants to argue I will! I have the background and the playing ability to handle it as well.

There are several coaches on this board that I have seen that provide excellent instruction - for free. Mahboob Kann, John Yandell, Dougherty, Braden (when he was on) and I will say myself. Everyone else like Phil and Datacipher are wanna be's they dont move the boards forward. They dont offer sound advice over and over again. They say things are wrong or rely on there own limited experience to tell us how the game is played. They clearely dont study film and informatio regarding tennis. That is painfully obvious. That is the bottom-line.

I am not leaving! These posters are nothing to me. they cant hold a candle. It is like a pro against a beginner. 8)

FireSon
09-27-2004, 10:58 AM
http://www.advantage-tennis.com/becker/305_5929.jpg

Well, that is a great picture. But that is not an Eastern grip. It is inbetween and Eastern grip and a continental grip in case you didnt know. You can tell by wear the base knuckle resides. :) This is a grip used by some pros. I in fact will migrate towards it but not too far where is messes with the natural rotation of my wrist.

Over the past 2 weeks I experimented with a grip like that. Can the use of this grip lead to injuries in the long run? I play without any injury at this moment and would very much like to keep it that way. The grip worked very well for me, though I am not as tall as kevhen at 6.'2".

Bungalo Bill
09-27-2004, 11:05 AM
Yes, this inbetween grip is not used by a lot of pros. But it can be effective. I think MacEnroe used this grip as well (the "inbetween" continental and Eastern forehand grip).

As long as it doesnt interfere with the natural rotation of the wrist I think your ok.

I do not use this grip except on certain occasions. Like I am leading a game 40-0 or up a lot in games. I like to have some arc in my serves to increase the chances of getting into the box. The more Eastern you go the flatter the serve tends to be.

kevhen
09-27-2004, 11:58 AM
I use the semi-continental when I want a little bit a spin to help when going outwide vs using the eastern when I go up the T. I still think that Ivo Karlovic is about the only one who could get away with using Eastern when he serves out wide. Does anyone know what grip he uses? Any photos of the big Croat?

papa
09-27-2004, 03:21 PM
BB wrote:

"...90% rate of success I guess that aint bad. ....."

Don't short change yourself, your more like Ivory Snow soap - doesn't matter what a "few" say, you've helped (directly and indirectly) everyone, including those who like to question. Can we all incorporate everything into our game, maybe not but its solid advice anyway.

Keep it up.

Bungalo Bill
09-27-2004, 04:04 PM
BB wrote:

"...90% rate of success I guess that aint bad. ....."

Don't short change yourself, your more like Ivory Snow soap - doesn't matter what a "few" say, you've helped (directly and indirectly) everyone, including those who like to question. Can we all incorporate everything into our game, maybe not but its solid advice anyway.

Keep it up.

Ok, Thanks!

fastdunn
09-27-2004, 06:27 PM
Well I digged up my video archives and reviewed couple of
old matches between Becker and other players.

TV commentators did pick on grips of Becker's serve and volleys.
Fred Stolle mentioned something like "Becker uses somewhat
unorthodox grips for serves and his serve has more movements
than a swiss watch", obviously suggesting viewers Becker's
serve might not be the best model to follow.
In another matche, Tony Trabert commented "Becker just
used western grip and pop the ball way long".
I don't think Tony's sure about what grip he used, I guess
he meant his grip looked too open on that volley......

Just tibits from TV-recordings of old matches....

kevhen
09-28-2004, 12:52 PM
"Boris Becker's serve was unique to him, I think. Becker's follow-through was odd; the racquet would end up pointing straight down on the right side of his body. He didn't naturally follow through across his body like most servers. I'm surprised he didn't have more injury problems during his career because of that." http://ucsb1990.tripod.com/id12.html

This does sound like the Eastern serve that I use with my arm going straight in front and not across my body like when using a continental grip. I am not sure why everyone seems to think this serve will cause injury since at least for me it's a very smooth and natural motion, just like any fastball pitcher's.

Another photo of Becker serving.
http://hem.passagen.se/mighty/bilder becker3.jpg

papa
09-28-2004, 02:26 PM
Kevhen wrote:

".....racquet would end up pointing straight down on the right side of his body."

Isn't this one of the most common followthroughs for the twist serve? Finishing on the racquet side (right side for right handers) creates a lot of strain on my arm and shoulder - doesn't feel natural to me.

paulfreda
10-26-2004, 11:15 PM
Rickson said ...
"There's such a thing as unorthodox and there's wrong. Serving with an eastern forehand grip is wrong."

Boris Becker served with an Eastern FH Grip.
4 Wimbledons and a legendary career.
And he was wrong ???

Tennis is about technique. You may not like someone's technique but saying there is only one way to do something is pure ignorance.

vin
10-27-2004, 07:07 AM
Boris Becker served with an Eastern FH Grip.
4 Wimbledons and a legendary career.
And he was wrong ???

Not this again. :roll: A picture was posted of Becker's grip and it's clear that it's not a pure eastern forehand. It's more towards a continental. And who's to say that Becker would not have had a better serve with a grip closer to a pure continental or even towards eastern backhand? It's probably safe to say that 99.9999% of pros serve in between the range of continental and eastern backhand. Doesn't that tell you something? You're trying to prove a point with the .0001%?

Tennis is about technique. You may not like someone's technique but saying there is only one way to do something is pure ignorance.
I once hit with a man who used a western forehand grip to hit slice backhands. Is it ignorant to say that is a horrible backhand grip? No one is saying there is only one way. As Rick Macci says, there's a better way.

I think that physiology and anatomy prove that pronation (continental grip) provides a greater range of motion than the over the top motion of waiter's wrist (eastern forehand). Increased range of motion means less risk for injury and more time for acceleration (more power).

Both science and actual results stand behind the continental and eastern backhand grips as being the optimal serving grips. Boris Becker simply proves that one man out of many was able to develop a great serve against the odds. As I said before, maybe it could have been an even greater serve!

kevhen
10-27-2004, 07:26 AM
Open your mind to the possibilities. I serve with continental, semi-continental and eastern forehand grips and all have value. I get the most power out of eastern and this was a topic about adding power to your serve. It may not be the best grip for 99% of all tennis players, but the next Boris Becker may come along and dominate the world using a unique grip. Instead of bickering back and forth and saying everyone else is wrong, just open your minds to that there may be more than one right answer for different players. I remember I got laughed at when I said I served with an Eastern forehand grip. You wouldn't laugh if you were trying to return it as it packs some heat.

Bungalo Bill
10-27-2004, 10:09 AM
Open your mind to the possibilities. I serve with continental, semi-continental and eastern forehand grips and all have value. I get the most power out of eastern and this was a topic about adding power to your serve. It may not be the best grip for 99% of all tennis players, but the next Boris Becker may come along and dominate the world using a unique grip. Instead of bickering back and forth and saying everyone else is wrong, just open your minds to that there may be more than one right answer for different players. I remember I got laughed at when I said I served with an Eastern forehand grip. You wouldn't laugh if you were trying to return it as it packs some heat.

Boris Becker had one of the most unorthodox serves ever. This is not opening your mind at all. It is obvious Kevhen that the player that you suggested to serve with a Eastern forehand grip took a different route and had excellent results and fun.

The Eastern forehand grip puts the wrist in a strained position during the service motion. This is not something to promote or "keep and open mind" on.

You are 6'4" in height the player we were helping was not. This tells me a lot about you. It tells me that you have no idea how to teach someone to play tennis. You do not know what considerations need to be made before providing good advice. You just provide ANY advice which is a "shoot from the hip" approach that you label as "keeping an open mind". A lot of your instruction goes against what is already learned and proven. It is that rebellious antagonistic attitude you have.

If you have never seen the person play, the last thing you would want to steer someone towards is to learn an unorthodox swing to improve!

vin
10-27-2004, 10:46 AM
Open your mind to the possibilities. I serve with continental, semi-continental and eastern forehand grips and all have value. I get the most power out of eastern and this was a topic about adding power to your serve.

I think your pushing open mindedness to an extreme here. Serving 110 is a good accomplishment regardless of grip, but how do you know that you wouldn't be able to serve 120 with the proper mechanics associated with pronation? I'm 5" shorter than you and I can serve around 110 ... and that's with some topspin. Your height should give you the potential to beat that easily. You could be more open minded as well.

It may not be the best grip for 99% of all tennis players, but the next Boris Becker may come along and dominate the world using a unique grip.
And you think it's the eastern forehand grip that is the reason for the domination? How do you know that the grip is not hampering the player even though they are doing well?

Instead of bickering back and forth and saying everyone else is wrong, just open your minds to that there may be more than one right answer for different players. I remember I got laughed at when I said I served with an Eastern forehand grip. You wouldn't laugh if you were trying to return it as it packs some heat.
I don't think it's wrong to serve with the eastern forehand grip - for casual players. It gets the ball over the net, doesn't it? I just think it's not the most effective way nor is it a good grip to suggest to someone who is inspired enough to work on their game. I also believe the injury potential that BB refers to. You're right, I wouldn't laugh at your serve. Instead I'd be dissapointed by the potential you're probably missing out on. Why be satisfied with a flat 110 mph serve when you could likely make it faster and more reliable(spin)? Hopefully you agree that the eastern forehand grip is not a good grip to apply spin to serves.

akj27
08-29-2005, 09:18 PM
but which is better for a flat serve guys, eastern or continental?

Bungalo Bill
08-29-2005, 11:58 PM
but which is better for a flat serve guys, eastern or continental?

Stick with the continental. You do not want a completely flat serve. The eastern grip and to hit it hard is for tall people - 6'4" and above.

GuyClinch
08-30-2005, 05:19 AM
If you watch those corny instructional videos on the tennis channel - the Joe Dollinger(sp?) guy shows how the continental provides more freedom of wrist movement then the eastern. That's why it's so much better.

I think it's hard to argue with that logic. My problem is that even though I serve with the continental I tend to "open" the face of the racquet during the swing rather then swinging the racquet like a sword and then pronating before contact. It's a really hard habit for me to fix.

Pete

Mahboob Khan
08-30-2005, 07:06 PM
The ITF's Coaches Commission has concluded that:

-- There were two groups. One did the weight training and took lessons from a Pro (to increase speed on serve).

-- The other group besides taking lessons on technique, watched good serving models (mental imagery).

At the end, a test was given and the latter group (mental imagery) won the speed contest. So my advice will be following:

1. Remove any technical hitches.

2. Let her watch good models (mental imagery)

3. Let her throw 1 kg medicine ball

4. Let her throw tennis balls (serving motion)

5. Let her serve a basket of balls!

6. Let her play points on serve (and return of serve).

Bungalo Bill
08-30-2005, 10:57 PM
The ITF's Coaches Commission has concluded that:

-- There were two groups. One did the weight training and took lessons from a Pro (to increase speed on serve).

-- The other group besides taking lessons on technique, watched good serving models (mental imagery).

At the end, a test was given and the latter group (mental imagery) won the speed contest. So my advice will be following:

1. Remove any technical hitches.

2. Let her watch good models (mental imagery)

3. Let her throw 1 kg medicine ball

4. Let her throw tennis balls (serving motion)

5. Let her serve a basket of balls!

6. Let her play points on serve (and return of serve).

Wow, always good stuff to consider.

Indiantwist
08-31-2005, 07:38 AM
Here is my personal experience. I started out serving with Eastern Forehand. Very erratic and unpredictable with less margin for error. I stii managed to win most of my service games. Flat serve is cool but second servce is a let down as i couldnt get enough spin to keep ball reliably in play.

After watching the Pro's especially Marat Safin and the Great Pistol Pete himself, i tried using continental to get a lil more spin. It was tough at first but once i got the hang of it it was awesome.

Today i serve great {ignore my pathetic serve last 2 weeks}. i can serve flat with much higher speed , i can hit good kick on my second.

All owing to one significant change i made--> Go Continental.

Tennismastery
08-31-2005, 10:10 AM
Gentlemen (& ladies!),

After reading through these nine pages of exchange, I felt compelled to contribute. (Since I'm sick at home instead of teaching tennis!)

First off, to those who believe that you can teach one rudementary pattern or grip, (as in teaching or learning with the more comfortable--but limiting--eastern forehand grip on the serve), and then think you will be able to get the student to change "later," you and your student will not only be very frustrated but change will be nearly impossible. I won't get into all the details as to the truth of this statement, but I will say that the eastern grip promotes a different swing pattern and contact point and body position compared to the type of swing a continental grip serve requires. It isn't just a grip change!

As someone stated earlier in the thread, (and as I have written in detail in my book TENNIS MASTERY), why would anyone want to spend any amount of time learning something they will have to abandon?

I don't know of any other sport that teaches simpleton methods just to get the student 'playing' the sport. Tennis is very unique in this approach. Learning methods that will lead to skilled play within a player's ability is usually the goal of anyone who picks up a tennis racquet. While there may be exceptions, I don't know too many people who pick up a racquet and say, "gee I would love to play tennis but I really don't want to be any good.''

The continental grip is the grip used by nearly every top level player from the pros to ranked juniors, to 5.0 players and above to most top club players. Those who stagnate at much lower levels usually have more problems than just this aspect of the serve, but tend to use the eastern forehand grip...and tend to have questionable serves and usually a terrible second serve.

Boris Becker was an anomoly who used a hybred continental grip. But, unlike recreational players, Becker used proper body position and swing pattern to make this grip behave within the swing pattern like a continental. (He also is one of the only players to step through with his back foot prior to contact. Yet, like his grip, he used his upper body correctly in generating the proper attack angle and swing speed. Most players who step through do many of the things that those who use the eastern grip do on their serve!)

Typically, players who use the eastern grips go to palm up or the 'waiter's grip on the backswing, tend to swing the elbow forward too early, tend to face the net too early, and seldom learn to get the racquet to come through the ball over the equator and with the proper vector to impart both proper spin as well as moving the racquet through the ball for desired pace and racquet head speed.

If the goal of any student is to develop a quality serve with potential and progressive improvement, the continental grip is the operative grip.

Ironically, books and instructors who say to use the eastern grip on the serve--yet correctly identify that for the player to advance will need to change to the continental--never say "when to change"...only that change will be necessary. So, this brings up a question, WHEN? One year, ten years? The problem lies in the element of competiton because when a player begins to compete with such aspects that will eventually require change, they will resist such change to the death. Because players don't want to feel a perceived lack of confidence (that will always come with change) they will always revert back to their most comfortable, familiar swing/grip/footwork pattern.

Hope this adds some 'objective' light to this conversation and I write it not to subjectively attack anyone contributing...it is, however, something we all can think about.

Bungalo Bill
08-31-2005, 10:38 PM
Gentlemen (& ladies!),

After reading through these nine pages of exchange, I felt compelled to contribute. (Since I'm sick at home instead of teaching tennis!)

First off, to those who believe that you can teach one rudementary pattern or grip, (as in teaching or learning with the more comfortable--but limiting--eastern forehand grip on the serve), and then think you will be able to get the student to change "later," you and your student will not only be very frustrated but change will be nearly impossible. I won't get into all the details as to the truth of this statement, but I will say that the eastern grip promotes a different swing pattern and contact point and body position compared to the type of swing a continental grip serve requires. It isn't just a grip change!

As someone stated earlier in the thread, (and as I have written in detail in my book TENNIS MASTERY), why would anyone want to spend any amount of time learning something they will have to abandon?

I don't know of any other sport that teaches simpleton methods just to get the student 'playing' the sport. Tennis is very unique in this approach. Learning methods that will lead to skilled play within a player's ability is usually the goal of anyone who picks up a tennis racquet. While there may be exceptions, I don't know too many people who pick up a racquet and say, "gee I would love to play tennis but I really don't want to be any good.''

The continental grip is the grip used by nearly every top level player from the pros to ranked juniors, to 5.0 players and above to most top club players. Those who stagnate at much lower levels usually have more problems than just this aspect of the serve, but tend to use the eastern forehand grip...and tend to have questionable serves and usually a terrible second serve.

Boris Becker was an anomoly who used a hybred continental grip. But, unlike recreational players, Becker used proper body position and swing pattern to make this grip behave within the swing pattern like a continental. (He also is one of the only players to step through with his back foot prior to contact. Yet, like his grip, he used his upper body correctly in generating the proper attack angle and swing speed. Most players who step through do many of the things that those who use the eastern grip do on their serve!)

Typically, players who use the eastern grips go to palm up or the 'waiter's grip on the backswing, tend to swing the elbow forward too early, tend to face the net too early, and seldom learn to get the racquet to come through the ball over the equator and with the proper vector to impart both proper spin as well as moving the racquet through the ball for desired pace and racquet head speed.

If the goal of any student is to develop a quality serve with potential and progressive improvement, the continental grip is the operative grip.

Ironically, books and instructors who say to use the eastern grip on the serve--yet correctly identify that for the player to advance will need to change to the continental--never say "when to change"...only that change will be necessary. So, this brings up a question, WHEN? One year, ten years? The problem lies in the element of competiton because when a player begins to compete with such aspects that will eventually require change, they will resist such change to the death. Because players don't want to feel a perceived lack of confidence (that will always come with change) they will always revert back to their most comfortable, familiar swing/grip/footwork pattern.

Hope this adds some 'objective' light to this conversation and I write it not to subjectively attack anyone contributing...it is, however, something we all can think about.

Well, this is something I can agree on.