PDA

View Full Version : I've gone over to the dark side


Frank Silbermann
04-07-2008, 06:19 PM
Well, I finally did it. This month's Tennis magazine has an article about Jimmy Arias, claiming that he, more than anyone else, is responsible for the new, post-modern western grip forehand that replaced the technically correct modern (i.e. eastern) forehand. (I claim that the modern forehand is eastern because I have a book, published in the 1940s, which describes the eastern style as being "the modern forehand". Since the eastern forehand already has a long tradition of being described as "modern" -- clearly the heavily topspun western style must be post-modern.)

Apparently, this shrimp of a kid Jimmy Arias began beating really serious players using his powerful forehand, and so impressed coach Nick Bolletieri that he began teaching this stroke to all his juniors. Many of these players were bigger and more athletic, so when they learned Jimmy's technique and took away his advantage, he "great promise" was never fulfilled.

The article notes that when Jimmy Arias plays on the grandmasters circuit, his forehand looks ordinary to today's eyes, whereas the style of opponents his age looks antique.

What impressed me, however, was the fact that this revolution began when wooden rackets were still the norm, and therefore would have occurred even if graphite rackets had never been invented.

I should have seen it coming. Way back in the middle 1960s Paul Metzler advised in his book, _Advanced Tennis_, that when playing someone with a western grip you shouldn't come to the net on anything he can get a good swing at. His advice was to hang in there and maybe he'll wilt in the second set, the western style being a very tiring way to play (especially on grass courts where he has to squat down lower than everyone else for the low balls). This was especially true in the days before tie-breakers, when a set could go on and on before either player could obtain a two-game advantage. He also advised bringing the western player to the net, as the western grip had poor reach there on balls that were wide or low.

Yes, in the old days only rich pampered kids got lessons -- not the kind of people who went into athletics full time. The desperate, gritty kids who had the hunger to claw to the top had to pretty much learn on his own. Whereas a never-married tennis bum like **** Bill Tilden could learn a different grip for every shot, most players had time to learn at most one style, therefore using their ground-stroke grips at the net. If a player happened to start with the Eastern or continental grips, then he could master an all-court game; but if he started (and stayed) with the western grip he'd start losing as soon as his opponents mastered the drop shot.

But nowadays most kids with potential can get expert coaching, and everyone can see the best strokes up close and in slow motion on the computer. Kids are taught to volley with the continental no matter how they hit their ground-strokes; they train harder (and have access to excellent surgical repairs should they overdo it); their sets are limited by tie-breakers -- so it no longer matters that the western style is more strenuous. Western grip players, with their big swings, used to have trouble with bad bounces on poorly maintained courts, but no serious matches are played on irregular courts anymore.

Several times, in the 1970s, I'd notice that I was hitting my forehand especially well only to realize with dismay that my grip had slipped a quarter-bevel towards western -- a flaw that had to be corrected immediately before the incorrect stroke became grooved and it eventually hold back my progress. But now I see that as a wasted opportunity. I cannot envision any change to the pro game -- not even a return to wooden rackets -- that will lead the pros back to the use of traditionally-correct grips and stances.

So, given that everyone these days, from beginner to pro, is cheating on their grips to make the game easier, I might as well do that too. My forehand was already barely within the eastern range -- both heel and big index knuckle solidly on the broad flat plane in back of the grip. But this week, I lowered my index knuckle by half bevel, placing it on the lower edge that lay at the bottom of the broad, flat plane adjacent to the angled bevel towards the bottom -- edging me over the eastern boundary and ever so slightly into western territory. Within a few minutes I was hitting harder and with more topspin, even when hitting with casual footwork and without perfect balance. I'm doing that with forehands on both left and right-handed sides.

As long as I have the strength, stability and topspin to allow me to swing freely without fear of error, I don't think I'll need to go any further than that; it's already become more difficult to hit balls that fall below knee level, and at age 52 I don't want to have to start squatting to hit the ball. (I can always switch to a continental slice if someone insists on giving me one ultra-low ball after another.)

Now that the top players' style is again relevant to me, maybe I'll even start watching professional tennis again.

smoothtennis
04-07-2008, 08:16 PM
Well, I finally did it.


What did you finally do? You read about Jimmy Arias?

goober
04-07-2008, 09:15 PM
What did you finally do? You read about Jimmy Arias?

It's near the bottom of that diatribe. He moved his eastern FH grip over by half a bevel towards Western side.

Earth shattering isn't it :)

tbini87
04-07-2008, 09:30 PM
It's near the bottom of that diatribe. He moved his eastern FH grip over by half a bevel towards Western side.

Earth shattering isn't it :)

haha, yeah baby! a huge adjustment of a half inch or so!

well good for you frank, you might realize that the dark side isn't so dark after all!

heycal
04-07-2008, 09:54 PM
I don't know how you can switch your main grip so easily after so many years. I learned an eastern forehand as a kid, only played sporadically in the last thirty years, and then started playing frequently in the last couple of years. And I have a real hard time when I try experimenting with a semi-western grip and not automatically reverting back to eastern without even realizing it. Seems like it would take a lot of effort and concentration to make the switch on a full-time basis.

Sentinel
04-07-2008, 09:58 PM
Let me get this straight. He moved to a SW right, not a full western.

And a SW is the dark side?

I opened this thread thinking it was something as serious and unforgivable (haha) as moving to a 2hbh :-)

BiGGieStuFF
04-07-2008, 10:05 PM
I went the opposite. Went from a western to a Semi-western. I'm happy now. the transition was tough but it's paid off huge. My forehand is much more versatile now.

tennisfa
04-08-2008, 02:57 AM
“The dark side of the force is a pathway to many abilities, some considered to be UNNATURAL...."- Darth Sidious:)

chess9
04-08-2008, 03:07 AM
Funny piece, Frank, but, what's next-knee length shorts, Luxilon strings, a young blonde? This is a slippery slope, Frank. You will be wearing a nose ring soon, I fear, maybe listening to Neo-Grunge or Techno music. It's sad to see a human being go downhill so quickly. Does the USTA have a helpful 10 step program? Shall we send money? :)

-Robert

DJG
04-08-2008, 03:23 AM
I found the original post quite funny and at the same time enlightening, mostly for the history bit.

Good luck, I hope you find the groove very soon (almost sound like you already have) and that no funny injuries start appearing. (Quite possible after years of playing a certain way - your body has a way of adapting.)

Djokovicfan4life
04-08-2008, 03:30 AM
Oooh, so you're using extreme eastern? Pretty scary stuff! :roll:

smoothtennis
04-08-2008, 06:08 AM
It's near the bottom of that diatribe. He moved his eastern FH grip over by half a bevel towards Western side.

Earth shattering isn't it :)

LOL - well, at least you found it, I was reading all about the history of Arias there - whom I have seen hitting recently, and the boy can still crank out the forehand!

Half bevel adjustment - good adjustment Frank - now start cranking that forehand!

PS. I was expected a 1HBH swith to the 2HBH myself when I opened the thread.

lawrence
04-08-2008, 07:09 AM
i moved my SW up a tiny bit toward eastern, probably inbetween
SW is great and all but it just seems less versatile ;o and i end up switching to eastern for some shots.. now with my grip inbetween its all sweet hah

Bungalo Bill
04-08-2008, 07:20 AM
But this week, I lowered my index knuckle by half bevel, placing it on the lower edge that lay at the bottom of the broad, flat plane adjacent to the angled bevel towards the bottom -- edging me over the eastern boundary and ever so slightly into western territory. Within a few minutes I was hitting harder and with more topspin, even when hitting with casual footwork and without perfect balance. I'm doing that with forehands on both left and right-handed sides.

(FRANK at the X-EASTERN FOREHAND ABUSERS MEETING): Hi, my name is Frank Silbermann, and I am an Eastern forehand-aholic.

(PARTICIPANTS): Welcome Frank, glad to have you. (some clapping)

(FRANK): For a long time I didnt realize how much I was in a rut. I wear white shirts, white shorts, white wristbands, white shoes, and white head bands. My socks are white too. Heck, I even still hit white tennis balls and take them out of metal cans with the twist offs! And to be honest with you, I still use those pump-up ball pressurizers so I can use my tennis balls over again for several days if not weeks.

Anyway, recently I decided it is time to change. I needed to take control of my life and although I know I can't change everything in a day, I decided to move my hand over one bevel on the handle. It felt good but I was so scared...

(PARTICIPANTS IN THE BACKGROUND): Way to go Frank! We're with you buddy!

(FRANK ALMOST IN TEARS): I..i...i..am so ashamed...i hurt my family...oh, my beautiful family...and have missed...sniff...so much of life...

PARTICIPANTS GIVE A STANDING OVATION) YEAH!!!!! WAY-TO-GO FRANK!!! THAT A BOY!!!! WE"RE GONNA CHANGE WITH YOU!!!! YEAH!!!!!

Rickson
04-08-2008, 07:22 AM
I've gone over to the dark side

I thought Frank started using a 2 handed backhand. Thank goodness it's just a western grip.

smoothtennis
04-08-2008, 08:01 AM
I thought Frank started using a 2 handed backhand. Thank goodness it's just a western grip.

Amen brother Rickson - can't believe we are giving this one so much 'air time'!

heycal
04-08-2008, 08:07 AM
I thought Frank started using a 2 handed backhand. Thank goodness it's just a western grip.

Are you suggesting that the one handed backhand favored my metrosexual Swiss guys and French-speaking women is somehow superior to the macho two fister favored by tough guys like Connors, etc?

Rickson
04-08-2008, 08:10 AM
Amen brother Rickson - can't believe we are giving this one so much 'air time'!

You're member #133.

The OHBS post #1532 (http://tt.tennis-warehouse.com/showthread.php?t=172774&page=77)

chess9
04-08-2008, 08:11 AM
(FRANK at the X-EASTERN FOREHAND ABUSERS MEETING): Hi, my name is Frank Silbermann, and I am an Eastern forehand-aholic.

(PARTICIPANTS): Welcome Frank, glad to have you. (some clapping)

(FRANK): For a long time I didnt realize how much I was in a rut. I wear white shirts, white shorts, white wristbands, white shoes, and white head bands. My socks are white too. Heck, I even still hit white tennis balls and take them out of metal cans with the twist offs! And to be honest with you, I still use those pump-up ball pressurizers so I can use my tennis balls over again for several days if not weeks.

Anyway, recently I decided it is time to change. I needed to take control of my life and although I know I can't change everything in a day, I decided to move my hand over one bevel on the handle. It felt good but I was so scared...

(PARTICIPANTS IN THE BACKGROUND): Way to go Frank! We're with you buddy!

(FRANK ALMOST IN TEARS): I..i...i..am so ashamed...i hurt my family...oh, my beautiful family...and have missed...sniff...so much of life...

PARTICIPANTS GIVE A STANDING OVATION) YEAH!!!!! WAY-TO-GO FRANK!!! THAT A BOY!!!! WE"RE GONNA CHANGE WITH YOU!!!! YEAH!!!!!

Bwuahahaha!! YESSSSSSSSS. That's exactly the kind of thing I had in mind. LOL! The USTA is missing an income opportunity here. Imagine all the geezers they could 'cure'.

Do we have fun here, or what?

-Robert

Frank Silbermann
04-08-2008, 08:13 PM
Others have brought up the two-handed backhand. When I started playing (in 1973), someone told me that in Australia any tennis pro who was caught teaching a two-handed backhand could lose is license to teach tennis. (A license to teach tennis?!? Yeah, I guess this is not beyond plausibility for a country that had a Democratic Socialist Labor government. Just kidding!)

Having been born a nerd, the first thing I did after starting my jr. college phys. ed. course was to start reading "World Tennis" magazine and instruction books. One article raved about the talent of the teenager Bjorn Borg, speculating sadly on just how much greater he would be if only someone had been available in his childhood to teach him the correct technique. A regular feature had a famous teaching pro answer readers' question. (I don't remember the writer; maybe it was Bill Talbert.) The reader wrote, "I'm a middle-aged club player with a semi-western forehand, but it's my best shot. Should I correct it?"

Now, in 1973 the Eastern grip was taught as having the heel of the hand squarely over the upper angled bevel that lay between the top horizontal side and the wider vertical rear side. The index knuckle was near the top of that broad, vertical panel, right next to the angled bevel. If the heel slipped down to that vertical panel (i.e., Sampras' grip) -- that was "semi-western". (Hence all the concern about Bjorn Borg's "extreme western forehand" -- which looks pretty eastern to most people nowadays.)

The author was sensitive to the situation. He explained, "Your grip is not good enough to win Wimbledon, but it's possible to win the French open or the U.S. Hardcourt championship with that grip. If you were a junior I would definitely advise you to change to the eastern grip, but since that level of play is out of the question for someone at your age and since this is your best shot, I would advise you to keep your current grip unless it later gives you trouble -- and instead work on other areas of your game. Though correcting your grip will increase your long-term potential, with your limited practice time you may never get there, and you'll likely go through a long period in which your forehand is unreliable. Since your forehand is your best shot that will likely be quite discouraging."

Yes, modifying one's grip is difficult for most people; perhaps it's easier for me because -- in a vain effort to rise above crappy play -- I've tried every variation between the most open-faced continental and closed-faced eastern, on both forehand and backhand. The latest grip is probably the one I would have naturally developed had I not been so concerned about correctness.

By the way, back in 1973 the full western grip is what most beginners naturally picked up until they had lessons. The eastern grip was more difficult because you had to turn sideways and reach way out; with the western you could stand facing the net holding the racket vertically in front of your right ear and just bop the ball back over the net -- with the strings facing forward the whole way. But when you'd progress beyond lobbing the ball back and forth, and had to face someone good who could hit fast net-skimmers, then the ball would pass under your racket -- until you switched to a correct grip. The higher a level you played, the closer to the net your opponent could skim his shots. Therefore, you could almost tell just how good a player was by seeing how close to continental his eastern grip was. Topspin? That was only for experts.

BeHappy
04-08-2008, 08:20 PM
Others have brought up the two-handed backhand. When I started playing (in 1973), someone told me that in Australia any tennis pro who was caught teaching a two-handed backhand could lose is license to teach tennis. (A license to teach tennis?!? Yeah, I guess this is not beyond plausibility for a country that had a Democratic Socialist Labor government. Just kidding!)

Having been born a nerd, the first thing I did after starting my jr. college phys. ed. course was to start reading "World Tennis" magazine and instruction books. One article raved about the talent of the teenager Bjorn Borg, speculating sadly on just how much greater he would be if only someone had been available in his childhood to teach him the correct technique. A regular feature had a famous teaching pro answer readers' question. (I don't remember the writer; maybe it was Bill Talbert.) The reader wrote, "I'm a middle-aged club player with a semi-western forehand, but it's my best shot. Should I correct it?"

Now, in 1973 the Eastern grip was taught as having the heel of the hand squarely over the upper angled bevel that lay between the top horizontal side and the wider vertical rear side. The index knuckle was near the top of that broad, vertical panel, right next to the angled bevel. If the heel slipped down to that vertical panel (i.e., Sampras' grip) -- that was "semi-western". (Hence all the concern about Bjorn Borg's "extreme western forehand" -- which looks pretty eastern to most people nowadays.)

The author was sensitive to the situation. He explained, "Your grip is not good enough to win Wimbledon, but it's possible to win the French open or the U.S. Hardcourt championship with that grip. If you were a junior I would definitely advise you to change to the eastern grip, but since that level of play is out of the question for someone at your age and since this is your best shot, I would advise you to keep your current grip unless it later gives you trouble -- and instead work on other areas of your game. Though correcting your grip will increase your long-term potential, with your limited practice time you may never get there, and you'll likely go through a long period in which your forehand is unreliable. Since your forehand is your best shot that will likely be quite discouraging."

Yes, modifying one's grip is difficult for most people; perhaps it's easier for me because -- in a vain effort to rise above crappy play -- I've tried every variation between the most open-faced continental and closed-faced eastern, on both forehand and backhand. The latest grip is probably the one I would have naturally developed had I not been so concerned about correctness.

By the way, back in 1973 the full western grip is what most beginners naturally picked up until they had lessons. The eastern grip was more difficult because you had to turn sideways and reach way out; with the western you could stand facing the net holding the racket vertically in front of your right ear and just bop the ball back over the net -- with the strings facing forward the whole way. But when you'd progress beyond lobbing the ball back and forth, and had to face someone good who could hit fast net-skimmers, then the ball would pass under your racket -- until you switched to a correct grip. The higher a level you played, the closer to the net your opponent could skim his shots. Therefore, you could almost tell just how good a player was by seeing how close to continental his eastern grip was. Topspin? That was only for experts.

what do you mean by ''correct'' frank?

And are you hitting a semi western with both your forehands?, (I have the memory of an elephant my ambidextrous friend).

Bungalo Bill
04-08-2008, 08:20 PM
Yes, modifying one's grip is difficult for most people; perhaps it's easier for me because -- in a vain effort to rise above crappy play -- I've tried every variation between the most open-faced continental and closed-faced eastern, on both forehand and backhand. The latest grip is probably the one I would have naturally developed had I not been so concerned about correctness.

Frank, I am impressed with your knowledge of tennis history. I hope you know I was kidding above. I thought you might have liked remembering the metal cans we opened with those twisties.

Frank Silbermann
04-09-2008, 03:57 AM
what do you mean by ''correct'' frank?

And are you hitting a semi western with both your forehands?, (I have the memory of an elephant my ambidextrous friend). Yes, slightly semi-western, a one-handed forehand on each side. This helps me pull even with those cheaters who hit to their opponents' backhands while running around their own. ("You're not a better tennis player. You just win 'cause you're a better runner.")

As for the incorrectness of anything even slightly western, go to an online old-book store and order Ed Faulkner's _Tennis: How to Play it, How to Teach it_. This was first printed in 1970, and reprinted several times -- as recently as 1975. For each stroke it has an entire chapter of photos demonstrating stroking flaws to look for in your pupils so you can correct them. One of the flaws demonstrated was "the semi-western grip" on the forehand (more like extreme Eastern, as I described above). It also showed photos of the pupil after his forehand grip was corrected.

Djokovicfan4life
04-09-2008, 04:09 AM
Cut out all this tennis history, Frank, you're making me look stupid. :(

Australia was right about the two-hander though.

chess9
04-09-2008, 04:50 AM
When I first came back to tennis after a very very long layoff I took some tennis lessons from a pro. He said it was like looking at some old deguerrotypes, and he offered that I had strokes like Maria Bueno! (The Swallow). Well, yes, I did, because we probably both learned from the same or similar sources. For me it was Jack Kramer, Tilden, Pancho Gonzales.

Anyway, I have gone from hitting flat forehands with the Continental to topspin forehands with the semi-Western. That transition took about two weeks of hard practice, so it isn't that difficult to do, IMHO. On the backhand side, I still goof up occasionally because I tend to hit my topspin backhand with a bent left elbow-a remnant of having hit a million backhand slices. This season I'm working hard on eliminating that elbow bend!

Fortunately, serving has become even easier with time as I don't need to keep my feet planted, and the strings and racquets are much more powerful these days.

Things I miss:

1. CONTINUOUS PLAY!
2. Win by TWO GAMES.
3. The old DOUBLE HIT rule.


-Robert

eagle
04-09-2008, 04:55 AM
Darn.

All this time I thought in addition to inventing the Internet, the Western Grip was given to the tennis world by none other than Al Gore.

:)

r,
eagle

Tim Tennis
04-09-2008, 05:05 AM
Darn.

All this time I thought in addition to inventing the Internet, the Western Grip was given to the tennis world by none other than Al Gore.

:)

r,
eagle

This thread is too funny. Who says you can't teach an old dog new grips.

Ed

chess9
04-09-2008, 05:08 AM
This thread is too funny. Who says you can't teach an old dog new grips.

Ed

Nice pun!

-Robert

Frank Silbermann
04-09-2008, 03:26 PM
When I first came back to tennis after a very very long layoff I took some tennis lessons from a pro. He said it was like looking at some old deguerrotypes, and he offered that I had strokes like Maria Bueno! (The Swallow). Well, yes, I did, because we probably both learned from the same or similar sources. For me it was Jack Kramer, Tilden, Pancho Gonzales.

Anyway, I have gone from hitting flat forehands with the Continental to topspin forehands with the semi-Western. That transition took about two weeks of hard practice, so it isn't that difficult to do, IMHO. On the backhand side, I still goof up occasionally because I tend to hit my topspin backhand with a bent left elbow-a remnant of having hit a million backhand slices. This season I'm working hard on eliminating that elbow bend!
Too bad you didn't learn Tilden's topspin backhand -- the one he developed to establish his supremacy over (western-grip player) Little Billy Johnston. I heard Tilden's topsin backhand spun at over 120 rpm!

chess9
04-09-2008, 04:12 PM
Too bad you didn't learn Tilden's topspin backhand -- the one he developed to establish his supremacy over (western-grip player) Little Billy Johnston. I heard Tilden's topsin backhand spun at over 120 rpm!

That high? :) No, quite a few people were trying to hit topspin backhands, including topspin backhand lobs. Very few guys would use that stuff in matches however because most of us couldn't execute the shot reliably. I hit a few topspin backhands in practice but never in a match. The new racquets have made topspin very available to the average player. I was definitely nothing special, though I'm getting more 'special' every year. :) I hope to have my own age group soon.

-Robert

heycal
04-09-2008, 04:21 PM
When I first came back to tennis after a very very long layoff I took some tennis lessons from a pro. He said it was like looking at some old deguerrotypes, and he offered that I had strokes like Maria Bueno! (The Swallow). Well, yes, I did, because we probably both learned from the same or similar sources. For me it was Jack Kramer, Tilden, Pancho Gonzales.

Anyway, I have gone from hitting flat forehands with the Continental to topspin forehands with the semi-Western. That transition took about two weeks of hard practice, so it isn't that difficult to do, IMHO. On the backhand side, I still goof up occasionally because I tend to hit my topspin backhand with a bent left elbow-a remnant of having hit a million backhand slices. This season I'm working hard on eliminating that elbow bend!

Fortunately, serving has become even easier with time as I don't need to keep my feet planted, and the strings and racquets are much more powerful these days.

Things I miss:

1. CONTINUOUS PLAY!
2. Win by TWO GAMES.
3. The old DOUBLE HIT rule.


-Robert


Two things, Robert:

1) You really managed to change a life long grip in two weeks? I would have thought it would have taken ages.

2) What is the old double hit rule?

AndrewD
04-09-2008, 08:56 PM
Yeah, I guess this is not beyond plausibility for a country that had a Democratic Socialist Labor government. Just kidding!)

We also had a Deadly Serious Party but neither it nor the Democratic Labor Party (the Socialist part doesn't exist- same as the licensing story) were ever in office.

soyizgood
04-09-2008, 09:30 PM
I had an ex-2HBHer on our club move to OHBH and he considered that the "Dark Side". I was wondering which backhand the guy moved to and instead he changed his forehand. At least he didn't move to the "Dark Side" of forehand grips: the semi-western.

Rickson
04-09-2008, 09:34 PM
You are so confused. The dark side is the 2 hander and the eastern fh. The bright side is the one hander and the semi western forehand. Why is it that way? Beginners use the 2hbh, efh combo while advanced players use the ohbh, sw fh combo. Enough said.

heycal
04-10-2008, 12:23 AM
You are so confused. The dark side is the 2 hander and the eastern fh. The bright side is the one hander and the semi western forehand. Why is it that way? Beginners use the 2hbh, efh combo while advanced players use the ohbh, sw fh combo. Enough said.

How could you confuse such a simple matter? Yes, the two handed backhand is the dark side, but so are the western grips. Both are new fangled strokes, aka the dark side, while eastern and 1hbh are old fashioned and obsolete.

They go hand in hand, no pun intended.

Djokovicfan4life
04-10-2008, 02:23 AM
You are so confused. The dark side is the 2 hander and the eastern fh. The bright side is the one hander and the semi western forehand. Why is it that way? Beginners use the 2hbh, efh combo while advanced players use the ohbh, sw fh combo. Enough said.

Unfortunately advanced players DO use the devil's backhand whether we like it or not, but unless your name is Pete Sampras or Radek Stepenek (spelling?) most will have trouble advancing with that crappy eastern forehand grip. Take it from me, I used to use one.

chess9
04-10-2008, 03:12 AM
Two things, Robert:

1) You really managed to change a life long grip in two weeks? I would have thought it would have taken ages.

2) What is the old double hit rule?

On the forehand side it's really pretty easy to do, Cal. Maybe my years of baseball made it easier. It's proven slow going on the backhand side, however.

The old double hit rule said that a double hit was an error-you lost the point. Usually you immediately called it on yourself because you didn't want someone else telling you you'd double hit and lost the point! Now, if you double hit (unless it's intentional) you can still win the point if the ball goes over and in. My view is that if you've missed the ball that badly, you should lose the point. My view didn't prevail, alas.

-Robert

heycal
04-10-2008, 08:54 AM
Unfortunately advanced players DO use the devil's backhand whether we like it or not, but unless your name is Pete Sampras or Radek Stepenek (spelling?) most will have trouble advancing with that crappy eastern forehand grip. Take it from me, I used to use one.

The old fashioned and traditional way can't really be considered the "going over to the dark side", but that aside, doesn't that Federer fella use an extreme eastern grip? If memory serves, he has won several grand slams.

Djokovicfan4life
04-10-2008, 09:01 AM
Thank God you stopped photographing naked men and posted in a normal thread!

Seriously though, Federer uses a semi-western.

heycal
04-10-2008, 09:04 AM
I don't get the 'photographing naked men' reference. Huh?

Anyway, most accounts, including in the recent issue of Tennis magazine, say R. Federer uses an extreme eastern grip.

soyizgood
04-10-2008, 09:06 AM
I don't get the 'photographing naked men' reference. Huh?

Anyway, most accounts, including in the recent issue of Tennis magazine, say R. Federer uses an extreme eastern grip.

The truth hurts for those semi-western folks... :)

Djokovicfan4life
04-10-2008, 09:10 AM
I don't get the 'photographing naked men' reference. Huh?

Anyway, most accounts, including in the recent issue of Tennis magazine, say R. Federer uses an extreme eastern grip.
Sorry, I got the wrong user name, someone named norcal posted this thread.

http://tt.tennis-warehouse.com/showthread.php?t=191057&highlight=tennis+outfit

Rickson
04-10-2008, 09:11 AM
Even the Bryan brothers said that Roger uses a semi western.

soyizgood
04-10-2008, 09:26 AM
Even the Bryan brothers said that Roger uses a semi western.

That same video had Gilbert saying there were only 3 forehand grips and he conveniently left out the Eastern grip while he included his beloved, antiquated continental forehand. I doubt the Bryan brothers were going to correct Gilbert when he asked the Bryan's the grip Federer uses.

Djokovicfan4life
04-10-2008, 09:29 AM
Maybe Gilbert just left it out because the eastern grip is dead.

soyizgood
04-10-2008, 09:59 AM
Maybe Gilbert just left it out because the eastern grip is dead.

And the continental forehand is alive and well, huh?

Djokovicfan4life
04-10-2008, 10:14 AM
And the continental forehand is alive and well, huh?

He listed the continental? Wow, he's REALLY in the stone age. :shock:

LN_Dad
04-10-2008, 03:28 PM
I don't know how you can switch your main grip so easily after so many years. I learned an eastern forehand as a kid, only played sporadically in the last thirty years, and then started playing frequently in the last couple of years. And I have a real hard time when I try experimenting with a semi-western grip and not automatically reverting back to eastern without even realizing it. Seems like it would take a lot of effort and concentration to make the switch on a full-time basis.

You also have to change your timing since using a SW grip will require a contact point at least a foot in front of where you used to make contact with the ball with an eastern grip.

Is Arias really the first guy to use a SW grip with a wood racket? When I was a kid I watched Elliot Telsher play at UCLA(circa 1978) and I thought he was the first one with a SW grip on both forehands and backhands. Very nice and smooth strokes on both sides that guy had; may be he still got it.....

heycal
04-10-2008, 04:11 PM
All this talk is heresay. Look at the Tennis magazine issue that's out right now, and their article analyzing Federer's forehand, which they say is extreme eastern and different from most of the current players' grips.

So here's what we have:

Federer and Sampras using eastern grips.

Rickson and Djokovicfan4life using semi-western grips.

Next case!

Djokovicfan4life
04-10-2008, 04:13 PM
It's pointless to compare Federer to Sampras, I'm sure that he doesn't use the classic full eastern grip.

heycal
04-10-2008, 04:19 PM
It's pointless to compare Federer to Sampras

Sorry, it's too late. I've already compared them.

Djokovicfan4life
04-10-2008, 04:29 PM
Doesn't matter really, it doesn't change the fact that it's pointless. :confused:

heycal
04-10-2008, 05:24 PM
On the forehand side it's really pretty easy to do, Cal. Maybe my years of baseball made it easier. It's proven slow going on the backhand side, however.

The old double hit rule said that a double hit was an error-you lost the point. Usually you immediately called it on yourself because you didn't want someone else telling you you'd double hit and lost the point! Now, if you double hit (unless it's intentional) you can still win the point if the ball goes over and in. My view is that if you've missed the ball that badly, you should lose the point. My view didn't prevail, alas.

-Robert

How did baseball help you learn a semi-western forehand?

As for the double hit rule, when did they change that? Seems like I learned that rule myself as a kid, becuase I always feel funny when I double hit and play continues...

chess9
04-10-2008, 06:03 PM
How did baseball help you learn a semi-western forehand?

As for the double hit rule, when did they change that? Seems like I learned that rule myself as a kid, becuase I always feel funny when I double hit and play continues...

Throwing, mainly, but I suspect the catching and batting helped some too. But, Cal, the big difference between Continental and SW is the contact point. That's the hard part, learning to hit the ball about 8-10 inches further in front of your body. It's harder to do on the backhand side because I hit a slice backhand with a bent elbow until just prior to the hit for most of my tennis life. Now, I need to keep the elbow straight early in the shot AND hit out front, when using the Eastern backhand grip. I'm still struggling with that.

-Robert

heycal
04-10-2008, 06:07 PM
Throwing, mainly, but I suspect the catching and batting helped some too. But, Cal, the big difference between Continental and SW is the contact point. That's the hard part, learning to hit the ball about 8-10 inches further in front of your body. It's harder to do on the backhand side because I hit a slice backhand with a bent elbow until just prior to the hit for most of my tennis life. Now, I need to keep the elbow straight early in the shot AND hit out front, when using the Eastern backhand grip. I'm still struggling with that.

-Robert

Why bother with all the struggle? Mr. Federer and Mr. Sampras seem to get by okay, so why force the switch?

And yikes, I wonder if I'm using a continental forehand instead of an eastern like I thought! Yowsa!!

As for the backhand, I switched to 2 hbh because of TE, so I'm not learning any fancy grips there. (Although I guess I could...)

chess9
04-10-2008, 06:47 PM
Why bother with all the struggle? Mr. Federer and Mr. Sampras seem to get by okay, so why force the switch?

And yikes, I wonder if I'm using a continental forehand instead of an eastern like I thought! Yowsa!!

As for the backhand, I switched to 2 hbh because of TE, so I'm not learning any fancy grips there. (Although I guess I could...)

The pro I worked with suggested the SW. So, I went with it and didn't find it particularly difficult. On higher balls, I definitely prefer SW. I don't care for the 2hbh, mate. Blech. It just feels horrible, and looks worse. Like having sex with an ugly girl.

-Robert

Frank Silbermann
04-10-2008, 06:47 PM
All this talk is heresay. Look at the Tennis magazine issue that's out right now, and their article analyzing Federer's forehand, which they say is extreme eastern and different from most of the current players' grips.

So here's what we have:

Federer and Sampras using eastern grips.

Rickson and Djokovicfan4life using semi-western grips.

Next case! Yeah, they wrote that. Tennis writers grade on the curve, with a bias towards calling grips eastern. (In 1974 writers said that about Lew Hoad's very un-eastern continental backhand.) Believe me, no one between 1925 and 1990 would have called Federer's grip eastern. In 1973 they would have called Federer's grip "extreme western" -- and the majority of today's players they would have called "ridiculously extreme western -- Didn't anybody give these people lessons?"


Is Arias really the first guy to use a SW grip with a wood racket? When I was a kid I watched Elliot Telsher play at UCLA(circa 1978) and I thought he was the first one with a SW grip on both forehands and backhands. Very nice and smooth strokes on both sides that guy had; may be he still got it..... He was not the first; people used western grips with wood rackets a hundred years ago. And even in the 1970s there were people such as Borg and Solomon moving towards the western and hitting more topspin. Clay courter Andre Gomez had an more extreme western on both sides. But their swings were still influenced by the standard eastern swing. They began to follow through with the racket wrapped around the neck (like Bill Tilden) instead of out front, but Arias' loose, more vertical swing with the windshield-wipering looked much more like today's forehands. That's because tennis academy coach Nick Bolletieri, upon seeing Jimmy Arias play, decided that this was a better way to hit the ball and taught it to most of his students -- many of whom became great in the 1990s (thereby influencing the rest of the world).

TenniseaWilliams
04-10-2008, 06:53 PM
Frank, you rock. Makes me feel like a little kid. I am sitting here desperately trying to think up a comment that will provoke you into another essay...

heycal
04-10-2008, 07:35 PM
The pro I worked with suggested the SW. So, I went with it and didn't find it particularly difficult. On higher balls, I definitely prefer SW. I don't care for the 2hbh, mate. Blech. It just feels horrible, and looks worse. Like having sex with an ugly girl.

-Robert

Believe me, Robert. When the TE finally catches up to you, you'll go crawling to the 2 hbh as your savior.

It's a really a better stroke, much more manly and powerful, and akin to the ugly duckling turning into a swan rather than some ugly broad. I was very resistant at first, but once you really get it, you'll love it. "Once you go two, you'll never go back" as the old saying does.

And hell, I'd rather sleep with 2 hbh Sharapova than 1 hbh Henin, as if there weren't proof enough already!

chess9
04-11-2008, 02:46 AM
Believe me, Robert. When the TE finally catches up to you, you'll go crawling to the 2 hbh as your savior.

It's a really a better stroke, much more manly and powerful, and akin to the ugly duckling turning into a swan rather than some ugly broad. I was very resistant at first, but once you really get it, you'll love it. "Once you go two, you'll never go back" as the old saying does.

And hell, I'd rather sleep with 2 hbh Sharapova than 1 hbh Henin, as if there weren't proof enough already!

I was born left handed and converted to righty so I'd probably play left handed if I got tennis elbow. I haven't gotten tennis elbow yet, though I know I have some calcification in my right elbow from years of playing as I can't completely straighten it. :) I'm working on that tennis elbow, pal, just give me some time and I'll have something 'positive' to report back. LOL!

Hey, I'm lucky my DOG sleeps with me....
-Robert

LuckyR
04-11-2008, 08:55 AM
Yeah, they wrote that. Tennis writers grade on the curve, with a bias towards calling grips eastern. (In 1974 writers said that about Lew Hoad's very un-eastern continental backhand.) Believe me, no one between 1925 and 1990 would have called Federer's grip eastern. In 1973 they would have called Federer's grip "extreme western" -- and the majority of today's players they would have called "ridiculously extreme western -- Didn't anybody give these people lessons?"

He was not the first; people used western grips with wood rackets a hundred years ago. And even in the 1970s there were people such as Borg and Solomon moving towards the western and hitting more topspin. Clay courter Andre Gomez had an more extreme western on both sides. But their swings were still influenced by the standard eastern swing. They began to follow through with the racket wrapped around the neck (like Bill Tilden) instead of out front, but Arias' loose, more vertical swing with the windshield-wipering looked much more like today's forehands. That's because tennis academy coach Nick Bolletieri, upon seeing Jimmy Arias play, decided that this was a better way to hit the ball and taught it to most of his students -- many of whom became great in the 1990s (thereby influencing the rest of the world).


I disagree, as you point out later in your post, folks were using true Western grips a hundred years ago, what Arias brought wasn't a Western grip alone but a Western grip and the modern swing together. Fed's grip is much less Western, than the Western grips commonly seen in instructional books of the era.

heycal
04-11-2008, 09:03 AM
Yeah, they wrote that. Tennis writers grade on the curve, with a bias towards calling grips eastern.

Perhaps so. I don't know. But I think we can at least agree that Federer's grip seems to be much more 'eastern' than the more western grips favored by most players. And this particular article claims that this more eastern-ish grip is actually more suited for club players and recreational hacks than more western grips are.

So maybe all these 3.5's and 4.0's trying to learn more western grips are not actually helping themselves in the end?

heycal
04-11-2008, 09:07 AM
I was born left handed and converted to righty so I'd probably play left handed if I got tennis elbow. I haven't gotten tennis elbow yet, though I know I have some calcification in my right elbow from years of playing as I can't completely straighten it. :) I'm working on that tennis elbow, pal, just give me some time and I'll have something 'positive' to report back. LOL!

TE has your number, Robert. Someday the bell will toll for thee...

As for what to do when it hits, I too switched to the other hand for awhile. I found it enjoyable and functional enough that I still use it against women and small children to keep the matches competitive. But I didn't want to play with my weak hand forever, so when the good one (the left, in my case) was better, I manned up and adopted the two fisted backhand favored by he-men like Connors and the rest is history. (Though I still hit many one handed slice backhands and droppers and lobs.)

TennisDawg
04-11-2008, 07:54 PM
I don't get the 'photographing naked men' reference. Huh?

Anyway, most accounts, including in the recent issue of Tennis magazine, say R. Federer uses an extreme eastern grip.

See page 56 of Tennis magazine May 2008. " He shifts his index base-knuckle slightly downward about a half a bevel toward a semi western grip" Also has an average of 2700 RPM on his forehand spin, equal to Andy Roddick and 2nd to Rafael at 3200 RPM.

TenniseaWilliams
04-11-2008, 08:23 PM
See page 56 of Tennis magazine May 2008. " He shifts his index base-knuckle slightly downward about a half a bevel toward a semi western grip" Also has an average of 2700 RPM on his forehand spin, equal to Andy Roddick and 2nd to Rafael at 3200 RPM.

So if he can produce topspin, must be a SW?

TennisDawg
04-11-2008, 09:11 PM
So if he can produce topspin, must be a SW?


Nope, not totally SW. His follow thru and wickedly fast swing generate the spin.

heycal
04-12-2008, 12:21 AM
See page 56 of Tennis magazine May 2008. " He shifts his index base-knuckle slightly downward about a half a bevel toward a semi western grip" Also has an average of 2700 RPM on his forehand spin, equal to Andy Roddick and 2nd to Rafael at 3200 RPM.

So? They refer to as his grip as "extreme eastern", and point out that it is different from those other semi-western/western guys.

Frank Silbermann
04-12-2008, 07:15 PM
Earlier I wrote: ...Tennis writers grade on the curve, with a bias towards calling grips eastern. (In 1974 writers said that about Lew Hoad's very un-eastern continental backhand.) Believe me, no one between 1925 and 1990 would have called Federer's grip eastern. In 1973 they would have called Federer's grip "extreme western" -- and the majority of today's players they would have called "ridiculously extreme western -- Didn't anybody give these people lessons?"


I disagree, as you point out later in your post, folks were using true Western grips a hundred years ago, what Arias brought wasn't a Western grip alone but a Western grip and the modern swing together. Fed's grip is much less Western, than the Western grips commonly seen in instructional books of the era. I also disagreed with the tennis writers of 1973. In my opinion, Federer's grip I would call _slightly_ western -- using Big Bill Tilden's forehand grip (virtually identical to that of Samras) as the eastern standard.

But in 1973, the grip teachers taught as eastern was not so much like Tilden's but actually more like the grip of Ellsworth Vines, Jack Kramer and Bobby Riggs -- which was a bit more towards Continental. Unlike Bill Tilden, those players used their groundstroke grips while at the net, and this was taught to beginners and intermediates forty years ago. If you're going to use your groundstroke grips at the net, then your groundstroke grips had better be closer to continental than Tilden's were.

What's more, in 1973 the majority of pros were using grips that were either Continental or near Continental, and tennis writers were loathe to admit that any top player's grip wasn't eastern (lest it lead people to question the dogma that eastern grips were best). So the eastern standard was beginning to shift even closer to continental; in fact, many writers were claiming (falsely, in my opinion) that the eastern backhand grip and the continental grip were virtually identical. So _those_ people indeed would have called Federer's grip "extreme western" -- incorrectly IMO.

Rafael_Nadal_6257
04-12-2008, 08:28 PM
Too bad you didn't learn Tilden's topspin backhand -- the one he developed to establish his supremacy over (western-grip player) Little Billy Johnston. I heard Tilden's topsin backhand spun at over 120 rpm!

You mean 1200 rotations per minute, right?? Because 120 rpm is extremely slow for a struck tennis ball...

TenniseaWilliams
04-12-2008, 08:31 PM
-----------------------------------------

TenniseaWilliams
04-12-2008, 08:35 PM
You mean 1200 rotations per minute, right?? Because 120 rpm is extremely slow for a struck tennis ball...

"sarcasm is the lowest form of wit, but the highest form of intelligence." -- unknown

RestockingTues
04-12-2008, 08:40 PM
It's near the bottom of that diatribe. He moved his eastern FH grip over by half a bevel towards Western side.

Earth shattering isn't it :)

LOL i love how everyone on TW is so empathetic :)

TenniseaWilliams
04-12-2008, 09:28 PM
LOL i love how everyone on TW is so empathetic :)

I am trying to have more empathy; notice how my eyes bug out a little more every day?

fridrix
04-12-2008, 10:52 PM
I am trying to have more empathy; notice how my eyes bug out a little more every day?

Like this? :shock:

soyizgood
04-20-2008, 05:41 PM
Talk about the Dark Side. I sided with Head, then Dunlop, then Gamma for racquets. Now it looks like I settled on a favorite racquet: WILSON nTour 95. As much as I proudly fought against that empire, they seduced me with a racquet I just seem to be most comfortable with.:oops:

I still have 3 Dunlops and 2 Gammas, but if I buy another racquet it's probably going to be an nTour or kTour. I truly have gone over to the reeeeeeal Dark Side....