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Rosey
04-16-2008, 11:35 AM
Hi,

After one year of once a week instruction, I've changed instructors. I felt I was not improving. So, today, my new instructor taught me the continental grip for serve. The only problem is, I can't do it right. My outer-arm hurts, my balls are flying all over the place - they aren't even going over the net. I feel ********. I was using the "frying pan" grip - whatever that may be and having some success but not reliable. My instructor said with the continental grip, I will have more options for serves and more power. I am definately willing to continue trying, but I can't even play a game with this serve.

I need some help. Do I stick with it and hope it will work? Are there any tips? Why does my arm feel like it is going to fly out of the socket?

I appreciate any advice.

DJG
04-16-2008, 11:54 AM
Ok, I'm teaching my wife the switch, but I'm no coach.

Your instructor is right on power, placement, options and control. However, the motion is probably 100% different from what you've been doing. To groove the motion, I do 2 things:

1. Throw a ball from the baseline - the motion is the same. Make sure you aim for the box, throw in an arc and just groove.

2. Choke up, holding the racquet by the throat, and serving from the service line. Once again just practing the motion. Once you got it down, start moving the grip downward and move backwards till you are at the baseline again.

Hopefully a decent coach will chime in soon.

anchorage
04-16-2008, 12:04 PM
Rosey, if you are changing from a 'frying pan' to a Continental grip, that is quite a change, basically a 90 degree rotation of the racket. The Continental grip is standard (for serves, volleys and overheads). The problem you're probably encountering with the new grip is the role of the arm and wrist. Basically, if you just swing the racket with a Continental grip on the serve, you'll find that you're approaching the ball with the edge of the racket. So, you then have to perform the magic pronation!

A good way to get the feel of this is to stand facing the net. Taking your chopper (Continental) grip, move the racket as if you're going to chop down into the net. However, just before contact, rotate the forearm (anticlockwise) so that the racket lands face down on the top of the net. That is pronation and is the way you apply the racket to the ball when you serve.

When you try this on the serve, do it slowly at first. It will take a little while to get used to but, once you do, you'll have a more powerful serve and also open up the possibilities of various different types of serves (with spin).

5263
04-16-2008, 12:11 PM
You've gotta change to get better.
Don't forget good shoulder turn. With your old grip you just faced the box you were serving to, but this requires you to turn away during your wind up.

RedWeb
04-16-2008, 12:27 PM
If after 52 lessons (once a week for a year) your original "pro" should of long ago switched you away from the old frying pan serve. You were right to leave that guy/gal.

The continental grip will be more challenging but your serve will soon be infinitely better. Turning your left shoulder toward the court (assuming you are right handed) is very important. In addition to that try to relax as much as possible and take easy swings at the ball. When starting think of your arm as a noodle and that will help reduce the strain you'll feel in upper back, shoulder and outside of arm. Some of that is unavoidable as your body is doing something it is not use to.

Djokovicfan4life
04-16-2008, 12:56 PM
The frying pan serve and the proper continental grip technique are complete opposites. Just be patient. Sometimes you have to get worse before you can truly improve.

Best of luck!

tennisdad65
04-16-2008, 12:59 PM
thats some previous coach you had :confused: kept you on the pancake grip for 50 lessons? :shock:

Djokovicfan4life
04-16-2008, 01:04 PM
Seriously, you might as well coach basketball and teach granny shots. :roll:

fer
04-16-2008, 01:14 PM
That also happened to me, the continental grip felt so unnatural at first.
When trying to serve or smash I would slice the ball unintentionally.
Now my contact point is better and feel more confortable with the continental grip.

Caloi
04-16-2008, 01:27 PM
Sometimes you have to get worse before you can truly improve.


That hit really close to home for me. I've never been instructed in tennis, just self taught. The last two years I've practiced with techniques I've learned from online. I'm very athletic so it helps a bunch and carried my game only so far but I went through hell and back. Finally I'm well above where I was before I worked on technique. (Don't get me wrong, I learned to serve with the continental grip from the beginning but my mechanics were a bit off)

OP, keep at it! I played an older gentleman this spring that used the frying pan grip to serve. He had played through the winter indoors and I hadn't been on a court since last September. I was crushing his serves back to him. After the match he asked if he could take some serves with his "new" form he had been working on, the classic continental grip serve motion, and though looked very rusty with it, it was actually the better serve. He said he was taking lessons but felt very uncomfortable with it.

Steve1954
04-16-2008, 02:37 PM
Sounds like you are trying to hit the ball with a Continental grip while still using a frying pan motion.

I'm not a coach or a tennis authority or anything, but I am a teacher. Like Tom Shyrock, I'm basically self taught. What enabled me to make the switch was information from the book Think to Win by Allen Fox. He has a chapter on the serve, where he covered the frying pan serve, and then serving with the Continental grip, all in pictures. He wrote when you first start serving with the Continental grip after using the frying pan serve, you will hit the ball into the side fence. That's because you're still taking the racquet back as if you are going to serve it frying pan style, but using a Continental grip points the racquet face away from the net. So you have to change your service motion. Assuming you are right handed, turn the right shoulder as you toss, then make a 90 degree angle with your right arm, holding the racquet up, as the ball rises, then drop the racquet head back behind you, then rotate your shoulder around towards the net as you reach up with the racquet to strike the ball, just as if you are going to throw your racquet over the net. Your arm and wrist will naturally pronate, bringing the racquet face square and driving the ball towards the service box. Fox's book has pictures to show you exactly what you are trying to do. It's a complicated, continuous motion, and it takes practice, but it works.

Rosey
04-16-2008, 02:49 PM
Thank very much for your advice!! I just came back from the courts and was able to get a few in on the ad court using the continental grip. The other side was still going into the side fence. I'm definately going to try to rotate my shoulders more and in fact, I think I'll print off your responses so I can take them to the courts and put them in action. I think I probably am still trying to use the frying pan motion with the C grip.

My new instructor has changed so much in two lessons that I feel like I'm being re-taught. First it was my forehand. He added a little circle dohicky and then I had been playing with the wrong grip on the back-hand. So he changed that and now today, the grip on the serve. I'm just a little overwhelmed and feel like I wasted 52 lessons and tons of money.

I really appreciate all your advice and I will let you know how it goes.:)

skierpaul
04-16-2008, 03:02 PM
This video of Sampras helped me make sense of the whole mess. After watching this, all the pieces that everyone had been giving me finally clicked together. Good luck!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4DpptgXq5j4

Bungalo Bill
04-16-2008, 03:06 PM
This video of Sampras helped me make sense of the whole mess. After watching this, all the pieces that everyone had been giving me finally clicked together. Good luck!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4DpptgXq5j4

Good! Best of luck.

chess9
04-16-2008, 03:12 PM
At this stage you have to decide whether you want to play or learn proper technique. The reason MANY coaches let players continue with the frying pan serve is because THE STUDENTS WANT TO PLAY.

For my students, I emphasize they should never make an incorrect stroke if they want the correct strokes. So, playing and ingraining neuro-muscular techniques that are not sound will inhibit your progress. If the serve is transitional-in the oven so to speak-then serve underhand if you insist on playing.

In my experience, only about half the students ever get a reasonably correct service motion, principally because it's the most complex stroke in tennis. If you watch the players at most tennis courts, they "push" or "bunt" the ball in with the frying pan motion. That's fine if they don't want to get better and develop a love for the proper way to play the game.

-Robert

chess9
04-16-2008, 03:14 PM
Yes, the Sampras video is extremely helpful. A membership to www.tennisplayer.net is a good idea too. BECOME A STUDENT OF THE GAME.

-Robert

Djokovicfan4life
04-16-2008, 03:45 PM
Thank very much for your advice!! I just came back from the courts and was able to get a few in on the ad court using the continental grip. The other side was still going into the side fence. I'm definately going to try to rotate my shoulders more and in fact, I think I'll print off your responses so I can take them to the courts and put them in action. I think I probably am still trying to use the frying pan motion with the C grip.

My new instructor has changed so much in two lessons that I feel like I'm being re-taught. First it was my forehand. He added a little circle dohicky and then I had been playing with the wrong grip on the back-hand. So he changed that and now today, the grip on the serve. I'm just a little overwhelmed and feel like I wasted 52 lessons and tons of money.

I really appreciate all your advice and I will let you know how it goes.:)

Unfortunately it sounds like you DID waste a considerable amount of money on the guy. Good to hear that you found a good instructor, though. :)

CoachingMastery
04-16-2008, 07:04 PM
Remember that it is not just a grip change when you change your serve from an eastern forehand/frying pan grip to a continental grip.

There are many changes you will need to make in creating the opportunity for the new grip to be used in conjunction with a successful serve.

1. With your old grip, you probably hit with little spin and faced the net. Thus, you will need to turn more sideways, (significantly in many cases compared to the old serve position), and aim will right (if you are right handed).

2. Your swing path will be across the ball, very much a left to right swing path as you are also swinging forward, instead of a linear swing in the direction of your target as you did when you served your old way.

3. You will want to push off with the front foot and land on this foot with the back leg usually kicking back (as you swing harder) to maintain the integrity of your body position so your hips don't rotate too early.

4. You will swing with an "edge on" swing path, pronating (something you won't have to do intentionally), as your arm slows down allowing the racquet head to speed up.

Your aim will be dependent on the amount of brush versus the amount of forward velocity you want to hit. Generally speaking, once you gain mastery of the spin, you can add pace by tossing more towards the net, leaning in over your toss shoulder so you can still brush up and across the ball (depending on the axis of spin you want to hit: ie: slice, topspin, kick or hybrid spin), and not open up while "chasing" the ball into the court. (A very common mistake.

Finally, most players who serve with a waiter's grip swing down with the hitting elbow, similar to a person swinging an ax down on a piece of wood by their feet. Instead, you will want to create a swing that has the racquet accelerating past the forearm instead of the forearm "pulling" the racquet.

Good luck with your serve! And remember as one poster said, if you continue to serve with a mediocre serve, you will remain mediocre on your serve. You don't "spontaneously" evolve from a rudementary serve pattern to an advanced one. And like a piano player who simply plucks notes with one finger will never learn to play more melodic tunes, a tennis player must learn to overcome the uncomfortable by doing it enough times so that it is indeed comfortable.

A little philisophical, I know!

DJG
04-17-2008, 04:07 AM
My new instructor has changed so much in two lessons that I feel like I'm being re-taught. First it was my forehand. He added a little circle dohicky and then I had been playing with the wrong grip on the back-hand. So he changed that and now today, the grip on the serve. I'm just a little overwhelmed and feel like I wasted 52 lessons and tons of money.

Well, see it this way - at least you are on the right track now, rather late than never. (And it could have been worse, you could have spent 2008 with the old coach as well...)

And don't worry about feeling overwhelmed - things do groove quickly if you are willing to put in the time. (Or maybe more appropriately - have the time available to you.)