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View Full Version : What is it about the change in grips that produces "more spin"? Let's have a talk


theZig
02-09-2009, 11:09 PM
Something I thought of when teaching my friend how to play tennis, telling him the basic grips and such. Told him eastern grips hit flatter, the more to the west (While twisting the racket in his hand) you go, the more topspin you get. That's fine. I won't dispute it.

But what exactly causes it? Does it have to do with the positioning of the wrist? A change in contact point?

I feel that understanding a seemingly fundamental question can lead to insight on tennis as a whole, as asking "what really produces spin" can, what I feel, help in other aspects of the game as well.

My thoughts: I've always felt that spin is produced by the swing direction. Straight and simple. In my mind, changing your grip simply forced you to swing in a more upwards swing path in order to hit the ball cleanly, thereby forcing you to hit with more spin.

My thinking was supported when I saw players like Federer, who with seemingly tame grips would still hit monstrous amounts of spin. My own finding on the courts, that I could produce ample spin with a eastern-semiwestern crossover (which I believe is called classic?) grip, and not particularly more with a western (Although that could very simply be that I don't know how to use one).

When viewing players such as Nadal, however, it is clear that they hit with more spin. Is this really a result of their grip, or are they doing something inheirently different than the rest of us?

By answering such questions, my hope is to shed light on what really goes on in a swing, and how that produces certain balls.

user92626
02-09-2009, 11:34 PM
IMO, it's quite simple. You need to have the strongest part (center) of your palm (base of index finger) placed directly behind the racket handle as you drive the racket in the forward direction. For example, you can't brush up powerfully against the ball with continental, that's like lifting like in ping pong, which doesn't need a whole lot of power, but turn your palm upward and hit like you're hammering an upside down nail. That's Nadal's grip. :)

raiden031
02-10-2009, 03:59 AM
I believe that each grip naturally leads to a different swing path which causes more or less spin. But the player's technique also affects the swing path as well.

Djokovicfan4life
02-10-2009, 08:16 AM
The grip itself does nothing; what it really does is make a certain swing path seem more natural, as others have said.

Djokovic can crush flat balls with his western grip and Sampras could get monster topspin with his eastern. What people forget is that they should be able to hit ANY type of shot, regardless of what grip they feel comfortable using.

Matt

Slicendicer
02-10-2009, 08:20 AM
The grip will "angle" the face of the racquet, creating a more optimal surface to brush the ball. And what the trained-monkeys said about about swing path... :)

SirBlend12
02-10-2009, 09:14 AM
This is true. Swing Path>Grip.

BeHappy
02-10-2009, 11:33 AM
The grip itself does nothing; what it really does is make a certain swing path seem more natural, as others have said.

Djokovic can crush flat balls with his western grip and Sampras could get monster topspin with his eastern. What people forget is that they should be able to hit ANY type of shot, regardless of what grip they feel comfortable using.

Matt

Is this a joke? Ever heard of forearm pronation?

theZig
02-10-2009, 12:55 PM
Is this a joke? Ever heard of forearm pronation?

Sounds like we're starting to get to where I planned. Anyone care to expand on the correlation between the grip and pronating through the shot? I had suspected this might be part of it, as the reverse forehands we see the pro's use seem to be almost entirely from pronating.

junbumkim
02-10-2009, 01:06 PM
Ultimately swing path will determine what kind of spin you put on the ball.
However, the grip can put the racket head in a position that will facilitate /provide / amplify the spin.

Imagine hitting a slice backhand. It's the high to low swing path and opening of the racket face that creates the underspin. On this swing path, continental is most optimal.

The same goes with forehand, you can still put topspin on the ball with eastern forehand grip. But it's just that much easier with semi western or western grip.

mucat
02-10-2009, 03:09 PM
The grip will "angle" the face of the racquet, creating a more optimal surface to brush the ball. And what the trained-monkeys said about about swing path... :)

I agree with this. The grip changes the angle of contact. The swing path is just how you swing your arm. Given the same swing path, different grip will have different angle of contact.

mucat
02-10-2009, 09:35 PM
I agree with this. The grip changes the angle of contact. The swing path is just how you swing your arm. Given the same swing path, different grip will have different angle of contact.

Damn, I have to disagree with myself here. That was not a very good reply at all. Not a good idea to answer difficult question after a full day of work. The angle of contact should not change regarding different type of grips.

The angle of contact should be (around) perpendicular to the ground no matter which grip. So since the angle of contact does not change, the racket head speed does not change. I think the only thing leave is angle of attack which is the angle of the swing related to the ball. For example, a flatten swing will have a more parallel angle of attack; a more topspin swing will habve a more steep angle of attack. I think the different with various grips are the contact point along the swing path, the more classical swing (in general) will have a contact point earlier (closer to the body) along the swing path. As the grip uses become more extreme, the contact point have to move further and fruther in front (later and further from the body). If we look at a typical low to high swing. The earlier point (where continental contact) of the swing is actual more parallel to the ground, the later part of the swing (where western contact) is more steep. So I think it is just a matter of different contact point along the swing path causing difference in angle of attack then produce different level of topspins.

Tim Tennis
02-12-2009, 06:32 AM
IMO, it's quite simple. You need to have the strongest part (center) of your palm (base of index finger) placed directly behind the racket handle as you drive the racket in the forward direction. For example, you can't brush up powerfully against the ball with continental, that's like lifting like in ping pong, which doesn't need a whole lot of power, but turn your palm upward and hit like you're hammering an upside down nail. That's Nadal's grip. :)

I agree you have to have the strongest part of your hand in the correct position to support a particular swing path. Also the natural movement of the wrist has to compliment the swing path to get maximun rotation.

Ed

Tennis Geometrics
http://www.tennisgeometrics.com

Tim Tennis
02-12-2009, 06:44 AM
The grip itself does nothing; what it really does is make a certain swing path seem more natural, as others have said.
Matt

What? If a grip makes a swing path more natural isn't it doing something? IMO there is an ideal grip for each swing path. The palm of your hand should be in a position to give strong support to the swing path and the natural movement of the wrist should compliment it.

Ed
Tennis Geometrics

http://www.tennisgeometrics.com

Tim Tennis
02-12-2009, 06:54 AM
When viewing players such as Nadal, however, it is clear that they hit with more spin. Is this really a result of their grip, or are they doing something inheirently different than the rest of us?

Yup, they are generating about three times the racquet head speed that us mere mortals can.

Ed

Tennis Geometrics
http://www.tennisgeometrics.com