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View Full Version : Sampras and FH Volleys with Eastern Grip


BevelDevil
01-03-2012, 10:45 PM
I always noticed the peculiar way Sampras would hit many of his forehand volleys. Some shots looked like a compact fh groundstroke. I also noticed how he would often flick up the rackethead on fh half-volleys, with a motion reminiscent of his running forehand. I was also impressed at how quickly he could adjust to a short pass attempt by hitting a conventional fh groundie, rather than slicing the ball after the bounce.

When I found out he used an Eastern grip for his fh volley, everything made sense. Since he's using the same grip for groundie and volley he can easily choose from the continuum of shots ranging from conventional slice, to flat, to topspin, to swing volley. And the more closed nature of the Eastern may have helped his half-volleys stay low.


Anyone out there have experience using an Eastern grip for the fh volley?
How do/did you like it?
What sort of grip-change problems did you have (if any) when switching to a bh volley?
Did this hurt a lot in doubles play?
If you also used an Eastern grip for your fh groundstroke, did you find that it gave you more feel and options when at the net?

mntlblok
01-04-2012, 01:47 AM
When I found out he used an Eastern grip for his fh volley,

If that's so, then I'm amazed - especially if he *always* used an Eastern for forehand volleys. With enough time, I could see where it could come in handy for certain specialty-type shots.

I'm thinking that most of those options are at least somewhat doable with a continental grip - with a little wrist manipulation. I've had a (very) few old-style players hit some amazingly good rolling, cross-court forehand dippers using a continental grip.

I can't imagine being able to do that much grip changing for standard net play, though.

Kevin

Limpinhitter
01-04-2012, 08:30 AM
This video clearly shows Sampras using a Continental grip on his fh half volley and volley:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N6E3vPigzxI

He may have adjusted his grip when he had more time to take a bigger swing at a half volley. But, generally, it was all Continental at the net. Further, IMO, Sampras didn't use a full Eastern grip (by modern definitions), on any of his forehands from the ground or at net. From the ground, it was somewhere between the modern definition of Continental and Eastern.

rkelley
01-04-2012, 08:50 AM
I always noticed the peculiar way Sampras would hit many of his forehand volleys. Some shots looked like a compact fh groundstroke. I also noticed how he would often flick up the rackethead on fh half-volleys, with a motion reminiscent of his running forehand. I was also impressed at how quickly he could adjust to a short pass attempt by hitting a conventional fh groundie, rather than slicing the ball after the bounce.

When I found out he used an Eastern grip for his fh volley, everything made sense. Since he's using the same grip for groundie and volley he can easily choose from the continuum of shots ranging from conventional slice, to flat, to topspin, to swing volley. And the more closed nature of the Eastern may have helped his half-volleys stay low.


Anyone out there have experience using an Eastern grip for the fh volley?
How do/did you like it?
What sort of grip-change problems did you have (if any) when switching to a bh volley?
Did this hurt a lot in doubles play?
If you also used an Eastern grip for your fh groundstroke, did you find that it gave you more feel and options when at the net?

I'd be really, really . . . like really surprised to know that Sampras used an E. fh grip on his fh volleys as a general rule. Where did you see this? Maybe the occasional swinging volley, but generally AFAIK he used a continental grip on both volleys.

An E. fh grip just doesn't allow you to keep the racquet face open the way it needs to be, especially on low balls. Also there's really no time to change grips when someone's hitting 80-90 mph ground strokes at you. You're doing well just to get your racquet in front of the ball. For half volleys on the fh side you generally take the ball closer to your body (front to back) and a bit out to the side so that you can close the face of the racquet.

rkelley
01-04-2012, 08:52 AM
Further, IMO, Sampras didn't use a full Eastern grip (by modern definitions), on any of his forehands from the ground or at net. From the ground, it was somewhere between the modern definition of Continental and Eastern.

I thought he was solid E. on the fh. Lendl too. Admittedly I never really studied his fh, as fantastic as it was.

BevelDevil
01-04-2012, 12:43 PM
I found it on Livestrong:

http://www.livestrong.com/article/497121-tennis-history-of-the-eastern-volley-grip/

The author qualified his statement by saying "on at least some of their volleys" (also referencing Boris Becker).

I'll be looking through more of Pete's vids/pics later.

I had speculated he might be using something stronger than continental just by watching his swing pattern, then I found this link. But I guess it could be wrong.

I'll dig through more links when I have the time.

Limpinhitter
01-04-2012, 04:44 PM
I thought he was solid E. on the fh. Lendl too. Admittedly I never really studied his fh, as fantastic as it was.

It all depends on your definition of an E. fh grip, which has changed and become more standardized in the past decade or so. Budge and Tilden were said to use an E. grip. But, by today's definitions they were about half way between E. and C. Fed uses a full E. grip by modern definition with the heel of his hand on the 3rd bevel and the first knuckle of his index finger on the 2nd bevel. That grip used to be considered SW. Lendl's grip is not quite as far behind the racquet as Fed's. So, not a full E. for Lendl either.

rkelley
01-04-2012, 05:01 PM
I'm defining an E. grip to be base knuckle on the index finger on bevel 3. The heel of the hand would be on the same bevel as the base knuckle of the index finger.

BevelDevil
01-04-2012, 07:00 PM
Budge and Tilden were said to use an E. grip. But, by today's definitions they were about half way between E. and C.

I've heard that grip referred to as the "modified Eastern".

I've also heard Sampras say he opens up his grip for his running forehand.



Fed uses a full E. grip by modern definition with the heel of his hand on the 3rd bevel and the first knuckle of his index finger on the 2nd bevel.

Don't you mean index on 3rd bevel? There's that whole fuzzy yellow balls video of "Fed uses an Eastern".

rkelley
01-04-2012, 07:04 PM
Budge and Tilden were said to use an E. grip. But, by today's definitions they were about half way between E. and C.

I've heard that grip referred to as the "modified Eastern".

There's also the "strong" Eastern, which is between an E. and a SW. It can get confusing.

Limpinhitter
01-04-2012, 07:18 PM
I've heard that grip referred to as the "modified Eastern".

I've also heard Sampras say he opens up his grip for his running forehand.

The only time I've heard the term "modified Eastern" used was by the Lock & Roll guy, who was referring to between Eastern and SW, not Eastern and Continental.

Don't you mean index on 3rd bevel? There's that whole fuzzy yellow balls video of "Fed uses an Eastern".

Yes, sorry! The modern definitions all have the heel of the hand and the first knuckle of the index finger on the same bevel, a seemingly arbitrary contrivance that I would think many, if not most, do not abide by.

A traditional Continental grip is identical to a traditional Eastern backhand grip - the heel of the hand is on the first bevel and the first knuckle of the index finger at about the second bevel. That is the grip I've always used on serve, volleys and bh slice.

ARON
01-05-2012, 09:33 PM
There's also the "strong" Eastern, which is between an E. and a SW. It can get confusing.

I've heard that grip referred to as an "Extreme Eastern." I use the grip myself.

BevelDevil
01-06-2012, 02:04 PM
Is this continental or "weak eastern"?

http://cdn.bleacherreport.net/images_root/images/photos/001/081/967/1222510_crop_650x440.jpg?1291504663

2ndServe
01-06-2012, 02:26 PM
^ continental. I can see Becker hitting a forehand with something that isn't a continental

rk_sports
01-06-2012, 08:33 PM
This is an interesting topic.. I will try it out in my next session and see if it does help generate oomph on the forehand volleys :)

chico9166
01-07-2012, 04:25 PM
In my opinion, "strengthening" the grip for particular shots, represents an advancement in skill set. For most here, the continental, as a default grip, should be mastered. Too many club level players learn "strong grips" first.