Coaches on Here: Is the Pro Continental Grip for Real?

Discussion in 'Tennis Tips/Instruction' started by Topspin Shot, Nov 18, 2013.

  1. Topspin Shot

    Topspin Shot Legend

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    In this video, Pat Dougherty talks about the pro continental grip, which maximizes leverage by lining the knuckles up with the racket handle. He shows how the grip creates a better racket to forearm angle than a regular continental, but he doesn't really explain how to get into the grip. The best I can do is wrap my hand completely around the handle, so my thumb is on bevel 7, and my base index knuckle is on bevel 3. Is this how to do it? I don't want to mess up my serve, but this tip looks too intriguing to pass up. Here's the video. http://vimeo.com/m/10566621
     
    Last edited: Nov 18, 2013
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  2. stephan_58

    stephan_58 Rookie

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    Funny that you opened this thread. I was thinking about doing the same after watching MPH by Pat Dougherty yesterday (highly recommended by the way!). He goes more into detail in the whole video and shows his hand holding the grip a little closer. The knuckles aren't completely in line with the grip, but it's close.

    I could benefit a lot from this tip since no matter how hard I try, at contact my racket is always more or less in line with my forearm. With more of a "hammer"-grip (fingers not as spread out) you more or less have to have some angle with your racket.

    But I'm wondering what the coaches on here think as well.
     
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  3. ForehandReverb

    ForehandReverb New User

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    This looks like the grip Sharapova uses. She really looks to hold the 4 knuckles on the same bevel.

    Just checked my continental grip. My index knuckle is on bevel 2, pinkie knuckle on bevel 3, closer to 2 than 4. 4 knuckles on the same bevel doesn't feel right for me and it doesn't look possible with a pistol grip only with hammer.

    No coach sorry.
     
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  4. Chas Tennis

    Chas Tennis Hall of Fame

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    A year or two ago there may have been a thread with grip discussion on the serve. FYI - It seemed that Raonic had a different looking grip. ......I now see it's called a BH grip - http://tt.tennis-warehouse.com/showthread.php?t=369265

    Do you clearly understand internal shoulder rotation (ISR) and how it turns the straight arm with the racket at a rapidly changing angle to the forearm. At impact there is still a forearm-racket angle. The process takes 20 milliseconds so forget about seeing it, having someone else see it or catching it with a 30 fps camera. You can catch random frames around impact with a 30 fps camera.

    Many of my videos show ISR. The arm-racket angles of the serve at impact show well from behind. As played, ISR lasts only 1/4 second, 7 frames, and is easily missed (recorded at 240 fps). Look for the rapid rotation of the arm as indicated by the elbow bones.
    https://vimeo.com/27528701

    See other pro videos
    https://vimeo.com/user6237669/videos
     
    Last edited: Nov 19, 2013
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  5. Tight Lines

    Tight Lines Professional

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    Topspin Shot,

    Pat is talking about a true conti grip. Place your index knuckle on bevel 2, (see top X below which is the first bevel to the right of the flat part), and your heel pad (see the bottom X below, which is the top flat part) on bevel 1 (2-1 grip).

    This grip is also great (even critical at higher levels) for volleys as it gives you the most stability and leverage so the racket doesn't wobble in your hand.

    A lot of people use a weak conti grip (2-2 grip) without even realizing it.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Harry
     
    Last edited: Jul 13, 2014
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  6. stephan_58

    stephan_58 Rookie

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    I think you're right about Sharapova:

    [​IMG]

    It also looks like an Eastern forehand grip to me (but with all knuckles on bevel nr. 3)? Is that right?
     
    Last edited: Nov 19, 2013
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  7. ForehandReverb

    ForehandReverb New User

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    It's better to look at grips in preparation of the shot rather than after. Still looks kinda continental. Here is a photo before the actual serve with the grip settled. This would be a continental right?

    [​IMG]
     
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  8. Shroud

    Shroud Hall of Fame

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    Thanks for this thread.

    For years I struggled to use the weak continental thinking that was the right grip. Always used the pro one unconsciously.
     
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  9. stephan_58

    stephan_58 Rookie

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    Well yeah but you can't be sure she won't change her grip after her preparation either... I'm sure there are people who alter their grip right before their take back.
     
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  10. RetroSpin

    RetroSpin Hall of Fame

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    The size of the grip will affect how the hand position looks. It may be easier to think about the vee at the base of the thumb being along the edge between bevel 8 and 1.
     
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  11. Topspin Shot

    Topspin Shot Legend

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    Which bevel is the base knuckle on in the video? 2 or 3?
     
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  12. stephan_58

    stephan_58 Rookie

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    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    I hope I'm allowed to post these pics, if not I'll take them down again.

    He stresses in the third pic that it's key that the heel of the hand is on the top side of the grip (bevel nr. 1).

    When I grip what I previously thought was the continental grip, my heel is mostly on bevel nr. 3. It's only when I grip the racket more of a full continental (as demonstrated by Pat) the heel lands on bevel nr. 1.
     
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  13. LeeD

    LeeD Bionic Poster

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    McEnroe would dispute this idea, as his grip allows the racket to be an extension of his forearm. However, he don't big pace.
    Yes, your racket should have an angle to your forearm, so you can pronate and add RHS to the service motion.
    Works for continental forehands, also, but that takes more timing, to time the moving incoming ball.
     
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  14. dominikk1985

    dominikk1985 Legend

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    I use that grip for my kick serve (a little towards BH grip maybe) but more of a pistol grip for my flat serve.
     
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  15. LeeD

    LeeD Bionic Poster

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    I use that grip for all my serves, flat, top/slice, twists, pure tops, and once in a blue moon, pure slices.
    Pronation is needed on all serves, and maxed out with an angle between forearm and racketlength.
     
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  16. Crisp

    Crisp Semi-Pro

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    This explanation is as good as I have seen other than in person. Great job harry
     
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  17. stephan_58

    stephan_58 Rookie

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    Yes, excellent explanation indeed. It should be made sticky lol. I suspect there are tons of people like me who use a weak conti and don't even know it. Thank you Tight Lines.
     
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  18. stephan_58

    stephan_58 Rookie

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    So, is there a reason most coaching sites on the net advocate using a weak continental (like Fuzzy Yellow Balls)?

    "Technically, the Continental Grip is where the heel pad and index knuckle of your hitting hand are resting on the second bevel of the tennis racket."
     
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  19. Chas Tennis

    Chas Tennis Hall of Fame

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    Thanks Tight Lines for the grip clarification. This looks like some important new information for me.

    Pat Dougherty (video is from 3 years ago) and Tennisplayer.net are very authoritative sources. But I have never read this elsewhere. I used the Fuzzy Yellow Balls video as a guide for the continental grip. "True" & "weak" continental grips are new terms to me.

    Does anyone have other references for this grip?


    At first, I'm seeing it as changing the angle between the forearm and the racket while keeping the index knuckle on bevel #2. ??

    When I hold that grip for volleys it feels awkward and does not look quite right on the forehand volley side.

    In the past for the serve grip, I've heard use 'continental', 'continental toward the backhand grip' or backhand grip. Backhand is extreme for me. I've tried 'toward the backhand' - with both the index knuckle and heel pad between bevels 1 & 2. That was OK.

    (Poor Description of Grip. An old and very common instruction for the grip was to 'put your index knuckle on bevel #2' with nothing said about where to place a second reference point of the hand, like the heel fat pad. The hand then could be at any angle around that index knuckle pivot point on bevel #2.)
     
    Last edited: Nov 21, 2013
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  20. Chas Tennis

    Chas Tennis Hall of Fame

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    Grips Used by High Level Servers?

    What grips are being used by high level servers? Weak Continental? True Continental? Backhand? Does the difference in grips result from different type serves? Is the main reason - to achieve a desired forearm-racket angle at impact? Is there any creditable information?

    Here is a thread on an unusual serve grip used by Raonic, one of the top ATP servers. Not sure how often that grip is used for Raonic.

     
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  21. Shroud

    Shroud Hall of Fame

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    Never seen him serve, but from the pict that looks like an eastern forehand grip just turned awkwardly to disguise a flat serve.

    Said another way if you take the grip used for a kick serve the racket position looks a certain way. If you use the grip for a flat serve you have to rotate your hand to mimic the look of a kick serve grip and racket position. think that is what he is doing here.
     
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  22. Chas Tennis

    Chas Tennis Hall of Fame

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    If disguising, then all bets are off for the Raonic grip pictured above, otherwise -

    I never feel comfortable locating knuckles from pictures, especially since in this case, the index knuckle is not visible. But I'd say that his index knuckle is on bevel #2, maybe high on bevel 2 toward bevel 1. ? I can't guess very well on the bevel for the heel pad of his hand, #1 towards #8? Calling it a backhand grip or even the "true" continental might be OK as far as I know now.

    What stands out to me is that his forearm is at a larger angle to the racket than most. Maybe he changed the grip before impact. ?

    What are your bevel estimates? Anybody else?

    Here is a close up of a Raonic impact. My uncertain guess is a weak continental?? Serve type unknown.
    https://vimeo.com/63060339
    Other Raonic serves
    https://vimeo.com/user6237669/videos/page:2/sort:date
     
    Last edited: Nov 21, 2013
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  23. Tight Lines

    Tight Lines Professional

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    Hi Chas,

    For 4.0 players and above, I think it's really important to know the distinction between a 2-1 conti and a 2-2 conti. What works for you depends on what makes you feel more comfortable. Personally, I use a 2-1 grip for first serves and eastern backhand grip for my second top/slice serve.

    But one thing for certain is that biomechanically, a 2-1 grip will give you the most stability and "leverage". You can test this out yourself. Hold the racket in 2-1 grip and have someone pull the racket away from you. You will feel the heel pad pressure on bevel 1 and will feel very secure. By contrast, hold the racket with a 2-2 grip and see how easy it is for someone to pull the racket away from your hand. That is because the heel pad is resting on an angled part (bevel 2) and you get no "leverage" from the heel pad.

    For serves, I am not sure if either grip makes a tremendous difference despite what Pat Dougherty says because he is talking about the 2-2 grip interfering with a wrist snap and we all know that there is no wrist snap in a serve. May be I misunderstood what Pat was saying.

    For volleys, however, I feel that a 2-1 grip is a must because of the leverage that I described above. I hope that helps.

    Harry
     
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  24. Tight Lines

    Tight Lines Professional

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    Okay, I just re-reviewed Pat's video. He is essentially saying that the 2-1 grip creates a bigger angle between the racket and the forearm. I think that makes a lot of sense because that would give you a lot more RHS.

    Harry
     
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  25. Chas Tennis

    Chas Tennis Hall of Fame

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    Thanks for clarifying. It's very interesting information, new to me, and I believe that it might be of value to me on the serve on an issue involving the angle of the forearm racket, i.e. the wrist joint. I want the most natural and comfortable forearm-racket angle (it changes) throughout the acceleration to impact using ISR.

    Before experimenting with my grip - I have more than I can do already - I'd like to get some more information from more sources.

    When I searched briefly on the internet for true continental, weak continental, etc. I have not found many references. You seem to be very familiar with this issue. Are Tennisplayer.net and Pat Dougherty the only sources that you are aware of?
     
    Last edited: Nov 21, 2013
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  26. Tight Lines

    Tight Lines Professional

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    http://sportextra1.blogspot.com/2012/01/tennis.html

    A relevant part says the following:
    Grip: A Mild Eastern Backhand
    Like all pro players, Federer uses some version of a backhand grip. You could call it a continental, or a mild eastern backhand. If we look at the position of his hand on the racket bevels, most of the palm of his hand is on the top bevel, or bevel one. His index knuckle appears to be in the center of bevel two. This grip works well for high level players, pro players, college players, ranked juniors, even some advanced club players. But you can develop the same basic swing elements with a slightly less extreme grip as well. You could call that less extreme grip a mild continental. The heel pad slides somewhat more to the right and is positioned somewhat less on bevel one and somewhat more on bevel two. The index knuckle slides somewhat to the right as well, to the edge between bevel one and bevel two. This is an easier grip for lower level junior players and many adults. It worked pretty well at the pro level for John McEnroe as well.


    http://www.tennisplayer.net/public/...lley/forehand_volley_public.html?format=print

    http://tt.tennis-warehouse.com/showthread.php?t=357580

    These are the references that I could find on a quick Internet search on this topic.

    I think I also learned this from Peter McCraw's paid (non-public) videos.

    Harry
     
    Last edited: Nov 21, 2013
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  27. NLBwell

    NLBwell Legend

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    Yes, that is a real grip. The nomenclature (Pro) is what Pat chooses to call it. It is a Continental hammer (or hammer-ish) grip instead of a Continental pistol grip where spreading the fingers would bring the heel pad further away from bevel 1.
    I've used this grip for every shot since I was a kid.
     
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  28. Chas Tennis

    Chas Tennis Hall of Fame

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    Now you tell me.
     
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  29. Tonyr1967

    Tonyr1967 Rookie

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    Always found that a 'hammer'/'pro' continental serve grips adds spin to my serve. Sometimes this is unwanted - if I want to hit a completely flat rocket down the middle.

    Have used this grip for slices for a long time and turns my flat serve into one with a small amount of topspin - useful for consistency.

    I vary the use of it on my second serve as it changes the kick nicely without giving any clues to the returner. Often results in more mishit returns on my second serve than my first.
     
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  30. LeeD

    LeeD Bionic Poster

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    Hammer "pro" conti grip adds RHS to the serve, with the rotation of the forearm called pronation.
    Pronation doesn't work if you hold the racket pistol extension of your forearm. It does close the face, but it doesn't add RHSpeed.
     
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  31. Shroud

    Shroud Hall of Fame

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    Weird. I swear I can pronate with both grips. Maybe you can show me some day.
     
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  32. LeeD

    LeeD Bionic Poster

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    You can pronate both grips, for sure, but you increase rackethead speed NOT using JohnMcEnroe's pistol grip conti.
    John does square up the rackethead with pronation, but no added increase in rackethead speed.
    The ANGLE of coincidence is what adds the RHS with the pronation. And yes, it produces a slightly lower strikepoint, forcing the server to bend awkwardly at ball impact.
     
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  33. Crisp

    Crisp Semi-Pro

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    A weak or strong continental grip is discussed in Tennis Auatralia's high performance coaching course. However it was not discussed in the advanced course which is the level most coaches progress too.
     
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  34. Chas Tennis

    Chas Tennis Hall of Fame

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    Always keeping the hand's reference points together on the same bevel

    Always keeping the hand's reference points together on the same bevel -

    If you take the two "X"s and move both together to bevel #1, bevel #2, any bevel, don't you fix the angle of the forearm to the racket in every case and that angle would always be the same for any bevel? (in the most natural, neutral position of the wrist). Of course, it clearly changes the angle of the string face for each bevel but never the angle of the forearm to the racket. That does seem very restrictive, simple, but restrictive.

    Is placing both hand reference points on a single bevel the grip advice in 95%+ of the instructional material? For which grips?
     
    Last edited: Nov 24, 2013
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  35. andre09

    andre09 New User

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    Very informative thread. Explains my confusion with the continental grip over the years. A couple of questions:

    Is it safe to say that the pistol grip (2-2) is preferred for volleys and slices, as it promotes a firmer wrist with less action? And the hammer grip (2-1) is preferred not just for second kick serves, but for first serves as well?

    Do you guys know if Federer keeps a 2-1 grip for both his first and second serve? Or is his second serve a little more eastern from the 2-1?
     
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  36. LeeD

    LeeD Bionic Poster

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    Volleys need an angle that doesn't align the racket with your forearm, so it's a spread grip hammer. For most players, a sharper angle for backhand volleys, while on forehand volleys, the racket throat can align closer to your forearm if that works for you.
    Except for Mac, most players use a closed finger grip for all serves, to get the whip action and allow pronation to naturally occur.
     
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  37. mightyrick

    mightyrick Hall of Fame

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    I tried a hammer grip for the first serve for a few weeks about a year ago, but I just couldn't control the serve. However, when I did manage to get a first serve in... it had a LOT of pace. Much more pace than with a continental pistol grip.

    I still use the pistol grip on all serves to this day. I lose a little pace, but the control that I get in return is worth it to me.
     
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  38. LeeD

    LeeD Bionic Poster

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    McEnroe used a spread finger, aligned racket to forearm grip for his best playing days, and he served first flats ad court up the middle around 110 mph.
    Now, 15 years later, he serves with a closed finger, more angled grip, and his fastest serves now go around lower 120's.
    Yes, more control with spread fingers, vs more power and less control with hammer grip and angled grip.
    All of all sports is a compromise, between power, speed, control, replication.
     
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  39. andre09

    andre09 New User

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    When people say a continental grip for slices, they mean a pistol 2-2 grip right? Since I would think a hammer 2-1 grip would be impossible for a defensive slice on a low ball.

    But when people say pros use a continental grip for the two handed backhand (say Agassi or Djokovic), is it always a 2-1 hammer grip they are talking about?

    I think would think the above is true, but people often say the continental grip for the dominant hand of 2HBH is preferred since you can slice with the same grip. But if that conti girp for a 2HBH is a hammer grip, I can't imagine having a good slice against low balls.
     
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  40. Chas Tennis

    Chas Tennis Hall of Fame

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    This seems like an interesting and possibly important subject.

    If you always put the hand's usual two reference points - the index knuckle and the not-very-precise heel fat pad - of the hand on the same racket bevel, do you limit your strokes?

    Isn't there a reference or Youtube that anyone can recommend on the subject?
     
    Last edited: Jan 9, 2014
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  41. corbind

    corbind Professional

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    Thread needs some more answers...
     
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  42. gregor.b

    gregor.b Professional

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    A former pro I know uses the conti grip and is one of the better volleyers we have produced in a long time. Admittedly, I haven't spoken with him at length about it, but I am hoping to talk a bit more in the near future.

    Whoops, this is for the serve. Should have checked the vid first. Thought we were talking in general. Sorry.
     
    Last edited: Dec 20, 2014
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  43. Raul_SJ

    Raul_SJ Professional

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    I confirmed I'm using a "2-1" grip, although I had never really thought about the position of heel pad and index knuckle...

    I just grab the racquet like a hammer and swing down with a hammering motion. The hammering sensation will feel stable with a "2-1" true continental grip but not with a weak continental "2-2" grip.

    So this Hammer Grip is the same as True Continental Grip?

    And I'm not clear on what Pat is saying in that video. Pat says the student starts with the correct grip and shifts his grip during the takeback.

    Is the student shifting from the correct grip to a weak continental grip ("2-2")?
     
    Last edited: Dec 30, 2014
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  44. Chas Tennis

    Chas Tennis Hall of Fame

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    "Hammer Grip" & "Hammer That Serve" - What is meant?

    Do you have some links that specify what a Hammer Grip is? That is, describing where two locations on the hand are placed on two locations on the racket handle?

    Also, the 'Hammer That Serve' descriptions are unclear to me.

    The final motion leading to impact of a Waiter's Tray Serve resembles a hammer motion. The final motion of an advanced ISR serve is not a hammer motion but a rotation of the entire near straight arm. In the video below, Dougherty demos ISR clearly when discussing the 'advanced serve' but does not point out or identify the joint motion as internal shoulder rotation.

    A certain grip is necessary when going from the racket edge-on to the ball to face-on to the ball because the arm rotates. A continental grip/strong continental grip will produce edge-on to face-on. A forehand grip can't. Etc.
    http://www.hi-techtennis.com/serve/nalbandian_l.php

    Saying that the server 'pronates at the last second before contact' is a sloppy description that muddles the arm rotation that actually occurs - from big L to impact (see link above) - as shown in high speed videos. Maybe, literally pronating the forearm allows some other less effective grips to function with unknown serving techniques. ? Text descriptions vs high speed video.......

     
    Last edited: Dec 30, 2014
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  45. Raul_SJ

    Raul_SJ Professional

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    I don't really have a hand location reference for the Hammer grip. I mainly go by sensation.

    Grab the racquet and simply make a hammering motion towards the ground. If the grip is too far towards a forehand grip (i.e., weak continental "2-2"), the hammering motion will feel unstable.

    Wiki gives a reference for the index knuckle position. I think the index knuckle position reference might be sufficient, without having to worry about the heelpad position.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Grip_(tennis)

    The Continental Grip (Bevel #2)

    The Continental grip, also called the Chopper grip or Hammer grip, is obtained when placing the hand such that the base knuckle of the index finger is right on bevel #2. It is naturally obtained when holding the racket as if it were an axe, hence the second name "Chopper grip".
     
    Last edited: Dec 30, 2014
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  46. Raul_SJ

    Raul_SJ Professional

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    I also suspect many players unknowingly shift their grip in the takeback , as shown in the Pat Dougherty video.

    A couple of USPTA coaches never alerted me to this problem before it was pointed out to me by a third coach.
     
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  47. Rubens

    Rubens Semi-Pro

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    My grip does tend to slip from 2-1 to 2-2 during the motion. My coach noticed but he doesn't make a big deal out of it. He says I'm ok as long as the index knuckle pad stays at 2. I don't know what to think now...
     
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  48. Chas Tennis

    Chas Tennis Hall of Fame

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    I don't agree.

    Place your knuckle on a bevel of the racket and keep it there. With that knuckle as a center, you can rotate the racket 360° !

    This has been discussed earlier in the thread and is the main point of the OP in my opinion. Saying a 'Continental Grip' and thinking in terms of only one knuckle does not specify the grip.

    Experiment by keeping the index knuckle on a bevel, or between bevels, and step the fat pad in steps of 1/2 bevel. Hold your wrist in a neutral position and look at the effect of 1/2 bevel steps. It makes a significant difference. 2-2, 2-11/2, 2-1, 2-1/2

    In fact, using just these two reference points, index finger knuckle and fat pad, limits the grips that can be used. For example, maybe a grip where the index knuckle is not in contact with the racket handle would have some advantage for some future serve.

    Maybe some current high level players players don't contact the racket handle with their index knuckle. ?

    Anybody not contact the racket handle with their index knuckle? Likewise, for the fat pad?
     
    Last edited: Dec 30, 2014
    #48
  49. Raul_SJ

    Raul_SJ Professional

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    There are pics of Sampras with the bottom two fingers not in contact with the handle, as this helps promote a loose relaxed grip...

    But what would be the advantage of not having the the index knuckle in contact with the handle?
     
    #49
  50. Chas Tennis

    Chas Tennis Hall of Fame

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    These grip issues are for the internal shoulder rotation serve that is used by high level servers.

    There have been ways used to specify the grip that have lead to misunderstanding and serve limitations. History as I've seen it:

    1) Place the index knuckle on bevel number X and 'shake hands' or 'grip naturally'.

    2) Next, a second reference point, the fat pad on the heel of the hand, was added. But then both points were placed on the same bevel of the racket. Both on bevel #2, or both on bevel #1, etc..

    Now this new method, that I had not considered until I saw this thread, is an important improvement.

    3) This thread discusses placing two specific reference points of the hand on specific bevels (not just the same bevel).

    Is this the perfect way to describe grips?

    I don't know what grips might be used in the future but I have wasted some years learning both the concepts of 1) and 2) above, misguided and limiting. I think 3) is a big improvement. But maybe some high level servers are now not placing their hand-heel fat pads on the handle, Sampras? If the index knuckle does not contact the racket, I guess that is possible ?, but I don't know if the racket can be gripped in any useful way without the index knuckle touching the handle. ?

    In addition, in the future the service stroke itself will change and might make some new grip better.

    I think the use of grip descriptions is to get close to a grip that works and then practice and tweek the grip for final adjustment.

    Placing the fat pad to the side by 1/2 bevel matters, as you can see by experimenting as described earlier. So if you don't use at least 3) and have an ISR serve you might limit your serve.

    Judge for yourself as to the usage of 1), 2), or 3).
    https://www.google.com/search?q=ten...OhIsyuggTi8YPIAQ&ved=0CB8QsAQ&biw=924&bih=571
     
    Last edited: Dec 31, 2014
    #50

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