Do you use a continental forehand?

Discussion in 'Tennis Tips/Instruction' started by superslam, Feb 6, 2009.

  1. superslam

    superslam New User

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    I originally played with an eastern grip and just recently deicided to switch to a continental grip. It feels alot normal to me but i want to make sure that my stroke mechanics are right before i start practicing more with it. If you use this grip could you please describe the stroke mechanics?
     
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  2. LeeD

    LeeD Bionic Poster

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    Used to, had some A level, Div11 #1 friends who did also.....
    First of all, it's better if you're tall.
    You hit with lots of pace for the amount of energy expended.
    You can hit topspin pretty much up to waist high balls, then some side creeps in and higher, some slice.
    You only need that one grip for serve volley, and all other strokes.
    Gotta turn MORE than any other grip to hit topspin. Meaning good footwork might help some too.
    If you're excitable, you gotta calm down.
     
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  3. user92626

    user92626 Legend

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    I was first taught in HS to use this grip. It was very old school. You hit and catch the racket with your non-hitting arm. I didn't see much problem with it in PE. When I came back to tennis years later playing against other hard hitting players, after a couple hours I actually felt alot of pain in the bottom half of my hiting palm. Some guys even laughed at me when I showed the grip. That was before I came to know the existence of different grips.

    Don't use continental grip for driving fh. You are driving the racket with only half of your palm and thus no power. However, it's great for fh slice.
     
    Last edited: Feb 6, 2009
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  4. wihamilton

    wihamilton Hall of Fame

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    You can't hit a forehand w/this grip. Gotta go eastern or more extreme.
     
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  5. LeeD

    LeeD Bionic Poster

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    OK, old farts, let's try to name some conti forehanders who can drive with top...
    Newcome
    Rameriz, but his was conti with forehand flavor
    TomOkker
    Rosewall on low balls only
    ColDibley
    Tanner
    Laver had a forehand flavor to his conti
    Amaya
    Nastase
    any takers ???
     
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  6. wihamilton

    wihamilton Hall of Fame

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    Well that list isn't particularly contemporary. No pro on either the men's or women's tours use a continental.
     
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  7. Slicendicer

    Slicendicer Guest

    McEnroe hits a continental FH...

    [​IMG]

    Not exactly contemporary. :)
     
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  8. superslam

    superslam New User

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    im a high school player trying to get some variations in my shot making to make myself a tougher opponent especially now because i want to improve my ranking from 6 last year to no. 3 or 2

    if anyone has any tips for shot selection in certain times of the match let me know

    I really like the suggestion about eastern fh or western for long drives and continental for short balls and slices. I'll take all of the advice into consideration. thanks guys
     
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  9. oneguy21

    oneguy21 Banned

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    First off, there is a huge difference between a western, eastern, or semi-western. Forehands grips are not something you can go and forth between. Choose one and stick with it. The most common is the semi-western. It's ideal for generating good enough depth and spin. Western may give you that extra bite for spin, but the western grip makes it a little harder to generate good depth. Eastern is alright too, it allows for flatter drives more effortlessly, but you may find difficulty handling high balls.

    Let me tell you. I highly suggest not using continental. Amateur players today hit higher bouncing balls than the days of McEnroe and Connors.
    You play HS tennis and so you'll come across a lot of topspin monkeys. These guys' balls will really jump off the court and you'll need at least an eastern (probably semi-western) to handle the spin and pace of their heavy balls. Continental should be used when you're on the run and hitting a defensive slice back.
     
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  10. ronalditop

    ronalditop Hall of Fame

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    mostly continental forehands are used by old people who dont have the swing speed to use more extreme grips.
     
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  11. LeeD

    LeeD Bionic Poster

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    Thanks, McE and AndrianoPanatta, my fav....
    Tips... well, you gotta turn shoulders lots, most his with open body as opposed to the new school closed both arms....see pic of McEnroes non hitting arm.
    Conts generally go crosscourt hard and topped, but down the line sidespun.
    Oh, BobbyLutz.
    Who cares old school or new school? Those old farts I mentioned would hold their own against the lower ranking new boyz anytime.
    Even someone like PanchoGonzalez would do just fine against any of the 50-300's nowadaze.
    You guys and your new school BS. Like you gotta wear the newest shirts and sneakers, or you can't play.
    Or you gotta use a lightweight bigheaded head heavy racket. All BS.
    If you can play tennis, you can play.
    The main reason the old farts can't do well against the top current players is the top current players are fitter, stronger, more athletic, and have hit many more tennis balls during their learning stages.
    It's not the grip, or the style of hitting. It's the fact the modern tennis pros have hit more balls with better coaching.
     
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  12. user92626

    user92626 Legend

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    I imagine you'd probably break the string if you hit with sw or western with last generation equipment.

    Besides that I also think that it's actually harder to hit with sw, western correctly to its full advantage than to hit with continental. The swingpath required by these grip is very hard to master in an effective way or otherwise you'll be simply pushing the ball over like with a continental.
     
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  13. LeeD

    LeeD Bionic Poster

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    What, you guys only know the last 10 years of tennis?
    VS gut was around in 1974, the first year I played tennis.
    Borg came onto the scene late '70's, with wooden Donnays with fiberglass throat.
    Newcomb and Okker hit as hard as any modern player, but flatter, more like the Fed.
    Yeah, and our new shoes are sooooo much better than shoes of the '70's.
    And our shorts are sooooo much better.
     
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  14. Ballinbob

    Ballinbob Hall of Fame

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    just use a semi western. continental will you get screwed, believe me. I wouldnt even have to hit hard to beat you (not that I do anyway). All someone would have to do against someone with a continental forehand is just loop all the balls high with topspin.

    They do that and your done for buddy
     
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  15. Lotto

    Lotto Professional

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    Continental grip is for ould' farts. Go with Extreme Eastern like Federer. You get the best of both worlds then :D
     
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  16. LeeD

    LeeD Bionic Poster

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    I would agree with the two above, for sure!
    As an almost 60 year old, I use a SW with a bit of fullW flavor.
    But a good conti player just volleys your deep high balls and comes to net. Remember, his volleys are better than any of yours! He hits with his volley grip all the time, and has more practice than you do.
    Then when you lob him, he overheads with the same grip! But he'd better be tall.
     
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  17. Slicendicer

    Slicendicer Guest

    I used to play a guy in Atlanta, serve and volley, HUGE serve... continental everything. He could whip a topspin FH with a conti grip like nobody's business. Dave Mathews Tennis Academy helped my fitness and tennis game to get a tennis scholarship.... Dave has got HUGE game. So I disagree, continental can be used for every shot, it's just not what coaches teach nowadays. I assure you, I know a continental grip player who could whip 99% of anybody on Talk Tennis... myself included.
     
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  18. LeeD

    LeeD Bionic Poster

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    For sure I know a few all conti players who'd whip any of us.
    The stroke is not in fashion.
    The stroke requires different strategy against the modern topspinners.
    The stroke is not taught anymore, for baseline play anyways.
    But conti can be very effective, depending on the skill and size of the player. Little lightweights NEED NOT APPLY!
    Big strong GUYS, like taller than 6'3 or so, can make it work up to any level.
     
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  19. tennisdad65

    tennisdad65 Hall of Fame

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    :twisted: I am an old 'art. I use continental for everything. It is the best grip if you are an attacking player :) serve, volleys, half volleys, overheads, chip/charge service returns all with this grip.

    And nothing gives me greater pleasure than ripping (flat or slice) a young guys 'extreme grip' topspin ball at shoulder-head height and following it to the net. :)
     
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  20. wihamilton

    wihamilton Hall of Fame

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    John McEnroe turns 50 in 8 days. So I agree, he's not contemporary. I may as well repeat what I said before: no pro on tour plays with a continental. You can't win with that grip.

    Edit: And by "you can't win with that grip" I mean you can't compete at a high level with it.
     
    Last edited: Feb 6, 2009
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  21. adams_1

    adams_1 Semi-Pro

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    So you could beat JMac like that? ;)
     
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  22. halalula1234

    halalula1234 Professional

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    I play with an eastern grip as well as continental. But continental is like uncommon now a days in today's game cus the balls are hit with so much spin and height so its hard. I practice both and i really must say continental is an awesome grip on lower balls you get so much pace and flatness without having to put in enormous amounts power but i just practice it for fun on certain shots i really use the eastern grip cus conti grip will be hard to get u to a high level. like the guy a bit before me said no pros hit with conti anymore and only a few uses eastern now a days.

    oh but conti might do good on grass though since the bounce is so low but high balls are alright even though its hard to strike since u create so much pace with the grip its quite surprising
     
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  23. halalula1234

    halalula1234 Professional

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    haha somehow i find what u said funny haha i agree OLDPEOPLE ahhahaha uses to grip a lot like my local court is filled with old ladies and they use this grip and it looks akward until i found out it was a conti grip which i never saw until then.
     
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  24. Slicendicer

    Slicendicer Guest

    I disagree. What do you consider "high level"... top 100? That's like upper 99.99%... if you mean 5.0, USTA Nationals, then I have to disagree.
     
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  25. mental midget

    mental midget Professional

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    continental grip is ideal for hitting low balls with a very heavy racket. so if you play a lot on grass, and it's 1968, i say go for it.

    also ideal if being different is more important to you than being effective.
     
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  26. wihamilton

    wihamilton Hall of Fame

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    Well I can't think of a single junior or college player I know that uses a continental. Nor do I think you'll find any coach on these boards -- BB, Tricky, Dave Smith, etc. -- encouraging the use / development of a continental forehand.
     
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  27. LeeD

    LeeD Bionic Poster

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    Whoa there a second.....
    Coach....
    Who cares what any US coach advises on grips!
    Just how many good juniors have come up thru the ranks lately?
    Maybe the coaching system or advice is plain ole WRONG !!
    With our talent pool, equal to at least Slovenia's, how many top players are we producing CURRENTLY ??
    If the system is not producing, and I mean world class players, maybe we should look into the WHYS and WHYNOTS.
    And for a 6'8" player to use the same grip as a 5'9" player is PREPOSTEROUS!
    We gotta spend more time looking at each player as in INDIVIDUAL, to find his strengths and weaknesses, rather than develop CLONES who to the same as everyone else.
    Sorry, BungalowBill, Dj for life, and all you other coaches. I sincerely believe you are trying to develop and help future players, but you only know how to do it the way you were taught. Works 99% of the time, but you're letting that ONE percent slip thru, who MIGHT be the ONE.
     
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  28. tennisdad65

    tennisdad65 Hall of Fame

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    maybe thats why US tennis sucks right now.. :) Most coaches in the US are following the norm. No risk takers. All we have is players with big serves and heavy topspin groundstrokes, which IMHO requires very little skill. This thing is cyclic. I have no doubt that another mac/pete type aggressive serve and volley player with a 'mild' grip, will come and dominate the game again.. hmm.. hopefully before I die :)
     
    Last edited: Feb 7, 2009
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  29. oneguy21

    oneguy21 Banned

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    You cannot use a continental forehand. There I said it. Don't listen to some old coaches who say that it can be done because it CANNOT.

    A continental grip makes it extremely difficult to handle high balls. It should only be used when you're hitting a defensive slice. I don't know what kind of players you played against, but most juniors/hs players are impart heavy topspin. It's not the kind of topspin hit by old people that just have trajectories like moon balls. These ball clear that net by 4+ feet with lots of pace and spin and you can see the ball curving strangely in the air. Try returning that with a cont. grip; you're screwed.

    To the op,

    Tell me, do you have Agassi-like hand-eye coordination? If so, then fantastic. You can step in and take the ball early. If not, choose a grip (from eastern to western). I suggest semi-western. Choose one and stick with it. You cannot alternate your fh grips. If you have a legit fh grip along with a ww forehand, then you're pretty much set for high school tennis.
     
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  30. oneguy21

    oneguy21 Banned

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    Are coaches in other countries different? I doubt it.
     
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  31. Slicendicer

    Slicendicer Guest

    I used to play a guy in Atlanta who plays all continental... I believe he is a 12 time USTA National champion... he could probably destroy most TT posters and 50-75% of college players I've seen... so I respectfully disagree.

    I'm sure BB, Tricky, Dave Smith are very good... who have they coached professionally on their resume?
     
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  32. oneguy21

    oneguy21 Banned

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    But for most people, using continental isn't impossible but it surely makes life more difficult.
     
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  33. fuzz nation

    fuzz nation Legend

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    I'd say that there's been too much preaching in domestic tennis circles - yep, US coaching - of only one formula for success for too many players, at least in recent years. Not that this is the central topic that the OP wanted to discuss, but if you look at players from Spain and France, you'll see a lot of different game styles along with varied personalities. I see a lot of wisdom behind coaching toward an individual's strengths instead of trying to get him or her to adapt to a "winning formula" that isn't fitting for that player. Yada-yada...

    I grew up playing a lot of serve and volley on really soft grass courts. This was the perfect setting for using the all-day continental grip, but whenever I'd go off to some hardcourts and dwell more at the baseline, I was in trouble until I adapted my grip and my swing for the higher balls. I'm more of an all court player now and when I stay at the baseline and rally with power, I like a semi-western fh grip even more than an eastern, but my continental grip is a long way from dead and buried.

    No secret that the continental grip is pretty much bread and butter up at the net, but I've found that it's also essential for getting up there. If I try to follow a topspin drive to the net, the ball is back in my court before I can establish myself at the net. While I've understood this since I was a squirt, this is routinely the key issue that I need to teach to the kids that I coach who want to learn to attack the net.

    Smart players will often change their pace and spin to keep an opponent out of a rhythm during a rally and when I try to hit topspin drives off of low skidders, I'm certainly more prone to missing those shots. My most effective answer to those slices is to just "return to sender" with the same spin. The continental grip is also a "go-to" option against a tough server where I only have time to hit a blocked return - I can only tee off with my forehand return against a hot serve if I guess right, but that's not too reliable.

    While eastern and semi-western forehand grips are probably the two most practical options for most situations these days, I think that having some familiarity with a continental forehand makes for a player with a stronger skill set. In the same way that many coaches believe that a player with a two-handed backhand should also learn a one-handed slice, I believe that having the option of a continental forehand gives a player a more complete forehand side. If a ball is out of the strike zone for a player on that wing, they can still make a solid shot in many situations.
     
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  34. tennisdad65

    tennisdad65 Hall of Fame

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    ^^ Very well said. I agree with everything above :)

    but, to be honest old 'arts (like me) brought up with continental are the ones who are most stubborn and resistant to any changes. The newer generation is starting to get stubborn on the other end.. with too much baseline heavy topspin and not enough approach and net skills.
     
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  35. SirBlend12

    SirBlend12 Semi-Pro

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    Hahaha. The fact that most here think that HS players hit "deep, driving topspin-heavy" strokes is a bit laughable. They do, but not to any extreme degree (a la pros... the only ones with insane strokes are state champs/future high level college kids). It's better to have a versatile arsenal of shots than an ABC option... high school players vary a LOT.

    A continental is useful for many shots, just not ALL shots. Know the boundaries. I usually sit on an eastern that I float either left or right a tad (some could say between extreme cont and extreme eastern) and change swing path for different shots. Spinny, slide closer to sw, swing more low-high, flat hit eastern or cont with a more linear path (grip based on height of the ball) and flip to cont for volleys or "smack" forehands closer to the net.
     
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  36. Slicendicer

    Slicendicer Guest

    I agree a fulltime continental grip would not be my choice. I played 4.0 doubles today and used the continental FH like 50%... most approach shots, a few too low to get under the ball shots, a couple of dropshots, and swinging volleys.

    Being able to play SW and Conti grip just makes you a more versitile player.
     
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  37. BeHappy

    BeHappy Hall of Fame

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    It's impossible to hit shoulder high balls with a continental, if every ball you were playing was between waist and shin height it would be fine, you can those balls to the same level as with any other grip, but even shoulder high is impossible to hit with conviction so it really is obsolete, unless you want the shovel forehand of McEnroe and Edberg lol

    What a lot of people think is a continental is actually an Eastern btw.
     
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  38. wihamilton

    wihamilton Hall of Fame

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    I don't think grips and styles is cyclical. The game has changed because of technology. The continental worked when you played on a grass court w/a wooden racket because the ball stayed low. W/today's modern rackets and heavy topspin you need something more extreme.

    Sampras played with an eastern btw. Federer has about the mildest grip on tour, which is in between an eastern and a semi-western. Again, I'd be surprised if you could name a single active professional that uses a continental on their forehand.

    What age group was the 12 time champ you referenced playing?

    Who someone coaches isn't necessarily important. Whether they teach correct technique is important. If you disagree about w/me about what an acceptable forehand grip is, that's cool. But I think you're unlikely to find a coach nowadays (at least a good coach) who encourages people to use a continental.
     
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  39. Slicendicer

    Slicendicer Guest



    Dave plays the 40's I think. I disagree with you on coaching... a coach is gauged and only as good as his players. If the names you've listed haven't produced a top 50 Junior, a college player, a futures player, or a pro... I won't be following their perspective.

    I'm saying that a continental FH is necessary.. in a lot of point-playing scenarios. I played with "good coaches" who developed top 20 ATP players... they will teach the same idea... to not be able to hit with a continental grip is a weakness.
     
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  40. wihamilton

    wihamilton Hall of Fame

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    Well we disagree. Holler.
     
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  41. junbumkim

    junbumkim Professional

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    Well, no coach would advise a player to use continental grip on forehand for rally. But it definately helps to use continetal on certain forehand shots when covering a short and low shots, wide shots, and so on. Also, this has more to do with how much feel you have for the ball.

    Serious players who has time to pratice 1~2 hours 4~5 days a week can work on every area of their game. They can have their coaches feed them low short forehand or wide forehand and practice hitting with continental grip. But I don't think they will be spending much time trading forehands with continental grip from baseline to baseline.

    A lot of college players, even D1 players, have not reached top 50 nationally.
    And I am not sure how accessible those coaches who coached top 50 juniors or futures, are to a recreational player, even to serious players. I guess it depends on the region and the size of your bank account.
     
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  42. Slicendicer

    Slicendicer Guest


    WHAT-ever... all I'm saying is not having use of a continental FH is a weakness... every serious/competative player should know how to hit with this grip when necessary... if you can't agree to that... then we disagree.. fair enough?
     
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  43. Slicendicer

    Slicendicer Guest

    I said that because my coaches were ATP TOP 10 players and coaches, one coaching current Top 50 players. So I won't be dismissing what they have taught and drilled me to buy into a guy who wears a Gilligan hat, plays 4.0 tennis, and writes a couple of articles about shots he can't hit... I won't do it.
     
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  44. Kirko

    Kirko Hall of Fame

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    yeah, that grip is from way back, very good when people played on very fast grass-courts and when I started to play in 1965 the only players I saw use it would use it for every shot and they were for the most part very strong guys who played a lot. I guess the ulitmate continental grip player was Fred perry.
     
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  45. junbumkim

    junbumkim Professional

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    I don't think I implied that you should dismiss what your coach tells you or should or should not take advice from other posters here.

    What I implied was that you were setting not a real high bar and a narrow window on the credentials of good coaches. I just found it a little disturbing when you said you wouldn't consider following any coach's advice who hasn't produced a player at a very very high level.

    i think it's pretty evident that B.Bill has been able to accurately describe techniques for each stroke. He also provides detailed analysis and reasoning behind his explanations. I certainly don't think he has played on ATP or produced ATP level player.
     
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  46. Slicendicer

    Slicendicer Guest

    Describing technique and applying technique are two different animals. I say, relate to whatever helps your game... me, I have high expectations in a coach... if you can't produce players that can excel in tennis, then you can't coach me anything I don't already know... my strokes are solid and grounded and I have taught players from day 1 to playing serious 4.5-5.0 tennis in 3 - 3 1/2 years time. My only weakness is fitness and cardio. I don't need a coach for that either.
     
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  47. Djokovicfan4life

    Djokovicfan4life Legend

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    *Credentials alert*

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  48. Slicendicer

    Slicendicer Guest

    I don't know what this means??

    But if you contend that being able to hit a continental FH if necessary is a weakness, then you are wrong.
     
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  49. Okazaki Fragment

    Okazaki Fragment Semi-Pro

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    Continentals are like wood racquets. They work fine and were appropriate for their time, but there is a reason why everyone has switched over to graphite.
     
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  50. Djokovicfan4life

    Djokovicfan4life Legend

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    Seriously?

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Credentials
     
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