EASTERN FOREHAND: let‘s cover the singularity of this grip

Discussion in 'Tennis Tips/Instruction' started by 10isfreak, Feb 3, 2013.

  1. 10isfreak

    10isfreak Semi-Pro

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    By eastern, I include a rather large array of slightly different grips, all the way from closely continental, up to nearly semi-western.

    I was wondering why would such grips better suit lower balls; and if it really is that versatile.

    On the personal front, I traded my full western for an eastern during last summer. I was in need of something that enabled me to hit more gently toward my girlfriend and it was just plain easier to pick short balls without whacking them using this grip. Witht the full western, I had a lot of trouble lowering both pace and spin while keeping control over the ball given that the face was so closed at contact.

    I am in the process of learning how to hit with it... just like back in my first tennis days. Lol
    Anyway, I wanted to soret out a few possible explanations and discuss it. Thanks.
     
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  2. Clay lover

    Clay lover Hall of Fame

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    Yeah me too. I hate when people want to play mini-tennis with me when I'm using my western grip. It's so hard to control the ball.
     
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  3. 10isfreak

    10isfreak Semi-Pro

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    It‘s fun though to learn to hit with a milder grip... takes time, but I feel rewarded given how much ease I have to redirect all softer shots. I am no longer forced to whack the ball to get decent length and I get to play woth a straight arm which I feel is easier for me.
     
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  4. The Meat

    The Meat Hall of Fame

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    I love the eastern grip, you can hit any shot with a slight adjustment of the grip or your arm. High balls or crosscourt, bent elbow forehand while moving the grip closer to semi western. Any ball below the shoulder and down the line, full extension with a full eastern grip.
     
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  5. rkelley

    rkelley Hall of Fame

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    I think there was a whole thread on this that's still pretty recent. Basic idea is that E through W has it's strengths and weaknesses. You can make any of them work.

    I normally hit with an almost SW grip (very strong E - like on steroids), but still occasionally hit a fh with a continental grip. I'll hit cont. with very short, low balls that I'm approaching on, sometimes when stretched really wide I'll do the Fed squash shot, and very occasionally I might block a ball back with a cont. grip. If I was just bunting balls to someone I'd likely use that grip.
     
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  6. boramiNYC

    boramiNYC Hall of Fame

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    try not to let the racquet head go below the ball. and try not to let the racquet head go below the hand. aim squarely at the back of the ball not below.

    Fed's grip is so small to his hand his middle and ring fingers basically touches the thumbpad. Unless this is true to you the wrist range of motion will be more limited in all direction than what Fed can do with his wrist. i'm trying to say being aware of this is important in trying to emulate pros like Fed. most importantly the wrist range of motion will affect the stance.
     
    Last edited: Feb 3, 2013
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  7. The Meat

    The Meat Hall of Fame

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    I have to disagree with all three of those statements. You have to hit from beneath the ball if you are using an eastern grip, for a continental grip you probably could pull it off at low levels. Racquet head has to go above the hand when your hitting head or higher balls because your reaching. You can't hit squarely at the back of the ball at higher levels, you really need to brush up against the ball for any forehand.
     
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  8. rkelley

    rkelley Hall of Fame

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    Ditto here.

    I don't mean to pile-on boramiNYC, but you have got to get the racquet head below the ball if you're going to hit with topspin. The racquet head is below the wrist, and you are aiming to swing up and across the ball's flight path at the contact point, not squarely into the back of the ball. This is true regardless of what grip you use, but with an E grip I think it's super important to think about swinging up because you don't really get that motion so easily if you don't emphasize it. With more W grips you probably need to focus on swinging through more. In the end however you're getting the same swing path.

    boramiNYC's advice is more appropriate if you want to hit super flat.
     
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  9. LeeD

    LeeD Bionic Poster

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    Some eastern forehand grip player's are the best at mini tennis, with a little practice.
    Usually, full W grip players need much more practice to consistently hit slow, lightly topspinning balls.
    Conti gripped players can play mini tennis well from the beginning, but slice the ball mostly.
     
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  10. boramiNYC

    boramiNYC Hall of Fame

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    the racquet head doesn't need to go below the ball to generate topspin. The racquet head must move upward as contact is made and afterward to generate topspin and this can be done without dropping the racquet head below the ball. And that's what I recommend to achieve the overall best form for E grip.

    To borrow an MTM instructor's tongue, pull sideway near the ball level. the racquet head will move up and across and through the ball.

    Flatter ball, probably, but that's the nature of E grip compared to more western grips. With a somewhat relaxed but tout wrist there's enough topspin potential to bring the ball down. Definitely not for loopy shots.
     
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  11. boramiNYC

    boramiNYC Hall of Fame

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    #11
  12. rkelley

    rkelley Hall of Fame

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    Here's a slow motion version of the link that you put in your next response.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1ImeQaAyFPc

    Note that you'll see the center of Fed's racquet going below the ball when he hits. It's not feet below the ball, but it's enough to allow the racquet head to accelerate upward so that at contact the racquet has a significant upward velocity component.

    The upward velocity component of the racquet is what generates the topspin, not the upward force the player is putting on the racquet. The upward force the player puts on the racquet accelerates the racquet upward, but that requires both time and distance to happen. If the center of the racquet head is inline with the ball, it wouldn't matter if you pulled up on the racquet with a million pounds because there would be no time for the racquet's upward velocity component to go from zero to some value.

    Also, I think the spin potential of the E grip, as Fed has shown, is pretty darn good. You can get severe top and side spin with this grip, but the racquet head has to have at least a small amount of distance to accelerate up and across the contact point.

    Regarding Fed, I don't know about the range of motion that you mention, but one thing that I've noticed that Federer is really good at is that the racquet's velocity really explodes at contact. He doesn't sweep it. He stores up all of the energy from his legs and body and fairly violently whips the racquet up and across the ball. It's a very efficient motion. This is true for all pros, but Fed's especially good at I think.
     
    Last edited: Feb 3, 2013
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  13. boramiNYC

    boramiNYC Hall of Fame

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    Most of the ones in your clip are at or lower than waist level. The best example shot is this:

    http://youtu.be/1ImeQaAyFPc?t=1m2s

    I understand what you are saying and generally agree. The point I want to make is that from the high prep when the racquet head is dropped in forward motion, the lowest the head goes is very close to the height of the ball or in line with the trajectory of the intended ball. dropping any lower is not a good habit, imo.

    Another point that's worth making is that the bread and butter contact point near the chest level is the best habit for aggressive nature E grip game is built on.

    So, instead dropping the racquet head below, I'd say drop the racquet head back in majority of strokes and your E grip game will improve.
     
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  14. aimr75

    aimr75 Hall of Fame

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    that is just his flat shot.. when he employs his usual WW motion, the racquet head always drops below the ball to generate topspin
     
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  15. rkelley

    rkelley Hall of Fame

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    I think we might be reaching that agree to disagree point - which is totally fine.

    From what I see in the link in your post the racquet head still drops below the level of the ball. His hit is off center on this shot too you will note.

    Generally, my opinion remains that if you want topspin you have to drop the center of the head below the ball and create an upward component to your swing. It is a good habit. With an E. grip I find that you really have to focus on that drop and swing up component because the grip naturally tends toward a swing path that is more linear through the ball. But, if you do it correctly, you can get huge topspin off an E. grip, and still flatten it out more when you want less topspin a bit more easily than someone with a W. grip.
     
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  16. boramiNYC

    boramiNYC Hall of Fame

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    The main advantage of E grip is its versatility. Meaning you can hit huge topspin or you can totally flatten out or even a drop shot is possible. But, my point is all these options are not equally suited for the grip and I believe the most effective type of shots by E grip is flat with some topspin from loose wrist and pronation. This is like the main attraction in a show. If this part of the fh stroke is not solid, that E fh is not really solid, but if that part is solid that becomes a usable E fh to build the game.

    My message: practice your flat shots with E grip. The consistency comes from using the whole kinetic chain effectively. Big topspin is not an absolute necessity for consistency. Learning to use the wrist well in the swing, you can develop a consistent, powerful, and well controlled flat stroke.
     
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  17. The Meat

    The Meat Hall of Fame

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    Look at this beautifully shot video from the back perspective, showing how Federer makes contact from underneath the ball to keep the ball in play.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4Em8onpNqAU

    I get what your trying to say, but you have to hit under the ball to generate enough topspin to keep the ball in play with a lot of pace that he is hitting with.
     
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  18. 10isfreak

    10isfreak Semi-Pro

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    Actually, you do not literally "bursh up" against the ball... mostly, your contact is made off center (above it) with forward momentum. Of course, you're basically accelerating many parts of the ball at once, but theo ff center contact gives you spin.
     
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  19. The Meat

    The Meat Hall of Fame

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    Yeah, I wasn't being specific about how to brush up. You have to move forward up against the ball.
     
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  20. dman72

    dman72 Hall of Fame

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    I hit my forehand with a semi-western bordering on Western, and for a long time I switched to continental on forehand slices and drop shots. The result would usually be a ball that floats but that has wicked sidespin...effective sometimes but inconsistent.

    Yesterday in a casual match I started using an eastern forehand to hit the junk shots....I netted the first few but after I got the trajectory right, I was hitting nasty low skidding slice approaches off my opponents weak second serve. Instead of trying to hit the side skidding floater, I was slicing some mid-court balls right at his feet, which he was having a difficult time getting back over the net. And you really don't have to put much into the swing at all, because it's such a flat grip you can use all of the incoming pace.

    The Eastern Forehand is a tremeondously versatile grip.

    Now, when I tried to hit a topspin forehand with it I hit the ball into the back curtain, but that would take a little more practice to pull off.

    I tried to do a J. Mac impression a few months ago, hitting a flat forehand with a continental grip ...and the ball went OVER the curtain. :oops:
     
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  21. 10isfreak

    10isfreak Semi-Pro

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    Since I went back to hitting with this grip, I felt it was hard to keep the ball from flying long; the old habits of using a full western and enjoying a severely closed face at impact sort of annoyed me for a while. It all started to feel more natural after a few hundreds forehands.

    I didn't play a lot during last summer, but by the end of the tennis season, I could actually a decent top spin forehand even with a continental grip. Sometimes, I use it when I am stretched out and I pull off a top spin half volley from the baseline with it; if not, I also use it when I am very closed to the net.
     
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  22. 10isfreak

    10isfreak Semi-Pro

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    Actually, an off center hit with zero upward momentum would still cause top spin. However, bearing the ball's deformation, upward momentum does generate some spin -- it's just not nearly as important as what people usually think it is.

    As for this advice, it is more or less what we should be doing with any grip. The swing path should rise, following a very shallow slope prior contact. But the comment is exaggerated: Federer does bring the racket lower than the ball's level, every time. It's obviously a nearly horizontal swing, but it's still rising from bellow the contact point.
     
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  23. boramiNYC

    boramiNYC Hall of Fame

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    check the shot in the clip above I quoted. I don't see the racquet head going below the contact point. do you?
     
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  24. 10isfreak

    10isfreak Semi-Pro

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    We have a wording problem, actually. I understood your claim differently than what you meant, I think.

    What I had in mind was the racket head going up: that is, the contact location on the string bed was bellow the spatial contact point, so that the racket did drop before contact.

    In mind the racket going partially bellow the contact point was enough to make a call. But, now that I see the videos, I got your point: Federer does hit very horizontally. Federer also gets a very nice pronation around contact... apparently, just getting your hand and forearm in the right position before swinging makes it happen because of some muscular reflex.

    Would you say that any decent Eastern Forehand involves that sort of swing path and arm action?
     
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  25. watungga

    watungga Semi-Pro

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    I always tried to master the wrist preparation of a FH swing.
    If you start with a wrist mindset, expect the worst results like injuries.
    If you start pulling the racquet, butt first, and strike the ball with normal swing. Thats a good swing.
     
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  26. watungga

    watungga Semi-Pro

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    Going by the said youtube video of Fed's FH, I just want to point out to everyone to look into Fed's arm direction and the ball prior to impact. Does anyone see its like a billiard on cue, directed at us, viewers?

    This is suffice to say that his grip hand is already out front and the ball impact is yet to come.

    My diagnosis, Fed's pronation from this point out is just all follow-through. The follow-through creates the pronation, not Fed exerting pronation. His racquet's swingweight takes the job of providing impact/energy to the ball.

    Going against my diagnosis, you're gonna get wrist and/or elbow injury.
     
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  27. 10isfreak

    10isfreak Semi-Pro

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    If you look at it with a super high speed video, you'll notice that he begins to pronate before impact. Furthermore, comparing with the more common pro of the tour, you'll realize Federer pronates a lot more quickly.

    The phenomenon which breaches the gap is called "stretch-shortening cycle" (SSC). Basically, by putting his hand and forearm in a specific way as he swings forward, his forearm pronators get extended. Following this extension, he has a 0,5 seconds window to benefit of the SSC: if he contracts in that window of time, his contraction will be much faster than usual.

    For most movements, you might do it naturally. Most people first take the ball back before throwing -- that's an habit which was ingrained by the efficiency of the different results: pulling it back and then quickly forward enable the kid you were to throw harder and, as such, you accommodated your tossing action to throw harder. It's also this sort of reflex that we use when using the split step: bouncing down extends our quads which allow us to move faster off the first step.
     
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  28. boramiNYC

    boramiNYC Hall of Fame

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    I think Fed's swing is a good model for a high level E fh. except that his wrist range of motion is bigger than typical rec players who don't use such a small grip to their hands. The implication for this is pretty far reaching in overall form and technique imo. And a good rec player should learn how to compensate for certain differences between them and the pros when trying to model the form.
     
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