Flat Serve which is Better Continental or Eastern?

Discussion in 'Tennis Tips/Instruction' started by Hardserve, Jan 5, 2009.

  1. Hardserve

    Hardserve Rookie

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    I want to hear from a professional coach if this grip is safe for me to use as I been taught pronation. I have three serves, Flat, slice, and topspin. I was taught to use the eastern for hitting flat serves with, volleying and overheads. With eastern I am finding the ball just sits up too much and with eastern I have to toss the ball way out in front for a flat serve, as it don't work well with the ball toss for the slice or topspin serve.

    My coach put me on eastern for learning to pronate the ball flat. That grip brings the ball down on the court too steep, the problem with that is this, it tends to drop in short at times and sit up with the high bounce...

    But I want to change the grip now over to the Continental for hitting my flats with in order to flatten the ball more to get rid of this short serve sitting up problem that the eastern is giving me from time to time.

    Even in the volleys I am finding the eastern a real pain to work with, it tends to chop too much down on the ball instead of going through the ball, since the eastern tilts the stringbed up more higher in the hand when the wrist is laid back and with the eastern it seems the wrist can't lay the racquet back as far as with the continental, so eastern locks the wrist with the tip of my racquet pointing upward at a 45 degree angle and that is making the ball chop down on it too steep during the volley, so it only seems to be good if you are close up near the net to use this grip to volley with.

    So what will the continental grip do for the volley?
     
    Last edited: Jan 5, 2009
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  2. Lotto

    Lotto Professional

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    What grip, eastern forehand or mild eastern backhand?
     
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  3. Hardserve

    Hardserve Rookie

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    For my serve, I use the eastern forehand for hitting flat serves with, overheads and volleys.. I think that's the basic 'shake
    hands grip'.

    But I find that grip limited.... It pronates nice and deep at times and then hits it too steep at times resulting in erractic depths in the serving, serves going in deep, serves falling too short and
    sitting up too much. Good for overheads as it bounces the ball up high. but I'm not sure about volleys because it chops down on the ball too much so you have to be really close up at the net
    for doing the high volleys with this grip or it will hit the ball straight down into the net even if
    you are just several metres away from the net, it has a tendency to hit too much down on the
    ball when all I want it to do is hit on a flatter through the ball. I have to change the grip.

    That's why I want to swap to Continental so I can keep my serves flat and deep.
     
    Last edited: Jan 5, 2009
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  4. Djokovicfan4life

    Djokovicfan4life Legend

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    You need to switch to continental as soon as possible for serving. The eastern forehand grip is a beginner's grip for serving, there's just no other way to put it.

    It's funny, in your original post you said that your coach had you use this grip so that you could learn pronation, which led me to believe that you're using the eastern backhand grip. But now you say you're using the eastern forehand grip. Very confusing.

    If you really are using the eastern forehand grip then you're hardly pronating at all.
     
    Last edited: Jan 5, 2009
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  5. LeeD

    LeeD Bionic Poster

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    Unless you are young, small, or weak, I advocate all serves to be hit with a Continental grip pushed 5 degrees towards Eastern backhand.
    NO, not eastern backhand. NO, not Continental.
    Possibly it's not faster than a pure continental, but it's waaaaaaaaay more consistent on flat first serves and it promotes more rackethead speed for the second serve.
    More consistent means you can learn to make that rackethead move faster sooner or later.
    Any forehand in the serve means you are just learning the service motion.
     
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  6. Rickson

    Rickson G.O.A.T.

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    By eastern, do you mean fh or bh? If you're using an efh grip, you should definitely change that bad habit immediately. If you're using an ebh grip, it's certainly better than the efh, but it's disadvantageous to most people on flat serves. The ebh grip is used more on topspin serves. Go with the continental for flat serves and be more clear about which eastern you're using.
     
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  7. LeeD

    LeeD Bionic Poster

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    Didn't know if you were answering me or the orignal poster.
    I meant the first sentence!
    I suspect 80% of the top players actually use a form of Continental pushed towards EasternBackhand on all their serves.
    Talking guys with big serves here.
    Look at their takeup position. The racket is NOT aligned in any way to the forearm. It looks like they could almost hit an EasternBackhand just before they start the motion.
    My case is maybe not the strongest, because I'm just an old timer and maybe 4.0 tournament.
    BUT, I've been advocating that grip for 30 years now!
    In my case, a true continental hits volleys equally from both sides. For a fast swinging serve, you don't need to use both sides of your racket, you need ONE side.
    So backhand side of continental promotes some flat ball, slightly forward rolling, maybe knuckleball effect on the first flat serve. It goes in at least 30% more often than a true Continental.
    That's about good enough for me, in my case.
    My flat first serves IN, if the opponent decides to let it slide by, always hits the backdrop behind the court about waist high. Never below thigh high....of course, if I mishit it, of course less than thigh high.
    When I switch to full continental, possibly my service speed is barely faster, but the percentage goes from 65% way down to maybe 35%.
    I'd rather have the 65 so I can learn to swing thru faster for a better serve later.
     
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  8. Rickson

    Rickson G.O.A.T.

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    It was for the OP.
     
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  9. Hardserve

    Hardserve Rookie

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    I'm a righty, so with the shake hands grip (Eastern) the racquet would sit upright in the hand next to the ball and all you would see is the edge of the racquet and the ball would rest next to the racquet throat.... With this grip the ball would bounce 3-4 feet up in the waist, and chest.

    But with this other grip I'm changing over to, a quarter turn to the right from the eastern the racquet is now tilted to the left on top of the ball... Much easier to pronate with this grip than
    with the other one.

    In changing over to this grip (for I made the change yesterday) and played a match with it to see what would happen with this grip when serving and I have seen much better pronations and the bounce has flattened out more and dropped in height by at least 2 feet and going more often down into the knees and thighs area of my opponent. Just where I want a big serve to be
    going. down in the legs to try to force the slice to get an easy volley or an overhead.
     
    Last edited: Jan 5, 2009
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  10. oneguy21

    oneguy21 Banned

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    ^^^ Are you talking about an eastern forehand grip or an eastern backhand grip? If you're saying that you like serving with your eastern forehand, that mean's you have a frying pan serve, mostly common among beginners, and it probably means that you would need to improve your serve motion also. If you're using an eastern backhand that's another story. Some players prefer the eastern backhand grip for serves. I personally use continental for flat and eastern backhand for slice or topspin. If you feel comfortable with it, there's no need to change it to the continental.

    See this grip guide:
    http://www.tennis.com/yourgame/gear/general/general.aspx?id=649
     
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  11. LeeD

    LeeD Bionic Poster

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    OK, I can't understand your grip, as you explain it.
    But for me, and I think most 6.0 and above players (mens), something continental with a flavor of eastern backhand is used to hit flats, slices, topspins, twists, first and second serves, and even when you want to underhand slice the ball up to the rafters.
     
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  12. naylor

    naylor Semi-Pro

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    I'd go along with that, and the extra accuracy it gives to your first serve for only a minimal loss of speed (as compared with a Continental grip). Also, if you want to use the same grip for all your serves, and simply vary the position of the ball at impact. Then if you S&V you can go to full continental quickly (or play as it is if you get caught out).
     
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  13. Hardserve

    Hardserve Rookie

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    ^^^ Are you talking about an eastern forehand grip or an eastern backhand grip? If you're saying that you like serving with your eastern forehand, that mean's you have a frying pan serve, mostly common among beginners, and it probably means that you would need to improve your serve motion also. If you're using an eastern backhand that's another story. Some players prefer the eastern backhand grip for serves. I personally use continental for flat and eastern backhand for slice or topspin. If you feel comfortable with it, there's no need to change it to the continental."

    ---------
    Ok checked the grips in those pics, sorry, it seems my grips were different to what i had thought they were since my coach never said anything to me about the names of the grips he had put me on, he just said, hold the racquet like this, so and so and like that....ect. But I seen the pics, now I know what grips he has me on.

    FOREHAND: My Grip is Semi Western.

    Flat. coach had me on Continental/ Continental gave me the big flat high bouncer, but I shifted over to the left to the Eastern forehand to flatten the big bouncer down because I liked the extra flatness I got with that grip during pronation. As I've been taught to pronate in the finish, I don't have a weak frying pan serve.....

    Intrigued also by mention of others using the eastern Backhand also for their flats.

    Can someone tell me what happens to the pronation and the bounce of the ball when you use the eastern backhand for hitting flats with a topspin ball toss? Is this the grip that makes the
    ball kick up over people's heads with pace? If so that's the grip I should be using for my
    topspin toss...

    For I think I'm using the extreme eastern backhand for my Topspin and slice serves.
     
    Last edited: Jan 6, 2009
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  14. LeeD

    LeeD Bionic Poster

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    I think you are confused with the terminology.
    When I talk, it's not from a high school players background, it's not from some school coach's background, it's from a guy who played competitive tennis for 30 years and still try to analyse the different techniques used by the different pros.
    Get this.
    A pure continental is a remedial service grip for players who play less than 3 years.
    Beginners start serving with eastern forehands. They don't count.
    They switch to continental for pronation and extra pace and spin with little extra hand speed.
    They switch to continental with an EASTERN BACKHAND shift, maybe just 5 degrees, to hit ALL their serves, from flat, topped, sliced, kicked, and twisted.
    This last shift represents the current state of the art for all serves.
    For second serves, there is little to gain over pure continental.
    But for flat 120+ serves, it's necessary to impart a slight knuckleball or dead forward spin to the ball to get a little arc that drops the hard hit flat ball into the service court.
    We are not all 6'8" tall, right? So we really cannot hit a FAST flat serve into the opponent's court without adding some extra arc to the balls flight path.
    This knuckle/deadball effect allows you to hit higher over the net and have the ball drop into the opponents service court.
    Think.... Michael Chang was a true 5'7"er. His fastest serve in tournaments were right around 120mph. Without the backhand side of continental, he'd never get any flat serves INTO the court.
    Look, you are just starting playing tennis. What, maybe 2-4 years? That is begginning because you are also going to school, doing your parent's biddings, and trying to stay social. Your actual time in tennis is very little.
    You cannot pretend or expect to embrace and understand all the subtle nuances and tendencies of the top players who've been playing for over 15 years, but have the combined experience of well over 30 years of coaching.
    If you cannot understand it, it doesn't mean it's wrong.
    Don't bullheadedly say "my coach says continental".
    That just shows your coach doesn't care about 4th year tennis, doesn't care about how the pros do it, and doesn't know enough to research and find out just WHAT is state of the art.
    And Colin Dibley hit with a backhand side of Continental back in 1975. I know, he joked around while our head stringer strung one of his rackets, and I was standing there wondering how such a party animal could ever get so good in tennis.
     
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  15. tennisdad65

    tennisdad65 Hall of Fame

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    Hi LeeD:

    Regarding Continental + 5 degree shift towards eastern backhand for Flat:

    1) honestly, never heard of this before today :) for the flat serve. Consensus/state of the art, I thought was to use the continental for flats.
    2) seems like the idea is to NOT hit the ball totally flat with the 5 degree shift. This allows some spin component into the 'flat' serve.
    3) I did experiment with the slight shift towards eastern backhand and you right in that the racquet hitting face is never flat towards the target, thus always ensuring some spin component.
    4) I think you could get the same effect using full continental, by simply pronating a fraction late and getting the same racquet angle at contact?
     
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  16. LeeD

    LeeD Bionic Poster

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    Good you tried....
    I can pronate MORE and hit a flat first serve, but the ball goes knuckle/deadspin/slightforeward spin so it drops quicker, goes in more.
    Consider this....
    Watch more vids of more pros at the start of their service motion. Let's go with Nadal, not known for a really fast flat serve. Sight along his forearm and notice this racket bends at least 17 degrees forward right where he holds it. If he used true continental, the racket would align with his forearm.
    Yes, I know his wrist is slightly bent forwards, but not enough to account for the angle of his racket.
    Now look at every other touring pro. Same thing.
    At that moment, when everything stops moving, they look like they almost have a grip for a one handed eastern backhand.
    But the added spin thing is not necessarily bad.
    And it appears if you get used to the motion, you get about 30% more first serves in, with maybe a hair less maximum ball speed.
    I'd trade 2mph for 30% more consistency any day.
     
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  17. LeeD

    LeeD Bionic Poster

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    Oh, full continental.
    Problem is, you can early or late pronate.
    With that slight shift, you elimanate late by getting your whole arm and elbow behind the racket.
    Of course, toss and amount of pronation is different. Toss farther back, pronate more.
    Think of boxing. If you overhead right an opponent, you know, KenNorton to DuaneBobbick, you bend your arm to get more mass behind the blow. If you straight arm, you have little mass behind the strike point.
    That's why forehands are gripped currently with arm behind the racket.
    And why you get the body behind the backhand.
    Yes, you have continental forehand, as I did in the '70's. You can hit hard because you're strong and big and like to volley.
    But no touring pro in the last 15 years holds continental for all their strokes.
    Maybe Mecir the last?
     
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  18. junbumkim

    junbumkim Professional

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    I really had difficulty hitting serves and volleys with continental. When my coach made me hit with eastern forehand grip, I could hit my forehand volley and serve pretty well.

    As time went on, I switched to continental on all my volleys, serves, and overhead.

    Eastern forehand grip can work well in the beginning if a players is really having difficulty making a clean contact. But the change has to be made.

    So, I'd sugget you get starting working towards continental on all of these shots. If you have difficulty hitting with continental, then make the switch gradual.
     
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  19. Hardserve

    Hardserve Rookie

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    I don't think you quite understand junbumkim. I been taught all the necessary grips for all three of the serves. I'm just moving back to eastern forehand to see what it can do to the ball in the serve so i can mix things up a little I'm trying to increase pace in the bounce.

    I hate being predictable using just the same grip for the same pronation doing the same kind of bounce all the time that slows down in speed when it reaches the other end (if I hit it too steep down on the court it will fall SHORT...)

    I like the eastern because of what it doing to the ball, it gives it a different kind of bounce, a bounce that lengthens out more, a bounce that takes away time and does these cute little hops and skips, it keeps the ball nice and deep and that skip likes to ram into players and that's one thing I like about it when going for the big hit when I need to.

    That's why I like the Eastern because it imparts a flat pace on the bounce, when you use the continetal, it goes nice and fast yes I agree with that, it bounces up and then starts slowing down too much and alot of pace is lost if it hits too steep and against the good players, a slow hanging bounce is not good because that gives them too much time to set up for.

    That's why I using the eastern to put little more pace into the bounce to take time away from these players and to keep the ball more deep.

    I'm only using the eastern forehand for one exception, only for the flat serve. I can also use continental grip if I wish or go somewhere in between continental and Eastern. But I use continental for the volleys and overheads, not eastern..
     
    Last edited: Jan 6, 2009
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  20. LeeD

    LeeD Bionic Poster

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    If the eastern forehand had any advantages on the serve, don't you think any of the top serving pros would consider even trying it, even once.
    NOPE. No advantage against a good player.
    And I stress !! When you switched from eastforehand to continental on your serves, you had a long adjustment period. Don't forget, when you do anything new and different, you will have the above.
    And when your continental is going in pretty fast and 40 %, you get used to a slight switch towards backhand, and automatically the percentage jumps to 70% in at about the same speed.
    So you practice more, and guess what ? It can get better.
    Forget the continental grip serve. It's for 2-4th year players only. After that, if they want to step it up, they gotta change their service grip.
    Now if you are in that catagory, a 2-4 year player, consider this...... why wait to improve your serve ??
    The improvement is in consistency for getting the first flat serve in. It does NOT guarantee you blow your opponent off the court or hit the ball any faster.
    Your choice of course. You can stay with your same weak, inconsistent first serve or you can step it up another level.
     
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  21. GeorgeLucas

    GeorgeLucas Banned

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    Placing your knuckle on the bevel between continental and eastern backhand is probably the way to go - it closes the racquet face and shifts the position of the wrist downward a teeny bit for extra spin, while still granting you easy pronation and drive. NEVER go below eastern for a serve grip. It doesn't let you pronate and, thus, doesn't grant you any spin, leaving you NO margin for error. The reverse slice is the only exception to this rule...
     
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  22. Hardserve

    Hardserve Rookie

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    If the eastern forehand had any advantages on the serve, don't you think any of the top serving pros would consider even trying it, even once.
    NOPE. No advantage against a good player.

    Didn't Becker use that grip at one time?

    Ok here's the bottom line.

    I really want to develop two types of flat serve.

    A flat serve that skids and skips through the court to cause problems to make guys have
    to lunge low to reach it when hitting it deep into the corners or down the T because
    low ususlly guys like to slice it back and then you can use your overhead or volley to
    put it away if they pop it up high.. I like eastern because it sends the ball flat and
    deep.

    And I want a flat serve that kicks up high and goes up at people's heads or over their heads
    as the guy done in doubles last couple of weeks ago at 100 mph over my head and I
    got aced 10 times over the head down the T and out wide and wondered how he was able to do that to the ball to pronate it flat off a topspin toss and kick it up so high like a rubber ball !!

    Because I want to serve my pronations like that as well. For this serve came down like a ordinary flat serve but the bounce kicked so high .... It looked very advanced...So
    maybe it was done with the eastern backhand since you guys in here are convinced
    that's the grip for advanced kick serves like that giving a mixture of flat and kick.

    Because I'm tired of always hitting slow loopy curvy topspin serves...
     
    Last edited: Jan 6, 2009
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  23. LeeD

    LeeD Bionic Poster

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    I'll give you Becker.
    ONE good server with a fore side of continental grip against a cast of well over 500 after and a few before him.
    NO, you do NOT serve with a eastern backhand! I never said that, and no one does it. Do not serve with an Eastern Backhand grip.
    Don't you understand? The advanced serve is a continental grip pushed a few degrees towards the EasternBackhand. That is NOT the eastern backhand !!!
    And you can hit slightly deadball flat first serves at your top speed.
    You can hit regular topspin balls with varied speed depth and bounce.
    You can hit sliced low bouncing balls with that grip.
    You can hit twist and kicks that arc high and bounce with forward spin.
    And when you celebrate getting one game off RussellSimpson, you can slice the winning ball to the very roof of the CowPalace SF and raise a dustcloud creating a lost next point by the umpire.
     
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  24. Ballinbob

    Ballinbob Hall of Fame

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    Lee, so if im usuing a continental for flat serves and an eastern backhand for my kick and slice serve is that "normal"? Would this deadball effect (took me a while to get what you were talking about here but I got now) be greater with a slight eastern backhand? Because my flat serve is really my best serve (my weapon if you will) and if this deadball effect will increase consistency then hell im switching grips right away. My consistency rate for my flat serve is 50-55, would you say it would go up to 60% with an slight eastern backhand? Even 5% is worth it to me b/c a change of grips is easy and it's not that extreme of a change
     
    Last edited: Jan 6, 2009
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  25. Hardserve

    Hardserve Rookie

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    I'll give you Becker.

    [Hahahaha yeah he was unorthodox in his grip.]

    Don't you understand? The advanced serve is a continental grip pushed a few degrees towards the EasternBackhand. That is NOT the eastern backhand !!!

    [Oh Yes I understand you now.] Any pro coaches in here?

    And you can hit slightly deadball flat first serves at your top speed.

    [hmmm....The coach only said to me that this was the grip for only the Flat Serve. He put me on a totally different grip for my Slice and Topspin serves a grip which I don't think this grip he put me on is very good actually because it hits slices but the cut is not heavy enough to hit
    tight slices with and I'm looking for a tight slice serve. And It hits topspin serves too weak
    and high and loopy with little forward pace. Its too loopy.

    You can hit regular topspin balls with varied speed depth and bounce.

    [Not with this eastern backhand way I can't hit a topspin serve mixed with flat
    pronation to cause the ball to kick up with a high kick through the court.
    That's the kind of topspin serve I want to do but nobody has told me
    how to kick the ball that way mixing it with a flat pronation to make
    it a weapon.

    You can hit sliced low bouncing balls with that grip.
    You can hit twist and kicks that arc high and bounce with forward spin.

    Well this is reallly interesting to find this out that you're using the same grip I been told is only for the flat serve because I was told not to use that grip for slice or topspin only for flat !
     
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  26. LeeD

    LeeD Bionic Poster

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    Unless your coach plays at 5+ levels or coach's players that level, basically he's saying.... here kid, try this grip and go practice TONS.
    If you guys use my inbetween grip....inbetween your easternbackhand and a continental, it basically cures ALL your problems, goes in 30% more often, and maybe 1-3mph slower ball speeds.
    First serves are hit 30 mph faster than true seconds.
    Twist and kickers are hit another 10-15 mph slower than second serves.
    You swing the racket head FASTER on a second serve, and hit the ball 30 mph slower.
    You swing the racket head as fast as you can on ALL spin serves....that's as fast as you CAN.... with respect too consistency and repeatability.
    For flat serves, you swing really fast for up the middle serves, but slower than topspin serves, but you moderate DOWN to a lower speed for the wide flat speeds. Higher net out wide needs more arc, which your deadball hit should effect.
     
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  27. Hardserve

    Hardserve Rookie

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    [This is NOT very funny Leed. I'm annoyed that my coach held me back from the proper grip for the advanced topspin and slice serves to add flat pronation to them and put me instead on a basic learners grip to do those serves with which is not a very good grip and gives me only weak and poor results in my matches because all it does is only spin the ball in the box and make it go all loopy, it dosen't add flat pronation to it to give it a real penetrating kick.

    What worked in the B-grade, no longer works in the A-grade. A-grade just take those weak loopy sitting up kick serves and rip them back for winners. Hahahah So much for that
    'top premier serve' as my coach called those useless kicks, its useless against these guys !!!!

    So what about the slice?, will this grip of yours give me a more heavy arc on the ball so we can
    serve much more tighter short angled slices to send 'em' really running out wide? Because
    with the slice serve I'm looking for alot of high arc on the ball in order to get a
    better wider angle. Arc is EVERYTHING for this serve... I know I need to generate tons
    of spin with the cut to pull that tight sideline angle to try to ace people.....That's what
    I want my slice serve to reach, that's the standard. ]

    Unless your coach plays at 5+ levels or coach's players that level, basically he's saying.... here kid, try this grip and go practice TONS.

    [No, the coach is bascially saying to me, here you go, here use this basic grip for your topspin and sorry, that's all there is to learn in the serve !! I was told that !!! It sounds like He didn't want me to have an advanced topspin and slice serve like the pros. I was dissapointed
    when I was told that....

    So I will listen to any pro or advanced tennis player in this forum because I want to learn
    what the coach has been holding me back from....
     
    Last edited: Jan 6, 2009
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  28. JavierLW

    JavierLW Hall of Fame

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    Depending on where someone is at in their tennis career that is way too much information to get into.

    Most people's minds are not thinking "okay, I want to go out wide, so I better ummm TRY to moderate DOWN to a lower speed.......".

    The debate is which grip to use. And good advice from a coach would come from understanding where this guy is at.

    From what I can see he's doing two things that unless Im wrong a knowledgeable coach may disagree with:

    1) He's using all sorts of different grips for the serves and rather than his coach focusing on technique, he's focusing on grips and apparently the ball toss as well. I agree with you that this is a beginner approach to tennis that some coaches take. (especially the ball toss part which is pretty common because it's an easy way to get results)

    The reality is likely he's doing something wrong and even at that, it takes a lot of practice to get it down right. It really makes no sense that pronation is easier with the Eastern grip since that locks up the wrist more.

    (you cant always blame hitting the ball out on the grip, it's like the people who insist they NEED the western grip to hit topspin or the eastern backhand grip, if you have not seen the student you can likely assume more that technique is to blame, or technique resulting from using the wrong grip, or they have no rhythm because they dont practice enough. Heck he's using the Eastern grip somehow so right there you have to suspect something....because it's very hard for someone with a normal continental grip serve to hit the ball with the Eastern grip with the same exact motion, try it sometime)

    You CAN hit lots of nice serves with the continental grip, 5 degrees removed or not. It's not worth being picky over 5 degrees, either is at least way better then using the Eastern grip.

    Most people likely CANT do it with the Eastern grip so that is a poor choice for most people. Im sure most people who know anything agree on that, let's not confuse the issues with our personal opinions or data we read in Tennis Magazine about "how the pros are doing it...".

    I do know that my continental grip serve is not the same as my continental grip that I use for volleys and 1HBH. My teaching pro friend (who taught the former 3 time #1 HS Singles player in our state), showed me how to grip down on the racquet so at least my pinky is halfway off the edge of the grip.

    Otherwise my wrist wasnt flexible enough and I lost a lot of power. Im not sure that going over 5 degrees is really necessary, but Im not serving 120mph or anything, but I do think my serve is pretty decent compared to most people at my level. (not that it's too hard)
     
    Last edited: Jan 6, 2009
    #28
  29. LeeD

    LeeD Bionic Poster

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    In defense of your coach, I'd say he doesn't know which grip to use really, so he generalized his explanation to "continental", now go away, leave me alone, and practice practice practice.
    Everyone first starts serving with some combination of forehand.
    Then they wander to continental.
    Then years of vid tracking, or 45 minutes talking to ColinDibley, one wanders towards the backhand side of continental, but not all the way to eastern backhand.
    It's just a natural progression every tennis player goes thru.
    And if your coach is not a nationally ranked coach who works with top Juniors and touring pros, he would not know.
    If he's a high school coach, guaranteed he's thinking .... "I gotta get seniority to coach FOOTBALL instead of this sissy game". Coaches make more $$$$$ coaching football, basketball, or baseball.
     
    #29
  30. Hardserve

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    In defense of your coach, I'd say he doesn't know which grip to use really, so he generalized his explanation to "continental", now go away, leave me alone, and practice practice practice.

    [Nah he knows his stuff but yeah, gimme your money, go away now, practice, practice, yeah he is like that]

    Everyone first starts serving with some combination of forehand.
    Then they wander to continental.

    {ok]

    Then years of vid tracking, or 45 minutes talking to ColinDibley, one wanders towards the backhand side of continental, but not all the way to eastern backhand.

    [Interesting]

    It's just a natural progression every tennis player goes thru.
    And if your coach is not a nationally ranked coach who works with top Juniors and touring pros, he would not know.

    [He is nationally ranked, he works with the top juniors all the time]

    I just don't understand why the coach said I had a top class serve good enough for
    the premier when the a-grade just smashed it all to pieces. And the a-grade are below
    the Premier grade !!
     
    #30
  31. kelz

    kelz Professional

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    Continental. Eastern grip is for additional spin
     
    #31
  32. Hardserve

    Hardserve Rookie

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    Last edited: Jan 9, 2009
    #32
  33. itisgregory

    itisgregory Rookie

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    It is much easier to hit a flat serve with an eastern grip. With this grip the racquet head angle (how much the racquet face is open) in relation to your racquet holding arm with be naturally less which, in part, produces the flat serve. Try both grips and you'll feel what I am speaking of.
     
    #33
  34. Hardserve

    Hardserve Rookie

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    Sounds like to me you're talking about Eastern Backhand.

    Leed, now that I have the right grip. And I've seen a difference in my serving....
    Now there's fine tuning to do with the ball toss as I had a crappy erractic
    ball unstable toss so my serve was a little inconsistent as a result.

    My ball toss was not good enough. So I have moved the position that I hold the ball in.
    I used to hold the ball in my tossing hand right beside the racquet face and swing
    at the waist height.

    Now I'm just resting the ball right on top of the racquet edge where the throat of the racquet
    is and now it naturally wants to drop down lower crossing the right knee pointing over to the left leg and this is now where the swing of the serve now starts instead of starting at the waist.

    This little alteration seems to have made the ball toss up more better.
     
    Last edited: Jan 13, 2009
    #34
  35. LeeD

    LeeD Bionic Poster

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    Interesting...
    That's exactly where I hold the ball against the racket, right at the top of the throat, just below the lowest center strings. Some people watching say I look like I"m ready to hit a one handed topspin. Yeah, backward at the baseline linesman.
    Seems I often play with guys who can read service grips instantly, so I use that same continental with an eastern backhand flavor for all my serves. Naturally, the toss is slightly different for flat serves (highest contact point), topspin serves (slightly lower), or kicker/twists (lowest contact point). They read that too.
    So as a lefty, my best toss is the lowest possible, to disquise some, to effectively play in the wind and glaring sun, and to simplify the position of the toss.
    Hope your game ups another level with a consistent big, strong, well placed serve.
     
    #35
  36. Bungalo Bill

    Bungalo Bill G.O.A.T.

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    There are pros and cons in hitting a flat serve with an Eastern forehand grip. I dont recommend it but there are some (a few) people that do. The Eastern forehand grip can help you hit a flat fast serve. The wrist position and the way the racquet face ends up against the ball during the serve motion contributes to this.

    The main issue with hitting a very flat serve is that your margin for error is very small as the ball goes over the net.

    The other issue with the Eastern forehand grip in the serve is that it puts a bit more stress on your shoulder area due to how the arm needs to move throughout the serve motion. Over time you may or may not develop injuries to the shoulder area, however, the increased risk is there.

    I would rather see you use a Continental grip for the majority of your serves. And please dont listen to the nonsense about the "5 degrees" that LeeD mentioned that drastically improves your consistency like it is magic. This is a false teaching and he would never be able to prove that nor can he support his "take". It is his opinion and only his opinion.

    The continental grip may not promote a pure flat serve as the Eastern Forehand grip does, however, as mentioned above, you really dont want to have a pure flat serve anyway due to the increased risk of the ball clearing the net. Unless you are 6' 4", you will want to have some topspin on the ball to give you some room to get the ball over the net and still allow it to land in.

    For the first serve, pace and placement are important because you have the best opportunity to put yoru opponent on the defense right away. So, from a placement perspective, if you are hitting an Eastern forehand grip, you are going to have a tough time trying to place that serve out wide, unless perhaps you take some pace off of it so you can control it a bit better.

    All in all, your serves should be hit from a Continental grip. You can adjust your grip towards the Eastern backhand grip slightly for comfort. If you are hitting a second serve and want to work on enhancing spin, some players get into an eastern or near eastern backhand grip for improved spin.

    For now, I would advise mastering the Continental.
     
    Last edited: Jan 13, 2009
    #36
  37. JavierLW

    JavierLW Hall of Fame

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    Thanks! I was thinking this thread was missing a little advice from Bungalo Bill.

    The other advice sounds too much like some of my peers at 3.5 and 4.0.

    They are totally obsessed with tennis, and try to gather as much information as possible but sometimes they distort the facts.

    What is telling is when I hear things like "you do want to do what the pros do, dont you???". (one guy told me that because I was standing way IN on his serve and obviously in his mind he's envisioning that pros stand way behind the baseline so that's where I should stand even for his wimpy slow serve)

    Or when they go on and on about the 50 things that they observe that needs to be done with no regard for where the player is at or what their motivation is.

    One of my teaching pro friends calls that "lack of root cause analysis".

    Either way though I think 5 degrees off isnt a big deal either way, is it? (I mean like a whole bevel is 45 degrees...) It's probably a way bigger deal if someone is using the Eastern Forehand Grip.

    (although like I said, I know for me, my service grip is not the same continental grip as the one I use for volleys and my 1HBH, my teaching pro had me slide my hand slightly further down which allows me too keep a loose wrist)
     
    #37
  38. LeeD

    LeeD Bionic Poster

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    I DO appreciate Bungalow's excellent advice.
    But then.... first he says to ignore my "5 degrees towards backhand but start at continental", then he says some people does exactly that.
    Hmm... I think whatever I say is completely WRONG. Earth is round, up is up, down is down.
     
    #38
  39. JavierLW

    JavierLW Hall of Fame

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    No, there is a difference.

    You're saying that "everyone who is a pro or eventually becomes better ends up turning it 5 degrees toward backhand". As if learning how to hit with the continental grip is a tremendous waste of time and we should all go out there and turn our racquets toward EBH ("oh but only 5 degrees.....").

    He's saying that someone should master using the Continental first, and then once they are comfortable with that they can try moving it over for some of their serves. If it's only a 5 degree difference such as you claim, that's really not that big of a deal (it's pretty much the same swing)

    It makes a huge difference in this thread because you are comparing using the Continental as a waste of time, such as how telling someone to use the Eastern Forehand grip is a waste of time. I dont think there is any comparison. (because consensus is most people shouldnt use the Eastern Forehand, it forces you to use too much arm and it's a 45 degree difference depending on how far over it is, you can hit a lot of nice serves with the Continental grip that are basically efficient from a power stand point)
     
    #39
  40. Bungalo Bill

    Bungalo Bill G.O.A.T.

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    You are welcome. I heard someone giving his partner advice the other day, and I actually was laughing to myself the entire match. It was a conversation I heard on the next court over.

    Tennis is one of those few sports that has so much nonsense flying around because once someone cna hit a ball, they think they can teach anyone to do the same.


    Yeah, if you had a wimpy serve, I would be standing right in front of you or volleying it, if it was legal. LOL!

    Yes, unfortunately a lot of people just tell people to "do what is natural." Unfortunately, the majority of tennis players are doing what is natural and it isn't working. Obviously, people who say this dont take into consideration discard that everyone is different and maturity levels in coordination, balance, movement, understanding, is different with people. Someday, tennis will mature like other sports have matured.

    Exactly, many of the good coaches here try to first hit the root cause. For example, I would never tell a person to hit higher over the net unless I first solved the technical issues in the stroke that could be contributing to the problem. This is not changing the stroke, it is improving the stroke.

    If I can do that, I can cause the symptom (not being able to hit deep) to go away. Further, I set the player up for other things that I can build off of, one of them being hit higher over the net.

    Exactly. Also, there is no way anyone can tell another person that by moving the grip 5 degrees it will substantially improve their serve. Some people can hit a very good serve in the "pure" Continental. The truth of the matter is good servers move their hand a bit from Continental to Eastern BH for various reasons.

    Perhaps that is what LeeD is trying to say. I just had a hard time with this "5 degree" thing. Players should be in a Continental for the majority of their serves. If they have to adjust the grip a bit from there for comfort, more spin, etc...then do so. However, to imply this is the Holy Grail to consistency when the serve motion is the most complicated stroke of them all with other variables to consider is farfetched.
     
    Last edited: Jan 14, 2009
    #40
  41. Bungalo Bill

    Bungalo Bill G.O.A.T.

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    No you dont. Why are you saying this?

    Exactly, the 5 degree thing to improve consistency was a bit farfetched. The serve motion is the most complicated stroke of the bunch, there are other variables that contribute to consistency.
     
    #41
  42. NoBadMojo

    NoBadMojo G.O.A.T.

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    no offense, but where do you get all this stuff from? you're clearly just making stuff up and confusing people who are actually hoping to learn something..obviously you dont understand that there is more than one way to effectively serve. yea sure..just use your inbetween grip <whatever that is> and all your serving woes will be no more...absurd. this post is like the others i have read from you.
     
    #42
  43. LeeD

    LeeD Bionic Poster

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    Sorry, but exactly which part don't you understand ??
    You already know the first serve is the fastest, and it doesn't require your fastest swing...it's hit flatter.
    Then the second serve, a true second serve, has to go in, #1, then get directed to the opponent's forehand, backhand, or into the body. That means it has to be consistent, and hitting the ball fast is usually NOT consistent, so it's slower than the first serve.
    You already know the twist or kick is a different motion than the normal topspin second serve. The racket moves upwards, so it's harder to swing as fast as a second serve, unless you're king kong. I said you TRY to swing it as fast as you can wiith control and consistency, I didn't say to swing it slow.
    As for the wide serve and up the middle serves, if you can't figure that out, then just ignore my suggestions.
     
    #43
  44. LeeD

    LeeD Bionic Poster

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    Oh, that in-between grip for all serves.
    Seems like a good idea to hit all your serves, from flat to top to kick, with the SAME grip. A good opponent easily picks up a grip change, since most service motions have a hesitation before the ball goes up.
    Why tip your intention to your opponent?
    As for actual grip, even BungalowBill says most use continental, some use some easternback into the continental to get more spin.
    So is splitting the difference really all that advanced an idea?
     
    #44
  45. Bungalo Bill

    Bungalo Bill G.O.A.T.

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    LeeD,

    Nobody here would have a problem with you suggesting a grip inbetween a Continental or an Eastern. Nobody here would have a problem with you suggesting move it slightly away from a Continental towards an Eastern either. These are viable grips, and yes, I also move my hand around for different effects.

    What I have trouble with is your exact claims such as "5 degrees" and how you imply that it solves everyones problem. The bottom-line is it doesnt. There are many different people in the world with different hand sizes, handles, and serve motions that make bringing an exact statement such as "5 degrees" a bit farfetched.

    You dont know how many miles per hour something does. I dont even know. If you didnt try to support your claim about an inbetween grip with your "science" we might buy your claim more.

    In other words, a pure Continental may work better for someone than an inbetween grip. An inbetween grip may work better than a pure Continental. Many players here can hit serves well with either.

    What bothers me is you come in here providing these facts that dont exist and are largely unsupported. There are a lot of knowledgable coaches in here that have taught many different types of people at different levels and walks of life. You make it seem that solving tennis issues is so simple. It is not.
     
    #45
  46. LeeD

    LeeD Bionic Poster

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    Good post, BBill....
    I see, it's not what I say, it's how I say it.
    The "5 degrees" is just a guideline, as my first several dozen posts said "about 5 degrees".
    I know it seems that I mean my solution is an "absolute", but it's in relation to the question of more consistency first of all, and solving the problem of multiple grips for serves.
    Most of the vids I see, not including "huge serve guy", or JSV, the guys are moderating down their swing speeds. I see no reason to slower swing speeds on first serves, at least slower than you can hit consistently. So IF you can hit a first serve by swinging faster, shouldn't that be a + instead of a negative? The more backhand your continental goes, the more spin you impart on your FIRST, as flat as possible serve, so it goes in more often by creating a slight downward arc. Yes, too much backhand grip will impart too much spin, thus slowing down the ball speed.
    So basically, when someone is swinging the racket at a relatively slow speed to get his first serves in, I say go to more backhandy grip to get the arc so you can swing faster and still get the first serve in.
    Wrong ?? No, not really, just another way to skin the cat.
     
    #46
  47. JavierLW

    JavierLW Hall of Fame

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    It sounds like you're trying to say that the only goal of the first serve is pace and flatness, and the goal of the 2nd serve is consistancy and placement.

    That's a common idea among the people I play with (at 3.5 and 4.0).
     
    #47
  48. LeeD

    LeeD Bionic Poster

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    But I can't say everything on every post!
    If you read any of my other posts, I advocate first serves of various speeds directed out wide, into the body, and up the middle.
    Then I say a CONSISTENT second serve out wide, into the body, and up the middle.
    Then I say a kicker for variety, out wide, up the middle, and into the body.
    If I explained every detail of serving options on every post, it'd be a long boring post. As is, it's too long and boring.
     
    #48
  49. JavierLW

    JavierLW Hall of Fame

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    No, the problem is you cant see the person that you are teaching and we cant see what you mean given what you are saying.

    You are talking about "swing speeds". What do you mean? Swinging with their arm, their wrist, shoulder? After acceleration or do you mean during the whole entire swing? Perhaps you dont believe in acceleration?

    Are you aware that with perfect technique sometimes your fastest serves come from the ones that seem to require the least amount of effort? (because you are not using all arm and shoulder)

    Again I am not a teaching pro either, but I see this nonsense a lot, players tell other players things like "swing harder", you need "more racquet head speed". (rather than just focusing on hitting smoothly with the right efficient technique)

    The trouble is most of us can not tell how fast we are hitting the ball providing what sort of effort we've put into it.

    Ive had days where it felt to me like I hardly did anything and my opponents had trouble getting the ball back and claimed that "you served it hard". Ive had other days where I really TRYED to put tons of effort into my swing and didnt get any results. (because I used all arm probably)

    If someone is standing there with the Western grip trying to serve are you going to go on and on and on about swing speeds, etc....? You dont know....

    Also what is the point of doing something that's going to slow the ball down just so you can swing harder? (if you were doing fine with your swing to begin with) Isnt that sort of counterproductive?
     
    #49
  50. JavierLW

    JavierLW Hall of Fame

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    You contridicted your own post then (by your words as read using the english language, not by intent).

    That happens when you tend to go on and on about such things.
     
    #50

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