Left elbow to be locked or not locked in OHBH?

Discussion in 'Tennis Tips/Instruction' started by New Daddy, Oct 17, 2007.

  1. New Daddy

    New Daddy Rookie

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    With the forehand, I think you elbow should now be locked.
    Instead you should form a double lever by bending your elbow.

    What is the best mechanism with your one-handed backhand?
    Are you supposed to lock your elbow or bend your elbow?
    I've tried both and each seems to have benefits.
    What is the recommended mechanism for one-handed backhand?
     
    #1
  2. EliteNinja

    EliteNinja Semi-Pro

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    Are you left or right-handed?

    On my takeback, my elbow is bent.

    For a flattish drive topspin - My hitting arm elbow locks just before hitting.
    For a safety oriented topspin - My hitting arm elbow stays ever so slightly bent.
     
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  3. Mahboob Khan

    Mahboob Khan Hall of Fame

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    1-handed BH: If you have a real high backswing, then in the backswing your hitting arm is bent at elbow; but as you go into forward swing then prior to, during, and after contact, the hitting elbow should be stiff-straight. If the hitting elbow is bent at contact, it will cause the racket head to dangle down, and you will lose control over the racket-head. And let's not confuse the mechanics of 1-handed BH with forehand, or with 2-handed BH.
     
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  4. krz

    krz Professional

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    hmm lefy or righty?

    righty I don't think it matters what the left arm does. Most people like to follow the right arm up at the same time.

    if your a lefty the elbow is locked at contact and from there on after the elbow should also be straight.
     
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  5. Slazenger

    Slazenger Professional

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    For most BHs, as you start the stroke phase of your 1HBH, your elbow extends till it's straight or almost straight (before contact and stays this way through contact).
    I don't like the word 'locked' because you don't lock your elbow of your own volition. It straightens as you pull the racquet forward.

    Some players do have the hitting elbow bent, however.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
    This is Eleni Daniilidou btw.
     
    #5
  6. Geezer Guy

    Geezer Guy Hall of Fame

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    I don't like the word "locked" either, but your arm should be straight throughout the stroke. It's tempting to bend your elbow on the takeback, that that adds some possible complexity into the stroke that can break down and screw you up. Keeping your elbow straight throughout the stroke will help your consistency greatly.
     
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  7. Slazenger

    Slazenger Professional

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    There is no need to keep the elbow straight during your takeback. It serves no purpose.
     
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  8. stormholloway

    stormholloway Legend

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    I always thought Sampras' bent arm was a weakness in that shot. The arm should be straight.

    I also feel the same about the forehand. I disagree with this double bend business. Under ideal circumstances, i.e. when you're in great position to hit a killing shot, the arm should always straighten out on both sides.

    Watch Federer: straight arm off both wings.
     
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  9. Geezer Guy

    Geezer Guy Hall of Fame

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    I agree in theory. My problem was that I was bending my elbow on takeback and then not always getting my arm straightened before contact. This caused me to hit balls at slightly different contact points, resulting in inconsistent shots. Based on instruction from my pro, I now keep my arm straight from initial takeback through contact, and my shots are much more predictable. That's just me, of course.
     
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  10. Mountain Ghost

    Mountain Ghost Semi-Pro

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    Modernized-Classic

    I agree. While I think Sampras was a great athlete with extraordinary skills, some of his form was a bit painful for me to look at, and if a student showed up on my lesson court with that much of a bend (or elbow lead) on a backhand I would definitely encourage him to change it. However, considering his muscle-build, I'm not sure Sampras could have straightened his arm that much more even if he wanted to.

    Now Federer, on the other hand, looks just "perfect" to me . . . and I'm SO glad to see such a "sensible" (modernized-classic) example at the top of the sport.

    Geezer’s pro has the right idea. The problem is that while developing a one-handed backhand, if the student initially starts with a bent arm, that student invariably never learns to find or to RECOGNIZE the fully back and down position from which to start the actual forward stroke, and usually winds up leading with the elbow. That’s why I always teach the one-handed backhand in a two-phase progression. First, learn the forward stroke while starting from a “perfect” stationary back and down position, and then, as you develop, allow your body to find its own “flexible” way of finding that starting position . . . using a bend if desired.

    MG
     
    Last edited: Oct 18, 2007
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  11. Slazenger

    Slazenger Professional

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    My 1HBH is my weapon and stronger wing and I never learnt the 1HBH with a straight takeback.
     
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  12. Mahboob Khan

    Mahboob Khan Hall of Fame

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    Nice to hear from you on this forum. About Sampras' 1-handed BH. Remember, around the age of 16 he used to have a double-handed backhand (his right hand in a continental, left forehand grip). His coach then, Pete Fischer, converted him to 1-handed BH but forgot to adjust his grip from continental to Eastern BH. Sampras did not have full Eastern BH grip. His grip is more of a fist toward continental. This to me, prevented him from winning a French Open title. Great observation, though.
     
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  13. Rickson

    Rickson G.O.A.T.

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    Your arm is supposed to be straight at contact for the most part, but some pros such as Haas and Gaudio keep a slight bend in the elbow.
     
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  14. Mountain Ghost

    Mountain Ghost Semi-Pro

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    Exceptions

    Some people ARE just naturally gifted, in which case I do my best to not mess with what may already be working for them.

    Those with obvious deficiencies are subject to stricter teaching methods.

    MG
     
    #14
  15. stormholloway

    stormholloway Legend

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    I agree but I think the only glaring issue is on the backhand side. He always seemed to have the shrugging motion with the muscles on his upper back as he his backhand. This indicates an attempt to compensate for a lack of accuracy with the hitting arm. Mind you it was an effective shot, but it was clear the technique wasn't fully explored by Sampras.

    It's downright brilliant. I hope it inspires more players with a classical style. The forehand is perhaps even more of a modernized classic.

    I just feel that if the arm doesn't straighten then maximum velocity with the racquet head has yet to be achieved.
     
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  16. stormholloway

    stormholloway Legend

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    Yeah but come on. The man is a champion. I think he just found what worked and stuck with it. There are 10 year olds who straighten their arms on that shot. It is interesting to wonder what Sampras would be with a two hander, or perhaps what he would be if he had learned the one hander from the start. But I think it's unanimous that the backhand could have been better.

    About the grip, I always thought true eastern... no?
     
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  17. Geezer Guy

    Geezer Guy Hall of Fame

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    You don't get that smooth at an early age. You must have been around the block a time or two.
     
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  18. justsomeguy

    justsomeguy Rookie

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    http://www.revolutionarytennis.com/step9.html

    Some interesting stuff in this link.

    Personally, I never lock my elbow when I hit the backhand. My arm is straight, but my elbow isn't locked. It's a subtle difference. If I look at a picture of my one-handed backhand it looks like I lock it, but I do not. When I first started playing I read that I should lock it. That hurt. I never did it again. It felt like my joints and tendons were taking all the force instead of the muscles.

    Straight arm+no lock=no pain. At least for me. You may be different.
     
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  19. habib

    habib Professional

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    Ugh, that exact page caused so much controversy when it was first brought up here some months ago. The author took a lot of flak for his suggestion that the elbow somehow rotates through contact, as such mechanics have a good chance of leading to injury.
     
    #19
  20. justsomeguy

    justsomeguy Rookie

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    Yeah, I am not saying to take his advice, just that it is an interesting read.
     
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  21. stormholloway

    stormholloway Legend

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    That website says flex the arm, then it says don't straighten the arm. Well this just makes no sense. When you flex your tricep your arm straightens.

    In fact just by looking at the great one handers we can see that the arm straightens on this shot.
     
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  22. justsomeguy

    justsomeguy Rookie

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    Sorry, I never should have referenced that link. I was only refering to parts of it. The title alone "revolutionary tennis" should have been a red flag. I was browsing it while working and found a few things that made me say "hmmm". Now that I read it more thoroughly, it has me saying "huh?" more than "hmmm".

    Anyway, I was just trying to say that locking my arm is uncomfortable. I like it straight, just not locked. It seems to be the same for all my joints. Just sitting here and locking either elbow doesn't feel very good. For me it's the same when lifting weights. I never completely lock out on any lift, just close to it. It seems to keep the stress off the joints.
     
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  23. Mahboob Khan

    Mahboob Khan Hall of Fame

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    I have studied Sampras 1-handed BH grip. It is not classic Eastern BH grip. It's extreme continental, but NOT full Eastern BH and his fingers are not spread on the handle. It's like a fist.
     
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  24. BeHappy

    BeHappy Hall of Fame

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    no, he used an extreme eastern, heel of his hand on bevel eight, index knuckle on bevel 1, ( same as gasquet for eg)

    [​IMG]

    close up of heel position:


    [​IMG]

    the one thing Sampras never struggled with on his backhand were high balls:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nypYyl9SN0w

    last shoulder high

    all shoulder high:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tMgXa6NvAQc


    , his only technical flaw was leading with the elbow, which someone has obviously told him because he's stopped doing it lately, maybe he's gotten back with lansdorp?


    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CuGSAESeTgk&mode=related&search=pete sampras todd martin boston 2007
     
    Last edited: Oct 19, 2007
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  25. stormholloway

    stormholloway Legend

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    Are you sure about that? That's commonly known to be the only shot he did struggle with.

    There are no glaring weaknesses in his game, but if there were to be one, that was it.
     
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  26. BeHappy

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    no, you're definitely wrong about that m8.His backhand was a weakness in general, most of the time, not high balls any more than waist height balls though.
     
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  27. stormholloway

    stormholloway Legend

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    Well there are droves of individuals who would disagree with you, including me. One of the factors stated by many for Sampras' not winning the French is the high bounce to his backhand.

    I strongly disagree.
     
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  28. BeHappy

    BeHappy Hall of Fame

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    sampras could never win roland garros because he went for winners too oftern, as Sergi Brugera said:

    'To win on clay you have to be willing to suffer, Sampras wasn't willing to suffer at all, he wanted to end the rally after two shots''.

    He actually had a very good record there while he was in his physical prime, got to the quarter three years in a row, and the semi final the year after next.

    His serve was a huge part of his game, wasn't as effective there.

    He suffered from a genetic blood disorder which affected his stamina hugely, he was always exhausted by the second week.

    His backhand was probably his steadier shot on clay, he just rolled that in, made more errors on his forehand as he went for the lines throughout his matches with it.

    You can't hit a high backhand in front of you with continental backhand, it's physically impossible:

    http://w2.hidemyass.com/index.php?q=aHR0cDovL3d3dy55b3V0dWJlLmNvbS93YXRjaD92PW55cFl5bDlTTjB3
     
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  29. habib

    habib Professional

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    Of course part of the reaosn he suffered on clay was his lack of stamina (result of anemia) and his very aggressive game. However, your claim about his proficiency in handling high backhands is...well, wrong.
     
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  30. BeHappy

    BeHappy Hall of Fame

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    no, I have shown his grip, I have shown his contact point.I have proven my point.
    All you have are empty words.
     
    #30
  31. tricky

    tricky Hall of Fame

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    My impression is that Sampras would take back the racquet with a smile pattern, but then often swing across the body for his forward swing. If you do that, then yeah often your arms will still be bent entering the contact zone.

    Either that or he's a tennis revolutionary. *cough* :D
     
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  32. BeHappy

    BeHappy Hall of Fame

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    works ok for henin


    [​IMG]
     
    #32
  33. tricky

    tricky Hall of Fame

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    She uses a C-shaped backswing, not a smile pattern.

    Theoretically, if you use a C-shaped backswing with a "to the sky" finish, or a U/smile-shaped backswing with a lateral, across-the-body finish, the arm could still be a little bent going into the contact zone. Of course, if your arm is almost straight in the takeback, then this probably never happens.

    On the flip side, if you match the C shape with the lateral finish, or the smile with the sky finish, even if you start with a severely bent elbow, you'll always have a straight arm into the contact zone.
     
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  34. BeHappy

    BeHappy Hall of Fame

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    her racquet moves back and up, no loop, it's linear, therefore smile pattern, I'll even show you the smile pattern:

    [​IMG]
     
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  35. tricky

    tricky Hall of Fame

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    Nah, you have to watch the hands. Once she reaches the height of her takeback, she continues taking the racquet further back while lowering her hands. Her loop is a touch flatter than Kuerten's, but it's still a loop.

    The C-loop enables the shoulder to rotate more freely, especially on a lateral plan. Because of this and because the arm opens in the forward swing, the arm straightens out before the hitting arm is in the zone.

    On here, a lot of people do the classical 1H backhand with a C-loop backswing, and they have problems tracking the elbow in the forward swing. An extension of that, they sometimes have problems with a straightened arm prior to the contact zone.
     
    Last edited: Oct 19, 2007
    #35
  36. BeHappy

    BeHappy Hall of Fame

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    What you're saying is at odds with the original BB article from which you got these terms tricky.All backhands make a small U at the end of the backswing/beginning of the foreswing, indeed all ground strokes do.There is no such thing as a truly linear takeback as well you know.You're being disingenuous here I think.(why?)
     
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  37. tricky

    tricky Hall of Fame

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    In the normal smile pattern, your takeback ends at the height of the takeback. Depending body sequencing, there may be some transition with regards to the forearm between backswing and forward swing, but the end goal of the smile pattern is to load the shoulder while tracking the elbow or hand parallel with the intended path of the ball. Because of this, you can't bring your hand or elbow closer into your body in the takeback, which also means that you can't bring your hands down from the height of the takeback except to execute the forward swing.

    This doesn't happen with a C-pattern, because the shoulder doesn't rotate in just one plane. At the height of takeback, you still continue the backswing prior to the transition, and if allowed to move freely, the hand moves back down and into the body due to shoulder rotation. Great for a lateral swing, bad for a to-the-sky swing.
     
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  38. BeHappy

    BeHappy Hall of Fame

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    yeah, that's what that 'U' is.Her takeback makes a smile pattern on the way up, therefore it's a smile pattern.Gasquet's takeback makes a circle pattern, therefore it's a c pattern, simple as.
     
    #38
  39. tricky

    tricky Hall of Fame

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    Oh no no. Henin swings across the body in her forward swing. Her BH is lateral. She doesn't start her forward swing until her hand is much lower than the height of her takeback.
     
    #39
  40. BeHappy

    BeHappy Hall of Fame

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    Yes she does, and no that's not a valid distinction anyway as we are talking about the backswing are ew not?

    [​IMG]

    see?

    smiley pattern :)
     
    #40
  41. Mahboob Khan

    Mahboob Khan Hall of Fame

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    Behappy: None of the clips you posted show his BH grip clearly. None.

    During his playing days Sampras himself posted an article in the Tennis magazine about his backhand and there was a clear picture of his BH grip. He said, "I use an Eastern BH grip". However, the grip was an extreme continental because the base knuckle of his index finger was on the upper part of penal 2 (or upper part of bevel 1). The knuckle of the index finger was not on the top panel i.e. panel 1; it was a bit to the right side; and that explains his open racket face in the backswing. From the shape of his backswing (bit open racket face), it appears as if he is hitting a slice; this because he does not use full Eastern BH. With the Eastern BH grip, the racket face is more on the edge!
     
    #41
  42. BeHappy

    BeHappy Hall of Fame

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    well, funny you should say that:

    [​IMG]

    do you think Gasquet has an eaastern grip?
    His Racquet is not on edge!
    He must be hitting a slice!
    ;)



    What about the pictures?

    I took that picture myself so I know he was hitting a topspin backhand.


    You'll notice in the videos I posted he can hit the ball comfortably and cleanly out in front of him at shoulder height?That is literally impossible with the continental grip, the contact point would be beside your shoulder.That was the point of the videos.You are a member of tennisplayer.net , see if you can find one clip of tommy haas or James Blake hitting their continental backhands at shoulder height in front of them.You won't be able to do that!, why?, because you would have to bend your wrist downwards for the racquet face to be perpindicular to the court if you hit it out in front at shoulder height!

    Sampras didn't know what grips he used, he admitted this when asked by a journalist what grip he used for his forehand.Obviously what happened was he picked up a grip that was not the one he used.I think he wrote the article with a coach/writer for the magazine who wanted everyone to use proper backhand technique and got him to hold the grip in his hand like that!Most Tennis players have no idea what their technique is!
     
    Last edited: Oct 19, 2007
    #42
  43. tricky

    tricky Hall of Fame

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    Okay, I think I understand the misunderstanding. Between the 6th and 7th pic, she is still taking the racquet back. This is seen because her shoulder is still moving closer to her chin. However her elbow is deviating away from the midline. The elbow deviation itself is part of the C loop takeback for the BH, but not part of the smile takeback.
     
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  44. dpfrazier

    dpfrazier Rookie

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    IMO, a bent elbow is an indicator that the shoulders are opening up too early. The elbow needs to bend to keep the racquet on plane with the intended shot direction.

    Unfortunately, I do this a lot, and it's usually caused by not keeping my front knee bent, which in turn causes the hips and shoulders to open up when weight is shifted forward.

    Check out this article on Gasquet's backhand, and note how closed his shoulders are compared to Sampras & Danilidou.

    http://www.tennis.com/yourgame/instructionarticles/backhand/backhand.aspx?id=254

    Also note the discussion on leg action during the stroke.
     
    #44
  45. stormholloway

    stormholloway Legend

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    Anyone who naturally shrugs their shoulders on their backhand is not going to like high balls.

    You can see in that pic that Sampras shrugs his shoulders to get his racquet higher rather than just extending his arm. He's a grass court player who doesn't like high balls. End of story.
     
    #45
  46. Mahboob Khan

    Mahboob Khan Hall of Fame

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    Let me make one thing clear that we are discussing BH grip for topspin backhand drive. I am not discussing slice here.

    Let's compare the two backswings: Sampras with Gasquet:

    -- Gasquet backswing is higher than Sampras'

    -- Sampras' racket face is more open in the backswing than Gasquet's (this because Sampras is not using full Eastern BH grip).

    Furthermore, in the pictures that you kindly posted, Gasquet's grip is more clearer than Sampras. You can easily see that Gasquet is using a bit extreme Eastern BH grip whereas Sampras' grip is not clear because it is a fist. Why don't you download Sampras' BH topspin drive from the Procompare to see his topspin BH grip?

    What I implied was that from the shape of Sampras' bit open racket face in the backswing to hit topspin drive, it appears that he is using an extreme continental. (normally open racket face in the backswing will suggest slice).
     
    #46
  47. BeHappy

    BeHappy Hall of Fame

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    you said that because the picture of sampras I posted had an open face on the backswing he must have been hitting a slice.

    I showed you a picture of Gasquet hitting a topspin drive, He had a far more open face than Sampras.

    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]


    actually gasquet has a far more open racquet face on the backswing than sampras.

    [​IMG]


    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Oct 20, 2007
    #47
  48. stormholloway

    stormholloway Legend

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    Keep in mind that a racquet face being open doesn't mean much if the player supinates his wrist during the wind up. This would create the illusion of the grip being less extreme.
     
    #48
  49. Slazenger

    Slazenger Professional

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    BeHappy,

    Sampras hit his backhand with a fisted continental grip, just like Mahboob says.
    It's turned ever so slightly but it is closer to continental than it is to eastern. He definitely did not hit with an extreme eastern backhand.

    And in your pic with Gasquet, his racquet face is not open in the backswing (the pic where you put the blue arrows).
    You are orienting the racquet wrong. It is clearly slightly closed face due to his grip.
     
    #49
  50. BeHappy

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    pictured contact point refutes this

    lol

    hawainn grip? ;)
     
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