Serving Grip: Heel pad

Discussion in 'Tennis Tips/Instruction' started by DarkXBlazer, Feb 22, 2012.

  1. DarkXBlazer

    DarkXBlazer New User

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    Hello,

    So, I had a little question with my serving grip.. So, I self taught myself to serve with a continental grip, and I learned it through instructions on the internet and photos... However, my serve (working on just hitting kick serves/topspin serves) aren't as consistent as I would like them to be..

    I originally learned the continental grip to be index knuckle on 2nd bevel and heel pad on second bevel. However, after some frustration with many double faults, I ended up experimenting and moving the bottom of the racket up some (palm up with grip upside down). Sorry, I don't have photo capabilities at the moment, but I'll try to clarify. When I hold my continental grip upside down so that I face my palm, I move the racket counter-clockwise, so that the bottom moves more towards my pinky knuckle. The end result is almost all of the knuckles line up on the 2nd bevel.

    With this grip, I found that I hit a lot more consistently, as I was able to develop the feel of brushing up on the ball where, at contact, my racket was more horizontal (view of brushing with the mains straight up) than vertical..

    Now, I was wondering if there were any major problems with continuing like this, and would it ruin my serve later on, or limit the potential of my serve. If so, how would I go about correcting it? I find so much more consistency with this serve than having the heel pad and index knuckle on the bevel. I ask, because, a while back, I asked a similar question here about my forehand stroke, where if I almost lined my knuckles on the fourth bevel instead of knuckle and heel pad, I was able to get more consistency by adding more topspin, through, again, more of a brushing up while the racket is horizontal... However, I was told to "forget the crap with the knuckles" and "learn the grip the right way" or it would ruin me later on..

    And one last thing: As I continued to experiment, I found that when I kinda pushed in a little with my index knuckle area right prior to contact into contact, I was able to get a little more on my serve and a little more consistency. Does this indicate any problems with my stroke?

    I'd appreciate as much information on this subject as possible. Thanks in advance for responses.
     
    #1
  2. fuzz nation

    fuzz nation Legend

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    I certainly appreciate your painstaking explanation of what's happening with your grip for that serve, but that shot in general has a lot going on. There are maybe twice as many components to synch up and "get right" in any serve compared with let's say a good ground stroke. Impossible to know what's going right or wrong without seeing you hit some balls. By the way, I hope you're a left-hander or else you lost me big time.

    Your best diagnosis might come from getting a lesson so that a trained eye can take in the whole picture. While you seem like you've got a pretty good level of awareness of how that grip is contributing to your serve, it's hard to know whether your grasp of some other things in your mechanics and timing is up to speed.

    My suspicion is that your grip could be accommodating a less-than-optimum swing path, etc., even though you're tapping into a more consistent delivery. The good news could be that you've happened upon exactly what you need for developing a topspin serve, but there's no way to know until I see you hit it.
     
    #2
  3. DarkXBlazer

    DarkXBlazer New User

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    Ah... That might be bad then... Cause I am a right-hander. x/

    Here, let me try again: So, holding a continental grip, I hold it upside down so that I face my palm, and the racket head is going to my right, with the handle to my left. From what I understand, standard continental has 2nd bevel going from index knuckle to heel bad, so it'd look kinda like a straight diagonal 45 degree angle with the heel pad. However, I've begun to (in that perspective) rotate my racket clockwise...

    Ahh I realize, where I must've lost you. I said counter-clockwise, where in actuality it's clockwise.. I hope you can see it now..

    So moving clockwise, the handle moves up, towards the pinky knuckle, just slightly under it.

    Does that make it a bit clearer?
     
    #3
  4. LeeD

    LeeD Bionic Poster

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    Practice your serves about MUCH MORE.
    Your body will learn how to grip it, how to rip it, and how to get it in. You don't need to analyse every tiny movement.
     
    #4
  5. Bagumbawalla

    Bagumbawalla Hall of Fame

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    I am having trouble following your explainations, but here is something you can try.

    Hold your racket up in the serving position, as if you were going to strike the ball. Start out with the service grip you use now. Allow your wrist to bend forward- limp- Then adjust your grip, slightly, so you achieve the most flexand ease of movement.

    Try serving with that grip and see what happens.
     
    #5
  6. toly

    toly Hall of Fame

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    Are you talking about this grip: http://tt.tennis-warehouse.com/showthread.php?p=5276739#post5276739
     
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  7. BevelDevil

    BevelDevil Hall of Fame

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    I think I know what you're talking about. It's a type of hammer grip.

    Is your index finger separated from your other fingers? If so, is the gap larger or smaller under this new grip?

    Also, is your thumb on the outside of the fingers, or between the index and middle?
     
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  8. DarkXBlazer

    DarkXBlazer New User

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    All right. Finally found a picture to exemplify what I'm talking about with the grip..

    [​IMG]

    With my index knuckle on the 2nd bevel, am I to put the standard line with heel pad? Or do you edge more towards having the knuckles lined? Could you hold your grip and tell me what it looks like? Would you switch this under different scenarios? (1st serve/2nd serve/forehand/backhand/etc)

    Thanks
     
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  9. BevelDevil

    BevelDevil Hall of Fame

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    Awesome picture. That exemplifies the difference between a pistol grip (left) and a hammer grip (right).

    All my serves are currently pistol, however, I'm going to experiment with the hammer on kick serves.

    I found an old thread where someone brought up the same issue. One poster said he got better kickserve results with a hammer.

    Do a search under "hammer grip serve" and look for the Talk Tennis results.

    Let us know how things go with your serve.


    As for other strokes:

    Forehand groundstroke and volley should be pistol. Look at the pros and you'll see that for most, on their FH groundie and volley their index fingertip is separated from their other fingers and thumb. This is a telltale of a pistol grip, hence the name (it's like they are fingering a trigger).

    Backhand volley and topspin 1hbh (and maybe slice) should be hammer. This makes a huge difference, especially on the 1hbh. Again, look at the pros and you'll see that on these shots their index fingertips tend to be connected to their thumb or middle finger. This suggests more of a "hammer" type grip.


    Keep in mind that there is a continuum from pistol to hammer, so you should feel free to experiment with positions inbetween.
     
    Last edited: Feb 26, 2012
    #9
  10. DarkXBlazer

    DarkXBlazer New User

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    Wow, I didn't see the posts added after LeeD, so I'll address them now.

    @Bagumwalla: What exactly is bending "forward limp". Once I understand this, I'll make sure I try it out on the court! xD

    @Toly: YES! That is what I'm talking about! Except I have that knuckle alignment a little closer to the eastern forehand side of the continental grip than he does. I'm reading the posts in the thread. So, what are the pros/cons of doing this? And is it bad that I'm holding this grip so near the eastern forehand? I hold it the alignment almost at the line between bevel 2 and 3.

    @BevelDevil: I am actually experimenting with the placement of my index finger, but as of now, I have been using it together with the rest of the ringers. Is the grip smaller or larger than what other grip? The thumb is outside of and above the fingers.

    Thanks for the responses!
     
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  11. BevelDevil

    BevelDevil Hall of Fame

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    Fingers together and thumb on the outside are two signs of a hammer grip.

    Whereas, if you want the handle to go across your palm diagonally (as in the pistol grip), the index finger will have to separate from the other fingers to accommodate the handle, and the thumb will end up being inbetween the index and middle.
     
    #11
  12. DarkXBlazer

    DarkXBlazer New User

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    Ahh, would you be able to describe some of the pros and cons of each?

    -Jerry
     
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  13. toly

    toly Hall of Fame

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    Please read the post http://tt.tennis-warehouse.com/showthread.php?p=5309329#post5309329.

    Yes, it is bad and unprofessional way to hold grip near eastern forehand.:)
     
    Last edited: Feb 27, 2012
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  14. BevelDevil

    BevelDevil Hall of Fame

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    Not sure how that would affect the serve since I haven't tried it.


    For the other strokes, here's it in a nutshell: On the forehand side, the hammer grip will tend to open the racket face, while the pistol grip will tend to close it. On the backhand side, it's the opposite: The hammer grip will tend to close the racket face, while the pistol grip will tend to open it.


    I've never tried a hammer grip forehand, but doing so naturally opens the racket face and also points the face more cross court. I think you would end up hitting the ball very flat with that grip on the fh. Definitely not modern. Inside-out shots would be very difficult.

    Forehand volleys are doable with a hammer grip, and like the ground stroke, the racket face will be more naturally open. Sampras used a type of hammer grip on his fh volleys, and it worked out for him. His fhv style was a bit unorthodox though, as he tended to hit the ball flat or with topspin. On the other hand, Edberg used a massive pistol grip on the fhv.

    Backhand volleys, imo, are best done with a hammer grip. This will tend to create a more stable arm/hand/racket structure that is more of a 90-degree angle. Volleys feel more solid, in my experience. I spent some time studying Edberg and Rafter pics. While they both have some type of pistol grip on the fh volleys, on the backhand volleys it is hammer (meaning finger tips together).

    By the way, if you start off in a continental pistol grip, simply by moving the index finger down to the thumb or middle finger, your base knuckle will move to the "semi-continental" (between conti and eastern) position. This is fine as it seems a lot of (most?) good volleyers don't actually use a full continental on either side. (This seems to be one of the "dirty secrets" of "textbook" tennis.)

    In my experience, a hammer semi-continental is stronger than a pistol full continental for bhv's.

    Finally, on the 1hbh drive, there should be no debate-- Keep your fingertips together. The Eastern hammer makes it much easier to hit middle and high balls with pace and topspin, while still being able to hit low balls decently. Body shots are also easier to deal with effectively since you will be naturally opening your body to the ball more with the Eastern hammer, anyway. You do lose a little reach though, compared with the pistol grip, and low balls require a little more knee bend.

    My final recommendations:

    FH ground: pistol
    FH volley: pistol
    BH ground (1hbh): hammer
    BH volley: hammer
    BH 2hbh: ???
    BH slice: ???
     
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  15. LeeD

    LeeD Bionic Poster

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    Forehand volley, hit with a grip between pistol and full hammer, to get the snap needed on quick putaways. Full hammer lacks precision. Full pistol lacks power, like on a serve.
     
    #15
  16. syke

    syke Professional

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    Pistol has too little power, while hammer feels ridiculously weird for serves.

    I keep my base knuckle on the 2 and pad on 1 for serves.

    [​IMG]
     
    #16

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