Why western topspin > eastern?

Discussion in 'Tennis Tips/Instruction' started by blackdiamond, Sep 13, 2006.

  1. blackdiamond

    blackdiamond New User

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    Why does the western grip produce more topspin than the eastern? I had always thought that this was because the western grip naturally closes the racket face as you swing. However, after reviewing slow motion clips of pros and reading this page, http://www.hi-techtennis.com/forehand/topspin.php,
    it is now clear to me that topspin is not produced by the closing of the racket face, but rather by the vertical up movement of the racket while the racket angle remains constant during ball contact. This was a very big suprise to me. When watching the stroke in realtime, it always appeared to me that the racket was coming over the top of the ball to produce topspin, but this is proven to be false. So the question is why does the western produce more topspin. It would have to be that the swing path naturally has a faster vertical up component. But why is this? Why can't you swing upwards as fast with the eastern grip?

    Thanks in advance.
     
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  2. Bagumbawalla

    Bagumbawalla Hall of Fame

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    True. In theory, the grip should not make a difference, whatever, only the path of the racket through the ball.

    Rod Laver hit with a continental grip and is credited with "inventing" the modern topspin game.

    In practice, it is simply EASIER for most people to create topspin with a western style grip.
     
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  3. AngeloDS

    AngeloDS Hall of Fame

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    #3
  4. alan-n

    alan-n Professional

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    It is a myth that western grip itself produces more spin than a mostly eastern grip / semi-western grip.

    Western grip almost forces you to swing in a upward brushing motion.

    To generate extreme topspin from a mostly eastern / semi-western the swing path is upward but less extreme than the western.... and you keep your wrist extremely loose so that it "breaks" over and "rotates" the racket face over the top of the ball on the follow through. Takes more feel and timing to do this but its just as effective and its how most people hit the short-angle winners... or approach shots.

    Most beginning tennis books and even "Tennis for Dummies" by Patrick McEnroe covers that topic, you can generate topspin by brush low to high on the ball, or by having the racquet face rotate over the top of the ball during the contact phase.
     
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  5. Thud and blunder

    Thud and blunder Semi-Pro

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    Rotating over the top of the ball is much more demanding than brushing up the back of the ball...if your timing is even slightly off, you're coughing up an unforced error.
     
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  6. Ripper

    Ripper Hall of Fame

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    By using extreme grips, you can hit the ball much more in front. By hitting the ball more in front, you can apply a more agressive "windshield wiper" motion. By doing this, you can brush the ball more effectively.
     
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  7. blackdiamond

    blackdiamond New User

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    I find that when I rotate my racket over the top of the ball, I can get some extreme topspin but the ball lacks pace because I'm not driving "through the ball". When I drive through the ball but brush the back of the ball high to low, I can get very good pace and moderate topspin but not extreme. At the pro level, does anyone hit by rotating over the top of the ball?
     
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  8. maverick1

    maverick1 Semi-Pro

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    I think it is because you have more of your hand under the racket. The hand can offer solid resistance as the ball pushes down on the racket(which is a reaction to the racket brushing up on the ball).

    It is the same reason why hitting the ball in front of your body produces a firmer shot with more pace than hitting besides your body, for the same racket speed. When the body is behind the racket, there is frimer resistance as the ball pushes back on the racket.
     
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  9. alan-n

    alan-n Professional

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    yes, but they don't over do like non-pros do. Federer does this quite often.
     
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  10. kevhen

    kevhen Hall of Fame

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    The more closed the face, the more topspin when swinging with the same upward trajectory.

    The more open the face, the more backspin when swinging with a slightly downward trajectory during a slice swing.
     
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  11. ramseszerg

    ramseszerg Professional

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    Firstly, the Western grip doesn't naturally close the racquet face as you swing. Rather, it is closed naturally at the end of the backswing and then you have to open it up to get it over the net.

    Now to answer your question. If you hold a racquet in whatever grip, you will be able to swing it with the most power in whatever direction your palm is facing. So, in an Eastern grip, your palm is behind the grip, empowering you most with the motion forward. With a Western grip, you will have the most power in the upward direction. Just try pushing your right hand with your left palm from different directions. Your right hand will feel strongest when your hands are palm to palm. ..maverick there is saying the same thing.
     
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  12. mucat

    mucat Hall of Fame

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    For me, hit in front and "windshield wiper" motion are the keys.

    However, I use Eastern FH grip.

    I use to think extreme grip naturally produce more topspin. However, I found out I can do the same with eastern grip. I am not sure now.

    I think the natural wrist position of extreme grips allow for easier topspin stroke. While with the more classic grip, it is more possible for the wrist to be in the wrong position to open up the racket. But as long as the swing is sound and the contact is good, eastern grip can produce just as much.

    Maybe the some Pros in the future will go back to eastern grip, never know.

    Hit in front and "windshield wiper" motion are the keys, very important.
     
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  13. bkc

    bkc New User

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    I've been asking Westerners that hit two-handed backhands, what kind of grip they use on their backhand, because they are also hitting the same kind of topspin with their backhands. Basically, they seem to use Eastern grips on the two hand side. Seems like the mechanics they have on both wings are maximum racquet speed with vertical motion. One described it to me as "coming up under the ball".
     
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  14. nadalito92

    nadalito92 Rookie

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    im sure roddick uses a western grip
     
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  15. nadalito92

    nadalito92 Rookie

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    well im a westenr gripper and i use continental backhad, but im thinking about switching to 1hbh
     
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  16. Xtennis88

    Xtennis88 New User

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    The grip doesnt make a difference... Im halfway between an eastern and a semi western and I can hit balls with so much topspin they bounce over the fence every once in a while... and when Im playing a guy thats about average height for my age (5'10"-6') I usually hit it about the level of thier head.. the nice thing about that grip though is I can generate topspin but also be able to hit flat and with slice, so one shot I could hit loads of topspin and the next blast a flat ball down the line for a winner.. or chop over a drop shot with either backspin or sidespin
     
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  17. anirut

    anirut Legend

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    I second this. Positive. I don't get that much topspin effect, though, but I can play my various FH shots with "almost" one grip. And I use my wrist to help with contact angles.
     
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  18. maverick1

    maverick1 Semi-Pro

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    I find it hard to believe that the grip doesn't make a difference.
    My normal grip is eastern or a hybrid between eastern and Semi Western.
    I experiment with grips in practice. With a Western grip, I get so much topspin that it is very difficult to prevent the ball from going into the net, even though open the racket face up slightly.
    I have to aim to hit over the back fance to hit a good deep shot.
     
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  19. blackdiamond

    blackdiamond New User

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    Thanks for all the replies.

    Maverick, I think you hit the key points that having more of the hand under the handle and hitting the ball more in front makes it easier to brush up the back of the ball.

    I'm sure it's possible to get very good topspin with an eastern, as others have stated, but I believe it's easier and more natural with the western.
     
    #19
  20. maverick1

    maverick1 Semi-Pro

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    Could it be that Xtennis88 and anirut use very small grip sizes and completely wrap their hand around the handle?
    That may explain why the grip makes no difference to them.

    My hand is about one finger width short of wrapping around the handle, as per the classic recommendation.
     
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  21. Xtennis88

    Xtennis88 New User

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    my grip is small but I dont wrap around... I use a eastern/smi-western for normal balls and a semi-western for high balls... it could just be that I get a lot of high balls from my opponents... but I actually hit the lower balls with more top
     
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  22. Slazenger

    Slazenger Professional

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    Of course grip makes a difference. You can generate much vicious topspin with a western grip than you will ever be able to with an eastern grip.
     
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