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-   -   Major problems converting to the continental grip for serving (http://tt.tennis-warehouse.com/showthread.php?t=450751)

HughJars 01-13-2013 03:58 AM

Major problems converting to the continental grip for serving
 
Hi all, Im a rec player who has been occasionally playing with a friend, and recently taken to playing, training and taking the game a little more seriously over the last couple of months as Ive realised what a great game tennis is, and how much easier it is on my stiff and sore body from a life of playing football. I was at a group coaching session last week where the local pro pointed out that Ive been using the wrong grip for my serve - the eastern forehand.

Ive always regarded my first serve as probably my best shot - its quite quick, however in terms of consistency most of the time its consistent, however other times it falls to pieces. I guess the margin for error is so small cos there is no spin on the ball. And windyconditions play havoc. As for the second serve, well its just an embarressing push. :oops:

So Im trying to get used to serving with the continental grip to give me some more margin for error. And it's not going well. Like yesterday's match where I served out the final set with 10 double faults. Im wondering, is changing from the eastern forehand to the continental simply a matter of re-directing the direction of my serve to about 30 degrees clockwise (RH) from the target (instead of directly at the target with the forehand grip Ive been using) using the same service action? And what direction should my momentum be going during the serve? Should pronation be happening naturally? If not, how can pronation be developed?

Sorry about the noob questions in advance. :)

ramos 01-13-2013 04:30 AM

Very dificult
 
Change the serve grip from eastern forehand to continental is by far the more dificult thing to do in tennis.
This change the swing line, is mandatory to PRONATE, the momentum goes UP, and so on...
The best suport I have found about this is the Doug King serve course from Tennisone.com. You will pay for it, but surely the course will payoff...

volusiano 01-13-2013 07:52 AM

I don't know if you put any time into practicing to serve to incorporate this big change into your serve or not. Sounds like you didn't because you said you got 10 double faults in your final set when you made the change.

It's not something you just change without spending enough time in practice to get used to the adjustment. This is a huge adjustment in my opinion, so you need to take a basket of balls out to the court and spend enough time practicing your serve only to incorporate the change into your serve.

I can tell you that changing from the eastern forehand to continental grip on your serve will change the entire dynamic of your serve. It's not going to be a simple redirection of anything that you can simply adjust on the fly on your next match without any practicing.

On your question of pronation, the whole point of the continental grip is to force pronation to happen naturally. If you're doing everything right, you don't need to learn to develop pronation. But you'll need to learn to adjust other things like your timing and stance and direction to get it right.

slowfox 01-13-2013 04:47 PM

You gotta practice. Perhaps don't go full continental yet. Just start out by rotating your grip slightly more conti but not as far eastern fh as before. Again, a change like this requires lots of practice to get it into muscle memory. Good luck.

rkelley 01-13-2013 06:08 PM

It's a totally different swing, body placement, wrist action, etc. You will need to get some instruction and then practice it if you want it to yield any results. There are some good youtube videos.

But DO IT!!! It will be the best change you make to your game. The continental grip on the serve is the doorway to hitting consistently, with different spins, and developing a second serve. Consider it an investment that will pay off over a life time (given that we're talking about tennis).

Volley with that continental grip too.

slowfox 01-13-2013 08:55 PM

Heck, you can even go all old school and do everything with a continental. :) In terms of wardrobe, it's the navy blue suit that everyone has to have.

SystemicAnomaly 01-13-2013 09:06 PM

I've had a considerable amount of success with the semi-continental grip for students who find the standard continental grip too challenging. The semi-conti grip is what Boris Becker and Serena Williams often used on first serves. Once a student masters serving with the semi-conti grip, changing to a full conti grip is less of a traumatic experience.

HughJars 01-14-2013 05:11 AM

Thanks for all the great tips everyone. They have really helped/

The last couple of evenings Ive taken to the court and have been working hard. The tip of using a semi - continental grip is working well. I broke my wrist a year or so ago, so I have limited ROM which seems to be inhibitng pronation of my wrist when serving. So Ive been practicing using a grip that is almost continental.

Ive tried to experiemnt and no over think things to much, but tips I have found useful so far in increasing the conistency and quality of the serves (Im even seeing kick and dip):

- Placing markers just to the left of my feet inside the court encouraging me to follow through forward and not fall over backwards. BIG difference.
- Holding on to the the racket with a loose grip. Seems to have loosened up my whole serving motion. Its also allowing my wrist to naturally move.
- Tossing the ball into the court more.
- Watching the ball closely and 'feeling' it rather than slapping at it.
- Staying more side on
- And of course serving as many balls as I can. I have about 25 balls, must of gone through them at least 10-15 times tonight. Building that muscle memory.

Results Ive seen so far:
- Greater consistency. By the end of my session today I was up to around 70%.
- Ability to land the ball with higher net clearance. Top spin is kicking in.
- Balls kicking up.

I noticed that about 90% balls I faulted on were balls I netted. And the balls I landed were quite short. I was kind of encouraged by this as it means I have clearance to hit hader and up through the ball more. short. With my previous serve these would sail way past the service line with no spin to bring them down.

Will try to a video soon, just got to get a little more tech savvy.

Cheers!



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samarai 01-14-2013 05:27 AM

I have been working on my serve for the better part of 2 years and its just coming around to where I have confidence in it. That's playing 4-5 times per week. Keep practicing and give it some time.

Power Player 01-14-2013 05:54 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by HughJars (Post 7116166)
Hi all, Im a rec player who has been occasionally playing with a friend, and recently taken to playing, training and taking the game a little more seriously over the last couple of months as Ive realised what a great game tennis is, and how much easier it is on my stiff and sore body from a life of playing football. I was at a group coaching session last week where the local pro pointed out that Ive been using the wrong grip for my serve - the eastern forehand.

Ive always regarded my first serve as probably my best shot - its quite quick, however in terms of consistency most of the time its consistent, however other times it falls to pieces. I guess the margin for error is so small cos there is no spin on the ball. And windyconditions play havoc. As for the second serve, well its just an embarressing push. :oops:

So Im trying to get used to serving with the continental grip to give me some more margin for error. And it's not going well. Like yesterday's match where I served out the final set with 10 double faults. Im wondering, is changing from the eastern forehand to the continental simply a matter of re-directing the direction of my serve to about 30 degrees clockwise (RH) from the target (instead of directly at the target with the forehand grip Ive been using) using the same service action? And what direction should my momentum be going during the serve? Should pronation be happening naturally? If not, how can pronation be developed?

Sorry about the noob questions in advance. :)

This link is the best I have seen for explaining how the serve should feel. Especially watch the first video. It is easily the best serve tip video I have seen.

http://www.feeltennis.net/tennis-ser...et-effortless/

syc23 01-14-2013 06:30 AM

I adopted the continental 9 months after taking up the game. Worked on it for 5 months solid - well worth the effort as likes other say, it opens up all sorts of options in terms of spins and consistency. I have a kicker which I can rely on 1st & 2nd serves if my flats and slices are not working on the day.

Was extremely difficult to get used to at first as I was trying to get used to swinging the racquet up to the ball 'on edge' before naturally opening the racquet face at the last second and then pronate after contact. It was comedy as I was framing the ball a ton of time.

Found that it has got rid of shoulder pain aswell. When I initially started, the frying pan grip serves did cause a bit of pain so another plus for adapting the right right technique.

IA-SteveB 01-14-2013 07:11 AM

I was in the same boat last summer when I started playing again after 20 years. I didn't even know it was common to use that grip for a serve. I had a really flat serve with a small margin for error just like you. I ended up successfully switching up my grip and developing a better first and second kick serve but it took quite a few baskets of balls and a lot of repetition. The end result was a better first serve with less pace and a stronger second serve. My previous "Cinder-fella" second serve was getting walloped.

I only double fault 2 or 3 times in a three set match now.

fuzz nation 01-14-2013 07:46 AM

Always be ready for a profound change to cause a short-term step backward with your game. It's a bit of a headache, but if you understand the long-term gains you're working toward (sounds like you do), then it's usually easier to keep on crunching through the rough spots without too much frustration. GOOD to hear that you're already seeing new things happen with your serve - keep on rockin'!!!

As for pronation, don't worry about it. Unless you're elbowing yourself in the stomach when you try to hit a serve, your arm is probably moving just fine. Stay loose and maintain a comfortable tempo in your motion to keep it reliable. The bigger muscles in your legs and core will really make it "go".

One ripple that comes with your grip change could be the need to alter your swing path and toss location a little bit. If you're a righty, you're probably finding it easier to swing through the ball when your toss is slightly more to the right than when you used the eastern forehand grip to serve. Definitely experiment with this.

You'll probably find lots of sidespin when your toss is further off to the right, but a little more heat with that toss shading a little more straight out in front of you. As that continental grip gets more comfortable, you'll be able to do different things to the ball with slight variations in your contact point, racquet angle, and swing path.

Bonus: you can now also use a full motion, even when delivering a second serve. Say goodbye to that paddy-cake second serve because you need decent racquet speed to generate that spin that's starting to crank up. With some more practice, you should hopefully start using the same complete motion for both your first and second serves. That will give you both enough velocity and enough spin, depending on the type of serve you want to hit.

Nellie 01-14-2013 08:05 AM

You can't just change the grip and keep all other things (shoulders, legs, toss) the same. I would bet that you previously served by pointing your open chest straight at the target, with a ball toss similarly positioned straight in front of your face/chest. With the continental grip, you should be rotating your whole body 90 degrees, so your shoulders line up with the intended target (you are facing the side of the court). Likewise, your toss should be in front of your backhand-side shoulder.

I find it way easier if you, instead of trying hit the back of the ball for pace, focus on brushing the back of the ball for lots of side spin (swinging parallel to the baseline). ***Stay sideways at first!*** Your muscle memory will lead you to turn back to your old motion as soon as you toss, so minimize your shoulder rotation at first.

skiracer55 01-14-2013 10:19 AM

What they said...
 
...additionally, if you decide to make a change, even difficult changes become easier is you know why you're making them. Everybody who said "It's not just a grip change" is right on the money. You have to have a clean swing path, too. But just to prove that Conti is the way to go, crank up your service motion and stop it right where you contact the ball. Use your non-racket hand to go from an Eastern (or, worse yet SW) forehand grip to Conti. You'll quickly see that with anything but a Conti, (a) you'll have to do something incredibly funky with your swing just to get the serve in the box and (b) there's no way you're ever going to get consistency, pace, spin, or direction on the serve...

LeeD 01-14-2013 10:44 AM

If it was easy, it probably wouldn't be worth the effort.
EVERY single on of us had the same problem making the change. Practice.

user92626 01-14-2013 10:54 AM

OP,

Use this analogy to help you understand and apply the serve. Start with a correct, sound swing path. Don't overcomplicate yourself with other things yet. A sound serve swing path to me is like an officer's salute motion. Your hand with the palm facing down moves forward and down and to the side simultaneously.

Once you get the feel of how the racket "bites" the ball, start working on the body and feet, which are to assist the arm/hand's motion. If it helps, think of moving the body as a snapping or falling foward for momentum.

sureshs 01-14-2013 12:17 PM

I was trying to help a 70 year old man yesterday. He starts continental, but switches to Eastern during the swing. He says there are complicated reasons including his stint as a discus thrower during his youth which are responsible for it, and apparently many coaches have tried and failed to change his style.

LeeD 01-14-2013 12:19 PM

Almost every beginner switching from eForehand to conti for serves has that exact problem.
More practice and adoption of the idea is the cure.
Practice alone won't solve the problem, as the player unconciously still thinks he needs a forehand grip to hit the ball solidly.

TennisCJC 01-17-2013 07:18 AM

I struggled with the switch 35 years ago for several weeks (months?) but it is worth it. Once you get the feel of it, it is much easier to serve with a conti grip. Stick with it. Hit a bucket or 2 of balls as frequently as possible. And/or take a lesson on the conti grip serve. And/or, study books, video/tv.

But, it is worth it!


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