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mbm0912 02-15-2013 07:14 AM

Service Grips
 
Okay...Everything I have ever read on here and other places stress "always use a conti grip to serve". I still have a hard time with this, as it feels so much more natural to migrate to more of an eastern fh. Still, I make myself try and serve with conti because that's "correct". I played a guy last night who had a serve much better than mine and he used a strong eastern forehand grip. Why is it so important to use a continental when serving? Thanks

Mahboob Khan 02-15-2013 07:25 AM

Well, the continental grip allows more wrist-forearm action. Also, as you pronate to strike the ball the pace is increased. Another reason is that all the men and women on the Pro circuit use continental grip. Since volley is associated with the serve and since continental grip is used for the volleys, conti is the most suitable grip for the serve also. The Eastern FH grip will put you in trouble in case you like to serve and volley. It's better in this case you use the same grip, continental grip.

In the past Pros, Boris Becker used to serve with close to Eastern FH grip.

dman72 02-15-2013 08:02 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by mbm0912 (Post 7215695)
Okay...Everything I have ever read on here and other places stress "always use a conti grip to serve". I still have a hard time with this, as it feels so much more natural to migrate to more of an eastern fh. Still, I make myself try and serve with conti because that's "correct". I played a guy last night who had a serve much better than mine and he used a strong eastern forehand grip. Why is it so important to use a continental when serving? Thanks

It's difficult to put any spin on a serve with an Eastern Forehand grip, can pretty much only hit flat.

I could serve pretty hard with an Eastern Forehand grip when I was just playing tennis during summers..but I'm 6'1 and I jumped into the serve, so that helped. It was a flat bullet that barely cleared the net.

The first step I think to realizing the benefits of the continental on the serve is to learn to serve standing sideways with your feet flat..no jumping, no knee bend...just practice tossing the ball and hitting it with a continental and wrist snap. This way your wrist natually pronates, and you are kind of swinging across your body as opposed to out in front of it as you have to with an Eastern. You need to get the swing down before you move on to the knee bend and everything else.

There will basically be an epiphany moment where you realize you will never hit another serve with an Eastern again.

fuzz nation 02-15-2013 08:14 AM

It would be rather telling to be able to see what sort of a move you're putting on the ball when you serve now - not demanding a video post, but wondering just what type of serve you hit. Do you vary your serve from flat balls to spinners or kickers with that grip?

The popular guidelines point toward using a continental grip for serving so that we can hit most types of serves by only varying the wrist/racquet angle and swing path, and contact point. The eastern forehand grip might make it a little easier to really pancake a flat serve with a lot of heat, but it can force some serious compensation in a player's motion to serve with spin.

Hold your hand up in front of you with your palm facing away from your face and fingers pointing up (looking at the knuckles on the back of your hand). Look at how much more free your wrist is to move forward and back (palm down, palm up) compared with side to side (palm away from you while fingers move right and left). That forward and back orientation allows for free wrist movement and better racquet speed, so that's what we're after for good serves.

When you hold the racquet with and eastern forehand grip, it puts the racquet face roughly in the same plane as your palm. That means that when you swing flat over the top through the serve, your wrist is relatively free to bend forward and let the racquet fly. Now think about making angular contact with the ball to generate spin. That's more easily achieved with the grip position angled - hello continental - yet your wrist is still in that orientation where it's free to flex back and forward (I mix up the flex and extend motions, so I'll stick with my own jargon here).

Hitting with spin while using an eastern fh grip can often force a server to use an outside-in swing path (right-to-left for a righty) across the ball for a righty server. Not something that afflicts everyone, but it's a nasty gremlin to un-learn for anyone with this issue.

With the continenal grip, the wrist can be slightly rotated to allow a more flat racquet face through contact or a more angled racquet face for spin with the same general position that allows for the most wrist mobility. Again, this is a guideline. I'll actually shade my grip slightly toward eastern forehand to really smack a flat serve, but I'll shade toward eastern backhand to get better spin for some topspin/kick serves. Hard to argue with the potential for better serving when the continental grip is the foundation.

pvaudio 02-15-2013 10:18 AM

I'll put it like this. Once you learn how to pronate properly (which requires a neutral grip like the continental), you should be able to simply snap the ball faster into the box than you could with your eastern grip serve, legs and all. It's that explosive and efficient of a movement.

kopfan 02-15-2013 01:32 PM

Conti serve grip allow you to hit the ball flat or side spin or topspin. This grip will allow natural pronation of wrist at, during and after contact. An eastern backhand serve allow better topspin serve but not effective for flat or side spin serve. An eastern forehand allow better flat and side spin serve but ineffective for topspin serve.

LeeD 02-15-2013 03:49 PM

I'm learning to serve right handed, and an eastern forehand gives instant gratification and allows me to play at the 3.5 level.
If I switched to conti, it would take a couple months of practice and play before I can serve to the side I need to, and to hit a decent fast first serve with a consistent second serve.
Meanwhile, I'd be stuck only practicing, not playing.
Instant gratification is worth something, since I play left handed, and don't practice at all. I"m certainly NOT going to go out and practice my rightie serves with conti grip.

WildVolley 02-15-2013 04:01 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by LeeD (Post 7216989)
I'm learning to serve right handed, and an eastern forehand gives instant gratification and allows me to play at the 3.5 level.
If I switched to conti, it would take a couple months of practice and play before I can serve to the side I need to, and to hit a decent fast first serve with a consistent second serve.
Meanwhile, I'd be stuck only practicing, not playing.
Instant gratification is worth something, since I play left handed, and don't practice at all. I"m certainly NOT going to go out and practice my rightie serves with conti grip.

So you're admitting that it is inferior in quality in the long-run, but superior for just hitting a ball in without much technique? I can understand that position, but it really isn't answering the original posters question. I believe he wants to be able to understand why the continental is better for a high-level serve.

As a partial answer to the original question, my guess is that the continental grip makes it easier to internally rotate the shoulder into the ball and add pace and spin while still putting the racket face in an effective position for hitting a serve. An experiment is to try to hold the racket in a semi-western grip and then throw hard into the serve. It is very hard to do. With a semi-western the tendency is to want to push at the ball and the timing gets thrown off. Grips toward continental and eastern bh allow the server to pull the racket into the ball and create a lot of whip without much effort while still allowing topspin.

All the top ten players are hitting their serves with some variant of the continental. Becker is often cited as the one great server who hit with almost an eastern fh, but I think even in his case it was rotated toward the continental.

LeeD 02-15-2013 04:33 PM

Yes, shortterm low ambition, a eastern forehand serve is easier.
I will play rightie maybe 3 times a year, total.
Lefty the others, and only maybe twice a week.
I don't have time to practice my rightie tennis.
So, 3 days a year, it's eastern forehand for serves.

WildVolley 02-15-2013 05:35 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by LeeD (Post 7217078)
Yes, shortterm low ambition, a eastern forehand serve is easier.
I will play rightie maybe 3 times a year, total.
Lefty the others, and only maybe twice a week.
I don't have time to practice my rightie tennis.
So, 3 days a year, it's eastern forehand for serves.

I was shadow swinging some serves with my left hand today, and it didn't seem too unnatural even with a continental grip (I'm a rightie). However, I can imagine that trying to time the ball and get it into the box would be difficult, as I don't throw well with my left hand.

Lee, do you agree that the primary benefit of the continental is that it makes it easier to generate racket head speed with a throwing motion, especially when you want to also tag some topspin onto that motion?

In my experience, the semi-western and eastern grip servers tend to smack it further out in front and usually with underspin rather than topspin.

Mahboob Khan 02-15-2013 08:10 PM

The "Forehand Grip Serves" look ugly to me.

Why reinvent the wheel when almost all the ATP and WTA players serve with continental grip?

The beginners may start off with FH grip but they must switch to continental as their abilities improve.

NLBwell 02-15-2013 08:48 PM

OP, how good do you want to be?

Continental is better because you can hit every type of serve better than with an Eastern Forehand grip, because the wrist is much more free to move. Thus allowing more spin, power, and accuracy.
It is harder to learn and you can get to a pretty decent level with an Eastern Grip serve.
Are you willing to go practice a ton of serves with a Continental grip and perhaps go to a pro to help you learn?

Relinquis 02-16-2013 12:59 AM

continental is better to learn as a beginner imo. it allows you to throw at the ball and create a good balance of topspin and pace for a consistent serve into the middle of the box with net clearance, i.e. you remove double faults from your game.

i used to lose so many service games due to double faults when i was a novice as i was focused on having a flat serve (i refused to do dink serves). when i switched to a more topspin serve (easy to do with continental grip) i could suddenly play tennis and not lose 2 points a service game due to double faults. as my confidence grew due to the consistency of my serves i gradually added forearm pronation, hitting more through the ball and knee bend to give me more pace.

charliefedererer 02-16-2013 11:26 AM

Beginners stand squarely facing the court they are trying to serve into:

They need an eastern grip so their racquet face will face into the court they are trying to serve into.



Advanced servers serve with the side of their body facing the court they want to serve into.


They want to launch the side of their body into the court, using their whole body like a giant muscle to power the serve.

In order to do this, they have to use a continental grip so the racquet faces into the court as they launch the side of their body into the court on the serve.




LeeD 02-16-2013 04:48 PM

To WildVolley....
Yes, underspin when I overswing my rightie serves using eForehand grips.
But very controlled when the swing is moderate, and I get sidespin on the second serve just fine, but not topspin.
However, if you play tennis THREE times a year TOTAL, why would you want to learn a conti grip right handed service grip?
Oh, I can throw a football right handed about 35 yards without any warmup or practice. It's a wobbly mess, compared to my lefty throws.
And trying to hit a ball is a whole lot harder than shadow swinging. However, a righties serve for me is a lefty toss, so it's super consistent first try and foreever.

Relinquis 02-20-2013 03:32 AM

3 times a year?! what are you on about?

LeeD 02-20-2013 01:30 PM

Oh, you didn't know?
I'm a lefty.
I play rightie in case my left arm get's injured, so yes, 3 days a year.
In the past 25 years, I've broken my left collar bone twice, separated it a couple of times, and destroyed two fingers in my left side, so that is why I play right handed sometimes.
My rightie forehand is my best overall shot, undermined by my dislocate prone shoulder and elbows that don't straighten, so serves suck.

Relinquis 02-20-2013 02:31 PM

oh ok. understood.

Rjtennis 02-23-2013 11:10 PM

I could see using an eastern BH grip on the serve but the Eastern FH grip probably isn't the best for you in the long run.

TomT 02-24-2013 05:21 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by mbm0912 (Post 7215695)
Okay...Everything I have ever read on here and other places stress "always use a conti grip to serve". I still have a hard time with this, as it feels so much more natural to migrate to more of an eastern fh. Still, I make myself try and serve with conti because that's "correct". I played a guy last night who had a serve much better than mine and he used a strong eastern forehand grip. Why is it so important to use a continental when serving? Thanks

I never heard about this "always use a conti grip to serve" until reading it at TalkTennis. But I trust what the posters are saying about why the continental grip is better for serving. At my age I'm not gonna switch though. Whatever grip I use (probably some variation on an eastern, but definitely not a continental) works ok at my level and probably will continue to work ok for the best level that I might ever achieve with lots of practice.

On the other hand, if you have the time and motivation to get lots better, then definitely gotta go with the continental.

Some vids for your amusement (I'm the guy serving ... eastern, or whatever, not conti, grip):
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v2SlPsVFVQE
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gf0JSteV_Ks


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