Thread: Service Grips
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Old 02-15-2013, 08:14 AM   #4
fuzz nation
Join Date: Oct 2006
Posts: 8,559

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.
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