Originally Posted by LeeD
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.