Becker Serve Grip

jackcrawford

Professional
Tennisplayer.net's new issue has settled the issue. There is not only a clear picture, but a discussion with Peter Breskvar, the son of the coach who taught Becker the serve. It is halfway between an Eastern forehand and Continental, it apparently is useful to players with a strong wrist. Peter has taught this same grip to his 18 year old son Gregor who uses it on the Challenger tour. It is interesting how many "expert coaches" posted here through the years that this was just a myth due to some fuzzy photos shot from a poor angle.
 

Knife

Semi-Pro
Tennisplayer.net's new issue has settled the issue. There is not only a clear picture, but a discussion with Peter Breskvar, the son of the coach who taught Becker the serve. It is halfway between an Eastern forehand and Continental, it apparently is useful to players with a strong wrist. Peter has taught this same grip to his 18 year old son Gregor who uses it on the Challenger tour. It is interesting how many "expert coaches" posted here through the years that this was just a myth due to some fuzzy photos shot from a poor angle.
Yes, I remember Beckers serving-grip always looked very close to eastern forehand.
 

SystemicAnomaly

Talk Tennis Guru
I have been saying for quite a few years now that Boris B, like Serena W, usually employs a semi-continental grip for first serves and NOT an Eastern FH grip. For 2nd serves, I believe that they both use something closer to a standard continental grip.
 

mightyrick

Legend
I think I've heard Becker and other professionals in his era refer to this grip as a "neutral" grip. During one interview, I think he said the guys who employed a strong S&V game benefited from this grip because when coming into the net after a serve, because you don't have time to change your grip and the first volley could be kept low on either the forehand or backhand side.

I've tried to serve with this grip before, but I just can't seem to get over the top of the ball enough to bring it down. I think Rafter may have served with this grip, also.

Seems like the guys who serve with a neutral grip had incredible back arch and opening of the chest to the sky.
 

TobyTopspin

Professional
I've used this grip from time to time on my serve and can get the most raw pace on my serves with it, but also the least consistency.

I'm sure if I made a concerted effort that I could get it more consistent, but my serious playing days are long over and I have never put the time in with it.
 

SystemicAnomaly

Talk Tennis Guru
I think I've heard Becker and other professionals in his era refer to this grip as a "neutral" grip. During one interview, I think he said the guys who employed a strong S&V game benefited from this grip because when coming into the net after a serve, because you don't have time to change your grip and the first volley could be kept low on either the forehand or backhand side.

I've tried to serve with this grip before, but I just can't seem to get over the top of the ball enough to bring it down. I think Rafter may have served with this grip, also.

Seems like the guys who serve with a neutral grip had incredible back arch and opening of the chest to the sky.
This "neutral" grip appears to be the same one Pat Rafter used for most, if not all, of his volleys. It would make sense that he used it for serves as well -- at least for first serves, anyway.

I would hope that the back arch employed on serves is the upper back, not the lower back. This would be accomplished by driving the chest upward during the racket head drop.
 
Tennisplayer.net's new issue has settled the issue. There is not only a clear picture, but a discussion with Peter Breskvar, the son of the coach who taught Becker the serve. It is halfway between an Eastern forehand and Continental, it apparently is useful to players with a strong wrist. ...........................................
From the OP

"It is halfway between an Eastern forehand and Continental,..."

What is meant by that?

X 1) One Knuckle Descriptions. Some internet instructions for grips describes grips by placing the index knuckle on a certain bevel. This is not adequate because the rest of the hand can be in any position around that single pivot point.

X 2) Two Hand Reference Points on Same Bevel Location. Most internet instructions describes grips by placing the index knuckle and the heel of the hand on a given bevel. I guess that could also mean both placed between two bevels. The Fuzzy Yellow Balls Youtube descriptions that are so clearly explained come to mind. See around 2:00 sec.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Hr2f8dmiwpU

? 3) Hand Reference Points on Bevel Locations as Described. This thread discusses the 'strong' and 'weak' continental grips. The index knuckle is placed on a bevel or between bevels and the heel of the hand reference can be placed on than same bevel, between bevels or on the next bevel. This is a more flexible description of the grip.
http://tt.tennis-warehouse.com/showthread.php?t=483360&highlight=weak+continental

Is this correct and known to many higher level tennis players & coaches? Just done naturally by trial and error? For the rest of us, are there any internet instructions on it? For higher level serving are mixed bevel grips more common than hand reference points placed on the same bevel?
 
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NLBwell

Legend
I'd always heard it being described as an Eastern Forehand. If it is halfway in-between, with the V of the hand on the middle of the top bevel, then it would be an Australian grip.
 

Tonyr1967

Rookie
I've seen an interview with Becker where he says he uses an Eastern grip to serve - taught to him by his sister.

Seem to remember the interview was around this or last years Wimbledon when he did a series of clinics.
 

SystemicAnomaly

Talk Tennis Guru
^ This is not proof that Becker actually used what we now call an Eastern FH grip. When Boris Becker was a junior player in the 1970s and early '80s, the grip names were not the standard names that we use today. Also, pro players do not always know what the proper grip names are for grips that they, themselves, use. Commentators during the Becker years would also perpetuate the myth that Boris used a (true) Eastern FH grip for his serves.
 

jackcrawford

Professional
From the OP

"It is halfway between an Eastern forehand and Continental,..."

What is meant by that?

X 1) One Knuckle Descriptions. Some internet instructions for grips describes grips by placing the index knuckle on a certain bevel. This is not adequate because the rest of the hand can be in any position around that single pivot point.

X 2) Two Hand Reference Points on Same Bevel Location. Most internet instructions describes grips by placing the index knuckle and the heel of the hand on a given bevel. I guess that could also mean both placed between two bevels. The Fuzzy Yellow Balls Youtube descriptions that are so clearly explained come to mind. See around 2:00 sec.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Hr2f8dmiwpU

? 3) Hand Reference Points on Bevel Locations as Described. This thread discusses the 'strong' and 'weak' continental grips. The index knuckle is placed on a bevel or between bevels and the heel of the hand reference can be placed on than same bevel, between bevels or on the next bevel. This is a more flexible description of the grip.
http://tt.tennis-warehouse.com/showthread.php?t=483360&highlight=weak+continental

Is this correct and known to many higher level tennis players & coaches? Just done naturally by trial and error? For the rest of us, are there any internet instructions on it? For higher level serving are mixed bevel grips more common than hand reference points placed on the same bevel?
I'll use an old-school description - the "v" formed by the thumb and forefinger will be on the right bevel of the grip for an eastern forehand, and and on the left bevel of the grip for a continental; Becker's "v" is in the center of the grip.
 

jackcrawford

Professional
I have been saying for quite a few years now that Boris B, like Serena W, usually employs a semi-continental grip for first serves and NOT an Eastern FH grip. For 2nd serves, I believe that they both use something closer to a standard continental grip.
I was not referring to you, you are an expert without the satirical quote marks.
 
I'll use an old-school description - the "v" formed by the thumb and forefinger will be on the right bevel of the grip for an eastern forehand, and and on the left bevel of the grip for a continental; Becker's "v" is in the center of the grip.
You can put a single hand reference point like the "V" on any bevel and rotate the hand to any angle. The same with the knuckle of the index finger. You definitely need at least two reference points on the hand.

Until recently, I had the mind set that the two reference points should be on a location of the same bevel.
 
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Becker used an Aussie grip. It's in between a Continental and Eastern Forehand. His kick serves were inconsistent when he was nervous because of this grip. Jerzy's serve has similar qualities to Beckers IMO. If they miss it's usually a good bit long
 

LeeD

Bionic Poster
Aussie as in used by Newcombe, Laver, Rosewall, Roche, for their forehand groundstrokes...and their volleys, which all were hit with a slight twist towards our Eforehand from continental. Notice their longer backswing on on all backhand volleys. Short direct punch on forehand volleys.
As used by Sampras and lots of other's, to strengthen the forehand half volley and allow more slice on the backhand volleys, to make an Assyemetri cal volley stroke.
 

andreh

Professional
I have been saying for quite a few years now that Boris B, like Serena W, usually employs a semi-continental grip for first serves and NOT an Eastern FH grip. For 2nd serves, I believe that they both use something closer to a standard continental grip.
Interstingly, I happen to have a book on technique that lists a few viable grips for serve. One looks suspicously like Beckers, i.e., a grip between E. forehand and Conti. They refer to it as a "semi-continental" grip. Oh and, the book was pubslished by the German tennis association in the mid 90s. :) Coincidence?
 

SystemicAnomaly

Talk Tennis Guru
^ Very interesting. Thanks for the feedback. During the 90s and subsequent years, many commentators had insisted that Becker used an (Eastern) forehand grip for his serve. I had believed it until we started to see a lot of images of Boris' service grip on the interweb. Those images revealed that his "forehand" service grip on 1st serves had a distinct continental-ish flavor to it. Other images revealed that he used a more conventional grip on some serves. It turned out that this latter grip is what he often used for 2nd serves.
 

Bobby Jr

G.O.A.T.
....the guys who employed a strong S&V game benefited from this grip because when coming into the net after a serve, because you don't have time to change your grip and the first volley..
It can't be for that reason. The shortest time between hitting a serve and hitting a volley must be over 1 second... easily enough time for a competent player to change grips even without engaging the use of the other hand.

I think people over-think the back-end reasoning for lots of the nuances players have. Usually they're nothing more than hangovers from their formative years that they made work for them and weren't forced to change away from.
 

mightyrick

Legend
It can't be for that reason. The shortest time between hitting a serve and hitting a volley must be over 1 second... easily enough time for a competent player to change grips even without engaging the use of the other hand.

I think people over-think the back-end reasoning for lots of the nuances players have. Usually they're nothing more than hangovers from their formative years that they made work for them and weren't forced to change away from.
What you're saying may or may not be true. I'm only saying that's what I heard Becker say during his serve clinic video. The same video where he refers to this grip as a "neutral" grip.

Even though we say that the shortest time is over one second, we may take for granted how difficult it is to do a grip change while charging into the net. Especially if you are trying to focus on reading your opponent while charging.

I'm not saying Becker is correct. I've certainly heard the guy (and other pros) say other questionable things while describing their own strokes. But it is an interesting perspective.
 

andreh

Professional
It can't be for that reason. The shortest time between hitting a serve and hitting a volley must be over 1 second... easily enough time for a competent player to change grips even without engaging the use of the other hand.
Correct. Example, Edberg: Served with an Eastern Backhand, hit volleys with the continental. If you look carefully you can see how he changes the grip right after the serve, while taking his first steps towards the net, well before he hits the first volley. No pressure at all and he was the fastest in the history of the game to the net behind his serve.
 

jackcrawford

Professional
I think people over-think the back-end reasoning for lots of the nuances players have. Usually they're nothing more than hangovers from their formative years that they made work for them and weren't forced to change away from.
Not so in this case. Peter Breskvar says he taught his son this serving grip, and his father taught Boris this serving grip, because a player with a strong wrist can serve faster than if he used a continental grip.
 
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