Can someone clarify "Continental" grip?

Discussion in 'Tennis Tips/Instruction' started by TimeToPlaySets, Sep 5, 2016.

  1. TimeToPlaySets

    TimeToPlaySets Hall of Fame

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    I want to use this grip for my 2-handed backhand.

    On forehand, I use "semi-western" First knuckle is on bevel #4. Face is slightly closed.

    But, for backhand, I want neutral face. This is when knuckle is on bevel #3. What is this called?
    Diagram says "continental" is when knuckle is on #2, not #3. At #2, face is open, not neutral.

    Is "Continental" when natural relaxed grip (subjective) has open face, or neutral face?

    Grip is easily the most confusing and complex aspect of this game.


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  2. Lance L

    Lance L Semi-Pro

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    I'm assuming you are right handed.
    The continental grip is when your index knuckle is on #2. Full stop.
    OK, when you start talking about 2hbh, we of course are using two grips.
    It is common to use your right hand in continental(index knuckle on #2), and your left hand with the index knuckle on #7, which would be the same as an Eastern grip for a left handed fh. That is how I do it. It is also common to shift either or both hands around a bit, either for more topspin, or just more natural, etc.

    Don't get wrapped up in whether a certain grip gives you a open or closed racquet, or whatever. The grips are simple a definition. Use the grips you need to get the result you want. They are not good or bad or anything. I prefer to not even use names. I say "my forehand grip is index knuckle on #3, and my 1hbh is index knuckle on #1".
     
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  3. Chas Tennis

    Chas Tennis Legend

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    The heel of the hand is indicated with a red dot in the OP.

    However, I find that when I look at videos and pictures of ATP players I more often see the handle of the racket ending around the little finger and not reaching the heel of the hand. Some grips reach the heel of the hand but I don't believe that the majority of ATP gips do. This makes a significant difference in the racket to forearm angle.
     
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  4. WildVolley

    WildVolley Legend

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    This is the key. Most right handers hitting a 2hbh are going to have the right hand with the index knuckle on bevel #2 (continental grip) and the left hand with the index knuckle on either #6 or #7 (left hand in semi-western or eastern).

    With that grip combination it is easy to either drive the ball flat or hit a topspin drive.
     
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  5. TimeToPlaySets

    TimeToPlaySets Hall of Fame

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    OK, I will try bevel #2, instead of #3 at my next lesson.

    I have been told the heel of my hand should be hanging off the end of the racket.
     
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  6. oble

    oble Hall of Fame

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    Bevel #3 is called the Eastern Forehand Grip. The diagram doesn't appear to make any distinction between forehand and backhand grip. The top 2 are forehand grips, the next 2 are backhand grips for 1-handers, and then continental is of course applicable to both forehand and backhand.
    The typical 2 handed backhand grip is what WildVolley said, and the racquet face should naturally be neutral at around the ideal contact zone. If the racquet face is too open with the continental grip on the bottom (dominant) hand, you are probably either cocking your wrist too much, or you're trying to make contact too far out in front of you.
     
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  7. Limpinhitter

    Limpinhitter G.O.A.T.

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    The method of lining up the first knuckle of the index finger and heel of the hand to certain bevels of the racquet handle is a recent development intended to try to standardize the definitions of the grips. This method is flawed because it changes drastically depending on how spread out your grip is, and is not consistent with the traditional understanding of the grips. For example, if you use a hammer grip, like Connors or Courier, it is virtually impossible to place the knuckle and heel of the hand on the same bevel.

    In years past, no one looked at the bevels to determine grips. The grips of past champions like Tilden, Vines, Budge, Kramer, Gonzalez, Ashe, Smith and many more, who were said to be Eastern forehand and Eastern backhand grips, but, are not definable by this bevel method. Their forehand grips were closer to the modern definition of Continental. The grips of the great Aussies, Hoad, Rosewall, Emerson and Laver, and Englishman, Perry, were said to be Continental, but, were closer to the modern definition of Eastern backhand grips. The grips of Bill Johnston and Frank Froehling were said to be Western forehand grips, but, are closer to the modern definition of Eastern forehand grips. As recently as Agassi, commentators referred to his grip as Western. Borg described his own grip as Western when it was barely Eastern by the modern definition.

    My point is that it is not necessary to obsess about the bevels and the knuckles, etc. If you are trying to achieve a neutral racquet face, then turn the racquet to the position needed to achieve that, and become familiar with what that grip feels like.
     
    Last edited: Sep 9, 2016
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  8. Chas Tennis

    Chas Tennis Legend

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    General effect of different racket handle bevels and various hand reference points touching those bevels -

    There are two reference points on the hand and there are two reference points on the racket handle. Common hand reference points are 1) index knuckle, 2) heel of hand, 3) little finger when wrapped around the handle, 4) other reference points on the hand are possible. Common racket handle reference points are bevel #, or fractional bevel for between bevels, and position along handle, 'butt', 'high up handle',etc..

    A grip holds the racket to the palm of the hand. The wrist joint is nearby, separate from the hand. Assume the wrist is neutral and does not change for this demo and discussion. The wrist changes for the strokes and their impacts.

    Demo -

    1) How Strings Face. Take a racket in your hand. Place the index knuckle on Bevel #2 and the heel of the hand also on Bevel #2. With a neutral relaxed wrist, look at the forearm-to-racket angle. Place your forearm on the arm of a chair or so that it does not move. (and wrist neutral). Now change bevel to #3 using the index knuckle and the heel of the hand. To Bevel #4. To #5. etc. What changes? That is what changing the bevel does. It changes the angle of the face of the racket but it does not change the forearm-to-racket angle. How do we change that with the grip?

    2) Forearm-to-Racket Angle. Now place the index knuckle on bevel #2 and grip the handle so that it only reaches the little finger when comfortably gripped and palm touching bevel #2. What has changed now that the heel of the hand is not reached? The forearm-to-racket angle has changed because of the new hand reference point.

    Another way to change the forearm-to-racket angle is to use different bevels, for example, index knuckle on Bevel #2 and heel of hand on Bevel #1. You could also just move a fraction of a bevel, for example, use Bevel #2 and Bevel #1.5. The forearm-to-racket angle has changed because of the exact hand placement on bevels.

    On the high level kick serve, impact occurs at a different forearm-to-racket angle, clear in high speed videos. It seems that the forearm-to-racket angle should be optimized for the kick serve and the angle of the racket strings should also be optimized. Often servers change grips for the kick serve but I have not found a description of why or details.

    For other serving techniques, such as the Waiter's Tray, who knows how spin is applied or what grip is being used?

    One issue is that the sizes of hands and racket handles are different.

    I believe, but don't know, that the cook book 'bevel' grip descriptions, Continental, Eastern Forehand, etc, currently have problems and are not well described. The recommended grips probably only apply to the high level serving technique but the majority of players don't do the high level serve............The Tennis Serve Nuthouse.......

    Adjusting the grip for the stroke is probably done by trial and error. The cook book descriptions are probably a good place to start if you are using a high level stroke technique.

     
    Last edited: Sep 9, 2016
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  9. WildVolley

    WildVolley Legend

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    It may be slightly flawed, but it is a huge improvement in precision as compared to the 1970s and 80s when a wide variety of different grips were described by the same name.

    I'm not sure who is responsible for the modern standards, but they are much more precise and meaningful. I believe the majority of knowledgeable poasters on this board would agree with the description of right handed grips in terms of index knuckle position as:

    Bevel 1: Eastern bh
    Bevel 2: continental
    Bevel 3: eastern fh
    Bevel 4: semi-western
    Bevel 5: full western
    Bevel 6: Hawaiian
    Bevel 8: semi-western bh
     
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  10. Chas Tennis

    Chas Tennis Legend

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    Quick Stats

    The issue of where the racket handle ends - ? - near the little finger or on the fat pad is especially being ignored in internet instructional material that tends to be a lot of cut and paste copying. Try the two grips, they feel different and look different.

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    To do stop-action single-frame on Vimeo, click Vimeo and go to full frame. Hold down the SHIFT KEY and use the ARROW KEYS.

    To see what is likely true is very easy using a small number of pictures or videos.

    Search in a way to show you pictures or Youtubes.
    Google: atp tennis grips pictures

    Cherry picking, as I did above, teaches us nothing - we want stats - so take all pictures that show you where the butt of the racket is, nearer the little finger or nearer the fat pad of the hand. Look at 8 or 10 and you will get an idea of what the likely stats are. Keep searching to improve how representative your stats are of what is really out there.

    Now do the same thing for grip internet instructional pictures illustrating the tennis grips as in the OP.
    Google: tennis grip continental pictures

    How may of those instructional pictures show handle butt nearer the little finger and how many nearer the fat pad? = stats

    Get yourself one firm answer to this one simple, but significant, point.
     
    Last edited: Sep 12, 2016
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