Grip troubles and balancing spin/pace

Discussion in 'Tennis Tips/Instruction' started by samalo0, Oct 9, 2009.

  1. samalo0

    samalo0 New User

    Sep 14, 2008
    Lexington, KY
    Hi everyone,
    I am having trouble settling on grips for a forehand/one handed backhand. I have found that using a semi-western grip on both seems to produce a lot of spin, but with more difficulties in hitting flat and with pace. Switching to close to eastern on the one-hander and perhaps half way between eastern/semi-western on the forehand, I immediately notice the ease in hitting flatter and more penetrating shots. But then I feel like I can hit it all out and have it stay in.

    So I keep switching back and forth, and this is something that just can't be good to do and probably will limit my progress if I can't just find the thing that works right for me.

    To compound the problem, I have noticed that to return serve best, I must hold the racquet in continental and then go for eastern-backhand or nearly eastern forehand for a return. I don't feel that I have time for the extreme grip shifts plus the larger and loopier swing that I use while rallying. My return game has progressed a lot since using more classic grips. This may also be due to the contact region being lower and closer to my body, meaning you buy some time by not having to hit out in front as far.

    Extreme grips:
    - Produce more spin
    - Tire me out much quicker
    - Allow me to swing away and keep the ball in, seemingly with more pace
    - Cause the ball to jump and often cause an error from my opponent
    - Often times cause me to spin the ball into the net when I don't hit sufficiently through the ball (on defense)
    - Cause service return difficulties with faster serves
    - Backhand difficulties with shoelace balls

    More classic grips:
    - Produce more pace
    - Don't tire me out
    - Allow me to feel like I swing more slowly up to contact and still hit through the ball
    - Produce lower bounces
    - Are perhaps easier to return for opponents (in general)

    So I suppose the point of this thread is to try and figure out how I should determine what I should use so that I can just stick with it. The questions are:

    1. Should I stick to the more classic grips and try to learn to produce more spin by altering my racquet trajectory -or-

    2. Should I stick with more extreme grips and perhaps use classic grips on service return? What do you guys with extreme grips do for service return?

    I look forward to any opinions on how one should determine a grip to stick with. I have thought maybe I should hit 30 balls with each against someone and ask them which they found more difficult to return/heavy and also keep track of consistency. That may be the way to go...

  2. mrtrinh

    mrtrinh Professional

    Jul 28, 2009
    I am actually in the same situation you are in, coming back from tennis a few months ago I've lost my "forehand" and have been experimenting with different grips. I also look forward to hearing any advice/opinions in this thread
  3. TommyGNR

    TommyGNR New User

    Sep 5, 2008
    You are asking a loaded question. My first reaction would be to say use whatever feels most comfortable to you. However I get the feeling that you dont have a preference yet so how about you answer a couple of questions.
    What surface do you normally play on?
    Do you play mostly singles or doubles?
    Do you have a particular style that you like to play(baseliner/net rusher etc.)
    How long have you been playing tennis(tell the truth on this one)?
  4. samalo0

    samalo0 New User

    Sep 14, 2008
    Lexington, KY

    Hi Tommy,
    It is a difficult question, I agree, and it could be considered loaded. There is no real correct answer, but I am interested in your opinion on what I can do to decide for myself (hopefully correctly and in a way that will make me not want to tinker with grips all of the time).

    In answer to your questions:
    1. I play on hard courts indoor/outdoor. There are some clay courts locally but they are only open during the summer and I've only played on them once or twice.

    2. I greatly prefer singles but play a mixture of both doubles and singles. One of my favorite things about tennis is rallying and it is where I spend most of my time given the choice (that and serving). I do enjoy vollying, but I'm not the type of player that you see hanging out at the net too much unless I'm playing doubles.

    3. I would like to think I could one day be versatile and play an all-court style, but I think I tend towards baselining at the moment. I do not feel very comfortable with S/V, although I have good movement speed. I think this stems from lack of practice vollying against players who hit with high pace. Often at the levels I am coming from, the net gets you lobbed. I still have trouble running down lobs and hitting them in a way that doesn't lose me the point, as well as coming in on low short balls and doing anything decent with them.

    4. I have been playing a year and 4 months. I paid for teaching once a week for 6 months or so of my playing at the beginning to make sure I didn't start doing something really stupid and limit myself. I play 3.0 and 3.5 in the USTA and consider myself about a mid 3.0 level, where I win a good portion of matches.

    I don't kid myself (having started playing at 30 years old) that I will be a 5.5 some day; I just hope to make it to 4.0 perhaps in a few years.

    I do have a preference - I want to be able to hit with my slightly classic grips (I find it natural to have my knuckle on 3.5/4 and palm on 3 for forehand, knuckle on 1, nearing 8, and palm on 8 for backhand) to match what I can do when I go full semi-western. I feel like I can really hit through and flatter with these grips, they don't tire me out, they are easier to get to in a pinch, and I can return serve easier this way. Also makes holding in continental while I wait to return/poach a valid option.

    If I could just figure out the way to not only hit flat hard shots but to spin like I can with semi (if I wish), I would have the best of both worlds. I read an interesting article today, which makes me think that I just need to adjust my trajectory a little to get about 30° or so of rise (I get a lot more in SW) and close the racquet face more to be able to do this. For all the great, hard, spinny shots I seem to hit with SW, there are many that I spin into the net by hitting up too much and not through enough. It's really hard to hit through on the run or defensively...

  5. mike53

    mike53 Professional

    Jul 11, 2008
    The shorter you are, the more you would favor the extreme grips. Taller players can take their choice.
  6. samalo0

    samalo0 New User

    Sep 14, 2008
    Lexington, KY

    Ah, I'm 6", 140lbs. I do find it more difficult to get down to low balls then I do to high balls (aside from on the backhand side - I usually slice those).

    I think that is a good point - the only extreme one-handers I know of are Guga and Henin; Henin is short, but Guga isn't; and they both grew up playing on clay. It seems like most hard court/grass players use more classic grips (Fed/Gasquet)...

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