switching grips...

LeeD

Bionic Poster
Hi everyone....
I've been out of the game for just over a week now, so have nothing to do but think about my "game".
I use a strong SW forehand grip.
For 20 odd years, I use a conti grip with a slight twist towards eFOREhand for a heavy underspin slice backhand. It's also close to my favored volleying grip.
I used to use a conti with slight eastern flavor 1hbh topspin grip, but.....
Lately, I can "find" the correct 1hbh topspin grip if I use a slightly stronger grip, almost a full eastern backhand, the grip similar to Stan, Roger, and Nicolas. NO, it don't hit like them.
Anyways, for most prep position, I use my strong SW grip.
The question, should I work on going just that tiny 1/4 grip change to topspin backhand grip? Or should I rotate the racket thru eastern forehand, thru continental forehand, and then stop at eastern Backhand, for returning serves with topspin?
I know the former should be much quicker.
What do Stan, Roger, Nico, and Richard do?
 

SpinToWin

Talk Tennis Guru
I'd do the former, and I have made grip switches several times myself and each time concentrated on the shortest path for switching grips, as you will need it, especially on the return of serve.

I'm not sure about the pros, I'd assume that they do the same, but I haven't ever really paid attention.
 

LeeD

Bionic Poster
Thanks, I"m torn....
Seems automatically, if the serve surprises me with added speed, I'll slice my backhand return, so switching through conti is not all that bad.
But ACCURATE grip changes are hard to achieve, about a true 90 degrees or 3 bevel change.
Using a direct switch to eBackhand from strong SW forehand, there is about a one bevel grip change, so quicker, more accurate, but bypasses a volley or my normal, ingrained defensive slice grip.
I do have a couple of buds who uses this one bevel change, but they are both around 190-215 lbs.
I"m not quite ready to fully adopt the idea of hitting purely topspin drives, since I"m 65, like to low short angle slice, and need to slow down the game against my younger opponent's.
 

SpinToWin

Talk Tennis Guru
Thanks, I"m torn....
Seems automatically, if the serve surprises me with added speed, I'll slice my backhand return, so switching through conti is not all that bad.
But ACCURATE grip changes are hard to achieve, about a true 90 degrees or 3 bevel change.
Using a direct switch to eBackhand from strong SW forehand, there is about a one bevel grip change, so quicker, more accurate, but bypasses a volley or my normal, ingrained defensive slice grip.
I do have a couple of buds who uses this one bevel change, but they are both around 190-215 lbs.
I"m not quite ready to fully adopt the idea of hitting purely topspin drives, since I"m 65, like to low short angle slice, and need to slow down the game against my younger opponent's.
Well then give it a conscious effort to try both methods in practice and see what you are most comfortable with. It may be quite challenging to do this effectively, but is well worth the try in your case I'd say.
 

PMChambers

Hall of Fame
Yes & No.

If you intend to play doubles more as you age then yes. I played senior's comp (35+) for two weeks due to school holidays and most of them where using continental or slight FH grip and slicing or flat balling with little top. The problem with this was when returning they could not get past me when I'm at net to the point a few had disrepair, I sit pretty central and leave the ally so if they can get 100-150mm to the side it's their's, but the slice is slow and sits above the net that I can reach most and even if it's not put away it's a set-up. The other issue was I lost my first service game by serving 3/4 pace as they used the bounce and speed, after that I served full 100% and even ramped up the 2nd serve wearing doubles 15% points. It's really hard to control kicking/slicing/paced ball with a slice. The works against the slice and cause the ball to fly, a bit of slice get's it flying wide. This topspin you can counter the kick and slice and aim more central in the court and at least make the volleyer hit a dipping ball or the server play another ball.

Singles, you can live with slice until you get slow in a reasonable grade. The only issue is you have to use touch and run a lot, but you won't win points out right so need an all round game and develop the point. The 60's are a great example, even Connors played a lot of aggressive slice or flat ball. There are a lot of good players who hate playing slicers who mix up depth and width. Slice BH with topspin FH can really stuff an oppositions rhythm.

I keep my top spin BH in the bag most the time but it's there when I need it. Having it and showing it even now and again adds to the uncertainty of your opposition. I'd recommend you learn the shot but not use it often until it's better than your slice, like S.Graff. I practice my top spin 80/90% time and use it 20% time.
 

LeeD

Bionic Poster
Good points.
I"m really only interested in doubles, as I'm an immobile 65.
The past 3 months, practicing topspin backhands 90%, but play with slice backhand maybe 90%.
I do get some queer looks when I successfully return with 1hbh topspin, so it must be working somewhat.
Unfortunately, the reason I suck at tennis is my inconsistency. Having more than one possible "weapon" can lead to inconsistencies. Of course, more weapons, more fun to be had when things are working. But that is seldom.
 

TennisCJC

Legend
I'm confused. Are you saying you want to wait in ready position with SW forehand grip and go to conti/EBH by hitting the ball with the same side of string bed for a topspin BH return?
 

Fxanimator1

Hall of Fame
For a first serve, if it's a good server I return with a more continental grip, turned a tiny bit. For a second serve I turn my grip over (all knuckles straight across the top bevel) and attack the serve, much like my typical rally topspin backhand as seen in the video I posted.
 
Last edited:

mightyrick

Legend
Lee, this is a huge reason why I changed to a two-handed backhand. The return of serve is so much easier to control and the grip change is barely noticeable.

I'm not sure how you feel about making such a drastic change to your game at this point, though.
 

Maximagq

Banned
Federer, Wawrinka, and Gasquet tend to chip returns and wait with a more neutral grip. Almagro will just rip anything aggressively.
 

LeeD

Bionic Poster
Thanks guys.
I used a 2hbh from years '76 thru '79, playing my best tennis then. Haven't tried it since then.
I use a continental grip to return fast serves, and when I'm scared and tentative.
But not only for ROS, during a baseline rally, I tend to hold a SW forehand after hitting the ball, even a topspin 1hbh.
Small grips seem more accurate to change.
Bigger grips (I use 4 5/8), seem more solid once the change is made.
Thanks Matt. You seem to make the huge grip change without problems, using both faces of your racket, so it's possible.
 

Maximagq

Banned
Yeah definitely, I use a SW forehand and a regular EBH and it works fine. Worst comes to worst, you get stuck in a continental and just chip it back.
 

LeeD

Bionic Poster
Thanks!
That conti grip can work fine for one or two shots, then I need a more solid grip, like the eBackhand.
 

mightyrick

Legend
Yeah definitely, I use a SW forehand and a regular EBH and it works fine. Worst comes to worst, you get stuck in a continental and just chip it back.
Matt... Lee is concerned about doubles. You can't afford to chip back a return in doubles or you (or your partner) are going to get the ball smashed back in your face.

Also, consider that Lee is a lefty. If he plays in the deuce court, 95% of the time, he would be hitting a chipshot to the forehand volley of the opposing right-handed net man. That is way too risky. If he plays ad-court, he will have to hit a low-margin ultra-perfect chipshot to avoid the opposing netman.

IMHO, the best thing for Lee to do is change to a 2HBH. If he can't do that, then he should await returns using a neutral grip (strong continental turned towards eastern forehand) so that he doesn't have to change his grip.
 

LeeD

Bionic Poster
Actually.....
I used to play regularly on the FairFax 5.0 doubles weekly games. I choose to play ad court, which means my slice return goes to the backhand side of the poacher, but the other player's there all put me on duece court, where my hard slice conti grip works just fine, IF the serve has some pace. As you know, a hard low CC slice has lots of bite, is difficult to volley for most players, and I usually preplan a slice lob DTL one in 6 if the slice is working, and one in 3 if it's floating.
I find having only a slice backhand just fine in all 4.0-4.5 doubles work, but having a 1hbh topspin adds variety and takes away some options from the opponent's. Of course, more weapons, more possibilities for making more mistakes.
But, more weapons, more fun. Even if they misfire quite often in point play.
 

Maximagq

Banned
Oh if that's the case, LeeD could start in continental and switch grips accordingly or start off in a backhand grip if that is the side that his opponents pick on. In doubles, he can always lob if he is in a defensive position
 

LeeD

Bionic Poster
When I start conti, I underspin all returns, my grip switch not accurate from there.
When I start eBackhand, for some reason, even 3.5 level servers serve to my forehand side.
My brain being small to start with, and really worn out, I need to start strong SW forehand, then switch as needed. KISS, something Matt mentioned in his threads.
 

BlueB

Legend
I play SW forehand and E backhand. I switch "long" way, so I can stop at Conti if I wish.
I wait for all serves with my SW grip, except the first serve to ad court, which I wait with Conti.
 

LeeD

Bionic Poster
Cool, thanks.
I really don't have a problem on ROS, but I do have a problem making accurate grip changes to eBackhand during baseline rallies.
Some might wonder why, as baseline rallys allow for more time.
But, I also hit baseline 1hbh topspin shots much harder than ROS, so the margin for error seems ....about the same.:(
 

PMChambers

Hall of Fame
Sorry did not read everthing.

Federer, Wawrinka, and Gasquet tend to chip returns and wait with a more neutral grip. Almagro will just rip anything aggressively.
Unfortunately if they serve fast that's about all you can do, either way you either keep a forhand grip and slice the backhand or keep the backhand grip and slice the forehand. 2nd serves are easy enough to change but I still prefer to slice a backhand is slow and go to net.

I used to play regularly on the FairFax 5.0 doubles weekly games. I choose to play ad court, which means my slice return goes to the backhand side of the poacher
I prefer to play lefties on the deuce court, and I'm right and prefer the add court. Then stand little wider, tram lines, for the breaker and most balls come down the middle to the forehand which is open and helps take out the net player. Also most players don't hit big Tee servers as well as breakers or kickers but if they hit the Tee such is life. The strange thing is most the lefties I've put on the deuce court have said it's their favorite side and they only play add-side because their partner prefers it. If they break out wide to the BH then slice high and deep cross court is about as good as you get, it's surprising how many volleyers will leave a smash to their partner when it's behind the service line and going cross court. Or move on the angle, take the ball early and slice short cross court, which is not easy. At least make them play the ball and preferably 1m behind the service line, but make them move back and side ways to get the point going.
 

PMChambers

Hall of Fame
Nearly forgot, I've never done this so take with a grain of salt but, most pro's make their grip to suit. Wilander has some you-tube vids showing how he modifies his grip. Basically they square it off so that the two locations, FH & BH are very prominent and not mistakable. Might help finding the location fast, but as I said I've seen people do it using thin balsa wood but never tried myself. the aim is to make it angular rather than round so the edge is the guide. My Wilson PS90 is ok but the Head GSP is quiet round and I lose the location sometimes.
 

Shroud

G.O.A.T.
Hi Leed.

One day I'll make it down during the week and you can try my square handle. Less bevels to keep track of.

My 2 cents is that if you are already close to western FH, then if you keep that grip and flip the racket to the backhand side you should have an extreme eastern or so.

I am betting with your skill you might be able to hit BHs like that. I for one just hit with the SW grip for both sides. If I can do it well I think most could.

Said another way, the best grip change is no grip change. :)
 

LeeD

Bionic Poster
I DO agree the least grip change, the better.
Kiteboard just flips his racket over.
My bud Craig, one of the top doubles player's I know, does that also.
I just can't get my restricted brain to adopt this, looks weird.
I did take 2 weeks off tennis from a bad back, and yesterday hit some topspin ROS's pretty solid and consistent, much better than my forehand can hit.
Today worked also.
Tomorrow, I'll miss every try.
Girlfriend committed to the local Century ride, so I'm free to play tennis on Sunday, from 9:30 to 2. Come by if you can, should be no league matches.
 

Shroud

G.O.A.T.
I DO agree the least grip change, the better.
Kiteboard just flips his racket over.
My bud Craig, one of the top doubles player's I know, does that also.
I just can't get my restricted brain to adopt this, looks weird.
I did take 2 weeks off tennis from a bad back, and yesterday hit some topspin ROS's pretty solid and consistent, much better than my forehand can hit.
Today worked also.
Tomorrow, I'll miss every try.
Girlfriend committed to the local Century ride, so I'm free to play tennis on Sunday, from 9:30 to 2. Come by if you can, should be no league matches.
You may see me there!
 

LeeD

Bionic Poster
Cool!
I hadn't hit since two Sunday's ago, as my bad back had me in stitches for 2 weeks.
Friday hit some with the really old farts, and my hitting is fine, my serve motion out of whack.
Today got to hit with one of the best doubles player's I know, and hit two little kids. I think my serve motion is coming back.
Should be at least 2 courts of drop in doubles, hopefully 3, so rotation is king and everyone get's to play with and against everyone.
See ya there.
 

Shroud

G.O.A.T.
Cool!
I hadn't hit since two Sunday's ago, as my bad back had me in stitches for 2 weeks.
Friday hit some with the really old farts, and my hitting is fine, my serve motion out of whack.
Today got to hit with one of the best doubles player's I know, and hit two little kids. I think my serve motion is coming back.
Should be at least 2 courts of drop in doubles, hopefully 3, so rotation is king and everyone get's to play with and against everyone.
See ya there.
please don't hit children leed
 

LeeD

Bionic Poster
Yeah, my typing is atrocious.
The two little kids were Craig's kids, both all state baseball players in some kids league after Little.
One, is 6'2" tall and has a REAL serve, but hardly ever get's in IN.
The younger, at below 5', is really talented, but takes tennis like a joke and doesn't really try.
Both have the potential to make it in tennis, but parental support is very casual, so they might just flounder at the all state baseball level, and not get any better.
 

BevelDevil

Hall of Fame
How about customizing your racket grip to you can find your bh grip easier?
I sympathize with you because I'd like to use a slightly milder grip, but stick with full eastern because it is easier to find.
 

Shroud

G.O.A.T.
Hi Lee,

Sorry I didnt make it. I have a business trip flying out tommorrow. Thought I had plenty of time, but the boss changed to business casual for our group instead of casual that everyone else will be doing.

Which doesnt seem like a big deal but I have to repack and now do laundry.
 

NLBwell

Legend
Oh if that's the case, LeeD could start in continental and switch grips accordingly or start off in a backhand grip if that is the side that his opponents pick on. In doubles, he can always lob if he is in a defensive position
I'd wait with the conti and then rotate to whichever side, second choice would be to wait with the backhand grip on the theory of making the weaker shot as easy as possible, and then rotate through conti. I don't think you want to give up the ease of blocking back hard serves and being ready to go to the net and volley.
 

LeeD

Bionic Poster
One of my many problems is that when I start with conti, I end up with conti, choosing a blocking underspin stroke, like a volley, which is not only my go to stroke, but also my vollley and favorite.
I'm trying to but out of that mode, because I haven't played against a big serve in almost 7 months now. I need to drive the ball more, but those spinning curving serves into my forehand hip are killing me, even when hit slow. Gotta inform my feet that they gotta move.
 
Top