Throughout the journey of learning paddle sports like tennis and pickleball, everyone encounters certain obstacles that can prove challenging to traverse.
Some obstacles just take a few hours, days, or weeks to hone a certain skill or concept, which allows it to be passed.
Other obstacles are more formidable.
One such obstacle, which is as common as it is frustrating, is perfecting the continental grip.
Billy, Joe, and Kalindi discuss how common this problem is and offer a surprising solution that can reduce that massive mountain into just a molehill. Check out the video, read the transcript, and watch the rest of the webinar!
The following is a transcript of part 1 of this Free Game Changers webinar.
As usual, when we kick off, we love to have Joe Dinnofer, not just a world-renowned couch, but also a great product developer.
For those that don’t know, I help OnCourt OffCourt with marketing and moving some of the products and things. But to hear Joe tell the backstories about where these products came from, how they’ve been used, and all those things, it’s amazing because they really are innovative, effective. Very tangible and practical tools to use to help you become a game changer.
So, Joe, what do we got today? What are you going to be demoing today?
Alright. Tennis and pickleball. Important stuff. Shall we start with the start rite grip trainer?
That’s actually one of my favorites. I even like that product so much that I just happen to have it at my house.
Okay, so, pickleball paddle, tennis racket. Grips.
Everyone that plays tennis knows grips are a big challenge.
In pickleball, it’s less of a challenge.
But there are so many tennis players, and I don’t know the exact percentage, but many have moved onto pickleball, whether it’s through the added length of the points or the more social atmosphere.
Because you’re closer to the people since the court is so much smaller. But the grips are also as important as tennis in many ways.
You may not have the variables of as much ball rotation. It’s about, a third of the revolutions per minute that you can put on a pickleball versus a tennis ball.
However, because you have less time in a pickleball point, it takes a pickleball a second to go from baseline to baseline, and in tennis, it takes about two seconds.
So, in pickleball, you may not have as much grip change, but you have much less time in which to do it.
In both sports, you have to make quick decisions. Which makes switching grips effectively equally important in both tennis and pickleball
So, the question is, how do you get a grip on… grips. Over the years, there have been many methods for trying to teach grips, but they are pretty antiquated.
In the past, anyone that coached tennis or played, sometimes they’d use a pencil under your index finger to teach the right grip.
Or they’d paste numbers on each of the 8 panels on the grip and use that as a guide.
As you can see, they’d do anything to try and teach the right grip. Because it’s so important, but the tools and aids were well behind.
The most common grip that you can play tennis and pickleball with would be the continental grip or hammer grip.
But for topspin forehand, for example, in tennis, you need a major shift in grip.
So, let’s see how the start rite grip trainer works.
It’s a simple device.
There’s a colleague of mine, Rod Schroeder, who holds the patent on this and originated it. And he asked us to be his exclusive marketing partner.
And, what you do is put the tab between your index finger and pointer finger. Once you put on the bevel, when you grip it, you’ll naturally take a continental grip on it.
It’s the only grip that really helps you volley without changing grips when you’re close to the net.
And, in serving, the grip helps you hit with spin. But it’s also a good choice for drop shots, defensive lobs, and blocking hard serves.
The continental grip is by far the most versatile.
So, we’ll concentrate on that for a minute. People have trouble with the continental grip, and I want to explain why.
In tennis, the serve is by far the most frequently hit shot in the game.
It’s at least 40% off all the swings at the ball because you have the first and second serves – the return of serves is in the low 30s, as a percentage.
So, since the points only last an average of three shots, you can see how serves are the most frequently hit ball.
This is one challenge a lot of people face.
I have a story I want to tell you about it.
Emilio Sanchez was a top 10 player on the Men’s tour. His camp, Emilo Sanchez Academy, has multiple locations, including Naples, Florida, and Barcelona, Spain. He’s incredible.
So, the story goes, his daughter at the time was a super-talented player, playing nationals.
So, his daughter is a super-talented player and she was playing nationals at the time. But she had a minor flaw on her serve in that she couldn’t get enough ball rotation, but she was holding the continental grip.
What was happening is that the heel of her hand was sliding. Her finger would stay in place, but because the rest of her hand slide down a little amount, it made the shot she wanted difficult.
What we did was, we put two of the start rite grip trainers on the same racket, and that locked her in, and she was able to practice like that until keeping her hand from sliding became second nature.
With them, she was able to hit with spin like never before.
That was for tennis, but for pickleball, it’s the same principle. Because when you’re at the net in pickleball, it’s just terribly difficult changing grips because you just don’t have the time, so a versatile grip, like the continental, is vital.
Kalindi, I don’t know if you have anything you’d like to add to this.
Yeah, I was just going to say how much I love this training and hearing all the feedback from players and coaches; whether it’s for tennis or pickleball, everyone loves it.
We actually started promoting it for pickleball based on people buying it and then telling us they were using it for pickleball and really liked it.
So we ended up doing some work with it, pictures and videos, for pickleball.
And as someone that plays tennis and pickleball, with a tennis background, who was lucky enough to be taught by someone in this webinar (not Billy) to have a continental grip from the start. And I’m grateful for that because I feel so comfortable with chip shots, volleys, drop shots, and lobs.
But switching to pickleball was a bit of an experience with what to do with the drive shots, especially on the forehand, because I have a semi-western grip which is great for tennis but not a good grip for pickleball.
So I had to experiment with other grips, like the eastern forehand grip, and that’s where the start rite grip trainer really shines.
It can really hard to get a feel for these grips, or if you’re coaching someone, just saying, ‘Yeah, do this grip,’ but just saying that doesn’t make it stick.
There’s something most coaches have experienced, and I know has mentioned this, is that you’ll get a student that starts with the continental grip when they’re serving, but by the time they finish the motion, they’re in a completely different grip.
And just telling them doesn’t do anything because they’re not trying to switch grips. It’s just happening. But the start rite grip trainer bridges that gap between mind and body, helping you get a feel for it that accelerates learning.
And they’re really little and light and very easy to throw on any racket. They also work for other racket and paddle sports. Grips are important in lots of sports. Padel, and platform tennis, to name a few.
It would probably be good for ping pong, too; I’ll have to try that out. I play ping pong also, so stay tuned.
Golf and baseball, too.
The point where your hand and grip come together is such a vital connection in tennis, pickleball, and a slew of other sports.
When that connection is solid, you can play, practice, and compete with more confidence, consistency, and skill.
Check out this page to see how the Start Rite Grip Trainer helps teach grips in ways audio and visual coaching can’t replicate.
If you enjoyed this part of our newest Game Changers video, check out the full video for free by clicking here!
Kalindi Dinoffer is trained in multiple aspects of mindfulness in life and in sports, sharing on her blog MindfulKalindi.com. She is also certified to teach yoga, fitness, reiki, and MFR. Kalindi also serves as VP marketing at OnCourtOffCourt.com, a leading supplier of tennis, pickleball, fitness and yoga training aids and equipment and has been published in Tennis industry Magazine and Pickleball Magazine, and has conducted workshops at conferences around the world. In her spare time, Kalindi plays tennis, pickleball and table tennis and enjoys outdoor activities such as hiking and biking and cross country skiing in the winter.