Many players today use a semi-western or western grip for
their forehand. This is a great grip to generate topspin
and handle high balls. You will see many of the tour
professionals use this grip to perfection. It is great
to watch a player rip baseline groundies with heavy topspin
and drive an opponent crazy. However, this isn't always a
wise choice for a service grip. We jokingly refer to it as
the skillet grip on the serve!
In my opinion, the most important shot in tennis is the
serve. You may have a powerful forehand but you will only
have the opportunity to hit it on receiving games if you
can't make your serve. What good is a weapon if you
don't get to hit it! Many players at the beginning level
use the semi-western or western grip. Although this might
be comfortable and give you plenty of power, it will make
it easier for your opponent to see the type of serve you
are going to hit and it also usually limits you to only a
flat serve. Learning to hit a continental grip on the
serve will still allow you to hit a flat serve but also will
allow the wrist to move properly to hit different spins.
Since you will have a bigger arsenal of serves with a
continental grip, it will be tougher for your opponent to
decide which you will be hitting.
It can sometimes be difficult for a player to make a change
in their game especially when it concerns something major
such as a grip change. It will take some time to use the
continental grip but you will be happier in the long run I
think. Each grip in the game has its advantages and
disadvantages. Changing grips for different shots allows
you to benefit from these advantages. Being able to place
a spin and flat serve with a continental grip is a huge
advantage and an integral part of the game. In addition,
you'll keep your friends from calling you skillet grip.
Give the continental grip a try on the serve and see if you
can learn to fry those serves!