PDA

View Full Version : Becker's service action!!!


Roger Sampras
04-18-2007, 07:14 PM
Last night I watched an old tape of the 1991 Aus Open final and of coarse I found myself marveling at Becker's enormous serve! Watching his action carefully I could not quite work out how he was able to generate such furious pace from his technique. For example, (as you know) he tended to brush up over the ball rather that hit the ball flat (??) and further more he tossed the ball a great deal behind him, causing him to arch his back and strike the ball behind him rather, than out in front. I use this type of serve to gain top-spin but I strugle to extract pace from it. So what was Boris's pace generating secret! Freak!

ericsson
04-19-2007, 12:22 AM
It's a hell of a service, especially on grass and fast indoor, it has such vicious slice/spin combined with power. Just look at his bend, his knees almost touched the ground, that was the base for a big serve like his...a beauty!


http://img412.imageshack.us/img412/9144/20060419borisbeckerpr4.jpg (http://imageshack.us)

OrangeOne
04-19-2007, 01:11 AM
It's a hell of a service, especially on grass and fast indoor, it has such vicious slice/spin combined with power. Just look at his bend, his knees almost touched the ground, that was the base for a big serve like his...a beauty!

Yup, massive explosion from the knees, he was one powerful dude.

To the OP: Are you sure he's throwing the ball behind him? Could just be an appearances thing, from memory he'd be springing forward and up...

Like edberg - massive kick, but at the time of impact he was so far forward and angled into the court he was practically falling over, but very much in control....

Fedfan4life
04-19-2007, 01:37 AM
Great power he gets from his legs. Very compact too

Mad iX
04-19-2007, 01:39 AM
I always marvelled at his knee bend. I don't think he tosses it behind him, at least not on the first serve.

BounceHitBounceHit
04-19-2007, 05:26 AM
It's a hell of a service, especially on grass and fast indoor, it has such vicious slice/spin combined with power. Just look at his bend, his knees almost touched the ground, that was the base for a big serve like his...a beauty!


http://img412.imageshack.us/img412/9144/20060419borisbeckerpr4.jpg (http://imageshack.us)


Please also note that toss is not behind him. More like a 'neutral' or 'just in front' toss position. He did toss it back a bit for the kicker, which he hit VERY effectively. CC

Roger Sampras
04-19-2007, 06:35 PM
Thanks for the feedback..i had over-looked the knee bend, makes perfect sence!
When I said he threw it behind him I didn't explain it very well..and I'm still not that sure how to explain what I mean! I guess he would throw it out to the side (and infront) a great distance - hence the arched back etc.

michaellashan
04-19-2007, 07:06 PM
Viva La Boom-Boom. Becker's serve was just amazing. Even his second serve was amazing!

Jet Rink
04-19-2007, 07:25 PM
Yup, massive explosion from the knees, he was one powerful dude.

To the OP: Are you sure he's throwing the ball behind him? Could just be an appearances thing, from memory he'd be springing forward and up...

Like edberg - massive kick, but at the time of impact he was so far forward and angled into the court he was practically falling over, but very much in control....

True - lots of upward motion - and he lands on his right leg - very unorthodox but a good motion to emulate for its power. That was a serve for the ages and one that when it was on, was unhittable.

Jet

Roger Sampras
04-19-2007, 07:29 PM
Viva La Boom-Boom. Becker's serve was just amazing. Even his second serve was amazing!
I think I know why they called him Boom Boom? Because when he made contact with the ball it went "BOOM" and then when the ball smashed off the service court it went "BOOM" again! Hnece BOOM-BOOM!

migjam
04-28-2007, 10:49 PM
He also had heavy racquet pronation

CEvertFan
05-01-2007, 12:30 AM
He had a very distictive service motion. I could just glance at the TV and immediately know it was him that was playing just from that motion. In his prime his serve was one of the strongest on the men's tour.

grizzly4life
05-01-2007, 05:22 PM
why doesn't anyone serve like him anymore (the motion)?.... or even before? (not sure of that though... didn't roscoe tanner do a more kevin curren like motion?)

boris' service motion was incredible.

hoosierbr
05-01-2007, 05:50 PM
Proof that you don't need orthodox or classic technique to get the job done and excel. Not just his ball toss but if you look closely he lands on his right foot instead of the left when he finally hits the ball. Most right-handers land on their left foot after they serve.

Part of the knee injuries that some players have after years of playing. Most right-handers have left knee injuries.

Michael Chang did the same thing in the early days but then came down on his left foot later on.

grizzly4life
05-01-2007, 05:54 PM
Proof that you don't need orthodox or classic technique to get the job done and excel. Not just his ball toss but if you look closely he lands on his right foot instead of the left when he finally hits the ball. Most right-handers land on their left foot after they serve.

Part of the knee injuries that some players have after years of playing. Most right-handers have left knee injuries.

Michael Chang did the same thing in the early days but then came down on his left foot later on.

hoosier, thanks!!... i remember the footing thing now that you mention it.... what grip did becker use? i think i remember reading it was SW or W? but i can't see how that could be.

shakes1975
05-01-2007, 05:58 PM
hoosier, thanks!!... i remember the footing thing now that you mention it.... what grip did becker use? i think i remember reading it was SW or W? but i can't see how that could be.

becker used an eastern grip for serve. it's very unusual for a pro.

drakulie
05-01-2007, 07:00 PM
He also finished his serve on the right side of his body.

rfprse
05-01-2007, 08:31 PM
About right foot first landing, unlike his eastern grip, it was not regarded as unorthodox at the time.
It was more or less a classical way of landing around the time (that he learned tennis).

Ted Ghost Shackley
05-06-2007, 02:17 AM
The most unique thing about Becker's serve was that Eastern forehand grip. I never understood how he could hit all his serves, especially the slice out wide with that grip. The grip created the illusion of huge pronation (the racquet head looked more rotated after contact); Edberg was at the opposite end of the spectrum. Anyone else serve successfully with the Becker grip?

officerdibble
05-06-2007, 02:48 AM
Thanks for the feedback..i had over-looked the knee bend, makes perfect sence!
When I said he threw it behind him I didn't explain it very well..and I'm still not that sure how to explain what I mean! I guess he would throw it out to the side (and infront) a great distance - hence the arched back etc.

I think you've almost got what's going on with your observation. I think his power comes from getting his (not inconsiderable) body weight into his service action. In part this is achieved by getting most of his body through the plane of the ball (by which I mean if you imagine a vertical line down from the ball to the ground his body goes through and his arm and racket follow). I think the knee bend is a bit of a red herring. It's important, but in helping him spring forward rather than up.

I could be talking out of my K-Swiss shorts though :)

slice bh compliment
05-06-2007, 03:39 AM
Hi. Big Boris fan here. What a serve. The guy could bring it. Tough to read. Clutch second server, too. How many aces did Boris come up with at just the right time? Man.My opinion here, for what it's worth.His grip looked more eastern than it was. I believe he was so strong, and got so much upward kick, the slight shift to the right of his hand position made his serve less kicky and more penetrating. Even when he was sixteen, he had that strange grip. Even on FH volleys.Also, if you really look at his 'V' and the base knuckle of his index finger, they are fairly close to continental. The heel of his hand is more of an eastern forehand grip. Add to this the fact that he has smallish but fat hands and used a little grip...it makes for a grip that looks different to me from guys like Mac (somewhere between Boris and a continental) or Pete/Krajicek/Stich (somewhere between continental and slight BH) or Edberg (closer to a BH grip).

Andres
05-06-2007, 05:59 AM
It's the stance and the flamboyant weird arm movement what I don't like about Boom Boom.
Once he tosses the ball, ahhhhh, pure beauty.

slice bh compliment
05-06-2007, 08:02 AM
Jaa, I like the rocking though, rather than a lot of bouncing. Very heavy, rhythmic feel to it. He's so hard to read. Unless you are Agassi.

Andres
05-06-2007, 09:58 AM
Naaah, Ad.
He looks like he's on crack and having an epileptic attack each time he has to serve :D

rommil
05-06-2007, 10:18 AM
Although it is hard to argue with the results, Boom Boom's serve did him well but it was very unorthodox. It is always funny to see when Johnny Mac does his impression of the Becker serve.

urban
05-06-2007, 10:21 AM
One note on the service motion. Before he began the real motion, Boris always lifted his left foot (his forefoot), maybe that was a signal, where he intended to hit hit his serve,.

galain
05-06-2007, 02:50 PM
In his earlier days he did have problems tossing the ball too far to his left. I remember seeing Ben Testerman just killing him returns to the forehand once. His weight was still moving left when the ball was coming back. That was quite early on though - obviously he went on to greatness.

Jack & Coke
05-06-2007, 06:18 PM
From: http://www.tennisserver.com/turbo/turbo_05_12.html



The "Infamous" Backspin Serve

http://www.tennisserver.com/turbo/images/ronw.gif


..I still use the backspin serve. Why? Well, my opponents tell me that they find it one of the most, if not the most, difficult serve to return..

..I stumbled upon this serve many years ago, when I was first learning the game of tennis. Like most players, I began to serve using a forehand grip. It seemed like the normal thing to do. Besides, when I used this grip, I could generate lots of pace - even though many of my serves hit the net. Little by little, I began to learn from my mistakes and develop the serve technique necessary to impart backspin on a first serve hit with pace.

The effect of the serve is devastating. The ball has lots of pace. It is difficult to read where you are intending on placing the serve. The backspin does one of two things, depending on the surface. It will either stay very low after bouncing on clay surfaces or gritty hard courts. On faster surfaces like grass or most indoor courts, the ball actually skips as it makes contact with the court surface..

..you need to use an eastern forehand grip. Now, I don’t want to show pictures of this grip, because each player needs to adjust her/his grip slightly. Suffice it to say that this is not the semi-western grip that most players use today on their forehand groundstrokes. Instead, this is the "old school," traditional, "shake hands with the racquet grip."

..Boris Becker was one of the few players that I have seen who used an eastern forehand grip for his serves…all of them!!! When I observed him playing in person, I realized why he was so effective on the grass at Wimbledon. His serves had lots of pace, but they frequently skip or would stay low due to the backspin. I am relatively certain that his opponents would remark that his placement of serve was an additional element in his success..

Click on the link above to read the whole article about the "backspin" serve

fgbowen33
06-18-2007, 03:15 PM
On the first serve he tossed it in front. He got the speed cuz he was almost using a forehand grip and hitting it flat with a little Australian twist to bring it down and get it in the court. His second serve was pure kick but when you weigh 200+ and with the grip that ball is going to almost bounce over the returners head with speed.

WillAlwaysLoveYouTennis
06-19-2007, 10:08 AM
Just goes to show the strength in those powerful legs, generated by the deep knee bend. To me, he always looked as if he were hitting simply downward, and not necessarily outward like an Edberg for example. Which shows the quickness for his size, because he was an extremely effective serve volleyer as well, but springing forth with leg strength towards the net, and not just momentum from the serve like Stefan.

I have boxes and boxes of taped matches on VHS, and overwhelmingly, most are of Boris Becker.

stormholloway
06-21-2007, 12:32 AM
Okay, did Becker really use an eastern forehand grip for his serves? Is this backspin serve guy for real?

travlerajm
06-21-2007, 12:54 AM
Don't forget that he had a lot of mass in his racquethead. So his racquet speed didn't need to be that fast to generate pace, much like Sampras' motion.

acintya
09-07-2010, 01:40 AM
hm?

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C6y818Cb5Uk

here he is not using an efh grip...

SystemicAnomaly
09-07-2010, 05:06 AM
hm?

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C6y818Cb5Uk

here he is not using an efh grip...

He may have changed it a bit since he retired. In the old footage, at 0:24 is looks like an Efh grip. At the 2:00 mark it appears that he is using something close to a semi-conti (or weak EFh) grip.

Limpinhitter
09-07-2010, 05:50 AM
why doesn't anyone serve like him anymore (the motion)?.... or even before? (not sure of that though... didn't roscoe tanner do a more kevin curren like motion?)

boris' service motion was incredible.

Becker's service motion was very similar to Alex Olmedo's service motion.

Here at Wimbledon defeating Laver: http://www.britishpathe.com/record.php?id=35893

Here in an exo vs. McKay at :31 and :37: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6XTR8z5kjWc

aphex
09-07-2010, 05:57 AM
I think it is indeed Eastern...maybe someone who's more knowledgeable on grips can confirm...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6QfpOnxT3kw

aphex
09-07-2010, 06:01 AM
some nice footage

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6UiWqeAPrfc&feature=related

spacediver
09-07-2010, 11:45 PM
According to Dave Smith, author of Tennis Mastery:

No, Becker used a continental with his wrist turned in so that the racquet's orientation to his forearm LOOKED like he was holding an eastern forehand grip.

That said, he was more neutral on the continental grip where others are more true continental to some with a very slight turn towards eastern backhand. Yet, this is even mistaken by some as just like Becker, many pros turn the wrist out so that the racquet to the forearm looks like an eastern backhand grip...even though they use a continental.


http://tt.tennis-warehouse.com/showthread.php?t=149692

acintya
09-08-2010, 12:53 AM
i dont care about the grips i just want to know if he used backspin like this guy said or he is wrong. ?

Limpinhitter
09-08-2010, 06:04 AM
According to Dave Smith, author of Tennis Mastery:




http://tt.tennis-warehouse.com/showthread.php?t=149692

Becker's service grip was basically the same as his backhand grip which was just a bit more open than a continental, but much closer to continental than Eastern. But, Dave Smith correctly observes that he laid his wrist back a bit on serve making the grip look even more open than it was.

0d1n
09-08-2010, 06:59 AM
Hi. Big Boris fan here. What a serve. The guy could bring it. Tough to read. Clutch second server, too. How many aces did Boris come up with at just the right time? Man.My opinion here, for what it's worth.His grip looked more eastern than it was. I believe he was so strong, and got so much upward kick, the slight shift to the right of his hand position made his serve less kicky and more penetrating. Even when he was sixteen, he had that strange grip. Even on FH volleys.Also, if you really look at his 'V' and the base knuckle of his index finger, they are fairly close to continental. The heel of his hand is more of an eastern forehand grip. Add to this the fact that he has smallish but fat hands and used a little grip...it makes for a grip that looks different to me from guys like Mac (somewhere between Boris and a continental) or Pete/Krajicek/Stich (somewhere between continental and slight BH) or Edberg (closer to a BH grip).

I agree that Becker's so called "eastern" grip on the serve is not really eastern.
IMO it's a continental, albeit a bit more "conservative/open" than some of the others.
The fact that he was a huge guy who used a pretty small grip with a very idiosyncratic motion confused a lot of people.

boris becker 1
09-08-2010, 03:54 PM
have heard his 1st coach breshkvar give a presentation on beckers serve. The grip was more of an aussie grip, with the base knuckle between bevel 2 and 3.


he used a 4/3 8 grip with just an overgrip thus was still able to pronate, any larger of a grip and it would have been impossible

GameSetMatch
09-08-2010, 04:26 PM
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6UiWqeAPrfc&feature=related

Datacipher
09-08-2010, 05:55 PM
have heard his 1st coach breshkvar give a presentation on beckers serve. The grip was more of an aussie grip, with the base knuckle between bevel 2 and 3.


he used a 4/3 8 grip with just an overgrip thus was still able to pronate, any larger of a grip and it would have been impossible

LOL! Don't know how many times I've had to argue against Becker used a continental (slightly wrong), and even WORSE Becker used an eastern forehand (really wrong)! Good post...but then...I've said that before, from an old thread:

"Datacipher wrote:

Quote:
Originally Posted by boris becker 1

"I have watched Boris Breshkvar Beckers 1st childhood coach give a presentation on this.


He used what is commonly refered to as a aussie grip. The base knuckle was between bevel 3(eastern) and bevel 2(continental). Becker used very small grips. sometimes just an overgrip and no grip on the handles of his racket. Breshkvar claims that if Becker used any larger grip he would not have been able to pronate his wrist on his serve"

EXCELLENT. The Becker forehand grip for the serve myth DRIVES ME NUTS. I've posted many times over the years that Becker's grip was between a true continental and an eastern, but if anything, it was closer to an eastern. Yes, his relatively small grip makes it look a bit more eastern than it is. But it CLEARLY and OBVIOUSLY was not an eastern forehand, despite commentators and other experts, who should know much better, saying so.

Breskvar doesn't mention this specifically in his book on Becker's tennis, though he does say a continental or "semi-continental" is acceptable.

Thanks for this info."

drakulie
09-08-2010, 06:11 PM
I've posted many times over the years that Becker's grip was between a true continental and an eastern, but if anything, it was closer to an eastern.


That would make it a forehand grip now wouldn't it.

Datacipher
09-08-2010, 06:29 PM
That would make it a forehand grip now wouldn't it.

LOL! Yep, I noticed that mistake to, and almost corrected it but for the sake of historical accuracy didn't as I am sure the follow-up sentences show the true meaning. Corrected it should have been:

"I've posted many times over the years that Becker's grip was between a true continental and an eastern, but if anything, it was closer to an CONTINENTAL."

Datacipher
09-08-2010, 06:37 PM
Actually, I'll add that really the biggest difference between Becker's serve grip and a grip he might use for a volley, is not so much the position of his hand in regards to say, the V of his thumb/finger, it's that he lets the heel of his hand drop down, and the fingers spread out more, in other words, it's the way the racquet is allowed to rest inside the grip. Very subtly, this allows the heel of his hand to get behind the ball a bit more like a forehand grip, though that change is really not even visible to an observer. You can easily try this yourself by assuming a continental grip, and holding the fingers very close together (no split between them), and then try spreading them out, especially the top finger as far as you can, without actually changing rotation. This alone tends to get your palm a bit more behind the racquet like a forehand.

So in that sense, he does use a...forehand style...of letting his palm feel as though it's behind the ball, but the grip is clearly nowhere near a real forehand grip.

Of course the vast majority of players rest the racquet i their hand this way for service, but it is even more like a "forehand" because of Becker's "barely" continental grip.

Fedace
09-09-2010, 07:51 AM
I agree that Becker's so called "eastern" grip on the serve is not really eastern.
IMO it's a continental, albeit a bit more "conservative/open" than some of the others.
The fact that he was a huge guy who used a pretty small grip with a very idiosyncratic motion confused a lot of people.

Becker is one of the few pros that used open/ eastern forehand grip for the serves. This grip isn't really conducive to spin serves. Great for flat serves. I would not teach it to the Juniors. Learning to master the spin serves is paramount. they can always add the flat serves later.

Some pros actually give away what spin they are going to hit with Grip changes prior to serve. :???:

aphex
09-10-2010, 01:24 PM
Becker is one of the few pros that used open/ eastern forehand grip for the serves. This grip isn't really conducive to spin serves. Great for flat serves. I would not teach it to the Juniors. Learning to master the spin serves is paramount. they can always add the flat serves later.

Some pros actually give away what spin they are going to hit with Grip changes prior to serve. :???:

Another gem from Dr. Fedace...Thanks for informing the tennis community that Becker served flat...Thank you good doctor...

0d1n
09-11-2010, 03:19 AM
Becker is one of the few pros that used open/ eastern forehand grip for the serves. This grip isn't really conducive to spin serves. Great for flat serves. I would not teach it to the Juniors. Learning to master the spin serves is paramount. they can always add the flat serves later.

Some pros actually give away what spin they are going to hit with Grip changes prior to serve. :???:

Thanks, I feel so much smarter now.

Limpinhitter
09-12-2010, 09:17 PM
Becker's service motion was very similar to Alex Olmedo's service motion.

Here at Wimbledon defeating Laver: http://www.britishpathe.com/record.php?id=35893

Here in an exo vs. McKay at :31 and :37: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6XTR8z5kjWc

Hey thanks for that Limpin', that was very interesting. The topic was Becker's service motion, right? Yes, that's right. It seems nothing in tennis is really unique. It's all been done before.

aphex
09-13-2010, 12:52 PM
....................