PDA

View Full Version : New video of my serve.


Brett
03-30-2008, 09:59 AM
Here is the newest one. As many of you know, I have been struggling mightily with my serve. I have been playing for about 8 years, with my serve being good at times back in the day. I am about a 3.5 level player. I really need your guys' help. I went to a lesson this past Friday for $40 an hour on help. Years ago, I went to a tennis clinic and the instructor began helping with my serve. He taught me something with starting in the backscratch position and then a few years ago I started automatically serving at that position. Last summer, I just started going back to the normal way of serving.

At my tennis lesson on Friday, the guy said that I am off balanced, moving my hips to early, and my racquet is not far back enough and not pointing up before I hit it. I just really need some help. Thanks a lot.

10 months ago (Not sure the date):

1.) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5xpGl2NuIBQ

2.) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-xu_y4kywRo

3.) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y4yKPJP8LC4

------------------------------------------------------

9 months ago (6-24-07):

1.) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=snp0xq7B2rI

2.) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rFcbbaQyo1s

3.) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1OlL74zoSf8

4.) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Fr9dwHAbR8Q

------------------------------------------------------

About 8 months ago (7-1-07):

1.) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=icY_SQXvNt8

2.) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mr7ziB711Mk

3.) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5YSg4MLB9Tc

4.) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2XP4Id4UqiM

------------------------------------------------------

Today ( 3-30-08 ):

1.) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uAJi--LqHuU

2.) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=--NuVpl2f30

3.) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_jyK5ApTgWY

madmanfool
03-30-2008, 10:50 AM
http://img216.imageshack.us/img216/6261/servingfk8.jpg

ok first things first, sorry for the amateur drawing i made.
second things second, if you want to learn how to serve you have to learn how to toss first. Nothing else, just the toss. In the picture i included i (tried to) drawed what you do now and what you should be doing. You start up very high, drop the arm just a little (not enough) and when you release your arm is bend. You also bend your legs when you toss. I don't like that. You shouldn't bend your legs in order to toss, you should bend them to hit the ball. So first toss then bend. What you should be doing (imho) is this: your toss should begin lower (what's number 2 on the first drawing is number 1 on the second). From there, drop the arm untill your thigh. This is very important. Because this will give you enough power to trow the ball up high enough in a controlled way. At the end of the toss make sure you don't bend your arm, keep it straight.

First make sure you learn how to do this. Now you trow behind you (bending of the arm causes this) and you trow too low. Because you don't toss well everything looks..well not good. You can't jump forward (you trow the ball behind you) and you trow too low (you have to duck almost and at the same time you jumped. Keep in mind that the first part of the serve (everything prior till the trophy position) is done very slow and controlled. Only when reaching the trophy position you accelerate and hit the ball.

oh and it never hurts to learn from the master: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wsUMOeNi6BU

caverick
03-30-2008, 10:56 AM
The thing I noticed is that you shift your feet a lot before you make contact. I would try keeping your feet fairly planted and just bend your knees. It will give you better balance and you will be more consistent because your body will be in the same position everytime. It is an improvement though from 9 months ago so keep up the good work.

Zachol82
03-30-2008, 10:58 AM
You're right, your legs and hips are moving a bit too much. You seem to be improving nonetheless so goodjob!

From the looks of the most recent videos that you've posted, it seems as though all those serves went long. Try collapsing your shoulder, elbow, and wrist down faster at the point of impact with the ball.

By collapsing all these joints, you will get more power from your serve and it will force the ball down instead of long. Never ever snap just your wrist...this used to be a habbit of mine since that's where I used to get all my power from...and that's also where I got my wrist injury from. Your shoulder, elbow, and wrist should function as a whole and not individually.

The other portion of your serve power comes from your lower body. Your ankles, knees, and hips. This should be easy to understand, your lower body should act like a coil. First off, don't stand flat-footed, be on the front half of your feet, as if you're tip-toeing. Bend your ankles and knees before coming into contact with the ball and straighten out as you come into contact with the ball. You should get behind the ball and this is what your hips will do for you. Don't just move your upper body and head back, get your whole hip to bend back.

You are NOT just reaching up with your arm and snapping down. Your whole body should be snapping forward and into the court, not your arm alone.

The main problem I see with your serve is that you're not springing your body forward into the court. Your hips bend back and everything but watch carefully, right after impact with the ball, your body recoils backward...this is because the force exerted backward when you came into contact with the ball is a lot more than your forward force. Lean into the court when you serve, as if you are falling slowly into the court even. Think of serving then running to the net as fast as you can, serve and volley. Your body leans into the court on the serve to prepare for running up to the net as fast as possible. Do a couple serve and volleys and this will get your body to lean in naturally.

Brett
03-30-2008, 11:16 AM
I am just asking for help, why do people like vinhdiesel have to criticize me?

caverick
03-30-2008, 01:35 PM
I am just asking for help, why do people like vinhdiesel have to criticize me?

because he is a jerk...

zidane339
03-30-2008, 08:22 PM
hahahah your serve looks funny

dude..not cool...

zidane339
03-30-2008, 08:24 PM
i think you have improved a lot from the beginning but i would recommend working on the toss the most.the beginning stages of the serve seems correct.you have to toss it so that you spring into the court.you seem to be falling back.hope this helps.

zidane339
03-30-2008, 08:28 PM
another thing..try to not toss so high..its alot harder to hit the ball while its coming back down.so if you toss it so that you hit it at the top of its flight, all the power from your body will go into it..plus you can hit it at its highest point, meaning higher net clearence and greater chance it;ll go in..i had the same problem and i just corrected my toss to be lower.try it out.

zidane339
03-30-2008, 08:30 PM
also, if you hit the ball at its highest point, your elbow should straight, not bent as it is now..sorry for all the multiple posts.

ramseszerg
03-30-2008, 08:34 PM
I think this video might help you.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q60i_inEbrs

Vision84
03-30-2008, 08:37 PM
Haven't read the other comments but I saw a few serves and you tend to land in the same place. When you explode from your legs you want to leap into the court so you land inside the baseline and then when you land your back leg should follow through and land in front of your left. Just feel your weight moving forward into the court. Look at the guy in the link that was posted above. Not the best example as he doesn't use his legs much but you should get the idea.

montx
03-30-2008, 08:42 PM
Brett, I can improve your serve in 30 minutes.

I'm not kidding, I improved mine in that much time. But what I did before doing so was to watch videos of people who broke down the serve into different components.

That is key.

You need to first start off bouncing the ball a couple of times and make sure your left hand is supple and ready for the toss.

The toss for each person is different but a couple of things I can do is reccomend this;

1) Toss at 12:30 - 1 O'clock initially
2) Toss with your tossing arm straight and release the ball about head level

The other thing is this, the racquet motion.

My racquet motion follows these phases

1) Point at target with ball in starting position (Footwork - Front foot pointing to side net, back foot 1 foot back and half foot behind front foot. Weight on front foot)
2) Down together (Footwork - Rock Weight back to backfoot heel)
3) Up together (Footwork - weight still on backfoot)
4) Racquet in Trophy Position - Tossing Arm at Head Level Ready to release
(Footwork - weight still on backfoot)
5) As Ball goes up Left hand tracks ball - Racquet goes from trophy position to backscratch. (Backfoot slides forward)
6) Left hand pull toward chest swing racquet to contact point and contact
7) Follow through racquet swing. Kick out leftfoot, kickback right foot.

If your still unsure, I highly reccomend you get the serve cd by James Jensen.

Good Luck

kabob
03-30-2008, 10:29 PM
My best advice is to learn how to hit the retro serve. It's still the most universally sound serving motion on the planet.

http://www.tennis.com/yourgame/instructionvideos/serve/serve.aspx?id=110352

Solat
03-30-2008, 10:50 PM
for me it looks as this is your biggest issue, contact is nowhere near where it should be so you don't have to rotate and reach for the ball thus causing your whole motion to be out of whack
http://i50.photobucket.com/albums/f327/noniandwal/tennis/servecontact.jpg

the solution is to practice serving front on, both feet forwards, this encourages a forward toss and for your shoulder to push ahead of your body on contact

good luck

Tennisguy777
03-31-2008, 12:07 AM
The backscratch is killing you. I suggest you leave it alone. Just serve a normal serve. You are scratching too much it is throwing off your timing as well as your footwork. Look at this video. I'll try to find you a better video later.
http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=4169569035904175456&q=serve+tennis&total=2194&start=0&num=10&so=0&type=search&plindex=6

Tennisguy777
03-31-2008, 01:07 AM
What I like to call the classic motion:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R8UqUBkmWBg&feature=related

Here, below is PRO instruction also check out the other tennis and service videos on the left hand side of screen:

http://www.playsportstv.com/box.php?id=6&media_id=636

ramseszerg
03-31-2008, 09:50 AM
My best advice is to learn how to hit the retro serve. It's still the most universally sound serving motion on the planet.

http://www.tennis.com/yourgame/instructionvideos/serve/serve.aspx?id=110352

That motion with the right foot coming beside the left foot was the standard technique used by the majority of the pros in the wooden days? Really? I'm assuming the somewhat Roddick-like takeback is not part of it.

Nellie
03-31-2008, 10:02 AM
Nice improvement so far. Try tossing a little further in the court - your toss is so far back if you let that ball drip, it would hit you in the head. Instead, try to be 1-2 feet in the court.

Similarly, you look like you are lossing power because your are not accelerating at contact - above your head. You can see that their is no wrist pronatation and that you finish pretty high, both indications that your racquet head speed is slower than it could be.

Also, keep your toss high - on a couple with a higher toss, you looked much better with your extension and timing.

On the take-back/backswing, you look a little choppy - you start bringing the raquet down and then jerk it iup above your shoulders. Perhaps you could start above the shoulders (like Roddick), or start the with the racquet lower, around your feet. Perhaps your motion of taking the racquet up and then back down and around is throwing off yuor timing.

chess9
03-31-2008, 11:11 AM
Have you gotten a speed for your serve? I'm guessing it isn't over about 70 mph. Just a hunch.

You are really at the point where you've complicated the frying pan serve. In all honesty, you need some lessons from a pro. You haven't gotten the concept of driving the butt cap to the ball with the racquet on edge. Instead, you open up your palm and push the ball.

With all due respect to you and the process, GET PROFESSIONAL HELP.

I would add that you are a very fit guy who appears to have some decent coordination, so it's painful to see you struggling with that...uh, erm, THING. :)

Good luck, mate.

-Robert

saram
03-31-2008, 11:17 AM
You have progressed well. I think that if you get the toss more out in front of you--you will see dynamic results. Your contact point behind your shoulder. If you get it out in front via the toss, you will find the body compensating and you will hit more up and into the ball and your motion will come together.

Good progress though!

Brett
04-01-2008, 03:00 PM
Well here's an update.

Thank you guys so much for all the help. I read each one of your posts and really tried to apply it today. I played with someone today in a match and right before I went ahead and tried working on my serve for about 30 minutes-an hour before.

I really tried not to bend my legs at all when I threw the ball up and by dropping my racquet down a little before I started serving and letting my throwing hand go all the way down to my thigh right before I tossed it up like that one person told me to start doing. Sorry, I forgot his name.

Also, I started really trying to throw it in the court more and I felt great doing all this. My serves were money and someone I usually play with saying it looked much better and not as choppy. It felt awesome.

Then I go into the match and everything changes. My serve is off, I must have double faulted at least like 8 times. I hate this. I lost 6-2, 6-4. I don't understand what has happened to my game. I love this sport more than anything and I will do anything to get back my strokes and my serve. I just want to be good.

After the match I tried my serve again and it didn't look that great either. I don't understand what happened from before the match and then into it.

Also, I emailed Brent Abel at webtennis.net a video of my serve like I showed you guys. Here is what he says:

http://www.webtennis.net/pvtt/brett-martin/brett.htm

Azzurri
04-02-2008, 10:23 AM
Brett,
Its your toss my friend. Your whole problem is just that (at least for starters). You HAVE to toss the ball more into the court. You just need to work on ONE thing at a time. People have given you terrific advice, but too much. You have a toal breakdown of your serve because you are swinging from above your head (literalry). Work on your toss. One of the posters showed you a perfect example of your toss vs a pro's.

Try this, but you have to be vigilent. Work on your toss in your home to start..get used to tosing the ball at a 1 o'clock position. Try 100 tosses in a day for a week. DON'T do this on the court, just work on your toss at 1 o'clock. After a week, then go to the court, you should now have at least 700 practice ball tosses, hopefully you get some muscle memory. Now bring a small 2-gallon bucket or something like it. Place the bucket around 2 feet inside the court around the area where your ball lands after a few practice tosses. Then PRACTICE your toss. 1 o'clock and around 2 feet INTO the court. Try it 100 times (but get at least 50 to go into the bucket). Try this
2-3 times per week for a month. You will slowly, but surely develop some muscle memory, so when you play a match it will be more natural to you. You have nice height and take a good cut at the ball, but your toss is killing you. Try it...it will work, but like a diet, you have to stick to it. Good luck!:)

chess9
04-02-2008, 12:07 PM
Brent gave you some great advice, but I'd still go to see a local teaching professional if you really want to learn the service motion. You've spent how many months trying to learn it from the internet? You can't see what you are doing wrong, and you don't have 20 years of experience correcting serves. Tennis professionals are worth the money they are paid, IMHO.

-Robert

5263
04-02-2008, 12:38 PM
lots of ok comments and a great dartfish diagram, but try and fix one thing at a time starting with the most important.

Several got it right on improving your toss.

second thing is that your serving are goes straight way to soon. You need to delay that extension at the elbow till the elbow is almost pointing at the toss, then release that part of the kinetic chain to whip the racket up to the ball. Hard to describe, but in the videos you should be able to see how roddick and other greats don't staighten out the are till the end at contact.

with these 2 fixes, you will be in the ball park!

hyogen
04-05-2008, 01:45 AM
here's one thing i noticed, although i don't have a perfect serve..

you jerk your body to toss the ball up.

this creates a non smooth powerful serve. also i think it makes the toss less consistent by jerking your arm/body up like that just to toss the ball up. try tossing smoothly like your initial racquet preparation

justsomeguy
04-05-2008, 04:29 AM
Hi Brett,
I don't usually try to give tips, as there are others much more qualified, but I can tell you a few things that helped me.

I used to have a pretty effective serve. My first generated aces and my second had enough kick to force errors. Then I decided to film myself one day. It was humiliating. My motion was so bad I was embarrassed that I had been doing it so long and didn't even know. Basically, my stance, toss, and finish into the court all looked good. Everything in between sucked. No backscratch, no pronation, and I always opened up too early. I was basically muscling the ball.

I spent months trying to tweak things to improve the middle portion of the serve, but still keeping the good parts. I didn't want to have to regress too much as my serve was effective.

I finally had to break down and start all over. Back to square one. I slowed WAY down. I got loose and just started trying to do a nice motion and put the ball over the net.

It took some time, but it was well worth it. I learned that staying all loose is the way to go. Once I started to get my new motion down, I had something solid to build on.

These are the things I try to remind myself out there:

Stay loose.
Imagine Sampras and his big, loose, floppy arm.
Take is slow and easy.
Don't worry about pace or even placement to start with, just worry about the motion.
Keep doing new vid every few practices to see how you are coming along (obviously you have to know what to look for, but the dudes out here are glad to help and lend a keen eye).

That's it. Slow and loose. I still can't believe how much power and pace can be generated by staying loose and letting your body work for you instead of against you.

It seems like you are trying to hit the ball too hard while you are still trying to improve your serve. Improve it first, and then the power will come.

Bungalo Bill
04-05-2008, 07:56 AM
Here is the newest one. As many of you know, I have been struggling mightily with my serve. I have been playing for about 8 years, with my serve being good at times back in the day. I am about a 3.5 level player. I really need your guys' help. I went to a lesson this past Friday for $40 an hour on help. Years ago, I went to a tennis clinic and the instructor began helping with my serve. He taught me something with starting in the backscratch position and then a few years ago I started automatically serving at that position. Last summer, I just started going back to the normal way of serving.

At my tennis lesson on Friday, the guy said that I am off balanced, moving my hips to early, and my racquet is not far back enough and not pointing up before I hit it. I just really need some help. Thanks a lot.

10 months ago (Not sure the date):

1.) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5xpGl2NuIBQ

2.) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-xu_y4kywRo

3.) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y4yKPJP8LC4

------------------------------------------------------

9 months ago (6-24-07):

1.) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=snp0xq7B2rI

2.) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rFcbbaQyo1s

3.) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1OlL74zoSf8

4.) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Fr9dwHAbR8Q

------------------------------------------------------

About 8 months ago (7-1-07):

1.) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=icY_SQXvNt8

2.) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mr7ziB711Mk

3.) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5YSg4MLB9Tc

4.) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2XP4Id4UqiM

------------------------------------------------------

Today ( 3-30-08 ):

1.) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uAJi--LqHuU

2.) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=--NuVpl2f30

3.) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_jyK5ApTgWY

Hi Brett,

Saw your serves. I went to the now. The biggest and most important area you need to improve in is your flexibility and relaxation on the serve.

Do you think your serve is smooth? If yes, then you are not correct.

Your legs on up are not working together and it largely has to do with the flexibility in your upper body.

You can do the deepest knee bend and it will not solve your dillemma with your upper body.

Trying practicing the serve motion slowly. Maybe even without the ball. Take this film (new stuff) and compare it to a pros motion side by side. Take notes of the hitting arm and how it moves.

Get yourself a flexible rope and secure it to a ball. The length of the rope should be a little longer then your racquet. Swing the rope using your serve motion and really try to get that shoudler stretched. Try swinging the rope using your serve motion and relax. If the rope sort of jerks or it is hard to get it to swing around, you should take note of the hitch problems.

You can also work with a pro if you want to work out the kinks in your serve.

The one thing I admired was your dedication, I like seeing you practicing on a court that is drying!

Katlion
04-05-2008, 07:59 AM
Wow. It has been an improvement. Your serve still needs some pro help, but yeah, great improvement.

NLBwell
04-09-2008, 03:51 PM
Nothing else will matter until you fix your toss.
You shouldn't have to hop backwards to reach the ball, it should land inside the court. Go through your motion but don't hit the ball. I bet sometimes it will land 5-10 feet behind you.
I've used Bungalo Bill's tip on using a rope to smooth out your swing for some of my students as well as doing it myself. An excellent method for smoothing your swing. You need to be loose and flexible (including your legs - don't let them be straight); a serve should be a whip action. I don't worry about idiosycricies, just basic kinetic chain (legs, hips, core, shoulder, elbow, wrist). Drive you hip out in front and have your body rotate over it.

rockbox
04-10-2008, 07:49 AM
I think anyone who wants to get better expecially if they are 4.5 or below needs professional help. Even pros get professional help. They will fix in 30 minutes what you will spend months trying to figure out.

That being said, the two biggest fundamental flaws in you serve is your toss which is not in front of you and not having a wrist snap. You are holding your racket to tight with probably the wrong grip.

Vision84
04-10-2008, 10:30 AM
I don't like the term wrist snap as it makes you subconsciously snap your wrist instead of having it natural which will happen if you do everything right.

Bungalo Bill
04-10-2008, 10:41 AM
I don't like the term wrist snap as it makes you subconsciously snap your wrist instead of having it natural which will happen if you do everything right.

I am with you on that one.

But boy ol' boy I remember a heated argument with Japanese Maple about that. :)

martin8768
04-11-2008, 07:47 PM
That motion with the right foot coming beside the left foot was the standard technique used by the majority of the pros in the wooden days? Really? I'm assuming the somewhat Roddick-like takeback is not part of it.
the retro serve is all about the foot position and use of hips (aka the spring) and the kid in the video uses a roddick backswing and it makes quite a nice combanation. i have a serve similar, but my feet are as far apart during the knee bend, im actually going to experement with different stuff like that, and to the OP
its getting better, keep practicing what everyone is saying and watch alot of videos in your spare time! it helps so much and its something that a lot of novice/intermediate players don't do that is essential to developing good technique because you see what you should be doing and how to do it. good luck

BeHappy
04-11-2008, 07:53 PM
My best advice is to learn how to hit the retro serve. It's still the most universally sound serving motion on the planet.

http://www.tennis.com/yourgame/instructionvideos/serve/serve.aspx?id=110352

kill yourself.

BeHappy
04-11-2008, 07:54 PM
yeah, this thread is a good example of why I haven't been posting as much lately, between BungaloBill and Solat, there's nothing left for me to say ;)