View Full Version : Some help with my serve please - tx.

03-31-2004, 08:02 AM
Hey BB, Japanese, vin... and others...

I have this problem with my serve, and I whish someone could help me. I know for sure that my "paceless or weak" serve is a consequence of something that happens - or better, doesn't happen - close to and/or at contact. I mean to say that it is obvious to me that the problem is a lack of "pop", or "snap" of the racket head somewhere between the backstretch and at contact. I know all about the theory of serves, and I am not saying this out of any sense of sarcasm, but just as one more point to take in consideration. Sorry... I don't have a video. My grip is continental and I can emulate any body movement that are used in modern or classical serves. I have tried them all. Again: the problem is clearly an inability to snap the racket head into the ball, an inability to transfer speed to the ball. I have this snap in my forehand (semiwestern) so I know what it means - not that I am suggesting that they are similar moves, but the "clonk" is there.

I have decided to "design" some movements in order to find out where the problem is. And this is where I would appreciate some help. The first thing I intend to do (I am at the office now) is to isolate the specific fragment of the serve movement from the "hands in the phone (BB jargon :>))" to contact, and on. I mean... right hand a bit lower then the ear "at the phone", continental grip, racket/forearm around 90 deg angle.... toss and hit. Perhaps I should start I little further with the hands a bit higher then the ears and concentrate on the pronation. Hitting with just the pronation, to start off. I have a flat serve in mind...

Would you say this can be a reasonable way to go? I can't think of anything else.



Bungalo Bill
03-31-2004, 09:08 AM
I really think without seeing your motion, that somewhere in the swing something is stopping before it starts again. That backscratch idea is only that - an idea. Stop trying to backscratch if your trying to do it.

The serve motion, especially from the arm is continuous. No hitches, or starts and stops. The point I think all of us are saying here is the service motion is natural, relaxed, and fluid. Whether you want to say "whip" or "snap" or "noodle" the arm works better when it is relaxed.

My guess is you have a hitch in your swing and most likely it is caused by a literal interpretation of the "backscratch" idea in your service motion.

I would suggest doing the exercise I have witnessed help a lot of players. Get a thick string or a flexible thin rope. Attach a tennis ball to it. The string length should be that of your racquet or a little longer. Swing the thing around and use a service motion. You should never feel any slack or jerks in the swinging motion. If you do, that is probably your problem.

Obviously, we haven't covered the lower body/hips. I will save that for other posters. Good luck.

03-31-2004, 11:59 AM
Hi BB. Thanks for your response. First I must tell you that I am aware of the limitations
of words to convey such a dynamic "event" as tennis strokes - but I take it as a challenge,
something I very simply enjoy and have fun with. In the other hand I don't agree with the idea that words and written explanations are worthless - they are not. Sometimes a single little word, a simple little hint is enough to undo a long term chronic knot. It happened to me in this very forum in another aspect of groundstrokes.

I understand perfectly well what you mean by "there is no backscratch". I will try to show it to you
with words for the sake of clarity in communication. As the racket drops backwards just a split second before it reaches the lower point of the trajectory the torso starts to rotate counterclockwise and the racket head makes a looping movement to the outside (right side relative to the body) in such a way that in its lower aspect of this trajectory the racket head is clear of the body. I can make this movement easily with the racket or with the socks and tennis balls in it.
There is no clonk at contact.

But something you said elsewhere is new to me and maybe will make the difference though. You said "point the racket butt to the sky instead of concentrating on dropping its head". I tried it out in the room and I indeed felt the difference: the elbow seems to go higher and the wrist is more relaxed. I will do it tomorrow in court during my lessons (my teacher is a good buddy but he can't go into such details :>) I will let you know.

Thanks for the attention.


03-31-2004, 01:39 PM
Get that ball toss out in front and right if you want a big serve with a continental grip.

Bungalo Bill
04-01-2004, 06:14 AM

I appreciate your insight on how limited words can be. I also agree with you that although it is limited words can make a difference.

One thing that has not been discussed the kevhen brought up is your toss. Do you have a high toss? How is the timing of your motion to the toss?

Some people have a slow motion with a low toss, and vice versa which can cause hitches in the serving motion. I am a firm believer that the toss should be even to no more the 6-12 inches above your maximum reach. It simply provides so much time to get your motion going while the ball is sort of suspended in air. It also promotes a clean contact which can help improve power.

04-03-2004, 07:39 AM
BB and friends,

As I was going for my tennis class yesterday focused on my serve issue, as I walked by the only tennis store in town it happened that they had a Babolat PC Team available for free demo. So I took it. My focus changed. I was looking forward to see how this "new" 350 grams racket would behave compared with my I-prestige customized to 375 grams 10 points HL.

Well I felt an enormous difference. My groundstrokes really improved in pace - ALLOT.

At the end of the class, when we usually hit serves, I didn't even remember the serve pace issue I was trying to solve. And alas! Something clicked. My serve suffered an improvement leap. So... it seems to me that my timing is really the cause of my lack of power. With this lighter racket I was probably able to swing faster and more in time.

Next class I will take all lead off from an old head radical (or something like that) and try to serve with it for a few weeks....

Thanks for the attention


Bungalo Bill
04-03-2004, 10:58 AM
Good observation. On the other hand you can get stronger to handle the heavier frame. :)

I am now demoing a Wilson Tour 90. Really like it, but the swing weight is heavier then my Volkl Tour 10. Definetly noticed a reduction in speed from my serve. But as a trade off my ball is a lot heavier. After, about the second set I noticed my wrist getting a little wobbly as I hit my groundstrokes. since I like the racquet so much, I will need to play with it more and get stronger to support the swing weight as the match wears on.

Nice thinking though!

04-03-2004, 02:16 PM
Yes... I understand the idea: use the heaviest you can handle. I agree. But in my case (serve) the priority is really to "get it", to have the "experience", to have it in the blood... the ability to clonck serves properly - even at the cost of having to use lighter frames for some time. Once I got it I am sure I will be able to come back to heavier frames again. And... after all, the PC is not THAT light.

Well... and.... perhaps I am afraid to admit I fell in love for a stick ;>/

PS: Does anyone know how to receive notifications for replies to posts? I am not getting them although I have chosen to receive. :>(