View Full Version : knee bend on serve
02-22-2004, 03:27 AM
Bungalow Bill and Mahboob Khan and others please ,is the knee bend on serve indispensable for a good serve?
How is your serve now? Do your feet come off the ground and do you land well inside of the court? I think the knee bend is an important part of a good serve because it's what initiates your forward/upward momentum and begins the kinetic chain. However, that's not to say that you need an extreme knee bend. Mine is extreme and the amount of energy I expend using it may not be worth what it contributes to my serve.
One thing I learned from Bollettieri's sonic serve is to stretch your hip forward before going in to the knee bend. Try it before and after and it should feel more natural doing it after. If you do it before, it's harder to do the hip stretch properly and usually results in an akward stance.
02-22-2004, 06:26 AM
Unless you want to max out at Schalken's level you should bend your knees. You do not need alot, but you need enough to get you up and into the court consistently.
02-22-2004, 09:50 AM
Here is the thing about the knee bend. If you are bending your knees for power - it won't work. A proper knee bend happens naturally. It happens because you coil properly and the knees are sort of forced to bend with the way the body is trying to perform.
What will happen is angles will be created. These angles all line up (shoulders, elbows, knees) as you get ready to lauch towards the ball.
So an efficient knee bend is caused by the front hip stretch and the body coiling - it is a byproduct. A good knee bend is a contributor to power but not the cause of power. Hope that helps.
If you want to analyze further the angles you should try to strive to have for a good knee bend, I recommend buying Sonic Serve by Nick B. sold here at TW.
Agree with Bill. For power imporvement, hip strectch will do wonders for you.
I don't quite agree that knee bend doesn't add power. When I was trying to add knee bend, and getting off the ground, my serve was heavier. I think knee bend helps you to go up for the ball, and making your serve smoother.
But it shouldn't be too extreme to lose your balance.
02-22-2004, 11:16 AM
Yoru contirbution to this post is right on. For me, though please read my post. It would be foolish for me to say that the knees dont have anything to contribute to power on the serve.
In the third paragraph I said "A good knee bend is a contributor to power but not the cause of power".
This is true as you have confirmed. But the serves power lies in the ability rotate the shoulders fast with proper non-dominant arm motion to accelerate the arms. Hence the "throwing motion".
Naturally, the foundation is the hips and the legs. These aspects "contribute" to a more powerful serve.
Just wanted to make sure my whole thread was read.
I stand corrected. I tend to just skim through the others posts..I guess I didn't catch that.
02-23-2004, 07:07 AM
Thanks a Zillion BB, you were right ! The hip stretch was the missing link in my serve. Thanks very much! You deserve to be up there with the others on Mt Olympus!!!!
02-23-2004, 10:12 AM
I recently started to copy a-rods serve. After seeing him in the finals of siebel I noticed he knee bend is like a 'bounce'. I tried to incorpoarte a more pronounced knee bend in my serve in a practice session afterward and I my timing is was way off....I think because I also tried to change where my front foot was pointing at the same time (more parallel to the baseline rather than at the target) I should only try one change at a time I think.
What impressed me most about a-rod and fish's serve was placement not power....though.
I'm not sure what a hip strectch is. Can anyone explain it?
Also, seems like a-rod jumps straigt up and an into the ball. Is this an illusion? Does he move off his back foot or go straigth up at it?
Hip stretch -
Stand with your arms out to the sides and tilt your shoulders so that one arm is pointing up and the other is pointing down and your arms remain in line with eachother. While doing this, push your hips out on the side of the hand that goes up.
Now do it again, but this time in your service stance and imagine that you are tossing the ball when you tilt over. Play around with this in your service motion and you'll eventually develop a natural feel for the stretch. Make sure it happens before your knee bend. As someone said above, the hip stretch should lead to a natural knee bend. As you get the feel for it, you should notice that almost all of your weight is ending up on the front foot.
02-23-2004, 02:55 PM
I've never thought about it that way. I've felt that somewhat whith an ordianary toss. But as you describe it I can really feel the stretch on my left side (i'm righty) I see how that stretch feeling leads to knees bending now more naturally. Looking forward to trying it out.
02-23-2004, 09:18 PM
Hey Vin sorry i forgot to thank you too. Thanks a Zillion too buddy. Ticket to Mt O in the mail for you too.
02-24-2004, 01:39 PM
I tried the hip stretch a bit but I really didn't have time to feel any success with it. It kind of felt like I was forcing it to happen....just like I was the exaggerated knee bend. Since the serve is cycle of movements maybe we should talk about what movements or "feelings" people start off with...
I think the purpose of the hip stretch is to get as much of your lower body mass in front of your upper body so that when you're starting to swing with your upper body, the forward weight of your lower body is helping to pull the swing towards the ball.
Assuming you know how to throw a baseball, go through the motion and observe how your hips extend forward when you step into the throw. Same idea.
Does that help any?
Even if you are forcing it, but doing it right, your timing is probably off because it's a new motion. Keep practicing and experimenting and you should eventually get your timing in order and will feel the contribution of your hips being forward.
Also get the sonic serve video. It makes the hip stretch very obvious and easy to understand. By trying to describe it with words, it appears to be way more complicated than it really is.
02-24-2004, 03:00 PM
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