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View Full Version : Lack of Continuation in Abbreviated Serve?


tennis_pr0
11-08-2009, 09:36 AM
I was doing a serving clinic the other day, and I noticed that two of my students were using an abbreviated serve. We were doing an individual critique demonstration, and one of the other students mentioned that it looked like there was a lack of momentum (continuation) in the student's abbreviated service take back.

I stated that it was fine to have that type of motion, because she got to the trophy pose fine and that as long as you find your way to a good trophy pose that it was okay. Anyway, I was having a discussion with two of the other pros and they felt it was fine, but had certain advantages/disadvantages.

The one advantage that we came up with right away was a more predictable serve - much loser toss and a quicker preparation before striking the ball. The one disadvantage that we came up with is the lack on continuation. with the traditional take back, you are using the momentum of the back swing to work with the rest of your body before striking the ball (the traditional kinetic chain).

The conclusion that I personally came up with is that the abbreviated serve has its limitations when looking for spin (i.e. kick or slice serve). I would like to really get some feedback on this matter, as I would like to be able to pass accurate information on to my students instead of just assumptions that I came up with on my own. I have read some threads on this comparison, but I was hoping to get some more technical feedback in this one. Thanks.

Bungalo Bill
11-08-2009, 10:03 AM
I was doing a serving clinic the other day, and I noticed that two of my students were using an abbreviated serve. We were doing an individual critique demonstration, and one of the other students mentioned that it looked like there was a lack of momentum (continuation) in the student's abbreviated service take back.

I stated that it was fine to have that type of motion, because she got to the trophy pose fine and that as long as you find your way to a good trophy pose that it was okay. Anyway, I was having a discussion with two of the other pros and they felt it was fine, but had certain advantages/disadvantages.

The one advantage that we came up with right away was a more predictable serve - much loser toss and a quicker preparation before striking the ball. The one disadvantage that we came up with is the lack on continuation. with the traditional take back, you are using the momentum of the back swing to work with the rest of your body before striking the ball (the traditional kinetic chain).

The conclusion that I personally came up with is that the abbreviated serve has its limitations when looking for spin (i.e. kick or slice serve). I would like to really get some feedback on this matter, as I would like to be able to pass accurate information on to my students instead of just assumptions that I came up with on my own. I have read some threads on this comparison, but I was hoping to get some more technical feedback in this one. Thanks.

The abbreviated serve is a viable way to serve. I have an abbreviated serve motion.

The main areas for it are:

1. Injury prevention: When teaching the abbreviated serve, ensure that the student spreads his chest out and brings his shoulders back. It helps avoid rubbing a nerve in the shoulder area which overtime can lead to injury.

2. You still need to be thinking and training to have a continuous motion. Continuous motions shifts more to the lower body than the upper body.

3. The continuous motion needs more leg thrust and muscular effort to get it going.

If a player has powerful legs and can shape his body to absorb and tranfers maximum power from the balls of his feet on up, the abbreviated serve can power through balls.

Here is an analysis of Roddick. Watch the motion, angle, and thrust from his legs. Keep in mind, this is super slo-motion, so although it looks like Roddicks racquet is suspended for a long time, in reality it is not. Make sure you play a full speed so you can see that you do not want a player in the trophey position long at all - if at all. The slo-mo and the fast motion is provided below on Roddick.

http://video.google.com/videosearch?q=chela+serve+video&rls=com.microsoft:en-us&oe=UTF-8&um=1&ie=UTF-8&ei=jQf3StHWFJHQtAPf8NW0CQ&sa=X&oi=video_result_group&ct=title&resnum=4&ved=0CBQQqwQwAw#q=roddick+serve&view=2&emb=0

WildVolley
11-08-2009, 01:37 PM
The conclusion that I personally came up with is that the abbreviated serve has its limitations when looking for spin (i.e. kick or slice serve). I would like to really get some feedback on this matter, as I would like to be able to pass accurate information on to my students instead of just assumptions that I came up with on my own. I have read some threads on this comparison, but I was hoping to get some more technical feedback in this one. Thanks.

I'm not sure anyone has done enough of a study to say that those who serve with abbreviated serves tend to hit less spin. Roddick as an example would contradict your claim. He hits his second serves harder and with more spin than most other pros. Yandell's analysis of Roddick's first serve showed higher speed and almost an equivalent RPM as Sampras.

Spin is going to be dependent on the approach angle of the racket and racket head speed more than the windup.

I've come to believe that the main difference between the abbreviated serve and the regular windup are mostly preferences about timing or feeling rushed. I prefer the abbreviated motion, though I learned with a traditional motion. The abbreviated motion can allow for a lower toss than the traditional windup because the racket and hand can travel a shorter distance into the drop.

The kinetic chain still needs to be timed correctly with the abbreviated motion. I've seen plenty of players who copy either Roddick or Sampras in the windup yet fail miserably to time the motion into the ball.

Yandell suggests that Roddick's serve is special not just because of his peculiar windup, but because he moves the racket quickly in and out of the drop and supinates the racket in the drop more than most players.

tennis_pr0
11-08-2009, 03:49 PM
I borrowed a radar gun today to do a little experiment with the two serves. I used the semi-abbreviated motion I have been experimenting with, and I also used my regular motion. The results were that both serves were identically the same,. Neither serve was faster or slower. I served over 100 balls, so I'm pretty sure my findings are correct.

gzhpcu
11-08-2009, 11:45 PM
Yandell once mentioned that a danger of the abbreviated drop is the tendency to get less of a racket drop than with the full cirucular windup. He pointed this out to me once, and showed how he worked with an ATP pro to improve his drop. The excercise consisted of making a couple of large circular loops with the hitting arm and then going into the drop. It is clearly not a problem for all players, but might be for some.

xFullCourtTenniSx
11-09-2009, 01:27 AM
I'm not sure anyone has done enough of a study to say that those who serve with abbreviated serves tend to hit less spin. Roddick as an example would contradict your claim. He hits his second serves harder and with more spin than most other pros. Yandell's analysis of Roddick's first serve showed higher speed and almost an equivalent RPM as Sampras.

Spin is going to be dependent on the approach angle of the racket and racket head speed more than the windup.

I've come to believe that the main difference between the abbreviated serve and the regular windup are mostly preferences about timing or feeling rushed. I prefer the abbreviated motion, though I learned with a traditional motion. The abbreviated motion can allow for a lower toss than the traditional windup because the racket and hand can travel a shorter distance into the drop.

The kinetic chain still needs to be timed correctly with the abbreviated motion. I've seen plenty of players who copy either Roddick or Sampras in the windup yet fail miserably to time the motion into the ball.

Yandell suggests that Roddick's serve is special not just because of his peculiar windup, but because he moves the racket quickly in and out of the drop and supinates the racket in the drop more than most players.

Well, in the same way as saying who else in the world has a shoulder as perfectly built to serve and pitch as Sampras - who the hell else in this world has as live of a frickin' arm for a serve as Roddick?! Roddick gets insane racket head speed from his natural talent the same as Sampras gets an insane spin angle (as well as insane amounts) from his.

Abbreviated is good as long as you follow BungaloBill's guidelines for injury prevention and generally keeping the motion short and quick so the racket keeps moving.

This motion was meant for a quick load and upward release. I really don't think someone can pull this off easily, if at all or even effectively, with a platform stance. If you do a quick load, pause, then release, you're better off using a traditional motion which will give you a gradual load into the release. I think it's mainly based on what kind of pace you like to go at and if your legs can constantly keep it going.

If anything, I think the abbreviated motion will give you more spin.

tennis_pr0
11-09-2009, 07:12 AM
You are completely correct. I spent a few hours yesterday comparing pace from the radar gun readings, and I also compared the kick/spin I got from both serves and I did not find any significant differences. In fact, I found almost no difference at all. I agree with the above post, as long as you are executing the serve properly, it has many advantages and lacks nothing the traditional serve has.

Cup8489
11-09-2009, 07:19 AM
I also disagree with saying that an abbreviated motion reduces pace and spin. I switched to an abbreviated motion partially out of curiosity, and partly to take some pressure from my shoulder. I have never served better in my life, and my kick serve now has some very real bite to it.

My serve, in fact, has become a major weapon of mine.

LeeD
11-09-2009, 08:10 AM
If you shorten the takeback while still following thru fully, the serve has almost the same pace with possibly a little more accuracy.
If you shorten the takeback AND the followthru, the serve should be weaker with better placement.
Since most of us cannot LENGTHEN the takeback or the followthru, because we use a long motion already, that doesn't apply.
If we are using a long smooth motion already, and the serve has punch, speed, and accuracy, changing it MIGHT cause physical strain leading to injuries...after all, we've been using a correct motion for years.
If we have a jerky, loopy, out of sync motion, shortening the motion CAN help smooth the whole swing out.....
We know the longer motion has more potential for power.
We know a shorter motion has more control.

Bungalo Bill
11-09-2009, 03:15 PM
Yandell once mentioned that a danger of the abbreviated drop is the tendency to get less of a racket drop than with the full cirucular windup. He pointed this out to me once, and showed how he worked with an ATP pro to improve his drop. The excercise consisted of making a couple of large circular loops with the hitting arm and then going into the drop. It is clearly not a problem for all players, but might be for some.

And I concur. One of the tendencies for players using this serve is to short-cicuit their complete relaxation in the shoulder area. When that happens the stretch is limited.