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View Full Version : Need to change my serving tecnique...


s_andrean
12-17-2009, 07:15 AM
Hey guys, just wanted some critique on my serve - i'm serving at about the 115-120 mark atm, fastest I've ever had officially recorded was 121mph..

Buttt my technique is giving me quite serious back pain, and I think I might be able to get a bit more power out of it, as I think I'm just using my arm atm.

All advice would be nice :)

Here's a video..

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZOyJx8-EWQ0

LeeD
12-17-2009, 07:46 AM
Yeah, you got no legs, no forward movement, hardly any twisting action of the torso, but strong arms, stomach, and good bow technique.
If you'd use some lower body, your serve would go another 10 easy, but mainly, using it allows you to use LESS upper body and get more consistent.
Your legs make less errors up and down, left and right, than your shoulders and arms, so try to incorporate them into you serve.
You serve like a QB in football, where you should be serving going more for distance and less for pure accuracy. Case in mind is javelin thrower, but they get to run forwards.
Maybe case is better with pitcher vs catcher. You toss like a catcher. A strong catcher with a great arm for sure, but still not using lower body.

featherlight
12-17-2009, 08:55 AM
try rotating your torso , bend your knees , too much arm

Nellie
12-17-2009, 09:06 AM
Try to be a little more forward with the toss - a lot of my back problems come from hitting too much overhead which requires me to bend back.

Djokovicfan4life
12-17-2009, 09:20 AM
Best. String job. Ever.

lancernrg
12-17-2009, 02:41 PM
Hey guys, just wanted some critique on my serve - i'm serving at about the 115-120 mark atm, fastest I've ever had officially recorded was 121mph..

Buttt my technique is giving me quite serious back pain, and I think I might be able to get a bit more power out of it, as I think I'm just using my arm atm.

All advice would be nice :)

Here's a video..

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZOyJx8-EWQ0


Great serves and nice motion. Don't listen to these haters, they're just old and jealous. As for the pain, suck it up...that's normal.

But if you insist on changing your form, Roddick or Blake are excellent motions to model after.

LeeD
12-17-2009, 05:23 PM
Haven't seen Blakes motion, but Roddick's is about the worst example you could ever pick to copy for service motion.
He's got a GREAT serve, but nobody can ever copy his motion and get good results, because...... YOU ARE YOU! You should pick out the good points of all the good servers, and use everything together to compliment YOUR body, kinetics, physic, makeup, mentality and desires.
You are not Roddick, you are not Courier. You are YOU.

gameboy
12-17-2009, 05:41 PM
Dude, you got some guns! Perhaps your back pain is not from tennis but from working out.

Heroesque
12-17-2009, 05:43 PM
You look pretty buff. Looks like you are only muscling the ball (exaggerating a little). Try to work your hips, legs, everything into the ball. You also need more forward momentum.

BobFL
12-17-2009, 06:51 PM
Hey guys, just wanted some critique on my serve - i'm serving at about the 115-120 mark atm, fastest I've ever had officially recorded was 121mph..

Buttt my technique is giving me quite serious back pain, and I think I might be able to get a bit more power out of it, as I think I'm just using my arm atm.

All advice would be nice :)

Here's a video..

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZOyJx8-EWQ0

Man, if you can serve 115-120 consistently then I cannot offer any advices to you :) A pint perhaps? ;) Dark guinness? :)

Seriously, you look pretty good to me. Yes, you muscle a bit but you muscle good, you know. I do the same since I am tall and strong....

leeroy85
12-17-2009, 07:21 PM
Nice arm motion. Suggestions:

1) Toss the ball a little bit higher so that you give your body more time to unwind into the serve. Also will give you time to bend knees more, bringing more legs into your servie motion.

2) Try to create more potential energy by having a more closed stance. That means your back foot needs to be behind the front foot more like McEnroe and Sampras.

3) Don't shift your feet until you are in the unwinding portion of the service motion. You shift your back foot forward causing lose of energy. Lots of pros do this like Hewitt, Willims sisters, but Federer, McEnroe, SAmpras do not.

4) Find a nice rhythm to the serve. Create energy, hold energy, release energy. Nice arm motion though.

user92626
12-17-2009, 08:15 PM
dude, i would be surprised if you didn't have a major back pain. You bend at the waist. That's why.

Keep your body as straight as possible. There's gonna be some swaying back and forth as we do the serve motion (so a little core/abs workout is needed), but bend at the knees when you get into the trophy posture. Perhaps like doing a limbo.

gameboy
12-18-2009, 02:29 PM
OK, being serious now...

Do you work on your core muscles when you work out? I mean your lower back, glutes, thighs, and stomach. Most guys overlook those parts and concentrate on arms, shoulders, and chest when they work out.

And when you do that you can put some tremendous stress on your back as your upper body is quite strong and generate a lot of stress, but your core muscles are not as developed so you develop pain. Based on your service motion, I strongly suspect that this is the case. You service motion is just all arms and shoulders with very little lower body.

I would highly recommend that you seek out some serious core strength workouts and develop those muscles to balance out your physique. You pain should decrease significantly.

Jaewonnie
12-18-2009, 02:39 PM
Those are 120s??

Hmm I dont wanna argue with a radar so..all I've got to say is that you're using maybe too much arm. More leg and core muscles would help out your technique.

lawlitssoo1n
12-18-2009, 02:41 PM
Best. String job. Ever.

more like stencil

s_andrean
12-21-2009, 03:37 AM
Those are 120s??

Hmm I dont wanna argue with a radar so..all I've got to say is that you're using maybe too much arm. More leg and core muscles would help out your technique.

The 2nd one was a 120.. the one after was a second serve.

Thanks for the feedback guys, getting some coaching tomorrow to help fix it :)

fuzz nation
12-21-2009, 05:56 AM
As for the pain, suck it up...that's normal.

No, it's not normal.

Work on a smooth motion that's not rushed or jerky feeling so that you can use it every day and rely on it. It's fine that you're nice and strong, but it's a good idea to keep your delivery loose for you best racquet speed.

Your momentum takes you forward into the court toward your target, which is a good sign and you still might be able to get your legs to contribute a little more. I like the idea of using a leg drive that goes up and forward as if I'm trying to throw my racquet over the far fence (on an outdoor court).

You can also try to work a little more rotation into your motion, but nothing dramatic. Again, in keeping with the idea of a throwing motion, you can turn away from your target just a bit as you set up to toss the ball so that you can turn back forward as you drive up through contact.

You should do fine, especially with good guidance from a decent coach. You can already pound the ball and you still have a couple of components to incorporate into your serve that will make it more efficient - and probably less likely to strain your back. Keep up the good work, pay attention to your placement so that your serve is a better weapon, and be smooth.

J011yroger
12-21-2009, 07:54 PM
I have/had a very similar problem to you. I have a chronic bad back, since I was 16, it would lock up on car rides over an hour, or after hard days at work, sometimes be bad for weeks at a time. I could always hit groundies, but sometimes couldn't serve. My motion was very taxing on my lower back, and I couldn't really trust myself to be able to serve on consecutive days, so I would serve one day, and the next day would pay the price. With a some consulting of my coaches (Alexander Technique guys) I started a couple of months ago to change my motion to one that wouldn't stress my back and legs as much by centering my weight more over my feet, and using my legs to get my back into position, rather than arching it. The key in addition to that was to mentally keep my back straight. You lift so if you can imagine how you prepare your back when doing squats/deadlifts where you kind of center yourself and position your back where it is going to stay, then use your legs.

So with the back straight, and legs used to position it, I made a conscious effort to toss further into the court on first and 2nd serves in order to give myself a bit more room to swing. The hardest part of the adjustment in the last two months has been locating the wide serves off the same ball toss straight in front of me, especially the wide kicker to the ad. Now that is coming around, and I can absolutely bring it on the flat ball. Last time I was on Radar was this summer, and I topped out at I think 127. Have not radared with new motion, but I think if anything I have gained avg if not top speed. Plus I can walk the next day, which is nice.

Here is the old motion.

http://vimeo.com/4678697

This is the first day I am trying the new one 2 months ago. Just easy 50-70% doubles type serving to get the feel of it.

http://vimeo.com/7378235

I don't have any good ones of me serving hard with new motion, put a few in at the very end of this vid, but it came out blurry/like crap. You can only tell by the sound that I am putting a charge into it. (I think the serving starts at 8:30ish if you can't stand to watch me lumbering around the court hitting caveman strokes)

http://vimeo.com/8293490

I will try to get some new video of me serving hard with new motion in the next couple weeks, I am interested to see it myself.

Good luck on making the change from a fellow bad back player.

J

charliefedererer
12-21-2009, 08:45 PM
Hey guys, just wanted some critique on my serve - i'm serving at about the 115-120 mark atm, fastest I've ever had officially recorded was 121mph..

Buttt my technique is giving me quite serious back pain, and I think I might be able to get a bit more power out of it, as I think I'm just using my arm atm.

All advice would be nice :)

Here's a video..

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZOyJx8-EWQ0

You've got to serve "up the mountain", not straight ahead to use your legs and torso better: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WlPVdppfYGs

Will Hamilton emphasizes the need to push your front hip out in order to stay balanced when you take the more agressive deep knee bend and core rotation twist as you assume the trophy pose to serve "up the mountain": http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WlPVdppfYGs You've already got the Safin arm movement, and if you get the bigger windup this deeper trophy pose will bring you, you'll have one huge serve.

onehandbh
12-21-2009, 11:16 PM
... My motion was very taxing on my lower back, and I couldn't really trust myself to be able to serve on consecutive days, so I would serve one day, and the next day would pay the price. With a some consulting of my coaches (Alexander Technique guys) I started a couple of months ago to change my motion to one that wouldn't stress my back and legs as much by centering my weight more over my feet, and using my legs to get my back into position, rather than arching it.

J

I've taken Alexander as well. Interesting, never thought about it for tennis,
but totally see how it could help. I do incorporate stuff I learned from
Alexander into my everyday life. I actually recommend it for everyone.
It's good for body awareness, posture, breath control, joint/muscle health,
voice, etc. I was studying w/ Jean-Louis Rodrigue.

s_andrean
12-24-2009, 05:00 AM
Right, the coaching was successful, my back didn't hurt after practise. :)

I've stopped arching at the back and I'm bending more at the knees, but my serve is slower now for some reason... :\

J011yroger
12-24-2009, 08:35 AM
Right, the coaching was successful, my back didn't hurt after practise. :)

I've stopped arching at the back and I'm bending more at the knees, but my serve is slower now for some reason... :\

Serve is most likely slower, because you are not comfortable with the changes in the motion. It takes a couple of months to really get used to it, and loosen up again.

Expect speed to steadily pick up as you groove the new motion.

J