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View Full Version : It's still a mess, and I look like a robot...


Ben Hadd
09-18-2011, 11:58 AM
...but they are landing in using continental grip. My time frame to hopefully have this right is by next summer. But I still have to use something for now. Relearning continental grip instead of eastern for serving isn't easy! My mechanics look goofy as ever, hopefully that will win me some points!

At this point my shot with the continental grip is consistent and can use spin. It's still lacking power, but that will come in due time. Here's what I've done so far. Not a huge improvement, but my grip is correct. (i think! :P )

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9DzKSe4UL-E

My right foot still comes around, trophy pose is lacking, I don't use my knees, and I look like an androids corpse. Am I pronating? What should I focus on next? I can do archers bow somewhat, or use my knees somewhat (has a hitch movement start), but can't do them together, lol! Is it ok to practise them seperately and string them later?

Honestly, I'm just happy at this point to finally be able to get it over the net with continental grip.

LeeD
09-18-2011, 02:22 PM
Turn more sideways.
That pistol grip is NOT a continental. Go more hammer, go more continental like you do on all volleys and overheads.
At trophy, you pancake, don't. Point racket straight up at the sky.
So when you first hit true conti, you slice short and too wide. PRONATE to correct it.

dozu
09-18-2011, 04:51 PM
use FYB progression and start over

syc23
09-18-2011, 05:24 PM
Agree on studying up the FYB site serve fundamentals - it's certainly helped develop my serve and in addition, I have taken some lessons which has made a massive difference in correcting my service motion.

TennisCoachFLA
09-18-2011, 05:35 PM
I agree with dozu, you have to start over. There just isn't much worth saving with your motion, everything is pretty much wrong, starting with your stance. I would start with some basic flexibility work, no reason for a guy your age to be that stiff.

Then either spring for a few lessons or follow dozu's advice and use FYB progression videos and go one step at a time.

gregor.b
09-18-2011, 05:43 PM
Agree with the 3 last responses.Not a lot to take out of what you got there except that some go in.Try starting with the fundamentals then practice,practice,practice.Good luck!

Fuji
09-18-2011, 07:39 PM
It looks a lot better then your other video that is for sure!

It may be a silly question, but have you practiced just shadow swinging your serve motion? It seems as though your still a bit robotic with your motion like you said! Shadow swinging might work out some the hitches without the pressure of hitting the ball! :)

-Fuji

TennisCoachFLA
09-18-2011, 07:52 PM
It looks a lot better then your other video that is for sure!

It may be a silly question, but have you practiced just shadow swinging your serve motion? It seems as though your still a bit robotic with your motion like you said! Shadow swinging might work out some the hitches without the pressure of hitting the ball! :)

-Fuji

With all due respect, what the heck can he shadow? Shadowing horrible technique is just going to make things worse.

Fuji
09-18-2011, 07:58 PM
With all due respect, what the heck can he shadow? Shadowing horrible technique is just going to make things worse.

No offense taken! :) Shadow swing a cleaner technique? He just looks overly stiff right now, I think without the pressure of hitting a ball it could create a lot more fluidity in his motion. I think being filmed PLUS having to get the shot in can cause a bit more nervousness in his stroke, rather then in the privacy of his own home where he can swing with a bit more loosely! :)

-Fuji

mightyrick
09-18-2011, 08:01 PM
There's still way too much bad habit in your swing. Go pay a coach for a single lesson to show you the basic serve fundamentals. I think those bad habits may be too far ingrained for you to bail yourself out on your own.

guitarplayer
09-18-2011, 10:31 PM
You are all arm and no body rotation. Also, put on a shirt man!

Cheetah
09-18-2011, 11:17 PM
Do you yourself a solid favor and take a lesson. It will be well worth it. I've taken 2 lessons this week and I got so much from it I would have paid $500 for all the information I received. Nothing like 1on1 attention from a pro.

charliefedererer
09-20-2011, 11:33 AM
The serve starts with the toss. Work on your tossing motion first. Work on tossing into a strong trophy position (pics 1-4). [If you don't get the beginning right, there is no way to get the rest of the serve to come out right.]

http://www.mftenniscoaching.co.uk/Motion%20Expert/federer.jpg

You have to start with the knees at least slightly bent, and resist letting your body go up [and straightening your knees] as you bring your tossing arm up. Instead, as your tossing arm is going up, your body actually should be slightly going down as you bend your knees and start turning away from the ball (coiling). [So just like you learned to walk and chew bubble gum at the same time, you have to learn how to toss with your arm as your are getting your body into the trophy position with knee bend, coil, and a bow shape.)

The toss does not end at ball release. Keep slowly bringing the tossing arm up and up and up until you have it pointed straight up. (pics 3, 4.)

With the arm straight up, let your body weight sink down [bend your knees] and form yourself into a bow shape as seen from the side. (pic 4).



The power in the serve does not come from the arm. The power comes from reversing the stored energy in the knee bend, coil, steep shoulder angle and reversed bow shape that is all stored in pic 4.


[The whole reason you changed your grip to continental is to have that stored energy in pic 4 - you have to stand sideways with a continental grip to then unleash all the stored energy.]


If you can get to pic 4, you can use the stored energy as follows:

leg push off (pics 5,6)
uncoiling the upper body (pics 6,7)
shoulder over shoulder action - reversal of front and back shoulders (pics 5-7)
reversal of the bow shape (pics 5, 6)


So forget about hitting the ball, and concentrate on getting into that strong trophy pose in pic 4.

Here are the videos that can show you how to do it:

Tennis Serve Toss - How to Hold the Ball http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M8kynEzufNE
Federer Murray Haas & more ball toss common threads http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lIF-UaRUd6k
Tennis Serve Tossing Motion Tempo http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CeZp90h-Ar8&feature=channel
Sampras J toss http://web.archive.org/web/20071023184108/www.operationdoubles.com/sampras_serve3.gif
Tennis Lesson: Serve Tips: Lead with the Hip http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HgeYmEScfgQ
Robin Söderling serve slowmotion http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a56pvP1i6x8

Good luck!

SystemicAnomaly
09-20-2011, 12:54 PM
There's still way too much bad habit in your swing. Go pay a coach for a single lesson to show you the basic serve fundamentals. I think those bad habits may be too far ingrained for you to bail yourself out on your own.

It will undoubtedly take more than 1 lesson (or did you mean private lessons?). The lessons should help you correct your mechanics and provide a motion that would be better suited to shadow swinging. After a few lessons, the FYB progression might be more useful

zapvor
09-20-2011, 01:12 PM
...but they are landing in using continental grip. My time frame to hopefully have this right is by next summer. But I still have to use something for now. Relearning continental grip instead of eastern for serving isn't easy! My mechanics look goofy as ever, hopefully that will win me some points!

At this point my shot with the continental grip is consistent and can use spin. It's still lacking power, but that will come in due time. Here's what I've done so far. Not a huge improvement, but my grip is correct. (i think! :P )

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9DzKSe4UL-E

My right foot still comes around, trophy pose is lacking, I don't use my knees, and I look like an androids corpse. Am I pronating? What should I focus on next? I can do archers bow somewhat, or use my knees somewhat (has a hitch movement start), but can't do them together, lol! Is it ok to practise them seperately and string them later?

Honestly, I'm just happy at this point to finally be able to get it over the net with continental grip.

ok you must be a beginner. too many things going on. i would just say this-you still need to get to continental grip. you are not quite there yet. if you look in my thread you can see me take a few serves. not the best angle though

zapvor
09-20-2011, 01:12 PM
It will undoubtedly take more than 1 lesson (or did you mean private lessons?). The lessons should help you correct your mechanics and provide a motion that would be better suited to shadow swinging. After a few lessons, the FYB progression might be more useful

agreed. the OP needs more lessons more than anything. after he has the motion down he can consult stuff like FYB

rkelley
09-20-2011, 01:36 PM
I'm with the crowd that says to just start over. The continental grip is right, but there's not much else worth saving.

Take some time off from playing matches and invest in your serve. You'll be glad you did.

mightyrick
09-20-2011, 06:30 PM
It will undoubtedly take more than 1 lesson (or did you mean private lessons?). The lessons should help you correct your mechanics and provide a motion that would be better suited to shadow swinging. After a few lessons, the FYB progression might be more useful

Sorry, I meant private lessons. If he gets a coach in a private lesson to guide him through the mechanics, step-by-step, I think it would be well worth it. I definitely agree that *after* the lessons, using something akin to FYB videos would be useful.

Those private lessons have to come first, though.

Unfortunately, seeing OP's motion, he never learned how to throw a ball really hard/far (baseball, cricket, softball). Otherwise, he might not need a coach and could probably learn the mechanics himself.

Ben Hadd
09-20-2011, 08:01 PM
Unfortunately, seeing OP's motion, he never learned how to throw a ball really hard/far (baseball, cricket, softball). Otherwise, he might not need a coach and could probably learn the mechanics himself.

SO far from correct. I just can't seem to incorporate it in tennis.

dParis
09-20-2011, 08:50 PM
The serve, you can change and get better. But you are pretty much stuck with the tattoos. :p

zapvor
09-20-2011, 09:10 PM
SO far from correct. I just can't seem to incorporate it in tennis.

i dont know...i think he has a point. your motion is completly unlike any type of throw....

Timbo's hopeless slice
09-20-2011, 10:52 PM
SO far from correct. I just can't seem to incorporate it in tennis.

well, get yourself to a trophy pose and throw the racquet head at teh ball, then...

sabala
09-20-2011, 11:52 PM
First thing I noticed is what charliefederer mentioned.. Your body is going up with the toss. When you start your swing your body is going down instead of up into the ball.

Think of your arm as a lever. Lever goes up - body goes down. Just practice that motion without a racket or ball for a while until you get a better feel for the timing.

Lever goes up - body goes down

It will be hard for you I think, to get rid of that urge to bend too early, (for toss instead of the swing) but like everything else, practice is what will get ya there!

The serve starts with the toss so you really gotta get that down - you'll get it soon enough though I bet!

Ben Hadd
09-21-2011, 01:06 AM
i dont know...i think he has a point. your motion is completly unlike any type of throw....

Just because my serve isn't correct, doesn't mean I can't throw a ball, or throw very hard for that matter. Maybe, just maybe, it means I don't know how to serve properly? That's my best guess. When I serve, it looks nothing like when I throw a baseball. My "new" serve is from messing up years of improper technique, and overthinking constantly now, trying to rework to many things I'm not comfortable with, and I get terrible nerves.

I am not new to the game, and my old, ugly serve has won me many matches with consistency and power.
http://youtu.be/kX5IviU2O2w
Now, I would prefer to correct all that bad motion.

Thanks for all of the advice from everyone, I am going to schedule some one on one at the club with a pro to help correct my technique, since I am so far away from where I need to be.

Ben Hadd
09-21-2011, 01:08 AM
The serve, you can change and get better. But you are pretty much stuck with the tattoos. :p

I ended up getting a sleve tattoo'd to cover up a tattoo mistake from my teens. I will probaly end up with more =) Even though my wife seems to think I have enough now ;)

morten
09-21-2011, 02:00 AM
You are all arm and no body rotation. Also, put on a shirt man!

+1 . lol :)

mightyrick
09-21-2011, 10:49 AM
SO far from correct. I just can't seem to incorporate it in tennis.

If you were taught how to throw a ball hard or far, then you shouldn't even need to be taught how to swing a racquet hard/fast. It should come naturally. It is the pretty much same motion. Looking at your serve motion, it looks like someone who doesn't know how to throw hard or fast.

If you want to try something... stand at the baseline and try to serve a ball into the far fence -- without hitting the ground. Video that. Look at your motion. Does it change? Serving requires pretty much the same level of swing speed and racquet head speed.

When you serve, the racquet handle should be treated just like a baseball. You hold it with the same tension. Release point is the same. Kinetic chain is almost identical.

If you really know how to throw a ball hard and/or far, I'm not sure why the connection would be so difficult for you to make.

SystemicAnomaly
09-21-2011, 03:18 PM
If you were taught how to throw a ball hard or far, then you shouldn't even need to be taught how to swing a racquet hard/fast. It should come naturally. It is the pretty much same motion. Looking at your serve motion, it looks like someone who doesn't know how to throw hard or fast...

One might be tempted to believe that this is true -- it is NOT. The serve is a throwing motion but throwing a ball and "throwing" a racket are actually quite a bit different. The racket is obviously much longer and heavier. The swingweight of a ball is comparatively insignificant to the SW of a racket.

I play tennis and other racquet sports primarily left-handed. However, I naturally throw at ball right-handed. My lefty ball throw is rather awkward and has always been inferior to my righty throw. I can throw (literally) a tennis racket with either hand. I've been working on a right-handed serve for quite a while. However, my righty serve still feels very awkward.

I have taught a number of players who throw with one hand but play tennis with the other. This would appear to be a clear indication that the ability to throw a ball does not necessarily translate to serving a tennis ball.

mightyrick
09-21-2011, 06:50 PM
One might be tempted to believe that this is true -- it is NOT. The serve is a throwing motion but throwing a ball and "throwing" a racket are actually quite a bit different. The racket is obviously much longer and heavier. The swingweight of a ball is comparatively insignificant to the SW of a racket.

I play tennis and other racquet sports primarily left-handed. However, I naturally throw at ball right-handed. My lefty ball throw is rather awkward and has always been inferior to my righty throw. I can throw (literally) a tennis racket with either hand. I've been working on a right-handed serve for quite a while. However, my righty serve still feels very awkward.

I have taught a number of players who throw with one hand but play tennis with the other. This would appear to be a clear indication that the ability to throw a ball does not necessarily translate to serving a tennis ball.

Ok, I can see your point here. Definitely valid. If OP is having an issue due to mixed-handedness... then this is definitely a good reason for such a thing. I've known pitchers who throw right-handed but bat lefty. So I could definitely see it. Unfortunately in tennis, you are pretty much forced to serve with the same arm that you prefer to hit a forehand with.

And while I do agree that there are some obvious physical differences in throwing a ball and throwing a racquet, I still contend that they are not that much different. The mechanical components are extremely similar. And I'm saying this as a person who was a baseball pitcher in my very young years. The feeling I get from throwing a ball and hitting a serve is close to identical -- from a mechanics perspective.

But lots of people don't know how to really throw a ball. I was a pitcher in little league up through my teens. So I learned what it feels like to really put your body into a throw. So does anyone who played baseball a lot. I'm sure quarterbacks have the same experience. So does anyone who ever played volleyball a lot.

rkelley
09-22-2011, 09:12 AM
To the OP:

I looked at the video of your old serve. You were getting them in and they had some pop. Up to a certain level that serve will be effective. I think the old serve is better than the new one that you're using. However beyond that level you'll find that your old serve won't work so well. And just to be specific, the difference between a "better serve" and your old serve would be:

- Even at the same pace a better serve is going to have spin. The spin helps increase consistency and makes the ball harder to return. There's more action on it.

- You have nice control on placement with your old serve. However because of your motion you telegraph exactly where the serve is going to go before the racquet strikes the ball. A better player will pick up on that and you'll find that they always seem to be where you serve is no matter how well it's placed.

- Ultimately a better serve will be faster because the spin that you can impart is key for pulling the ball down and getting it to land in.

So here's the choice that you have to make: You can stay with your old serve and it will work well up to a certain point, or you can start from scratch and learn a serve that uses the swing path as well as the grip that higher level players use. You'll have to take a few steps back in order to take more steps forward in the future.

If you go the second route I'd advise you to not even worry about hitting a ball hard or even getting it in at first. First you have to relearn just the basic body position and swing for your serve. Use the many resources on the web, or get a book (Coaching Mastery is good, but there are others too). Start slow without a ball. Learn the basic swing. Watch yourself in a mirror or make a video. Just do it slow and try to engrain the right motions.

When you add a ball, you might start with one of those big, yellow foamy balls. Everything moves more slowly with those balls and that's what you want. You should find that it will be very natural to hit a serve with some slice and some topspin (top/slice). Don't fight this and try to hit the big flat one. That top/slice serve is key. Get that serve to feel comfortable.

That basic motion that you'll be learning is how every pro serves. Eventually, if you work at it, you'll be able to hit it harder than your old serve, with spin and placement.

zapvor
09-22-2011, 10:27 AM
Just because my serve isn't correct, doesn't mean I can't throw a ball, or throw very hard for that matter. Maybe, just maybe, it means I don't know how to serve properly? That's my best guess. When I serve, it looks nothing like when I throw a baseball. My "new" serve is from messing up years of improper technique, and overthinking constantly now, trying to rework to many things I'm not comfortable with, and I get terrible nerves.

I am not new to the game, and my old, ugly serve has won me many matches with consistency and power.
http://youtu.be/kX5IviU2O2w
Now, I would prefer to correct all that bad motion.

Thanks for all of the advice from everyone, I am going to schedule some one on one at the club with a pro to help correct my technique, since I am so far away from where I need to be.

i was merely trying to point the obvious. again, i dont think you understand the idea of throwing then. maybe you can throw a baseball 100mph, but you cant do it with a different object in hand. just weird that's all.

your old ugly serve proves nothing.

in any case i am glad you decided to improve instead of just 'winning many maches with consistency and power"