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Bobby Jr
12-29-2011, 04:12 PM
I posted this in another thread yesterday and noticed it'd had a few views so thought I'd make my first tips/instruction invited thread after all these years.

These are some serves from last week after a match. Not great quality footage/sound but passable for take 1. > http://youtu.be/GBUyeftGbXI (same vid re-upped on new youtube a/c)

I altered my serve majorly after a (non-tennis related) shoulder injury and surgery in my early 20s. After that I took a decade long break and started playing again about two years ago. Since then I've noticed I almost can't get into a traditional trophy pose - my arm just wont go there no matter how much I warm-up/stretch. I'm working with what I've got and think I've got a moderately workable solution.

Notes I've made already on this which skilled serve analysts might like to comment on:
- On the ad side here I tend to toss the ball to the right a little too much. It used to be much worse when I was younger and I only noticed the remnants of it once I did this video. It works for some players but with others, me included sometimes, can be prone to hooked ball-tosses. Ideally those tosses should be caught but sometimes in matches you just can't resist the urge to hit it.

- Likewise, I launch slightly to the right hand side. If I adjust my toss a little left it feels less natural on this ad court side.

Here also is a series of frames of a serve - I've always thought it makes it easier to explain certain things when related to a point in time. (note: frames aren't evenly timed - just where I could pause the video)
http://i39.tinypic.com/2n89b95.jpg
> A higher res version of the above pic: http://i40.tinypic.com/hwactu.jpg

*Served on artificial grass - man, is that stuff weird or what? I hadn't had much experience with it previously.

Bobby Jr
12-30-2011, 02:37 AM
Re-upped the video to a new youtube account specifically for my tennis vids. > http://youtu.be/GBUyeftGbXI

fRa
12-30-2011, 02:56 AM
Nice looking serve. I'm not much of an expert and you're probably a more skilled player than I am but what I felt when watching your video is that the actual hitting point is slightly off : this is picture 7 to 9.

What I mean is that it seems like you're not fully extended and holding back on the extension itself. I was thinking that, maybe, if your toss was slightly higher or if you would hit the ball slightly higher you would obtain a much more fluid end of stroke.

ski racer
12-30-2011, 10:53 AM
Try to push your hip out into a position like a bow, you'll get more pace and penetration.

http://www.fuzzyyellowballs.com/video-tennis-lessons/serve/advanced-serve-technique/leading-with-your-hip-when-serving/

Giannis
12-30-2011, 01:54 PM
Also, i think it would give you better balance and explosiveness if you were on your toes during the trophy pose.

TheOneHander
12-30-2011, 02:11 PM
I think the biggest thing I would change is your balance.

In picture 4, you look very solid. A stable stance, good trophy position, the works. However, in picture 5, one can tell that your weight has shifted onto your back foot. You still have a good explosive motion up and into the court, but your leg drive could be more aggressive if you were to press forward and shift most of your weight onto your right foot.

jstout
12-30-2011, 02:42 PM
I agree with TheOneHander that your balance is too far backwards. In picture 3 your back foot is slightly lifted and in 4 is higher. In picture 3 your front foot should also be up on the ball with the heel lifted. This moves your weight forward and allows your hips to slide forward.

Hopefully these links below to pdfs I made will work and illustrate players doing this:

Federer Serve (https://docs.google.com/viewer?a=v&pid=sites&srcid=ZGVmYXVsdGRvbWFpbnxwbWZid29ya3Nob3B8Z3g6ZWM0 YTYwNmJiNzVlMzY5)
Roddick Serve (https://docs.google.com/viewer?a=v&pid=sites&srcid=ZGVmYXVsdGRvbWFpbnxwbWZid29ya3Nob3B8Z3g6NzEy M2YzNjYxYmExODdhMQ)
Ivanisevic Serve (https://docs.google.com/viewer?a=v&pid=sites&srcid=ZGVmYXVsdGRvbWFpbnxwbWZid29ya3Nob3B8Z3g6NWFm NzBjZTY5ZjljMTQ2NA)

Bobby Jr
12-30-2011, 02:42 PM
I think the biggest thing I would change is your balance.

In picture 4, you look very solid. A stable stance, good trophy position, the works. However, in picture 5, one can tell that your weight has shifted onto your back foot. You still have a good explosive motion up and into the court, but your leg drive could be more aggressive if you were to press forward and shift most of your weight onto your right foot.
Nice comment TheOnehander. Thanks. I can see what you mean and can see that it's the case in all of the serves in the vid.

Leg drive is one of those things which is a lot harder to perfect than most realise in relation to the an efficient kinetic chain. I usually, as do many others, push off more with one leg so as to be moving forward into the court. Perhaps have overemphasised pushing with the rear leg and need to even it up.

When you view videos of someone like Federer do you see more even launch platform? I've always thought he looked quite back-leg dominant also on the launch - albeit with far more explosiveness than an old man like me.

Bobby Jr
12-30-2011, 02:49 PM
I agree with TheOneHander that your balance is too far backwards. In picture 3 your back foot is slightly lifted and in 4 is higher. In picture 3 your front foot should also be up on the ball with the heel lifted. This moves your weight forward and allows your hips to slide forward.
Do you mean the heel is lifted? In pic 3 and 4 the back foot is still firmly on the ground - just the heel in 3 is just starting to come up (pics 3 and 4 are very close in the sequence - unfortunately I was a little limited by where I could pause to take screen grabs). #4 is where I'm just starting to push - as you can see by my calf muscles tensing up.

So far as being up on the balls of my feet (more), I agree. The fact that my back foot is on the way to being up on the toes while my front foot is still flat shows the imbalance - perhaps stemming from pushing off more with the back foot as mentioned in my post directly above this one.

This ties in with what I said in my original post about fading to the right. As I lean that way it's obviously more likely my heels would be down longer instead of up on my toes.

Giannis also made a similar observation above. Cheers. *Adds to work-in-progress notes*

spacediver
12-31-2011, 08:47 AM
your mechanics from the shoulder up look fantastic. That is some serious snap you get. Absolutely beautiful.

Any chance you could post a side view?

You ever measured your serve speed?

TheOneHander
12-31-2011, 12:48 PM
When you view videos of someone like Federer do you see more even launch platform? I've always thought he looked quite back-leg dominant also on the launch - albeit with far more explosiveness than an old man like me.

Federer's launch, for instance, is more back foot dominant than others, but he still remains balanced throughout the shot. In your serve, you almost appear to be falling up-that is, back on to your back leg so that you can propel yourself upwards. This is most notable in frame 5, but it doesn't appear to be an issue in the ensuing frames. I'd just give it a try to see how it affects your serve.

spacediver
12-31-2011, 01:40 PM
Yea there seems to be something awry with your global weight transfer. This is readily diagnosed by the fact that your left leg extends laterally out to the left, which indicates that your weight is falling to the right.

Still, a side view would make things clearer I think.

Bobby Jr
12-31-2011, 02:05 PM
In your serve, you almost appear to be falling up-that is, back on to your back leg so that you can propel yourself upwards....I'd just give it a try to see how it affects your serve.
Thanks for this. ... to save effort while my eyes hurt from a late night overnight I'll reply to Spacediver's post. Let me know if you think I've missed your point somehow.

Yea there seems to be something awry with your global weight transfer. This is readily diagnosed by the fact that your left leg extends laterally out to the left, which indicates that your weight is falling to the right.

Still, a side view would make things clearer I think.
Sorry, can you clarify please? Are referring to my left leg extending laterally to the left during the pre or post-hit phase? Just making sure I follow what you mean. If it is in he pre-hit phase then read on...

So far as the global weight transfer comment goes I mentioned my weight falling to the right a little more than I'd like in my original post. Rectifying that would entail two changes surely - a change in balance (i.e. not fading out to the right - being more nimble and springy with my legs) and making a corresponding ball-toss adjustment slightly to the left.

We're basically on the same page yeah? Would that go some of the way to addressing what you are noticing?

djoko4thewin
12-31-2011, 02:08 PM
Hi, i like the serve core technique which does enable you to hit a good serve. My advice which you can take with a pinch of salt is other than what some people have said here e.g balance which can be natural and also helped by core exercises in the gym. But i think as you've mentioned.. the ball toss.. it may be to the right.. but not significantly.. to be perfect it could be slightly more to the left, a bit higher and more in front. I say this because then you'd load more on your legs and your weight would go into the court because at the moment it's not. Lastly i think your left arm could be up for a bit longer, maybe a little harsh but would help your shoulder rotation as it were and give you additional power. Hope this helps.

Bobby Jr
12-31-2011, 02:18 PM
your mechanics from the shoulder up look fantastic. That is some serious snap you get. Absolutely beautiful.

Any chance you could post a side view?

You ever measured your serve speed?
Thanks. And I was thinking it was hindered somewhat after surgery and years off playing (and old age :p). I'll do a side-view next chance I get.

So far as serve speed goes, when I was in my 20s I tried one of those speed gun booths at an ATP tournament and I did a couple in the 180km/h range - with their racquet as a walk-up. So nothing special really. That was with a completely different motion though - pin-point style and far less reliable.

I'm not concerned with speed as opposed to dependability and avoiding shoulder niggles.

spacediver
12-31-2011, 02:41 PM
Sorry, can you clarify please? Are referring to my left leg extending laterally to the left during the pre or post-hit phase? Just making sure I follow what you mean.

Post hit. The leg reflexively kicks back to counterbalance your fall into the court. You can tell a lot about the direction of the body's momentum by the angle at which the leg kicks back: the direction of the leg kick is opposite to the direction that the body is falling.

A backwards leg kick indicates that the body is falling forward, and it seems as if you have an element of this, but there also seems to be a fairly substantial lateral component which you might want to minimize.

Then again, safin and tsonga have large lateral components here, although these might be because they're doing kick serves (I can't tell)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lhrfqjokS_Q

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qCUQM50zZ9I

Here's what I strive for on a flat serve:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=InYd8IrFnkU

westcoast777
12-31-2011, 03:05 PM
Good looking serve. A little more knee bend would help.

Bobby Jr
12-31-2011, 03:26 PM
Post hit. The leg reflexively kicks back to counterbalance your fall into the court. You can tell a lot about the direction of the body's momentum by the angle at which the leg kicks back: the direction of the leg kick is opposite to the direction that the body is falling.

A backwards leg kick indicates that the body is falling forward, and it seems as if you have an element of this, but there also seems to be a fairly substantial lateral component which you might want to minimize.

Gotcha! I see what you mean. That kick-out seems to be pretty common on a lot of player's serves but, as you say, mine is the remnants of something happening earlier in the motion. Excellent observation.

Compared to a benchmark serve like Federer's you can see he kicks back - which relates to your point about the direction the body is moving. (don't you love how he tucks he legs up after push-off... it's almost cute ha ha)

Makes me think I should have filmed some deuce court serves now too. Doh!

kub
01-04-2012, 04:11 PM
serve is not bad at all :) ..maybe exaggerating the 'rocking' and weight transferal from back foot to front making sure your kicking off as much as possible into the court will give you more control...plus throwing the ball a tad higher will give you more time to consistently get into the correct trophy position correctly and help that ever so important energy transferral

charliefedererer
01-04-2012, 11:16 PM
You may want to check out my comments in the following simultaneously running serve thread for hints on how to that "archers's bow" position into your serve, and how to correct your tendency to swing your left leg leg around, rather than kicking it straight back: http://tt.tennis-warehouse.com/showthread.php?t=408012

(Also note in the thread a great pic of Djokovic with his heels well off the court in his trophy position.)

gt1329a
01-04-2012, 11:27 PM
It's hard to notice in the blur of the video, but it looks like you're arming it too much. Toss the ball higher and let that give you time to get your elbow pointed more toward the sky in frame #6 of the high res image.

The farther you point your elbow toward the sky at that stage, the more effortless the shot will feel and the more power you'll get out of it at the same time.

Bobby Jr
01-11-2012, 08:52 PM
You may want to check out my comments in the following simultaneously running serve thread for hints on how to that "archers's bow" position into your serve, and how to correct your tendency to swing your left leg leg around, rather than kicking it straight back: http://tt.tennis-warehouse.com/showthread.php?t=408012

(Also note in the thread a great pic of Djokovic with his heels well off the court in his trophy position.)
Hey Charliefederer, thanks for the comments. (was out of town for a week so hadn't been able to see the thread, let alone reply)

The comments in the other thread - definitely well worth reading and considering in light of my own serve. Thanks.

pushing_wins
01-13-2012, 01:25 PM
I posted this in another thread yesterday and noticed it'd had a few views so thought I'd make my first tips/instruction invited thread after all these years.

These are some serves from last week after a match. Not great quality footage/sound but passable for take 1. > http://youtu.be/GBUyeftGbXI (same vid re-upped on new youtube a/c)

I altered my serve majorly after a (non-tennis related) shoulder injury and surgery in my early 20s. After that I took a decade long break and started playing again about two years ago. Since then I've noticed I almost can't get into a traditional trophy pose - my arm just wont go there no matter how much I warm-up/stretch. I'm working with what I've got and think I've got a moderately workable solution.

Notes I've made already on this which skilled serve analysts might like to comment on:
- On the ad side here I tend to toss the ball to the right a little too much. It used to be much worse when I was younger and I only noticed the remnants of it once I did this video. It works for some players but with others, me included sometimes, can be prone to hooked ball-tosses. Ideally those tosses should be caught but sometimes in matches you just can't resist the urge to hit it.

- Likewise, I launch slightly to the right hand side. If I adjust my toss a little left it feels less natural on this ad court side.

Here also is a series of frames of a serve - I've always thought it makes it easier to explain certain things when related to a point in time. (note: frames aren't evenly timed - just where I could pause the video)
http://i39.tinypic.com/2n89b95.jpg
> A higher res version of the above pic: http://i40.tinypic.com/hwactu.jpg

*Served on artificial grass - man, is that stuff weird or what? I hadn't had much experience with it previously.

coming around too quickly if u ask me

frames 8 - 10 looks awkward

Limpinhitter
01-14-2012, 08:24 AM
Re-upped the video to a new youtube account specifically for my tennis vids. > http://youtu.be/GBUyeftGbXI

2 things I see: (1) Your toss could be a bit further forward so that your weight is transferred into the shot better. (2) You are getting a good shoulder turn and tilt in the windup, but, you are not rotating back through the shot in the upswing and finish. You also have a bit of an unusual swing path after contact, as if you're hitting around the left side of the ball rather than over the top. You have excellent pronation, but, the overall path of the racquet head looks a bit around the left side to me.

The ball toss may be contributing to the lack of forward shoulder turn and swing path. Try tossing the ball more in to the court, as if you were going to S&V and see if that makes a difference.

PS: Looking at your video stills, frame 9 shows the lack of shoulder turn in to the shot.

Bobby Jr
01-14-2012, 12:45 PM
2 things I see: (1) Your toss could be a bit further forward so that your weight is transferred into the shot better. (2) You are getting a good shoulder turn and tilt in the windup, but, you are not rotating back through the shot in the upswing and finish....
The ball toss may be contributing to the lack of forward shoulder turn and swing path. Try tossing the ball more in to the court, as if you were going to S&V and see if that makes a difference...
1 - toss issue noted previously (included by myself in the initial post) so it's something to work on for sure.

2 - I can see what you say about the shoulder rotation. Will have a go at it when I hit next.

Thanks for checking it out. This is good stuff to think about.

luishcorreia
01-14-2012, 01:03 PM
Listen.. we can always improve.. but it's a very good serve.

You can work on your balance and on your contact point. Try and use the legs more.

But I wouldnt mess with it too much.

stringertom
06-10-2014, 08:35 AM
Thread bump...for the education of those poasting in O&E's Bobby vs Maxi thread.

Fxanimator1
06-10-2014, 08:59 AM
It feels like you could keep your tossing arm up longer.

Maximagq
06-10-2014, 11:53 AM
Thread bump...for the education of those poasting in O&E's Bobby vs Maxi thread.

I think you should directly put the link to this thread on the one in Odds and Ends.