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View Full Version : Serve: Jump before swinging the raquet?


syke
02-12-2012, 01:30 AM
Hi All,

A buddy of mine pointed out to me that I was jumping and swinging my racquet up at the same time during the serve. I would seek the community's opinions on this. Is this alright?

When both my feet are off the ground, my racquet is pretty much squared and in position to contact the ball.

When I watch Federer's serve, his racquet is still at his back when his feet had just lifted up.

Any tips on synchonizing or delaying my swing?

http://i163.photobucket.com/albums/t301/syke76/Untitled-1111.jpg

Chyeaah
02-12-2012, 02:21 AM
work on a higher ball toss.

WildVolley
02-12-2012, 07:05 AM
Proper timing is for the racket drop to be timed with the upward thrust of the legs. This causes more racket drop and greater muscle reflex with less effort.

If you are waiting until after the racket drop to jump, then your timing is off.

BevelDevil
02-12-2012, 09:28 AM
Keep your arm relaxed. Use your legs to power the serve.

If you focus on that, the swing/jump timing will work itself out.

Chas Tennis
02-12-2012, 10:45 AM
Research the stretch shortening cycle. Stretch a muscle first in the opposite direction to get more power from it, etc..

When the legs thrust upward with the racket and forearm oriented at about a right angle to the upper arm it stretches the internal shoulder rotator muscles. This stretch is then used to power much of the racket head speed. Therefore, the legs should have completed thrusting up with the racket down and back and the IRS muscles stretched.

BU-Tennis
02-12-2012, 08:01 PM
Pushing off with the legs will start the racket drop...
When you have fully pushed off then the arm starts to swing up into the shot...
Then when your arm is fully extended, you pronate and make contact with the ball
Its called the kinetic chain; using the bigger muscles to start moving the smaller muscles

I tried a LeeD style post, hope it works!!

syke
02-12-2012, 08:31 PM
work on a higher ball toss.

Fair dinkum...

SystemicAnomaly
02-12-2012, 08:37 PM
You buddy is correct. The arm extension and the leg extension should not happen at the same time. The legs extends first and then the arm extends upward (from the scratch position). This ensures that kinetic chain power is transferred is transferred effectively from the lower body to the upper body and racket arm.

The legs should start to extend as the racket head is dropping from the trophy position down to the scratch position. The legs are fully extended at the scratch position. As we see in the photo above, Federer has just left the ground as the right arm & racket head starts to move upward from the scratch position.

syke
02-12-2012, 08:40 PM
Pushing off with the legs will start the racket drop...
When you have fully pushed off then the arm starts to swing up into the shot...
Then when your arm is fully extended, you pronate and make contact with the ball
Its called the kinetic chain; using the bigger muscles to start moving the smaller muscles

I tried a LeeD style post, hope it works!!

That's something that has been puzzling me.
Most of the time, I am "forcing" a racquet drop with my arms, rather than pushing off my legs to initiate the racquet drop.

I now have developed an odd stop jerk with my swinging arm at trophy position, before continuing my racquet drop.

Should I continue the motion, allowing my racquet to drop with its weight pulling it down? Or should I push off my legs to allow the racquet drop?

Cheers!

SystemicAnomaly
02-12-2012, 08:41 PM
^^ The explanations by Wild Volley, Chas Tennis, and BU-Tennis are in keeping with my post above.

SystemicAnomaly
02-12-2012, 08:51 PM
That's something that has been puzzling me.
Most of the time, I am "forcing" a racquet drop with my arms, rather than pushing off my legs to initiate the racquet drop.

I now have developed an odd stop jerk with my swinging arm at trophy position, before continuing my racquet drop.

Should I continue the motion, allowing my racquet to drop with its weight pulling it down? Or should I push off my legs to allow the racquet drop?

Cheers!

The racquet drop is a combination of factors -- gravity, leg drive and body rotation (shoulder-over-shoulder rotation). Do not force the racquet drop -- allow it to happen. If the arm is relatively relaxed at the trophy phase, the gravity will assist the racquet head drop. You should have some shoulder tilt (front shoulder up) at the trophy phase. The legs drive upward and the trunk starts to rotate (shoulders level off and the shoulder-over-shoulder action commences). These actions all facilitate the racquet head drop.

charliefedererer
02-13-2012, 05:22 AM
Many will tell you the racquet drop happens on its own.

This is nonsense in you.

You have trained your muscles on how/when to do a racquet drop .

It will take a [I]concerted effort to break this habit.

Only after a period of concentrated practice will YOU develop the "muscle memory" - the coodination of proper firing of nerves and muscles in sequence.
Then, and only then, will this be a "natural", effortless movement.



To break your old habit and replace it with the proper sequence will require many hundreds of reps to acquire the new muscle memory.



Rather than wearing out your legs and shoulder with the first few hundred repetitions, do them off the court, not holding a racquet.

Get yourself into a trophy pose (with your steep shoulder angle, bow shape and fully coiled), holding your imaginary racquet.
Practice jumping up and letting your arm fall down into a "racquet drop".
Practice this many hundreds of times to break your old habit and instill the new motion.
[Will Hamilton from Fuzzy Yellow Balls has a nice video on the racquet drop that emphasizes the coordination of dropping the tossing arm from straight up with the racquet drop so both arms are moving in unison: How to Perform a Racket Drop http://www.5min.com/Video/How-to-Perform-a-Racket-Drop-165867207]

Only then should you attempt to do this in your back yard with your racquet. (Don't do this at the court - it will be too tempting to hit some serves. If there is a soft grassy area to jump on to save your knees so much the better.)
Practice this new motion dropping the arm/racquet with the leg push off hundreds of time.
You are now developing new "muscle memory".

Only then, try hitting some tennis balls. But hit them facing the back fence. If you try to hit them into the court on a serve, it will be all too easy to fall back into your old habit. It will take time to coordinate the timing of your toss and actually hitting the ball.
After hitting hundreds of balls into the back fence you will have finally developed new muscle memory.


Expect to several times have to go back to square one and start over again without a racquet, then with a racquet, to re-imprint the new muscle memory progression, before being successful.


Now you can start serving into the court. Don't worry that it will take many sessions to get the ball in consistently.
That's just the way it is.


Be honest with in how good shape you are in. Most could stand to do some body weight squats and then at least dumbell, if not barbell, squats to strengthen their legs, core and the muscles that coordinate their legs and core, in the coordinated, sequential neuro-muscular firing pattern of the squat that makes up the serve.

Don't blow out your shoulder practicing your new service maiton if your arm is not strong from doing the thrower's ten: http://www.muhlenberg.edu/pdf/main/athletics/athletic_training/throwers10.pdf


Good luck!

Djoker91
02-13-2012, 04:59 PM
I actually don't jump at all on my serves. Used to. Choose placement over power. My serve is now a weapon. Getting 1 or 2 first serves in just wasn't cutting it. Now I get most in and I've been holding A TON more percentage wise on my serve. Nice and easy.

LeeD
02-13-2012, 05:06 PM
Kinetic chain needs one part to start first, then linking onto other's, the chain of events starts.
Feet pushoff starts the swing, so feet have to leave the ground before you start the upwards swing of a serve.

Kevo
02-13-2012, 05:50 PM
Try not to jump at all for a while. Jumping into the serve is overrated for most people. I think a lot of guys end up in the same place you are. They jump up and then hit the ball and the jump actually hurts the serve instead of helping.

Maybe try a very slight knee bend and lean into the court with your left hip (assuming you are right handed.) Try to time the swing so that it happens right before you fall into the court.

I agree with charliefed that you will have to figure out something to proactively break the bad habit.

syke
02-13-2012, 09:03 PM
charliefederer, thanks once again for your invaluable advise.

I still consider myself a novice when it comes to the serve despite years of playing tennis. Therefore, I am taking great efforts in ensuring I'm getting it right the first time.

I have been through a couple of coaches, but none of them were technically satisfying for me. In fact I was getting better information on the internet. Only problem is filtering the BS from the real stuff.

You are absolutely right about the knee during practicing, I have bending them so much these 4 months, taking the stairs had never felt so daunting.

I am still working on those squats daily.. :)

Many will tell you the racquet drop happens on its own.

This is nonsense in you.

You have trained your muscles on how/when to do a racquet drop .

It will take a [I]concerted effort to break this habit.

Only after a period of concentrated practice will YOU develop the "muscle memory" - the coodination of proper firing of nerves and muscles in sequence.
Then, and only then, will this be a "natural", effortless movement.



To break your old habit and replace it with the proper sequence will require many hundreds of reps to acquire the new muscle memory.



Rather than wearing out your legs and shoulder with the first few hundred repetitions, do them off the court, not holding a racquet.

Get yourself into a trophy pose (with your steep shoulder angle, bow shape and fully coiled), holding your imaginary racquet.
Practice jumping up and letting your arm fall down into a "racquet drop".
Practice this many hundreds of times to break your old habit and instill the new motion.
[Will Hamilton from Fuzzy Yellow Balls has a nice video on the racquet drop that emphasizes the coordination of dropping the tossing arm from straight up with the racquet drop so both arms are moving in unison: How to Perform a Racket Drop http://www.5min.com/Video/How-to-Perform-a-Racket-Drop-165867207]

Only then should you attempt to do this in your back yard with your racquet. (Don't do this at the court - it will be too tempting to hit some serves. If there is a soft grassy area to jump on to save your knees so much the better.)
Practice this new motion dropping the arm/racquet with the leg push off hundreds of time.
You are now developing new "muscle memory".

Only then, try hitting some tennis balls. But hit them facing the back fence. If you try to hit them into the court on a serve, it will be all too easy to fall back into your old habit. It will take time to coordinate the timing of your toss and actually hitting the ball.
After hitting hundreds of balls into the back fence you will have finally developed new muscle memory.


Expect to several times have to go back to square one and start over again without a racquet, then with a racquet, to re-imprint the new muscle memory progression, before being successful.


Now you can start serving into the court. Don't worry that it will take many sessions to get the ball in consistently.
That's just the way it is.


Be honest with in how good shape you are in. Most could stand to do some body weight squats and then at least dumbell, if not barbell, squats to strengthen their legs, core and the muscles that coordinate their legs and core, in the coordinated, sequential neuro-muscular firing pattern of the squat that makes up the serve.

Don't blow out your shoulder practicing your new service maiton if your arm is not strong from doing the thrower's ten: http://www.muhlenberg.edu/pdf/main/athletics/athletic_training/throwers10.pdf


Good luck!

syke
02-13-2012, 09:16 PM
I actually don't jump at all on my serves. Used to. Choose placement over power. My serve is now a weapon. Getting 1 or 2 first serves in just wasn't cutting it. Now I get most in and I've been holding A TON more percentage wise on my serve. Nice and easy.

Djoker, the jump comes pretty natural to me. I am kinda confident of my 2nd serve, it's my 1st serve (flat) I have most problems with (approx 50% wise, 70-80mph). Couple that with the height issue, it's just way too easy for my opponent. Darn, I have no doubt my FH is way faster than my serve.

I believe with me jumping so late in my serve, I am not making good use of the additional height advantage.

bhupaes
02-13-2012, 09:47 PM
Charliefederer makes excellent points, as usual.

As regards the jump, I'm with the camp that believes it's a side effect of good mechanics. Once the trophy position is reached, with the racquet pointing up, I believe pros literally throw the racquet back into the drop position with a combination of external shoulder rotation and forearm supination. I say "throw" because I don't think gravity alone can pull the racquet down that fast, although gravity definitely does provide assist. This causes the butt cap to point up ("at the ball"), pulls the elbow up, and loads the wrist and shoulders. At this point, the body is launched abruptly upward and forward, causing the racquet/hand system to lag and the racquet drops some more before it is pulled upwards as a consequence. One doesn't think about the legs, but, of course, the body cannot be jerked upwards without the legs pushing off... and this is what causes the server to leave the ground. IMO, it is easier to make the serve work properly with this visualization in mind than one where the focus is on the knee bend and jump.

syke
02-14-2012, 08:42 AM
I have been messing around with my take back, however it's far from ideal...

Chyeaah's suggestion of tossing the ball higher seems to be working. Cheers mate...

Alrighty.. Here's my 4 month old swing...

Shorter back swing
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QX8_OH4f7zI
Longer back swing
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wSr6qHEazF4

Do comment if there are areas for improvement. Ta....

Chas Tennis
02-14-2012, 10:30 AM
"............ A buddy of mine pointed out to me that I was jumping and swinging my racquet up at the same time during the serve. ........................."

Did your friend see it in your high speed videos or by watching you? Do you see this in your videos?

In the first video I guess I see it. I think the leg thrust should precede the racket's going up. But shoulder-over-shoulder motion is also occurring to raise the racket. I'd have to study the pro videos to see how they are timing that part of their serves. The racket should be up with a semi-straight arm for the final internal shoulder rotation that supplies most racket head speed. Careful attempting that as if the arm or racket are at the wrong angle it can stress the elbow.

I'd say that in the second video you are off the ground and I can't see the racket going up.

Video Issues. The motion blur is large, blurry racket. The lighting level does not look high. To improve, shoot in direct sunlight and hope that the camera's AUTO exposure control adjusts the shutter to a faster shutter speed. ? What camera are you using?

Jello Effect. For doing accurate timing in high speed video the Jello Effect distortions produced by the camera under similar circumstance to the video taken should be tested. Video lines are continuously read out by a "rolling shutter" technique so that the image is not all captured at the same time. [I believe that the Jello Effect distortions are large for the iPhone cameras.] See all JE tests for the Casio FH100. http://vimeo.com/user6237669/videos

LeeD
02-14-2012, 02:20 PM
Syke...
Looking good, really.
For more control and replicability, maybe bend the hitting elbow sooner before you trophy. Think of a CATCHER throwing the ball, not the pitcher, especially NOT the outfielder.

syke
02-14-2012, 05:19 PM
Chas, well it was mucho worse before these videos. :(
Here I've tried tossing the ball higher while making a conscious effort in attempting to leap upwards before the start of my arm swing.

You are right about the video quality. It suxs big time. These were just taken right after work, hence the "somber" backdrop. :) I don't have any special cam, just an iPhone I had with me then. Post processing in iMovie didn't help either, limiting the vid in landscape mode.

A proper high FPS camera will have to wait. The lady isn't too happy with my constant racquet buying spree.

"............ A buddy of mine pointed out to me that I was jumping and swinging my racquet up at the same time during the serve. ........................."

Did your friend see it in your high speed videos or by watching you? Do you see this in your videos?

In the first video I guess I see it. I think the leg thrust should precede the racket's going up. But shoulder-over-shoulder motion is also occurring to raise the racket. I'd have to study the pro videos to see how they are timing that part of their serves. The racket should be up with a semi-straight arm for the final internal shoulder rotation that supplies most racket head speed. Careful attempting that as if the arm or racket are at the wrong angle it can stress the elbow.

I'd say that in the second video you are off the ground and I can't see the racket going up.

Video Issues. The motion blur is large, blurry racket. The lighting level does not look high. To improve, shoot in direct sunlight and hope that the camera's AUTO exposure control adjusts the shutter to a faster shutter speed. ? What camera are you using?

Jello Effect. For doing accurate timing in high speed video the Jello Effect distortions produced by the camera under similar circumstance to the video taken should be tested. Video lines are continuously read out by a "rolling shutter" technique so that the image is not all captured at the same time. [I believe that the Jello Effect distortions are large for the iPhone cameras.] See all JE tests for the Casio FH100. http://vimeo.com/user6237669/videos

syke
02-14-2012, 06:59 PM
Syke...
Looking good, really.
For more control and replicability, maybe bend the hitting elbow sooner before you trophy. Think of a CATCHER throwing the ball, not the pitcher, especially NOT the outfielder.

Thanks! I wholeheartedly agree with your assessment, there's just not enough bend on my hitting elbow.

Questions for folks...

Should my racquet rest at a more upright position, pointing towards the sky/ball as compared to the slanted angle you see in the videos?

Should my gripping fist stay as close to my body, and just slightly above my shoulders, facilitating a deeper racquet drop? Or is keeping my hitting elbow bent at 90 degrees sufficient?

At ball contact, should my body be kept more sideways? Or is it fine as it is now?

At trophy position, are my knees bent too far forward? Should I be leaning more backwards?

LeeD
02-15-2012, 03:12 PM
Racket can point straight up if you stop at trophy. If it's a low toss continous motion, racket never stops.
Elbow for sure should be bent more than 90 degrees....except for Djokovic.
At trophy, waist up bends back, while hips down has loaded on the balls of your feet and moving forwards...preloading, hitting upwards.
Your motion looks good. Practice it, as is. Knee bend and shoulder facing is personal and adjusts where you want to hit the ball.

10sLifer
02-16-2012, 12:29 AM
Hi All,

A buddy of mine pointed out to me that I was jumping and swinging my racquet up at the same time during the serve. I would seek the community's opinions on this. Is this alright?

When both my feet are off the ground, my racquet is pretty much squared and in position to contact the ball.

When I watch Federer's serve, his racquet is still at his back when his feet had just lifted up.

Any tips on synchonizing or delaying my swing?

http://i163.photobucket.com/albums/t301/syke76/Untitled-1111.jpg


If swinging fast. Force of swing will pull you off of the ground. If you jumped first you'd be shooting a cannon from a canoe!