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View Full Version : Please Critique my Serve (+ Video)


bhallic24
11-16-2012, 05:23 PM
Just wanted to see what I could do to improve. Comments/advice/suggestions welcome. Thanks a bunch.


I have a problem with keeping my tossing arm up. Don't know if there's some catch phrase to que my mind to keep it up.


Side View

http://youtu.be/Yd-0NkAxgI8

if you like it in slowMo...
http://youtu.be/Z-y6xi9psRw


... I can upload other views (front/back) if that helps as well.

LeeD
11-16-2012, 07:01 PM
Nice strong, fast, replicable swing.
But I'll bet the consistency on fast serves is lacking.
You don't adopt the archer's bow, to get your swing going upwards into the ball, instead of just towards the target. As a result, you spend less of your swing before hitting the ball, more of the swing after hitting.
Meaning, you have little high elbow, high hand after you've hit the ball.
If you could just arch upwards at the trophy, raising your toss shoulder, you'd have a consistent strong fast serve.

Xizel
11-16-2012, 08:20 PM
That archer's bow is a more vertical shoulder orientation, meaning the hitting shoulder dips as the tossing shoulder rises. The hips stretch inwards towards the court and the knees bend to better facilitate that shoulder orientation.

http://i.istockimg.com/file_thumbview_approve/10838379/2/stock-illustration-10838379-tennis-serve.jpg

zapvor
11-16-2012, 08:44 PM
you also have a huge hitch

JohnB
11-17-2012, 08:15 AM
After studying your video for a while, what stands out for me are; you are bringing up your hitting arm before you bring up your tossing arm. And, Maybe because you are focussing on keeping your tossing arm up, you are not actively pulling it around and inward prior to the hit. And your wrist and elbow position reminds me of this video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GljqJv84tTI

bhallic24
11-17-2012, 11:41 AM
Nice strong, fast, replicable swing.
But I'll bet the consistency on fast serves is lacking.
You don't adopt the archer's bow, to get your swing going upwards into the ball, instead of just towards the target. As a result, you spend less of your swing before hitting the ball, more of the swing after hitting.
Meaning, you have little high elbow, high hand after you've hit the ball.
If you could just arch upwards at the trophy, raising your toss shoulder, you'd have a consistent strong fast serve.

Yea I can see that my trophy pose is off. When I look at the pro's side views they seem to shift their hips forward into the court almost when they assume the archer's bow. I tried to do that but then lost my balance. Is it something ot do with my feet too close together? Or not pointed the right way?

When I looked at my video, my feet were a good shoulder's width apart.

bhallic24
11-17-2012, 11:43 AM
After studying your video for a while, what stands out for me are; you are bringing up your hitting arm before you bring up your tossing arm. And, Maybe because you are focussing on keeping your tossing arm up, you are not actively pulling it around and inward prior to the hit. And your wrist and elbow position reminds me of this video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GljqJv84tTI

wow that was a great pick up. I see what your saying. My wrist is not in the strong position that oscar borras is preaching. I'll have to see what I can do to fix it. Might need to break it down like I'm relearning to serve again.

LeeD
11-17-2012, 12:53 PM
I think spread of stance is fine, if you would just take a 3 second pause before going into your toss motion, concentrating on weight on the front foot. When the motion starts, what you do is fine.
A lower toss wouldn't hurt, since you currently wait for the ball to drop.
Part of the archer's bow is you lowering your hitting hand, so you hit upwards at about a 40 degree angle from the ground. If you can lower your elbow, that lowers your hittng shoulder, raising the toss shoulder.
A maybe experiement hitting flat serves with a conti grip slightly twisted towards backhand side, so you can better get the high hand, high elbow finish that most ATP pros use.

bhallic24
11-17-2012, 04:39 PM
I think spread of stance is fine, if you would just take a 3 second pause before going into your toss motion, concentrating on weight on the front foot. When the motion starts, what you do is fine.
A lower toss wouldn't hurt, since you currently wait for the ball to drop.
Part of the archer's bow is you lowering your hitting hand, so you hit upwards at about a 40 degree angle from the ground. If you can lower your elbow, that lowers your hittng shoulder, raising the toss shoulder.
A maybe experiement hitting flat serves with a conti grip slightly twisted towards backhand side, so you can better get the high hand, high elbow finish that most ATP pros use.


interesting, so are there a good number of pros hitting with a slightly backhand grip? I was always taught, continental continental continental no matter what type of serve.

LeeD
11-17-2012, 04:43 PM
Actually, we know for sure that pronation adds to the swing speed, right?
So if you're hitting topspin second serves, with the exact same grip as you use for a flat first serve, won't you use LESS pronation, since you're trying to spin the serve by glancing at the top right of the ball? So you're holding back the pronation, which leads to less rackethead speed.
By using a slight twist of the grip from continental to just a little eBackhand, you can use your flat serve pronation swing, and hit a topspin serve using the pronation and added rackethead speed.
Lots, I'd say MOST, ATP pros adjut their grip slightly from flat first serves to heavy topspin second serves.
You can try it shadow swinging and LISTENING to the sound of your racket.

bhallic24
11-17-2012, 05:09 PM
Actually, we know for sure that pronation adds to the swing speed, right?
So if you're hitting topspin second serves, with the exact same grip as you use for a flat first serve, won't you use LESS pronation, since you're trying to spin the serve by glancing at the top right of the ball? So you're holding back the pronation, which leads to less rackethead speed.
By using a slight twist of the grip from continental to just a little eBackhand, you can use your flat serve pronation swing, and hit a topspin serve using the pronation and added rackethead speed.
Lots, I'd say MOST, ATP pros adjut their grip slightly from flat first serves to heavy topspin second serves.
You can try it shadow swinging and LISTENING to the sound of your racket.


cool, i'll give it a try next time i'm on the courts and have time to practice serve. Maybe it'll help my 2nd serve out.

But for a slice serve, which I actually hit about 30-40% of the time, do you also do the slightly ebackhand grip? Or would u stick to the continental.

Does fed use it on his slice serves out wide? I tend to just go by what he does cuz it seems better than textbook. not to mention effortless.

LeeD
11-17-2012, 05:20 PM
I'd bet Fed hits all his top/slice serves with a bit of backhand in his otherwise continental service grip.
Why give up rackethead speed by not pronating into the second serves, like you do with the first serves?
It's a SLIGHT adjustment towards eBackhand, not a full eBackhand grip, so it makes little difference.

TheCheese
11-20-2012, 02:00 AM
You have a hitch in your takeback and your wrist angle is a little strange in the trophy pose.

However, besides that it looks solid. I don't think you need to necessarily jut your hit out. What IS important is to lower your left shoulder. You can do that by either jutting your hip out or by loading your back leg more than your front leg.

bhallic24
11-20-2012, 05:31 AM
You have a hitch in your takeback and your wrist angle is a little strange in the trophy pose.

However, besides that it looks solid. I don't think you need to necessarily jut your hit out. What IS important is to lower your left shoulder. You can do that by either jutting your hip out or by loading your back leg more than your front leg.

Yea lol, now I have to think of a way to get rid of that hitch. I was playing over the weekend and kept thinking about that. Didn't serve well cuz now I'm conscious of it.

Might need to go back to the drawboard and break it down step by step and video tape again to see if I make progress.

charliefedererer
11-20-2012, 07:38 AM
Yea I can see that my trophy pose is off. When I look at the pro's side views they seem to shift their hips forward into the court almost when they assume the archer's bow. I tried to do that but then lost my balance. Is it something ot do with my feet too close together? Or not pointed the right way?

When I looked at my video, my feet were a good shoulder's width apart.

That shift forward of the hips that you see the pros do is to counter balance the sideways tilt of the upper body.

http://1.bp.blogspot.com/-BPyB_JT3ty8/TgpoN7D908I/AAAAAAAAACM/J4bfz1myLkU/s1600/sampras.png

It is the combined sideways bend of the upper body at the waist plus the front hip going out that gives the archer's bow shape of the body.

Some find that it is easier to do this by concentrating on getting their hitting shoulder as low to the ground as possible, letting their forward hip move out into the court to maintain their balance.


I picked the above picture of Sampras to show that those with a platform stance like you can indeed do this, even though it can be exaggerated even more from a pinpoint stance. (But many find it harder to balance in a pinpoint stance.)

zapvor
11-20-2012, 07:38 AM
a ton of people have hitches. some people actually make it work, but in your case i think if its not too late you should try to go for a fluid motion. check the other thread here about that guy in the white shirt. he has a good motion

charliefedererer
11-20-2012, 07:43 AM
Yea lol, now I have to think of a way to get rid of that hitch. I was playing over the weekend and kept thinking about that. Didn't serve well cuz now I'm conscious of it.

Might need to go back to the drawboard and break it down step by step and video tape again to see if I make progress.

To get rid of the hitch you have to do one of two things:
1. Take longer to get to the trophy position
or
2. Toss a little lower.


You may find that the time it takes to lean sideways more and get your front hip out may mean that you won't have to decrease the height of your toss.

tennis_ocd
11-20-2012, 10:25 AM
hmmm what do I know... I think it's a pretty good motion and don't see any hitch. Where exactly is it?!

bhallic24
11-20-2012, 12:34 PM
To get rid of the hitch you have to do one of two things:
1. Take longer to get to the trophy position
or
2. Toss a little lower.


You may find that the time it takes to lean sideways more and get your front hip out may mean that you won't have to decrease the height of your toss.

Thanks Charlie Federerer. Giving me some good ideas mate. I don't get much time to solely practice the serve, but my suspicion is the same as yours. If I can get that archers bow, that extra split second it takes me to lean sideways may just go well with my current toss and set up.

Because right now I'm ready to hit and the ball is still a bit too high so I have to wait (or hitch) before it drops another millisecond.

Part of this was that I used to have a very low toss and would hit serves straight into the net and it frustrated the hell outta me. Guess I overcompensated. Ugh, now gotta go the other way to try to get it more perfect.



And to whoever was talking about my wrist, yea its not right. A wierd angle on trophy pose. I'll have to tackle that next and probably will need to video tape again.


Thanks for the input thus far, been really helpful. I compared this video I posted to one I had in the same orientation last year and my serve is definitely moving in the right direction. It has improved significantly over the last year but now it's plateaued so I guess its down to the nitty gritty to make it better.

zapvor
11-20-2012, 01:32 PM
hmmm what do I know... I think it's a pretty good motion and don't see any hitch. Where exactly is it?!

he takes a fairly big pause before beginning to swing up at the ball. kinda like roddick/monfils, except he does a loop first

tennis_ocd
11-21-2012, 04:45 AM
he takes a fairly big pause before beginning to swing up at the ball. kinda like roddick/monfils, except he does a loop first
Got it.... "hitch" is harsh; as you say, it's a pause. A pause even many successful pros have.

My tweak would be to bend knees a bit earlier to get in position as hands raise.