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PhrygianDominant
12-16-2012, 02:47 AM
I read somewhere that Yandell classifies Sampras' serve as a "Left Ball Position" serve.

What does this mean, what denotes Left Ball Position?

Is there a Right Ball Position?

If so, what's the difference?

What are the pros and cons of each?

What is the ball position of other platform serves like Federer's and Agassi's?

morandi
12-16-2012, 09:16 AM
I am not certain, but Sampras always placed his tosses in the same spot, more to left then most, like a toss for a kick serve, even on his first serve. This is partially what gave even his first serve a lot of spin.

PhrygianDominant
12-16-2012, 09:36 AM
I am not certain, but Sampras always placed his tosses in the same spot, more to left then most, like a toss for a kick serve, even on his first serve. This is partially what gave even his first serve a lot of spin.

That's true. I have been doing this accidentally and I was looking for more information on the aforementioned issues (see OP).

JohnYandell
12-16-2012, 09:41 AM
morandi is right. If you look at the contact point in a high speed video still frame, you can assess the topspin component in a rough way by looking at the tilt of the racket tip to the left.

Many women are literally straight up and down--Stosur's is tilted at least as much to the left as Federer. Pete further still. And Cilic is too far...

BUT one other key is front to back ball/contact position. If you toss more to the left there is a danger of also tossing behind and sometimes way behind. On the first serve Sampras and Federer make contact with the racket face just in front of the plane of the body--about inline with the nose...

That's the key to combine velocity and heavy spin. There is only one thing worse than not having the ability to hit some kick on your serve--and that's having a slow kick that sits up. The balance between speed and spin is critical.

PhrygianDominant
12-16-2012, 09:48 AM
morandi is right. If you look at the contact point in a high speed video still frame, you can assess the topspin component in a rough way by looking at the tilt of the racket tip to the left.

Many women are literally straight up and down--Stosur's is tilted at least as much to the left as Federer. Pete further still. And Cilic is too far...

BUT one other key is front to back ball/contact position. If you toss more to the left there is a danger of also tossing behind and sometimes way behind. On the first serve Sampras and Federer make contact with the racket face just in front of the plane of the body--about inline with the nose...

That's the key to combine velocity and heavy spin. There is only one thing worse than not having the ability to hit some kick on your serve--and that's having a slow kick that sits up. The balance between speed and spin is critical.
Thanks John!

I am not sure if my other questions weren't seen or are not as relevant as I thought, if you have time to address them, if not no worries! :)

Is there a Right Ball Position?

If so, what's the difference?

What are the pros and cons of each?

What is the ball position of other platform serves like Federer's and Agassi's?

JohnYandell
12-16-2012, 10:06 AM
As I mentioned Fed is left and so is Agassi. But it's not a platform pinpoint thing if you look at Safin...

The advantage to the right position is possibly to hit flatter but only with slice. As I said you see the women do this. It's one reason why their serves curve to the forehand, Stosur is the opposite.

Just saying but there are hundreds of clips and many articles that discuss this in detail in relation to still images and video on Tennisplayer.

PhrygianDominant
12-16-2012, 10:26 AM
As I mentioned Fed is left and so is Agassi. But it's not a platform pinpoint thing if you look at Safin...

The advantage to the right position is possibly to hit flatter but only with slice. As I said you see the women do this. It's one reason why their serves curve to the forehand, Stosur is the opposite.

Just saying but there are hundreds of clips and many articles that discuss this in detail in relation to still images and video on Tennisplayer.

Fantastic, thankyou very much!

Relinquis
12-30-2012, 07:07 AM
the guys i play with recommend different tosses for different serves to make things easier: right for slice, centre for flat and left for topspin/kick. It seems to work, but I don't like this approach to much.

I have always felt that having the same toss (more centred) and hitting the ball from different points was a better approach long term. What do you guys thing?

2ndServe
12-30-2012, 07:46 AM
how does he hit such a good slice serve with that toss.

morandi
12-30-2012, 07:52 AM
how does he hit such a good slice serve with that toss.

For one reason or another, I always struggled with my slice serve when I would place the toss out to the right like most people say to do. When I started tossing more to my left like for a kick serve I found it much more natural feeling to slice the ball from that position. You just have to rotate your body a bit more to the ball.

rkelley
12-30-2012, 07:58 AM
I try to put the toss in the same place right to left regardless of where I'm going to hit the serve. The right to left position of the ball is easy for the returner to read.

Much harder for the returner to read is forward/back. On a second serve I will tend to toss back a bit to get more spin.

FWIW, I also try to have the same prep for the serve. I've played people who, for instance, drop the racquet head a bit in the trophy position when they're going to hit a spin serve. They hit a nice serve, but as soon as I see that head drop I know I'm not going to see the heater so I know I'll have time to take a bigger cut at the return and roughly how the ball will fly towards me.

I think it's important to hide one's intent until the last possible moment and still hit the serve.

JohnYandell
12-30-2012, 08:25 AM
Sampras was amazing in his ability to hit all four corners from very similar tosses--occasionally you would see him pull the ball even further left when he wanted to go super kick in the ad court, but in general his ball position was similar and that made it impossible to read what was coming.

It's also incredibly difficult to see the micro fine differences in the racket path right around the ball that determined the spins and locations.

We did film one amazing tight high speed clip that showed the racket moving at a slightly flatter angle and more (from the server's perpsective) from left to right on his wide serve in the deuce, as opposed to a deuce serve down the T where it moved slightly more upward.

Something to visualize but probably impossible to manipulate mechanically...

slowfox
12-30-2012, 12:30 PM
I gotta say that the Tennisplayer articles on the Sampras serve are amazing. Very comprehensive and detail oriented. I wanted to incorporate that kind of toss into my serve, but had trouble consistently doing it. So I stuck with the straight up and down toss, figuring lots of WTA pros do that so it should be fine for a low level rec player like me.

Also, I'm no longer a Tennisplayer subscriber but I will say that my 1yr membership was totally worth it. This is unsolicited positive feedback. :)

JohnYandell
12-30-2012, 12:36 PM
sf,

Thanks a bunch. Might try somewhere between the women and Pete--aka Federer land for that ball toss placement.

moopie
12-30-2012, 01:53 PM
Wow this thread was really insightful. Thank you JY!

JohnYandell
12-31-2012, 10:05 AM
Pas de problemo...

Raul_SJ
01-01-2013, 02:02 PM
the guys i play with recommend different tosses for different serves to make things easier: right for slice, centre for flat and left for topspin/kick. It seems to work, but I don't like this approach to much.

I have always felt that having the same toss (more centred) and hitting the ball from different points was a better approach long term. What do you guys thing?

The coaches tell me I MUST toss over my head for the topspin serve.

That is the only way you can brush up on the ball.

Maybe Sampras can serve kick or flat with essentially the same toss, but it would be difficult for most to replicate.

JohnYandell
01-01-2013, 02:26 PM
Raul,

Over your head can refer to two things. Left to right. And back to front. Left is definitely necessary. But back to front is where the problem comes in--if you toss much behind the front edge of your head you will lose pace and stress your shoulder. The only thing worse than not having a kick serve is to have one with too little pace that sits up for annihilation.

And I hope I made it clear, understanding what Pete does is different than advocating that others should model him exactly.
He shows us how the left position works. But as I think I said above, a less extreme version like say Roger is a better model for the 99%.

Clay lover
01-01-2013, 05:01 PM
I'll give my left ball to have Sampras' left ball position serve.

slowfox
01-01-2013, 05:05 PM
I'll give my left ball to have Sampras' left ball position serve.

Then you'd only have one ball left...

JohnYandell
01-01-2013, 08:55 PM
Yeah well not too many people could ever hit a 125mph heavy heavy kick serve with 2500rpm of spin and a very high topspin component...that made Pete Pete.

Edberg was successful with a lesser version of the same idea but that was before poly...

A prediction: Someday a 6' 8" nba level athlete with incredible hand eye will take that serve to a never before seen level, hit 130mph plus with even heavier spin and the potential to bounce the ball a foot over the returner's head, explode forward and get close to the service line for his first volleys, which he will hit predominantly as swinging volleys with super poly strings and heavy top.

Many of those volleys will be simply unreturnable and others create so much pressure that he can easily cover the passes. He'll dominate the way the great serve and volley players did in the past.

That's the next 180 in pro tennis...can't wait. And you heard it here first.

TomT
01-01-2013, 11:23 PM
Yeah well not too many people could ever hit a 125mph heavy heavy kick serve with 2500rpm of spin and a very high topspin component...that made Pete Pete.

Edberg was successful with a lesser version of the same idea but that was before poly...

A prediction: Someday a 6' 8" nba level athlete with incredible hand eye will take that serve to a never before seen level, hit 130mph plus with even heavier spin and the potential to bounce the ball a foot over the returner's head, explode forward and get close to the service line for his first volleys, which he will hit predominantly as swinging volleys with super poly strings and heavy top.

Many of those volleys will be simply unreturnable and others create so much pressure that he can easily cover the passes. He'll dominate the way the great serve and volley players did in the past.

That's the next 180 in pro tennis...can't wait. And you heard it here first.I suspect you might be right about this, and when it happens then I might stop watching professional tennis as I've stopped watching other professional sports. It's just that I can't identify with what they do.

Relinquis
01-01-2013, 11:44 PM
[...]
A prediction: Someday a 6' 8" nba level athlete with incredible hand eye will take that serve to a never before seen level, hit 130mph plus with even heavier spin and the potential to bounce the ball a foot over the returner's head, explode forward and get close to the service line for his first volleys, which he will hit predominantly as swinging volleys with super poly strings and heavy top.

Many of those volleys will be simply unreturnable and others create so much pressure that he can easily cover the passes. He'll dominate the way the great serve and volley players did in the past.

That's the next 180 in pro tennis...can't wait. And you heard it here first.

This depends on how serious the ATP/ITF will be about juicing/PEDs in the future.

kaiser
01-03-2013, 05:13 AM
Raul,

Over your head can refer to two things. Left to right. And back to front. Left is definitely necessary. But back to front is where the problem comes in--if you toss much behind the front edge of your head you will lose pace and stress your shoulder. The only thing worse than not having a kick serve is to have one with too little pace that sits up for annihilation.

And I hope I made it clear, understanding what Pete does is different than advocating that others should model him exactly.
He shows us how the left position works. But as I think I said above, a less extreme version like say Roger is a better model for the 99%.

Fascinating stuff, John! I have found out for myself that when I toss the ball both to the left AND behind me, as advised by many instructors, my kick serve loses pace and becomes a sitter. I also have noticed on occasion that on my first serve, when I toss the ball a bit more to the left it bounces a lot higher, especially from the deuce court down the T. In fact, in my last match I hit a huge first serve like this that hit the back wall almost 2m high, but unfortunately just wide of the T line...

Now given your explanation above, I would like to work on my toss some, so I can do this more consistently on both my second and first serves. Do you have any pointers, like how should I change my toss for between a first and a second kick serve? Is it a good idea to toss the ball for my first serve to the left and a little more in front, so I can lean into it a little and get more of my body weight behind it? I'm a big guy (6'5+) and better players have said that when it's on, my kick/twist serve is harder to return for them than my flat first heater.

JohnYandell
01-03-2013, 02:34 PM
Kaiser,

You probably have to video your serve in high speed if you want to nail this. To say toss in front is too vague.

If you look at clips of the top players from the side, the contact is just barely at the front edge of the body--something like in line with the nose--ie, a line drawn down from the ball on the strings runs along the very front of the face.

On a second serve that could move back a few inches at very most without running into the power loss problem.

Viewed from the rear you want to see the ball inside or to the left of the racket hand. It's a myth that the racket tip points straight up--at least on good serves... The tip actually is angled around 20 or 30 degrees to the left.

The contact can be anywhere from just to the left of the hand to the edge of the head. That's the experimental range for developing your own topspin component first serve and kick second serve variations.

PhrygianDominant
01-03-2013, 03:08 PM
I'll give my left ball to have Sampras' left ball position serve.

It is rude to serve with one ball.

kaiser
01-04-2013, 03:22 AM
Kaiser,

You probably have to video your serve in high speed if you want to nail this. To say toss in front is too vague.

If you look at clips of the top players from the side, the contact is just barely at the front edge of the body--something like in line with the nose--ie, a line drawn down from the ball on the strings runs along the very front of the face.

On a second serve that could move back a few inches at very most without running into the power loss problem.

Viewed from the rear you want to see the ball inside or to the left of the racket hand. It's a myth that the racket tip points straight up--at least on good serves... The tip actually is angled around 20 or 30 degrees to the left.

The contact can be anywhere from just to the left of the hand to the edge of the head. That's the experimental range for developing your own topspin component first serve and kick second serve variations.

John, thanks, you've given me something I can work with for now, high speed video is not on the horizon...

JohnYandell
01-04-2013, 07:34 AM
kaiser,

the casio cameras are a few hundred bucks.

Raul_SJ
01-04-2013, 03:01 PM
Raul,

Over your head can refer to two things. Left to right. And back to front. Left is definitely necessary. But back to front is where the problem comes in--if you toss much behind the front edge of your head you will lose pace and stress your shoulder. The only thing worse than not having a kick serve is to have one with too little pace that sits up for annihilation.



Thanks, I think I understand.

Federer's first serve (left pic) is as you said, "racket face just in front of the plane of the body--about inline with the nose..."

Federer's second serve (second pic): The toss is farther to the left -- about inline with the back of the head... His racquet face is tilted more at contact...

The toss seems to be the same distance out in front for both the first and second serve? Is that correct?

http://i47.tinypic.com/34ya7g8.jpghttp://

https://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_detailpage&v=grAVgEe72ag#t=10s

JohnYandell
01-04-2013, 03:05 PM
Raul,

Look at the side views if you are on Tennisplayer. It's a few inches further back of the nose on the second--but be careful--you might try keeping it in front first and then working you way back just a little.