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maverick1
09-01-2006, 06:59 AM
This should go a long way in disproving the myth that great servers hit the ball near the peak of the toss.
I got the link from one of Marius_Hancu's sticky posts:
http://www.uspta.com/html/e-lesson-Flat%20serve.swf

This is a great video clip for examining the toss height. The slow motion video stops once at the peak of the toss and and again just before he hits it.
The difference in height looks MORE THAN A RACKET LENGTH !!

I am kind of glad, because whenever I tried to hit inches below the peak, I had to hurry ridiculously and messed it up completely.

It looks impossible to have a modern service motion(full knee bend and push off where the toes leave the ground by several inches) and not toss it high.

Is there anyone who thinks they hit the serve close to the peak, and use their knees fully? I think if they videotape themselves, they are in for a surprise. Either they must hit well below peak of the toss or they are mostly using their upper body only, thus making the service motion quicker to execute.

deluxe
09-01-2006, 07:11 AM
John Yandell examined this ages ago on TennisOne, and you can now read the article on his own site at:

http://www.tennisplayer.net/members/avancedtennis/john_yandell/the_myth/the_myth_of_the_toss_images/the_myth_of_the_toss.html

(membership required).

ZPTennis
09-01-2006, 07:24 AM
i do in my 1st serve video but i dont have much knee bend.

Supernatural_Serve
09-01-2006, 07:26 AM
The toss height isn't nearly as important as striking the ball at full extension. However, I do believe that you will hit the ball more consistently hitting the ball while its not travelling very fast either on the way up or on the way down, so near peak is better for most people, but if it makes you feel rushed, then give it more height and feel relaxed. There is no point being tight and rushed versus relaxed and flowing.

But, high tossers often develop a "hitch" in their motion that drains power too.

If you can time it to hit near peak at full extension that's great, if its not near full peak, you'll miss the sweetspot more often, but again, that's nowhere near as important as hitting with full extension.

I play with a guy who is a good server, light 4.5 high 4.0 player. I swear, I am not joking, he tosses his ball at least 25 feet in the air. Its unreal to return serves from him. He tosses it at least 10-15 feet higher than anyone I know.

And, amazingly he has a very consistent toss and serve. And of course everyone who meets him asks him about it and he says "yea, people have been telling me to fix this for the last 15 years but this is what I do"

ATXtennisaddict
09-01-2006, 07:37 AM
I have a question about 2nd serve topspin serves.

Where do u strike the ball? Height of toss? As it's descending,brush up against it?

maverick1
09-01-2006, 07:41 AM
John Yandell examined this ages ago on TennisOne, and you can now read the article on his own site at:

http://www.tennisplayer.net/members/avancedtennis/john_yandell/the_myth/the_myth_of_the_toss_images/the_myth_of_the_toss.html

(membership required).

Couldn't find it on TennisOne, and don't have membership of Tennisplayer.net.
I assume the conclusion is basically the same as mine.

Another thing different about Sampras(noticed this with Federer as well) from the classic serve motion is that, they don't hit the first serve at the "1 o clock" position.
You can see in this video (view point from the receiver) that toss takes an arc from his right to left and is eventually slightly to the left of his original position.

maverick1
09-01-2006, 07:46 AM
The toss height isn't nearly as important as striking the ball at full extension. However, I do believe that you will hit the ball more consistently hitting the ball while its not travelling very fast either on the way up or on the way down, so near peak is better for most people, but if it makes you feel rushed, then give it more height and feel relaxed. There is no point being tight and rushed versus relaxed and flowing.

But, high tossers often develop a "hitch" in their motion that drains power too.

If you can time it to hit near peak at full extension that's great, if its not near full peak, you'll miss the sweetspot more often, but again, that's nowhere near as important as hitting with full extension.

I play with a guy who is a good server, light 4.5 high 4.0 player. I swear, I am not joking, he tosses his ball at least 25 feet in the air. Its unreal to return serves from him. He tosses it at least 10-15 feet higher than anyone I know.

And, amazingly he has a very consistent toss and serve. And of course everyone who meets him asks him about it and he says "yea, people have been telling me to fix this for the last 15 years but this is what I do"

Agree with everything. I have been tossing it to a comfortable height that feels right. I have checked in video that I don't have a hitch, though I have the problem with hitting the ball cleanly and with full extension. But I have not been doing this for long, and I am still getting better at the serve.

TennsDog
09-01-2006, 07:47 AM
With a motion like Sampras's, I think it is impossible to have a good serve and hit it near the peak. The full backswing, the weight shift, and the knee bend require a longer rhythm, which means you need to toss the ball higher so that you can catch up to it. It is much easier to hit near the peak of the toss when using a service motion like Roddick's or Mauresmo's because it's so short and quick. As long as you have good timing and rhythm on your serve, the speed of the ball on the toss shouldn't make much difference. Just do it the same every time.

ATXtennisaddict, the second topspin serve should look pretty much the same as any other serve, with the exception that you may choose to toss the ball more behind your head than usual or toss it less into the court. If you usually hit at the peak of the toss, do it for all serves. If you let it fall, do so for all your serves. The only difference in types of serves is the racket path through the contact zone.

drakulie
09-01-2006, 09:06 AM
The toss height isn't nearly as important as striking the ball at full extension. However, I do believe that you will hit the ball more consistently hitting the ball while its not travelling very fast either on the way up or on the way down, so near peak is better for most people, but if it makes you feel rushed, then give it more height and feel relaxed. There is no point being tight and rushed versus relaxed and flowing.

But, high tossers often develop a "hitch" in their motion that drains power too.


Completely agree. Especially striking the ball at full extension. I also have a high toss, and ocassionally develop a hitch-especially when it is windy.

But, I think the height you toss the ball correlates with your wind-up as someone else pointed out; Such as roddick.

travlerajm
09-01-2006, 09:12 AM
According to legend...

When Sampras was a junior, his coach would have him toss the ball up, and then right after he tossed it, his coach would tell him what serve to hit. Flat, Kick, Twist, Slice, T, wide, etc. This helped him develop disguise so that he could hit any serve in his arsenal using the exact same toss.

AndyFitzell
09-02-2006, 12:50 AM
If you hit the ball at the apex or near the peak of your reach you will have 20 to 30 times longer to hit the ball. The problem with sampras' toss is that he separates his tossing arm and hitting arm. If you keep both arms rising together you can have a low toss and don't have to rush at all.

As far as the toss location goes, if you toss over your head to the left it's easier to hit spin, but you risk injury to the shoulder. Sampras himself had shoulder problems and missed tournaments because of it. Edberg, Rafter, and others have shared the same fate with injury that ended their careers. They did make a lot of money though.

-Andy

deluxe
09-02-2006, 01:10 AM
If you hit the ball at the apex or near the peak of your reach you will have 20 to 30 times longer to hit the ball. The problem with sampras' toss is that he separates his tossing arm and hitting arm. If you keep both arms rising together you can have a low toss and don't have to rush at all.


Very few current Pros do this. They all hit it on the descent. Hitting a ball that is coming down towards you at 5mph because you tossed it one foot above your contact point is much easier than hitting a groundstroke that is coming towards you at 60-70 mph.

Marius_Hancu
09-02-2006, 03:40 AM
I play with a guy who is a good server, light 4.5 high 4.0 player. I swear, I am not joking, he tosses his ball at least 25 feet in the air. Its unreal to return serves from him. He tosses it at least 10-15 feet higher than anyone I know.

And, amazingly he has a very consistent toss and serve. And of course everyone who meets him asks him about it and he says "yea, people have been telling me to fix this for the last 15 years but this is what I do"

Higher toss will benefit topspin on serves
As I mentioned in another thread:

Quote:
Originally Posted by Tennismastery
b) a ball dropping will add to a topspin rotation on any serve

Correct.

This is also presented at the easitennis.com
site. The reason they mention is that the ball falling from higher up
will produce, having a higher vertical speed while dropping, more
friction against the strings of the racket, which at that time is
pretty vertical itself, thus you have this |o (sorry for the
simplified representation) type of contact between the two objects,
where | is the racket and o is the ball. They call this a "shearing"
effect, which produces topspin on the ball.

maverick1
09-02-2006, 05:00 AM
A related question, for 5.0+ players and coaches:
I have read that the optimal spot on the racket to hit the serve is not the conventional sweet spot but a spot just 4 inches(10 cm) below the tip of the racket. (The reason has to do with the rotational rather than linear motion of the racket during a serve. You have more racket speed the closer you get to the tip)

Do you practice or teach this?

From what little I have been able to observe, the pros do seem to make contact higher than the center.
When I consciously try to make contact above the center of the racket, it doesn't feel too good.

Supernatural_Serve
09-02-2006, 05:19 AM
When I consciously try to make contact above the center of the racket, it doesn't feel too good.I hate hitting that dead spot. My elbow doesn't like it either.

Maybe touring pros lead taped racquets moves their sweet spot?

Higher toss will benefit topspin on serves

I never knew that, but have experienced that occasionally, and assumed I got more extension because I really reached up for the ball (tossed too high, my timing is off, I'm ahead of it, so I reached more). I'll have to confirm that in my own "laboratory" on the court.

However, the tennis buddy I referenced earlier with the extraordinary high toss, he gets a lot of spin both top and side spin. His overheads are flawless, even 3 feet from the baseline, he's fearless, He doesn't let them bounce.

TennsDog
09-02-2006, 05:57 AM
If you hit the ball at the apex or near the peak of your reach you will have 20 to 30 times longer to hit the ball. The problem with sampras' toss is that he separates his tossing arm and hitting arm. If you keep both arms rising together you can have a low toss and don't have to rush at all.

As far as the toss location goes, if you toss over your head to the left it's easier to hit spin, but you risk injury to the shoulder. Sampras himself had shoulder problems and missed tournaments because of it. Edberg, Rafter, and others have shared the same fate with injury that ended their careers. They did make a lot of money though.

-Andy
I wouldn't call it a problem with Sampras's motion that he separates his arms. I once read an article (Tennis Magazine, maybe?) that discussed this. If you bring your arms up together, you will likely end up stopping or pretty much stopping the racket head at the top (trophy stance), and that takes away from acceleration and thus speed. The way Sampras does it allows the racket head to continually move at a steady speed until he begins his forward swing, at which point the racket arm is still well behind and has more room to accelerate in a rapid yet smooth manner through contact. This is one reason his serve looked so effortless.

As for hitting the sweet spot, I have always hit above the sweet spot on my serve without even trying. I knew it added power and my consistency was fine, so I never worred about changing it. I don't know how I would go about teaching one to do it, though.

Mark Rainey
09-29-2006, 06:20 AM
The serve toss myth lives on. I just picked up the October issue of Tennis mag and Vic Braden is analyzing Andy Murray's serve. Under on the pictures, he states Murray hits the ball at the apex of the toss. But the photos clearly show the ball has dropped at least 12 inches before contact is made. Wow. The myth lives. Anybody else see the article?

Mike Cottrill
09-29-2006, 06:32 AM
The serve toss myth lives on. I just picked up the October issue of Tennis mag and Vic Braden is analyzing Andy Murray's serve. Under on the pictures, he states Murray hits the ball at the apex of the toss. But the photos clearly show the ball has dropped at least 12 inches before contact is made. Wow. The myth lives. Anybody else see the article?

Is this another Vic mis quote or foo bar? Jeff, I'm sure you have tons of videos of his serve. What does it show? Ball drop? :)

Thud and blunder
09-29-2006, 07:05 AM
Makes sense that higher toss ----> more topspin.

It gives you the same effect as brushing up the back of the ball (except here the ball is brushing down the face of the racquet). You just need to change your frame of reference to see this. Once I understood this, it really helped me, especially on my second serve.