A Few Serves

Discussion in 'Tennis Tips/Instruction' started by Topspin Shot, Jun 11, 2013.

  1. Topspin Shot

    Topspin Shot Legend

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    #1
  2. Lukhas

    Lukhas Legend

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  3. LeeD

    LeeD Bionic Poster

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    Nice swing, but you're wasting energy by bending your knees TOO MUCH, and you don't spring up into the ball at all, your toes maybe 9" off the ground, like mine. But I'm 64 years old!
    Relax, your swing is fine. You need to lower your racket hand at trophy to get more of your serve swing done before you hit the ball. You should try an archer's bow at your waist, high toss hand, hips forward into the court.
    You should also consider a high hand, high elbow well after you hit the ball, when your racket is pointing straight down at the ground, you want your elbow at the top of your head, just like your hand. That allows the rackethead to accelerate even more.
    And turn sideways a little more, showing some of your back to the opponent.
     
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  4. cluckcluck

    cluckcluck Hall of Fame

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    Looks like you're going for pace instead of spin. Like LeeD said, relax.
     
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  5. Topspin Shot

    Topspin Shot Legend

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    Thanks Lukhas. I'm trying to hit up, but maybe still not enough? Balla or ash, if you see this thread, please provide feedback. Thank you.
     
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  6. LeeD

    LeeD Bionic Poster

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    I think you need to review your video.
    Look at where your hand starts and where it ends, after the swing.
    You start high and end low.
    Now look at Sampra's motion. His trophy position, hands are lower than yours, elbow well below his left elbow. He swing and hit the ball, and there is a moment of high hand, high elbow WHEN HIS RACKET IS FACING STRAIGHT DOWN AT THE GROUND.
     
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  7. charliefedererer

    charliefedererer Legend

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    Overall you have good body motion and are pronating.


    I think the biggest room for improvement would be to get your maximum racquet drop more to the right, where you can do a more forceful pronation.
    [This is the "how to do it" to the comment by LeeD above to get better pronation.]


    [​IMG]

    Notice in pic 9 above, Pete has his racquet well to the right of his body, while your maximum racquet drop is to the "back scratch" middle of the back position that many tennis players mistakenly believe is where their racquet should be in the maximum racquet drop.


    [​IMG]

    This photo of Roddick's racquet drop show the same "to the right" racquet position at pic 4 - but you could take pics from any pro - and the best servers in your area - to make the same point.



    Getting the racquet at maximum racquet drop well to the right is essential to set up a maximum pronation movement.



    [​IMG]

    In this photo sequence from Toly, note the racquet well to the right in pic one.

    This allows the arm to straighten with the racquet sideways to the ball in pics 2-10.

    Only after the elbow has straightened, does the "pronation" or "internal rotation of the shoulder" movement occur with its powerful right to left "slap" at the ball occurring in pics 11-20.

    Note that in pic 20, the racquet is at an angle to the hand - not straight up and down - as your swing is resulting in.




    Now to get to that racquet drop off to the right, you are going to have to develop a different racquet drop, starting with the way you bring the racquet back.
    [This racquet drop is "passive" resulting from letting the arm swing more to the right as a result of your uncoiling.]


    But Coach McCraw demonstrates in the following video that by bringing the racquet back further away from your legs/body, that as a result of having your arm further away from your body, it has the chance to rotate more.
    The result of bringing your racquet back "out" is an "outside to in" swing out of the racquet drop out to the right - rather than the "inside to out" swing out your current racquet drop into the back scratch position.
    McCraw Serve Fundamentals: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WuIgTyh4aDs


    I would have you practice this different take back at home to develop some "muscle memory".

    Notice how with your new swing, at the conclusion your elbow now finishes higher with your racquet head upside down more like Sampras (though you don't have to do it quite as much as him):

    [​IMG]


    Even at the courts, it is helpful to do a swing without hitting the ball with your new racquet drop before each actual hit until you really get this down.

    With a more powerful pronation movement you should get more "pop" on your first serves, and the faster swing speed should give more "spin" on your kick and slice serves.

    I hope this helps.
     
    Last edited: Jun 12, 2013
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  8. Lukhas

    Lukhas Legend

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  9. charliefedererer

    charliefedererer Legend

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    Jeff does make a good point in that video.

    But in someone with a long history of a racquet drop into the center of the back "back scatch" position, it is still possible because of their "muscle memory" to still end up dropping the racquet to the center of their back, rather than out to the right side.

    I just wish in his video that he made the point that by getting the elbow out from the body, it allows you to let your racquet fall off more to the right - the correct position of the racquet drop from which to set up a powerful pronation movement.
     
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  10. TomT

    TomT Hall of Fame

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    Well, I would love to have your serve just the way it is. But I suppose some of the people here at TTW can help you make it better. Thanks for the vid.

    Do you have any vids of your matchplay or just rallying here or anywhere on the internet? Judging from your serve I'd guess that it's pretty high quality.
     
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  11. Lukhas

    Lukhas Legend

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    My problem was this, and simply doing this, putting my elbow away à la Roddick for example cleared the problem, even with my faulty muscle memory of months and months of doing it the "wrong way", so I don't know...
     
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  12. Topspin Shot

    Topspin Shot Legend

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    Thanks guys! Question for Charlie Federer: if my racket drop is more to the right, wouldn't that take away from spinning the ball since spinning the ball requires pronating from left to right? Sorry Tom, I don't have any videos of me actually playing.
     
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  13. LeeD

    LeeD Bionic Poster

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    Your takeback angle is fine, especially if you only hit twist serves swinging from left towards the right.
    But you need to close your stance during the prep position, to expose some of your back to your opponent, so you get the body rotation into the ball.
     
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  14. Topspin Shot

    Topspin Shot Legend

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    Let me try to clarify what I mean. I can definitely see what Charlie is saying when he tells me to exaggerate the pronation movement and bring the racket more to the right in the drop phase. I have actually messed around with this before, and it increased my serve speed a good ten miles per hour. The problem is that it also flattened the ball out, no matter how much I tried to spin it. Then I hear that Sampras, who pronated more than anyone, hit more spin than anyone on first and second serves. What gives? Please explain, Charlie.
     
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  15. Stergios

    Stergios Rookie

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  16. LeeD

    LeeD Bionic Poster

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    TURN YOUR BACK to your opponent. That gives you rotation, which adds either spin or pace into your serves.
     
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  17. Tight Lines

    Tight Lines Professional

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    The only obvious difference that I see between Sampras motion and yours (aside from LeeD's comment about pointing your back towards the net) is that just after impact, your racket hitting surface faces towards you rather than towards the right side fence. To me, that means you are not pronating (forearm rolling) as much as Sampras'.

    The other thing I notice, although it's hard to tell, is at the point of impact, your racket is relatively straight as opposed to being at an angle with your forearm. That may be why you may not be getting the top spin you want.

    Harry
     
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  18. Tight Lines

    Tight Lines Professional

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    One other thing,

    If you are going for top spin, your swing path seems wrong. It's too straight towards the net. The path should be more towards the side fence.

    Harry
     
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  19. charliefedererer

    charliefedererer Legend

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    Pronation involves moving the racquet from right to left, not left to right.

    That is the basic point I am trying to make - you've got to get your racquet at maximum racquet drop over to the right side to get this pronation movement, and produce the spin from an outside to inside swing up from racquet drop - not a inside to outside swing up from the back scratch position.

    That sequence of Toly of Sam Stosur is actually of a kick serve, and is pretty graphic in showing the process of "pronation" on a kick serve.

    Pronation occurs in a similar way in a first serve, and even a slice serve.


    For a great explanation of the mechanics of on a first serve see Toly's post #62 in this thread:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WuIgTyh4aDs
    (Even if you don't get all the physics, the outstanding photo sequences show how the racquet is moving up and to the side of the ball into impact to impart the spin.)
     
    Last edited: Jun 12, 2013
    #19
  20. charliefedererer

    charliefedererer Legend

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    Sampras had more side spin than top spin on his first serve, with a calculated spin by John Yandell of 2,500 revolutions per minute.

    Of servers analyzed, as far as I know this is only slightly slower spin than on Roddick's first serve.

    In order to create top spin, the racquet has to be rising slightly.

    In order to create side spin, the racquet has to be moving along the side of the ball.

    Obviously, the actual path of the racquet is a curved path, so imparting the top and side spin involves striking the ball while the racquet is still moving along that curve.


    You can experiment with tossing the ball to slightly different spots and hitting it slightly earlier or later to impart more or less spin on your first serve.

    Most find that having a first serve with a little more spin gives them a higher serve percentage, and results in a "heavier" serve than a perfectly flat serve. (In fact it is hard to hit a perfectly flat serve.)
     
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  21. charliefedererer

    charliefedererer Legend

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    That moving the racquet from right to left will impart more side spin.

    That racquet angle helps produce the top spin.
     
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  22. Topspin Shot

    Topspin Shot Legend

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    Okay, Charlie Federer, but then again, aren't you supposed to go from 7 to 1 for a kick serve? Isn't that left to right, or am I missing something?
     
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  23. charliefedererer

    charliefedererer Legend

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    [​IMG]

    The "right to left" motion I was talking about is the racquet moving from your right side at racquet drop in pic 1 to the left side in pic 15.

    Once the racquet is off to the left in pic 15, it then can move from left to right as it moves up to contact in pic 19 or 20, and continues to move from left to right after contact in the follow through in pics 21-28.


    [My original point was that to get the racquet moving up from the right side at racquet drop and starting the swing from the right to the left gets the head of the racquet moving much faster in the "pronation" movement than simply bringing the racquet up from the "back scratch" position and moving it from left to right from there.]
     
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  24. toly

    toly Hall of Fame

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    There is Stosur topspin serve and she goes from 7 to 1 mostly by using wrist ulnar deviation. An arm pronation practically doesn’t create spin at all.

    [​IMG]
     
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  25. Topspin Shot

    Topspin Shot Legend

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    Thanks Charlie, I understand about the right to left to right thing now. One last question: how do you control the amount of spin when you pronate through contact? For example, I can hit a flatter forehand or a spinnier forehand: how do I do the same for the serve with pronation?
     
    #25
  26. syke

    syke Professional

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    Lol... This has to be the most overused picture on this forum.
    It is good though.
     
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  27. toly

    toly Hall of Fame

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    This is new picture – Stosur Topspin Serve, previous picture – Stosur Kick Serve. :)
     
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  28. boramiNYC

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    OP, you have a very good serve if you are a rec player. That said, you don't think you are jumping too much forward into the court? See Sampras and Roddick in the above post where their left feet are landing.
     
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  29. Lukhas

    Lukhas Legend

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    That hasn't Sampras' internal shoulder rotation on is of course. :twisted: Well, won''t hurt the newcomers I guess.
     
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  30. charliefedererer

    charliefedererer Legend

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    On your ground stokes, topsin is created by changing your stroke pattern so you drop the racquet head lower coming out of a back swing, and finish higher.


    The serve by its very nature is low to high.

    So you are changing the swing path by first tossing to a different position.
    That causes your upper body, and hence your arm and racquet to come through a different swing path to strike the ball.
    (But you are still pronating on all the serves, and the actual swing - but not the path the upper body takes that swing through - is basically the same in all the types of serves.)

    Only Toly produces such great images to illustrate a point:

    [​IMG]
    - http://tt.tennis-warehouse.com/showthread.php?p=6972801

    [​IMG]
    - http://tt.tennis-warehouse.com/showthread.php?t=456513&page=2

    For a topspin serves, the toss is more to your left, and you strike it lower. You coil your shoulders more/lean more to maintain the same orientation you would of your shoulders to the ball placement in a "first serve", but now in a different plane.
    As you come up from your leg thrust and coil your upper body will move more in a left to right path, and more straight vertically up, without as much movement into the court as on a "flat" serve.
    This orientation of your upper body results in a racquet path moving almost straight up during the point of contact as in the first picture above.
    (The ball is given more of a glancing blow as it strikes it at more of an angle than on a "flat serve".)

    On a slice serve, the toss is more to the right and you strike it higher than on a topspin serve.
    You can see the different racquet path from a flat or kick serve in the second set of pictures.
    The result is the ball is struck with a sideways, not up, brushing motion as seen in the first picture above.
     
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  31. charliefedererer

    charliefedererer Legend

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    I hope you still don't mind me using your great photos/sequences.

    You previously had expressed this was okay.

    Also, any of your great insight/criticism to a current thread would be welcomed, even though you often have thoroughly have discussed the subject before in a previous thread.
     
    #31
  32. Topspin Shot

    Topspin Shot Legend

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    Darn it, I still can't do it! :mad: I can carve/supinate around the ball for spin, pronate square into it like unscrewing a lightbulb from the ceiling for power, or do a combination of both (as seen in the video), but I can't get heavy spin with heavy pronation. It's like the two seem to be mutually exclusive, but then I see Sampras and Stosur, and for them, it's clearly not. Is it the pronation that gives you the spin (if so, how?), or is it ulnar deviation like Toly says (and if so, how do you combine ulnar deviation and pronation into one motion?)? I'm probably frustrating you, Charlie, but I can assure you, I'm more frustrated than you are. :)
     
    Last edited: Jun 14, 2013
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  33. LeeD

    LeeD Bionic Poster

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    Try using a more backhand grip than your normal conti, then fully pronate (or try to). That adds the extra spin, the stronger than continental grip. Turn more sideways, or the ball goes way out to our right.
     
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  34. rkelley

    rkelley Hall of Fame

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    Generally looked OK I thought.

    One thing, slow down during the set-up and especially the knee bend. Just relax during the toss and prep. Stay loose, smooth, and easy. Save the explosive motion for when it matters - swinging at the ball.
     
    #34
  35. toly

    toly Hall of Fame

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    Try to analyze these pictures.


    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Jun 17, 2013
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  36. RetroSpin

    RetroSpin Hall of Fame

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    You supinate your forearm in the power position so that you can obtain maximum radial deviation, ie backscratch position. You have to pronate at the end of the upswing to square the face, then you ulnar deviate to generate spin, in conjunction with the ball position, body lean and arm angle, all of which vary slightly. Your right shoulder feels like it is rolling up and over. Most of the power comes from shoulder internal rotation amd elbow extension. The forearm goes into extreme pronation on the followthrough as the elbow flexes.
     
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