Advice for my serve?

Discussion in 'Tennis Tips/Instruction' started by sharpy, Jan 3, 2008.

  1. sharpy

    sharpy Banned

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    Thank you all for great advice, solat, gorilla and tricky


    I'll probably do the same format again for my forehand, using the video analysis program comparing my forehand to federer... stay tuned
     
  2. Solat

    Solat Professional

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    look out for our series..

    Mastering Tennis with MS Paint
     
  3. BeHappy

    BeHappy Hall of Fame

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    LOL

    we'll charge a subscription fee ;)
     
  4. BeHappy

    BeHappy Hall of Fame

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    BTW Sharpy, until you sort out your non existant hand drop when serving as I pointed out in my first post, you won't have even a good serve, even if you do everything else right.Fixing that is priority number one, should only take about 6 seconds.
     
  5. tricky

    tricky Hall of Fame

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    Yeah, if you do the side-by-side shots, I'll try using Powerpoint to annotate the pictures. Might make it easier to follow.
     
  6. sharpy

    sharpy Banned

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    Ok tricky. Been working on the serve a bit today. Lets try another angle, I've noticed that the shoulder still doesnt get loaded properly into a natural trophy. Am i still lat raising? hand still at head level..

    http://geocities.com/mastamoda/a.jpg
    http://geocities.com/mastamoda/b.jpg
    http://geocities.com/mastamoda/c.jpg
    http://geocities.com/mastamoda/d.jpg
    http://geocities.com/mastamoda/e.jpg
    http://geocities.com/mastamoda/f.jpg
    http://geocities.com/mastamoda/g.jpg
     
  7. sharpy

    sharpy Banned

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  8. BeHappy

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    [​IMG]

    ???????????????
     
  9. tricky

    tricky Hall of Fame

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    Yes (still doing the wrist thing to set up the trophy), but now I see why. If just change one thing, it'll help a lot

    Remember how in your current BH, as you take the racquet back, the back elbow starts to swing upwards (i.e. smile pattern?) It's not a lot (and to the naked eye in full motion, it looks almost straight), but at end of takeback, it's about chest level.

    Something similar should happen with the back hitting arm of your serve takeback. It doesn't end as high up, still at or just below chest level, but it'll keep your back shoulder above the front, improve the stretch/takeback, and it'll enable you to set up the trophy position with hand at shoulder level. In fact, you should find that that the trophy position should set itself as you orient upwards (i.e. extended left hip, bent right hip, still a slight bend in the left rib.)

    Also, you'll find that your racquet face will be more open in your takeback.

    There's other elements to work on, but the above is the most important.
     
  10. sharpy

    sharpy Banned

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    tricky

    :roll: im trying to do a 2hbh with my on my forehand side to try to get this...

    could you please explain more, wouldnt this kind of lead into a lat raise anyway?
     
  11. BeHappy

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    this is insane, you have basic flaws in your service motion and you're ignoring them and approaching this as if you're fine tuning it.

    Your knee bend, as pointed out by Solat, is pretty non existant too.

    [​IMG]
     
  12. sharpy

    sharpy Banned

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    No its not that insane, gorilla. leg drive only contributes to 10% and backwards lean perhaps even less % to the serve speed

    but the takeback is the most important. yes, those minor flaws are important, but without the basic takeback in place youve got nothing
     
  13. tricky

    tricky Hall of Fame

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    Yeah, I'm trying to avoid carpet bombing you with stuff . . . Also this is actually interrelated. Once the takeback is corrected, the knee bend will be deeper. Also, your ball toss will start to improve because your front shoulder will not be as constricted.

    Not as much, because the takeback is a stretch, and because the elbow hooking upwards is not the primary arm movement of the takeback.

    The primary arm movement is that the arm stretches laterally until it crosses the right side of your body. However, for it to stretch naturally, the elbow has to either hook slightly upwards (i.e. away from midline of body) or slightly downwards (towards midline of body.) The former is what you want.

    The bend in the elbow is mostly preserved through the takeback (this also lets your body know it's a stretch and not a lat raise or concentric movement.) It's only when you start turning to set the trophy position does the bend in the elbow change.

    Wow, something I didn't notice . . . It looks like you're rotating your forearm (supinating) in the takeback in order to open up the racquet face. Don't do that. Let the arm travelling laterally open up the racquet face.
     
  14. sharpy

    sharpy Banned

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    wow. good eyes.

    yes i am just playing around today supinating to open up the racket face because I cant seem to find a way to correct the racket face so i dont get a "down and to the right" wrist position at the trophy....
     
  15. JCo872

    JCo872 Professional

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    The number one source of power on a serve is pronation - the turning outward of the hand and arm on impact. You can have pretty lousy fundamentals, but if you get this right you can still crack a serve. This is why pros can warm-up at about 40% and still hit extremely hard serves. This is why you can hit an overhead that hits the ground and then jumps over the opposite fence. The torquing motion is like a mini atom-bomb in terms of power generation.

    In Sharpy's serve, he isn't getting any pronation at all:
    http://www.hi-techtennis.com/serve/sharpy_serve.php
     
  16. tricky

    tricky Hall of Fame

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    Thinking it over, it seems the underlying problem is that in your takeback really is that you inadvertently turn it partially into a "positive" or "concentric" movement. I think one thing that bothered me was how your racquet face didn't really open up until very late in your takeback, and to me that seems counterintuitive if you were stretching out the arm.

    I *think* it'll help just to keep in mind that you don't want the elbow to straighten in the takeback or as you set the trophy. The elbow will more bend more as you get to the trophy position, not lengthen out. And due to that, it will preserve the takeback as a proper stretch as well as prevent you from excessively "raising" the arm and then the hand/wrist.

    BTW, Sharpy, did you say you were pushing 80 right now on the serve?

    Yeah, the external rotation of his arm is off, so he's kinda slapping the ball down. I'm kinda hoping once the takeback thing is resolved, the pronation will start happening for him.
     
    Last edited: Jan 11, 2008
  17. sharpy

    sharpy Banned

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    LOL yeah. 80's... even have a 90 once in a blue moon this is with maybe 40% of my racket drop

    care to offer some clear cut solutions for that takeback?
     
  18. JCo872

    JCo872 Professional

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    Gotcha. I see you all have been working hard analyzing the takeback and I agree that setting up properly makes finishing (in this case pronation) much easier and more natural.
     
  19. tricky

    tricky Hall of Fame

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    So the basic things you want to about the arm movement
    1) Primary movement: lateral (across the body)
    2) Secondary: elbow starts to hook upwards (or moves away from midline of body)
    3) Preserve elbow bend through the takeback portion. Don't straighten arm.
    4) NO forearm rotation.
    5) If this is working for you, the racquet face should open a little toward net, between ground and net and racquet tip should be pointed toward right side fence.

    Best way for now is to just isolate that part of the movement (i.e. just work on swinging forward and coordinating with the hips.) Don't worry about the ball toss, trophy, or upward swing. Just concentrate on getting the shoulder rotation down (and keeping the front shoulder below the back shoulder.) If the rotation is correct, then you should feel as if your pinkie is pronating the racquet arm.

    I confess this is the first time I've really tried to do this through a computer. I admire instructors like you who can make these descriptions so clear without, you know, being "hands on." :D

    Once you feel that this is good, then add back in the 2nd half of the service motion and work on ball toss and upward swing.
     
  20. sharpy

    sharpy Banned

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    okay, the first part of the service motion is taking the racket back laterally?

    I think i do everything ok until its time to bring the elbow up...

    1. bringing the arm laterally back. This is pretty easy, just kinda take the racket arm back a little further than your right hip...this is all done before the racket raises up (correct?)

    I think maybe my understand of the proper elbow pivot upwards is a little bit flawed.

    There is so many ways to bring the elbow up, but im not sure exactly which way.
     
  21. WBF

    WBF Hall of Fame

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    Ohhh, sharpy is on hi-techtennis! ;) Congrats!

    PS: It's awesome that you're working to improve your serve, and that these guys are so helpful. Wish I could learn from all the text, but it just goes right over my head :p
     
  22. sharpy

    sharpy Banned

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    lets try this i'll tell you what i think here

    http://geocities.com/mastamoda/p1.jpg

    take arm back laterally. pretty much ok here just maybe a little bit more back, but that said theres servers who just start raising up from here


    http://geocities.com/mastamoda/p2.jpg

    shoulder starting to load up. still looks like im ready to hit a 140 mph here. only thing is the noticable wrist position

    http://geocities.com/mastamoda/p3.jpg

    Things are starting to go haywire from here on....

    http://geocities.com/mastamoda/p4.jpg

    take a look at the shoulder and you'll see that its not really loaded, whatever loading was taking place is all screwed up, maybe due to the down wrist position.
    instead of the shoulder muscle being parrallel to the back fence, it is then perpendicular....
     
  23. tricky

    tricky Hall of Fame

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    Yup. Remember, mantain elbow bend and let the elbow kinda slide upwards a little. It should feel like a stretch.

    Yeah, this is why the Sampras model is difficult to learn if you don't already know how the body sets up the trophy.

    Basically, the idea goes that the pivot happens automatically when you combine a takeback with the body orienting toward the sky. In other words, it should happen automatically if the takeback itself is correct.

    The reason is because if the elbow doesn't pivot, then your body will lose balance, and the way your front and back shoulders are set (and thus the shoulder rotation) will not be preserved.

    In other words, your body will decide for you what is the "right" pivot motion. You just need to fix the takeback so it knows what you're doing.
     
  24. JCo872

    JCo872 Professional

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    Sharpy has a very good motion over all. I really like his rhythm and timing. I was just struck by the lack of pronation.
     
  25. sharpy

    sharpy Banned

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    thanks jeff.

    if i could buy pronation i would :)
     
  26. WBF

    WBF Hall of Fame

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    sharpy: it just takes time. You should be able to use it right away, but controlling your wrist so that the serve isn't wild might take a bit of time and practice!

    I definately agree that this is one of the more important aspects. The knee bend mentioned above is rather silly in comparison.
     
  27. tricky

    tricky Hall of Fame

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    If you contact me, I can get you a discount to pronationenlargement.com. Satisfaction guaranteed! ;)
     
  28. sharpy

    sharpy Banned

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    sweet. how much would it cost so i can serve as fast as roddick, as much spin as sampras and with the placement of agassi?

    on a serious note tricky would you respond to my post above yours a few posts back? your take?
     
  29. tricky

    tricky Hall of Fame

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    No problem. Just sign up for our Service Viagra product and you too can dance like Roddick, have hair like Agassi, and have skin like Sampras. In 1000fps no less. Be a chick magnet like Federer or your money back!

    So, at this point, Sampras's racquet face has already started to open up because he's already started his lateral arm takeback. In your case, I think you were rotating your forearm to open up the racquet face, which you don't want to do. But, otherwise, yes you have the right idea.

    One thing you want to notice is how far back Sampras's shoulder is from the first clip. This is a key thing I want to point out, because in your frame, the shoulder is no longer going back and now you're pivoting the elbow on its own accord.

    At this point, you may ask -- well, my shoulder can't go back further, how am I supposed to pivot then? The body. The body drives the pivot.

    Sampras's body orients itself much higher than yours (front side straightens and stretches) and it bends around more. This enables the arm takeback to continue, except that now the elbow will pivot. In fact, the elbow actually "sinks" a little into the trophy position if you coil around properly enough.

    Plus, as you coil your body upwards, this also enables the higher ball toss and the deeper knee bend.

    I also want to emphasize that the front/left rib remains slightly bent, and the back/right ribs remain straight through the windup, takeback, and initiation of the forward swing. This helps preserve the "balance" between the shoulders and the shoulder rotation that you want.

    With both Picture 2 and 3, because the shoulder has mostly stopped taking back, what you have now is a concentric/positive movement or a "lat raise." The elbow pivots upwards; the wrist follows the elbow, the hand finishes raising it. At this point, pronation will not really happen even if you throw the ball way over to the left because the shoulder rotation is incomplete.

    So the thing you want to nail down is that the takeback of the arm is continous, that the takeback is primarily lateral, and that whatever goes on with the elbow is coordinated with this lateral motion of the takeback. The elbow is not independent, and the elbow does not do anything without consent of the body or the shoulder.

    At this point, you're still generating terrific power from your body (and you still get a upward swing), which is why you do hit the ball hard. But the arm doesn't whip and you don't feel like you're hammering down on the ball (i.e. pronation.) It again goes back to the same thing. The arm is primarily interesting in taking back the shoulder and making sure the front-back shoulder balance stays (which is helped by the elbow.) It's really the rotation and twisting of the body that will set up the trophy position.

    In a way, the pronation itself is a reward for the rotation being correct. You would feel as if your pinkie easily slams the forearm down onto the ball, and that the overall motion is like a hammer coming down onto the ball.

    Or to put it another scenario:

    Say you don't twist your body upwards. at all You should expect your racquet arm to be no higher than sternum level before you initiate the forward portion (i.e. turn hips forwards) of the stroke. Even though the swing is wrong and will lead to the ball traveling forward instead of down, the rotation of your shoulder is correct. The elbow will still pivot around so that you will have a racquet drop. The actual motion of your shoulder is still correct, and you'll still experience pronation.

    However, say you now try to simulate a trophy position by pivoting the elbow upwards at the end of your takeback before you initiate the forward swing. The hand is high at head level. The racquet drop decreases. The pronation significantly decreases. The rotation is off and starts to feel slower.

    What this says is that the body dictates the trophy position and the pivoting of the elbow. The trophy position does not exist without the upward orientation of the body. The body enables it; the body drives it.
     
  30. sharpy

    sharpy Banned

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    I think i'm starting to get this....

    You're right about the 2nd picture where my shoulder "stops" taking back. But really is the taking the shoulder back a concious decision?

    Because basically, I just think first about taking the arm back laterally back ( to first picture), and then to raise my arm I just think of pivoting the elbow up.
    Am I missing something?? (in all honesty, I don't think about loading the shoulders one bit as i raise my arm to the trophy....just elbow pivot up)
     
    Last edited: Jan 11, 2008
  31. tricky

    tricky Hall of Fame

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    Mmm . . yeah, you have a point. One way to do this is to start the body, and then when you ready to start the takeback, gently nudge the elbow "up." (Similar to when you start takeback of a groundstroke.) Then as the body rotates, let it go back laterally. But, yeah, you still want the shoulder to stretch out until you're ready to fire.

    To go along with that, see if you can set up the trophy without consciously pivoting the elbow. See what you have to do with the body to set up the trophy where the hand is about shoulder level.
     
  32. BeHappy

    BeHappy Hall of Fame

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    Knee bend is worth 12%

    12% of 100mph=12mph
    =112mph

    that's pretty huge my friend

    If that isn't big to you then you must have a very big serve indeed.

    and I must confess I didn't notice your lack of pronation because I didn't look at your videos but at your pictures, and the reality of the situation is that you have two massive flaws in your service action.

    The reason your trophy position is different than Sampras's is as follows:

    1)As I already mentioned, your shoulders are not in alignment with your tossing arm, which accounts for your racquet shoulder being in a different position than sampras's at his trophy position, which accounts for your racquet hand being in an extemely different position to sampras at your trophy position.
     
  33. WBF

    WBF Hall of Fame

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    Emphasis mine.

    Awesome

    My pinky gives me about 7.39% increase. 7.39% of infinite is pretty much infinite, so 7.39% gives you pretty much inifinite power. Don't you not want infinite power?

    In all seriousness, he has about as much knee bend as I do. I hit big first serves. Does this mean I could simply add the knee bend and generate slightly less than 150mph serves? I doubt it. I'll give it a try though, would be pretty cool if you turned out to be correct.
     
    Last edited: Jan 12, 2008
  34. BeHappy

    BeHappy Hall of Fame

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    no, you couldn't hit 150mph, but you could definitely increase your serve speed by about 12%.

    Imagine if Agassi had a 137mph top serve instead of 120mph?
     
  35. Solat

    Solat Professional

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    thanks for the work Jeff, thats some pretty damning evidence of lack of pronation. Your software sures makes life easier then trying to pause/play/pause thru a youtube vid :)
     
  36. sharks195

    sharks195 New User

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    don't lose accuracy with your second serve! keep as much power in your first serve, but assure your second serve always goes in no matter what.
     
  37. sharpy

    sharpy Banned

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    excellent advice. I could of never thought of that one!! :p
     
  38. sharpilistik

    sharpilistik Banned

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    Still can't find a way to get it corrected. I've tried orientating to sky, back over front...

    Could you explain the "nudging the elbow" a bit more?

    On a side note, if you lead with the elbow, its hard to find a way so that the wrist isn't down and to the right, since elbow leading is where the wrist trail behind anyway right? But i know the 'down and to the right' wrist isnt correct...
     
  39. tricky

    tricky Hall of Fame

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    Dude, Sharpy WTH happened to you? Got caught distributing free memberships to mashaxxxroddick.com? :D

    You know what, I forgot to mention something else that I saw in the pictures. Before you start up your windup, you want your racquet frame/tip slightly pointed toward the left. So when you start the windup, the elbow will move away from your body as well as upwards.

    I'm having problems visualizing this. Where in the takeback?
     
    Last edited: Jan 15, 2008
  40. sharpilistik

    sharpilistik Banned

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    Is this the position you refer at the beggining when you have ball touching the racket 'ready pos'?
     
  41. tricky

    tricky Hall of Fame

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    Yes, but you want to maintain that as you let go of the left hand. So when you take back, it's at a slight angle a little bit as if you were preparing to throw a discus.

    Very similar to what you're doing, just start winding with the racquet tip slightly pointing toward the left or body, making sure the elbow goes upward and across the body.
     
  42. sharpilistik

    sharpilistik Banned

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    Ok let me take a look at this. i'll post some more pictures in just a min..

    wow its been a long day
     
  43. sharpilistik

    sharpilistik Banned

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  44. tricky

    tricky Hall of Fame

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    If you look at the beginning of a FH takeback, you'll notice that the elbow moves laterally away from the body. Then, as the takeback continues, the elbow laterally moves back in toward and sometimes past the right hip. This is natural part of arm rotation and it's something one doesn't think about. It just happens.

    If you can get a clip of Becker, he does a very exagerrated version of this. Just watch how he swings his arm back and forth before his windup in order to "track" this natural rotation in his muscle memory.

    Now, if you try taking the arm back while simultaneously moving the elbow toward the body, it doesn't feel natural anymore. It feels very awkward. This is kinda what you're doing right now.

    Correcting this is very simple if you want to look for. Again, kinda imagining what a discuss throw looks like in the beginning might help. As you let the racquet go from your left hand, preserve the elbow angle/bend and the racquet frame being slightly oriented toward the left/your body. This helps to make the takeback easier.

    This is fine; racquet is oriented correctly. For now, notice the horizontal/lateral distance between your right arm and the right side fo your body. Notice the same thing with Sampras. Keep both as references.

    This is okay, but you may start noticing that as you're letting go, you're starting to bring your right arm into your body, and the frame is starting to orient toward the right. In other words, you're starting to consciously drop your arm toward the right side of your body. Whereas Sampras lets go, his arm is dropping along the natural angle created by the racquet frame and the hitting arm. In other words, he just lets it drop along its natural "slot."

    As you take back the racquet, you consciously do this relatively on edge and the elbow moving toward your body. This constricts your ability to bring the elbow up and the upper right arm across the body. Notice how in the Sampras picture, his elbow has stayed laterally away from the body as he prepared to raise the elbow. Also notice how his racquet face is starting to open toward the net without forearm rotation.

    Here, Sampras's elbow has finally come in. Notice how open his racquet face is. Notice how much shoulder turn he has now. Notice how close his hitting arm is now to the right side of his body. He's letting the natural rotation do its work, whereas in your situation, you're constricted and taking the racquet back with a positive/concentric movement, rather than a stretch.

    This is off-topic, but I wanted to point that ideally, you want to keep your head still from the beginning of the windup to the time just before your body tilts upwards (which is usually when the tossing arm has reached shoulder level.) This will help your front torso from opening up too much in the takeback and it will give you a deeper ball toss.

    Just to reiterate, Sampras doesn't track his ball toss until his tossing arm has reached shoulder level. By doing this, he keeps his front torso properly oriented through the takeback and his front shoulder down.

    In your case, your racquet face only starts to open up once the takeback is well under way. This belies the constriction you're creating because you didn't let the elbow naturally "come around" your body to load external rotation. Also, it looks like your front shoulder has started to come up (rather than stay low), so that the back shoulder can turn. So, now, the shoulder rotation is no longer correct. Now how Sampras's front shoulder has remained "under", even as he starts the ball toss.
     
    Last edited: Jan 15, 2008
  45. sharpilistik

    sharpilistik Banned

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    Only free for you, tricky ;)

    Very interesting observations relating to the 'natural slot'

    When im trying the slot thing, it feels like the arm wants to straighthen out before the elbow pivots up, is this ok?
     
  46. WBF

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    It would be within 5 mph of 150, I would guess even more.

    Where are you coming up with this magical 12% number?

    I bend about as much as the day video in the op. Is that not a big knee bend? Could I be serving even better if I integrated a knee bend?
     
  47. tricky

    tricky Hall of Fame

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    Generally not. It sounds like you're supinating your forearm, or you're drawing/taking the racquet back with the hand (rather than with the elbow/upper arm or shoulder.) When you take back, the elbow shouldn't straighten out. In fact, don't worry about opening up the racquet face for now.

    Try practicing the takeback just holding the racquet with the 2nd, 4th, and 5th fingers. That helps limit unnecessary forearm rotation in the takeback. And, also, it's easier to "feel" for a proper takeback in that you'll more of a stretch along the edge of the arm closer to your 5th finger.
     
    Last edited: Jan 15, 2008
  48. sharpilistik

    sharpilistik Banned

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    Ok i think i got it now. lets hope that it works...

    After doing it over and over i found that if you straighten the arm you cant really load the shoulder back as if you kept it bent and pulled out of the slot..
     
  49. BeHappy

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    dave smith of tennisone has done some research on this.

    Have you ever seen a big serving professional with no knee bend?

    don't be ridiculous.
     
  50. sharpilistik

    sharpilistik Banned

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    And also strange enough he is the one that claims to have served 90+ mph down on his knees!!
     

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