Discussion in 'Tennis Tips/Instruction' started by sharpy, Jan 3, 2008.
Cool fireworks in the background of the night video
he serves 125mph standing up.
You specifically pointed out that the op didn't knee bend.
Perhaps you didn't look closely in the videos? The difference between knee bends the op gets and someone like roddick gets aren't very big. It might add a little power, but its not like the op isn't bending at all, just not quite as much.
it adds a lot of power, you are wrong, op gets no knee bend, his meagre knee bend amounts to sitting down instead of leaning into the court which destroys the kinetic chain.
Is that not a knee bend? What exactly are you talking about?
Im following up relating to this 2hbh advice. Ok, trying your progressions of tracing the "u" with the hand, I find the rear arm easily straightens out. But when I try to trace "u" with elbows, rear arm doesnt straighten out at all.
http://youtube.com/watch?v=vEYr-IieAX8 hard to see but rear arm doesnt straighten out, and does go across the body
http://youtube.com/watch?v=VZ47_vyy-6o older video
If you want to see how NOT to serve, watch Razzano serve.
I'm watching her play Jankovic.
She opens up early, raises her hand up by her right ear, and hits a frying pan like moonball.
Actually, that's okay. The key is that one of the arms has to be bent and the other straight at POC (unless it's a wide shot.) If the left arm is bent and the right arm is straight, you get a more driving shot (what Safin does.) If the left arm is straight and the right arm is bent, you get a very spinny shot. I should have made myself more clear, but I was writing that one quickly.
If you look at the lateral path of the ball coming at you, you want to take back the racquet in that same horizontal plane. As you take back the racquet in the U, the rear elbow moves farther away from the body. This is necessary because the body itself is rotating away from the ball in the other direction.
In doing this, the U that both elbows are tracing matches the lateral plane of the ball. Also the back shoulder stays above the front.
Heres the newest video. Im no longer supinating takeback, but still problem with trophy/wrist
For good measures, tricky heres a back view
As you can see, the shoulder does get loaded, but somehow it 'unloads' at the trophy.
I've added a nice knee bend for gorilla there also.
Yeah, you're really close. Right now, you're still self-consciously pivoting the elbow because the elbow is staying too "high." When you set the trophy, the elbow should naturally drop, not by your own efforts, but due to the upwards lean of the body.
1) When you orient your body upwards, let your right elbow sink naturally.
2) At the same time, maintain the "high" or "loaded" position (or "raised" feeling) of the back shoulder. (Obviously, when your tossing arm goes up, your front shoulder will be above the back, but it's about mantaining the stretch on the chest/shoulder as you start establishing the trophy.)
3) At no time should the hand ever reach above the back shoulder.
It's true that knee bend is very important, otherwise you're going to be using way too much upper body throughout an entire match with your serving. Taking 12% of the work off your shoulder/arm/torso is actually quite alot of work in reality, especially if you play a long match.
However, knee bend won't really help him if he doesn't get the right timing/pronation (the main key in producing a huge serve, that and great flexibility).
Yea. I'm still struggling with the hand being too high at head height.
I've noticed that in some servers, the elbow really doesnt sink. a guy that comes to mind is safin. could you describe how his serve/pivot works? From the videos, I see he uses a pretty abbreviated takeback. He seems to kind of 'come around' with his elbow pivot.
Yeah, I've noticed that especially with the WTA players (though not the Williams sisters.)
As for Safin, because he pronates his racquet (i.e. inverts racquet) prior to windup, the hand will be higher on his trophy position, as if he was using close to an Eastern BH grip to serve. That said, his hand is still a touch lower than head height.
I relooked at the videos and had some extra notes:
1) You want to preserve the elbow bend as the forearm starts to go up. "Preserve" the elbow bend as you set up the trophy position.
As you start your takeback, you're good about preserving the elbow bend. However, as you start raising your forearm from the ground to about parallel with ground, you have a habit of extending your elbow again. Because you do that, the racquet starts to hang "down" on your wrist again. You'll also notice that any deliberate pivoting of the elbow will also prevent you from protecting that elbow bend.
Now, usually when the forearm climbs from parallel-with-ground to the trophy position, the elbow bends in more. However, "preserve elbow bend" usually doesn't interfere with that.
2) As you're settting up the trophy, remember to keep the shoulder "high" and "back." This should lead to the elbow naturally sinking, so that the hand is about head level.
Let me know how that works.
:-? Wasn't as good as expected. Hand still remaining too high. Wrist position kinda awkward? This is really very frustrating.
Hmm. That should have worked. It's very difficult to preserve the angle of the elbow bend and at the same time pivot the elbow to set up the trophy position. Either the racquet ends up way too close to your head, or your elbow straightens out, which leads to the hand being too high.
Could you get me some time-slice shots of your takeback-into-trophy position?
Arent you supposed to pivot the elbow?
Oh no no, not actively/directly. You're not supposed to directly left the forearm around the elbow in order to set up the trophy.
As you orient your body upwards, the right forearm and upper arm rotates as one unit around the right shoulder to balance the body (i.e. keep yourself from bending over and on top to the right.) The elbow actually dips a little bit on its ownm, and the elbow angle comes in. This is more apparent when the tossing arm and takeback are synced together.
In all the clips in the past week, you pivot around the elbow to set up the trophy. I've been trying to get you away from that, to find how to set up the trophy by coiling your body and lengthening the left side of your body (i.e. orienting upwards.) I guess there was a disconnect in communications.
Again, if you prevent your elbow bend from lengthening through the takeback and into the trophy, it should help.
This might help:
Take your racquet back as you normally would in a serve. Hold that takeback. Now, without *intentionally* doing ANYTHING with your right arm, lean backwards to look straight up above you. Watch what happens to your right arm.
I know what you mean, but doing it is something else.
I orientate upwards, but I feel that all of this only automatically brings the elbow pivot up to a certain extent, like say 80% automatic then it kinda feels stuck there 80% of the way and I feel like I have to manually complete it to get into the full trophy
Okay, let's run through the questions.
1) Is your wrist still staying down?
2) How does your shoulder feel as you're setting up the trophy? Is it "low" or "high" (i.e. "raised"/"stretched")?
3) Do you continue try taking your shoulder back as you're setting up the trophy?
4) Are you sure your elbow bend is not straightening?
5) Is the elbow starting to dip?
6) Does the hand never cross above the shoulders?
Yeah it's frustrating, because once you have this, you'll have a properly functioning serve with proper shoulder rotation and pronation. Power and spin should make a huge jump once this is settled.
let todays screenshots answer the questions for you, arm is remained bent, hand is high.
you know the deal... up to 7
i will upload additional if necessary later
yo sharpy, you short,
you gotta hit up and pronate,
if wanna get the proper spin rate.
At SS3, it looks like the arm stretches out. Also, it kinda looks like the thumb-wrist line, which should still be almost straight, breaks. As a result, the racquet head should be higher in SS3.
It looks like you have the right idea for SS4 and SS5 for setting up the trophy. The thumb-wrist looks off again, but that's probably due to the wrist. If there was no issue with SS3, by the end of SS5, you should be near trophy.
i agree with thumb wrist and arm stretching out, I'm assuming i got into a bad habit with arm straightening a bit, but strictly keeping the elbow bend exactly the same feels very tense
heres a back view if you can see it
I guess I never had a problem with it, since to me, it's similar to groundstrokes. It just seems counterintuitive for the thumb-wrist to go from straight to bent. But if you are bending the thumb-wrist in mid-takeback, then yes maintaining the elbow bend will feel very tense.
Both the thumb-wrist and the elbow needs to be preserved as you go into the trophy position (though of course the elbow bends in a little bit more as the trophy is set.) It should be taken back as one unit.
I'll take a look at the video clip when I get home (which will be awhile.) I'll update this post.
ok. Sounds good tricky.
I'll actually go out there now and try out the thumb wrist and strict elbow bend with each other, video some and then i'll report back depending on the results.
i've got more clips, tried the thumb wrist but still same problem. let me look carefully to see if its straightening out now
screenshots and clips in a little bit
Ok. This should really help you
http://www.geocities.com/mastamoda/serve/tr1.jpg (to 10)
In T3 and T4, it looks like your wrist is breaking neutral position and is bending forward. Why does this happen for you?
Ideally, the wrist needs to be in a neutral grip position, but with the wrist slightly stretched. For example, say you were hitting a WTA-style FH where the racquet initially is pointing straight up, the wrist should be in that position.
Is it all in the wrist causing problems?? why is the hand so high at trophy??
It's just a really odd position to hold the wrist, because no stroke in tennis is like that. I guess it's again, to me, counterintuitive to try something like that.
The takeback and the trophy are eccentric/negative phases of the serve,. Meaning the muscles stretch back and away. When you have your wrist slack like between the takeback and setting up of trophy (T3/T4), the arm is less able to stretch. (You can verify this by trying the takeback with your current wrist vs. a neutral grip wrist vs. a very laid-back wrist. Not only does the neutral grip wrist enable a longer takeback, but so does the very laid-back wrist.)
Because the takeback is constricted, you end up doing some kind of raising or active pivot movement in order to set up the trophy, which in turn destroys the loading of the shoulder rotation. And any time you directly use a pivot movement, the hand will end up very high.
See if holding the racquet and setting up the trophy with just your 2nd, 4th, and 5th fingers helps improve the wrist and trophy position.
I think I get it. So right now my wrist is actually flexed forward midway between takeback? Will presetting the wrist at neutral at the beggining help? Trouble is, I'm not even aware im doing this during the motion.
Yeah, a neutral wrist position should be the default position. If you think about preserving the elbow bend, the thumb-wrist, and the natural wrist position, this is all pretty consistent with normal FH and BH technique. It's nothing new.
So, in short:
1) Keep wrist in neutral position
2) Thumb-wrist position stretched (i.e. thumb roughly parallel with forearm)
3) Preserve elbow bend through takeback and setting up trophy position
4) Right hand never above shoulder level
5) Upward orientation of body sets up the trophy.
6) Elbow will sink on its own accord as trophy is set
My hunch is that, for a long time, you kinda treated your arm as "just there for the ride." Most tennis instruction concentrates on the body twist, knee bend, arm toss, and "check points" like the trophy position and racquet drop. They kinda leave the takeback details to experimentation.
I'm kinda harpering on you with the racquet drop and takeback, because if you get that down, then you'll easily learn what "shoulder over shoulder" external rotation and pronation really feels like. Which is the whole basis of a functionally "correct" serve, regardless of other details.
Most tennis out there just sucks. Yes my coaches in real life all advocate just doing it over and over and "time time time" to get a better serve. "use your body more, legs, etc" Keep in mind, this is how he learned it. He was a former ranked 200 atp player. They just naturally discover certain techniques after hitting 10000's of balls and such. Needless to say, he quickly got frustrated with me focusing so much on technique.
I wish I had good news to report but the serve is technically very complicated.
heres some more screenshots from today
http://geocities.com/mastamoda/r1.jpg to ten
I assure you i have been working hard on maintaining a neutral wrist.
In shots R3-R5 (possibly R2), your thumb-wrist appears bent-in. By R4, your wrist is actually starting to bend in again.
It looks like the issue now is you're having problems reconciling the wrist position and the thumb-wrist. In your case, the thumb-wrist needs to stay extended (like your 2 handed BH), and your wrist needs to be probably more laid back than it is currently (though it's still relatively neutral.) I think you understand that intellectually, but you may not what is the "feeling" you're looking for.
AT the beginning of your serve, when you're kinda swinging your arm back and forth to "groove" the takeback, try to look for a "feel" where the tricep near your elbow feels most stretched. Start with the extended thumb-wrist, and then start laying your wrist back more and more for each individual "swing" until you feel that stretch. You should also feel something of an stretch on the outer part of the arm, and that your pinkie feels more "active." Then do the rest of the takeback. Also, this should encourage you to take the racquet back with your elbow and shoulder, rather than concentrating on the hand.
Basically, keep swinging back and forth, and working with the wrist until you find that feel. Once you find that, work on mantaining that feel through the trophy position.
What do you mean "bent in" at r3-5? Is the thumb wrist still incorrect/not extended?
I basically just start with the wrist neutral "extended" then kinda bring the arm in with the tossing arm to the left hip and there is a downward component to this of course (which if you do this its almost impossible to keep a straight thumb wrist), is this messing things up?
From here, i basically pull back with elbow and then initiate upwards, but magically my wrist is always "down" and the hand becomes very high.
Not sure if I follow this. Can you into this a bit more?
pretty basic stuff tricky. racket/toss arm goes together down then back up and the motion starts.
the point is: im asking, why in the world is my shoulder not loading like its supposed to? why is the wrist not neutral when I start out neutral? why is the hand so high?
Relooked at your back swing video. Okay, I understand now about the "arm in" thing and looking at the swing back and forth. I should have picked this up before, but I had thought this was solved before.
Arm (i.e. elbow) needs to move AWAY from the body when the racquet initially starts takeback (i.e. goes down.) The racquet tip should initially pointed toward the left side fence. And then, as the take back continues, the arm comes back into the body and then behind the hips. This is a natural part of the motion.
Basically, when you "groove" your swing in the beginning, it's just in the wrong direction. Again, just point ot the left side fence and follow the groove from there. You should, again, feel it in the outer part of the arm and tricep around the elbow.
This matters, because you're essentially loading the shoulder for internal rotation.
Okay, so, the issue is why does the pivot motion with the elbow get initiated (thereby causing the hand to set up high?)
From the trophy position to the racquet drop, the forearm in the forward swing deviates or hooks away from the midline of your body. Now, typically in this trophy position, the hand is about shoulder level. This forearm deviation or hook enables it to "lift" the racquet just enough, so that it can drop comfortably behind the shoulder while the shoulder rotates. Next, this same "away" forearm deviation continues and causeds the swing to go "up" while the racquet is propelled out of the racquet drop. Finally, this same motion also enables the forearm to pronate while the shoulder is rotating.
Now, in order to load the forearm, so that it deviates explosively away from the midline (thereby enabling the swing to go into racquet, go out of racquet drop, and to initiate pronation all explosively), the takeback needs the forearm/elbow to move away from the midline of the body. Meaning elbow needs to hook toward the chest, or hook toward the waistline in the takeback (which of course makes no sense for this serve.) Now, if you initiate the takeback with the elbow initially moving away from the body (and racquet tip pointing "in" or toward your body), your forearm will deviate away from the midline. In other words, you've properly loaded the forearm, so that it can do its "in/out of racquet drop and upwards swing" magic out of the "low" (hand=shoulder level) trophy position.
However, that is not what's happening in your situation. Because you start the takeback with your elbow going into the body (and racquet tip pointing out), the forearm does not deviate away from the midline. It deviates toward the midline. As a result, your takeback doesn't set up the an "automatic" mechanism, which sets the racquet drop optimally and directs the upward swing. You find that you don't even quite have a trophy position, so that when you try initiating the upward swing, the racquet drop is poor and the swing doesn't go up very much. How do you solve this? You finish setting up the trophy position by letting the hand pivoting around the elbow. In other words, you actively "lift" the forearm just high enough, so that you can have an appropriate racquet drop when the shoulder rotates externally. In effect, this is a "corrective movement" added to the core takeback.
This creates complications. First, because you did not load the forearm to deviate away from the midline, even though you initiate the racquet drop, you still have to manually "lift" the racquet arm upwards out of the drop. Also, forearm pronation has to be initiated by you. But, the most crucial problem is that, now, the shoulder has lost a lot about half of its load. The load on the shoulder from the takeback to the trophy position is no longer there. The load that you do get comes from the trophy position into the racquet drop into the upward swing, or about half of the total backswing. So, the racquet speed isn't optimal.
But without that pivot motion, a proper service swing is not even possible. It's, again, a correct step for a hitch in the mechanics. It's not necessarily that the hand being high which compromise the shoulder load. It's that the hand being high is a sign that the shoulder load (and other aspects of the service) has already been compromised during the takeback.
not quite sure what you mean in the beggining "racket tip pointed to left side fence at start"
from what i see, the racket tip is actually pointed slightly down and to the RIGHT side fence.
are you refering to how the racket face(strings) are slightly supinated/ pointed to the left side fence rather than kind of on edge like me?
goes up to 3 this time
http://geocities.com/mastamoda/l1.jpg -shows how racket "tip" is actually pointed to the right but strings are slightly supinated? (i know you said absolutely no forearm rotation but it certainly appears like their might be, look at safin's strings at start)
2- adds me on
3- racket and toss arm are now close to right hip.
Ahh, I should have clarified that. Racquet tip should be pointing toward your body or "in." This way, when you initiate the takeback, the elbow initially moves away from the body and towards the chest. It's just a way to make sure you're properly grooving the takeback. You'll find that your shoulder turns much more this way.
Basically, right now, you're going "out-to-in" in your takeback. But you want to go "in-to-out" instead. It's not easy to pick up on video.
Yeah, Safin pronates his forearm to invert his racquet, as he begins his windup. This was actually one of the things i was going to plug after this and some other issues were resolved. Roddick and I think Federer also uses it, so that they get more pronation in their serve. But, again, that comes after the foundation is set.
I still don't quite get how the elbow would move "away" from the body initially. If you pull back with the elbow, the elbow would stay in that angle as it pulls back and i think the elbow would naturally just come back in to the body
would it be too much for you to draw an example of this on paint?
That little stick picture is awesome, thanks for sharing!
I'm trying to get my serve down as well and I was having a difficult time following/understanding the terminology in the thread, the picture really helped, thanks again.
no problem, glad to help
you haven't deserted me here have you?
Haha. Nah. Image sites are blocked at work, so . . .
I guess this is my stab at annotating one of the images. And, uhm, I apologize for sucking at this.
The light blue remembers the "slot" of the takeback. In yours, you're directly pulling back or from "out to in." In the Sampras pic, he's pulling away or from "in to out." The slot is more or less set by your racquet tip angle ("in" or "out") at the beginning of the windup.
Eventually, both takebacks go back in (i.e. the Sampras one is really "in-out-in.") BUT, in the latter, the elbow/forearm also hooks toward the chest. I tried to convey the differences in path with the darker blue lines.
LOL. that is probably the cheesiest attempt ive ever seen. but credits for your effort
So with the sampras picture, the light blue is the correct path? what about the navy dark blue, is that the "bad"?
Yeah. BeHappy is Picasso compared to me.
The light blue path represents the slot itself as you initiate the takeback. Again, the arm initially goes away and upwards from the body, and the racquet tip starts "in" or slightly toward your body.
The darker blue circle describes the overall path, which is kind of a loop tilted on its side. The arm comes across your body in a longer path than what you're currently doing, and at the same time the elbow is hooking upwards toward chest level. (With the elbow bend, thumb-wrist, and wrist position all static.) And, so, prior to orienting the body upwards and setting the trophy, the arm is pulled back and the elbow is close to or at chest level.
As I see it, the only real difference is that you just change your slot so that the racquet tip is initially pointing toward your body, and then pull back the arm following that slot.
Wait is that what im doing now "incorrect"? or is that the solution?
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