Any TIPS on Serve Toss ?

Discussion in 'Tennis Tips/Instruction' started by Nostradamus, Apr 14, 2013.

  1. Nostradamus

    Nostradamus G.O.A.T.

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    I know I know, this has been asked about 1 millionth time. but I have a service toss very similar to Pete Sampras EXCEPT very importantly it is all over the place. When my tossing arm starts forward, it looks like Pete but the ball ends up everywhere. I have NO idea where it is going.

    Please help, experts and amateurs alike.:cry:
     
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  2. Lukhas

    Lukhas Legend

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  3. Nostradamus

    Nostradamus G.O.A.T.

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  4. Nostradamus

    Nostradamus G.O.A.T.

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  5. SystemicAnomaly

    SystemicAnomaly G.O.A.T.

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    ^ Sampras' arms did not go up together either. His racket head was delayed quite a bit relative to his left arm extension and ball release. Federer is somewhat closer to down-together/up-together than Sampras.

    Are you bending your left arm or flipping your wrist on the toss? Have you tried the "ice cream cone" toss?
    .
     
    Last edited: Apr 14, 2013
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  6. Nostradamus

    Nostradamus G.O.A.T.

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    right, I serve toss just like Sampras. but only difference is my toss is All over the place where his is perfection everytime.:cry:
     
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  7. Say Chi Sin Lo

    Say Chi Sin Lo Legend

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    What is your release like?

    Are you "letting it go" or is it a straight up toss/throw it up?
     
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  8. Nostradamus

    Nostradamus G.O.A.T.

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    just like pete. straight up throw it up
     
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  9. Say Chi Sin Lo

    Say Chi Sin Lo Legend

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    I get that. But the motion aside, how do you release the ball? Do you simply "let it go", or it's a deliberate toss?

    I find the latter to be must more inconsistent.
     
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  10. sureshs

    sureshs Bionic Poster

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    Can you post a video of your serve?
     
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  11. Nostradamus

    Nostradamus G.O.A.T.

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    it is deliverate toss. sometimes I unconsciously flip it up. these are not good, right ?
     
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  12. Nostradamus

    Nostradamus G.O.A.T.

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    Yes but my beauty may blind you
     
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  13. sureshs

    sureshs Bionic Poster

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    Then why don't you come over and show it to me. I can get a couple of TW posters together and we will have a fun time.

    I really mean it. You are around here and I have never met you (that I know of).
     
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  14. Nostradamus

    Nostradamus G.O.A.T.

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    I guess I could use the Samsung galaxy S3 since I don't own a video camara. I was thinking about getting the Piolet pen though. that girl in that commercial was pretty hot.
     
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  15. sureshs

    sureshs Bionic Poster

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    Stop beating around the bush. When are you going to show your toss to me, cheetah, and rkelley? I can reserve courts at my club. I am serious.
     
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  16. Say Chi Sin Lo

    Say Chi Sin Lo Legend

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    As with all things in sport, the less deliberate it is, the less it can go wrong.

    If you look at Sampras' motion, there's really no wind-up of the toss. It's just released as his tossing arm gets above his head. And that's what I meant, he just "lets it go".
     
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  17. WildVolley

    WildVolley Legend

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    Almost everyone with a bad toss flicks the ball up. Don't use your wrist at all. Hold the ball with your fingers, don't let it rest in your palm. As the ball is lifted up into the air by your arm you should just open your fingers to release it. The release point is basically around your head height. The release is a little later for a second serve as you want the ball to drift more across the body.

    It should be a smooth and relaxed motion. Again keep your wrist neutral with respect to the arm and throw from the shoulder.
     
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  18. sureshs

    sureshs Bionic Poster

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    Let me tell you a secret. Most people, including WTA pros, do not have a perfect toss. You need to make minute adjustments to every toss. Something that no one will tell you.
     
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  19. Nostradamus

    Nostradamus G.O.A.T.

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    I am not a cat, I am human. and I can't swim like Kelley either.
     
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  20. Nostradamus

    Nostradamus G.O.A.T.

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    http://www.dono.com.cn/tujie/sampras02.htm

    Ok so if you watch that video. he drops his hand with ball in it pretty far down. and that is long way to go from where his hand starts which is in the leg and all the way up to where his shoulder is. I don't know how he prevents himself from flicking it up too fast ???
     
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  21. Say Chi Sin Lo

    Say Chi Sin Lo Legend

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    Think of it this way, when you play basketball. The finger-roll layup is a release of the ball, not a chuck
     
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  22. WildVolley

    WildVolley Legend

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    It helps to have a low toss and a fast motion. For example, I don't think Goran Ivanisevic's toss form was very good, but he in general didn't blow too many tosses. Same goes for Roddick. I'd bet that Roddick was usually tossing the ball to the same fairly small target.

    If you have a toss height like Steffi Graf, you're going to need very good form and still make small adjustments.

    Some of the pros can hit a serve with their eyes closed, so I'd guess they have pretty good toss accuracy. It isn't a matter of perfection, it is just getting the accuracy within an acceptable range.
     
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  23. Lukhas

    Lukhas Legend

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    I'm just a French rec level player, who also has his own stuff to work on.
    EDIT: I also found that a too high toss was difficult to aim at, and difficult to hit at too. My coordination is just very poor, along with myopia it doesn't help. That's even the reason why I switched to an abbreviated windup (instead of "down together/up together"), to coordinate my arms better and force myself to toss lower. I also lift my head up before I toss. Problem is that I don't have a lot of occasions to hit the ball (even on the wall, the wall at my club is just THAT lame), so I often forget it when going to hit, and make no progress whatsoever... :lol: I also don't put my thumb on the ball when I toss. But I'm far from having an even reliable serve, or even a serve at all, really. I just have a toss, which is the first thing I worked on.
     
    Last edited: Apr 14, 2013
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  24. SystemicAnomaly

    SystemicAnomaly G.O.A.T.

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    Might be part of the problem. Pete did not throw the ball straight up. It did not have as much arc as Roger's does but it was still parabolic in nature:

    [​IMG]
     
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  25. Nostradamus

    Nostradamus G.O.A.T.

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    Exactly, I also don't toss straight up but I have to toss in that Arc, Pete does. but Throwing up in Arc like is very tough to me. Has anyone mastered that toss ??
     
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  26. Nostradamus

    Nostradamus G.O.A.T.

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  27. SystemicAnomaly

    SystemicAnomaly G.O.A.T.

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    If you don't do it already, practice a toss & catch. Pete releases the ball at close to the height of his forehead/hairline. You release point might be slightly different -- depending on your anatomy (arm length wrt your height) and your implementation of the motion. Once you release the ball, let the fingers of your left hand follow the ball upward. With your left arm in the trophy position (vertical), see if you can catch the ball in your outstretched hand (w/o moving it). Such a toss would be a pretty good toss. If the ball is slightly to the left of your hand, that would still be a good toss. If the ball passes a bit to the right of your hand, it might still be a fairly decent toss (but not ideal for a topspin serve). It looks like Pete's toss would pass a bit to the left of his hand.

    Try the toss and catch with your right arm statically positioned in the trophy position. Then try the toss and catch with a full motion that stops at the trophy position.
     
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  28. martini1

    martini1 Hall of Fame

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    But doesn't Pete got this "same toss for everything" technique to hide his serve? Is it realistic for a 3.5-4.0 to do this?
     
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  29. The Meat

    The Meat Hall of Fame

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    I haven't seen too many 3.5-4.0 players who are able to mix up their serves and pick their spots. It's better for them to have different tosses until they can pick their spots better.
     
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  30. Say Chi Sin Lo

    Say Chi Sin Lo Legend

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    I'm not sure if there is any truth to in the "same toss for everything" that all the commentators/announcers say about Sampras and Federer. I think it's the way their stance and positioning of their bodies that help disguise the toss better.

    I think from the returner's perspective, it's harder to read Sampras'/Federer's toss because they have turned more of their backs toward the returner. So because of that, whether or not the toss is in front/behind, it looks the same because it travels in the same plane. I use a similar platform, turn-my-back-towards-opponent stance (I was taught that way). Not that I have a booming serve, but I rely more on placement (I don't have the height to just bomb it down the middle), and I've been complimented on being difficult to read. And I DEFINITELY use slightly different tosses. My slices and occasional flats are closer to ~1-2 o'clock, topspin is closer to ~11-12 o'clock. Which has led me to the theory I've proposed above. In otherwords, as far as the forward/behind toss is concerned with the returner, it looks as it's either closer to the returner (slice/flat), or away to the returner (topspin/kick). From a distance and at an angle, plus the minute changes in the trajectory, the depth perception of the returner may not notice the difference and react to it.

    Whereas on TV, where we get the behind-the-back view ~99% of the time, and I'm not saying I have the expertise to be a commentator/announcer, but to me, Sampras and Federer do not use the same toss for every serve.

    For example: Federer on the deuce court,
    - For an out-wide slice, his toss is slightly more to the right of him.
    - For a down-the-middle kick, his toss is either "behind" or directly above his head.

    Federer on the ad court,
    - For a down-the-middle slice, his toss is slightly more to the right of him.
    - For an out-wide kick, his toss is "behind" him.

    The change in the trajectory in the toss is not huge, but I definitely see subtle differences. And to get the necessary spin, whether it be a slice, topspin, or just a flat bomb, the physics has to be there.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZbxIemy4pFk

    Think of it another way: if you turn a clock sideways so the face of the clock is facing either left/right of you, would you still be able to tell if the needle is on 2 or 10 o'clock? Or would it look more less the same to you, the observer?

    Hopefully I'm not seeing thing and making a fool out of myself. And I'm done rambling, this will be a good discussion. Good night y'all!
     
    Last edited: Apr 15, 2013
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  31. Nostradamus

    Nostradamus G.O.A.T.

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    I don't think level has anything to do with serve toss issues. I know that Brad Gilbert said any level player from ATP level pros to 3.0 amateur can have Toss issues. I am 4.5 rated player and had this issue for a long time
     
    Last edited: Apr 15, 2013
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  32. WildVolley

    WildVolley Legend

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    If we are to believe the stories of Sampras training his serve, he actually did work to have a single toss location for most of his first serves. Fischer had a drill in which Sampras would go into his service motion and Fischer would call out a target after the toss had left Sampras's hand. Sampras would adjust the swing path slightly and the rate of pronation to either hit a down-the-middle or wide serve based on the call.

    On the other hand, Pete definitely changed the toss location (more left) on most of his second serves to assure more topspin.

    I believe that Ivanisevic also hit both his wide and down the middle 1st from the same toss location and just altered his racket contact on the ball to determine his target. This does make it harder to read. A lot of rec players will telegraph the first serve by tossing it way to the side for a slice, and in front for a down the middle.
     
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  33. Raul_SJ

    Raul_SJ Professional

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    If we model Sampras' toss exactly (and toss out in front as Sampras does), will we still be able to catch the ball with our outstretched hand without moving it forward?

    Or should we adjust our toss in practice so that it is less into the court and we are able to catch it, and later incorporate the more out in front toss?
     
    Last edited: Apr 15, 2013
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  34. WildVolley

    WildVolley Legend

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    The answer to your first question is no. Sampras would need to move his hand to his left and forward to have a chance at catching his own toss, because the ball was arcing forward and to his left, and Sampras had athletic movement into the court.

    Even without duplicating Sampras, it can be helpful to catch your own toss simply as a method of learning how to control where you place the ball. The ideal point will likely change if your serve becomes more dynamic.

    Watch the essential tennis video linked on the first page to see how to construct a target for an athletic serve. You'd want to place the target forward and to the left if you were going to duplicate the Sampras serve (assuming a rh server). Few players are quite as athletic as Sampras who could easily dunk a basketball during his playing days.
     
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  35. Nostradamus

    Nostradamus G.O.A.T.

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    with the shoulder turn, you have to toss the ball into and right over your head like Sampras. if you toss too much to the right, you get a nice slice but NO power.
     
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  36. WildVolley

    WildVolley Legend

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    I agree. You often see rh rec players toss way to the right and usually that means slow slice coming, I'd better move in!

    However, there are a few guys who lack back flexibility who will a fairly hard flat serve with a right toss because they are standing up straight at contact. Sort of like a side-arm pitch. These guys will stand out during warm-up.
     
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  37. Nostradamus

    Nostradamus G.O.A.T.

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    Spoken like a true advanced player. 4.0 to 4.5 player should be able to hit all 3 type of serve with same toss like Pete does.
     
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  38. SystemicAnomaly

    SystemicAnomaly G.O.A.T.

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    Pete himself said that he had 2 different tosses. The diff between his 2 tosses was somewhat subtle. Lesser players will vary their toss somewhat more than a pro would -- sometimes deliberately, sometimes not.
     
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  39. SystemicAnomaly

    SystemicAnomaly G.O.A.T.

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    The toss/catch exercise is to get your toss in the general area and make it more consistent. Once you can do that most of the time you can fine tune it.
     
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  40. 5263

    5263 G.O.A.T.

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    I thought Pete used a version of the J toss?
     
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  41. Say Chi Sin Lo

    Say Chi Sin Lo Legend

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    Guys, it's just a toss -.-

    The more you think about it, the more wrong it can be.
     
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  42. WildVolley

    WildVolley Legend

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    The first part is correct but the second isn't.

    Effortless seeming tennis takes good form and it takes many people a lot of thought to develop the good form. Thoughtful practice can eventually lead to seemingly effortless and thoughtless performance, but it does take practice for most people. The tennis serve isn't a natural motion.
     
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  43. Lukhas

    Lukhas Legend

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    This. I saw my serve failing on me incredibly often. And it still does. I hit a bit earlier today against the wall, where I practised flat serves (I'll try to get some spin serves later on). Toss went good, tossed lower than before, abbreviated motion to control the toss better, and I tried to throw my racquet through the ball, and you throw that racquet at the direction I want to serve to. Only it doesn't leave your hand. And I think alot when I do it, when I toss, when I look at the tossed ball because if I don't, I serve straight in front of me. Went not too bad, not too good, but better than usual. The serve is IMO, like throwing something somewhere. You take balls, and you try to throw them somewhere to get the motion. You have it all: your arm bending back, releasing slightly in front, pronation (for the freaks, it's a natural movement if you have an at least conti grip), even leg drive to follow IMO (I found myself quitting the ground unintentionally).
     
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  44. Nostradamus

    Nostradamus G.O.A.T.

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    YOu are right. it is a J toss. Is there a way to learn this toss easier ? it is not a easy toss for sure:confused:
     
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  45. SystemicAnomaly

    SystemicAnomaly G.O.A.T.

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    No, it is not a J-toss. Posters on this forum have mistakenly assumed that the parabolic trajectory of the toss makes it a J-toss. I believe that the term, J-toss, may have been coined by Vic Braden in the 1970s. I learned this from his older brother, Dan Braden, in the late 70s. The term describes the motion of the hand, not the ball. The tossing hand moves down and back a bit (toward the mid-line of the body) in the shape of tilted letter J. The hand moves in an arc toward the bottom of its motion. As the hand moves upward and forward (somewhat) it forms the long part of the J.

    Pete's tossing arm, from what I've observed, does not exhibit this J motion.
     
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  46. Nostradamus

    Nostradamus G.O.A.T.

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    then what motion do you think he has ?
     
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  47. 5263

    5263 G.O.A.T.

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    Here is a nice angle showing that is exactly what Pete's tossing motion does.
    First it it out over the baseline...then as he brings it down, it comes back towards
    the body mid line...then up and back out towards the court on the way up.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_detailpage&v=ixHSh7dvufY#t=1236s
    maybe not as pronounced or exaggerated as you are used to?
     
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  48. 5263

    5263 G.O.A.T.

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    For me the key is much like Pete and Richard in this good example-

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_detailpage&v=buCDR_LvqRw#t=6s

    I start with the ball out front touching the racket, the shift my wt back while
    lowering the ball to near inside the left thigh...that is my ck point....
    then toss and wt start back forward as the toss comes up.
    Does this nice video help?
     
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  49. Nostradamus

    Nostradamus G.O.A.T.

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    it looks nothing like pete's serve
     
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  50. 5263

    5263 G.O.A.T.

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    I though we were talking toss? :???:

    I showed you Richard's, because he just exaggerates the same type motion at the
    early part of the toss.
     
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