Biomechanically, is the Stich serve the most efficient motion ever?

Discussion in 'Tennis Tips/Instruction' started by MAXXply, Nov 3, 2013.

  1. MAXXply

    MAXXply Hall of Fame

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    I'm no expert, just a fan, and was revisiting some Stich matches on YouTube. Technically speaking, is his service motion the most efficient, most effective chain of movement ever seen on a service action?

    Are there any others who come to mind? I can't think of anyone else's service motion being so fluid and graceful yet so explosively powerful.
     
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  2. Lukhas

    Lukhas Legend

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  3. MAXXply

    MAXXply Hall of Fame

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    ^^ Interesting, thanks for the link. I always admired the power of the Roddick serve but am too impatient to emulate both his and Stich's motions. I'm a "Toss-it-Up-and-Bam" Tanner/Curren kinda server.
     
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  4. Lukhas

    Lukhas Legend

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  5. dominikk1985

    dominikk1985 Legend

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    roddicks serve is ugly and jerky but I think it is very effective. very short and quick action as opposed to the more round and fluid actions of for example federer.

    I think that jerkyness might contribute to using the stretch shortening cycle in roddicks serve while players like federer use more flow and timing to generate speed.
     
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  6. Bobby Jr

    Bobby Jr Legend

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    I don't think you need to have much of an eye for aesthetics to see Roddick is nowhere in the aesthetics stakes.

    The effort he had to put in to get the speed he did made his serve one of the less inefficient motions compared to other regular 220km/h servers imo.

    Stich's serve was super slick in it's simpleness and effectiveness - I agree with the op.
     
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  7. WildVolley

    WildVolley Legend

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    Efficient needs to be defined with respect to something like energy expenditure to ball speed, but that of course leaves out the question of spin and angle which are also important. Without having measurements, we are just talking about aesthetics.
     
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  8. WildVolley

    WildVolley Legend

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    Though, I should say that I'm quite a fan of Stich's motion. No huge looping takeback. Just a nice full shoulder turn with an excellent trophy position and then up and into the ball. Very direct. Roddick's motion is also quite nice in slow motion though it has more affectations with the toss and the movement to trophy than Stich.

    Roddick definitely used his legs more than Stich, but I'd guess Stich could have produced more mph if he'd been more aggressive with his legs. He often looked sort of old-school with one foot almost on the ground at contact.
     
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  9. MAXXply

    MAXXply Hall of Fame

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    Exactly and watching Stich effortlessly pound those serves it looked like he expended no energy at all. That was the aesthetic beauty of it.
     
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  10. mbm0912

    mbm0912 Professional

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    I couldn't find a good link for the Stich serve.
     
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  11. LeeD

    LeeD Bionic Poster

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    Roddick/Curren/Ivanisevic's serves are so easy that lots of player's emulate it....:):) not.
    Easy. StanSmith. BrianGottfried
     
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  12. 0d1n

    0d1n Hall of Fame

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    Roddick may not look pretty, but he most certainly IS efficient on the serve.
    All the other 220 km/h servers out there...are way taller than him, so they have an advantage.
    Roddick served/serves spectacularly given his build. He's no Isner or Raonic...

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h4tCw7za91o

    Stich is one of my favorite players. Had all the shots, could play on all surfaces. Could have used a slightly different head though...that was his undoing.
    Put a Connors attitude/brain in Stich and he would be an all time great.
     
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  13. LeeD

    LeeD Bionic Poster

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    Stich is 6'4", as is StanSmith. Also, PetrKorda, at 6'3".
    If you are that height, or close, it's a good technique to copy if you have serve control problems.
    At 6', almost no ATP pros serve with that motion, because it doesn't provide the needed power.
    Roddick is an abberation. You should TRY his motion, but you cannot copy it and hit fast consistent serves, so it's NOT the motion to learn.
    At 5'11", I look more to McEnroe, Connors, Hewitt, Ferrero, Ferrer, for a hint at a motion I can use.
     
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  14. Ballinbob

    Ballinbob Hall of Fame

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    What do you think of the Berdych/Del Potro serves? For some reason that type of motion with the higher toss appeals to me. I'm trying to model my serve after theirs more if I can
     
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  15. mightyrick

    mightyrick Hall of Fame

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    If "efficient" means the least amount of energy loss from the point of the start of the motion until impact... then I'd have to say Roscoe Tanner.

    I think his service motion is absolutely the most simple and efficient that the sport has ever seen. The results speak for themselves. I can't imagine what Tanner could have done with Technifibre string with a modern era racquet.
     
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  16. LeeD

    LeeD Bionic Poster

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    Lots of moving parts. Lots of moving parts that can go wrong when the player is not playing their best game.
    Bending over at the prep seems to add power, and like anything that adds power, it allows inconsistency to creep in.
    I really think the simple motion is a good start. I used StanSmith's motion until I needed more power the end of my second year. Then tried all motions, until I found MY own motion, adding something that gives me more power, was the best solution FOR ME.
    Of the 15 or so Div111, or 4.5 players within my circle, all used their OWN service motions.
     
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  17. Del Potros is ****e, berdych is ok. Jeremey Chardy has a sick serve check him out! The explosive leg drive is probably one of the best on tour from him.
     
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  18. WildVolley

    WildVolley Legend

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    Honestly, I think it is a bad idea. The high toss is more susceptible to wind and requires timing a ball moving at a faster pace. Not to mention that the higher you toss the ball the more difficult it is to place it accurately with your toss.

    Also, I don't think that Del Potro has a particularly good serve once you understand he is 6'6" tall. I'm not even a big fan of Berdych's serve. He also is 6'5" tall and I don't believe his serve is impressive for his height.

    The very high toss seems to me an affectation and completely unnecessary to get into the proper trophy position and then swing up at the ball. The best servers tend to have either a low toss like Goran or a slight drop like Roddick, or a medium drop like Sampras.
     
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  19. LeeD

    LeeD Bionic Poster

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    Seriously, I like SamGroth''s serve motion!'
    Quick like Tanners, a little more body bend at prep for power, and decent ball speed.
    I cannot hit it, nor can I hit Tanner's motion, because I"m tall for my build and musculature. I need a little more time to wind up to create the hand speed.
    Ferrer's motion would be a good one to try to copy. But again, he's much stronger, more compact, than most of us.
     
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  20. jussumman

    jussumman Semi-Pro

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    I've heard of Stich on this message board but today was the first time I watched him play on youtube. They don't have video targeting his serve but it does look very fluid and powerful. Becker comes to mind when I see him serve (though his rocking motion makes for a more complicated serve).

    Stich looks like he's taller than average. And I agree he doesn't look like he's putting much effort in any of his shots (Federer-like).

    It's really amazing how every player has a totally unique service motion, and on top of that, they are all very effective. So one doesn't have to serve a one particular way. But find a motion that works best for them. One's height is big factor I've found in the ATP players in determining a more platform or pin point stance.
     
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  21. Ballinbob

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    Haha okay so out with the Berdych/Del Po serves idea. Tbh after watching Stich's serve now it looks really nice. Maybe that's the way to go
     
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  22. Jonny S&V

    Jonny S&V Hall of Fame

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    Efficient serve begins and ends with Stich and Ljubicic.
     
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  23. Fedinkum

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    One feature stood out about Stich's serve was his left foot pretty much touching the ground, no big jump, very old school. Is almost as if he was using the groud to strike the ball.
     
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  24. LeeD

    LeeD Bionic Poster

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    To me, Stich jumps less high on first serves, and higher on second serves.
    While his first serve is not much of a jump, it appears he clears the court and land's about a foot inside after hitting.
     
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  25. WildVolley

    WildVolley Legend

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    Interesting that you note Ljubicic. Ljubicic's serve is a fairly faithful attempt at copying Goran Ivanisevic's serve. He hit the mirror version of Goran's. He even adopts Goran's windup ritual with the hitting face almost turned up, the ball held on the strings fairly close to the ground.

    I agree with you that it is a nice motion and good serve, but we should probably credit Goran.:)
     
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  26. LeeD

    LeeD Bionic Poster

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    Does Stich suffer from lower back problems?
    Such a heavy arch, starting at the knee bend, would kill my back, like when I do twist serves repeatedly.
     
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  27. RetroSpin

    RetroSpin Hall of Fame

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    Stich had a great serve and a very pretty motion. I think the idea of "efficient" is misplaced however. Who cares how efficient it is? Is Raonic efficient? I don't know, but I do know he can bludgeon the ball in a way that even Stich couldn't. Taylor Dent? Not a classic motion due to shoulder injury but could dial it up 140 MPH. Roddick had a unique motion not to mention the highest external shoulder rotation recorded for any player. Did his motion allow more ER or was it just a coincidence? Monfils uses the exact same motion and also has a big serve.
     
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  28. LeeD

    LeeD Bionic Poster

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    "Efficient" as in, you can do it a long time, it won't hurt your body, it is effective for your size and build, and it's actually possible for you to copy.
    Besides Monfils, who else on tour uses the Roddick serve technique?
    And Monfils is lower 130 stuff, isn't he? While Roddick 2" shorter is 150 stuff.
     
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  29. Ballinbob

    Ballinbob Hall of Fame

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    What are the strengths/weaknesses of the abbreviated take back (like Roddick/Monfils)? I'm just wondering why we don't see it on tour more often. It seems like it could work
     
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  30. LeeD

    LeeD Bionic Poster

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    Weakness would be the acceleration you need to get RHS up to snuff from a short takeback.
    Strength would be the consistency you get from a simple, short takeback.
    Gotta try it, and see if it works out for your body build and temperament.
    Courier also had a short takeback and quick acceleration, but watching him play, is not fluidity in motion.
    Try Stich's, but watch your lower back and hammies.
     
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  31. Jonny S&V

    Jonny S&V Hall of Fame

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    Goran had a straight-back takeback whilst Ljubicic has a bit of a loop that makes it a bit more biomechanically efficient (using gravity to get the racquet in trophy position rather than placing it there), and he has a little more forward momentum into the shot that Ivanisevic didn't use. I do agree that he is a close 3rd/4th.
     
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  32. Jonny S&V

    Jonny S&V Hall of Fame

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    Less moving parts. If you can coordinate them, a more traditional motion should give you more rhythm/timing, but then again, it's all personal preference.
     
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  33. Topspin Shot

    Topspin Shot Legend

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    Are you the guy with the ultra-low toss serve?
     
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  34. LeeD

    LeeD Bionic Poster

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    Ultra low toss behind his head, resulting in a topspin serve, sometimes twist, that goes over 100mph with all that spin.
     
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  35. WildVolley

    WildVolley Legend

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    Yes, I see what you mean. The takeback portion is different.

    However, I'm definitely a fan of the straight takeback rather than the loop with the straightened arm. The longer takeback may use gravity, but it is also longer which means the muscles have to act for a longer period of time. Because a racket isn't heavy, I'm not convinced it is more efficient. Extraneous movement doesn't add to efficiency.
     
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  36. Jonny S&V

    Jonny S&V Hall of Fame

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    Yes, not as low as it used to be, but still hitting on the way up for the most part.

    I like it from a rhythm aspect, and (at least from personal experience, everyone is different) it's a lot easier to tell a bad toss from a good one when you have better rhythm in your motion aside from the toss. Then again, some swear by the straight back (like yourself), and I'm not going to discredit that overall, haha.
     
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  37. HughJars

    HughJars Professional

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    I was looking at Almagro's serve in slow motion last night...it mesmerises me how simple it looks, and how much pace he gets. Very little knee bend or complex movements - he makes serving look like turning a page.

    What physical attributes makes him able to serve like this?
     
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  38. WildVolley

    WildVolley Legend

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    I don't think there's anything that unusual about Almagro's serve. It just looks fast because he doesn't have a lot of windup motion with his arm and feet, and has a fairly low toss.

    A lot of people focus on the takeback of the serve, but it has almost nothing to do with power output and mostly is a timing issue with the toss, and people will have their own personal styles. Almagro has a fairly direct motion into the trophy, almost like Goran, though LeeD hates Almagro's shrug. From the trophy he has a fairly normal shoulder-over-shoulder movement, racket drop, and rotation into the ball.

    Almagro also doesn't have a very deep knee bend, but he does use his legs on the serve to go up at the ball. The super exaggerated knee bend of players like Soderling are not necessary, but maybe allow the player to get more height and to have a different timing. Almagro's explosion with his legs is still helping his drop and stretching the muscles that fire into the serve.
     
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  39. Lukhas

    Lukhas Legend

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    @BobbyJr: I go by the thread's title. Roddick served much faster and with more efficiency (check ATP stats) than most people of his size, or even than most players past or present. If that's not "biomechanically efficient", then I don't know what you want to call it. For me it is.
     
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  40. LeeD

    LeeD Bionic Poster

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    Roddick and Monfil's have very similar technique.
    Nobody else on the Tour. There's a reason for that.
     
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  41. mightyrick

    mightyrick Hall of Fame

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    I think this thread is coming at it from two perspectives. The first perspective are serves that "look" biomechanically efficient. The second perspective are serves that "are" actually biomechanically efficient.

    Basically, we've come down to a beauty contest of serve motion. Roddick's serve is "inefficient" because it appears jerky and ugly. Stich's service motion is highly efficient because it appears flowing and beautiful.
     
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  42. LeeD

    LeeD Bionic Poster

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    That is one way to look at it.
    Another is to look at which motion is easier to copy, and still be effective.
    Look thru the annuals of ATP serves.
    TRY Roddick's and Stich's motions.
    TRY StanSmith, PetrKorda motions. You will find you can hit the last two.
     
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