Critque my serve please (video)

Discussion in 'Tennis Tips/Instruction' started by vince916, Apr 5, 2008.

  1. vince916

    vince916 Semi-Pro

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    1st serve:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YK3IZ9PS5xc
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5VPg4L0W_k8

    2nd serve:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4Mi4oL68dbE
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JwBqcRw9Ez4

    This is the first time seeing video of me doing anything tennis related.

    1st serve (trying to do flat):
    I noticed that my racquet speed sucks and I seem to keep my tossing arm up too long. Then my trophy position is out of sync. I dont seem to ever get into that L shape with my arms. Seems to "kinda" go to that position then go straight into my swing.

    My 2nd serve (kick) is a mess. When I pronate the ball goes long. When I dont it spins into the net or goes in with no pace. I'm trying to toss it above my head to get spin.

    Am I analyzing my serve correctly?
     
    Last edited: Apr 5, 2008
    #1
  2. WildVolley

    WildVolley Legend

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    I like how you point up at the ball, but you are the rare exception who is keeping his off-hand up much too long. Notice how it is possible to freeze the video of your serve and see that your racquet hand is driving up to the ball while your off hand is still pointing up at the ball! That is robbing your serve of any potential power.

    The off hand needs to start dropping as the racquet begins to drop as the rear shoulder starts up over the front shoulder. You look like you are jumping up and slapping at the ball, because the front shoulder is dropping far too late and not allowing your chest and shoulder muscles to load and then throw the racquet into the ball.

    Also, your racquet drop is almost non-existent. I think the drill where you throw old racquets up in the air would help you get a better idea of how to develop your serve motion and timing.

    What grip are you using? From the motion your racquet face is moving, it doesn't appear to be a continental grip.
     
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  3. vince916

    vince916 Semi-Pro

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    [​IMG]

    I see that my toss arm is kept up way too long, but wouldnt that be considered racquet drop or am I missing something?

    I googled continental grip and im definitely using it.
     
    Last edited: Apr 5, 2008
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  4. Vision84

    Vision84 Hall of Fame

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    If your in a continental grip then it appears your pronation is out of sync. Keep the racket on edge till the L position and then as your racket starts coming through then open up the face and swing through the ball.

    On your second serve your toss is inconsistent which is probably why the ball is going all over the place. Fix your toss and keep it consistent.
     
    Last edited: Apr 5, 2008
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  5. WildVolley

    WildVolley Legend

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    Yes, you have reasonable racquet drop when watched in slow motion. With out slow-motion on youtube, I didn't see how deep it actually was. Your longer term goal should be to get your forearm almost parallel to the ground when the racquet is in the drop position.

    If you watch slow motion video of the pros (which I advise that you do), you'll see that the racquet drop is timed with the upward push of the legs, such that the legs load the shoulder and chest muscles into the serve.

    You do actually briefly hit an L-shape trophy position, but then you lift the rear shoulder too soon. Think of your shoulders as a see-saw which is being shoved upwards by your legs as the rear shoulder drives over the front. In order for that to work, the rear shoulder needs to be below the front as the racquet drop begins. The racquet drop is then facilitated by the rear shoulder moving up strongly.

    You're wise to video your technique. It will definitely allow you to speed up your improvement.
     
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  6. Djokovicfan4life

    Djokovicfan4life Legend

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    You're not coiling your shoulders properly resulting in a weak serve. When you start your motion you're already facing the net.
     
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  7. Nellie

    Nellie Hall of Fame

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    it does not look to me that your left arm is the problem. You have almost no drop in you racquet behind your head, but instead bring your back racquet and swing a very short distance with all arm before contact with the ball. As mentioned above, you are also turned with your chest toward the net, so there is no shoulder and torso rotation. Your legs, torso, and shoulders are doing nothing. On some serves, it looks even worse, because you are tossing short and rushing/skipping the little motion that you do have. You also seem to be opening up too early, and losing the little rotational energy.

    If I was you, I would work on a higher toss, and start more closed (back to the net) and work on delaying the shoulder rotation as much as possible until the second before contact.
     
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  8. Bungalo Bill

    Bungalo Bill G.O.A.T.

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    Well this is the upper body issue or at least parts of it (other is weak and slow shoulder rotation). Non-dominant arm should fold back into the body. This is what brakes the shoulders and accelerates the hitting arm.

    Also, your hitting arm is not flexible enough. It is too high and rigid. Your shoulder needs to rotate more to drop the racquet further.

    Here is a good one to watch.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jCQP79ZMtgk
     
    Last edited: Apr 6, 2008
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  9. BeHappy

    BeHappy Hall of Fame

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    Ok, I'm not going to lie to you, your service techinque is massively flawed.Your problem is that you are swinging your arm from your shoulder alone.Almost like a forehand.

    In this picture your arm is WAAAAY ahead of you shoulders.

    What you need to do is to pull your arm by rotating your shoulders.



    Set you shoulders at 180 degrees like this, (IE, vertical, Ie perpendicular to the baseline, the same way a lamp post is perpendicular to the ground):


    [​IMG]



    Maintain this axis and rotate about it.

    From this position rotate your shoulders about your spine from that position as shown in the picture below:

    [​IMG]

    Best way of coaching this I have yet heard is, get to this position:

    [​IMG]

    and from there

    ''relax your arm completely , make sure your shoulder goes through the ball/shot''

    Don't even think about swinging your arm, just think about your right shoulder and the arm will follow.

    Good luck with this.

    Keep me informed on your progress.
     
    Last edited: Apr 6, 2008
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  10. dakels

    dakels Rookie

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    Stop trying to imitate Roddick :p
    I was going to point out that video of Roddick that BB posted. Specifically because it doesn't show that "trophy position" or whatever. It shows the most important part of his serve, the huge rotation he gets in his preloaded shoulders, arm, and wrist. Make sure you toss the ball inside and finish stepping into the court, sort of like your last serve on "1st serve part 2". (That's not perfect toss in either but, one thing at a time).

    If you were my student, I would recommend doing a quick drill.

    Start with the racquet up behind your head.
    Prerotate your shoulders back where they are facing the back fence, not the court. Simple short toss, and hit the ball at the peak of your movement. Emphasis on fluid transfer of power and movement. No stuttering. This is almost like a warmup, just getting a loose. Power should come easily. Do the serves very quickly (helps emphasize efficiency and fluidity)

    ok did some youtube searching real quick. This is pretty close to what I am talking about.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c5VxqZMSHWA&NR=1

    I really think you need to start here to start to understand one key concept of power transfer. Then micromanage other aspects. As you start to get comfortable with this drill, start mixing in full service motions. Do 3 balls drill style, 1 full motion. What this excercise is all about is: utilizing transfer of power (mostly through rotational shoulder/arm/wrist force), hitting the ball at the apogee of your motion, full follow through into the court (not backward like you are doing), and fluid movement. Keep it simple for now and work on this fundamental basic.
     
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  11. vince916

    vince916 Semi-Pro

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    I see the shoulder part. I dont open up my chest to the point where from one shoulder ot another is a straight line. Im still kinda scrunched up. Ive been purposely throwing my elbow forward to induce a racquet drop, but I guess I need to focus on throwing just my shoulder forward.

    thx
     
    #11
  12. H. Ju

    H. Ju New User

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    I don't think you are using a continental grip at least in the 1st serve video. The raquet head can't be facing down when you setting up if you are using continetal grip in a correct way. If you cannot curve your shoulder, arm, and wrist when you follow-through you are not gripping correctly.
     
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  13. Rickson

    Rickson G.O.A.T.

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    You don't seem to be fully extending on the serves. You're not tossing into the court. Your motion seems rushed, but you were right about not having enough racquet head speed. You're also very flat footed on your serves. You need to be up on your toes.
    Your left foot is particularly flat.
     
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  14. vince916

    vince916 Semi-Pro

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    Continental is a hammer grip right? Like the grip you use to swing a hammer? Thats what I've been using unless i have a weird variation of it.
     
    #14
  15. vince916

    vince916 Semi-Pro

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    I went to my backyard today and tried to rotate with my shoulders, but my forearm just doesnt drop like Goran in that photo. He must have crazy flexibility to get his forearm almost completely parallel to the ground.
     
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  16. Bungalo Bill

    Bungalo Bill G.O.A.T.

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    Well the pros with big serves do have excellent flexibility in the shoulder area. But I do know you can get more from yourself. Start a stretching program or get into a flexibility class.
     
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  17. BeHappy

    BeHappy Hall of Fame

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    It probably does, Goran didn't have unusual flexibility.You will never be able to tell unless you video yourself.

    Look up 'the heisenberg effect'

    By checking to see if you have reached this point you have changed your entire swing.


    Don't think of it as rotating your shoulders, think of it as getting into this position:


    [​IMG]

    An then driving your right shoulder up.



    Don't think about the 'racquet drop' position, that will cause you to slow down your swing or check slightly.It will defintiely happen, don't worry.

    Biomechanical studies very often suffer from biased focus on American players.

    Roddick and Sampras both have incredble flexibility, racquets down to their knees, but so does TW's very own Hyogen, not to mention WTA player Elena Dementieva and ATP player Gasquet, and their serves vary from awful to mediocre, (relatively speaking when we're talking about Gasquet of course!).


    None of the other best servers of all time have paticularly amazing shoulder flexibility, down to their waist usually and serve as hard or harder than Sampras or Roddick, and have been proven to generate the same racquet head speed.

    I can post pics proving this if anyone's interested.
     
    Last edited: Apr 7, 2008
    #17
  18. BeHappy

    BeHappy Hall of Fame

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    update ?
     
    #18
  19. FitzRoy

    FitzRoy Professional

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    Something seemed very strange about this when I saw it. Then I noticed - is Goran serving right-handed in this pic? What's the deal?
     
    #19
  20. vince916

    vince916 Semi-Pro

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    Its going to take a while for me to address the issues with my serve. I'll be sure to let you know when I feel I improved upon what you guys told me.

    I watched my groundstrokes for the first time the other day and they were horrible. I would post them, but they are too embaressing.

    Thanks for the help everyone.
     
    #20
  21. Bungalo Bill

    Bungalo Bill G.O.A.T.

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    This is some of the most insightful advice I have ever read. Certainly, one of the best I have ever read over the years. I hope you dont mind me borrowing this.
     
    Last edited: Apr 8, 2008
    #21
  22. BeHappy

    BeHappy Hall of Fame

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    Just keep me informed on whether the coaching cues I gave you help you or not.If they don't we can try a different approach.I'm not asking for a video of every serve session ;) , just tell me if this approach works for you, and if it doesn't, we'll try something else.

    If you want, you can post videos of your groundstrokes up on send space if you are afraid of flaming and insults from the as$holes on this forum, and you can send the download address to me and BB and Bagumba etc by email.

    There's really no need to be embarassed, everybody sucks initially, you, mcenroe, federer, everybody.
     
    #22
  23. BeHappy

    BeHappy Hall of Fame

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    no problem, the more people it helps the better.
     
    #23
  24. BeHappy

    BeHappy Hall of Fame

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    update ?
     
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  25. Djokovicfan4life

    Djokovicfan4life Legend

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    Indeed, this is great advice. Hitechtennis.com calls this the "see-saw" motion.
     
    #25
  26. vince916

    vince916 Semi-Pro

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    I tried it last weds for a short time, but I'm not getting the keeping your arm loose and relaxed. I try to push my shoulders up and I feel im flailing my arm into the ball and I noticed I hit with less pace.

    I didnt get much time to practice with it because someone asked me to play a game.

    Also when im just working with technique(ie racquet drop and shoulder turn) should I just practice my flat serve? My 2nd serve is horrible, but with me trying to learn the basics of a serve then learning the technique of a kick serve its overwhelming.
     
    Last edited: Apr 12, 2008
    #26
  27. Fay

    Fay Professional

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    It is very helpful to hear lots of different tips for serves. Thanks for posting!
     
    #27
  28. BeHappy

    BeHappy Hall of Fame

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    Shoulder, not shoulders, big difference LOL ;)

    Read my previous posts where I talked about racquet drop.

    Doesn't matter which serve you're practicing, it's the same shoulder over shoulder motion.
     
    #28
  29. Bungalo Bill

    Bungalo Bill G.O.A.T.

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    Your hitting arm in the serve needs to be completely relaxed all the way to the shoulder area. It is your rotation and the power you bring up from your body that will fling your arm/racquet into the ball.

    Do not forget to practice bringing in your non-dominant arm into your body. See video.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hnfAxF5a8aE

    Also, I do not recommend trying to practice relaxing hitting the ball with your normal serve pace. Slow it down and relax. Get your serve motion smooth and feel your arm relaxed and "whippy" as you swing the arm and racquet. Watch Roddicks shoulder rotation. That is where he is sending a lot of swing speed to the racquet.
     
    #29
  30. r2473

    r2473 Legend

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    #30
  31. Bungalo Bill

    Bungalo Bill G.O.A.T.

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    Because some of us have seen this video a long time ago and also have taught the serve? Is that okay with you?

    Maybe some of us have good writing skills and can communicate effectively this way? Is that okay with you?

    Further, the Sonic Serve video is a good way to learn, however, some coaches may not subscribe so much to the hip stretch bit. Is that okay too? Is it okay for some to ask questions if they don't understand something in the video?
     
    #31
  32. Coach Kyril

    Coach Kyril New User

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    Hey Vince,

    I have a bunch of free serving videos, as well as a six-part free video series up on my blog that might interest you:

    http://coachkyriltennis.blogspot.com

    Let me know how it helps you.

    All The Best,

    Coach Kyril
     
    #32
  33. r2473

    r2473 Legend

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    I mention the video because I found it to be very good.

    1) It teaches fundamentals
    2) The fundamentals are explained well
    3) The fundamentals are filmed well
    4) It follows a logical progression

    I have a good serve. I believe this because:

    1) I have seen my serve on video
    2) My results are good
    3) Other players (complete strangers) tell me that I have a good serve
    4) Opponents often compliment my serve

    Even so, I find it hard to follow discussion about the serve. It is hard to keep it straight in my head. I can only imagine that a novice would find it hard as well.

    My comment "why would you want to get advice off of a message board" was primarily aimed at the fact that:

    1) It is hard to piece all of the info together
    2) There are no pictures to show what it "means"
    3) Written advice is "static". It doesn't "move". A video "moves". A serve "moves". I find videos (or better yet, a live human) just plain easier.
    4) Finally, you never know if the advice you are getting on a board is "good" because you don't know who is proffering it.
    5) You are a USPTA professional. Others are not.
     
    #33
  34. Bungalo Bill

    Bungalo Bill G.O.A.T.

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    Fair enough. However, you do know that Pat Dougherty on occasion posts here. He is the one behind the Sonic Serve video even though it is promoted by Nick.

    I do agree with a lot of Sonic Serve information and even have incorporated some of Pat's findings in my own serve. It does work.

    On another note, don't underestimate the power of the written word. Although it can not compete with a good narration, script, and visual, it can hold its own with someone that is good at writing. The best part? You can print it and take it with you. :)
     
    Last edited: Apr 25, 2008
    #34
  35. r2473

    r2473 Legend

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    What is his user name? I would love to look at his archive posts.

    I actually e-mailed him with questions as I was watching / using / learning from his videos (and he responded). That was in late '02 I think.

    Everyone has their favorite teaching style (and teacher). Pat was wonderful for me.

    Pass along his user name to me if you can (either by responding to this thread or by private e-mail if you like).

    Much thanks,
     
    #35
  36. Bungalo Bill

    Bungalo Bill G.O.A.T.

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    I tried to look it up for you. It might be Dougherty, P Dougherty or something like that.

    Yes, he is very knowledgable and always willing to help. I got the same response. One poster here (BeHappy) was actually arguing with him about various things he had no clue about and making fun of his AP belt. I just about fell over laughing.
     
    #36
  37. BeHappy

    BeHappy Hall of Fame

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    Either you retract this or I'll ressurect that thread and we can discuss it there.I have no issues with his Sonic Serve video, it's a compilation of other people's work, (nothing wrong with that, so is most our advice), the 'retro serve' video that he posted on tennis.com is one of the most harmful things I've ever seen.
     
    #37
  38. Bungalo Bill

    Bungalo Bill G.O.A.T.

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    Hook, Line, and Sinker: You've been Thunderstruck, hahaha

    LOL, ressurect it! I had no issue with Pat, his credentials or his AP belt. Be my guest. Just make sure you edit your disrespectful comments or I will be all over it. ;)

    I love listening to AC-DC when I reply to you. It is like getting psyched up for an enemy. "If you want blood, you got it..." :evil:
     
    Last edited: Apr 26, 2008
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