[Help] Basic serve practice.

Discussion in 'Tennis Tips/Instruction' started by hermtm2, Jun 11, 2013.

  1. hermtm2

    hermtm2 New User

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    Hi guys, I've played a tennis over 3 years so far. I've taken a quite amount of lessons at the last year before I got the elbow issue. Anyway my elbow is fine now so I want to improve my serve now.

    I remembered the basic serve motion. Toss a ball --> Trophy position --> Rotate arm and shoulder... go on. There are many videos for "how to serve in tennis" and watched them all. However I can't find the connecting motion between the trophy position and rotate arm and shoulder. I can't feel my weight to transfer into a ball when the racket hit the ball.

    Can you guys guide me and give a tip for practicing the serve?


    Thanks,
    Ryan.
     
    #1
  2. Lukhas

    Lukhas Legend

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    #2
  3. Chas Tennis

    Chas Tennis Hall of Fame

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    Pro players are serving as shown in these videos. See those serve videos in this collection that mention internal shoulder rotation in the descriptions.
    https://vimeo.com/user6237669/videos

    Many club players with 80 MPH serves abbreviate the internal shoulder rotation and perform it poorly or do other unspecified motions.
    https://vimeo.com/55660219

    https://vimeo.com/21512296

    For internal shoulder rotation the shoulder stays in one place but the upper arm is rotated. Be certain what motion is intended when the term 'shoulder rotation' is used, often people describe a motion by the body part that moves the most and not by the joint that is bending. Search "internal shoulder rotation".

    Search this forum: Ellenbecker + shoulder + impingement + tennis serve + video

    Make sure that you understand the recommended shoulder position for the serve described in the video at minute 8, it deals with the risk of impingement injury.

    Take videos of your serve especially from the behind the server viewpoint. For all detail high speed video is required.
     
    Last edited: Jun 11, 2013
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  4. hermtm2

    hermtm2 New User

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    One thing I found at those videos is that the elbow should be upward first while the should is turning. The problem I have is to stretch the entire arm to reach the ball by the racket face. Then, smash the ball down to the court. It gives really inconsistent serve and sometime cause a pain in my wrist.

    Next thing is to understand the concept of internal shoulder rotation.

    The videos really help me a lot.

    Thanks guys,
    Ryan.
     
    #4
  5. hermtm2

    hermtm2 New User

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  6. Chas Tennis

    Chas Tennis Hall of Fame

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    any pain - stop immediately and determine what the problem is

    It takes a lot of time to learn what is going on in the serve and try to change your serve. After all, it was not until the 1990s that what was happening was understood by biomechanical researchers! Most tennis players have no idea now. There are many recent threads with discussions on the serve and ISR. Don't pick up a few ideas and start practicing. You could get injured.

    This issue probably has nothing to do with your wrist pain. Also, without video you have no idea what you are actually doing.

    See reply #167. I don't know if this issue caused my wrist pain but it makes sense and might have been the/a cause. In my case, in the past I believed in reaching straight up for impact, almost as high as possible - unlike the pro serves. When I tried to practice ISR I did not use the proper angles. Look at the angles for the pro server and compare them to mine at impact. You can see a pinch at the pinkie side of my wrist.

    http://tt.tennis-warehouse.com/showthread.php?p=7154284#post7154284

    Reply #167

     
    Last edited: Jun 12, 2013
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  7. charliefedererer

    charliefedererer Legend

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    You may have gotten what you are looking for from this video, and I would definitely recommend doing Coach McCraw's pronation exercise to develop the "hitting" portion of the serve.


    But Coach McCraw has another video that may help you with one of the problems for which you initially posted: "However I can't find the connecting motion between the trophy position and rotate arm and shoulder."

    In the following video he shows how to go from the trophy position to get a deep racquet drop well off to your right side.

    [Many players wrongly bring the racquet straight down, dropping it into the middle of the back - the "back scratch postion".]

    In this other video by Coach McCraw he gives the tip to take the racquet back well away from the legs, so the racquet travels in a loop rather than just dropping the racquet straight down.
    It will be a more complicated motion going on behind you, but the result will be that you will get the maximum racquet drop well to the right side.

    McCraw Serve Fundamentals http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WuIgTyh4aDs




    Getting the racquet well to the right side at maximum racquet drop allows you to have it in the right position to bring it up and pronate your arm.

    [​IMG]

    In the pics by Toly above, notice in pic 1 the racquet at maximum racquet drop is in line with the right side of the body, and this allows the elbow to straighten (pics 2-10) before the "internal rotation at the shoulder at the shoulder" that Chas speaks of, and everyone else [mistakenly] calls "pronation", occurring in pics 11-20.
    Note that at ball contact the racquet and arm is NOT staight up and down - the racquet is at an angle to get the powerful pronation "slap" at the ball you are trying to achieve.





    I would recommend you use this new motion incorporating the lessons in both the McCraw videos to practice this swing at home without a ball.

    In this way you will learn "muscle memory" so when you do get to the court, you will better be able to use this swing, rather than quickly falling into your former serve motion.


    Even when you get to the court, do several swings with the new motion before tossing a ball.

    For a time, do one practice swing without a ball before each swing with a ball to make sure you really have the racquet drop and swing down.



    Good luck!
     
    Last edited: Jun 12, 2013
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  8. charliefedererer

    charliefedererer Legend

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    Great minds think alike.

    Even a great mind like Chas's and a not-so-great mind like mine.

    (We both edited our posts to show the racquet at an angle to the hand at contact during the same time.)
     
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  9. Chas Tennis

    Chas Tennis Hall of Fame

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    At impact, frame #19, the forearm-racket angle is always there for pro serves. But very soon after, frame #24, the forearm-racket is nearly straight. ?? CORRECTION: Because the straight arm is rotating it is not possible to be sure of the forearm-racket angle in frame #24. The 2D video is limited in showing a 3D motion. The arm is very rapidly rotating also. By eye or 30/60 fps video it is impossible to see what is happening in the fastest parts of the serve.
     
    Last edited: Jun 13, 2013
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  10. user92626

    user92626 Legend

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    IMO, the serve is very hard and almost impossible to learn correctly if you start with the whole form immediately. You're a good example of that, a typical beginner starting out that way.

    It's much easier to learn it piece by piece. You should learn how to bounce ball off the ground with continental grip with a good degree of control and power. That's how I learned how the racketface "bites" the ball and eventually figure out & adjust the arm and shoulder's movements and alignment for effectiveness.
     
    #10
  11. hermtm2

    hermtm2 New User

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    You guys are right. I've been practicing the McCraw's pronation exercise from last Monday. I had a half grip and tried to move my elbow up first instead of the racket. It gave me a pain in my shoulder and wrist sometimes. The transition from the trophy to rotation is really unnatural. I felt like something wrong.

    I will do it without a ball for the next week and then update it.
     
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