Help me to improve my serve!

Discussion in 'Tennis Tips/Instruction' started by pvaudio, Mar 29, 2010.

  1. cesarmo03

    cesarmo03 Rookie

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    funny video, hey pvaudio, you are not transfering your weight to the court, everytime you serve you jump back and not to the court.
     
    #51
  2. ubermeyer

    ubermeyer Hall of Fame

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    mediocre serve? i can't really understand the effectiveness unless you show a full court video. are you trying to go professional? because it looks really good, not mediocre at all. however i may be wrong, so take a full court video next time.
     
    #52
  3. pvaudio

    pvaudio Legend

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    I know man, that's what's so damn frustrating. I can't load my legs, keep my shoulders closed, keep my elbow down and keep my racquet out in front all at the same time. I need to build it up component by component. That's why it looks like I'm hitting down on the ball so much because I can't properly load my legs with this new position to get up to the ball. But now that I understand where the faults lie, I'm 100% up. I'll try again in a few days, but until then, pick the video apart at your will :)
     
    #53
  4. pvaudio

    pvaudio Legend

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    The video is not of the mediocre serve. The video is after me trying to fix it from being mediocre since I didn't really have a serve and just had to use top spin first serves since I was still stuck between a down together, up together motion and a racquet drop motion and I never solidified the latter.
     
    #54
  5. charliefedererer

    charliefedererer Legend

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    Kiteboard tells you in post 33, "The left hip has to be out over the baseline, so you can coil backwards, with a bow, and toss arm straight up, so shoulders can get more rotation, and elbow can move a greater distance."

    Still in your latest video, the only part of your body that gets over the baseline in your trophy pose is your front (left knee).

    You have to get your front (left) hip over the baseline in your trophy pose.
    If you don't, you are not in a "bow", and you won't have an effetive cartwheel motion.

    Back in post 10, I told you that to do this simply follow Will Hamilton's advice from this video: Leading with Your Hip when Serving http://www.fuzzyyellowballs.com/vid...technique/leading-with-your-hip-when-serving/

    If you will just try actively pushing your front hip out, you will see you instantly have to have a steep angle between your front and rear shoulders. Making that forward hip motion an active, forceful movement will allow you to achieve that bow shape with your hip out over the baseline in the one second you have between ball release and assuming an agressive trophy position. If you don't actively push that hip out, it's not going to happen with you.

    If you want additional video of what your forward hip over the baseline in your trophy pose should look like go to 1:14 of the following video: Transitioning from the Trophy Pose to the Racket Drop http://www.fuzzyyellowballs.com/vid...ique/trophy-pose-to-racket-drop-when-serving/ Here Andy Roddick and John Isner (in addtion to the prior video with Mart Safin) have their hips over the the baseline in the trophy pose just before they go to their racquet drop. Will Hamilton makes a point of saying exactly how you get to your racquet drop is not important, and I would note it is not important that you get your hip out exactly like someone else, but all the pros get into this bow position.

    (Again, you are obviously athletic, and look oh, so close to getting that cartwheel into your serve.)
     
    #55
  6. pvaudio

    pvaudio Legend

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    And could someone elaborate on what they mean by a J-toss? I don't think I really understand what that means :/
     
    #56
  7. pvaudio

    pvaudio Legend

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    I know, but the videos of Roddick and Isner are of very little use for me as I am a platform server and not a pinpoint server where if your feet are together, you don't feel the same amount of tension on your rear hip flexor. I need to get the bow motion with a platform stance (the only way I've ever served and the only thing I will NOT change) ala Sampras, Fed or Henman. I'm doing this one step at a time. :)
     
    #57
  8. tricky

    tricky Hall of Fame

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    A J-toss is when you let the tossing arm drop to your side prior to lifting it up to release the ball. The J-toss matches up with a loop backswing.

    If you execute an abbreviated serve, you don't want a J-toss. To separate the left arm from the racquet, you want to start lifting the tossing arm without dropping it. If you feel that you can't separate the left hand from the racquet, then that means your forward momentum isn't there at the beginning of separation.
     
    Last edited: Apr 17, 2010
    #58
  9. charliefedererer

    charliefedererer Legend

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    Glad that it "clicked".

    Definitely significant.

    It was what I posted from before:

    "To improve #2 [pronation]
    To get more speed on the ball you need a faster and more pronounced pronation motion. That means striking the ball with the elbow slightly bent, and ending with your elbow pointing up and your racquet pointing down. Jim McLellan from tennisone.com explains how to achieve this:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EpxF4M_bKZ4
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7bsYF...eature=related
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1t6bLABbebc
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jmu7ihHI-l8"
     
    #59
  10. charliefedererer

    charliefedererer Legend

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    Pushing that hip forward works just the same on a platform stance. There are pictures of Sampras, Federer and Henman already in this thread taken from a side angle to emphasize this common feature among all the pros, platform or pinpoint stance alike.
     
    #60
  11. pvaudio

    pvaudio Legend

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    Here's screens from various videos for comparison starting with the newest:

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     
    #61
  12. pvaudio

    pvaudio Legend

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    Oh no sir, you misunderstand me. I was saying the same thing you are. I merely mentioned that watching videos of players of opposite styles isn't exactly helpful when there are people with similar styles and they employ the technique at hand. It's those videos I need to watch instead :)
     
    #62
  13. charliefedererer

    charliefedererer Legend

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    You have probably the best pics and videos I have seen posted on TT. Great job!

    I hope I'm not driving you too crazy asking for a pic with that left hip pushed more forward, instantly giving you a steeper angle from front to left shoulder as well.
     
    #63
  14. pvaudio

    pvaudio Legend

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    You're not driving me crazy at all; it's driving me crazy that I can't get the damn thing to happen! :evil:
     
    #64
  15. charliefedererer

    charliefedererer Legend

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    I know you earlier were following the post that is currently running on wrist snap versus pronation: http://tt.tennis-warehouse.com/showthread.php?t=321497&page=7
    I just reread the last page and had to think of you. The currently running idea is that increased pronation comes out of the cartwheel, and you can't have one without the other. I wondered if this resonated with you?
     
    #65
  16. WildVolley

    WildVolley Legend

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    Very good. Your shoulder positioning in the first still looks superior to the others. I think that power position will help you, though it will probably take you a while to get the timing down.
     
    #66
  17. NLBwell

    NLBwell Legend

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    I'm shocked that no one mentioned the most obvious flaw in your serve, you foot fault.
    This is not a flippant observation. You footfault because when you go heel to toe on your front foot, your foot is pointing forward to the net. Although there were a lot of comments about getting into the bow position, and getting your left shoulder higher than the right, no one pointed to the obvious source on why this is hard for you. The foot facing forward restricts your ability to move your hips into the court and rotate your shoulders in the proper plane.
    Try this in your room:
    Stand up in a normal stance, feet shoulder width apart, toes forward, facing the wall. Now put both arms out horizontally parallel to the wall (you look like a T now). Next, push your hips out to the left side and rotate your chest so your left shoulder and arm are up and you right shoulder and arm are down - don't move the arms relative to the chest (arms still parallel to the wall) now the top of the T is tilted at 45 degrees or so. This should be very easy to do.
    Now do the same thing over again except point your left foot outward parallel to the wall. As you point your hip to the left and rotate the chest, the motion is much more restricted and difficult and your right hip wants to come out-of-plane to be perpendicular to the wall (almost a Yoga Warrior pose).
    If you get your front foot more parallel to the baseline, you will have a much easier time perfecting your serve.
     
    #67
  18. tricky

    tricky Hall of Fame

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    In PVAudio's case, he's turning his front hip out to recover his balance. Otherwise, his toss would go behind him.

    I think one problem may be that he's turning his right hip outwards in the windup. This is a hitch often seen in beginning pitchers. Presumably, he's doing that to load the power base (i.e. stretch the ride hip flexors.) But that's not really how to do it. Also, you'll notice that his front leg is more bent than the back leg.

    If he is really doing this, then his shoulder won't start loading until he's already in the trophy pose. That also means he'll need to manage his pronation more and perhaps create it himself.
     
    #68
  19. NLBwell

    NLBwell Legend

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    ^ Problems due to the blockage in natural rotation due to his front foot position.
     
    #69
  20. tricky

    tricky Hall of Fame

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    That may be true, but I actually think his front foot is turning out as a compensatory move for his right hip. Usually any weirdness in the front part of the body, including the toss, is compensation for the center of gravity being not out in front.

    This is not a unusual hitch with pitchers, because many starting out associate the loading of power as twisting the hips around the base.
     
    #70
  21. charliefedererer

    charliefedererer Legend

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    As usual, your analysis is spot on.

    Most foot faults are related to an attempt to maintain balance.

    If the player can successfully maintain his balance while bending his knees, rotating his trunk and forming a bow, then he should develop a reproducible serve motion without the foot fault.

    Too often foot faulters are simply told to step back further from the baseline, when it is a symptom that they are losing balance in the motion they use going into their trophy position.

    In this specific case with pvaudio, he is not getting his front hip out, the only way balance can be maintained while going into the bow. While theoretically this should be an unconscious movement, I think that until he consciously decides to push that front hip out to assume the bow, the foot fault/right hip move will remain. Once that front hip is being pushed out, as he rotates and bends his knees, there will be such body weight being pushed down on his feet, that there will be no way to turn that foot our and foot fault.
     
    #71
  22. NLBwell

    NLBwell Legend

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    Whether the egg came first, or the chicken came first, if pvaudio tries the little experiment in my post above, he will get the feeling of how the bow position is supposed to feel vs. what he is doing now.
    Hope you try it, pvaudio.
     
    #72
  23. pvaudio

    pvaudio Legend

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    I will attempt to implement everything that you guys have helped me with thus far. Probably the next time that I'll get to practice is this weekend, so expect a video update sometime around then. Plus, by that time I should have my new high-speed camera so you can pick apart everything in nitty-gritty detail. :)
     
    #73
  24. Lsmkenpo

    Lsmkenpo Hall of Fame

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    Your still not loading correctly, notice your front knee, and your weight distribution, it is impossible to coil with your front foot and knee turned out into the court all ready. You pivot your front foot almost perpendicular to the net to start your motion than you try to bring it back, try to keep it pointed towards the net post or parallel to the baseline, not pointing at the net it is messing up your weight transfer and not allowing you to coil properly.

    Focus more on coiling and not forcing a deep knee bend, let your knees bend as needed to coil, not to jump, if you coil correctly as you uncoil to meet the ball you will come off the ground without even thinking about jumping.
    [​IMG]

    Notice Fed's front knee, coil and weight distribution compared to yours.
    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Apr 20, 2010
    #74
  25. pvaudio

    pvaudio Legend

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    I will be going out tonight again for a new session. There will also be a new camera with HD video and high speed footage at times :D
     
    #75
  26. pvaudio

    pvaudio Legend

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    Oh and just for the record, I don't consciously jump up to hit the ball. I've never done that in my life, in fact.
     
    #76
  27. pvaudio

    pvaudio Legend

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    Videos en route :)
     
    #77
  28. spacediver

    spacediver Hall of Fame

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    very illustrative depictions lsmkempo!
     
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  29. pvaudio

    pvaudio Legend

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    #79
  30. NLBwell

    NLBwell Legend

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    Looks way better. Your lower body position is much more natural. Your upper body stays back better (could be a little better still, but it's getting to the point of nit-picking). Now for the questions to you: How does it feel and how are the results at this point? I assume it will take some getting used to, but it looks like you are moving pretty comfortably already.
     
    #80
  31. tricky

    tricky Hall of Fame

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    That 2nd service clip will get you laid! Is that Tek 9?

    It's getting better, and nice match between the loop backswing and J-toss.

    Some small changes:

    1) Try this to set up your preparation position. Instead of bringing your racquet over the left hand, bring your left hand under the racquet. Also, if you set up the hand+racquet at a higher position (a la Sampras's position), you want to lead that by the left hand.

    You'll find that the above will solve the "limp wrist" issue with your backswing. Has to do with programming your kinetic chain.

    2) Hips seems really off. Your feet kinda turns at a point in your windup, which is a tell that your hip rotation is coming late in your windup. You may want to visualize aiming at the ball with your right hip (front part of hip joint, or the hip flexor) and see how that works for you.

    3) You overrotate in your finish, and you're trying too hard to drive upward rather than forward as you release the serve. It looks like you're trying to uncoil/untwist, but that is not appropriate for this style of service motion. It's more like a throwing motion where you push forward with the back foot and finish with the left leg high.
     
    Last edited: Apr 24, 2010
    #81
  32. pvaudio

    pvaudio Legend

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    It feels absolutely awful and is worse than ever. Next to no pace, lots of shanking, horrendous ball tossing and sometime some shoulder pain. It does click every once and awhile, but on video, those ones look the same as all the other bad ones to me :(
     
    #82
  33. pvaudio

    pvaudio Legend

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    Hah! No Tech N9ne, although he's one of the collabs in Yukmouth's group (the guy rapping in 2 or 3 of the clips)

    Hmm, I'll try these suggestions because it feels like complete crap, but whoever mentioned about my front foot was right, because I had to get those little yellow strips off one of the teaching carts just to make sure I didn't turn my toes outward :cry:
     
    #83
  34. pvaudio

    pvaudio Legend

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    Anybody else? I need everything I can get!
     
    #84
  35. zettabyte

    zettabyte New User

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    Just my $.02, but Lsmkenpo's image of Federer is the "thought" that really helped me (I think I saw it as a pic w/ MacEnroe, but I'm a righty).

    Basically, I try and get my chest pointed up, my left shoulder high, my right shoulder low, and my right hand low near my shoulder (it's probably ear level). Lower body, I push my left hip out and create that "bow" feeling. Everything is coiled, or "bowed", ready to move upward and forward.

    You look athletic enough that if you can get to that bowed, coiled position you'll figure out the release into the ball.

    When I was trying to groove that mechanic, I really focused on chest up, high left and low right. Really stretch up left and down right. I found that if I did that, the bow tends to happen as a natural consequence of the body position.

    You might also try moving up to the service line and slowing things down. Work on the positioning. Any time I try and incorporate a change that's what I do.

    Here's an example of me trying to do what I'm talking about. I'm not trying to hit a great serve here. I'm focusing on shoulder position and rotation. Contact is pretty lazy, but I wasn't practicing for speed here.

    http://www.vimeo.com/11197244 (video will be converted around 8:00PM Eastern).

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OOA6CvQAqG4 (video on YouTube, faster conversion).
     
    Last edited: Apr 24, 2010
    #85
  36. NLBwell

    NLBwell Legend

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    OK. For some practice just try looping the ball in with some topspin. You are going awfully hard for a motion that you are uncomfortable with and I don't want you to hurt your shoulder. It should be a smooth comfortable motion, so work on that right now. It is a good sign that once in a while it feels good, but don't tear your arm apart on the ones that aren't quite right.
    (Working on the more loopy topspin should get you to get your chest and shoulders opened up more and get your chest a little further back [look how its somewhat back in the picture of Fed earlier in the thread] and not going so hard on it should let you relax your motion)
     
    #86
  37. BullDogTennis

    BullDogTennis Hall of Fame

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    im pretty sure you foot fault a lot...
     
    #87
  38. pvaudio

    pvaudio Legend

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    Outstanding contribution; I'll try to implement this next time.
     
    #88
  39. tricky

    tricky Hall of Fame

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    One thing I think you do is that, as you prepare your toss, your right hip tends to turn outward or away from the midline of your body. I think this because if you look at your right upper leg, it turns outward just as you start the toss. My guess is that you try to jut your hips into the court without actually transferring your weight.
     
    #89
  40. pvaudio

    pvaudio Legend

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    That's exactly why I placed those rubber strips there. I wanted to see if my feet stayed parallel to them or not. I really need to get out and get this down soon because I'm planning on entering a tourney on the 9th :?
     
    #90
  41. tricky

    tricky Hall of Fame

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    Yeah, I've been trying to figure out why you often turn your right hip outwards. Maybe because you feel like that's the only way to get your right arm to start going back.

    You may want to try practicing your toss while standing on just your back foot (i.e. weight biased onto balls of that foot.) If your right hip turns outward, your balance/momentum will go behind you/backwards rather than forwards. Just do this say 10-15 times, and then try the same toss with both feet. See if the hip problem remains.
     
    #91
  42. kiteboard

    kiteboard Hall of Fame

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    [​IMG] sampras motion

    [​IMG] sampras serve oh
    [​IMG] sampras serve sideways
    [​IMG] sampras serve line drawing


    Sampras foot goes parallel to the baseline when he begins the motion. He rocks his wt. and bends his left hip out over the baseline. He goes into the knee bend and then curves under the left hip as he leg drives up, and arches his back so that the shoulders form a near straight line up and down and as he rotates his shoulders they exchange pos., at the contact pt, and he pronates. All done in a very relaxed way, not forced, yet very fast after the coil reaches max. His chest faces the back fence. His toss arm is straight up and down/ with hand pointing towards contact pt. The change you made, was to keep your knee pointed sideways rather than face the net. Yet the shoulder angle is not up/down due to no back arch and toss not to 11 oclock. As you learn to rock your wt. forward over the baseline, and bow backwards, the toss must be forward enough to make the contact pt viable, and not behind you. So you are throwing away a lot of potential pressure/speed, by not bowing/bending/arching the left hip way out over the baseline. All top servers have the bow like coccking a gun. You do not have the bow. Without the lower elbow/greater shoulder angle combining with the left hip out, your serve will not reach it's top voltage.

    Yet, by pointing your knee sideways, you have the chance to coil more with the left hip, whereas, before, with the knee straight at the net, it was not pos. to coil the left hip at all and serve forward. There is a little dipsy doodle motion to sampras, where he really gets under the left hip at the last moment, almost sitting down and swiveling his butt out towards the net, right before leg drive, which increases the whip and the potential speed. He also used a heavy stick, 384g, with all season gut, at first 59/59, and then at 73/71 lbs later on. Gut has more pop. More mass=more acceleration with less velocity. He also was able to swivel that log around and play better all of a sudden for late breaks. Bh sucked. Everything else didn't.

    Look at the oh shot. See where his left hip starts out.. Three feet behind where the coil ends up at! Like a freight train roollliinngg forward. He also hunches over and deweights, as you are trying to do, yet not as much as he does. Hunch and crunch. Bow and blast. Toss and floss, loose, like a piece of dental floss waving in the wind. His toss goes as much as 3' into the court, yet he arches up and forward to contact straight onto it, by bowing so far forward, and leg driving so far upwards. His bend is 2' down and his bow is more than feds is. His elbow is lower than feds at trophy, due to a greater bow and back arch. He jams his shoulders up and into a coin slot, in a parking meter, very precise placement of the shoulders, with right shoulder straight up and down over the left. Yet it's effortless and loose as a goose. Use these in your mind: Bow and blast. Hunch and crunch. Toss and floss. Whatever works.

    His thumb faces the back fence, at take back. He supinates before pronation, yet, it all stays in one fluid consistent line for consistency, and he puts reverse spin on the serve with severe pronation, with stick facing the side fence/string bed, even with second serves.
     
    Last edited: Apr 25, 2010
    #92
  43. moopie

    moopie Rookie

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    My advice isn't technical but... I think you really need to relax and slow it down. You seem to be taking pretty big cracks at the ball for someone who's trying to find his form. Once you find the right motion you'll be serving just as hard but with much less effort.

    I know it's incredibly hard to do since we always want to serve big, but it helped me quite a bit. I also watch this video over and over to remind me how easy power can come with the right technique.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kGWdoNobnCM
     
    #93
  44. Lsmkenpo

    Lsmkenpo Hall of Fame

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    Your stance and angle has improved, now the main problem that is keeping you from getting proper coil position is your tossing motion.

    You are looping your tossing arm back and up, and as you toss forward your shoulders are looping and going with it, your front shoulder should raise and move back away from the court as you finish your toss not loop forward into the court. Don't allow your toss to take your shoulders with it, stay back and load.

    Watch these two videos and key on their front shoulders as they complete their tossing motions, their front shoulders move back and up. Their tossing motions do not pull their shoulders forward. There is little forward momentum initiated with the tossing motion.

    Federer:
    http://vimeo.com/2640263

    Roddick:
    http://www.vimeo.com/874961


    Now watch your slo-mo video and key on your tossing arm which loops back, your front shoulder is looping back and moving forward with the toss. You are loading your legs and springing up, not coiling. I would suggest cutting down on the looping with your arm and shoulder and concentrate on loading your shoulders back as you complete your toss.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OFFK-thHbiM

    When you start your motion if you find you must loop don't bring your tossing hand so far back behind your torso keep it a little more compact and out in front of your body. Roddick has a small loop but it is very compact and out in front which puts no forward roll in his shoulder it allows him to load his shoulder straight up and back.

    The big loop is rolling your shoulder forward with it, which causes your momentum to transfer forward blocking your hips, if your shoulder is rolling forward it is not possible to coil your hip out, your spine can not bend back with your shoulder forward. You can try this just standing in place push your shoulder forward and notice you can not push your hip out, now try pulling your shoulder back now you can push your hip out.

    Don't bring your toss up in a line behind your head, move this line in front of your head, notice the toss line of all the pro players in this thread, none are behind their heads, bringing the arm up behind your head causes your shoulder to roll forward to toss out in front.

    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Apr 26, 2010
    #94
  45. pvaudio

    pvaudio Legend

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    Man you guys are good, thank you. I will be going out again tomorrow evening to practice :)
     
    #95
  46. pvaudio

    pvaudio Legend

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    #96
  47. ProgressoR

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    this thread is why I like tt, a player looking for feedback, some great insightful comments, and OP taking on board and putting them into practice.

    Great to see experienced coaches/players taking the time to contribute meaningfully.

    Sorry no advice from me but its just nice seeing a thread like this.
     
    #97
  48. pvaudio

    pvaudio Legend

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    I agree. I don't know any of these people on here (aside from my sister :lol: ), but yet they're willing to take time and help me out. Great forum, this one.
     
    #98
  49. tricky

    tricky Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Sep 27, 2006
    Messages:
    3,305
    Who dat? Is she hot? ;)
     
    #99
  50. pvaudio

    pvaudio Legend

    Joined:
    Jul 13, 2009
    Messages:
    7,543
    Had my last practice session tonight. First hour was mediocre, then I noticed three huge things that made a huge difference and now I just need to practice again:

    1. Whoever mentioned my toss was right. I no longer take the ball in then out, I just toss it and it goes where I want it

    2. When trying to get my hip over the baseline, I ended up facing the curtain (I'm not kidding, I'll post the video). I realized that it was because I was pivoting on my toes when trying to load and push my hip out at the same time, so yeah, my hip was out, but my feet were facing the back curtain. I changed that by removing/lessening my "rocking" motion to start. I've had that since before I can even remember, and once I stopped it, my feet stayed in line ala Federer and I could get the hip out and still load.

    3. I was not holding my tossing arm up for long enough, so I tried that, and it helped a lot too.

    I still need help getting my rear shoulder down, but we're progressing. There's a tourney on the 9th and registration deadline is this coming monday, so if I can't get it down by Saturday, I'm not playing. That means I have two more 2-hr sessions to work with, and I'm gonna give it my all. :D

    Video won't be tonight; finals are more important.
     

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