Help me to improve my serve!

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

  1. pvaudio

    pvaudio Legend

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    Yes it is. I am not moving forward into the court enough at all. I am not loading up my body and then attacking upwards and into the court. It's nearly all upwards, and falling to the left. I only had 50 minutes to practice, so I really need a good 2 hour session to get some good video :)
     
  2. spacediver

    spacediver Hall of Fame

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    yea what djocovicfan said. Try tossing a bit out in front to help signal your body to fix this problem. Looks like a kickserve motion right now.

    The movement of the right leg after contact seems to be a good diagnostic indicator of the direction of momentum that your body is undertaking. You want forward angular momentum, which means your right leg will be kicking backwards to counteract that momentum to remain balanced after contact. Look at the movement of your right leg after contact on the second of the serves in your last video.
     
  3. pvaudio

    pvaudio Legend

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    Yeah, I figured that out. I need to place the toss out and to the right, a problem I found out as soon as the camera died haha. I need a few hours out there to solidify it, but this time, I'll make sure I have enough room :)
     
  4. heretoserve

    heretoserve Rookie

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    Good job turning more. Now still do it but don't let the tossing arm come more than parallel with the baseline. Hopefully you can see that you can still turn even if the tossing arm stops when parallel with base line. To get the toss out in front that tossing arm will make an arching motion. Like Sampras used to do. Then don't forget the little people! Didn't read anything else sorry if this is repetitive.
     
  5. heretoserve

    heretoserve Rookie

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  6. Tennis Dunce

    Tennis Dunce Semi-Pro

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    PV...freeze your latest video at exactly :46 and it appears during your racquet drop/backscratch position that your stick is awfully far away from your body. This could be a pertinent reason why you have a slight loss of balance. Perhaps the racquet more vertical and parallel to the body?
     
  7. pvaudio

    pvaudio Legend

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    Ah ha, slo-mo reveals hidden secrets about PVAudio. That is an unfixable issue and isn't a cause of anything. The reason why it looks like that is because I have blown out my right shoulder twice, and I have IIRC <40% range of motion in it. I can't even touch my back with my right hand. The reason it is so far away is because I cannot externally rotate my shoulder enough to get the racquet down. That's a consequence of my junior years :(
     
    Last edited: Feb 24, 2011
  8. LeeD

    LeeD Bionic Poster

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    You got the archer's bow, the chest upwards, and the swing pretty down.
    Now if you can toss into the court 16", move your momentum forwards directly AT the target, land you front foot 2' inside the baseline, then come to split from there, you have a real serve.
    Your swing is great (if you toss forwards and towards your right), you are strong and have quick hand, loose wrist snap.
     
  9. pvaudio

    pvaudio Legend

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    ^^^ This shall be the focus of my subsequent practices :)
     
  10. chico9166

    chico9166 Guest

    You need to move forward during the windup.
     
  11. Funbun

    Funbun Professional

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    I'm not sure with LeeD about pvaudio having the archer's bow. His hip doesn't seem to be leading that much at all.

    Thus, I think chico is correct in this sense. ^^

    But otherwise, nice serves pvaudio!
     
  12. LeeD

    LeeD Bionic Poster

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    I see your point about OP not having the archer's bow.
    But I see the progress in his left shoulder being higher than his right, so it's heading in the correct direction.
    Maybe OP's trunk is stiff, so when he raises his toss hand, he doesn't naturally tilt his left shoulder upwards, thus dropping his right shoulder. So I guess he should concentrate on RAISING his left arm much higher on the release of the toss.
     
  13. chico9166

    chico9166 Guest

    He has enough tilt in his shoulders, but his weight is too center biased. The center of mass needs to be more forward when he begins to push against the ground. The big "tell" is that both feet come off the the ground at more or less the same time. If the vertical force is applied from behind the center of mass (like it should be), the rear leg will come off the ground well before the front. It's actually quite important, in maximizing the cartwheel/forward angular momentum effect.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Feb 25, 2011
  14. kiteboard

    kiteboard Hall of Fame

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    His hips are level. No power that way. The leading hip has to be way higher than the rear hip, and right before you go up into the leg drive, there is a little dip, which is what the bow is all about, getting the hips angled for max. voltage;/pressure on the kinetic chain. What the hip dip does, is maximize the bow, and the leg drive occurs right after. The shoulder hitting structure, is coiled back towards the net, and then rotates so that the elbow is pointing sky upwards, not around to the side. The arm pit is wide open, and back arched to achieve the high elbow, which creates the timing whip far better than a side ways elbow can. Hip dip, elbow whip.

    http://www.fawcette.net/2011/02/milo...-in-video.html

    Look at Raonics high elbow, and hip dip, (emulated Sampras, as did Fed) with his right lower back scrunched up tight, and wide open left side. The bow is for that dynamic, so the frame can achieve a max. whip. Also note that he has almost a 90 degree angle, with his hand and his frame, and that angle is maintained through the whole shot! It's not just his leg drive that puts him up 6"-12", it's the elbow/shoulder structure, driving his entire body up in the air extended straight upwards, as the elbow rotates from coiled, to a skywards angle! Also note how far forward he drives the frame towards the net, coiling the shoulder hitting structure to max., before he then rotates the elbow skyward. The angle of the elbow/forearm, maintains its angle, until the very last sec., and then the momentum transfers to the forearm, and whips the frame.
    __________________



    http://www.fawcette.net/2011/02/milo...-in-video.html

    Do you see how he is in full bow even before the stick is vertical?
     
  15. pvaudio

    pvaudio Legend

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    New video for tonight. I actually watched that video, and I think now that I've found how to fix it for good. I think it's in my racquet take back. I go directly up with my hitting arm, whereas all platform servers including Federer pull the racquet behind them and up. Having tried this in the mirror on a whim, I think that will also fix my timing issue as I'll have my weight moving forward, my hip will be pushed out, I can isolate my tossing arm from the racquet and generally improve consistency there. I'm just hoping that this is the final key. It's the only thing that I can see being off: timing and not being able to get the hip into the court naturally. I think this might do it. My leg analysis before allows me to get the hip out in the first place. I think that this may be the llave (for our Hispanic friends) :)
     
  16. Tennis_Monk

    Tennis_Monk Hall of Fame

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    you do seem to have a nice motion. Good work and good stuff.
     
  17. LeeD

    LeeD Bionic Poster

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    One of the first ever posted serves where the server LANDS behind the baseline and stay there.
    Great for baseliners expecting a strong return, so they are in position to defend after they serve.
     
  18. pvaudio

    pvaudio Legend

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    Ahem....THIS IS FRUSTRATING. I know what I need to do, but I just can't seem to do it. I'll upload a video to show you what's making me so pissed off.
     
    Last edited: Mar 24, 2011
  19. LeeD

    LeeD Bionic Poster

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    Think about it this way....
    I've been playing tennis for 37 years.
    As one of the best athletes I've seen in anyone around me, I still totally suck at tennis.
    I seriously gave it the best shot availible to me, playing 6 days a week unlimited hours (limited by me getting tired mainly), had good advice from superior players who may have cared or not, and I got nowhere, but a ticket to a slightly longer motocross career.
    If it's easy, they'd call it kiteboarding.
    But it's not.
     
  20. kiteboard

    kiteboard Hall of Fame

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    Or LeeDboarding. First time I saw F uck get by the censors. Your weight is not moving into the court, nor is the center of mass, at all. It's a wonder you can even hit 100mph with that form and Dunlop low powered frame. Pv, have you looked at the Raonic clip I keep posting up? His head moves about 10' from front/back/back again to the front, sometimes 13'. Your head only moves a couple of feet, straight up and down. Try leaning so far forward, that your head is near the ground, and then, go all the way to the rear, with all the weight on the rear foot all the way back, and actually bend over towards the rear fence, and then all the way into the court on follow through, 4' in.
     
    Last edited: Mar 24, 2011
  21. pvaudio

    pvaudio Legend

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    New video is uploaded. First half is the form I want to get, the rest of it is me trying to implement it. I just can't get my hips NOT parallel to the ground. It's driving me mad.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SI6FJxUEgYI
     
    Last edited: Mar 24, 2011
  22. LeeD

    LeeD Bionic Poster

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    Strange, you don't pivot off your upper hips, like you're stiff there, but have really flexible chest and mid back.
    I guess rather than try to copy other people, just try to serve as if you are throwing the racket about 30 degrees upwards and of course, outwards. That allows your swing to almost finish just as you hit the ball.
     
  23. pvaudio

    pvaudio Legend

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    I know, my hips are almost completely locked, and I can't figure out how to unlock them.
     
  24. charliefedererer

    charliefedererer Legend

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    Yet, you form a beautiful bow when you "shadow" your toss at the beginning of your video.

    You may want to try two things.

    The first is to purposely overemphasize the sideways lean back of the upper body - and simultaneous push out of the hip to counterweight that lean back - to form a bigger bow.
    [Mark Rippetoe of Starting Strength fame, talks about over-correcting form in weight lifters to break the "muscle-memory" that is ingrained to get back on the right path.]

    The second thing to try is step away from the service line.
    Going up to the service line gives you all the cues to concentrate on hitting the ball in. Right now, you should not be concentrating on hitting the ball over the net and into the service box, but instead getting the motion you desire. So turn around and hit a bunch of serves into the back fence - you won't be tempted to hit the ball in and won't have the visual cues to trigger the "muscle memory". When you feel you have the body motion down, try serving from well inside or well in back of the baseline, not caring if the serves go long or into the net. Only then start to serve from the baseline. And expect to have to repeat this exercise of taking additional serves turned around at the fence, or away from the baseline, until you have developed the "muscle memory" of your new motion.
    [Pat Dougherty, the "Serve Doctor", talks about using this technique all the time at the Bolletieri Camp on his Hammer that Serve video.]
     
  25. spacediver

    spacediver Hall of Fame

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    could be a balance issue... it may require some careful practice to be able to get to trophy the way you want to (as in the two shadow tosses), but with the same speed you get to trophy in a real serve.

    I notice that in the real serves, you're rotating your inside foot (the left one) counterclockwise, during your windup. However, in the shadow tosses you're not. This altered foot position definitely seems diagnostically, if not causally relevant to your problem.


    Perhaps focus on keeping this foot positioned correctly during the windup. Place a tennis ball adjacent to the foot in such a way that the ball will be nudged if you do inadvertently rotate it. That way, you'll have some reliable feedback. Be careful not to trip on it though!
     
  26. pvaudio

    pvaudio Legend

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    I do have to thank you guys again. I am now keeping my tossing arm straight up to the sky. Just have to figure this out. I know there is a simple something that I need to do, I've just got to figure out what it is. That's what's so frustrating: I know exactly what to do, I just can't get it done! :)
     
  27. pvaudio

    pvaudio Legend

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    Whenever I try to imitate the motion, there's always a binding feeling in my knees. It feels like I'm trying to bow my knees outwards along with my hip. When I watch slo-mo of Sampras and Raonic, it looks like their legs and knees are isolated and it's simply the hip being pushed out, not that their lower body is bending out. In other words, instead of making an arc with their legs to shoulder, it looks like the hip is simply being pushed up and out. I think the foot issue mentioned above is related because both players have parallel feet during loading and still move into the court. My rear foot is trying to push AWAY from the ground, not into the court as though my toes are pointed towards the net (not what I'm trying to do, just saying for clarity's sake). Any thoughts on this?
     
  28. Strider

    Strider New User

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    When you're shadowing, also practise actually tossing the ball (but don't hit it :) ).

    When you are shadowing you are moving your tossing arm very slowly, so I think when you do it for real that's why things change.
     
  29. charliefedererer

    charliefedererer Legend

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    Don't worry about the feet and knees.

    The feet and knees are going to do what is necessary to keep you from toppling over. They are going to act to balance your upper body forces.

    The reason for the "bow" is to get your upper body leaning sideways so you can cartwheel into your serve.

    As you bring your tossing arm up and up and up, keep leaning your upper body more and more sideways.

    As you lean more and more sideways, your front hip has to move out to counterweight the upper body sideways tilt, and your knees and feet will do whatever it takes to maintain your balance.


    Your shadow serves show you can gracefully get into a perfect bow position.


    The next step is to shadow incorporating your toss, using a slow and deliberate upward arm motion, with the arm continuing up at the same rate of speed after the ball release as you continue to bring the arm up and up.

    Right now you are still lifting the ball too fast. In getting the arm up too fast, you are raising your center of gravity straight up. So you then are fighting yourself, feeling yourself [that is your uper body] going "up" with your arm at the exact time your upper body should be continuing to tilt back [and your hips going forward].

    When you are tossing AND tilting back properly, you will actually feel that the process of tilting back will help you in raising your arm higher and higher.


    Shadowing the tossing motion while going into that agressive trophy position at the same time by actually tossing the ball should help to build new "muscle memory", so you can sustain the new motion as you actually try to serve. And you may still want to try the tip of hitting your first serves with this new tossing motion away from the baseline, to avoid the usual cues of hitting a serve the "old" way.
     
    Last edited: Mar 29, 2011
  30. Jake Speed

    Jake Speed Banned

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    pvaudio,

    I just entered the Forum and I've paid some attention to your issues. You are my first student.

    I see no improvement at all.

    Here's what I would like.

    I'd like to see a direct rear video of your service motion in slow motion. Please do this ASAP.

    I will offer this and will be as direct as possible. If your thinned skinned, I'll back off, just let me know.

    Your working to hard. This is obvious because your right leg is bending ridiculously at the knee.

    Also, I want you to change something.

    I'd like to see both hands together before the toss and not the toss hand up the racquet a bit. STOP THIS!

    Another change, and a big one. STOP dropping your racquet and right arm in the wind up!!

    Bring both arms up with the toss arm together.

    The most important thing, that needs immediate correction, is the "junk" I see. This "junk" is the bending of your right wrist as you bring your racquet up. STOP THIS IMMEDIATELY. Bringing both arms up at the same time will cure this "foolish" amateur, beginner like mistake.

    Make these simple changes, get that rear SM video, and I can make better improvements.

    Best,

    JS
     
  31. pvaudio

    pvaudio Legend

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    I've got a tasty blood blister on my hand from some intense drilling this week, so I'll try to have another video this weekend. :)

    To Jake Speed: you are going to have to post your credentials before I become your "student". As I've said before, my right shoulder was torn years ago and I now have a rotator cuff of scar tissue. My past coach was a nationally ranked Swedish junior and then a top 5 national college player in the US. My current coach is a former touring pro and has coached extremely prominent touring pros. Both of them know the extent of my shoulder abilities, and you do not.

    So I am respectfully going to decline your changes having called my performance "junk" and the assertion that I have made no progress at all in the past year. If you can prove to me that you can "do magic" as you claim, then I'll consider what you say. Otherwise, thank you, but I'm not starting over based on someone who I don't know's advice.
     
  32. Jake Speed

    Jake Speed Banned

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    Funny guy! That ain't gonna happen, I'd be accused of lieing!

    There is surgery for rotator cuff. It's not complicated, and, in most cases, there are good results from it. Has this been considered?

    Yea, what's your point? All three of you are responsible for your health and physical well being, not to mention your technique and style of play, something ain't right! Look, all this time, and your serve still needs work. I'm not going to tell you to find a new instructor and coach, but, someone isn't doing their job well, and believe me, it's not your fault. Your injuries? You're working excessively hard unnecessarily. Who's fault is that? It's someone's.

    I wouldn't have expected you to be "thinned skinned." Comon now.

    It's not good to take statements "out of context." Unless, of course, you didn't read me correctly. What I said was, "The most important thing, that needs immediate correction, is the "junk" I see. This "junk" is the bending of your right wrist as you bring your racquet up." I don't see any mention of your "performance" there at all. My reference was to "technique." My primary interest, as an instructor, isn't your "performance," you do that; I do, what's necessary, to get you there, to perform, that is.

    You learn, you perform the task, you get the credit, I just recommend and guide. This is how I work and, unlike many others, I have absolutely no interest in taking any credit.

    From my perspective, your asking for too much. You also have this backwards. "Starting over?" Yes, but with my background and experience, plus your dedication, you could have your "new serve" in a few weeks. Less if you pay attention!

    Look, this isn't rocket science.

    It's attitude, understanding, effort and trust. "Trust" is the most difficult part.

    I'll leave you with this. There's "things," in your life you have to let go. We both know this, don't we? Let them go.

    For the, immediate, time being, I'm not going anyplace, I like it here.

    But I will tell you this, my schedule, look what time it is, one day I will mysteriously disappear.

    When your ready, let me know.

    JS #1
     
  33. pvaudio

    pvaudio Legend

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    I neither need a life coach nor a new tennis coach.

    Oh, and just to let you know: it took me years to recover after my injury. The two coaches listed above are from after the injury because I still partially blame my first coach in high school for not recognizing my technique was flawed. Seeing as that's closer to a decade ago, there's no point in revisiting it.

    So again, thank you for your input, but I'm going to decline anything but gradual changes without knowing if you're qualified to make grandiose claims.
     
  34. LeeD

    LeeD Bionic Poster

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    Remember one very important point in the world of tennis, and all other sports!
    The coach only needs to see the problems of the player, he does NOT need to be better than the player.
    How good do you think Toni, VicBraden, or any of the coach's play, besides the obvious few former ATP pros? Most are barely 4.0's.
    Do you think Richard Williams used to practice with ArtherAshe?
     
  35. kiteboard

    kiteboard Hall of Fame

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    It's all about racquet speed. No arm speed means no stick speed. Like trying to crack a whip, without moving your wrist. If you have a locked hip muscle memory problem, look at your drive into the court. Nothing. Sampras, Raonic, Roddick all end up 4' into the court on each serve. That means your shoulders/center of wt., are not moving forward into the court at all. Why is that? No dynamic movement at all. Toss forward, higher, and start all the way back, and rock into the shot all the way forward. I'll bet I could kick Nick Bs ass.
     
  36. kiteboard

    kiteboard Hall of Fame

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    Look at Dolgopolovs wrist angle, or Raonic, (second serve eastern grip) which creates a 45 degree wrist angle.
     
  37. -Hope-

    -Hope- New User

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    This may be random and a little creepy, but watching those videos it appears that we hit at the same tennis center.

    What are the odds...lol.
     
  38. pvaudio

    pvaudio Legend

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    Really? Are you a student? :)
     
  39. pvaudio

    pvaudio Legend

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    On an unrelated note, I think I have settled on my final motion. I just need continuous practice to solidify it, and from there, I don't plan on changing it again. After doing some drills, I ended up discovering the reason why the shoulder tilt is so hard for me to achieve. My body won't let me.

    It will during shadowing movements, but not during the full speed motion. Why? Well, this past week I finally did get the shoulder tilt down, but every time I did, intense shoulder pain. After reviewing the video, by dropping my rear shoulder, the acceleration of that cartwheeling motion creates more external rotation than my ROM can allow. The shoulder tilt results in a deeper backscratch than my shoulder will allow me to do. During shadowing, I naturally limit it to what it can safely do.

    While I'm sure that there's a way to combine the two, it isn't worth reinjury just for a few more MPH when it's already consistently gets the same remark from people I've never played against: "how do you hit that serve? It's fast, but it moves around so much in the air that if I don't prepare, it's nowhere near me". I'll take that compliment to mean enough is enough. :)

    I'll have a video soon of what I've decided to settle on. The missing link in combining the parts is what kiteboard said: the toss needs to be further in front. Did that, and bingo. :)
     
  40. pvaudio

    pvaudio Legend

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    Oh, and if you're just joining us on this page or on the past few, I tore a tendon in my rotator cuff as a teenager and have a limited ROM in my hitting shoulder.
     
  41. LeeD

    LeeD Bionic Poster

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    ROM in the rotator cuff can mean many different affects on your serve.
    For example, in my case, when I do the shoulder flex test, the one where one arm goes over the shoulder, the other arm goes under, to try to meet behind my back, my fingertips are now about 16' apart.
    Most people I know can almost touch, or grab onto their other hand.
    None of them can serve or throw worth a lick.
    Flexibility is WAAAAAY overrated for throwing or serving.
    But a specific injury that causes pain from a certain position or motion IS a huge deal.
     
  42. pvaudio

    pvaudio Legend

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    ^^^ It's not flexibility in my case; it's the fact that it's packed with scar tissue which limits the ROM. The pain comes from excess external rotation which is why I now have to toss the ball slightly to the left with a higher backscratch to compensate.
     
  43. pvaudio

    pvaudio Legend

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    Finalized my new motion. It's not perfect, it's flawed, but I'm done trying to fine tune it. I am just going to practice until I can paint the lines with it. No pain whatsoever, and it's incredibly reliable. Had the gun out, speeds averaging about 100-105. Not too impressive numbers wise considering I've served in the teens, but if you note, I do not use a flat serve. :)

    Thank you all again for all your help; I do greatly appreciate it. :)

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ql7gYVXHutM
     

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