NLBwell's serve (2011)

Discussion in 'Tennis Tips/Instruction' started by NLBwell, Dec 19, 2012.

  1. NLBwell

    NLBwell Legend

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    Here is my serve from last year (prior to injuring my shoulder) for all y'all's perusal and comments.
    Pretty much an old-school motion.
    I was just working on my toss and trying to stay relaxed instead of trying for anything big. It did remind me that I'm often better off not trying to hit the second serve too hard for maximum kick off the court - like when throwing a curve ball too hard so that it doesn't break as much. Most balls were dead from being in the trunk of my car for a year, but some were pressureless balls, so those bounced just fine.

    http://youtu.be/3fgCvFjxVLM


    I've done a lot of programming and worked with complex computer simulations for many years, but just figured out how to post something on YouTube.
     
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  2. 5263

    5263 G.O.A.T.

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    Looking pretty darned good there!
     
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  3. TheCheese

    TheCheese Professional

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    I definitely wouldn't want to have to deal with your kick serve.
     
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  4. Greg G

    Greg G Professional

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    Thanks! I'm always looking for stuff to keep in my minds' eye when working on my serve :)
     
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  5. Passion4Tennis

    Passion4Tennis Rookie

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    Good stuff, NL. If I had a serve like yours, I wouldn't be languishing with the 4.0 crowd. lol
     
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  6. TomT

    TomT Hall of Fame

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    Really nice serve, imo. Looks like it would present some returning problems. For me that's a gross understatement.

    Suggestion for next serve vid by you ... use new balls, and just the normal Penn or Wilson ones that most of the rest of us use.

    I'm looking forward to viewing some match play vids from you.
     
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  7. donnygg

    donnygg Rookie

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    I seriously couldn't tell those were dead balls. I can't imagine what you can do with new balls. How tall are you btw?
     
    Last edited: Dec 20, 2012
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  8. Ryoma

    Ryoma Rookie

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    You are "relaxing" too much. The reason you are crumbling after the serve is because your core and body in general didn't firm up. You need to engage your core to get better control of the center of mass.

    You have Sampras's trophy position. But probably 1/10 of the core strength. Do some deadlifts and squat to get the core strength up to speed with what you try to execute.
     
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  9. pvaudio

    pvaudio Legend

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    ^^^I honestly think that this is all. You are actually so loose that your core muscles aren't keeping you upright, so you start bending at the waist at in opportune times. How to fix this, honestly, I have no idea.
     
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  10. NLBwell

    NLBwell Legend

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    You've hit the nail pretty close to the head.

    Physically, my core - abs to chest - is strong. However, my left knee had to be reconstructed and isn't geometrically correct. Not only do I have movement problems because of the knee itself, but it is extremely difficult to prevent my quadriceps from atrophying. Also, there is a tear in my right achillles tendon. It has improved some since taking the video, but at that time it was difficult to walk many days.
    These, of course, translate to imbalances in my motion.

    One thing I am trying to improve on now is keeping a more balanced upper body at the the end of my motion. Coming from such an unbalanced position with my head down and to the side makes it hard to recover my balance and pick up the ball coming at me if I am serve and volleying or if the returner hits a return hard and deep which gets to me quickly.

    I'll redouble my efforts in the gym this winter when I'm stuck indoors. I'll make sure to work on some deadlifts and squats.
    Any other tips on keeping my balance at the end of the serve motion would be appreciated.
     
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  11. rufus_smith

    rufus_smith Professional

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    Very nice serving. Looks like a NTRP 4.5+ serve to me. The classic serve motion requires so very many body parts that must move in a precise motion and work in unison and so it is quite a fragile movement. Any deviation can cause a fault. We older players tend to have one or joints or muscles that are partially injured or sore or weakened or stiffened, and even having just one of those weak links will disrupt that serve motion. Anything from sore feet on up to stiff neck can be disruptive .You've done well to adjust.
     
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  12. TCF

    TCF Hall of Fame

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    ================================
     
    Last edited: Dec 22, 2012
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  13. NLBwell

    NLBwell Legend

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    ....................V
     
    Last edited: Dec 21, 2012
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  14. NLBwell

    NLBwell Legend

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    Rechecking my motion, my left side is certainly not "floppy" as in loose in any way. It is providing much of the force of the serve. The pulling of the abs and left side as they crunch leads the entire service motion. As you can see, a baseball pitcher will normally finish with his hand/arm down and behind his opposite knee which is basically where I end up.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HgMJanFoYKc
    (except I have the additional crunch of the right leg coming through)
    However, he does keep his head up and his back fairly straight without losing velocity.
    Not sure how I would come down less and still maintain decent velocity. Anything I'm missing?

    Looking at Sampras' motion and Stich's motion (which is probably closest to mine) Sampras ends up bent quite a ways over at the waist, but keeps his arm on the right side of his body. Stich ends up bent over less and doesn't allow his arm to come all the way through.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Bv55ziPj-m4
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=83KlSAzT4J0

    I'll work on keeping my back straighter first and see what that accomplishes.
     
    Last edited: Dec 21, 2012
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  15. psv255

    psv255 Professional

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    First off, you have some excellent serves!

    I don't think "floppy" is the right description...
    What I notice, from looking at a couple serves throughout the video, is that you're bringing your tossing arm down a bit too early, which causes you to, as you put it, "come down." If you keep your tossing arm up and extended for as long as possible, you'll find that you will be able to direct your swing up more, contributing more energy to racquet head speed.
     
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  16. sansaephanh

    sansaephanh Professional

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    I wish my kick would bounce that high. The serves are extremely solid, but you kind of fall around a bit. I actually have the same problems as you, but at a much, MUCH lower level of tennis lol.
     
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  17. TimothyO

    TimothyO Hall of Fame

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    Yikes! That's one hard serve!!!

    Is it possible that it may have contributed to your injury or did something else do it?

    I ask because another TT member posted an interesting video on shoulder health and the serve. The video suggests that one should open the shoulders to the ball during the swing up to contact, rotating the shoulders instead of swinging the arm at the shoulder joint alone. This also involves more of a backward tilt to the torso.

    In your video you seem very relaxed which is good. But your torso remains pretty erect and facing the net while all of the swing motion is coming from your shoulder. I've read that sort of swing can pinch nerves and strain muscles in the shoulder joint. You're definitely rotating you shoulders too. But instead of contributing to the upward swing path that rotation is only directed ahead. And your initial angle is bent up towards the ball, but then you drop forward. The giveaway is your head: it moves forward significanlty during your swing instead of having your shoulders rotating around it. Your right shoulder also drops on swing to contact instead of "replacing" your left shoulder on what should be the "high side" of your upward tilted torso.

    FYB has a good video on the serve that shows that backward bend too. In the camera angle from above you can see the server's chest clearly.
     
    Last edited: Dec 22, 2012
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  18. NLBwell

    NLBwell Legend

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    When my serve goes off, it is usually because I drop my front arm too early. It is probably present some in most of my serves. I'll try to be even more mindful of this.
     
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  19. NLBwell

    NLBwell Legend

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    The cartilage tear in my shoulder was not likely because of my motion, nor was the tear in my rotator cuff, which I did doing some gymnastics (and I never was a gymnast - obviously). I did tear up my shoulder pretty well due to impingement in the joint (a lot like Rafter); I basically wore it out. A couple years off due to other injuries which let it heal some and some changes in my motion have helped with that. I'll look into the things that you mentioned. Thanks.

    I"m going back through my whole game piece by piece, rebuilding all the parts of my game. Many of the stroke problems are because of adjustments to injuries. Sometimes the problems were always there, but have gotten worse as I've gotten older. In many cases, the injures have gone away, but the flaws remain.
     
    Last edited: Dec 22, 2012
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  20. TimothyO

    TimothyO Hall of Fame

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    A friend with a similar motion has given up tennis since he also has a similar injury due to impingement and doesn't want to do surgery.

    Thus my questions about your situation...I worry about my arm too! :)

    My sons and I also practice kendo (japanese fencing) and the most common strike is a two-handed overhead blow to the opponent's helmet ("men" in Japanese). Between kendo and serving and stories from others with injuries I'm paranoid about my shoulder. I've even started reducing my frame's weight and SW. I have zero issues currently and would like to keep it that way! :D
     
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