Predicting serves

Discussion in 'Tennis Tips/Instruction' started by alancalan, Mar 25, 2011.

  1. alancalan

    alancalan Rookie

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    My biggest fault in tennis is not focusing enough and not predicting where the next ball will go unless I get the advantage with my shot.

    I wonder what you all look for in terms of movements or tosses or hip twisting that helps you predict what kind of serve you are going to get and where it will be. To be honest, I've gotten lucky at times or I know given my opponents prior choices what he or she might do but I don't think I have ever predicted a serve from the servers movements. I would imagine the Pros are impossible to read and spend a lot of them perfecting a non telling serve action, like pitchers in baseball, but the people I play with aren't like that and still I haven't been able to predict.

    Alan
     
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  2. mikeler

    mikeler G.O.A.T.

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    The toss is the biggest key. Assuming righty versus righty, if they toss out wide, you will probably get a slice serve that will tail away from your forehand most of the time. A toss over the head may indicate a topspin or flat serve to your backhand as will a toss behind the head for a twist serve.
     
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  3. Sreeram

    Sreeram Professional

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    Perfect, I try all these serves in my 3.5 matches. And even if i try to disguise it is impossible for me to cover my toss. If I try to hit a slice serve with a forward toss (flat serve toss) it might slice but not big. So I feel it is impossible at club level to serve with same type of toss.
     
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  4. Maui19

    Maui19 Hall of Fame

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    My pro had some interesting stuff to say about this. He said that most good servers will to toss the ball in the same place (or at least so it appears to be in the same place. They could toss it more into the court and the receiver couldn't see the difference.) He said he reads the body of the server, particularly the shoulder turn. He said that even many of the pros have this "tell." He said the only guy he ever saw that he couldn't read at all was Sampras. He said his serve was a b!tch.
     
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  5. mikeler

    mikeler G.O.A.T.

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    I've been working on the different toss depths to disguise my serve. I'm at the 4.5 level but another thing I try to do is say throw a slice toss but try and hit to their backhand corner and vice versa so I don't always go to the same spot with the same toss.

    I loved hearing Agassi's story about Boris Becker serving. He was commentating at the US Open and said in the early part of Becker's career that Becker would stick his tongue out and whatever direction his tongue pointed, the ball would go. Becker used to think Agassi could read his mind.
     
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  6. alancalan

    alancalan Rookie

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    Mike, good advice as if you throw the ball in those places your body, especially in the under 4.0 group can't compensate. When I toss to far in front of me the racquet is naturally cutting the ball. That perfect toss not too far either way, for the people I play with, will probably mean a heard serve. Those serves that are close to the net in the corner, I believe have to come from either the top spin over the head or maybe a twist given a server less than 6 feet tall.

    It's a good start to identify the toss. Then once the ball leaves the racquet, you have to start moving, another thing I don't do soon enough. If the court was divided into vertical quadrants, with the Q1 being at the server's baseline to the service line, Q2 service line to net..etc, I don't think I get the signal until the ball is well into Q2 approaching the net. This is true for ground strokes too. I just bought a ball machine and that is one of the things I want to work on picking up the ball as quickly as I can off the racquet or out of the machine when it is oscillating. Even though the machine turns in the direction it shoots out the balls, that focusing is pretty important and may carry over into real play.

    Alan
     
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  7. alancalan

    alancalan Rookie

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    sreeram wrote (Perfect, I try all these serves in my 3.5 matches. And even if i try to disguise it is impossible for me to cover my toss. If I try to hit a slice serve with a forward toss (flat serve toss) it might slice but not big. So I feel it is impossible at club level to serve with same type of toss.)


    What about turning your body a little so that the far out serve looks closer? Someone said make the change imperceptible.
     
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  8. Larrysümmers

    Larrysümmers Hall of Fame

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    thats true if i cant read someones toss, then i look for how their shoulders are turning. a lot of it too is picking up on their idiosyncrasies and try to guess where they will put it.
     
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  9. alancalan

    alancalan Rookie

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    Good points for OUR serves but what does the shoulder turn tell us other than direction, which is pretty important too! What are the metrics? Can a big shoulder turn produce different results? If where your body is aiming compensates for the big shoulder turn could that be used to fool the receiver.

    Alan
     
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  10. Sreeram

    Sreeram Professional

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    You are right, body rotation can be changed to deceive. But I dont want to do it to affect my rythm. I guess that is how Pros do.
     
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  11. mikeler

    mikeler G.O.A.T.

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    During the toss, if I think they are going 1 way or the other, I'll cheat a step left or a step right and then split step to be ready to jump either way.
     
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  12. Jaewonnie

    Jaewonnie Professional

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    Pretty much every server looks at where they are going to serve before they actually hit the ball. So I usually just look at where they are looking at that that gives me a general idea of where the serve is heading.
     
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  13. alancalan

    alancalan Rookie

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    It can't be that easy! Is it? I am not sure I look at a spot where I am going to serve. It's all in the motion and the toss anyway. Do you find you aim the ball?

    Once again, a pitcher isn't supposed to aim. I'd bet if the toss didn't hit me in the head, & I could fell the baseline and the middle line, I could serve blindfolded, or at least only be able to look at the ball toss and don't we all know when we hit the serve right.

    I just turned on the tennis channel and I could tell where Nadal was going from looking at his back but that's not a view we get.

    Alan
     
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  14. GetBetterer

    GetBetterer Hall of Fame

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    I don't ever look at them directly. I look at them generally (sort of with peripheral, but still look at them).

    This way, I can see a decent sense of where they serve to, when they have toss A, stance A and racket head at location A (amongst their other variants).

    It's hard to explain, but it's a basic way to study your opponent.

    Honestly, most people I've met don't even place their serves, they look for mph, so you can always just slice it back.
     
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