Serve Doctor's Spring-loaded technique...

Discussion in 'Tennis Tips/Instruction' started by Ross K, Dec 7, 2010.

  1. Ross K

    Ross K Legend

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    Came across this yesterday, courtesy of Pat Dougherty (I know he's a massive figure in the game, worked with Bolletieri, etc.) But what do you serve-meisters reckon? :)

    Personally, I like how he describes the technique/concept (a spring that's loaded, the archer's bow stuff makes perfect sense coming from Pat, etc), as well as the seemingly simple yet effective mechanics. Er, the bit about how many don't store enough energy during their motion certainly chimed with me :oops: . I want to try that back-foot pull in - raise arch very high - toes into the ground thing (that's more pronounced and vertical than what I usually do.) I love how he describes that with this technique, the server needs to feel the serve and not think in terms of how it looks visually. And generally I really liked the fluidity and snap in the girl's motion.

    Anyone have a view?... "Spring-loaded technique?"... I, for one, might very well be giving it a go later today.

    Thx,

    R.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ixx-MCC7D88
     
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  2. BobFL

    BobFL Hall of Fame

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    That serve is so Roddick-ish ;) Btw, The girl has a beautiful serve motion!
     
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  3. Netspirit

    Netspirit Hall of Fame

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    I understand that it is a simplification aimed at teaching players how to stretch their bodies to accumulate and release energy.

    In what aspects is it worse than the "real" serve? Why does not everyone serve like this, where is the loss?
     
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  4. SystemicAnomaly

    SystemicAnomaly G.O.A.T.

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    Since I discovered this (about a year and a half ago), this has become one of my favorite serving styles. I am comfortable with quite a few styles - platform (wide), narrow platform (like Roddick), and pinpoint (including this spring-loaded variation of the pinpoint). Also feel at ease with a full (Sampras style) takeback, an abbreviated takeback or a hybrid takeback. Also: High toss, low toss, knee bend after ball release, knee bend while tossing arm rises, etc.

    Of all these variations, the one that I use most often is a slight variation of the Serve Doctor's spring-loaded serve (as seen in his video). Altho' I use it quite a bit myself, I've only taught is to a few students.


    Except for the variation on his abbreviated takeback, what makes you say the Serve Doctor's spring-loaded serve is Roddick-esque (or Roddick-ish)? I don't really see it. The stance and right hip (and foot) is quite different. Due to this difference, the knee action is somewhat different. I do not believe that the girl in the video pulls her head down as early as Roddick does either. Any other similarities that might exist are probably common to all elite servers.
     
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  5. Limpinhitter

    Limpinhitter Legend

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    He makes some good points, but, his explanation is more complicated than it needs to be. And the wind-up of the right arm is just silly and wastes the opportunity to develop timing, tempo and momentum.
     
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  6. dozu

    dozu Banned

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    i actually started serving this way a few days ago.... due to my bad left knee I need most of the push off from the right foot, so the front part of the right foot (instead of just the tip of the toe in video) is on the ground.

    does feel like I can get more rotation out of this motion.
     
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  7. jackson vile

    jackson vile Legend

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    Tossing off the front foot? I wonder what that will do to accuracy and consistency.
     
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  8. dozu

    dozu Banned

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    ^^^ if you look at the girl's motion, there is a slight rocking forward.... so there is still a little bit of weight shift.
     
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  9. fuzz nation

    fuzz nation Legend

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    Although the young slugger-ette in the video gets to a good trophy position, her ready position where she begins moving her racquet toward her release point (just ahead of the "drop and fire" up to the ball) has the racquet almost tucked in at her hip. It looks to be well ahead of the actual trophy pose. To my eye, she's kind of getting away with this extended wind-up and her motion is only just on time to the ball.

    I'd simply want to encourage her to get the racquet up behind her a little earlier and pause it up there instead of down below her shoulder.
     
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  10. Stroke

    Stroke Rookie

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    This spring loaded technique being taught by Pat in this video is just a VERY abbreviated lesson on the "prefered serve doctor technique" he advocates in his very good instructional video, "Serve MPH's". The young lady demonstrating the serve is also featured in Serve MPH's. He calls it a very efficient serve technique, which I agree with, even more so after seeing his entire Serve MPH instructional video, which I feel is a nice improvement over his still very good Sonic Serve video. Next up for Pat is "Serve RPM's, which he very briefly descibes at the end of the youtube video.
     
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  11. Ross K

    Ross K Legend

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    Had fun trying this out for ages today. Hard to tell how effective it is on just this relative short time trying to get familiar with it. However, it did feel like there was a bit more going on, it was a bit more dynamic, and indeed 'spring'-like, if a little inconsistent. The big problem I had today was the impact this all had on raising the racket arm/timing - I found I was instinctively getting the racktet hand/arm raised too quickly. Anyhow, I think I'll persist with it and see if any notable improvements do occur.

    R.
     
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  12. Ross K

    Ross K Legend

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    tricky,

    If you're reading this by any chance, would love to hear your thoughts re Serve Dr's Spring-loaded technique.

    As I said, my long session yesterday playing around with this did appear to bring some positive results, ie, I think I was getting a bit more of that correct energy hold/release or coil/uncoil and then snap (though a glitch immediately showed up then with my takeback/dropping the racket head/pronate into ball timing.)

    Q. how highly do you regard this? As ever with these things, I just like the simple concept behind it and the simple way Pat taught it.

    Thx,

    R.
     
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  13. SystemicAnomaly

    SystemicAnomaly G.O.A.T.

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  14. NLBwell

    NLBwell Legend

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    Yes, that bothered me some, too, though it really wasn't the point of the video.
    I really think this could help people who tend to squat and jump at the serve, thinking that knee bend is a benefit in itself. It can teach them the feeling of getting the necessary tension in the body, "spring loading," I guess.
    I'm trying to think of pro's who hit like this. It's somewhere in my memory banks. Margaret Court, maybe? Though that could be completely wrong. Also, I'm sure there were some male players.
     
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  15. Bud

    Bud Bionic Poster

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    This is a great video. I changed my serve motion to this (about 6 weeks ago) and it's working nicely.
     
    Last edited: Dec 9, 2010
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  16. SystemicAnomaly

    SystemicAnomaly G.O.A.T.

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    Did not find Pat D's explanation particularly complicated. On the contrary, I thought that it provided some valuable insight. Modified the takeback only slightly to suit my own anatomy and needs. No problems with timing, tempo or momentum at all -- in fact, it seemed to simplify these aspects of the serve. To each his own, I guess.
    .
     
    Last edited: Dec 9, 2010
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  17. yellowoctopus

    yellowoctopus Professional

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    From waist down, the motion looks almost identical to that of Navratilova. Personally, I like the top half set up of Navratilova's motion better than what is shown in the serve doctor's video.

    Navratilova's service motion video:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6XaUWTa9TQQ

    [​IMG]
     
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  18. Ross K

    Ross K Legend

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    So one or two pro's have been name-checked thus far, but any more who use this technique?
     
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  19. charliefedererer

    charliefedererer Legend

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    You mean besides Rafa, Fed, Djoker, Sampras, Soderling, Verdasco...?

    Pat Dougherty is great communicator, and shows infectious enthusiasm. He makes it easier to understand the complex nature of the serve thoughout his serving video with great analogies, of which his spring analogy is just one.

    But coaches have been trying to get their players to do what Pat teaches for at least since Pancho Gonzales (and even earlier big servers) showed the importance of getting their whole body into their serve with a big windup.
     
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  20. Ross K

    Ross K Legend

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    Are you sure about that?... I suspect you mean certain aspects of a larger generic style...
     
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  21. sureshs

    sureshs Bionic Poster

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    I don't see most pros do the right leg forward bend that she is doing
     
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  22. Roy125

    Roy125 Professional

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    Her serve motion looks like a dance move. O.O
     
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  23. SystemicAnomaly

    SystemicAnomaly G.O.A.T.

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    Good catch. Never noticed that

    It's a variation on a theme. With many elite servers, you will notice that the hips start to unwind ahead of the torso. This creates that spring-loaded tension in the core. In the Serve Doctor's serve, the hip are pre-set to create that hip torso differential -- hence the spring-loaded tension in the core muscles.

    Abbreviated and hybrid takebacks are used by many current pro players.
     
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  24. SystemicAnomaly

    SystemicAnomaly G.O.A.T.

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    Perhaps we will see more of the next generation doing so.
     
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  25. Ross K

    Ross K Legend

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    Going to give it another try out today.

    Thus far I've been mainly focussed on that sharp planting step of the toes on the r/foot with the very raised arch (I normally push down with much more of my whole foot, in a platform stance), and trying to get that stretch across the chest and elbow extension (think I'll focus more on 'archer firing an arrow' kind of analogy today.) Funny and interesting though how a few bits of tuning up your mechanics can really effect your serve.

    As I said before, from the session on Monday, I thought I got more energy release and improved rhythm and fluidity (the above comment about being reminded of a dance move is spot on - and I don't consider this a negative actually, quite the contrary...) Where I struggled a bit was with the takeback/arm... my timing here seemed to be affected somewhat... and btw, I've noted too, as other posters have, the girl in the vid's unusual take-back, although my own is semi-abbreviated (ie, at the start I don't drop/swing racket head down low, but it's kind of like I pick the frame up off a table.) Anyhow, look forward to lots of practise, a bit of experimentation, and some slight tweaking to personal requirements.

    Would welcome any feedback from ppl who've tried this (Bud, for one), just a few tips or thoughts on how to best make this work.

    Thx,

    R.
     
    #25
  26. Stroke

    Stroke Rookie

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    It may be easier to get a feel for this serve if you take the "dance step" out of it and just go ahead a set your feet in the position Pat's student ends up in after the step forward with her right foot.
     
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  27. gameboy

    gameboy Hall of Fame

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    I tried this out last night and I found it to be MUCH easier than my old serve since it is so much simpler and puts my hips in a better spot.

    The power seemed to be equal or better to my previous serve.
     
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  28. AJB

    AJB New User

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    From the video, it's impossible to reach any conclusion about how effective this motion is because it never shows the flight of the ball, whether the serves are in or not, or how much spin and action/kick they have after the bounce.
     
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  29. SystemicAnomaly

    SystemicAnomaly G.O.A.T.

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    Doesn't do any good to just speculate about it. You gotta try it for yourself if you want to draw any conclusions that are pertinent to you. It works for me and several others in this thread that have tried it.
     
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  30. AJB

    AJB New User

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    Yes - didn't mean to imply the motion is no good, just that the video would be a lot more effective if it also showed the result (the flight of the ball.) I'm in favor of experimenting to find what works best for you.
     
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  31. sureshs

    sureshs Bionic Poster

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    Tried it yesterday. Couldn't do it. Will try again.
     
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  32. SystemicAnomaly

    SystemicAnomaly G.O.A.T.

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    I have a student who has an elbow issue in her service motion. The serving arm elbow goes very high as she tosses the ball and starts to drop the racket head. She never does really achieve a proper trophy. She performs a proper service action when shadow swinging but as soon as she tosses an actual ball for a real serve, the elbow sneaks upward (way up) much too early.

    It seems that she had been doing this action so long before she came to me, that it is difficult for her to change this ingrained habit. Even if we start her racket head in dropped position (close to a scratch position), the elbow almost always rises significantly as she tosses the ball.

    AS an experiment, I decided to have her try a completely different motion. Her normal service action employs a platform stance with a full (Sampras-esque) windup. I showed her the spring-loaded service action with its abbreviated takeback and pinpoint variation). Surprisingly, she picked up the new motion after just a few tries.

    Her elbow position at the trophy is somewhat better, but still far from ideal. I'll have her watch the video to see if that doesn't help her with the elbow dilemma. Any other ideas on how to break her of her old habit?
     
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  33. NLBwell

    NLBwell Legend

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    I did check on youtube and it does appear that Margaret Court's service motion was very similar to this.
     
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  34. In D Zone

    In D Zone Hall of Fame

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    Tried this serving motion yesterday - I went thru the entire serving motion without analyzing it from the get go. I found it to be very simple and fluid. I had a blast smacking the ball - flat, slice, topspin and kick.

    I noticed that is very important not to over think the movement; that's what I did after few serves and it messed me up. I stepped back reset my position and just let it flow. Ahh much better!
    One other plus I noticed is the consistency of the ball toss.

    I'm sold and introduced this to my wife. She's fairly new to the game. Still working on learning about this serve so far so good. I noticed big improvement on the pace and the depth of her serve. She bought in to this serving motion as well.
     
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  35. user92626

    user92626 Legend

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    It seems like there's a lot of twisting at mid body. Is that really an efficient way to generating power?

    Does anyone here use a motion similar to one of the Bryans brothers? He gets the power from stepping forward exxageratedly which is far different from twisting the body.
     
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  36. Bobby Jr

    Bobby Jr Legend

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    Ha ha, the first part of her serve reminds me a little of Agassi's retarded service motion at Wimbledon in 1993.
     
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  37. Bud

    Bud Bionic Poster

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    It's part of the kinetic chain. If you don't wind up you lose potential power.
     
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  38. SystemicAnomaly

    SystemicAnomaly G.O.A.T.

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    Yes, I believe that it is a very efficient and effective way to generate power. The twist temporarily stores energy, potential energy in the muscles of the core (and pecs). Quite a lot of power can be derived by offsetting the hips and torso. In more conventional serves, the hips start to uncoil a bit before the torso does. This offset has a similar effect.

    In open stance groundstrokes we often see the hips preset with an offset from the torso with open stance strokes -- the torso is often coiled more than the hips to produce this (spring-loaded) offset.
     
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  39. Power Player

    Power Player G.O.A.T.

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    I am trying it out since my serve consistency has been horrible. Seems like the motion is real basic and starts at the toss. You toss while you pull the racquet back and torque your hips. Then just hit your racquet drop and swing through. I have to get my tosses a little higher then usual to get the timing right, but that is probably a good thing.
     
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  40. bad_call

    bad_call Legend

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    also trying this one in the hopes that the shoulder/back ache (probably old age) diminishes a bit. if not then...
     
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  41. larry10s

    larry10s Hall of Fame

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    i serve with a platform stance. im 57
    i make sure i turn away from the net when i start my toss and try to stay "sping loaded " until i start to go up to contact as i unspring.
    it definitely helped my serve and i dont feel like a contortionist:)
     
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  42. SystemicAnomaly

    SystemicAnomaly G.O.A.T.

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    How low is you regular toss? Are you already using an abbreviated motion for that? The simple takeback for the spring-loaded should not require a high toss.
     
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