Serve: Platform vs. Pinpoint

Discussion in 'Tennis Tips/Instruction' started by TennsDog, May 26, 2004.

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Platform or Pinpoint? (use/advocate)

  1. Platform (back foot stay back)

    46.7%
  2. Pinpoint (back leg come forward)

    53.3%
  1. TennsDog

    TennsDog Hall of Fame

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    What are the advantages and disadvantages of keeping the back foot back vs. bringing it forward to serve?
    I am a 16 yo high school player and I have always used the pinpoint service motion where my back (right) foot comes forward right next to my front (left) foot. This has always been more comfortable for me but my coach is telling me I should use the platform stance where my back foot stays back. It seems that the pinpoint motion would be better because it puts me closer to the ball and I can use both legs to push off into the serve instead of just my front leg (which is weaker anyway). I have tried many times to do this but it just wasn't comforable and I felt I had no control over the ball at all. However, I tried it again today and it was working pretty well, but it hurt my left calf muscle because all of the stress was on it instead of on both right and left. Which is better? Should I seriously try to convert?
     
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  2. Golden Retriever

    Golden Retriever Hall of Fame

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    Your coach shouldn't force the platform stance on you. Sure it works for Sampras and now Federer but it is not for everyone. I have tried them both and I have the exact same problem as yours with the platform. I have been sticking with pinpoint since. Big servers like Safin, Rusedski and many others use pinpoint too so you are in good company. When you bring your feet together not only can you get more support from your back foot, you also get a forward momentum going which gives you more power. That's why most pros use pinpoint nowadays. Just my two cents.
     
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  3. TwistServe

    TwistServe Guest

    I just watched a serve dvd by James Jenson.. He said the pinpoint gives u more vertical drive while the platform gives you more horizontal drive. He said he prefers pinpoint but either is preference.
     
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  4. Tomek

    Tomek Rookie

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    I think that pinpoint service position is a good one. Also, what did Sampras was good, but he used much more hip rotation than "classic platformers". He placed his legs more rotated to the right than others. In power position his opponent could see his back...
     
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  5. andreh

    andreh Professional

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    Its kinda funny how "good technique" seems to be equated with the current big name on tour. Other people than Sampras (and Fed) had good serves.

    I use the pinpoint becuase it propells me farther into the court so that I can get closer to the net for the first volley.
     
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  6. Tomek

    Tomek Rookie

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    Sampras serve is a very good one to be followed if you don't want to use pinpoint. If I know that it's almost perfect, so why should I bother looking for some other?
     
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  7. kevhen

    kevhen Hall of Fame

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    I use something in between these two, by starting in the platform stance but then swinging my right leg forward as I swing through so I am actually balancing on my left toes like the pinpoint. I can hit a 110mph flat serve and 100mph kick serve now inside the lines about 50% of the time but I am 6'4 also. Do what feels comfortable to you. When I tried changing my serve to platform or pinpoint, my timing was way off, so I went back to what worked for me.
     
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  8. linli101

    linli101 New User

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    It's all about how you feel comfortable. Personally I found platform is more natural and stable then pinpoint stand. It also give more margin on your toss. Pinpoint stand requires more precise toss and time but it can generate more power from weigh transfer and whipping motion.
     
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  9. Adam21343245

    Adam21343245 New User

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    i used to have a platform serve, then i switch to the pinpoint, it just felt better.
     
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  10. TennsDog

    TennsDog Hall of Fame

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    What would be a reason to switch to the platform, or even start out with one over the other? Does the platform serve tend to be more consistant?
     
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  11. fastdunn

    fastdunn Legend

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    It's hard to explain. I seem to get more effect of hip stretch
    with plaform stance. I also get less tired and more consistent
    with it. If you bring in your back foot quite close to your
    front foot (with plaform stance, like Becker or Roddick) you
    get somewhat of hybrid anyway. So I had no reason to try
    pin point. Leg drive is important but there's a limit on what
    you can do with your legs when serving. Look at the leg drive
    of Hewitt's serving. he's wasting a lot of energy there, IMHO.
     
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  12. guernica1

    guernica1 Semi-Pro

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    I think platform is more consistent. When you have to move that extra foot up you introduce a bit more variability into your motion which, depending on your technique could lead to more faults over the long run.

    Platform is also basically impossible to footfault with.

    Interestingly, and this is totally anecdotal and arguably could have little to nothing to do with a serve but I think guys who have platform serves on the pro tour (Sampras, Agassi, Becker) seem to be less injury prone than pinpointers (Rafter, Haas, Guga, Escude).

    Taylor Dent early on was a pinpoint but is now platform. Same with Arazi.
     
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  13. touchytennis

    touchytennis Rookie

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    im not that tall, (5 foot 9). easier for me to hit upwards using a pinpoint. im guessing. if i was.. 6 foot 1, i would porbably need more force going horizontally into the court then upward.
     
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  14. ucd_ace

    ucd_ace Semi-Pro

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    Tennisone.com did a study on platform vs. pinpoint stances... they found that the pinpoint stance actually slows down your momentum threw the serve causing your serve to be a little bit slower... but they reported that the difference between the two was negligible. Do whatever you feel comfortable doing.
     
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  15. hlkimfung

    hlkimfung Semi-Pro

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    Coria recently change from platform to pinpoint


    Spadea change from his extreme pinpoint (with heel of shoe pointing towards his opponent) to platform

    Dent change from pp to pf because according to him, he hurts his back by putting too much pressure on his back by using pp

    I find PP more demanding in a way that I am putting all of my weight on my front knee, eventually develope tenendits(SP)

    I change to platform with a whole different service motion and my knees are now fine. I did experience a decline in speed and less explosive forward momentum in S&V

    there are two ways of PP as I observe

    one is the typical one, with the back foot dragged to touch the front foot, and jump on one point

    The other typed is used by Younes, Venus, Serena, they drag the back foot 'next' to the frontfoot without touching it, both feet are on the baseline when jumping on two seperate points, by doing this they can serve with their chest facing the oppoment, which is kinda an 'open-stance' serve
     
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  16. Golden Retriever

    Golden Retriever Hall of Fame

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    One thing about pinpoint that I like is that you can fine tune your body position to your toss. If you toss misses by a few inches just move your back foot accordingly to adjust.
     
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  17. TennsDog

    TennsDog Hall of Fame

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    I just hit with the platform serve on the courts for the first time (been hitting a wall until now). It felt great, the balls had more power and more spin. My hitting partner was having a hard time just blocking them back because they were such heavy serves. I can hit 3 or 4 different serves to anywhere in the box with the same grip and motion. I can see this new motion putting some serious improvement into my already great serve. I'm excited about playing some tournaments now. I don't think I will ever go back to pinpoint. Only problem I had was hitting it into the net a lot. Usually it was streaks, like 8 in a row into the net the 15 great serves. Any possible reasons why this might happen? Contact point too low? Anyone else have this problem?
     
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  18. Stitch626

    Stitch626 Rookie

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    It could be that you're not completely used to hitting platform yet.
     
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  19. phat

    phat Rookie

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    May be you''re tossing the ball too far into the court??
     
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  20. Rickson

    Rickson G.O.A.T.

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    Stepping up is a great way to serve. You get less stress on your knees and it just gives you a better feel during the mechanics of your serve. I've used both the stationary and the step up serves in the past and I'll take the step up with the back leg serve any day of the week.
     
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  21. corncob3466

    corncob3466 Rookie

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    ive always used pinpoint. i just feels more natural to me. i feel i can get better control of my serves. do whatever feels right to you.
     
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  22. TwistServe

    TwistServe Guest

    Pinpoint has been more natural for me. I can really step up and exlode into the swing. I've tried the platform many times because I really like the way Henman, Sampras, and Dent serve but I can't seem to find the timing and balance to pull the stroke off..
     
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  23. TennsDog

    TennsDog Hall of Fame

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    I seem to have the serve down -- timing, balance, most mechanics -- but for some reason, i get this really bad pain in the upper and inner part of my right (back) leg. It gets so bad sometimes I have no choice but to revert back to pinpoint serve if I want to keep serving. I don't really know what could be causing this? I have an idea that maybe I am bending my back leg wrong. I have a Sampras serve video and I noticed that his back leg bends more straight, whereas my back leg tends to twist foreward into my weight shift. I think this also may be what is causing me to use too much of my back leg. If I bend the knee more straight and kept the foot further back, I wouldn't be able to use it. Any ideas?
     
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  24. jlei

    jlei Guest

    Tennsdog,

    I just recently started to use the pf serve as well, because I was double faulting on my pinpoint (never knew until I started getting foot fault calls by an official :p).

    Since practicing the PF serve though, I also developed a soreness in the top of my rear leg. I notice in videos of pete as he is accelerating into the ball his rear foot/leg drag toward his front as he is springing up. I think my leg is staying behind me through my thrust upward and I may be pulling that muscle to much.

    Just a thought.

    John
     
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  25. Tim Tiger Henman

    Tim Tiger Henman Rookie

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    This is a great topic. Clearly most people have a preference one way or another. Personally I could never get the hang of the pinpoint - it was one extra variable that made timing the serve too difficult. I never had a good serve until I learnt the platform stance. That's not to say that I am bashing the pinpoint - clearly some people are benefiting from it.

    I don't buy the argument that platform gives better horizontal lift and pp gives better vertical. Agassi was/is the highest jumper in tennis. He uses the platform.

    The only comprehensive analysis I have seen on the issue is by John Yandell - "The myth of the pinpoint stance", where he debunks the myth that using the pp is superior to the platform because it allows you to push off with both legs.

    Coincidentally I read an article on the Roddick serve recently where Andy claims he gets his incredible power partly by pushing off with both feet. He uses the platform stance.
     
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  26. TwistServe

    TwistServe Guest

    Andy Roddick does not use platform.. He actually starts in the pinpoint position but doesn't step up because he's feet are already together. One thing my coach did was have me start in that position first until I got use to it, then do the stepup. A true platform is like Sampras, Dent, Federer, etc... Also, in the platform, you are only suppose to push off with your left foot if you're right handed.. The right leg is suppose to go dead.
     
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  27. Tim Tiger Henman

    Tim Tiger Henman Rookie

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    gorth, I would beg to differ on Andy. He uses what I would call a platform. True his feet are closer together than most, but not as close as a pinpoint. Crucially he does not move his feet, which I think is the essential difference between the two service motions.

    He actually used to use the pinpoint, but switched over to the platform not too long ago.

    The platform as taught to most amateurs involves a foot position which is very close to the Roddick starting positon.
     
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  28. TennsDog

    TennsDog Hall of Fame

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    I used to use pp b/c it was easier and more natural for me. I recently (this summer) switched to pf and it has helped. My serve was great with pp, but for some reason I get a bit more pace and spin with platform.
    John, when I first switched, I also had the same problem. It was a shearing pain very high in my right leg that prevented me from doing more than about 10 serves in any once session. I watched the Sampras serve and realized his back leg drags foreward, so I forced mine to until it became more natural. I have not felt that pain for about 1.5 months now and my serve has never been better. One thing that helped was to feel for my feet to touch just around, if not a little before, contact. If I did not feel them touch, then I knew I did it wrong. I no longer need to make them touch, but sometimes I do need a little conscious thought to keep the motion right.
     
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  29. Rodzilla

    Rodzilla Semi-Pro

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    Roddick hybrid. Start with bouncing ball using a platform stance, and then bring right foot forward along with my racquet, and go from there.
     
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  30. divito

    divito Rookie

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    I use Platform. It feels a lot more stable and natural to me and generally more consistent. I haven't really tried Pinpoint too often, but it just feels awkward to me. Perhaps it is because I rarely use it, but I can't see too many benefits to switching.
     
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  31. joe sch

    joe sch Hall of Fame

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    Correct.
    There are many variants between platform and pinpoint, even some odd ones like the mcenroe tightrope. I think there are some very good reasons to start in a platform and bright your foot forward to more of a pinpoint stance. The most important reasons to choose your stance are good balance and a relaxed platform for exploding into the serve. Try different stances and you maybe able to better optimize your backswing and follow thru. Try to maximize your highest hitting contact point and your ability to get all your weight moving forward into the serve.
     
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  32. Becky

    Becky New User

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    Agreed. I was searching for Kana's posts since people said I was a lot alike, and found this:


    So it's just like you said, with Roddick's stance. In classical platform stances, you're pushing off with the front foot. That's what the platform supports, forward momentum into the court.
     
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  33. Rodzilla

    Rodzilla Semi-Pro

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    I know this last bit very well, joe. Someone who has analyzed my serve says that the bomb goes off perfectly if I hit at my most ideal hitting contact point and put my weight into the serve. Those two factors are really the last two parts of my serve to fall in place.
     
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  34. Bungalo Bill

    Bungalo Bill G.O.A.T.

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    I like to serve pretty hard on both first and second serves. The pace and/or the kick I get I feel comes from the ground up.

    I use the pinpoint stance for all my serves. While in a pin-point stance the momentum I get by bringing the back leg forward is essential to my serve.

    There is much talk about how one is lifted from the ground as they go up for the ball and it is not jumping. It is equivalent to a pole vaulters pole that bends and then "snaps" back.

    While my body is "snapping" back and going up, in the pinpoint stance I use my toes to add a little spring to really launch myself upward. It is a timed toe launch and plays a minor role that helps me provide huge amounts of stored energy through the kinetic chain into the ball.

    In the pinpoint stance my toes act as a springing mechanism to assist in the upward momentum.
     
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  35. 0.2RatedPlayer

    0.2RatedPlayer Rookie

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    for the pinpoint stance, does it matter where the back foot comes forward. for some players its to the right of their front foot and for others its right behind the front foot.
     
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  36. POGO

    POGO Hall of Fame

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    I use pinpoint. It seems to help me get more forward momentum as my backfoot comes forward, and helps me get a good hip stretch as my back foot comes forward as well. A good sample of this is Safin.

    Like what most have said, it is your preference, what you feel most comfortable with. Just like two handed backhand vs. one handed backhand.
     
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  37. GotGame?

    GotGame? Rookie

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    My thoughts exactly.
     
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  38. POGO

    POGO Hall of Fame

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    My backfoot comes behind next to my front foot, almost like Hewitt.
     
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  39. ucd_ace

    ucd_ace Semi-Pro

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    I used to always hit with a pinpoint stance and still end up doing it a lot but I'm trying to move to a platform stance because I had a coach tell me that I made contact with the ball much higher and was able to get extended more when I use it. He wasn't saying that in general, but just when in my case.
     
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  40. TennsDog

    TennsDog Hall of Fame

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    I have long since (1.5 yr) changed to the platform. I am still perfectly comfortable with the pinpoint serve, I just feel like I get much better results from the platform. I have kind of the same experience with backhands: I taught myself the one-hander, but my coach told me to try two. I did and now that is what I use. I can still hit the one-handed backhand (and actually like the stroke better), but I am just better with the two-hander. I guess everyone just needs to try out different things, even after they have what they think are good strokes.
     
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  41. FREDDY

    FREDDY Semi-Pro

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    i can easily step in but its much easier to keep your weight on the back foot.
     
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  42. Ztalin

    Ztalin Guest

    It's definitely preference. I started out as a platform, but now I've switched to pinpoint. I like pinpoint better, and get better results with it.
     
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  43. ucd_ace

    ucd_ace Semi-Pro

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    I'm still trying to move from a pinpoint stance to a platform stance, but my back foot is still sneaking up sometimes. When I started taking lessons, my coach had me trying to serve from both to see which worked better for me. He said that I get extended a lot more from the platform and now I've started to try to switch over... two years later; it seems like it takes about two years for what my coach tells me to figure out that he was right. Just as a note, he wasn't for or against the pinpoint or platform stance; he just saw that in my case the platform produced better results.

    Tennisone.com did a study of the differences in physics between the pinpoint and the platform stance awhile back. Basically, they found that you lose momentum and power into their serve when you use the pinpoint stance; however, the amount was so minimal, something like .003% I think, that they suggest doing whatever feels most comfortable for you.
     
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