Serve the Jay Berger way?

Discussion in 'Tennis Tips/Instruction' started by dlam, Nov 6, 2012.

  1. dlam

    dlam Rookie

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    Jay Berger has simple but effective way of serving.
    He basically starts the serve motion by putting the racket over the right shoulder

    I thinking this is so odd, he gets to the back scratch position right away .

    Then I thinking, all good servers look slightly different in their deliveries.

    However...

    All good servers look the same from about the trophy position until contact , so why not simplify the serve the Jay Berger way?

    i thinking this may be an effective way to learn and practice the service motion by fast forward to the backscratch position at the vert start of the serve.

    As one gets more coordinated with their motion and rhythm then one may wish to abandon this.

    Thoughts?

    i know some of you dont like the BS position.
     
    #1
  2. WildVolley

    WildVolley Legend

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    If you try to serve out of the racket drop, you lose energy that is created by the stretch you get from going from trophy to the drop. Some of this is added by the legs pushing off the ground and making the drop greater.
     
    #2
  3. mikeler

    mikeler G.O.A.T.

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    He did it because of shoulder issues. I'd only consider using it in a similar situation.
     
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  4. SystemicAnomaly

    SystemicAnomaly G.O.A.T.

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    Could not find any videos of Berger's serve motion. Did he start the racket from the trophy position? Did he start with the throat of the racket resting on the clavicle of his serving shoulder? Some other variation?
     
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  5. SFrazeur

    SFrazeur Legend

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    Never seen his serve and could not find video nor pictures.

    -SF
     
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  6. dlam

    dlam Rookie

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    Really?
    When was this? As a junior?
    I recall watching him win ATP tournament serving this way at his prime

    System
    Yes essentially resting the throat of the racket over his right clavicle to start the serve motion
     
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  7. TomT

    TomT Hall of Fame

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    Please post some videos. Otherwise it's difficult to know exactly what you mean. Also, I don't know what "BS position" means. But am interested to learn. Thanks.
     
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  8. LeeD

    LeeD Bionic Poster

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    He prepped just like you and I.
    Brought rackethand directly back to trophy, racket pointing at sky...like normal.
    Then he tossed and rose up to hit...pretty hard, like 132 mph.
    Yeah, shoulder issues, so bad he said he would quit tennis.
     
    #8
  9. dlam

    dlam Rookie

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    #9
  10. rufus_smith

    rufus_smith Professional

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    Nice find. In there is the only video I've ever seen of Berger serve. It's just one serve versus Becker, btw, because it started raining. I served the Berger way for a few weeks in the summer because of temporary injuries and it worked fine. It helped me focus more on the ball toss since the hitting arm is already set. You might lose a little maximum possible serve speed but not much. You gain serve reliability I think. Heck, I may go back to it.

    http://www.ina.fr/sport/tennis/video/I05307271/tournoi-de-roland-garros-jouons-sous-la-pluie.fr.html
     
    Last edited: Nov 7, 2012
    #10
  11. 2ndServe

    2ndServe Professional

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    I highly doubt Jay ever served 130ish with that motion.
     
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  12. NLBwell

    NLBwell Legend

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    I don't remember what his serve speed was, but it was not considered a weak serve.

    I've served like that during several of my shoulder and elbow injuries.
     
    #12
  13. dlam

    dlam Rookie

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    I brought up this topic, cause Berger's serve looked unusual but he still got the job done reasonable well.
    Similarly people talk about how strange Jim Furyk golf swing's compare to the other classic golf swings but he gets the job done and wins too.
    The thing I find unusual in Berger's serve is he lacks a windup with his racquet arm yet still manage to get good pace on his serve.
    I believe he gets that pace by his natural rhythm
    He gets weight shift and momentum as you can see he finishes into the court after he serves.
    In general I have observed the deeper one lands into the court with the foot after striking the ball the more pace the ball has if cleanly struke.
     
    #13
  14. LeeD

    LeeD Bionic Poster

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    Jay Berger was a good athlete, was at least Fed height, and had normal strokes except the serve caused by his shoulder problems.
     
    #14
  15. I Heart Thomas Muster

    I Heart Thomas Muster Semi-Pro

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    Last edited: Nov 8, 2012
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  16. SystemicAnomaly

    SystemicAnomaly G.O.A.T.

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    I teach a variation of this Berger serve to novice servers and to intermediate servers who have a significant hitch when attempting a fuller motion. I started with the same variation when I taught myself to serve with my opposite arm -- I normally serve lefty but have developed a pretty decent righty serve.

    The thing that I do not like about the Berger serve is that he starts with his right elbow forward. It should be pulled back -- as if pulling back an arrow in a bow. In his start position, he does not employ a pectoral stretch (due to his inferior elbow position). The Serve Doctor (implicitly) talks about this elbow position. (However, in this spring-loaded serve, the server uses a variation of the abbreviated takeback rather than starting with the racket throat starting on the clavicle).

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ixx-MCC7D88&t=1m56s


    I use this "sans takeback" serve as part of a progression. This enables the server to focus on the toss and on the upward swing of the racket head from the so-called BS ("back scratch") position up to the contact. Note: I am one of those who is not fond of the backscratch (BS) terminology -- some servers get the wrong idea by trying to "scratch the back".

    After the shoulder/clavicle serve is mastered, the next step in the progression is to develop a serve with the racket starting the "trophy position" -- the elbow starts with a 90 degree band and it (the elbow) is pulled back and is directly in line with the shoulder tilt.

    I currently use this "trophy" serve for my right-handed serve. With this serve variation, the server should make certain that they achieve a good (deep) racket head drop (what some refer to as the backscratch position). Many servers do not achieve an adequate racket head drop.

    [​IMG] = Trophy position

    "Backscratch" position:
    [​IMG][​IMG]
     
    #16
  17. SystemicAnomaly

    SystemicAnomaly G.O.A.T.

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    This is pretty much what I meant by the "trophy" serve in the previous post. It is very nearly the same as an "abbreviated takeback" serve. Often, with the trophy serve, the server will pause/hesitate a bit at the trophy position. OTOH, the motion is a tad more continuous with the abbreviated takeback serve. With some implementations, it is difficult to make a distinction between the two variations.
     
    #17
  18. luishcorreia

    luishcorreia Professional

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    I have used this trophy serve trying to correct a glitch in my serve. I actually didnt do well the serve trophy position - the elbow would always be too close to the body.

    This trophy serve can be used as a progression when teaching or to break the serve apart to isolate a specific problem. Some pros on the ATP and WTA serve like this.
     
    #18
  19. dlam

    dlam Rookie

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    Then those video abr serve motion of Aggasi and Martin is that of starting at the trophy position
    Berger looks a lot different
    He seems to dangling the racket in a BS position to start and has no trophy position at all during the serve
    No trophy position in the serve ?
    How is that possible?
     
    #19
  20. NTexas

    NTexas New User

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    This is a good way to teach someone to serve. have them start in the back scratch position because it takes a few steps out. then as they get better have them do a full serve.
     
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  21. SystemicAnomaly

    SystemicAnomaly G.O.A.T.

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    ^ Yes, that is exactly what I was saying in #16.

    This is what I was saying in post #16. The Berger serve, starting on the shoulder, is what I am now calling a stage 1 serve. The trophy serve, a stage 2 serve, is next in the progression. A stage 3 serve is the abbreviated serve motion -- it is more continuous that the static trophy start position seen with the stage 2 serve.

    Variations of the stage 3 serve include the Agassi & Martin serves seen previously in this thread. Other variations include Roddick's (standard) motion and the Serve Doctor's spring-loaded serve.
     
    #21
  22. rufus_smith

    rufus_smith Professional

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    I like this. Btw, there is a term "half-serve" I've seen seen used. That may or my not be stage 2.
     
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  23. SystemicAnomaly

    SystemicAnomaly G.O.A.T.

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    Is that the half-court, half-grip, half- motion serve suggested by Salzenstein (or was it someone else)?
     
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  24. SystemicAnomaly

    SystemicAnomaly G.O.A.T.

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    #24
  25. rufus_smith

    rufus_smith Professional

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    #25
  26. SystemicAnomaly

    SystemicAnomaly G.O.A.T.

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    ^ That description of the half-serve is too vague to really be useful. Hopefully, they have a more complete explanation or image elsewhere.


    .
     
    #26
  27. Chas Tennis

    Chas Tennis Hall of Fame

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    Very Interesting Point in Jay Berger Tennis Channel Academy Show

    Technical -

    There was a Tennis Channel Academy show, "USTA Player Development", broadcast April 2, 2013 in our area.

    Jay Berger was included coaching the serve. See minute 26.

    He discussed a point that I've been confused about regarding the 'back scratch'. He used a term that I had never heard before - "racket leaking" - with regard to the 'back scratch'.

    He also mentions briefly internal shoulder rotation.

    For the leg thrust phase of the serve where the stretch shortening cycle is being used:

    CORRECTION - The forearm-racket angle does not appear in line for most servers with camera views from the side. Viewed elbow on as in the Henin picture below it does appear straight in the trophy phase. In the Henin pose below her racket is toward her head. See high speed videos.

    1) See CORRECTION above. Forearm-Racket in Line. The forearm and racket should be roughly in line and at a right angle to the upper arm when the leg thrust phase of the serve begins. When the shoulder rises due to the leg thrust and other motions this forearm-racket to upper arm angle causes the shoulder joint to externally rotate and stretch the internal shoulder rotators (lat & pec). When the forearm & racket are in a straight line & at 90° to the upper arm, the moment of inertia of the forearm-racket is maximized. As soon as the wrist breaks to allow the back scratch, the moment of inertia decreases sharply. The racket has not yet "leaked" according to Jay Berger's terminology.
    2) Forearm-Racket at an Angle. At some point after a good shoulder stretch is achieved, the wrist is allowed to let the racket drop down on the back - to the back scratch position. He calls this wrist joint motion 'letting the racket leak'. He discussed that the racket should leak but not too early because the stretch phase needs the forearm and racket more in a straight line. When they are in a straight line & at 90° to the upper arm, the moment of inertia of the forearm-racket is maximized. As soon as the wrist breaks to allow the back scratch, the moment of inertia decreases sharply. This can happen too early during the leg thrust before a good stretch is achieved.

    This video shows both the forearm-racket in a roughly straight line followed by the wrist joint motion allowing the racket to go more into the back scratch position. Type of serve unknown.
    https://vimeo.com/63688133

    These videos of another service motion show some variation and not as much wrist joint change for the racket drop. Racket is out to side and not behind the back. Type of serve unknown.
    https://vimeo.com/63688134
    Another similar serve.
    https://vimeo.com/63709517

    This cleared up a confusing phase of the serve for me as he identified two things that I have seen in high speed videos and explained what is going on and a critical piece of timing.
     
    Last edited: May 15, 2014
    #27
  28. JackB1

    JackB1 G.O.A.T.

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    I have been doing something like this the past week or so and I was amazed that I actually didn't lose anything, but gained some pace, due to my previous very technically poor serve. By starting this way, I am now actaully able to get a little racquet drop, where previously I got none.
     
    #28
  29. Maximagq

    Maximagq Banned

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    I actually mentioned this on your thread haha.
     
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  30. SystemicAnomaly

    SystemicAnomaly G.O.A.T.

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    Just came across a video of Jay Berger serving in a match against Agassi. His motion is not as simple as it should be. In fact, it is rather ugly and it appears that he might not get to a decent trophy position. It looks like he starts with a flawed drop (backscratch) position, (unsuccessfully) attempts to move it to a trophy position and then does an actual racket head drop.

    His elbow starts too high and too far forward for that initial dropped position. His elbow seems to be all over the place. He seems to move is toward a conventional trophy position but it does not appear that he ever really gets the elbow to a proper position where it is in line with the shoulder tilt before his "real" racket head drop.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_6Unmk4r3JQ&t=3m13s

    Here, Agassi shows a much better version of the trophy position serve (a half serve motion):

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fCpjys2heNA
     
    #30
  31. GuyClinch

    GuyClinch Hall of Fame

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    Looking at the video ... Berger might start in the backscratch position but after the toss he moves into about half way between the backscratch and trophy position and then lets the racquet drop before he hits the ball for more power.

    I think most people might be better off starting in this halfway position..and some pros will have their students start that way..
     
    #31
  32. pennc94

    pennc94 Semi-Pro

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    It was so ugly that film could not capture it and survive.
     
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  33. JackB1

    JackB1 G.O.A.T.

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    Agassi's serve there looks very much like what Todd Martin has been doing lately. I think it's useful if you have trouble getting to a good trophy position, since a bad trophy position will only lead to worse things after that. This makes things cleaner and simpler. Kind of like relief pitchers in baseball pitching from the stretch. They don't seem to lose any velocity.
     
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  34. LeeD

    LeeD Bionic Poster

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    Most important, at the moment the racket is pointing at the ground, notice that his forearm is 90 degrees or level with the ground.
    THAT is what you need to do.
    Your forearm is correct, but you hold the racket in a pistol grip and you don't allow the racket to swing back independent of your forearm.
     
    #34
  35. TennisCJC

    TennisCJC Legend

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    Sara Errani was doing that in Italian Open final against Serena. Sara would let the racket head drop down behind her back and then she pulled it back up to a position near trophy position. Then she tossed and hit with a loop into the drop.

    I think starting in the trophy position is fine. Todd Martin has done it at times in his career and he hit 130 mph serves. I also think it is a good training method to start in trophy position like the cute girl in blue in the photos just above - see post 16 by SA.

    Sometimes I do warm up progressions when hitting a bucket of practice serves. Hit a few from full drop, then a few from trophy, and then work on full motion.
     
    #35
  36. LeeD

    LeeD Bionic Poster

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    Is Todd a good example of effectiveness of starting at trophy?
    Todd is 6'6", can probably server 130 with his left hand.
    I suspect you would lose at least 10 mph serving starting at trophy position, losing the momentum of the full motion.
    Like an ATP forehand, if you started with racket back (WTA), you lose some loop swing effect.
     
    #36
  37. NLBwell

    NLBwell Legend

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    I've used a Berger-like serve through several eras in my tennis life when recovering from injuries. (Sometimes I also use it just for fun) There is a little bit of velocity lost, but really not much. Jay could hit a reasonably big serve and I believe the short motion can help with your consistency. It makes it harder to hit a variety of serves (at least for me) since you lack the freedom of motion to put the racket in different positions and move it through different trajectories.
     
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  38. LeeD

    LeeD Bionic Poster

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    If I remember correctly, Jay could hit twists, tops, top/slices, and flats, although he mostly used some combination of top/slice, since every tournament I saw him play was on clay surfaces, where consistency was more important than speed on serves.
     
    #38
  39. 5263

    5263 G.O.A.T.

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    when the timing is right for big servers, there is a bounce off the bottom/back that would be near completely lost with Berger's style.
     
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  40. President

    President Legend

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    What do you mean a "bounce"....?
     
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  41. 5263

    5263 G.O.A.T.

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    There are several aspects to it imo. It's a coordinated timing of the stop point of the shoulder turn, racket drop and leg drive. There is that near perfect moment when timed well when the shoulder turn nears the stop point and the leg drive for launch begins, that loads the racket drop stretch since the racket is still moving or dropping down a bit during a full service motion. The racket drop is extended and the shoulder turn and dip is getting sort of a ssc stretch from the power of the bow/leg drive upwards if the timing is good.

    The Berger way would be more like a pitcher just standing there with his shoulders turn and baseball back behind him static,...then starting a pitch.
     
    Last edited: May 27, 2014
    #41
  42. toly

    toly Hall of Fame

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    Jay Berger Racquet Drop looks OK? :)

    [​IMG]
     
    #42
  43. SystemicAnomaly

    SystemicAnomaly G.O.A.T.

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    ^ Despite his wandering/erratic elbow and racket, he does appears to get to a decent drop position -- at least as far as this image is concerned. It would be great if we could get a HD/slow-mo video of his service motion to really get a good look at his racket drop and loop after his pseudo-trophy position.

    Bottom line is that his erratic elbow/racket at the start of his motion is not something that players should emulate. The Agassi implementation of the half-serve is much cleaner/better in that respect. Perhaps Todd Martin's version as well -- however, I have not looked at Todd's implementation.
     
    #43
  44. GuyClinch

    GuyClinch Hall of Fame

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    Roddick almost uses a half serve motion IMHO. He kinda hurries up into the trophy position at least. So its clearly not a huge problem.

    Its just like throwing. You can start with the ball in a trophy like position and throw fine - lots of drills do that. I am not even certain you should think about racquet drop though. I believe you are suppose to think about moving your elbow forward and letting the forearm (and racquet) lag behind..
     
    #44
  45. LeeD

    LeeD Bionic Poster

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    Everything works if you can make it work.
    Tim Lincicum has a long complicated motion.
    Bartolo Colon just brings his right hand back and fires away.
    Both used to throw 95's, now closer to lowest 90's.
     
    #45
  46. SystemicAnomaly

    SystemicAnomaly G.O.A.T.

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    Yes, somewhat. Roddick's motion is actually a bit more than the the half-serve. It is really an implementation of an abbreviated takeback. Not quite a simple as it could be tho'. I prefer Jeff Salzenstein's implementation of the abbreviated takeback as a simpler, cleaner model:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HrU6C8eilkI&t=77s
     
    #46
  47. user92626

    user92626 Legend

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    Quick question for anyone who can answer..

    For serve, do you suppose to have the "laid back" wrist action like you do with FH (like Nadal's FH)??
     
    #47
  48. Topspin Shot

    Topspin Shot Legend

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    A loose wrist should lay back fully in the drop and flex through contact. It won't flex much past neutral though as pronation kicks in.
     
    #48
  49. SystemicAnomaly

    SystemicAnomaly G.O.A.T.

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    ^^ The wrist is "cocked" similarly, but not necessarily exactly the same way, it would be for a FH. The wrist bend for the serve is a combination of wrist extension (laid back) and radial deviation. Some of this wrist bending might happen as the racket head is dropped from the trophy. Further bending might occur at the very start of the upward swing from the racket drop. As the arm and racket continues to move upward, the wrist moves to a neutral position at contact. Some may refer to this wrist action as "wrist snap". However, I abhor that term.
     
    #49
  50. Topspin Shot

    Topspin Shot Legend

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    Yeah forehand is ulnar to radial whereas serve is radial to ulnar. Why don't you like "snap?" I'm ambivalent on the term.
     
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