Servin' it Up!

Discussion in 'Tennis Tips/Instruction' started by qwertre, Jun 12, 2013.

  1. qwertre

    qwertre Rookie

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    All right everyone,
    I've finally decided to upload some serve videos of my own after seeing all of the great advice available of the forum. I'm 6'3", 165 pounds or so with what I like to call an all-court game. I have a good serve, and at the moment, it's not really my problem-- my forehand has contracted a little Steve Blass disease, so my service games are what's at fault. What I hope to do now is make my serve a big enough weapon to cover for my forehand until I can whip it back into shape- but really I'd just like to have a big serve! :)

    So, here they are.
    1st serves to the deuce-- http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VsCCttlhcPY&feature=youtu.be

    2nd serves to the deuce-- http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iOKIK8FmE7M&feature=youtu.be

    1st serves to the ad-- http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qlVtCRrumkg&feature=youtu.be

    Sorry for the weird sideways stuff, but I think you can get the picture :)

    Thanks for any comments, but please be nice!
     
    #1
  2. WildVolley

    WildVolley Legend

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    Rotate the videos and post them again. It is hard enough to analyze a regular speed video. It's not even worth it to try to tilt your head and figure out what is happening when the server is standing on the face of a cliff.
     
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  3. charliefedererer

    charliefedererer Legend

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    You have a unique way of dangling your racquet with a limp wrist before bringing it back.

    Amazingly, you are able to compensate for this unusual movement and get through the serve, but it seems you have to compensate with a high toss and leave out much of a shoulder coil/uncoil to power your serve. (Your archer's bow shape could be a little more dramatic as well.)


    To learn a more conventional racquet drop that should let you coil more, check out this video from Coach McCraw:
    McCraw Serve Fundamentals http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WuIgTyh4aDs

    Notice how he incorporates a coil/uncoil motion to help let the racquet to move well to the right at maximum racquet drop.

    While it is doubtful any of us will get as dramatic a coil/uncoil motion as Sampras, in the sequence below, you can see how he starts his coil as his arm is going up.
    He continues to coil until his back is to the court he is serving into.

    [​IMG]
     
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  4. qwertre

    qwertre Rookie

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    Thanks WildVolley, but what would be really helpful is if you could tell me how to do that, rather than criticizing my video skills. It would seem to me to be obvious that I would fix that if I knew how. I will perform a Google search, and, pending results, will post again.
     
    #4
  5. qwertre

    qwertre Rookie

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    Thanks a lot, charliefederer! I've always wondered why I have so much trouble keeping my toss low, and it's really easy to see the odd wrist motion now that I look at it. Maybe I should upload more videos (without the upright perspective) as my motion progresses.
     
    #5
  6. WildVolley

    WildVolley Legend

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    I'm not a youtube expert, but I believe they now have tools that allow you to rotate your own videos.

    Here's what I found. Good luck.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M62Gw_bpoO8
     
    #6
  7. cluckcluck

    cluckcluck Hall of Fame

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    I would also add, whoever is filming you, please have them hot the camera still or put it on a tripod, it's hard to see the details with all that shaking.
     
    #7
  8. qwertre

    qwertre Rookie

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    Haha- yeah, first effort. Next time, they'll have a tripod AND they won't flip the camera on its side. :evil:
     
    #8
  9. qwertre

    qwertre Rookie

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    All right everyone, I think I've fixed it somewhat-- the video edits are processing, so it'll be upright in a little bit!
     
    #9
  10. qwertre

    qwertre Rookie

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    Whoops. Never mind. All right, I'm giving up on this thread.
     
    #10
  11. LeeD

    LeeD Bionic Poster

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    Have a stiff neck from mortar work, so didn't come on sooner.
    You have a very nice swing, fast and loose.
    Your prep looks part Almagro, part Isner.
    You could use some hip thrust, archer's bow during trophy, to enable you to hit upwards, with a slightly closed (racket tip the leading entity) face.
    You could lower your hitting hand, to swing upwards into the ball.
    You could use a high hand, high elbow finish after the ball strike, so the racket has hit the ball and is pointing down at the ground, your elbow and hand still head high or barely above your head.
    The wrist thing and the narrow stance at prep is for you to decide. It certainly is not normal.
     
    #11
  12. qwertre

    qwertre Rookie

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    Thanks LeeD!
    I have a couple of clarification questions for you, and thanks for the compliments :)

    When you say hip thrust, what exactly do you mean? A Michael Jackson sort of hip thrust? :twisted:

    Also, I'm definitely going to work on the wrist thing, as I've noticed the amount of time it cuts into my stroke, necessitating the high toss. When you talk about the narrow stance at prep, though, I'm not sure I know much about that. What are the advantages/disadvantages of that narrow stance and why is it unusual? I know that the normal stances are platform and pinpoint, but I've found that I need a couple of tiny steps with my front foot to keep balance, which is why I keep the feet pretty close. Could I fix that with a wider platform stance? Rainy here, so I can't really test all of that good advice.
     
    #12
  13. LeeD

    LeeD Bionic Poster

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    If you watch the pros who use platform stance, most load the front foot at the prep position, so weight is already there, and then rock back slightly as the motion begins.
    The hip/archer's bow is to angle your torso upwards. Look at the ATP logo, it's of DJ serving. It's something more apparent with pinpoint servers, but Sampras and Djokovic do it to a lesser extent. Fed barely.
     
    #13
  14. charliefedererer

    charliefedererer Legend

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    Loading the body by letting the hip extend into the court as you lean backward with the upper body is one of the main points in the following video, and quite well demonstrated:
    Nick Bollettieri-Sonic Serve.wmv http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ajoZ0f7hw-A
     
    #14
  15. Raul_SJ

    Raul_SJ Professional

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    I am not sure if I am extending my hip into the court.

    I am using the platform stance and after I release the ball , I let the tossing arm continue to move upwards and point straight up to the sky, which naturally gets me into the shoulder tilted position.

    Is that sufficient or do I need to consciously think of also extending the hip into the court?

    It looks like Bollitieri advocates the pinpoint stance and not the platform stance. Perhaps the hip extension is mainly relevant to the pinpoint stance?
     
    #15
  16. tennispodpro

    tennispodpro New User

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    First of all, it takes a lot of guts to post a video. I have a laptop, so it was easy to just turn it on its side. But, I also realize a lot of people are not going to tilt their neck to watch this so I am going to take crack at this. It's a real good start with all kinds of potential. It starts out like Milos Raonic with what looks like an eastern backhand grip and then there is a slight switch to an abbreviated backswing like Roddick and then you correct it back to a loose arm with a nice high toss and a good finish. It takes time with a higher toss like yours to get the synchronization down, but you figured it out. More people have messed up their serves by incorporating that Roddick motion when there actually is no reason to use that serve if you can time a full-motion swing. Definitely, it's a signature style serve. I would only suggest breaking the second hitch on the drop of the pendulum away from the Roddick abbreviated action.

    Lastly, you need to work on your core and leg strength. You need to get better push off the legs. The loads on the arm and shoulder take a beating when you don't have good core and leg strength. Google "Tennis Serve Kick-out" and watch the kick-out on professional players and work on more lower body support to the serve. Roll up a towel and place it on the baseline. Just shadow your motion without hitting a ball and push your front leg up and over the towel and land on one leg and hold your "Kick-out" for 3 to five seconds and practice deeper knee bends. Repeat this over and over until you build up the leg strength.

    BTW, nice rackets:)
     
    #16
  17. charliefedererer

    charliefedererer Legend

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    Very perceptive to point out that the platform stance will result in less hip extension into the court than the pinpoint.

    But if you look at that serve sequence of Sampras (who uses a platform stance) I posted above, in the last photo of the sequence you can see his front hip quite a bit forward than in the first photo.
    You can also see it in the photo below:

    [​IMG]

    Now obviously we should not just be jutting the hip out there.

    Indeed, the hip should move out naturally to counterbalance the backward lean necessary to get that steep shoulder angle above.

    If we didn't let the hip protrude forward to counterbance the backward lean we would fall over backwards!


    But since you have watched the Sonic Serve video you can see that powerfully reversing the bow shape can let us use the whole body like a pole vault to help power our serve.
    (Indeed Pat Dougherty, the Bolletieri "Serve Doctor" has even made a video of this: Pat Dougherty: The Pole Vaulter's Pole http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LTubBKQzf9M )

    Yet, Federer famously has much less of a hip protrusion.

    So if after some experimentation it does not feel comfortable to you - or even results in excess body movement that causes a lower serve percentage - then you should obviously use what works best for you.
     
    #17
  18. qwertre

    qwertre Rookie

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    I'm really a little bit confused by the bolded section. Is there any chance you can say that in lay-man's terms? Are you talking about where my elbow kind of holds and my forearm rotates around it? I think I totally get the leg and core strength stuff, especially since I had a shoulder injury earlier this season, and thanks for the exercise idea.

    I've definitely tried to model my serve on Milos Raonic's, as you mentioned, but the little wrist thing at the beginning is a major difference. If I don't have too much trouble timing it, would it be worth to it try to change the motion to like the beginning of this: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=klR6AfFR70c ?
    I've noticed that my motion doesn't really have the kind of slowing-down section at the trophy pose like Raonic's or Sampras' serves, partly because I've always found it difficult to hold the racquet pointing up at trophy and then bring it down and back around for the actual contact. Is that something that I really need to work on?

    Thanks a lot for the advice!
     
    #18
  19. tennispodpro

    tennispodpro New User

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    When you do the wrist-rocking motion at the start, that should be the only one on the down-swing. It's hard to explain, but if I get time I will try to export the video and split-screen it to show you what I mean. BTW, at this point in time, don't switch to a pin-point stance as you have already established a solid platform. You need to also post a back-view of your serve so we can see that vantage point. That will reveal other areas to work
    on, but like I said, Milos is not a bad server to emulate. Just watch how smooth his motion is.

    Good Luck!
     
    #19
  20. qwertre

    qwertre Rookie

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    All right-- I think I'm getting a better picture. I'll post some more videos as my serve evolves.
     
    #20
  21. Raul_SJ

    Raul_SJ Professional

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    I want to try extending the hips because I am getting better results by extending my tossing arm more upwards on the serve.

    Jeff Salzenstein advises extending the tossing arm "Almost like the shoulder is coming out of the socket, it is extending up so much..."

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_detailpage&v=7xlc0t-WG8A#t=108s


    Likewise, I will try extending the hips and be looking for a feeling of stretch in the hips to confirm I am extending sufficiently.
     
    #21

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