Serving: feet off the ground

Discussion in 'Tennis Tips/Instruction' started by anubis, Mar 22, 2013.

  1. anubis

    anubis Hall of Fame

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    Hi,

    So I've been told by a few knowledgeable and respected teaching pros that at the amateur level, there's no need for feet to leave the ground during a serve. If you can't serve a good, solid ball either down the T or out wide with both feet on the ground, then you need to look at your serve mechanics. If you're jumping, then you're doing something wrong.

    However, I "accidentally" jumped during a serve the other day (don't know why, I never jump when I serve) and it was a total bomb of a serve! I was just practicing, wasn't hitting with anyone so I don't know if it would have been difficult to return, but it was DEFINITELY harder than I normally serve.

    So then I started jumping every time on my first serve. I was serving very consistently, very fast serves.

    Now, I'm a short guy, only 5'6". Should I keep this up or should I stop? I don't like going against old advice from people more knowledgeable than I am.

    thanks
     
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  2. Govnor

    Govnor Professional

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    If you're of sound body and want to improve your serve....then....in my opinion, your feet should be leaving the ground. I"m not a pro.
     
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  3. HughJars

    HughJars Banned

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    Look at most pros. They all leave the ground. Im guessing its not a conscious thing - driving vertically upwards, with the legs especially creates momentum which see them leave the ground.

    I had a real problem in jumping into my serve cos I was pancaking my serve and, being only 5ft 10 I tried to get extra height to increase my chances of getting the ball in. But now I focus on serving into my toss and pronating using a conti grip to put top spin on the ball, to bring it into the box. I still find myself leaving the ground a bit.

    Also, if I have a poor toss behind my body I tend to jump for some reason, probably subconciously traying to get over the ball. In these circumstances I usually net the frikkin thing.
     
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  4. Ash_Smith

    Ash_Smith Hall of Fame

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    anubis - I kind of agree with what you've been told so far, but not in the sense that at an amateur level there is 'no need' to use Ground Reaction Force (jumping in your parlance). There is a need to use GRF to maximise serve efficiency, as although leg drive only directly contributes around 12% of the serve 'power', it is vital for the early stages of the stretch-shortening cycle through the serve action, which leads to greater 'power' through the hips, torso and arm action.

    So, there is a 'need' however, for the majority of rec players trying to 'jump' only serves to throw off their upper body mechanics - so, my advice would be make sure you have nailed your upper body mechanics first, then you can try to implement greater GRF into your serve.

    Make sense?

    Cheers
     
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  5. Tonyr1967

    Tonyr1967 Rookie

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    There is no requirement to have youyr feet leave the ground when serving. However, it makes it easier and allows you to hit harder and (especially when you are <6ft) allows you to hit better angles.
    The game has moved forward from the days when you had to keep one foot grounded - and the modern service action is different.
    Struggle to see why a teaching Pro would say such a thing?
     
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  6. GoaLaSSo

    GoaLaSSo Semi-Pro

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    Jumping is not really the important part, but exploding upwards into the ball is important for a fast serve.

    If you watch roddick serve, he uses a lot of leg bend and gets really high off the ground. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UdHTtbIFlxE

    Wawrinka doesn't jump very much on his serve, but his legs still help power his serve a lot. He explodes up right before contact. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qGkBMDMezU0
     
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  7. mightyrick

    mightyrick Legend

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    I'd say this is correct and nothing groundbreaking. I mean it did used to be illegal for the feet to leave the ground for a serve. And the professional players were hitting with amazing pace.

    Just don't mistake not leaving the ground with not involving the legs.

    A successful serve must involve the legs.
     
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  8. Govnor

    Govnor Professional

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    I should clarify what I said. It shouldn't really be a conscious thing: "I'm going to jump on this serve", it should be a natural thing that just happens as you power up to the ball.
     
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  9. Tight Lines

    Tight Lines Professional

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    Heath Waters says for every inch higher you serve, you gain 5% more consistency. Since you are a relatively short guy, this will be especially applicable to you. If you find that you are serving more consistently by jumping, I say keep jumping.

    Harry
     
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  10. anubis

    anubis Hall of Fame

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    Thanks guys. good advice. I shouldn't think of it as jumping, but of simply using my legs for extra power. leaving the ground is sort of a byproduct, and not the initial goal.
     
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  11. corbind

    corbind Professional

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    Don't consciously jump. If you push your legs to power your body up to the ball "the jump" happens. Look at some pros and watch the knee bend. There is a positive correlation between knee bend and propulsion from the ground.
     
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  12. Mick3391

    Mick3391 Professional

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    You GOT to sky it man! I'm 6'1", I'm always air borne (Not now because of my leg), but yea man you can get good mechanics and sky it.
     
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  13. BullDogTennis

    BullDogTennis Hall of Fame

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    i didn't read all tips, but think of it this way, you arnt "jumping" into the ball. you are swinging hard into the air and driving your legs to the ball and naturally leaving the ground. obviously a beginner isn't going to have the tennis coordination to do all that, and it turns into them seeing pros and like trying to dunk the ball.
     
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  14. Mick3391

    Mick3391 Professional

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    I did that as a beginner. That was one area where I received coaching. I had a great serve, my coach said "Come over the top of the ball right as it starts to drop". So I'd throw it high, take my existing technique and sky it up and over the ball, it's very fluid.

    When I watch the pros, it looks like they don't jump, but watch in slo mo, they do jump. You can't just jump and hope you have the right leverage, I can't really explain it, the jump is the last part of it. From feet, through the legs, up to the shoulders, turn and up, but all one movement.
     
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  15. LeeD

    LeeD Bionic Poster

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    You leave the ground because you're trying to raise your contact point, so you have a better angle at the opposing service court.
     
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  16. BullDogTennis

    BullDogTennis Hall of Fame

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    pros are putting all their momentum into the ball, which naturally brings you off the ground. in reality you are "jumping" because your momentum is being thrown towards the sky, but realistically if you think of it as jumping your gonna look all awkward and not gonna have the correct technique.
     
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  17. NLBwell

    NLBwell Legend

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    Think of coming off the ground as a symptom, not a cause.
     
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  18. Nostradamus

    Nostradamus G.O.A.T.

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    Good thread. Higher the jump, better it is. but I find it very hard to jump when I am tired. Can anyone give some tips on jumping on the serve please
     
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  19. VaporDude95

    VaporDude95 Rookie

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    The leg drive up is a very important part of a serve. So the feet off the ground is a good thing.
     
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  20. USArmyTennis

    USArmyTennis New User

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    This is it right there. I use my legs to drive up into the ball, and watching myself on video I get some elevation off the ground, but its from driving up and out and intentionally trying to jump upward.
     
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