Serving Landing Foot

Discussion in 'Tennis Tips/Instruction' started by y11971alex, Nov 21, 2012.

  1. y11971alex

    y11971alex New User

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    Hi:

    I'm 17 years old and I've been playing tennis for about five years now. I've enrolled in a juniors' programme in Vancouver Canada, and the coaches are set about improving my serve. I've been described as the most aggressive player in class, and I usually do S&V. The dominant style there is aggressive baseline, which makes me a slight oddity there.

    The issue is that I never seem to be able to "jump off" during serve and I leave my left foot on the ground during the motion. At contact I am standing on the tip of my toes of my left foot. After that I land on my right. The serve is usually consistent and the weight balanced; I usually serve a wide slice on the deuce side and up the middle on ad side.

    The coaches (along with another one on individual lessons) said that I should land on my left foot, but I couldn't seem to do this in balance and the return just wizzes past me. Also, if I land on my right, it would form my "first step" to the net. Any suggestions?:confused:
     
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  2. boramiNYC

    boramiNYC Hall of Fame

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    before addressing technique you need to strengthen some leg and foot muscles. can you balance well on one leg? like stand on one leg for a very long time able to resist falling? practice this for each leg. then practice lifting the heel and lowering on each leg and practice tilting the pelvis for each leg. standing on one leg straight lift the other leg up and down in the air using the pelvis. do all these until slightly sore and repeat. to learn a technique the muscles should be able to coordinate and to do that the right muscles should be strong enough otherwise cannot learn a technique. here the muscle strength is not a bulky muscle build up but more balanced distribution of strong and serviceable muscles throughout.
     
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  3. LeeD

    LeeD Bionic Poster

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    Most pinpoint servers land on their tossing hand side foot.
    Pinpoint is a different animal. They seem to land on either foot, preferred by the player. McEnroe lands on his left foot, he lefty. Some players land on their other foot, it doesn't seem to matter because it's linked with how much twist you put into your serves. Some twist, some ab crunch, some pivot.
    What IS important is a low trophy hand, a slight archer's bow, and a high hand, high elbow AFTER you contacted the ball, with your racket now pointing straight down at the ground.
     
    #3
  4. sureshs

    sureshs Bionic Poster

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    Second sentence is platform?
     
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  5. TCF

    TCF Hall of Fame

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    Last edited: Dec 11, 2012
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  6. LeeD

    LeeD Bionic Poster

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    I was thinking exactly the same thing as I posted, but I still typed on....
    Seems I recall him pivoting on his right foot, landing on his left his early years..
    Then some footage of his pivoting on his right foot, landing on his right foot.
    Oh well.
    Doesn't BrianGottfriend land on his right foot?
     
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  7. TCF

    TCF Hall of Fame

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    Last edited: Dec 11, 2012
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  8. rkelley

    rkelley Hall of Fame

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    From what I've seen almost all pros land on their non-dominant foot today. Go back before 1970, when one foot had to stay on the ground during the serve, and everyone "stepped" into their serve - the non-dominant foot stayed touching the ground and the dominant foot swung into the court.

    Becker was a modern player who landed on his dominant foot, and his serve was OK:wink: So, it can be done, but even in the late 80's he was unusual. Sampras, Edberg, and other S&V players all landed on their non-dominant foot.
     
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  9. charliefedererer

    charliefedererer Legend

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    Last edited: Dec 4, 2012
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  10. luishcorreia

    luishcorreia Professional

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    Left foot if you are right handed
     
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  11. xFullCourtTenniSx

    xFullCourtTenniSx Hall of Fame

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    You can't cite any extremely old players to support landing on the (initially) back foot. The reason to that being that it was illegal to leave the ground, so the front foot stayed on the ground.

    Higher ball toss or more leg strength. You should be reaching up to hit the ball.
     
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  12. Thepowerofchoice

    Thepowerofchoice Semi-Pro

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    #12
  13. NLBwell

    NLBwell Legend

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    For pure serve and volleyers, many land on their right leg (for righties). It does help you get into the court and up to the net faster.
    Michael Stich served that way as well as Becker and many of the old serve and volleyers.

    Serve and volleyers bring their back foot through and get to the net faster. Some have a little hop and land on their front foot (Sampras, Rusedski), some don't and land on their back foot after it comes through (Becker, Stich).
    These are similar and both different than a serve like Roddick or Sharapova where the back foot actually kicks up behind the body. This forces the landing to be on the front foot, but also stops the forward momentum. This can be an advantage to a baseliner, so they don't get caught up in the court and can stay at the baseline more easily. (Edberg actually does this but his front foot lands way into the court in a running motion).

    The Sharpova motion is like a baseball pitcher, the Stich motion is like a football punter - with the upper body and the leg being pulled forward by the core of the body. Both can give a tremendous amount of force into the ball. One is not inherently better than the other in terms of the serve itself.

    If you are intent on serving and volleying, it is probably an advantage. If not, it doesn't matter much.

    If you get enough force in your serve your front foot will come off the ground at least a bit, regardless of which foot you land on.
     
    Last edited: Nov 23, 2012
    #13
  14. Xizel

    Xizel Professional

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    #14
  15. SystemicAnomaly

    SystemicAnomaly G.O.A.T.

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    The rule change to allow jumping on the serve happened way back in the 50s or 60s. However, the old school serve that the OP describes still appeared to be the de facto standard serving style for amateur and elite players in the 70s and well into the 80s. The modern serving style that Will Hamilton of FYB describes has become the standard for elite servers in the past 2 decades or so.

    Sure, one can still employ the old school style. Pancho Gonzales and many others had excellent serves, even by today's standards, even tho' they left the front foot on the ground for the most part. However, I would still encourage a modern serving style as suggested by FYB and the OP's coaches.

    It sounds like the OP might not be getting enough knee bend and leg drive for the front foot to leave the ground. If you are bending the knees, then perhaps you are not timing the leg drive properly. The legs should start to extend at the trophy phase and should be fully extended by the time the racket is at its lowest point (for the back scratch phase). This means that the upward swing (to contact) of the racket head starts immediately after the legs are fully extended -- the legs fire and then the arm & racket fire.

    A serve & volleyer should still be able to use the modern style. The rear leg (right leg for righties) can still kick back as the server lands on the front (left) foot. The right leg action helps to minimize the hip/lower body rotation late in the service action (the hips should rotate earlier then the rotation should transfer to the torso/upper body). The right leg might also serve as a counterbalance as the body is launched upward and forward. After the right leg kicks back, it can then swing forward if the server wishes to follow his/her serve into the net.
     
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  16. y11971alex

    y11971alex New User

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    That's right.
     
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  17. JohnYandell

    JohnYandell Hall of Fame

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    Ball position front to back is a big part of this. If the ball isn't far enough in front it won't be natural to explode upward and especially forward.

    The contact is at the very front edge of the body--like the nose--but to do this with the leg explosion requires a ball toss placement into the court.
     
    #17
  18. boramiNYC

    boramiNYC Hall of Fame

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    tho I agree tossing into the court thing but I have seen some juniors and rec players over doing this and the balance become unstable.
     
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  19. LeeD

    LeeD Bionic Poster

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    Good strikepoint position is 3"-12" inside the baseline.
    Volleyball servers can do otherwise.
     
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  20. y11971alex

    y11971alex New User

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    Strike position

    Yes, but Rosewall says in his book that the strike position should be between 1' and 1' 6" in the court?
     
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  21. LeeD

    LeeD Bionic Poster

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    Seriously, forget Rosewall. He's like 5'7" tall and coming from the old school.
    Modern servers don't just charge into net position on every serve. Most stay back after serving, especially second serves. If you choose to stay back, AND use Rosewall's idea of toss well inside your baseline, you will be caught in NML almost every time.
    Now if you plan to attack the net behind every serve, his idea is correct, but old school.
    Some people seem to think, with the modern equipement and practice ideas, that the returner can take a full swing at the ball on every service return, which means you can't always charge the net on every serve, every time.
    And remember, it doesn't matter which foot you land on, what matters is how hard your serve is, how well it's placed, and how effective it is to win points. The point thing is most important. McEnroe and Edberg never served hard, but won lots of points.
     
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  22. DE19702

    DE19702 Rookie

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    Boris Becker lands on his right foot. He probably taught himself as a kid and couldn't switch back. It's hard to change you service motion.
     
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  23. charliefedererer

    charliefedererer Legend

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    I see you agree with Systemic Anomoly's analysis in post 15.

    Have you watched the videos I posted in post 9?



    It sounds like you are quite athletic, and have learned a serve technique which up until now has served you well.
    But you will never reach your potential with your current serve.
    And I'll bet with your athleticism that you can learn it quicker than most - just that it is painful to seem to have to suffer through more double faults for now to make that progress.

    Your coaches are trying to teach you to throw the entire left side of your body up and at the ball.
    This slow motion video of Soderling shows specifically the leg drive and cartwheel action you need.
    Robin Söderling serve slowmotion http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a56pvP1i6x8
    If you learn to do this it will be a powerful leg drive and cartwheel of the upper body to power your serve.
    You then can't help but land on your left leg.

    Please keep an open mind to your coaches and let them help you make the necessary changes in your body motion, ending up with your landing on your left leg.

    Your landing on your right leg is just a symptom that your current serve is not correct.

    Again, I would urge you to watch those two videos and see that the new serve motion will lead to a better serve.
     
    Last edited: Nov 30, 2012
    #23
  24. LeeD

    LeeD Bionic Poster

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    I don't know...
    What is correct?
    Pure power? Control?
    As said, several top ATP pros landed on their service side foot, the right. They pivoted off their left to get the power.
    Some guys, like Roddick, tend to stomach crunch to get some of their power.
    We are NOT all the same!
    Post vid. If your serve is strong enough for your size, it's good enough. If it's weak or inconsistent, time for a change.
     
    #24
  25. y11971alex

    y11971alex New User

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    Thanks for the adivce. Though I don't know whether your comment is directed towards me, I'll take it as though it were. On the contrary, I am not a very atheletic person, and I don't play at perhaps your indicated level becuase of current academic committments. I'd say that my serve is 85 mph at the very best and not there consistently. People in my class regularly serve quite a bit faster than I do, and I'd say that I return better than I serve. Does Soderling's legs drive help with accuracy?
     
    #25
  26. LeeD

    LeeD Bionic Poster

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    The pros are athletes, trained, conditioned, hungry, and work for a reward.
    You appear not athletic, not strong, not gifted, given your returns being better than your serves.
    Pros win by their athletic big hitting.
    You need to learn to win with your mind and determinations. Different methods, both can win.
    Try to serve harder, even a 100 lbs girl can serve 100 mph.
    Forget the notion of 135 mph first serves.
    Use the technique that is consistent and replicable for YOU, not someone else.
    Placement and surprise is your friend. How you serve is much less important than where and when you serve.
     
    #26
  27. boramiNYC

    boramiNYC Hall of Fame

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    don't think 100lb girl can serve 100mph. most wta pros barely crack 100.
     
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  28. NLBwell

    NLBwell Legend

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    Some do .
     
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  29. y11971alex

    y11971alex New User

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    That's because my opponents are poor servers:)

    I don't try to sound haughty, but I really don't try to serve at 135mph. That brings the fun in tennis right out, doesn't it?

    Sometimes I don't even try to serve hard to get a volley or two.
     
    #29
  30. 10sLifer

    10sLifer New User

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    The multiple captain obvious' of the message board are simply describing letting yourself be pulled of the ground, then turning and "having" to land on the right foot versus not getting air born and stepping. It's one of the more stupid conversations in tennis. Watch any pro(righty) warm up their serve and the right foot steps first. If you serve and volley you should continue to do it. The lack of air time will help you get to the net. #JohnnyMaccouldofbeenbetter
     
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  31. y11971alex

    y11971alex New User

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    Video here, though it doesn't contain serving footage. This was recorded some time ago after taking the SAT!

    http://youtu.be/mVwFen1VXbw
     
    #31
  32. LeeD

    LeeD Bionic Poster

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    Thanks for taking the time and posting the video.
    OK, don't worry about which foot to land on. Worry about learning to swing a groundie stroke correctly, build up some rackethead speed, get in condition to move quicker and do it, which now takes 2 years, THEN learn to serve harder and post a vid.
    Whichever foot you land on after you serve is your LEAST important consideration. Which by the way, the answer is EITHER foot you want.
     
    #32
  33. 3fees

    3fees Hall of Fame

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    which foot should come thru first ? either one is okay

    Brian Gottfried brought the hind leg into the court first, called cross over step,,Roscoe Tanner brought the front foot on to the court first.

    As to serving motions and foot work

    Windmill -type serving motion(full backswing) front foot land first on the court.

    The Half Swing serving motion(trophy pose) hind foot lands first(crossover step)

    These are learned motions, your coach is pointing out one of them..

    :mrgreen:
     
    #33
  34. charliefedererer

    charliefedererer Legend

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    I must admit from your initial post I thought you were a more advanced player than your video shows - someone with a really solid game, but an idiosyncratic serve that you were resisting letting your coaches tinker with.

    Nevertheless, I would still advise listening to your coaches to make advancement.

    Enjoy your tennis!
    All the practice, all the doubt, all the small steps in improvement, the joy of victory and the agony of defeat.
    Enjoy the journey.
     
    #34
  35. NLBwell

    NLBwell Legend

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    Yes, I thought you had a well-developed serve that a coach was trying to change. At your level, do exactly what the coach says. Don't argue or question if he is correct. Do ask what is the basis for what he is telling you to do so that you get a deeper understanding.

    Love your racket. Learning with a wood racket at that stage has some advantages.
     
    #35
  36. y11971alex

    y11971alex New User

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    I must say that you are profoundly misguided - I am not an advanced player.
     
    #36
  37. y11971alex

    y11971alex New User

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    Thanks, I love the racquet. I periodically take it out to prevent it from warping. Do you think I was hitting well? I could say that I was striking the sweep spot with good accuracy.
     
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  38. LeeD

    LeeD Bionic Poster

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    The less comment in that direction, the better.
    Keep hitting, keep playing, don't worry about your serves.
     
    #38
  39. y11971alex

    y11971alex New User

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    But how do you people think I was hitting that day?
     
    #39
  40. charliefedererer

    charliefedererer Legend

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    It doesn't really matter what WE think.

    As long as YOU felt you were hitting well for your level, were working hard and yet still enjoying it, what more can you ask?

    [Way earlier in the post you mentioned you had "academic commitments". I will tell you about that - I think you are smart to keep your academic success as your primary commitment. It is likely you, like most of us here, will make your biggest mark in life outside of tennis. Yet tennis is a great sport to enjoy not only now, but for a whole lifetime. Enjoy!]
     
    #40
  41. Chas Tennis

    Chas Tennis Hall of Fame

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    (reply deleted)
     
    Last edited: Dec 4, 2012
    #41
  42. charliefedererer

    charliefedererer Legend

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    ^^^Fixed. Thanks for the sharp eyes.
     
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