Serving

Discussion in 'Adult League & Tournament Talk' started by chatt_town, Nov 3, 2011.

  1. chatt_town

    chatt_town Hall of Fame

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    Okay...I'm sure some of you have read here and there where I admit to having a pretty awful serve. When i say it's awful, I mean I have absolutely no confidence in it. I litterally go into all my singles matches with the mentality that I have to break twice to win the set. So the other day I was watching this guy imitate is own serve and It hit me. I'm not rolling my hips but just throwing it up and going right through it. So here in the last few matches I've been doing rolling my hips into the court and it is sooooooooooooo much better. It doesn't have a whole lot of velocity on it but it has height and depth and is landing in the corners and on the service line.

    So now I don't have to ask my partners if they have their Dental paid up before serving. I actually played 6 sets the last couple of weeks and was only broken once. That is big improvement. I've had to develop real good hands in the past because of my lack of a second serve. Everyone has a great first(when we get it in).lol I can't wait to test this in Mobile at Turkey day in about 3 weeks. I think now I don't even mind going out and hitting some serves(something I've never done or rarely in the last 9 years).lol That's been the whole problem. Because I have above average speed and pretty good hands I looked at the serve as a way to start the point and run people in the ground. I think I'm going to start trying to use it as a weapon and end the point before it gets started good. :) So how did you all develop your serves and what do you think is important about it?
     
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  2. tennis tom

    tennis tom Hall of Fame

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    Watched Roscoe Tanner when not in jail.
     
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  3. sphinx780

    sphinx780 Professional

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    For me, I've always been fortunate to have a live arm, so I hit a pretty decent serve before I had a proper motion...the older I get, the more I have off days from lack of play.

    Now, I find a nice easy take back, roll the hips in, keep the arm up and keep my torso low when coming forward...for me that gets the legs into it.

    At 4.5, my serve is my biggest weapon so I've been working on finding a consistent motion over the past couple years and have really narrowed it down to doing the above well when I'm on.
     
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  4. chatt_town

    chatt_town Hall of Fame

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    Now that is funny. :)

     
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  5. chatt_town

    chatt_town Hall of Fame

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    Good advice. I'll keep this in mind. I'm actually going to go out and practice it now. :) I think I could roll with a lot more 4.5's if I get them off my second serve. I've beaten quite a few in the age divisions of various tourneys but the serve never fails to let me down and mostly because I have no confidence from the start of the match.


     
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  6. tennis tom

    tennis tom Hall of Fame

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    Your first serve is only as good as your second.
     
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  7. sphinx780

    sphinx780 Professional

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    ^Absolutely, that's where a consistent motion comes in.
     
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  8. jc4.0

    jc4.0 Professional

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    For me, a good serve depends on a consistent toss. For some reason, I occasionally get the yips and I'm chasing my toss all over the court - and of course the serve follows.

    When this happens I go out and serve a few thousand balls to get my rhythm back (you can't effectively work on stuff during matches) - but start this session by tossing the ball in the air 20-30 times and just catch it, until I can toss with a confident, relaxed arm.
     
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  9. tennis tom

    tennis tom Hall of Fame

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    What JC4 said, a consistent ball toss is a MANDATORY element of serving. To do this DON'T MOVE YOUR FEET! If your feet move at all, except to rotate pirouetting with the body, you will be chasing the ball. Release the ball, with the palm facing UP and the wrist locked, just in front of the racket.
     
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  10. ian2

    ian2 Semi-Pro

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    Just doing some math here...
    1 ball hopper ~ 75 balls
    10 min to serve 1 hopper (going fast!), five min to pick up = 15 min/1 ball hopper
    to round up: 20 min to serve 100 balls (going non-stop)
    200 min to serve 1000 balls
    a few thousand = 3,000 (less than that is not "a few"...)
    600 min to serve "a few thousand balls"
    10 hours serving, non-stop. Nice :) That will do it!
     
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  11. blakesq

    blakesq Professional

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    wow, i had no idea. what a screwed up life. hope he gets his act together!

     
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  12. jc4.0

    jc4.0 Professional

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    Well you know - you gotta do the commitment! What, you don't practice your serve for 10 hours at a time? Slacker!!!
    (nice math job)
     
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  13. ian2

    ian2 Semi-Pro

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    Yes I know...
     
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  14. kelkat

    kelkat Rookie

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    Something else to think about. You said you don't have a lot of velocity on your serve. For me, that has to do my racket head speed and snapping of the wrist at the point of contact. That should amp it up a bit.
     
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  15. tennis tom

    tennis tom Hall of Fame

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    Serving is like juggling, the two arms are doing two entirely different motions at different times. Up together, down together is a bunch of B.S.! The racket arm has to go through a complete range of motion while the toss arm only has to do one thing, place the ball in front of the racket.

    A tip: Touch the inner thigh with the ball hand, using it for a reference point. This will allow more time for the racket arm to do it's thing and get to the back-scratch for a complete motion without any hitches. You don't want any hitches because they rob the swing of power.
     
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  16. Datacipher

    Datacipher Banned

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    Posters who know me, know I have some experience with the Tanner motion, and some expertise in the serve, and serve biomechanics...

    I will say that in terms of biomechanical efficiency there is no better model than Tanner....it's not even close in most cases...(though other great servers like Curren, Arthurs etc are right up there). Having said that, because Tanners motion is so fast, it leads a lot of imitators to rush, and cause problems. It SOUNDS like that might be happening to you, when you talk about your hips (though the exact nature of the problem is unclear to me). The fact is, even though we are all capable of serving like Tanner, and would be better off for it, it actually requires incredible relaxation, and sound fundamentals, which most amateurs don't have :-(
     
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  17. chatt_town

    chatt_town Hall of Fame

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    I'll try that. I've never heard that about the locked wrist. I do toss it up though as you described except without a locked wrist. What I've always heard is to hold and toss it like as you are holding a whine glass. I hold it the way you were saying though. I need to try locking the wrist.

     
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  18. chatt_town

    chatt_town Hall of Fame

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    I think he lived on Lookout Moutain here in Chattanooga

     
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  19. tennis tom

    tennis tom Hall of Fame

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    Datacipher makes a great fundamental point here. Most rec players RUSH. I have a good serve and I still practice as much as I can and am always finding a new element to add to it. I view the serve as a microcosm for the rest of the game. It is such a technically complex set of movements, if you can conquer the serve the rest of the game is easy. If you can get your serve in, no matter how bad the rest of your game is, they have to play you!

    At the moment I am practicing my rotation. In order to buy time, I need to sense my chest expanding and my lower right back muscles torquing. There are so many ELEMENTS to a good serve, unless you are a genius, it is absurd to think that you can learn them from a thread at this site. That being said, you can pick-up some tips here motivating you to practice. You need to practice the right thing also or you just get "good" at bad habits.

    Realistically, you probably could use a dozen lessons from a pro who knows how to teach the serve. Posters to this thread can give you a hundred elements of the service motion but if they aren't taught in the correct sequence it will just be a muddle. I could easily spend an hour here listing the elements of the serve but doing it under match play conditions is entirely another thing.
     
    Last edited: Nov 7, 2011
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  20. chatt_town

    chatt_town Hall of Fame

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    Points well taken. Let me ask you though since you do give lessons. As a teacher do you stop teaching students the moment you figure out that they are not going to do as you are teaching them? Just curious as I don't get a chance to talk to professional coaches that often. I may start another thread about coaching as to get feed back from coaches.

    So...since you are on here though...so when you say you need to feel your chest expand...are you referring to as the ball is in the air and one hand stays up from the toss and you are leaned back with the raquet? I notice Novak has a real good expansion when he serves I noticed. I'm just figuring out the rotation of the hips into the court. :)

     
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  21. tennis tom

    tennis tom Hall of Fame

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    To clarify, I am not a teaching pro, but feel complemented that you think I sound like one, I did stay at a Holiday Inn Express last night, (kidding). I did have an excellent coach for a number of years and played the Senior Age Group circuit. If I did teach, I would not let a player learn bad habits, it would only make my work more difficult in the end. Teaching someone correct technique is akin to creating a sculpture.

    Yes, the chest expansion occurs when the toss arm is up in the air. Thinking and feeling the chest expansion helps create time keeping the head up. I touch my shoulder to my chin as a reference point, keep a straight arm, palm facing up, holding the ball on the finger tips on the seams. In singles my tossing arm for a first serve is aimed at the right net post.
     
    Last edited: Nov 7, 2011
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