The back leg kick-back when serving

Discussion in 'Tennis Tips/Instruction' started by HughJars, Apr 25, 2013.

  1. HughJars

    HughJars Professional

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    How important is concsiously ensuring your back leg kicks back directly behind you (towards the back fence) when serving? Does it play a major role in directing your momentum towards the net, into the court?

    Apparently mine kicks off to the side quite a bit. And there is a heck of a lot of it. Think it might be contributing to making me feel so unbalanced.

    This is a video from a while back. Ive made pretty significant changes (hopefully big improvements) to my action/grip since then, but it shows what I mean.

    Thanks in advance.

    www.youtube.com/watch?v=bQlU6K5GaNA
     
    #1
  2. cluckcluck

    cluckcluck Hall of Fame

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    Leg kick seems alright. I would work on your toss and knee bend, it seems a bit premature.
    I don't know but it looks like you're awkwardly uncomfortable with the takeback of your serve.
    I would say work on toss and being a bit more fluid and smooth.
     
    #2
  3. eidolonshinobi

    eidolonshinobi Professional

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    You shouldn't be actively trying to kick.

    The motion occurs as a result of the body turning into the shot and landing on the front foot.
     
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  4. HughJars

    HughJars Professional

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    Thanks cluck. Ive been working on the toss and being more loose. Its been all over the shop, and I still have trouble with it.

    The major thing I ve been working on is staying stable - no unnecessary and jittery feet movement, and staying a little more upright when going into the trophy position. Plus putting more weight on the front foot.
     
    #4
  5. cluckcluck

    cluckcluck Hall of Fame

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  6. kpktennis

    kpktennis Rookie

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    Hey I mean this in the most constructively critical way possible but I think there are some more fundamental problems in your serve that you need to address before the leg kick back issues. The lower body issues are moot if you can't effectively transfer the energy from your upper body into the ball. I'll try to give you some of my personal insights that I think will set you on the path towards a more sound serve.

    One thing that you should work on(like the poster above me mentioned) is getting a deeper shoulder/hip turn. In the trophy pose, in my opinion, you want your racquet head to be at least little to the left of the line of your body. Right now it looks as if your racquet head is too far to the right before you start your upswing into the ball.

    Another thing that I feel would be useful is working on getting a good solid 'throwing motion' into the ball. It seems as if now it's a little bit like you're just laying your wrist back and swinging at the ball. Think about how (no offense intended) girls throws vs how guys throw. At the moment your motion is a little too close to the former. It's tough to describe but right after your trophy pose during the 'racquet drop' phase of the motion you really want to lax your wrist/forehand (elbow kinda tilts upwards and racquet points down at the ground), this will allow you to really accelerate your racquet head into the ball.

    Good to hear you made the grip change to continental, that is fundamental before all these other things can be put into place. I'd really work on these two things at the moment and I think it will make a tremendous difference in your serve if you practice with this in mind over the next few months.
     
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  7. HughJars

    HughJars Professional

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    Thanks for the great advice. Ive been working on getting more shoulder turn in my serves, and incorperating more of a throwing motion into it. Ive played throwing sports all my life, so the action comes natural, but I havent conciously been transferring it into the tennis serve.

    Question I have - is the weight transference between the feet that happens when you throw upwards exactly the same as when you serve? If it is, I can hopefully transfer this mentaility into my serving.
     
    #7
  8. charliefedererer

    charliefedererer Legend

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    There are three big body movements that should power your serve.

    The first two have already been discussed:
    1. leg push off
    2. coil/uncoil of hips and shoulders


    But in order to launch yourself up and at the ball and drive yourself into the court without spinning around and kicking your right leg off to the side, you will have to incorporate more:
    3. cartwheel/bow shape/reversing the bow shape.


    In this, you have to leave your tossing arm up straight longer to get a steeper shoulder angle in your serve:

    [​IMG]

    Notice that as your upper body tips back to form the bow shape, you have to let your hip go forward to counterbalance this upper body lean:
    Tennis Lesson: Serve Tips: Lead with the Hip http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HgeYmEScfgQ

    This clip of Soderling serving dramatically shows this:
    Robin Söderling serve slowmotion http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a56pvP1i6x8


    The timing of when to form the bow shape for those with a platform stance is to do this fairly late - after you've finished most of the shoulder turn and knee bend - just before you get into your trophy position:

    [​IMG]

    By getting pretty low with your knee bend, it is easier to maintain your balance as you form a bow shape, as Sampras does in pics 8 -9 above.




    The other key is to have a VERTICAL rather than HORIZONTAL shoulder swing - the shoulders should rotate like in the video below:
    Preventing Rotator Cuff Injury http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lTRvxaBMh8s
    [It is not only good to prevent shoulder injury, but throwing your shoulders up and over vertically will launch you "up the mountain" and into the court.
    On the other hand rotating your shoulders horizontally will cause your whole body to swing too much - with your right leg having to swing out to the right to counterbalance this horizontal upper body swing swing.]



    And yes, serving is really like throwing a ball up at the roof of a domed stadium.
    "Up the Mountain" excerpt form Serve Doctor presents: M.P.H. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WlPVdppfYGs
     
    Last edited: Apr 29, 2013
    #8
  9. HughJars

    HughJars Professional

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    Awesome.

    Cant wait to take this out on the court tomorrow. Thanks.
     
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