The Serve: Busting misconceptions once and for all

Discussion in 'Tennis Tips/Instruction' started by sureshs, Jan 18, 2013.

  1. sureshs

    sureshs Bionic Poster

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    Created due to popular demand from the forehand thread:

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    Wegner
    Rookie
    Suresh, perhaps you'd like to start a thread on the serve. I'll be happy to participate. I am in the middle of moving, but next week I'll have more time.

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    TheCheese
    Semi-Pro

    I'd love to see this happen. Suresh, go for it.
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    #1
  2. Ash_Smith

    Ash_Smith Hall of Fame

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    Okay - so what misconceptions would you like to bust sureshs?
     
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  3. sureshs

    sureshs Bionic Poster

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    The thread title was copied over :)

    I guess posters have to create their own misconceptions and bust them.
     
    #3
  4. President

    President Legend

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    The serve is the most important shot in the game. BUSTED..at least for amateur players. At the rec level until 5.0 or maybe even 5.5, you are never going to see a really good serve. Yeah if you have a horrendously bad serve it can be a big weakness but against good players I think the amount of free points one can get is vastly overstated for rec players. As long as your serve is serviceable I think time would be better spent working on groundstrokes or specifically returns.
     
    #4
  5. sureshs

    sureshs Bionic Poster

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    How does one keep all the body parts coordinated during serve?
     
    #5
  6. luvforty

    luvforty Banned

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    right, but that doesn't mean people shouldn't work on the serve as the highest priority, otherwise they will stay at lower levels...... it's the most complex shot, so development takes longer.
     
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  7. Avles

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    The same way you get to Carnegie Hall, I think...
     
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  8. sureshs

    sureshs Bionic Poster

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    By buying a ticket online?
     
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  9. Avles

    Avles Hall of Fame

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  10. sureshs

    sureshs Bionic Poster

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    There is a tennis related variant to this. A guy shows up in a tube station in London and asks how to get to Wimbledon. You know the rest of the joke.
     
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  11. TCF

    TCF Hall of Fame

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    ==========================
     
    Last edited: Mar 1, 2013
    #11
  12. tennisfan69

    tennisfan69 New User

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    You can have a very average serve ( spin + speed ) but as long as you can place them well, you have a good weapon to start your game with. Roddick is an example of great serve with not-so-great placement. Fed is an example of average serve with a super placement.
     
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  13. anubis

    anubis Hall of Fame

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    I think the serve gets more and more important as you move up in NTRP. At the 3.0 level, service games get broken all the time and it has little to do with predicting who will win. A 3.0 player that can easily break an opponent's serve is little indicator of superiority on the court, since it has absolutely nothing to do and is completely unrelated to his or her ability to hold serve.

    It's almost completely random if a 3.0 will hold serve or not. Unforced errors on both sides makes it nearly impossible to predict.

    Now, at the 4.0 level, serve is significantly more important. A 3.5 player with excellent strokes, extremely low UEs, very good court placement, but has a horrible serve is going to get pummeled every time vs. a 4.0. It won't even be close. The 4.0 will likely break the 3.5 on 80% of the service games. And, the 4.0, who likely possesses a much better serve, will very rarely be broken.


    The service game dictates how the point will go. A weak serve is no better or worse than a typical groundstroke, and therefore adds no momentum to either party. It's a nonentity and derives more points from simple UE's due to a lack of skills on the court.

    A moderate serve is slightly harder to hit back than a typical ground stroke, and so therefore can be an effective weapon if placed correctly. It can dictate a little bit of momentum.

    A very strong serve with good placement will almost always produce a non-groundstroke return: a block of some sort. It often is a high percentage shot which is in the middle of the court, plenty of clearance over the net, and a good amount of pace has been absorbed. This can be a very easy shot to "put away" by the serving player. If it isn't a winner outright, it can continue to keep the receiver on the defensive, never quite gaining ground. Thus, the serve is truly dictating the point and therefore has a high probability to result in a win.
     
    #13
  14. sureshs

    sureshs Bionic Poster

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    How is a guy like Radek Stepanek, who seems to be so casual about his serve, no big motions, and not very physically endowed either, able to get in decent ATP-level serves? Is there some secret?
     
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  15. treblings

    treblings Hall of Fame

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    excellent technique, perfect timing and intelligent placement.

    what do you mean by physically endowed? Biceps like Nadal?
    might be on to something here, a misconception
     
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  16. sureshs

    sureshs Bionic Poster

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    Height..............
     
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  17. Ash_Smith

    Ash_Smith Hall of Fame

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    C'mon Sureshs, you can do better than that! You said you would love to start a serve misconceptions thread, so you must have something in mind!
     
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  18. Nellie

    Nellie Hall of Fame

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    Swinging harder does not equal serving harder
     
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  19. treblings

    treblings Hall of Fame

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    Olivier Rochus is able to perform a decent atp-level serve.
    do you know Stepaneks height, btw?
     
    #19
  20. sureshs

    sureshs Bionic Poster

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    6'1"

    Didn't realize that.

    Olivier or Lleyton seem to be more relevant examples. But you can see Lleyton does seem to put a lot of effort.
     
    #20
  21. sureshs

    sureshs Bionic Poster

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    No, I wanted to start a serve thread.

    I am not interested in misconceptions per se.
     
    #21
  22. axel89

    axel89 Banned

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    grreat thread suresh has bumped my serve from 50-55mph in 1 week!
     
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  23. sureshs

    sureshs Bionic Poster

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    I was clocked at 78 a few years ago in one of the tents at a WTA event
     
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  24. treblings

    treblings Hall of Fame

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    it seems that way but what´s your point?
     
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  25. dominikk1985

    dominikk1985 Legend

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    Learn to overhand throw+ properly sequence the Body and your serve will be fine.
     
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  26. sureshs

    sureshs Bionic Poster

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    How to properly sequence the body?
     
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  27. dominikk1985

    dominikk1985 Legend

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    driving the hips and legs before the arm and upper Body does anything. this has nothing to do with whether the toss arm Comes up at the same time or not with the racket arm or something but we are talking about a macro move (usually all we talk about here is tiny micro moves or the Hand and arm) that decides whether your are using the whole kinetic chain or not.

    try to really explode that lower Body while the toss arm is still up and the upper Body is relaxed.
     
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  28. LeeD

    LeeD Bionic Poster

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    Taller folks, 6'4" +, can have any bad form and still crush it.
    Form takes more importance with shorter folks, 5'11" on down.
    Them's short guys use extended rackets and stronger power to height ratios.
     
    #28
  29. sureshs

    sureshs Bionic Poster

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    Sideways = line joining feet at 45 degrees to baseline

    or

    Sideways = line joining feet at 45 degrees to baseline AND upper body (waist) also 45 degrees to baseline?

    Which one? First is possible with waist still somewhat facing forward.

    Quick reply needed. Got to go and play soon.
     
    #29
  30. LeeD

    LeeD Bionic Poster

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    Some player's twist into their serves, so parallel stance to baseline.
    Some players move forewards into the court, so aligned with target.
    Depends on too many factors.
    Start with 45, adjust as needed to hit your points with placement and power.
     
    #30
  31. sureshs

    sureshs Bionic Poster

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    At back scratch position, back foot on toes or still flat?

    Quick reply needed. Got to go and play soon.
     
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  32. LeeD

    LeeD Bionic Poster

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    Balls of feet, pushing off hard upwards and forewards.
     
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  33. boramiNYC

    boramiNYC Hall of Fame

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    vary the stance from facing forward to sideway and even overrotate and see how that affects using the core and pronation and all the good stuff. that's where the fun is.
     
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  34. dominikk1985

    dominikk1985 Legend

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    Last edited: Jan 18, 2013
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  35. sureshs

    sureshs Bionic Poster

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    That is what I thought - on toes
     
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  36. Ash_Smith

    Ash_Smith Hall of Fame

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    There is no "back scratch" position!
     
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  37. sureshs

    sureshs Bionic Poster

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    Close to that I mean
     
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  38. LeeD

    LeeD Bionic Poster

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    Only a ballerina can stand on their toes.
    Tennis players push off with the balls of their feet.
    Backscratch is a moving position, once the racket drops straight down after initiation of swing, well before it comes up to strke the ball.
    As opposed to trophy, which is a moment in time with the racket pointed straight up at the sky.
     
    #38
  39. sureshs

    sureshs Bionic Poster

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    Let us go with one. Facing forward, then coiling and then uncoiling?

    Or going with body also at an angle from the start? Then it seems that coiling and uncoiling cannot happen for ad court serves (rightie).
     
    #39
  40. sureshs

    sureshs Bionic Poster

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    I meant toes = balls
     
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  41. tennisdad65

    tennisdad65 Hall of Fame

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    If it was an ATP event the same serve would have been clocked at 88.
     
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  42. sureshs

    sureshs Bionic Poster

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    LOL what was surprising was that an elderly thin woman was consistently hitting 90! Everyone was surprised.

    Before that tourney, there was a "practice" for several men at a resort. They were going to the tourney, and wanted to clock themselves beforehand. Radar gun was set up. The men were mostly 4.0s and 4.5s and regulars at USTA tournaments. I watched the whole thing. Most serves which were over 70 were faults - and don't even ask about foot faults. There was just one guy who could serve with any consistency above 80 and once hit 98 or so.
     
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  43. boramiNYC

    boramiNYC Hall of Fame

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    Know how you use your core. Do you rotate and or bow/arch your body and how much for each. Mostly some combination but it's good to know how much of each you like to do and can do. This affects the precise feet positions and stance. try not using the torso rotation and bow at all and just use the shoulder and arm for practice. face forward to do this. only when your torso is rotating turn the stance sideway. strong full 90 rotation full sideway. relaxed smaller rotation less sideway, etc.
     
    #43
  44. treblings

    treblings Hall of Fame

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    surehs, don´t you find it at least a bit ironic, that one moment you wonder if it´s correct to stand on your toes in a back scratch position, and the next moment you´re questioning long-time coaches and demand to see credentials, like how many top players have they coached?
     
    #44
  45. sureshs

    sureshs Bionic Poster

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    At least you are consistent in contributing nothing and trying to derail threads
     
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  46. LeeD

    LeeD Bionic Poster

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    WHERE your opponent's stand to face your serve tells you something about your pace.
    If they tend to stand 4' behind the baseline, you prolly have a decent serve.
    If they stand atop the baseline, not so.
    If they stand in NML, either your serve really sucks or it's so good they can't return it from farther back.
     
    #46
  47. treblings

    treblings Hall of Fame

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    self-reflection is not one of your strengths, is it?:)
     
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  48. sureshs

    sureshs Bionic Poster

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    Let us pause right there. I am very particular about serve and constantly tinkering with it to get it like the pros. I have even stopped playing if I felt unhappy with the serve, just not returning the returner's return.

    What is a realistic speed expectation when using only shoulder and arm?
     
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  49. LeeD

    LeeD Bionic Poster

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    If you're in a wheelchair, you should expect to hit 85mph flat first serves, most of which might no go in.....and never hit the backboard after it's initial IN bounce.
     
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  50. sureshs

    sureshs Bionic Poster

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    And what would be a realistic speed if I want to be in a wheelchair and want most of the serves to go in? For flat and spin please.
     
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