The Serve [video]

Discussion in 'Tennis Tips/Instruction' started by mislav, Apr 19, 2006.

  1. mislav

    mislav Semi-Pro

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    Yep, the time has finally come for me to post my serve. ;)

    Since the serve is the weakest of my shots, can any of you guys throw some decent comments of it?

    Thanks!

    And here is the link. (wmv file, 7.3 Mb)
     
    #1
  2. Rickson

    Rickson G.O.A.T.

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    LMAO! You got that lefty with a 2 bounce ace.
     
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  3. kevhen

    kevhen Hall of Fame

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    Nice little slice serve you got there. Your opponent is not moving over enough to cover it. Are you burning them up the T with hard flat serves or do you mostly just slice? Your slice looks 3.5 level but your opponents at that level will often hit the slice back into the net. Just keep hitting it with a little more power if you want to improve it. It won't curve as much but it will give your opponents less time to react to the bounce and sidespin.
     
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  4. donnyz89

    donnyz89 Hall of Fame

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    link doesnt work
     
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  5. wyutani

    wyutani Hall of Fame

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    wow, nice serve! who's the returner? she's not that good...;)
     
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  6. wemic

    wemic New User

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    link doesnt work

    Yeah same for me, says file not found, can you post it on another site? like maybe PutFile, YouTube or Google Video?

     
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  7. Saito

    Saito Professional

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    For those who got it to work, you guys do anything special to get it to work? (Rickson, kevhen, wyutani)
     
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  8. armand

    armand Banned

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    Good serve, good fundamentals. But you could get way more pace if your racquet head was already fully accelerated as your hitting the ball. As it is, it looks like you're trying a little too much to use your strength, instead of using speed. Need to accelerate the racquethead earlier.

    And toss the ball deeper into the court too.

    Other than that, great stuff! Good form, excellent video, excellent quality, excellent editing, good camera positioning, really nice facilities too.
    But the returner has extremely slow reflexes; she only begins to react to the ball after it's already over the net! Is she near sighted?
     
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  9. mislav

    mislav Semi-Pro

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    Link should work for everyone, and I'm even 99% sure that it does. Just try to right click on it and download the file to your disk.

    - kevhen: My other serves are nowhere near consistent to this one, so I hit slice serve for about 2/3 of the time. And yes, when my flat serves land down the T, my opponents get burned! :)

    My opponents in this game vary from 1.5 to 2.5 NTRP. I'm at 3.0 myself. The receiver's is 1.5, lefty and plays 2HBH. And yes, she's near sighted, but I think it's mostly her 1.5 level that's to blame for her slow reflexes.

    - adely: Yes, I am looking for more power in that serve. But if I accelerate the racquethead earlier wouldn't I mishit? Should I toss the ball lower? Or will tossing it deeper in the court do the trick?

    Thanks everyone for your comments, keep 'em coming. :D
     
    #9
  10. Galactus

    Galactus Banned

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    Three things:
    1 - Try, if you're flexible enough, to get more side-on to the receiver

    2 - Bend your knees more.

    3 - Racquet-head needs be faster when it comes from behind your back (the 'back-scratching' position) through it's initial destination to the point-of-contact on the ball.

    If I'm being really picky, I'd say leave your tossing-hand outstretched toward the ball just a touch longer and more forward for a flat-serve.

    I find that these steps help me:
    a) erradicate all double-faults
    b) help me 'explode' into the ball more rather than just use my arm/elbow/shoulder to do all the work. That's where your pace will increase no end.

    I'm only a 4.0-4.5 at best, but the serve is my most efficient weapon - I can hit the backboards around 3-4ft high fairly regularly now.
     
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  11. armand

    armand Banned

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    Yeah, perhaps just tossing the ball deeper into the court would do the trick. I'm not certain but I would recommend only changing/improving one thing at a time. And I don't just mean try to toss deeper and if it doesn't work after the 10th time, change it back.
    Also, perhaps changing just one thing will force you to change other things(for example: tossing the ball deeper may make you use different foot work, or turn your body more). Don't be afraid of that change either. Just don't expect things to happen instantly because often one needs to take a step back to begin moving forward again.

    Anyway, as to the specifics, wait until Bungalo Billy comes along. He'll know what to do!
     
    #11
  12. Slazenger

    Slazenger Professional

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    That's a nice service motion.
    2 things I would suggest for more pace is
    -to get your weight moving forward more. Toss a bit more into the court. If you notice, esp on the second serve in the clip, you are actually moving backwards (just a little but nonetheless you are backing off the serve). Look at the position of your front foot before the serve and after you land to see what I mean.

    - tuck in your non-dominant hand during the serve. Adds racquet head speed.

    The returner in the clip would be better off being well inside the baseline for those serves.
     
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  13. batakdepores

    batakdepores New User

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    Great Quality Video!

    Mislav,

    First I have to congratulate you on the highest quality of video I've seen in TW forum. What kind of camera do you use to get that clarity?

    Second, I cannot help but notice your partner and the returner's partner, they're in a standing position. The returner's partner was even worse in the second serve, he was swinging his racket while you serve as if he knows that his partner can't return your serve!

    Now, about your serve.
    Your position, I guess it's just a preference, but at the higher level doubles, you serving position is rather wide, thus makes it harder to serve to the T, which is where you should serve most of the time.
    Your balance after the shot, on the second serve example you seem to be drifting to your left after you serve and better opponent can take advantage of that by returning wide cross court. Try maintaining your balance more like in the first serve example.
     
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  14. kevhen

    kevhen Hall of Fame

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    Yeah you are standing by the doubles alley when serving, may want to move left a step or two. Best to serve from between center line and out side of doubles alley to be exactly in the center of your court and make it easier to go up the T. I do occasionally serve from out in the doubles alley when hitting the slice to create a huge angle and make it difficult for my opponent to return crosscourt. If they get used to that I will still hit a hard one near the center T to keep them honest but it's a tough serve from way out wide.

    Keep having fun with that slice. I haven't seen too many others besides my own, move that much.
     
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  15. Freedom

    Freedom Professional

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    Good serve. You may be 3.0, but you're serve is a lot better than 3.0 level.

    I can never play in pants though. :D
     
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  16. d70

    d70 Guest

    i always play in track pants. they keep me sweating and my leg muscles warm.

    you the server, more knee bend and faster racquet speed.
     
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  17. snoflewis

    snoflewis Guest

    after viewing your video a couple times...it looks like you're hitting your serve w/ an eastern grip (?). anyway...your serve looks pretty good. how effective is it against players around your level?
     
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  18. wyutani

    wyutani Hall of Fame

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    right click on the link and save it...
     
    #18
  19. shindemac

    shindemac Hall of Fame

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    Wow, definitely the nicest amateur video on here. Really clear! What did you use to film it?

    You have a really good slice serve. Like others have said, that's at least a 3.5. To get more speed, toss it more foreward but you may lose some of the spin. To get more spin, you need to generate more racket head speed. Try bending your knees more, or go deeper in the backscratch position. Your second serve seems to have less of these 2 than the first. Your 2nd serve was better in one way because you served out wide. To get your serve to the next level, you can work on placing your ball to make it even more difficult to return.
     
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  20. BattleAxe

    BattleAxe Rookie

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    OMG, I can't stop laughing at the returner. That is quite possibly the funniest thing I've seen this year. :lol:

    Anyway (in an attempt to add something valuable), I noticed you almost actually jump backwards! Like others have said, you definitely need to throw the ball in front of you a lot more. You should land well inside the baseline...not behind it.

    Otherwise, it's looking great! And thanks for the late night laugh. That's classic stuff.

    Man, I just can't stop cracking up, it's even funnier in slow-mo. :lol: [Sorry for laughing at her if it is indeed her near-sightedness that is causing such a slow reaction time.]
     
    #20
  21. mislav

    mislav Semi-Pro

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    Again, thanks everyone.

    Slazenger and others, you're right. I haven't given it much thought, but I should try to toss more inside the court and jump more forward.

    Also, my flat serves are much alike to what you get to see on this video, but painfully inaccurate. Any tips there? Sorry, I don't have a flat serve vid.

    Snoflewis - I hit serves with a continental grip. Always have. The first time I ever heard of anyone hitting a serve with an eastern was on this board. I was intrigued and even tried it once, but I just can't do it.

    Anyway, my serve is effective against the players of my rank and above. I mix it with flat and sometimes get great results with the mix. But, sometimes I get myself into 0:30 or even 0:40 situations due to double faulting when I try to hit flat too much or add more power to the slice.

    My forehand is halfway eastern/southwestern and my backhand mostly continental, sometimes eastern. I play volleys with continental, too. Now, I find an eastern grip to work on my volleys to some extent, is it safe to make that switch? It helps my golfer's elbow.
     
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  22. mislav

    mislav Semi-Pro

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    Oh yes, my camera - Sony VX2100. It is widely used by the TV networks due to the combination of its portability and high quality picture. It's also excellent in low light conditions.

    One more thing: why my serving position was so wide? Because of the camera angle! :D
     
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  23. travlerajm

    travlerajm Hall of Fame

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    An easy way to add more spin and power is to yank the racquet down lower on the backswing. I.e., instead of just letting gravity pull it down as you are doing, pull it down faster so that the racquet head drops below the waist. This will give you a longer distance for acceleration up to the ball. You will notice the extra spin and pop in your serve immediately. The only caveat is that you need to make sure your shoulder is warmed up a bit before you incorporate the "rapid-pull-down" since a cold shoulder is not that flexible and you don't want to risk injury.
     
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  24. chess9

    chess9 Hall of Fame

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    Do you have shoulder problems? You have two hitches in your serve. You actually hit AT the ball very late, and it's more of a push than a hit. A strong, young guy like you should be able to rip the racquet head through the ball. Practice making the service motion one motion. Do it without the ball. Learn to use the kinetic chain. The reason 15 year old girls can hit 100 mph serves (yes!) is not shoulder strength but great use of the kinetic chain.

    Something else. After a good warmup, practice crushing your serves. Trying to kill your serve will expose many of the weaknesses in your technique. Film it. Study it.

    Adely and Galactus had great comments.

    Watch film of Federer or Sampras.

    -Robert
    ________
    Mng san francisco
     
    Last edited: Apr 30, 2011
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  25. mislav

    mislav Semi-Pro

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    Two hitches? Really?

    I don't have any shoulder problems, but the serve is sometimes very painful for me - my golfer's elbow kicks in big time. I don't remember if I had any pain on those two serves though.

    Perhaps that's it? Where do you see it?
     
    #25
  26. mdhubert

    mdhubert Semi-Pro

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    I'm not a coach so I don't pretend to cure any problems but I work a lot on videos of pros and club players. What I see in your serve is a good classical back swing, great spin and overall quiet feet and fluid motion.

    I notice a similarity you have with me: you don't want to miss the ball and you drop your racquet a bit early to stay "in control"... when you observe pros, they have in common two key positions: trophy position (racquet up, bent knees) and racquet drop (racquet head down in the back, elbow up, stretched legs). Notice that you are still bending the knees when your racquet start to drop, so you can't achieve properly the second position and maximise your explosiveness.

    The tough part is to go from one position to the other smootlhy, without "muscling" the arm and "targeting" the ball. It requires a good timing and a very fluid loop in the back, in order to perform a great racquet head acceleration. As you toss the ball quite high, a checkpoint is to make sure that you drop the racquet when your ball starts to fall down. Currently it drops much before the ball goes down. Then you lose acceleration and consequently, some pop. Relax your arm, you serve with your whole body, not just the arm.

    Great video, lol at the returner's reaction time...
     
    #26
  27. chess9

    chess9 Hall of Fame

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    Many folks hesitate, or hitch at the back of the swing. You are hesitating there, but where you lose power most is in your last few inches before contact. You appear to be trying to push with your upper back and not snap your wrist/forearm. Based upon what you are saying, I think you are protecting your elbow, because a pronounced snap of the forearm is what's needed there and is what is missing in your serve. The picture angle is bad to get a good view of it. Next time, get side and front angles. You will see it from your finish, probably.

    Some stroke problems stem from muscle imbalances or muscle weaknesses. This is something most trainers know, but most players and even some coaches don't think about.

    If you are having golfer's elbow problems, you need to take care of it. See Marius' Hancu's stickies.

    -Robert
    ________
    Uggs
     
    Last edited: Apr 30, 2011
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  28. mislav

    mislav Semi-Pro

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    Well, Robert, I'm amazed that you see this in my vid! But, this is so true. I am indeed protecting my elbow while serving. I'm also barely aware of this being the case. If I hit it with full force I get very strong, very sharp pain in my forearm! I didn't realize it messes so much with my serve.

    Marius knows about this. His suggestions are helpful, and I try to follow them, but I don't see myself retiring from tennis for two months unless things get really bad.
     
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  29. kevhen

    kevhen Hall of Fame

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    Make sure your arm is full extended on contact, so you don't injure your elbow. Slice serves can be painful if not extending properly. You will get more pace as well but maybe less curve on the slice with an extended arm. Your arm does look slightly bent on contact.
     
    #29
  30. chess9

    chess9 Hall of Fame

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    Well, that's a tough problem, champ. I would try using a very relaxed grip and very relaxed arm. You are probably excacerbating the problem with that service motion because it appears that you are stopping the natural pronation of your wrist. To do that, I suspect some tightening of the elbow and forearm is occurring. You may not feel any significant pain, but that doesn't mean the tightening isn't occurring. Also, to stop the arm the way you are doing is very unnatural. You essentially get to the point of snapping the elbow and pronating the wrist and then STOP the motion completely and push through the ball. Sort of like speeding to a stop sign and slamming on the brakes.

    You might want to discuss this with a physical therapist to find a possible workaround like I mentioned above, but rest or some medical intervention may be necessary. I'm no doctor, though. Just an old fart. :)

    -Robert
    ________
    MEDICAL MARIJUANA DISPENSARYS
     
    Last edited: Apr 30, 2011
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  31. TennisAsAlways

    TennisAsAlways Professional

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    Not bad for a 3.0. I won't say much. A lot has already been said. Here are a few suggestions:

    [​IMG]

    As far as if you wanted to get even better, developing a higher level serve, it's a matter of being more explosive and utilizing more of the elastic energy, efficiently. It's a matter of being perfectly in synch, having the right parts in the right place at the right time. It's about being extremely loosey goosey, not at all "muscling" the shoot.

    Good day now. 8)
     
    #31
  32. Othello

    Othello New User

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    TennisasAlways, that was AWESOME!!!

    I'm a new member here and hope to get a video of my serve up soon and I would really appreciate it if you could analyse mine like so.

    Your commentary was really helpful for me (and I'm sure for the OP).
    You seem to have your stuff down when it comes to the serve.
     
    #32
  33. TennisAsAlways

    TennisAsAlways Professional

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    ^ As long as your video is "high quality" like Mislav's clip! :)
     
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  34. tennis_nerd22

    tennis_nerd22 Hall of Fame

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    hmm... i have the right link, but it says "connection is refused"... oh well
     
    #34
  35. ShooterMcMarco

    ShooterMcMarco Hall of Fame

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    TAA, thats a really creative way to show people what they can fix.

    Mislav, what kind of camera are you using? I wish my camera had capture quality like that, mine looks very grainy. Are you using any special programs when you load it onto your computer?
     
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  36. D-man

    D-man Banned

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    i can't download it
     
    #36
  37. mdhubert

    mdhubert Semi-Pro

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    Beautiful analysis Tennisasalways, you rock man !
     
    #37
  38. mislav

    mislav Semi-Pro

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    TennisAsAlways - I'm speechless. You took the time and effort and I appreciate it very much. Thanks. You do rock! :D

    ShooterMcMarco - As I already said, I use a Sony VX2100 camera, and an Apple Mac computer. I load to and edit my vids in iMovie.

    Others, I honestly can't figure out why some of you can't access the movie. My site stats show that it's been downloaded over 300 times, so I guess it must be working right. I'm only at 6% of my monthly bandwidth. Must be you. :mrgreen:
     
    #38
  39. wyutani

    wyutani Hall of Fame

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    dude! right click on the mouse...then save target as...
     
    #39
  40. Hey,
    You guys lighten up on the returner,ha. Maybe she has a post for advice. Mislav you have a good serve if indeed a 3.0. I did not read all the posts but seems you got some good advice.
    The two things I see is you definetly need to toss more into the court. If you let your ball bounce, instead of hitting it, it should land 1 to 2 feet into the court. Yours most likely is coming right down on baseline if not slightly behind. Also keep better balance with follow through. You seem to be leaning off after landing. The ball toss may correct that also though. Good luck.
     
    #40
  41. wemic

    wemic New User

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    Link is working now

    Hey mislav, the link works now, thanks. ..and I think it's a very good serve, it's very smooth and very fluid.. Definitely better than mine lol :mrgreen:
     
    #41
  42. Boris

    Boris Rookie

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    Mislav,

    I'd like to back what kehven says about hitting with fully extended arm. The first thing I noticed when I looked at your video was (besides that your serve is nice overall) that your arm is not fully extended at contact (it is evident in your last serve). Based on personal experience, this is very often a cause of elbow pain; it happened to me, and went away as soon as I started to make contact higher or more out in front.

    Good luck!
     
    #42
  43. TennisAsAlways

    TennisAsAlways Professional

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    Mislav, I notice that your serves have some "top" on them, on top of having sidespin, so essentially you have Topspin-slice serves. That's good, since it offers you a higher margin of error than the extreme Pure Slices.
     
    #43
  44. mislav

    mislav Semi-Pro

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    Thanks again guys, you're comments are very helpful.

    I've tried today to use your advice but things didn't really work out. I had problems with the lights on the court. If I tried to serve right they'd blind me, so I gave up on trying for this session.

    I've also paid more attention to what goes on during my serve with my golfer's elbow. I'm very surprised as to how much it affects my service motion. I am really afraid to move my arm freely cause of the fear of aggravating the GE condition.

    Boris - I'l try and see if extending the arm would help. I really hope it would! I'm keeping my fingers crossed.

    I'll play again tomorrow, but during the day. No blinding lights on court. I'll try again to fix my serve based on inputs I got in this thread.

    TAA - Thanks again for your effort and advice. I wish you could help me with my flat serves, coz I have the most incosistent flat serve in the universe...
     
    #44
  45. kevhen

    kevhen Hall of Fame

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    Good stuff TAA! Notice the arm is slightly bent on contact which can cause the elbow problems. Otherwise good points in that the contact point is high and the nice deep back scratch and the priceless service winner.

    Mislav,
    Also on your second serve, you really fall off to your left instead of jumping forward and into the ball. When you play against good returners they will smack this ball with their forehand sharp crosscourt so you can't be falling off to your left. When people mishit a slice serve because of the spin it often ends up going to your right so just another reason to not be falling off to the left.

    Overall it's a nice 3.5 level slice serve, so keep at it and don't try to change too much too soon, maybe just one thing at a time until it's engrained or it's easy for the serve to become worse instead of better if you try to change too much too soon. Good luck!
     
    #45
  46. mislav

    mislav Semi-Pro

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    Kevhen, thanks for this. It is a huge problem for me and I'll focus on trying to fix it. Hopefully, while I do, I'll get some serves in - with all the stuff that need fixing. ;)

    And thanks to everyone saying I'm above 3.0 NTRP. I am self rated at that level based on this description. I admit being harsh on myself, but with shots inconsistencies I can hardly justify calling myself 4.0, although based on this description this would be where I belong.
     
    #46
  47. Tomba

    Tomba Rookie

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    Your form is easily a 4.5 level slice but since it is very slow, your overall rating is about a 3.0. Pretend the ball is someone you hate and smack him. :)
     
    #47
  48. JCo872

    JCo872 Professional

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    Mislav,

    Nice looking serve! I agree with the comment about not hitting the ball at a high enough point. Also, your "racket drop" position is nice and deep, but should be more in line with the right side of your body. See this piece I did for another tenniswarehouse member:

    http://www.hi-techtennis.com/students/serve/

    Jeff
     
    #48

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