Tomic Trophy Position

Discussion in 'Tennis Tips/Instruction' started by stephan_58, Feb 22, 2013.

  1. stephan_58

    stephan_58 Rookie

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    While watching a Bernard Tomic Slow Motion Serve Video I noticed that his Trophy Position is not really textbook-form. The elbox of his hitting arm is a lot higher than what you usually see with the other pros. Yet his first serves still clock in at over 100 MPH, usually peaking at almost 130 MPH. I was wondering where he gets his power from? I'm asking because I have the same issue with that high elbow and I've been struggling to fix it. How important is it to have a steep shoulder angle in the trophy position?

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  2. corners

    corners Legend

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    I'm not an expert on this, but I do know that having the eblow too low is considered a major technical flaw in the serve. I would much rather have an elbow position that's too high than too low. I remember at the US Open last year in an on-court post-match interview, Federer was asked what his advice would be for the serve. He gave two tips: 1. Work on getting a consistent ball toss, and 2. Make sure your elbow is high.

    If the elbow drops below the plane of the shoulders you can't get external rotation at the shoulder, which really limits power and puts that joint at risk of injury. You can't throw a ball for **** with an elbow too low either. Maybe Tomic previously had this flaw and corrected it by overcorrecting it. Looking back at video of his junior days might be illuminating.
     
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  3. boramiNYC

    boramiNYC Hall of Fame

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    really not ideal imo. but he can make up for the inefficiency with other excellent use of body parts. leverage and great hands and wrist. pretty much impossible for a rec player to possess ability to hit over 100mph let alone 130 mph serves with that form.

    the hitting arm shoulder high elbow is a good thing in the early part of the service motion but not at the moment of trophy position. an ideal trophy position includes tossing arm extended fully with the shoulder blade fully elevated. this can happen when the other shoulder blade is lowered thus causing the slanted shoulder and the hitting elbow lower than the shoulder.

    obviously tomic is not using the power of explosive shoulder blade elevation but he is compensating with other things. so not ideal but he can make it happen. very few can. so not recommended.
     
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  4. luvforty

    luvforty Banned

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    he has a lot of shoulder swing, but not as much core rotation as most other ATP guys... notice at trophy he's lot more open than most in ATP.

    more of a WTA style serve.. maybe more prone to shoulder issues.
     
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  5. SystemicAnomaly

    SystemicAnomaly G.O.A.T.

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    A high elbow position at the trophy such as this is possibly/probably worse than an elbow position that is too low. This high position puts added stress to the shoulder/rotator muscles. I have provided a couple of links on this subject previously in (at least) 2 other threads. Ideally, the elbow should be directly in line with the shoulder tilt to minimize stress to the racket shoulder. This is probably optimal for the mechanics of the serve as well.

    I will try to dig up the links mentioned in the next day or two.
     
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  6. SystemicAnomaly

    SystemicAnomaly G.O.A.T.

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    When Federer says to make sure that the elbow is high, he is not suggesting that it should be higher than the shoulder tilt line. Many servers will have the elbow down & tucked in close to the body. This is what he is referring to. Even Novak Djoko had an elbow position that was a bit on the low side prior to his stellar 2011 year. I believe that he corrected this elbow position in the latter part of 2010. This is one of the improvements to his game that allowed him to rise above his previous level. Look at Federer's own elbow position for the trophy -- it is neither too high nor too low -- it is pretty much in line with his shoulder tilt.
     
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  7. boramiNYC

    boramiNYC Hall of Fame

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    ^^^SA, that's what I meant.
     
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  8. LeeD

    LeeD Bionic Poster

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    Immediately after the pic was taken, and before he started his swing, he lowers his hitting elbow almost to normal position. He's just got that two stage trophy, like DJ. Just DJ straightens his elbow, then bends it.
    Even the pros don't have the fundamentals, but they are soo big and practiced, they can make a weirdo style work for them.
     
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  9. lendl1986

    lendl1986 Rookie

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    His shortened "takeback" places his elbow high momentarily, but it does drop into a conventional position soon after.
     
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  10. LeeD

    LeeD Bionic Poster

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    Idiosyncrosis like this for straightening the shoulder.
    Like DJ stretches his elbow.
    NOT like MartinaNavritilova, who never lowers her left shoulder.
     
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  11. WildVolley

    WildVolley Legend

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    Tomic's serve is a big weakness, especially once you realize that he's 6'5" tall. He's still young enough that he could change if he could get a coach to break him of his bad habits.

    Both Ivanesavic and Philippoussis have weighted in and publicly stated that Tomic needs to rework his serve. The high elbow is a big part of it. Lifting the elbow that high is an idiosyncrasy, and I think it is still too high as it drops before most of the forward swing. Keeping it artificially high is limiting his rotation speed into the ball and taking away a lot of pace.
     
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  12. boramiNYC

    boramiNYC Hall of Fame

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    I would disagree with this. low elbow would prevent hitting thru component (can't come around and over in time) while too high elbow prevents up component of the swing. considering a good pronation can generate topspin, thru component is too valuable to sacrifice in a strong serve.
     
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  13. SystemicAnomaly

    SystemicAnomaly G.O.A.T.

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    While it is a good thing that he drops the elbow to a conventional position after his very high takeback (and prior to his racket head drop), he is probably already stressing the shoulder/rotator muscles with the initial high elbow position. (Refer to video links below).

    A low elbow position can, indeed, cause some timing problems. However, I have seen quite a few servers who have been able to garner a considerable amount of spin with a low elbow position. To a lesser degree, I have also seen some servers who can generate a considerable amount of pace with a low elbow position. Pre-2010 Djokovic is an example of this (even tho' his elbow position was not quite as low as some lesser players that I have witnessed).

    However, when I stated that the high elbow may possibly be worse that a low position, I was referring primarily to stress to the shoulder/rotator cuff. Pertaining to this, here are the links that I have provided in some previous threads. In the first video, Jim McLennan, talks about the high elbow position (wrt the shoulder line) pinching/creating stress to the shoulder/rotator. In the 2nd, longer video, Todd Ellenbecker goes into a bit more depth on the subject.

    http://www.metacafe.com/watch/1637626/preventing_rotator_cuff_injury
    http://www.tennisresources.com/index.cfm?area=video_detail&vidid=3712

    .
     
    Last edited: Feb 23, 2013
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  14. boramiNYC

    boramiNYC Hall of Fame

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    Watching a match of Gilles Muller and his hitting elbow is kept higher than the shoulder slant line like Tomic. And he can consistently hit around 120mph. Mostly strong slice and flat serves. and no kick serves. Interesting is his posture appears to have a little elevated shoulders just like Tomic.
     
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  15. SystemicAnomaly

    SystemicAnomaly G.O.A.T.

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    ^ No disagreement that a player can still hit a bit serve with the higher elbow position. However, doing so will probably hasten damage to the shoulder/rotator as suggested by the biomechanics experts.

    .
     
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  16. VeeSe

    VeeSe Rookie

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    What's the easiest way to fix this? I do this as well, and although I'm not 6'5" like Tomic (I'm only 5'7" or so), a few extra mph could help out my serve, maybe have it consistently break 100 on the first serve.

    If you put more hips into it (more of the "bow" shape), does that naturally help your hitting elbow line up with the shoulder? Tips appreciated!
     
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  17. WildVolley

    WildVolley Legend

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    In my opinion the elbow position is completely independent of what the hips and legs are doing. So I'd focus on finding the perfect elbow position using good servers like Ivanisevic, Sampras, and Roddick as models and then brute force drill getting into that position until it feels natural. For someone with an ingrained bad habit, that could mean thousands of repetitions, but you don't necessarily need to be doing these on a tennis court or even serving.

    It might make sense to model the correct elbow position in a mirror and make certain that you are not lifting it way up in the air. Starting with a video of your current serve may help you diagnose why you are throwing the elbow up in the first place.

    I always tell people to imagine the elbow during the trophy position to be at a right angle to the torso. Good servers sort of draw the elbow up and back using the shoulder almost as though they are drawing a string on a bow. Then be sure not to lift it unnaturally during the forward motion.
     
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  18. WildVolley

    WildVolley Legend

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    Here are some links to videos of great servers. Notice how they don't lift the elbow up over the line of the shoulder in the takeback phase of the swing.

    Roddick: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SZbxKuLEP_o

    Sampras: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Bv55ziPj-m4

    Ivanisevic: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mUOGvZyYjrc

    Notice that all three players have different methods of getting into the trophy position, but elbow is away from the body, drawn back by the shoulder, and in my opinion about 90 degrees from the torso. Of course, the torso is leaning over so that may make it look lower.

    If I were Tomic's coach, I'd have him drilling this position like crazy in his off season.
     
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