Video hitting some serves - critique wanted

Discussion in 'Tennis Tips/Instruction' started by JackB1, Dec 14, 2012.

  1. JackB1

    JackB1 G.O.A.T.

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    #1
  2. TheCheese

    TheCheese Professional

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    I didn't know Sam Querrey posted on TT.

    The biggest thing that stands out for me is that you don't get a very deep racket drop. Your arm seems kind of stiff.
     
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  3. 5263

    5263 G.O.A.T.

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    Really has the waiter position going.
     
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  4. JackB1

    JackB1 G.O.A.T.

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    yes I see that. I will try and get a little more up and down motion next time and let the racquet drop some before going up at the ball. Great point, thanks!
     
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  5. LeeD

    LeeD Bionic Poster

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    Waiter, feet pinned together, weak serves for such a strong swing......something looks really wrong.
    Don't get me wrong, the swing is NOT strong. It's strong only in context to how weak the ball moves.
     
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  6. TheCheese

    TheCheese Professional

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    One thing about your toss that nobody has mentioned.

    You really throw the toss up there by abruptly accelerating your tossing arm. Try accelerating your arm more gradually and imagine placing the ball up there, it should help with your toss consistency.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kGWdoNobnCM

    See how Roger is much more gradual in the way he accelerates his tossing arm?
     
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  7. canuckfan

    canuckfan Semi-Pro

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    Good consistency, decent pace, some variety as well. Improvements in technique can definitely be made. Deeper racket drop, more left hip lean into the court. For a kick serve, more of an up and out motion would help generate a better kick. As one poster mentioned, try to remove the "waiter position" -- it robs you of fluidity and power. Just before the racket drop the tip of the racket should be pointed almost straight up (ie. close to 12 o'clock if there was a giant clock standing up on the baseline facing you). Not bad though, don't be discouraged by negative comments, you have positive baseline to start from.
     
    Last edited: Dec 14, 2012
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  8. JackB1

    JackB1 G.O.A.T.

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    OK so what do I do?
     
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  9. JackB1

    JackB1 G.O.A.T.

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    looks like this "waiter position" should be the 1st thing I work on.
    so how do I fix that?
     
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  10. guitarplayer

    guitarplayer Guest

    You are accurate! Which is most important. Now you can work on getting more racquet speed. Loosen up, be a little more flexible, a bit bigger backswing. You are close.
     
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  11. JackB1

    JackB1 G.O.A.T.

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  12. zapvor

    zapvor Legend

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    thats a nice court! yea so you are kinda trying to copy roddick, but very badly. dont bring your racket back straight up, let it drop down in a loop and then come up. watch federer. also, you take a big pause/hitch before you swing, and when you swing you are really just slapping at the ball. all arm. you gotta make it one fluid motion. start slow. you are muscling the ball right now and its counterproductive
     
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  13. zapvor

    zapvor Legend

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    also: your grip is real flat right now. i know you are going for flat serves in the video, but try shifting more extreme to get more spin. pace can always come later
     
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  14. JackB1

    JackB1 G.O.A.T.

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    I am not trying to copy Roddick at all...not sure where that came from?

    But I agree with your other comments. I am going to try and rebuild my serve so its one continuous motion. Letting it drop down and loop around behind me. I have been watching many instructional videos the past few days and will begin working on it. I already fixed the "palm up/waiter" issue. Now I gotta work on the rest. That's why I took the video...to work on this stuff :)
     
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  15. JackB1

    JackB1 G.O.A.T.

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    what do you mean by "flat"? My serve grip is continental. And my serves were not flat...if you watch the ball in the video, it bounces to the left...not straight like a flat serve does. I am slicing the ball.
     
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  16. NLBwell

    NLBwell Legend

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    Get a hatchet and chop a log in half.
     
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  17. MikeHitsHard93

    MikeHitsHard93 Hall of Fame

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    Serve needs to be more fluid. I believe that it's best never to stop the little forward motion. Before you toss the ball, you point your back toe. Put your body weight actually on that foot and then push off onto your front foot as you're tossing the ball. Right before you hit, all your momentum will be going slightly forward and you should have both feet together, pushing off both toes and rotating. Your stroke and placement are good. Just work on using your whole body into the shot.
     
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  18. zapvor

    zapvor Legend

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    first off kudos for posting. it shows you are dedicated to improving. so many on here keep talking and never post a video.

    ok so you are not copying roddick intentionally, but if you go youtube roddick serve you may get what i am saying. the way you bring your racket hand back, the feet together, the left arm straight up, the more muscling motion.

    anyways, yea it looks like you are committed so it will come. it took me over 3yrs to get my serve (search here to see mine) and today i am still tweaking it constantly.

    your grip is continental, but not like really. and it does curve with slice but thats more the swing not your grip. i can hit slice with a extreme eastern bh grip. i suggested that, to force you to hit with more spin, taking power from you so you focus on mechanics and not 'the result'.

    keep practicing and dont worry about results. it will come.
     
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  19. NLBwell

    NLBwell Legend

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    You are pushing the racket.

    To get the feeling of how to pull the racket around get a hatchet and chop a log in half.

    Focus on pulling the head of the hatchet through - chest, upper arm, elbow, wrist, head of hatchet.
    One log should be enough to get the feeling.
     
    #19
  20. charliefedererer

    charliefedererer Legend

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    Hopefully you will find the following video helpful:
    McCraw Serve Fundamentals http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WuIgTyh4aDs

    Coach McCraw has some nice shots from the back showing correct path of the arm/hand/racquet in bringing the racquet to a full racquet drop.

    He emphasizes taking the racqeut back and up in an "outside to inside" path.

    By bringing the racquet back away from the body ("outside"), it is easier for it to end up on the right side of your body, or "inside".

    [Conversely if you bring your racquet up very close to your body, there is a tendency to end up with your hand/racquet more in the middle of your back, or "outside". This would tend to give you racquet drop into the middle of your back - it subsequently is very difficult to pronate if you brought your racquet up from the middle of your back.]


    (Later on when you swing upward out of your racquet drop you will want to pronate.
    Many don't realize that the racquet/arm at full racquet drop has to be well to the right to set up pronation in the actual swing phase - they mistakenly have the racquet drop in the middle of their back in a "backscratch" position.)

    [​IMG]

    In the above sequence you can see how Sam Stosur's racquet drop is well to the right of her body in pic 1. Notice how the arm is straightened in pics 1-10 keeping the arm well to the right side - this sets up the ability to swing the racquet from right to left to contact in pics 11-19.) )


    Once you have the proper racquet drop well to the right of your body, you can then practice this pronation movement as a separate exercise, as demonstrated in this video:
    McCraw explaining a serve pronation exercise http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iONY6fcqZGg






    While the above can be worked on as separate shadowing/hitting exercises that can then be incorporated into your serve, you also need to work on how you get your serve started - your "toss into your trophy position move".
    [If you don't get off to a proper start, the toss seems rushed, and it is struggle to maintain balance - rather you should smoothly be in balance throughout the toss into the trophy position.]

    Tossing and getting into your trophy position must be combined - you should not be tossing - then getting into a trophy position.

    And the place to start is using the forward bend into the court to start to build momentum that you can use to get the toss started. (Right now after you step forward, you totally stop before tossing.)

    [​IMG]

    Notice Fed bends forward (pic 1) , and that as he bends his upper body back (pic 2), that automatically gets the arm starting to move up, starting the tossing motion.
    He brings his tossing arm straight up in pics 3-4. Having that arm straight up in pic 4 - the trophy position insures he has a very steep shoulder angle - his left shoulder is straight up, and his right shoulder is straight down.
    Notice in his trophy position he is in the shape of a bow - that bow is even more accentuated in pic 5.

    So getting off to a proper start in a serve is key to having a relaxed balance serve.
    Check out the following three videos on how to get that toss into the trophy position:
    Tennis Serve Tossing Motion Tempo http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CeZp90h-Ar8&feature=relmfu
    Federer Murray Haas & more ball toss common threads http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lIF-UaRUd6k&feature=related
    Tennis Serve Toss - How to Hold the Ball http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M8kynEzufNE&feature=related
    (It is much more comfortable to toss the ball in this way, rather than trying to contort the tossing arm to maintain the hand under the ball as you bring it higher before ball release.)




    You noticed yourself that you are falling off to the right.

    This is a symptom that you don't cartwheel your shoulders through a vertical plane - instead you are just swinging them from left to right as you uncoil.

    But note that the correct shoulder movement is to "drop the left shoulder" so that at contact your tossing shoulder is straight down.

    "Dropping the left shoulder" means you are powerfully throwing your body sideways into the court in a "cartwheel" motion.

    The forward momentum will end up with you going into the court, landing on your left leg, with your right leg kicking out behind you. (pic11).

    "Dropping the left shoulder" corrects the falling off to the right, because now the dominant force is forward with much more power into your shot from that shoulder over shoulder movement.

    To top it all off, dropping the left shoulder is protective of your rotator cuff muscles, and can help prevent a shoulder overuse injury as you are doing all that serve practice!

    Preventing Rotator Cuff Injury http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lTRvxaBMh8s




    The above is a lot to work on.

    While getting a full racquet drop is something you want to achieve, how you get to it smoothly and balanced then can set you up for a better swing with more pronation and a better carthwheel for increased power.

    All of it should blend together eventually, even though I hope I've given you some tips on how to work on things individually.

    I hope this helps.

    Good luck!
     
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  21. TimothyO

    TimothyO Hall of Fame

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    You've got a case of happy feet. I count at least 2-3 steps in each serve.

    The first is the large one from platform to pinpoint. Since you have such a large pause at that point any momentum from that movement is lost.

    Then you have an additional 1-2 tiny mini-step/hops with your leading foot. The intensity and height varies from remaining in contact with the ground and barely lifting to actually lifting off the ground...the first occurs most frequently and the second on occasion. The first occurs during take back and the second during up swing. Again, their timing and duration adds nothing to your momentum and result in an unstable hitting platform.

    How did I notice this? Well, in the last 12 months I've had THREE different teaching pros say the same thing to me. And they were right!!!!

    After the third guy told me this in the fall I decided to take this seriously.

    I now serve consistently with more power and FAR more accuracy than I did previously. My left knee and right ankle are too damaged to perform a full leg push up and into the ball. I've done it, it works great, but after several sessions it hurts my knee.

    I think we have these little happy feet hitches to give us some slack on core turn. I have a friend with a similar problem but even more extreme. She has this huge wind up and then...STOPS! Full stop. Frozen. And the proceeds to whack the ball really hard and inaccurately.

    These happy feet can cause problems later in the stroke, so before worrying about anything else get your footwork stable and smooth. I can suggest that with confidence because my feet weren't just happy, they were ecstatic! :D

    Watch the videos closely and you'll see these tiny little steps and stops and how they effect your swing by creating hitches in your balance.
     
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  22. JackB1

    JackB1 G.O.A.T.

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    ^^^

    thanks CharlieF....great stuff! Really appreciate it.

    Its funny, because even with how "bad" my serve looks...its still better than about 75% of the guys I play against at 3.5-4.0 level. I actually can hold serve more times than not. But its good to know there's lot of room for improvement :)
     
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  23. JackB1

    JackB1 G.O.A.T.

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    Timothy, great observations indeed. I gotta get a more stable base with my feet and get my serve off to a better start. Thanks! Lots to work on :)
     
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  24. Nellie

    Nellie Hall of Fame

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    Things I see -

    Easy things to change:

    1) There is some motion that some wasted/extraneous - like a step back followed up with a step forward into the original position during the toss. These are not necessarily bad to the end result - more that you are adding a lot of complexity that does not help and, at worst, may throw off your timing. Try practicing with your feet set with a wider base before the toss.

    2) Toss is too far back - try moving the toss forward

    3) Try start with your shoulder turn more so that you get more shoulder rotation during the serve. The toss will feel weird because you will be tossing way to your left. Now, you are pretty much chest forward toward the ball throughout the motion. This means you get no energy from the big muscles in your torso - all your power is coming from the small arm/shoulder muscles.

    4) I like your right arm position, relative to your body, because you are keeping your shoulder in a safe distance from your head. However, because your back is straight, that means your arm is out to your side at contact - losing height and net clearance. Try reaching up as high as possible with your racquet, while bending your head slightly sideways to keep that good arm position.

    5). Sometimes your left arm/head drop early, leading to an awkward motion - keep that left arm up as long as possible.

    Harder things to change:

    6) I don't see any weight shift forward and into the ball - i.e., a rock to the back leg, with the weight moving forwarding during the serve so that your body weight is moving into the ball.

    7) (Related to 3 and 6) You are basically muscling the ball now, rather than relying on your kinetic chain. You would get a harder serve by relaxing you arm/shoulder muscles until the instant before contact. Let your arm go long for the ride provided by your body motion until right before contact and then engage those muscles
     
    Last edited: Dec 17, 2012
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  25. zapvor

    zapvor Legend

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    interesting. where do you play? the guys here with that kind of serve would get crushed easy.
     
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  26. zapvor

    zapvor Legend

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    this post is nice and all, but on a forum its not going to work. you are overloading info at the person, hes not going to absorb it properly even if he reads it. most likely he wont even. its better to keep it concise and give him 1 or 2 essential elements to think about.

    just picture a pro standing next to his student and reading your entire post aloud to the student. how do you think teh student will react? exactly.
     
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  27. JohnB

    JohnB Rookie

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    Jack,

    Having watched your backhand issue also, I think I see a lack of stability in your feet on your backhand as well as on your service. It's like you're playing on mud (a figure of speech). I see that you try your utmost best to get the kinetic chain started, but it Seems to me that you can't push off enough to get the motion started. If you can get your feet stable/strong enough, so that the leg muscles can apply force without pushing the feet out of balance, I think you will improve a lot.
     
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  28. 3fees

    3fees Hall of Fame

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    Try serving with an eastern fh grip for flat serves, as too stance platform-feet spread apart comfortably and stationary, on the finish the right foot is straight up and down, no weight on it at all, weight is fwd on left foot.
     
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  29. JackB1

    JackB1 G.O.A.T.

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    How would you know that unless you were on the receiving end of my serve?
    Sure it looks not so great, but the result still is pretty good. I get pretty good pace on my serve and can place it to body, wide or T. Nobody is teeing off on my serve, I promise you. I play in Atlanta 3.5 & 4.0 singles and A8 level doubles. Atlanta has more tennis players per square mile than almost anywhere, so the competition level is very good.

    Don't be fooled by a few practice serves on video....it's better than it "appears".
    You are more than welcome to look me up next time in Atlanta and see how you
    can "crush my serve" :). Where are you located anyway?
     
    Last edited: Dec 17, 2012
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  30. JackB1

    JackB1 G.O.A.T.

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    look....I'm 53 years old and doing the best I can :)
    if there are some things that are easy enough to change, I will try and change them. But most people here are a little unrealistic about what I can do given my age and lack of flexibility and practice time.

    I agree with you that balance and lack of leg usage is one of my overall issues. I am working on that all the time and wish I could just press a button that says "engage core" :). For some reason I feel more comfortable straight up and down and really have to make a point of bending and using my lower half more.
     
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  31. TimothyO

    TimothyO Hall of Fame

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    Jack's serve is easily 3.5/4.0 in Atlanta. In fact, he looks more consistent than a lot of guys I've seen.

    One fellow I know who plays 4.0 Ultimate Tennis here in Atlanta has a serve that's weaker than Jack's and yet he often goes undefeated and wins his division. The reason? Consistency. He gets the serve in. Scott's serve looks terrible. His first serve is a fast and inaccurate waiter serve. His second is a dink waiter serve. NO proper form at all. And yet he wins. At least Jack has a semblance of good form.

    Just because a serve might look slow doesn't make it easy to hit winners off of, especially at 3.5/4.0. Male players at this level imagine they're Djoker blasting returns...and if the serve never rises above net level odds are they're going to hit long or in the net. At 3.5/4.0 scooping low serves below net level and generating enough top spin to drive a winner in bounds ain't easy to do consistently.

    Also, at low-mid level, placement is more imprtant than power since power at these levels is the enemy of consistency. But by learning how to place your serve you have a chance at providing opportunities for your opponent to cough up UEs.

    Yes, there are 3.5/4.0 players who can serve really hard, I hit with two of them over the weekend to practice my return of serve. But the ones who can do that consistently are very rare.
     
    Last edited: Dec 17, 2012
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  32. TimothyO

    TimothyO Hall of Fame

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    This is my gripe about a lot of tennis instructional videos (and many teaching pros for that matter).

    Read any tennis book or watch most instruction videos on the web and the advice assumes you're 14 years old with well greased joints.

    They're just not realistic for 80% of rec players who have day jobs and are middle aged (I'm 46 and have lots of battle damage from sports).
     
    Last edited: Dec 17, 2012
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  33. zapvor

    zapvor Legend

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    interesting. i was projecting obviously. so defensive haha. by the way i didnt say i would crush you. i said guys here like that would get crushed. i know atl has a huge tennis population. i am in the TWMAC we are the biggest chapter by far. if you ever come up lets hit.

    better yet since you are calling yourself out lets see those serves down the T body and wide.
     
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  34. zapvor

    zapvor Legend

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    you make good points. i guess i am lucky in that 95% of players i play with are much better so for me that level isnt impressive.
     
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  35. JackB1

    JackB1 G.O.A.T.

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    where is the TWMAC?
     
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  36. JackB1

    JackB1 G.O.A.T.

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    when I get a chance I will show you, but for now I've got bigger fish to fry.
     
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  37. luvforty

    luvforty Banned

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    that serve sure won't be crushed at 4.0 ... but they look like your first serves... what about the 2nd serve?... that is typically the weak area at this level... and with the waiter position going, it's tough to hit effective 2nd serves.
     
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  38. JackB1

    JackB1 G.O.A.T.

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    Until you see me play an entire match, you really are in no position to judge my level. There is SO much more to winning a match then blasting hard serves. The purpose of the thread was to get help for my serve (and for others who may have similar issues. Not to compare the level of tennis of my part of the country to yours.
     
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  39. JackB1

    JackB1 G.O.A.T.

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    those weren't my first or second serves....maybe something in between.. Again....not the point here.
     
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  40. zapvor

    zapvor Legend

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    yea thats fine you got bigger fish i understand.

    again i am judging based on what i see. of course its not a complete picture. and i didnt say the serve wins the match. i merely said those serves are not good enough against most of the players i see here. you were the one that brought up geography first going on about "oh i play in ATL we are most densely populated for tennis and your A8 league and etc etc"

    its kind of funny on one hand you post video and seem receptive to criticism but then you are so sure you are at a certain level....
     
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  41. JackB1

    JackB1 G.O.A.T.

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    I play in organized leagues where you must win at a certain rate or you get dropped down a level, so yes I am sure of my level.

    Yes I asked for criticism of my serve. You offered some useful comments about that....lets stick with that, thanks.
     
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  42. zapvor

    zapvor Legend

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    cool. you seem to really enjoy tennis so thats all it matters
     
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  43. Power Player

    Power Player Talk Tennis Guru

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    One thing is when you get a ton of tips it is just too much to take in and you can overthink.

    So the one tip that will really help is to hit your trophy pose and make sure that your palm is "waving" at the sidefence while you are tossing. When you swing to contact it will be a karate chop at the ball, and when you finish, the palm will be upside down and against the sidefence again.

    Just work on that and dont worry about anything else yet. That has really helped me at least.
     
    #43
  44. NickC

    NickC Professional

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    I haven't read the whole thread but your knees are doing a funky movement pre-toss. You coil them a tad then let up on it and bend them again while you toss the ball.

    Get rid of that.
     
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  45. JackB1

    JackB1 G.O.A.T.

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    funny thing is that was the first and easiest thing to fix. I just concentrated on leading with the edge and then finishing with the palm facing the right fence. Now I am working on my stance and feet and and letting the racquet loop around behind me. I am pretty much reconstructing my entire serve. Everything feels weird now but I just gotta get in the reps.
     
    #45
  46. Graphiteking

    Graphiteking Rookie

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    Nice vid JackB1!! Your headed in the right direction. My advice would be to start on the simple things. Don't overload yourself. Trust me, if you do you'll get overwhelmed and discouraged. 1st- try looking up YouTube vids about the backscratch position. You can get more zip on the ball. 2nd- bend your knees. Power and consistency occurs when you get the legs involved. Start on those two things and I guarantee you will see a difference..
     
    #46
  47. luvforty

    luvforty Banned

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    good eyes... going through the video in slow motion, it was quite obvious that the back scratch position was never hit.
     
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  48. JohnB

    JohnB Rookie

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    Let me explain a bit further. From what I have seen, especially with your backhand, your pretty flexible and it appears that you can't find enough support when pushing off. I have relatively high arches and tend to walk on the outsides of my feet. If I have shoes on which pushes me slightly inward while walking, I have noticed that I can move a lot better on court. Maybe in your case (obviously I don't know your foottype) it could be a matter of finding the right shoe(type).
    In running shoes there's a lot of info on pronation and the sort of shoe that suits. In tennis however, it seems to be a matter of trail and error.
     
    #48
  49. samarai

    samarai Rookie

    Joined:
    Jun 23, 2011
    Messages:
    251
    Serve looks pretty good for your level. I mean at the 3.5-4 level, if you can get it in with decent pace, you'll win 75% of your points. Ive seen worse at the 4.0 level and yet their consistent ground game usually bails them out. Some people on here offer advice to address some of the hitches which will improve your serve but you are playing recreationally and not for the US OPen. BTW did I mention you have a good looking serve for your level.
     
    #49
  50. JackB1

    JackB1 G.O.A.T.

    Joined:
    Jul 23, 2009
    Messages:
    14,127
    Location:
    Roswell GA
    How can I also look at my videos in slow-mo? That would be very helpful.
     
    #50

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