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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    I feel like I am not doing the waiter tray anymore...I am keeping the palm from facing upwards, but still have a hard time getting that racquet to drop down my back. I'll try and take some more video today to see what I'm still doing wrong.
     
  2. arche3

    arche3 Banned

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    I stopped your video in the drop. Your not doing waiter tray. It looks pretty deep too so all in all its good and smooth. If you bend your knees more now and as you lift the racket will drop more. If you have knee issues then I think it looks plenty deep enough.
     
  3. Power Player

    Power Player G.O.A.T.

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    Jack, the left hand plays a huge role in the serve and can help with everything. Make sure and pay note to it. As for racquet drop, it takes some time to get that feel. I used to rush my motion and not drop my racquet deep enough because I could get away with it, but tossing higher helped. Also puling my left hand into the middle of my chest got my shoulders to cartwheel properly every time, and also gave me a deeper drop.

    An easy drill you can do in your house is to serve, but stop before you swing up. Look at your buttcap and adjust it so it is pointing up in the air. Look at your left hand and make sure you are pulling it into your body to initiate the drop and the swing to contact. Get the feel for that and then work it in when you practice your serve.
     
  4. luvforty

    luvforty Banned

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    i think toly's analysis can also explain the shallow drop... notice that stosur drops into the slot in a way the her hand goes back somewhere between her right ear and right shoulder.

    Jack, your hand is OUTSIDE of your right shoulder.... it's humanly impossible to achieve deep drop that way.

    I think you can try to feel the other extreme this way... imagine your right hand holds a comb and will comb the back of your head... this will allow you to feel how to bring the hand more inside (of the shoulder), to allow you drop deeper into the slot.
     
  5. Cheetah

    Cheetah Hall of Fame

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    What do you call frame #4 above?
     
  6. JackB1

    JackB1 G.O.A.T.

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    no I don't have any knee issues. I usually don't do a big knee bend/jump because it tends to throw off my consistency and placement. I will give it a try and see if it helps the racquet drop.
     
  7. arche3

    arche3 Banned

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    I only looked at one. And only one spot. And I think the toly pic w frame 4 is from old video. I was looking at a new one. In think some threads got merged.
     
    Last edited: Dec 30, 2012
  8. JackB1

    JackB1 G.O.A.T.

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    I watched again and used the pause/right arrow to go thru slow and I think I see the root of the problem. Everything looks pretty good up until the trophy pose, but as I start to go up after the ball, for some reason I lay back my wrist and the racquet goes from facing the back fence to facing upwards. It's this initial move that must be fixed. Anyone else agree?

    watch this
    http://youtu.be/XrRK9UVolBQ
     
    Last edited: Dec 30, 2012
  9. luvforty

    luvforty Banned

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    yeah pretty much.. wrist should be flat at trophy, also flat at racket drop.... but the reason for that is your hand is too much outside of the shoulder, so the shoulder is locked up and the racket went back by itself, which causes the wrist to lay back
     
  10. Cheetah

    Cheetah Hall of Fame

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    i don't really agree. I'm in the 'you should rebuild' group.

    There are numerous important fundamental things that you are not doing.
    For one, the serve has to have a rhythm. Yours doesn't have a rhythm from the start so that manifests itself later on at several points in the swing.

    For example, ideally there shouldn't be any pauses or hitches. Easier said than done I know but I count 4 pauses/hitches in your swing. When you first set up their is a small hitch where you're holding the ball out in front still. You set, start and then stop very slightly and then start again. Then after you toss there is another pause. Then as your getting ready to swing there is a small pause and then very quickly after that there is another one. Each time you pause you lose stored energy and you have to expend energy to hold some other body part in place. That means muscles are tightening. Then you have to use more energy to restart those stopped parts and then things are out of sync. Also your knee bend is too late. You should be going down in sync with the toss.

    Also your feet are messy. You start in a platform and then move into a pinpoint which is ok but it's not a smooth transition. You move your right foot forward and put it next to the left. You might want to consider dragging the right foot here up to the left which a lot of ppl do. It's smoother. It has momentum. You just place it there which is ok but when you place it there your whole body kind of stops. Then instead of using that position as your base you move your left foot away from the right foot. And then sometimes you adjust one or both feet again after that. That's a lot of shuffling.

    You're not pointing at the ball with your left hand. It's extended up but it's not pointing. You should point up at the ball for as long as possible. This also gets you into having a cartwheel motion. You don't have any cartwheel shoulder action going on which is like wta serves. You also don't have any torque. Pete and Roger have their torso twisted and facing further past the side fence towards the back fence. Your torso is facing the side fence. Their legs are bent and on their toes and springy and their weight is loaded. Your legs are straight, knees locked and flat footed. They start the swing by pushing off their legs using ground forces. You start with your arm and then bend and push off the legs. Their left shoulder is up and right shoulder down (cartwheel beginning). Your shoulders are horizontal. They go towards the ball with the butt of the racquet and hit the ball as their body is going up. You go at the ball with the strings and slap the ball as your body is falling down.

    If you stop your vid at 24s here you are holding the racquet way to far to the right of your body as you toss. Also your palm and the strings are facing the net. They should be facing the side fence. This is contributing to the waiter's tray. Also your elbow is all the way down to hip level. It has to be much higher. And you should be leading the upward swing with your elbow.
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    Fed:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8xbC31AQqSg&t=37s

    If I were you i'd work on getting the feet figured out because that's the start. Then work on getting into a pretty trophy position. Then work on smoothness. That way things will work themselves out.

    Or you can band-aid everything :)
     
    Last edited: Dec 30, 2012
  11. ohplease

    ohplease Professional

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    Someone else already mentioned leading with the elbow. There's a reason that's important. You can approximate decent biomechanics by focusing on accelerating the hand - which is clearly what you're doing. Looking at your vids, you're kind of sweeping an arc through the air via hips/shoulder/hand.

    In contrast, pro level serves are using ground reaction forces to build tension and stretch across their abs, chest, and inner arms, then releasing all that stretch into the ball. Try to approximate a service motion with a 5-10 pound kettlebell or medicine ball and you should notice very different muscle groups in play vs. what you're currently using in your serve.

    If I were you, I'd boil it down to getting your balance in order, so that you can use the ground reaction force to really get some juice into your motion so that you can leave your elbow hanging back there before really whipping it through the serve. Same thing with pitching a baseball and the forehand - the longer you wait before releasing the hand, the more its got to cover to catch up. That means faster racket speed and a bigger serve. Leading with the elbow guarantees that you're building that lag into the motion.
     
  12. toly

    toly Hall of Fame

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    There is real disaster water’s tray error from http://www.hi-techtennis.com/serve/waiter_student.php.

    [​IMG]
    Figure 1. Very bad waiter’s tray
    You don’t do anything like that.

    During the transition from the trophy pose to racquet drop a lot of pros bring the racquet to waiter’s tray position.

    [​IMG]
    Figure 2. Federer and Safin very good water’s tray

    I think you do something like Federer & Safin do.

    After that pros bring racquet into racquet drop position.

    [​IMG]

    Pay attention on position and orientation of the racquet face.

    The racquet face parallel to the right side of the body in the racquet drop is a hallmark of professional serves.

    In order to provide the most efficient ISR you have to:
    1. Apply External Shoulder Rotation as much as possible.
    2. Use proper amount of forearm supination to bring the racquet face to the right side of the body. :)
     
    Last edited: Jan 2, 2013
  13. Power Player

    Power Player G.O.A.T.

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    Jack, as pointed out - your racquet is facing in the wrong direction in the trophy pose.
     
  14. JackB1

    JackB1 G.O.A.T.

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    Yes I see that now. I will work on just getting to the trophy pose in proper position. See you guys think I should work with a teaching pro to read construct my serve? I just don't want to spend lots of money on countless lessons
     
  15. EDK

    EDK Rookie

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    Your serve looks like the playtester Chris Edwards's (trophy and hitch), with less coil and explosion.
     
  16. WildVolley

    WildVolley Legend

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    I think you can rework your serve just using video, and some classic drills.

    You have an offset trophy pose, sort of like Roddick's, except you aren't getting your elbow quite as high or the shoulder drawn back as much.

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

    However, I think the biggest problem you have is that you aren't letting the racket drop. Your hitting arm is too straight and too tense when you should be allowing the hand and racket to lag the elbow more.

    Assuming you have a healthy shoulder, you should do drills to relax the arm during the racket drop and allow the hand to lag the elbow. Getting more elbow bend is going to help you do this. One of the classic drills for this is the tennis ball in the long sock drill, which is sort of a timing drill, but the motion should be fluid and allow the ball to drop with the hand as the elbow starts driving up. I'd also advise going to a field and throwing an old tennis racket high into the air on edge like a tomahawk. Again, make sure that you're getting the natural drop.

    At the moment you're forcing the hand and racket up as a unit, but you'll find more effortless power if you can let the hand relax and the racket lag the elbow into the shot. Good luck and keep using the video to see if your form is changing.
     
  17. JackB1

    JackB1 G.O.A.T.

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    ^^^

    thanks for that WV. I am currently working on relaxing the arm and wrist and leading more with the elbow....trying to get a deeper racquet drop.

    I have gone back to an abbreviated takeback motion and it makes it easier to get into a proper trophy pose. Less moving parts to time properly and I can easier get the racquet pointing the right way at trophy pose.

    note: The racquet face should point to the right side fence at the top of the trophy pose, correct? Or perpendicular to the baseline, is another way to say it.
     
    Last edited: Jan 1, 2013
  18. JackB1

    JackB1 G.O.A.T.

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    Here is a still frame of my trophy pose taken from the last video i uploaded. Please tell me what should be fixed? Thanks.

    [​IMG]
     
  19. Avles

    Avles Hall of Fame

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    A big thank you to those who said "lead with the elbow" in this thread--I tried to focus on this idea the last time I practiced my serve, and it felt like I got a looser, livelier arm, a better racquet drop, and more acceleration as a result.
     
  20. psv255

    psv255 Professional

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    Couple of things I see off the bat:

    Upper arm (shoulder to elbow) is too close to body. Ideally, your shoulders and upper right arm should all make a line.
    Lower arm is nearly parallel to ground (i.e. hand is too low)
    Show even more of your back to your opponent! :D
     
  21. JackB1

    JackB1 G.O.A.T.

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    please look at the pic I just posted and tell me what is wrong about the "direction"??
     
  22. JackB1

    JackB1 G.O.A.T.

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    OK, so get the elbow up higher and away from the body.
    Turn shoulder back more.

    thanks....I will work on that
     
  23. UCSF2012

    UCSF2012 Hall of Fame

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    Now, that looks like a pro stance. Unfortunately, it looks like Sharapova's. But hey, pro's pro.
     
  24. Raul_SJ

    Raul_SJ Professional

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    Don't quite follow. 3 points define a plane.

    Where is the third point of the "Target Plane"?

    Point 1 Contact Point

    Point 2 Target Point on the opposite court.

    Point 3 ???
     
  25. luvforty

    luvforty Banned

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    I am assuming the plane is vertical, perpendicular to the ground.
     
  26. Power Player

    Power Player G.O.A.T.

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    Its fine there, but in a still you dont get answers. Just make sure you are swinging up on edge from that position.

    I am watching the Mac/Martin match from the legends series. Martin currently has a great serve you could emulate. See if you can find it on youtube.
     
  27. JackB1

    JackB1 G.O.A.T.

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    I found some pretty good footage of Martin's serve

    http://www.hi-techtennis.com/serve/martin_serve_open.PHP

    I like how simple it looks. I'll give it a try. He gets the racquet and elbow back and up right away before he tosses. Never did that before...I'll give it a shot.
     
    Last edited: Jan 3, 2013
  28. ohplease

    ohplease Professional

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    The take back really doesn't matter. This is what matters:

    [​IMG]

    Martin's forearms on both his racket and non-racket arms are just along for the ride. Another thing to pay attention to is his racket hand relative to the background. It literally does not change height relative to the stair step/woman's head in the background. Sure, the rest of his body is dragging that hand forward and ultimately up and through the ball, but that hand doesn't change height across the entire width of the stairs and through most of his motion. The still above is the last moment before his hand leaves that same height.
     
  29. Chas Tennis

    Chas Tennis Hall of Fame

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    That link did not work for me.

    [BTW - If you cut and paste a link from a TW reply it will not work because it has been abbreviated. Click on the TW link and bring up the website again and then recopy the address.]
     
  30. psv255

    psv255 Professional

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    it's the ".PHP" part. lowercase it and it'll work, had the same thing happen to me!
     
  31. WildVolley

    WildVolley Legend

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    Nice picture. I agree that JackB1 is going to have a much better serve if he can get a feel for the racket drop. I contend the racket drop error is more of a problem than the trophy, though they might be slightly related.

    The proper serve motion can be practiced off the court. Just work on getting the feel of a nice relaxed motion with plenty of lag and racket drop. I'd use video to confirm that the relaxed shadow swings are instilling the form you want.
     
  32. Power Player

    Power Player G.O.A.T.

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    I have spent a lot of time getting my serve to the point of being rhythmic. I started in the abbreviated. One thing that really stuck out to me in the virtual tennis academy was the instruction to bend the knees and hit the trophy position when the ball is at it's peak. For whatever reason, that really clicked with me, as I was bending my knees too early. Basically when I was tossing.

    Anyway, to get this timed out better, I went to a lagged serve motion where I bring the racquet back instead of abbreviating. I found that when I do this, as long as I have a high toss, everything just flows. Racquet drop, knee bend, etc. It also feels a lot easier on my arm, since it seems to go loose.

    Bottom line is that I have been practicing my serve to the point where this all is developing itself. So it is all about practice and spending the time until at some point it clicks. I still have to get the accuracy and consistency down. Takes a lot of time, so dont overthink too much. Just keep hitting serves everyday .
     
  33. JackB1

    JackB1 G.O.A.T.

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    Anyone have any tips on how to get the "racquet drop" lower? I can do it in "slow mo" shadow swings, but for some reason when it's "live", I don't get much drop. I really need some kind of a drill or cue to help get the racquet down my back and the elbow up. It's a real struggle for me for some reason.
     
  34. Chas Tennis

    Chas Tennis Hall of Fame

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    On thing that drops the racket is the timed leg thrust.

    [Rotation means axial rotation.]

    Picture the racket and forearm at about a right angle to the upper arm, back somewhat from vertical, as the legs begin to thrust upward. Then the moment of inertia of the forearm-racket causes the upper arm to rotate - the shoulder externally rotates stretching the internal shoulder rotator muscles. If you try to do this using only the small external shoulder rotator muscles it cannot rotate as far. Stand upper arm out from shoulder, forearm-racket at 90° to upper arm, slightly back from vertical, and see how the leg thrust would rotate the upper arm.

    In most serves the forearm and racket are not held as a unit in a straight line although I have seen some strong servers them keep them in a straight line for quite a while. There may be additional stretching of wrist muscles as the legs thrust up and also as the hitting shoulder goes up. See videos as words can't describe......

    The range of motion for shoulder external rotation is greater in a dynamic loading stretch mode with leg thrust as opposed to just rotating the upper arm back without other body motions.

    I'm not clear on how the trunk also causes the same stretch of the ISR muscles but I believe it adds.

    Also, the arm should be relaxed and not trying to reproduce mental images of serves.
     
    Last edited: Jan 9, 2013
  35. Power Player

    Power Player G.O.A.T.

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    You want it all to flow. Most likely you are overthinking it and putting everything into steps.

    What can help is to just practice tossing a ball and hitting your trophy pose with the knees bent when the ball hits its peak. You can practice this anywhere.

    From there, I went back to the standard motion where my racquet is pointing down and is in motion from start to finish. That really helps get a racquet drop that you won't even think about.
     
  36. Chas Tennis

    Chas Tennis Hall of Fame

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    What is the largest muscle attached to the arm?
     
  37. psv255

    psv255 Professional

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    Try this video, develops a good sense of racquet drop gradually.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?&v=WsJJ_BWBQcI
     
  38. JackB1

    JackB1 G.O.A.T.

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  39. JackB1

    JackB1 G.O.A.T.

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    the shoulder muscle?
     
  40. zapvor

    zapvor Legend

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    hahaha thats funny
     
  41. zapvor

    zapvor Legend

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    seriously though, this is a tennis board. on the internet. whatever instruction you get here is only so much.

    you will get much better, much quicker, if you just get lessons from a good pro. 6 lessons should get you enough to hone it. or be stupid like me and take over 3yrs and counting
     
  42. Chas Tennis

    Chas Tennis Hall of Fame

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    No that's not it.
     
  43. Xizel

    Xizel Professional

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    The lats attach to the humerus :p
     
  44. Chas Tennis

    Chas Tennis Hall of Fame

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    That's it.
     
  45. JackB1

    JackB1 G.O.A.T.

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    I have been taking lessons at $75/hour, but I can only afford so many of those per month. The hour goes by so fast and the Pro's usually want to take things very sloooooow, so they can drag something out into multiple lessons.
     
  46. Power Player

    Power Player G.O.A.T.

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    Zappy has no idea anyway. The fact is that most pros will just teach you the rec level stuff so you can go out there and play matches. If you want to learn optimal technique you need to befriend a pro who gets it and that you can talk to now and then about what you are really trying to do. You can then set up lessons and work on specific issues.

    they also need to see that you are a player who can execute the technique you want to learn, so there is nothing wrong with learning on your own as long as you are improving your technique.

    For that reason I really like that whole feel tennis series a lot. The link posted is fantastic and this guy has a real unique way of showing things that are really only learned over years of play normally. It is almost like a cheat code if you can implement what he is saying.
     
  47. JackB1

    JackB1 G.O.A.T.

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    which link was that PP?
     
  48. Power Player

    Power Player G.O.A.T.

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  49. JackB1

    JackB1 G.O.A.T.

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  50. Chas Tennis

    Chas Tennis Hall of Fame

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    That video has some great demos of what I believe are some of the important components of the serve. His demos seem to bring out the relaxed arm motions. I'm going to try his demos. Especially the video seems to show how supination would naturally come into the service motion.

    Two things that could be improved -

    1) For those who would imitate his body position, in my opinion, he keeps his shoulders too level. That orientation differs from the hitting shoulder high by lateral trunk flexion as recommended in the Ellenbecker shoulder video on minimizing impingement risk.

    2) He also - as in nearly all serve instruction videos - does not mention by name or identify internal shoulder rotation and the prominent part ISR plays in developing racket head speed on the serve. Some instructors call the motion pronation but still do not clearly describe it.

    How many instructor clearly understand ISR - whether they accept that view or not - and, if so, why do they hardly ever specifically mentioned ISR?

    Is there a single instruction video where the instructor clearly explains how ISR works? Even if the motion is misnamed 'pronation'?
     
    Last edited: Jan 10, 2013

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