Weight transfer during serve

Discussion in 'Tennis Tips/Instruction' started by jackzon, Aug 2, 2004.

  1. jackzon

    jackzon Rookie

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    I'm a 3.5 and I'm trying to get my legs involved in my serve. My question has to do with where my weight should be at the bottom (when my torso is lowest) of my motion.

    As I'm doing it now, I start with all my weight on my right foot and as I toss the ball up I lower my body by bending my knees. I then reach a point where my knees have the maximum bend and I pause for a very brief moment before raising my body again. The question has to do with that moment.

    Should my weight be mostly on the right leg, 50/50 or mostly on the left leg?

    Thanks.
     
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  2. TwistServe

    TwistServe Guest

    Usually you push off with your left foot leaving your right foot dead or for support. The weight distribution is mostly on your left foot assuming right handed serve.

    You can easily see what I'm talking about in sampras's serve.. Run this in slow motion to see the weight transfer:

    http://www.jericho.bc.ca/tennis/The Sampras Serve_Racquet Path.htm
     
    #2
  3. jackzon

    jackzon Rookie

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    Thanks. Excellent videos.
     
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  4. vin

    vin Professional

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    I have the same problem of not being able to incorporate my legs into my serve, so I'm curious to see some responses.

    I've gotten conflicting advice about when to toss ...

    If your motion involves rocking back to your back foot and then coming forward to the front foot, I think it makes sense to toss after you come forward. Your body is more stable and situated then. If you toss while moving forward, the additional motion will probably make it more difficult to toss accurately. If you toss before coming forward, then you'll have to toss higher to compensate for the extra time needed to move forward.

    The other side of the argument (which was told to me by a Colgate DI player) was that tossing off of your back foot before moving forward allows you to better incorporate the forward momentum of your body into the swing. Personally, I've had better luck tossing after moving forward to my front foot.

    As for which foot to push off of, I've read many times that only the front foot is used to push up into the serve. However, I think some pros are using both feet, especially Roddick. It also seems like some of the pros that use the pinpoint stance are using the back foot to initiate hip rotation. Sampras on the other hand seems to hardly use his back foot at all which makes me wonder how he is able to get around from such a closed stance.
     
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  5. TennsDog

    TennsDog Hall of Fame

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    I start with all of my weight on my front foot, rock back and then move foreward with no pause or break. I toss the ball at the exact moment my weight starts foreward and begin my knee bend. I have no problem with my toss accuracy or consistancy except it tends to be a bit low which is just because I recently changed serves.
     
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  6. Ryoma

    Ryoma Rookie

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    I suggest you try using Roddick's pin point stance and bend both knees at the same time. Then take the racket head straight up near your head, open your shoulder. Finally use the baseball pitch action to whip into the ball. It works like a charm. For me, my platform stance give me like 5 out of 10 power level while the pin point stance give me easily 9 out of 10 no matter how i whip it.
    Somehow it generate much more racket head speed... Give it a try.
     
    #6
  7. Bungalo Bill

    Bungalo Bill G.O.A.T.

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    Actually in order to make sure we are saying things correctly, the knees do not bend for bending sakes in the serve. Also, Tennsdog gave you good tips on good serving technique.

    The toss should not be made off your back foot. For the simple reason that it is difficult to keep the ball slightly in front of you for a good fast serve. If you toss on your backfoot, you will come forward a bit anyway from the serve motion which then moves your head more under the ball. Try tossing with your weight going to your front foot or off your front foot. I toss with 70% of my wieght on my front foot. My toss is always in the same spot in relation to my head, so all I need to do is execute a good service motion.

    Back to the knees. The bend in the knees (or a curtsy) is what I call a hitch in the swing. When you drop to bend the knees you send a lot of energy downward away from the ball. You then ned to exert extra muscle energy to recover and send the energy back up to the ball. That is ineffecient. Also, since the ball is probably tossed, you have to jump up to hit the ball. Test after test shows that a "jump" to the ball on a serve does not do jack for pace. When you see a pro or a good server leave the ground it is not because he jumped, it is because all of his energy is going upward and he is sort of "pulled" off the ground. Sort of a weightless feeling than a forced jump.

    The knees bend is a natural response to a properly placed front hip. It is not forced nor does it happen by chance. It is simple body mechanics. When you thrust your front hip out towards the service box, your knees naturally want to bend with the back leg bending the most. If I drew a line from knee to knee, I should be able to draw an angled line going up from abck knee to front knee.

    Although your knees are bent, the energy is being stored in the hip area. As you swing, the backfoot slides up to help move that energy upward. The rest of this is the upperbody motion.

    The front hip stretch is more of a coiling so that the shoulders can stretch around it and then release to the ball.

    Remember, the knee bend is not a isolated event in the serve. It is a natural response to the hips being activated in the service motion.
     
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  8. Bungalo Bill

    Bungalo Bill G.O.A.T.

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    Let me see if I can show you what I mean with this example below. In the imgae below pay attention to the movement of the hips, the knee bend, the server on his toes, and the direction of his force to the ball.

    The hip is outward, which creates the same pressure that would exist in a pole vaulters pole. Everyone is different here with their flexibilty. Some pro players dont have much of hip stretch or at least that can be picked up by the human eye - but rest assured the hips are involved.

    The knees are bending because of the body position that is forced upon it. It is countering the weight distribution.

    The other thing this model does that I mentioned is it springs upward while it is on its toes. I personally use a pinpoint stance for my power serves. When my serve is on, I take notice that I am on my toes (they feel like little springs) when I begin to launch upward to the ball for my best serves.

    It is not that your legs are not applying upward force or are inactive in the serve. Quite the contrary. What I am saying is I dont hop up or jump up, it is simply an unraveling upward to the ball which will eventually lift me off the ground from the pressure I am placing against the ground and allowing to transfer upward. Take a look again at the model, notice the energy going upward.

    Additionally, notice how loose the arm is at the elbow. Notice the path of the racquet it sort of makes a halo around the players head. There is no waiters wrist here. The ball on the string aid I always talk about will help you achieve this motion.

    Also notice the kenetic chain, especially when the shoulders slow down, the arm whips through to contact. The opposite hand folds in and acts like a brake to the shoulders, then the arm picks up speed. Pretty cool!

    [​IMG]
     
    #8

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