Which arm do you start the service motion with?

Discussion in 'Tennis Tips/Instruction' started by dlam, Oct 8, 2012.

  1. dlam

    dlam Rookie

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    Which arm do you start the service motion with?
    The tossing arm or the racket arm?

    I find that a need some sorta of "trigger" to activate my service motion
    I can't bring both my racket arm and tossing arm in unison
    It has to be one or the other
    In other words I think "toss then hit" or swing then toss"

    1) i initiate the service motion by tossing the ball up before my other arm brings the racket back usually it's a higher toss and my racket arm needs extra time to hit the ball
    2)sometimes I initiate the service motion with my racket arm going back first then my tossing arm gets involved
    my racket arm motion is smooth and I don't have a slight delay in the trophy position like in the 1st example but my toss has to perfect and not as high
    Each motion has its own special rhythm and need help in deciding which motion to stick with
     
    Last edited: Oct 8, 2012
    #1
  2. smarulanda

    smarulanda New User

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    If you truly do struggle getting both arms into motion at the same time and don't want to try and correct this, I think the best bet is starting with your toss and getting it fairly high. As soon as you've tossed you can get a feel for how to time your serving arm.

    This reminds me of Sharapova's serve; although she does get both arms in motion at the same time, the high toss allows her ample time to get into the trophy pose (which she holds for quite a bit).

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7QDSsMpaWLA

    Careful with those super high tosses though. I always have trouble hitting service tosses after they've started dropping unless I'm intentionally going for a kick serve.
     
    #2
  3. xFullCourtTenniSx

    xFullCourtTenniSx Hall of Fame

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    I used to do tossing arm first, but I found a better rhythm with racket arm first (which sort of came together with a more comfortable weight shift timing).

    I'd prefer to have a slightly lower toss (cause I hate the wind and have a terrible toss to begin with).

    Sampras was toss first. I feel like Roddick is either toss first or unison (because of abbreviated motion). Nadal seems pretty toss first. Federer might've been toss first pre-2003... I'm not sure... But now he's racket arm first.

    If you look at it in extreme detail though, they are all basically in unison (just that the "lagging" arm is moving relatively slowly). There are very few people with defined, separate motions for their toss and takeback.

    And it's all personal preference. I did toss first because I couldn't conceive the idea of starting the takeback a little before my toss without doing an abbreviated or separated motion, because I was taught to bring both up at once. Now I do takeback first because, like I said, it's a better rhythm for me and it incorporates better weight shifting.
     
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  4. LeeD

    LeeD Bionic Poster

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    Low toss hitters can start with the hitting arm.
    High toss hitters usually start very evenly.
    Some low toss servers start with even arms, like me.
    The trigger is usually the whole rocking body motion before either arm get's moved.
     
    #4
  5. dlam

    dlam Rookie

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    i thinking unison is much better and i should just trigger with a movement with my lower body or legs.
    if i take my racket first I have all sorts of problems with my toss
    if I toss first I have all sorts of problems with my timing of my racket arm.
    On the deuce side I feel if I can swing a bit faster with my racket arm during the serve.
    On the ad side I feel like I can delay the hit just a bit with my racket arm.
     
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  6. zapvor

    zapvor Legend

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    its threads like this that are awful. when you walk do you ask yourself which foot is first??????
     
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  7. ace_pace

    ace_pace Rookie

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    Depends on your toss lol.

    Personally though, I try to do both at the same time.
     
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  8. LeeD

    LeeD Bionic Poster

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    When you snowboard, which foot is first?
    When you step downhill, which foot goes first?
    When you skateboard, which foot pushes, and is it the front foot or the backfoot?
    when you surf, which foot is first?
     
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  9. OHBH

    OHBH Semi-Pro

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    The #2 choice is the way to go. If the toss isn't right you can always catch it and the toss is much easier to practice than the serving motion. The Hitch in the serve in example #1 is more likely to break down under pressure.
     
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  10. LeeD

    LeeD Bionic Poster

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    Neither is better.
    The most important thing is to ROCK your body while in prep position, whatever # of times you need, to get the rythum of the service motion locked in your head, then start the motion. IF you need a trigger.
     
    #10
  11. dlam

    dlam Rookie

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    Thank you for your response!
    You really understand my question
    I was thinking along the same lines.
    Tried both methods and #1 was really painful, not only did I hitch but lost power and speed and consistency on my serve
    Sometime I got lucky and hit the corners with velocity but generally I lack consistency.
    though there are some really great servers who have a long backswing in their serve who look like they toss the ball and then wait ? In the trophy position serves really well that way But it's not for me.
     
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  12. LeeD

    LeeD Bionic Poster

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    Watch a ATP top level server. It don't matter which hand moves first, the trigger is off the rocking motion of the body. You rock once, twice, three, or more times until your mind sets.
     
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  13. LuckyR

    LuckyR Legend

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    Great thread on why it is best to start the service motion with the nondominant hand touching the racquet, that is, so both arms can start in unison.
     
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  14. LeeD

    LeeD Bionic Poster

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    Read post 4 again.
    First thing we are taught when serving is to touch the racket with both hands, the weak hand on the throat, either the racket's or yours.
     
    #14
  15. sureshs

    sureshs Bionic Poster

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    Fantastic post.

    Lack of a trigger is a big issue for rec players.

    I have developed my trigger which is weight on the front foot, followed by lifting the front foot on its heel and leaning back. Once you are in the "unstable" leaning back position, you will naturally do something to come out of it - which is the trigger :)
     
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  16. LeeD

    LeeD Bionic Poster

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    DJ bounces the ball 9 times.
    McEnroe rocks onto his front foot, then backfoot.
    As did Connors.
    Tanner hits the ball quickly, after his prep.
    Milos scrunch's down and forwards before his toss.
    Yes, any trigger that works for you.
     
    #16
  17. tricky

    tricky Hall of Fame

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    As with LeeD, I prefer the rocking motion. When the non-hitting hand separates from the racquet, my weight needs to moving forward or into the court.
     
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  18. charliefedererer

    charliefedererer Legend

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    Listen to LeeD about using your body motion to start your serve, just like Fed and all the pros.

    [​IMG]

    Look how far Roger leans in to start his serve. That is not just wasted motion. That is starting to use a big body motion to start the serve sequence, just like you would use a big body motion to power your strokes.


    [​IMG]

    Notice in pic 1 above, Fed has leaned into the court with his upper body.

    He uses the momentum from leaning back from this initial lean in to not only get the serve started, but to set to the tempo of the serve.

    Lean back fast to the position he has in pic 2, and you will likely bring the tossing arm up fast.
    Lean back too slow to the position he has in pic 2, and you will likely bring the tossing arm up too slow.

    Lean back at the proper speed to the position he has in pic 2, and you will likely begin to raise your arm at the correct speed.



    That is because most of the movement of the tossing arm from pic 1 to pic 2 is not from raising the arm, but merely from changing the shoulder angle.
    (In pic one the front shoulder is much lower than the back shoulder - but by pic 2 the shoulders are level.


    Achieving the right tempo of your whole toss sequence is very important as emphasized in this video by Brent Abel:
    Tennis Serve Tossing Motion Tempo http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CeZp90h-Ar8&feature=relmfu





    For more tips on how to have a great toss, check out these threads:
    http://tt.tennis-warehouse.com/showthread.php?t=423978
    http://tt.tennis-warehouse.com/showthread.php?t=423960
     
    Last edited: Oct 11, 2012
    #18
  19. dlam

    dlam Rookie

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    I also notice that to do a reverse spin serve it was easier to do #1 and throw the ball rather than toss the ball
    Likely not practical but I seen it done in 3.5 and 4 players who serve
     
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  20. pvaudio

    pvaudio Legend

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    #20
  21. zapvor

    zapvor Legend

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    theres too much over analysis going on here
     
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  22. dlam

    dlam Rookie

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    Unison worked really well on my last match.
    I still like feeling like the motion is still initiated by the right arm however serves were more consistent when i bent my elbows in unison to start my motion.
    The other thing I had to figure out was the type of rocking pattern.
    I am definately a pinpointer, I totally lose rhythm with wide platform stance.
    i like having my weight on my right foot first then rock my weight to the left foot at the first part of the takeaway then when i take back i back on my right(rear) foot then do my pinpoint at the last stage of my serve i feel weight is back on the left (front foot)
     
    #22
  23. dlam

    dlam Rookie

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    Some good examples
    I don't like Brent Abel footwork on his serve
    His serve is very good but he steps into his serve and lands on his right foot
    Almost all pros with more competive serves have a hop-jump motion and land on their left foot (if they have a righty serve)
    Sometime instruction don't jive if you are mixing different techniques together
     
    #23
  24. zapvor

    zapvor Legend

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    so are you going to post a video to show us soon?
     
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  25. LeeD

    LeeD Bionic Poster

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    Don't matter what foot you land with.
    You are obsessing over details. I agree with Zapvor.
    The trigger is your rocking the prep position, start when you want, I start when the rocking goes forwards, I lift my toss arm and pull the racketarm back and down.
     
    #25
  26. dlam

    dlam Rookie

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    This is good feedback as I'm trying to develop a consistent routine preserve
    Been noticing that my left arm starting the motion works better for overheads
    Right arm initial motion works better for me for the serve but I find I not getting proper forward momentum into the court without some involvement with my lower body and good weight transfer
    Tried rocking and cannot get used to it yet but it does help propel me into the court better
     
    #26
  27. LeeD

    LeeD Bionic Poster

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    Maybe because you haven't tried it enough times yet. Everything you learn in tennis, you can't master it in two weeks.
     
    #27
  28. Coach Chad

    Coach Chad Rookie

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    I lean forward to start, and as I move backward both hands go in motion at the same time. That said, whatever is comfortable to you.
     
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