Talk Tennis

Talk Tennis (http://tt.tennis-warehouse.com/index.php)
-   Tennis Tips/Instruction (http://tt.tennis-warehouse.com/forumdisplay.php?f=17)
-   -   Serving woes and questions (http://tt.tennis-warehouse.com/showthread.php?t=423960)

ace_pace 05-13-2012 05:07 PM

Serving woes and questions
 
I've just recovered from an elbow injury (thank goodness it wasn't too bad), which I got from trying to get the fastest speed possible on a serve speed radar :) I haven't been able to serve fast comfortably for 3-4 months and I've only really been playing around with groundstrokes.

But although my elbow feels fine now, I feel like I've lost my muscle memory for serving:confused:. At first I saw this as a problem, but now I see it as a chance to start fresh and start serving properly. Now I'm going to try to describe what my old serve was like (I still don't have a camera). It was like a jack-in-the-box technique, similar to Dolgopolov's. I had a fairly short ball toss and jumped and swung my arm at relatively the same time. I noticed that I dont use my legs as much as I should. I know that this isn't exactly a great technique hence I want to try to learn how to serve properly.

So I have a bunch of questions. Here they are?
1. The proper way to serve is to jump first then swing your arm.
2. Is Andy Roddick's serve's fundamentals worth learning?
3. Any other good serve tips and pointers would be nice too.

PS for those who are curious, the highest serve speed I had was 171 kph.

SystemicAnomaly 05-13-2012 08:22 PM

Don't think of it as jumping on the serve. Think of it more as adding some leg drive to your serve mechanics. With sufficient leg drive you will naturally come off the ground.

If your toss is relatively low (just high enough for full extension of the racket arm), you want to bend your knees as you are lifting your tossing arm or as you are releasing the ball. If you bend your knees after the release, you should toss somewhat higher than your contact point. Let the tossing arm continue upward (to vertical) after the ball release. Leave it up there until your racket head drop (the backscratch phase).

This should give you a better shoulder tilt for the trophy phase. The outstretched hand will also give you a better reference for the position of the tossed ball, which should help you time the upward swing to the ball and help you to execute the proper swing path.

The bent knees should extend as the racket head drops from the trophy position down to the scratch position. Your legs will be fully extended as you are start your upward swing -- your legs drive upward first and then your racket arm drives the racket upward immediately afterward.

Some aspects of the Roddick motion can be copied but his motion is a bit too difficult and idiosyncratic to use as a model. You might adopt his abbreviated takeback but his stance and some other aspects of his motion might result in some issues.

Federer would probably be a better model for you to study and adapt. Also take a look at Sampras. However the timing of Pete's serve might be more problematic.
.

LeeD 05-14-2012 01:35 PM

First copy the standard serve motion, Ferrero or Hewitt, then allow your motion to evolve to YOUR motion.
If you're left, PetrKorda.

charliefedererer 05-14-2012 05:10 PM

All of the above recommendations to improve your serve are good ones.

But I sense you are seeking to get a proper rhythm in your swing that will feel comfortable, and allow for consistent serve after consistent serve.

Perhaps the following advice I recently gave another will help:


"The reason most want a higher ball toss is that they seem rushed and run out of time getting into their trophy pose and then getting all the way through the racquet drop/hitting sequence.


To get more time...

Don't toss, THEN start to get into a trophy position.

Instead toss AND start getting into a trophy position ... at the same time.



Go back and look at the video that Systemic Anomaly posted:
Federer Murray Haas & more ball toss common threads http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lIF-UaRUd6k

The whole point of it is that all the pros are rotating their shoulders back to coil at the same time their tossing arm is going up. [And to coil and remain balanced, you also have to be bending your knees at the same time!]


Check out the sequence of Sampras tossing below:



In pic 1, with the ball very low down near his knees in his tossing hand, the line of his shoulders is almost perpendicular to the service box he will serve into [not totally perpendicular as his front foot is to the right of his left foot].
But as he brings his tossing arm up (pics 2-5) by the time of ball release (pic 5) his shoulders are significantly coiled. [Although he continues to coil even more soon after ball release in pics 6-8.]





Tip #2: Don't "arm" your ball toss!

Huh?!!!

We've all been told not to "arm" our groundstrokes and serves.

Instead, the hitting arm motion should be preceded by a big body motion (coiling), to generate the initial energy in hitting the ball, with the arm swing following the reversal of the big body motion (coiling to uncoiling).

So too on the toss, a big body motion to initiate momemtum followed by a reverse of the big body movement, helps get the arm going up. But in the case of the toss, the motion is not coiling, but instead first leaning into the court, then leaning back, to helps get the arm going up!


Go back to that video of all the pros serve tosses. Note that all first lean into the court, then lean back.

Federer's lean in and lean back is more exagerated than most, but as usual, Fed is not wasting motion here:



When leaning in (pics 1,2 above), the tossing arm is going to going to be very low.



When leaning back, the tossing arm is going to start to rise as the shoulders and hips go from a downward slant (pic 1 above) to no slant of the shoulders/hips (pic 2) to an upward slant (pic 3).

This reversal of the shoulders/hip from a downward to upward slant provides the momentum to get your tossing arm moving upward.

The result is that you don't have to work hard on your toss if you let your big body movement help supply the energy.

[To those who have already noticed this "lean in" is actually "forming a bow shape" forwards, with the 'lean back" going all the way past vertical to forming the "bow shape in the opposite direction in the trophy pose - see tip #4 below - only to reverse again through the hitting motion.]


Watching the video helps to emphasize the "lean in" and "lean back", and how the toss is intrinsically interwoven with getting into the trophy position:
Roger Federer - Serve in Slow Motion http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D4PfHpKbJSI



Tip #3: The tempo of how fast you lean back, from your initial lean in, determines how fast to elevate your tossing arm.


Every orchestra needs a conductor, and every conductor has a baton to set the tempo of the music.

Your tossing arm is should be going up at a constant speed, and your tossing arm acts as the baton to set the tempo to your serve.
Tennis Serve Tossing Motion Tempo http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CeZp9...feature=relmfu

How fast your tossing arm movement should move comes from how fast you lean back (pic 1 to pic 2 above) in the initiation of the toss.

[Lean back too fast, and your tossing arm will move up too fast, and the ball will go too high.
Lean back too slow and your tossing arm will move up too slow, and ball will not be tossed high enough.
Lean back "just right" and your tossing arm will move up at "just the right" speed to get your toss to the right height.]


Tip #4: Your tossing arm continuing up and up and up until it is straight overhead gets you into the bow position.

Getting your body into the shape of a "bow" (when viewed from the side), is something everyone agrees is important to get that big shoulder over shoulder cartwheel action that can help power your serve.

As your tossing arm continues to go up after the toss (pics 3-4), you will automatically be getting a steeper shoulder angle.

With that steeper shoulder angle, your front hip will have to protrude over the baseline (pic 5) to counterweight the backward lean of the upper body to the fence.

This is what Brent Abel is emphasizing that video above where he states that even after ball release, your tossing arm should continue up, up, up at a constant rate, and allow your left hip to protrude forward.



In conclusion: Your "toss" should be perceived as being set up by a big body motion (lean in) to get it started.

The "toss" also should have a "follow through" of your tossing arm going up straight overhead to get you into the agressive trophy position you'll need to bash that ball."
- http://tt.tennis-warehouse.com/showt...36#post6424836

Bobby Jr 05-14-2012 06:26 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by SystemicAnomaly (Post 6531874)
Some aspects of the Roddick motion can be copied but his motion is a bit too difficult and idiosyncratic to use as a model. You might adopt his abbreviated takeback but his stance and some other aspects of his motion might result in some issues.

Federer would probably be a batter model for you to study and adapt. Also take a look at Sampras.

This ^ so so much. It says a lot about a player that they think "Roddick serves bombs, therefore I should copy him" sort of stuff.

Federer's, by far, would be a better serve to take inspiration from for the vast majority of club level players. His is a lesson in unflashy effectiveness and, really key for club players, consistency. The majority of what he does can be learned and work for most players - much easier than a Roddick style serve.

To try to mimic a serve like Roddick's is asking for a lifetime of inconsistency and risk of injury/niggles for most club level players.

As LeeD also said, Ferrero and Hewitt are also two non-flashy service motions which you can learn a lot from.

Wuppy 05-14-2012 07:30 PM

Get a camera. Videotaping my form then watching it back over and over next to videos of the pros helped me more than anything else.

ace_pace 05-15-2012 04:01 PM

Thanks everyone for the tips, I'll be trying to use them the next time I play. charliefederer thank you for the tutorial. I've been working with a private coach and he keeps telling me to have a higher ball toss. Funny thing is though, when I do, I dont like the feeling of just hanging there waiting for the ball to come down again. I guess its something I have to get used to.

charliefedererer 05-17-2012 10:52 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by ace_pace (Post 6537117)
Thanks everyone for the tips, I'll be trying to use them the next time I play. charliefederer thank you for the tutorial. I've been working with a private coach and he keeps telling me to have a higher ball toss. Funny thing is though, when I do, I dont like the feeling of just hanging there waiting for the ball to come down again. I guess its something I have to get used to.

The main point of my above post is that to occupy the added time, you need to actively do something.

Since you noted that you "don't use my legs as much as I should", the added time is getting a deeper knee bend, because to get more leg drive, first you have to bend the knees more.

But "deeper knee bend" is not the feeling you as a server has. I think it much more feels like you are lowering the weight of your body down - essentially doing a squat while your tossing arm is up.

It's very difficult to get that knee bending/squat while maintaining your arm up straight if done super fast like a "jack in the box'".

That's why you see virtually all the pros, and likely all the better players in your area, bending their knees squatting, while the ball is in the air.



Sp in photos 4-9 above, Sampras is not "doing nothing" in this time from when his arm is straight up, and the ball is probably high as you now are hitting it.

In photos 4-9 Sampras is actively loading for his big serve by actively preparing his legs for the big leg push off that will power his serve.

In photo 4, he has only a slight knee bend. He has to actively lower his body while maintaining his balance in the subsequent photos to where he has that deep knee bend at his trophy pose in photo 9.

Also notice that he is also letting his front hip progressively protrude forward into the court forming the "archer's bow."

I'll bet your trophy pose doesn't look like this:


or this:




So don't "DO NOTHING" and don't "WAIT FOR THE BALL TO COME DOWN AGAIN".


Instead DO!


DO get that deep knee bend by lowering your body weight while your arm is up.

DO get into the bow shape.


DO THAT, and you'll be fully loaded to bash that ball!

sportsfan1 05-17-2012 11:29 AM

^^ charliefederer, thanks for the pics. As usual, I am very interested in serve posts. One of the key things I noticed in the Sampras pics is how much action happens after the ball leaves Sampras's hands. In pic #1, the ball has left the tossing hand, but the racquet is still by the side of his foot. From this point on, while the ball is in the air, Sampras completes the rest of his serve to contact - including raising the tossing arm, knee bend, hip out into the tennis court, reverse of bow and swing to contact. This just shows how much time there is while the ball is in the air.
Rec players like me are so anxious to hit the ball once it's left the tossing arm that the rest of the key steps tend to be abbreviated if not skipped, and the racquet gets up into trophy position too fast where it wrongly pauses. You summarized it well when you said there's a lot to DO after the ball toss, and it's important to do all that.

LeeD 05-17-2012 11:58 AM

Problem here is you're considering copying one of the more complicated motions, and one of the most effective.
I say, copy a more basic motion. LeytonHewitt for righties, PetrKorda for lefties. Much siimple'er.

corbind 05-17-2012 12:15 PM

Loving this thread. I'm always impressed when I see quality answers.

jk816 05-17-2012 12:53 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by ace_pace (Post 6537117)
Thanks everyone for the tips, I'll be trying to use them the next time I play. charliefederer thank you for the tutorial. I've been working with a private coach and he keeps telling me to have a higher ball toss. Funny thing is though, when I do, I dont like the feeling of just hanging there waiting for the ball to come down again. I guess its something I have to get used to.

I would tend to advise you don't wait for the ball to come down again, instead go up there after it. The "jumping" you refer to is more accurately described as a forceful extension such that it pulls you off the ground. You don't jump to get it, you forcefully extend upwards. The higher contact point will aid in net clearance, proper shoulder angulation and greater contribution from your kinetic chain (less arming of the ball, which contributed to your elbow issue.)

What grip are you using for your serve? Very often when I see people who are most comfortable with a low contact point on their serve, I see them using a forehand grip, vice conti or EBH.

sportsfan1 05-17-2012 08:20 PM

In the trophy position (as shown in the pics of Sampras and Djok), is the weight equally distributed on the balls of both feet, or is it more on the left foot? I feel like it should be balanced on both feet, but end up more on the left (for a righty server).

boramiNYC 05-17-2012 11:19 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by sportsfan1 (Post 6543651)
In the trophy position (as shown in the pics of Sampras and Djok), is the weight equally distributed on the balls of both feet, or is it more on the left foot? I feel like it should be balanced on both feet, but end up more on the left (for a righty server).

Balanced on both in trophy, weight transfer to left during the swing. That's how I feel. I think Fed's weight transfer distance is a little less than Sampras.

connico 05-18-2012 08:25 AM

First thing first, try to identify if the elbow problem is going to affect your natural swing; if it does work on adjust your swing.

Secondly, forget jumping till you have your upper body sorted first. You need to make sure you have the fundamentals in contact, correct pronation, correct ball toss before you start getting your feet evolved.

Isolate what you need to learn and practice, start from the ground up with feet position, then move to shoulder / arm / rotation, than move back to feet. Integration of "jumping" as you call it naturally comes last.

netguy 05-18-2012 08:46 AM

Study the position of the hitting arm in the trophy stance ( you have several photos to look at in this thread).
Specifically you can pay attention to the position and distance of the elbow, wirst and racquet's head in relation to the shoulders, head and tossing arm.

Ballinbob 05-18-2012 10:05 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by corbind (Post 6542506)
Loving this thread. I'm always impressed when I see quality answers.

yeah no kidding. I just realized that I'm not letting my hip go into the court as much as I should just by browsing through this thread. Will give that a try, thanks fellas:)

sportsfan1 05-18-2012 11:15 AM

In pics 10, 11, 12 Sampras's non-hitting arm is coming down, but it doesn't come straight down (vertically, like a fist pump), but rather seems to come down horizontally or at some angle. Anyone else notice that and have any thoughts/explanation on the reason behind this? Is that just an individual habit/quirk?


Quote:

Originally Posted by charliefedererer (Post 6542266)




Limpinhitter 05-18-2012 11:21 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Ballinbob (Post 6545505)
yeah no kidding. I just realized that I'm not letting my hip go into the court as much as I should just by browsing through this thread. Will give that a try, thanks fellas:)

If I remember correctly, you were squaring up to the target too soon, as well. An accurate reliable toss and shoulder turn and tilt is 90% of the serve.

bhupaes 05-18-2012 12:07 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by sportsfan1 (Post 6545681)
In pics 10, 11, 12 Sampras's non-hitting arm is coming down, but it doesn't come straight down (vertically, like a fist pump), but rather seems to come down horizontally or at some angle. Anyone else notice that and have any thoughts/explanation on the reason behind this? Is that just an individual habit/quirk?

Well, not an expert here, but I have played around a lot with the non-hitting arm for different strokes and developed some strong opinions.

It is, of course, very important to train the non-hitting arm to do the right thing at the start of a stroke such as a forehand or serve (as discussed extensively in various threads). Just as important, is the necessity to leave it alone during the latter part the stroke to do what is necessary for maintaining the right balance - IMO, the body/brain will know what to do. If we try to move it like Sampras or someone else, it may not be the right thing us. The way the non-hitting arm moves will be a side effect of how one executes the stroke, and also dependent on the individual's unique physical characteristics.


All times are GMT -8. The time now is 05:06 AM.

Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.6.9
Copyright ©2000 - 2014, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.
© 2006 - Tennis Warehouse