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-   -   Finding my serve after 20 years. (http://tt.tennis-warehouse.com/showthread.php?t=431169)

Greg G 07-07-2012 02:54 AM

Finding my serve after 20 years.
 
Since the original thread has gone into remodelling my forehand:

http://tt.tennis-warehouse.com/showthread.php?t=430395

I decided to start a new thread about my serve. After 20 years...I can serve, but there's some weird hitch in the kinetic chain. What I can see is that the right hip/leg comes forward. As always, comments and suggestions are most welcome.

Video of the motion here:
http://youtu.be/V0vTXOUkYc8

It's pretty much good for starting the point, not much more. No pop.
http://youtu.be/PP9TIcAz5X4

Please do help me fix it :)

Limpinhitter 07-07-2012 03:23 AM

Not bad. The same upper body rotation needed for groundies also applies to the serve. When you toss the ball, there are two moves you should focus on: (1) sliding your left hip to the target, and (2) turning your back to the target. Sliding your hip will tilt your shoulders. So, your shoulders are turned and tilted and your spin is angled to the left and forward into the court. In the trophy pose, you want your left shoulder to be as high over your right shoulder as comfortably possible. In this turned and tilted position, you drop your racquet behind your back and, at the same time you start your upswing, you roll (aka rotate) your upper body so that your right shoulder turns up to the ball. At contact, your shoulders have reversed their positions so that the right shoulder is as high above the left shoulder as comfortably possible. Think of it like the rotation of a golf swing, except your spine is angled to the left instead of to the right.

In addition, you need to toss more forward into the court. In your video, if you let your toss bounce, it will bounce behind the baseline. It should bounce at least 1-2 feet into the court which means you have to lean into the court to get under the ball. As it is, you are reaching back for the ball and almost falling back after contact.

As to the hitch, IMO, there are two ways to approach the timing of a serve, a continuous motion and a hitch. Both are acceptable ways to serve. In a continuous motion, the tossing arm leads the racquet arm which lags behind and gradually accelerates through with a traditional throwing motion through contact. Laver, Lendl, Edgerg and Sampras would be good examples of this motion. In the hitch, both arms come up together and pause in the trophy pose waiting for the ball to reach its apex, and then the racquet arm accelerates abruptly through contact. Borg, Becker, Roddick are good examples of the hitch. Federer is a bit of a hybrid with a small hitch.

Greg G 07-07-2012 07:09 AM

What strikes me as strange is that my right leg kicks forward or to the side a bit, and I land on it. Instead of it kicking backwards and me landing on the left leg. I know it wasn't that way 20 years ago :confused:

Will work on more rotation as well. Thanks!

Limpinhitter 07-07-2012 12:10 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Greg G (Post 6702355)
What strikes me as strange is that my right leg kicks forward or to the side a bit, and I land on it. Instead of it kicking backwards and me landing on the left leg. I know it wasn't that way 20 years ago :confused:

Will work on more rotation as well. Thanks!

That's because you are tossing the ball too far back and falling back after contact. If you let it drop, it would land behind the baseline.

(1) hip slide, (2) shoulder turn, (3) toss 1-2 feet in front of left toe.

Magic of tennis 07-08-2012 01:33 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Limpinhitter (Post 6701954)
(1) sliding your left hip to the target, and (2) turning your back to the target. Sliding your hip will tilt your shoulders. .

What do you mean sliding left hip to the target? You mean to make a bow shape pose?

Limpinhitter 07-08-2012 08:37 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Magic of tennis (Post 6705123)
What do you mean sliding left hip to the target? You mean to make a bow shape pose?

If sliding the left hip to the target puts you in a bow shape pose, then I think the answer is yes. But, it's important to create the bow pushing the hip forward, not just tilting the head backwards.

LeeD 07-08-2012 07:40 PM

There's no pop because you just swing a full motion, never concentrating the rackethead speed anywhere.
You need to swing fast upwards, slow down your hand to "crack the whip", then followthru after impact. A high hand, high elbow finish, after the ball strike, with your racket pointing straight down at the ground, shows you this.
Look at vids of pro men's serves. After the ball strike, the hand and elbow is above their head, while the racketHEAD is pointing straight down at the ground.

spacediver 07-08-2012 09:28 PM

good advice in this thread. Agreed with limpinhitter, the reason you're kicking forwards is because that prevents you from falling backwards. You want to be rotating forwards into the court and have your leg kick backwards to prevent it.

Greg G 07-09-2012 01:34 AM

*&*&%! You'd think fixing a toss would be easy! It keeps coming back! Here I'm trying to fix it and adjust the contact point.

http://youtu.be/7sEtbj9NKQU

Here are a few serves. Sorry the framing is bad, the ball gets lost.

http://youtu.be/VwF8GnP5Kls

Better than last time. I'm not falling backwards...as much... :-? I do feel much more balanced. Putting the toss out in front kinda fixed a lot of it, though I'm netting the ball. That's easily fixed with more practice. At least I'm going in the right direction. Still need to crack that whip!

Limpinhitter 07-09-2012 06:13 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Greg G (Post 6711625)
*&*&%! You'd think fixing a toss would be easy! It keeps coming back! Here I'm trying to fix it and adjust the contact point.

http://youtu.be/7sEtbj9NKQU

Here are a few serves. Sorry the framing is bad, the ball gets lost.

http://youtu.be/VwF8GnP5Kls

Better than last time. I'm not falling backwards...as much... :-? I do feel much more balanced. Putting the toss out in front kinda fixed a lot of it, though I'm netting the ball. That's easily fixed with more practice. At least I'm going in the right direction. Still need to crack that whip!

When you toss more out in front you have to lean forward a bit more to get under the ball. You still need more hip slide and shoulder turn. But, you are right to focus on the toss first. BTW, how are you holding the ball with your tossing hand, 2 fingers, 3 fingers?

Greg G 07-09-2012 07:13 AM

3 fingers. :confused:

popsicleian 07-09-2012 07:38 AM

I'm in a similar situation in that I started playing again after a very long layoff. When I first started back up, I had the exact same problem on my serve. I couldn't keep my right hip/leg from rotating forward and coming down first.

I took a lesson and the instructor had me work on starting my stance with my right leg much further back than normal, almost ridiculously so. As I went up to toss the ball, my right foot would slide forward into a more traditional position, and as I began my serve I'd concentrate on kicking the right leg back instead of following through onto it.

It felt really awkward at first, but it helped a lot, if for no other reason than it slowed down my whole service motion and made me focus on what I was doing. Now that I'm more comfortable with the proper movement, I don't have to start with such an exaggerated stance anymore.

Limpinhitter 07-09-2012 07:38 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Greg G (Post 6712196)
3 fingers. :confused:

That's fine. That's how I used to do it when I played a 1hb, I held the tossing ball with 3 fingers and the second ball with 2. When you toss, hold your hand in what is called the icecream cone position. In other words, the position it would be in if you were holding a glass of water, with your palm to the side, not palm up.

Greg G 07-09-2012 07:51 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Limpinhitter (Post 6712287)
That's fine. That's how I used to do it when I played a 1hb, I held the tossing ball with 3 fingers and the second ball with 2. When you toss, hold your hand in what is called the icecream cone position. In other words, the position it would be in if you were holding a glass of water, with your palm to the side, not palm up.

Really? Why? To minimize wrist action?

Limpinhitter 07-09-2012 07:55 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Greg G (Post 6712323)
Really? Why? To minimize wrist action?

Yes, to eliminate unecessary variables and prevent "throwing." You want to push the ball into a box in the air. I like to bring my hand down to my left leg, come to a full stop, and push the ball up from there. But, there are other techniques that work well too.

Greg G 07-09-2012 08:07 AM

Will give it a try. Testing it here, I can see how the palm up can allow the wrist to toss it behind me.

Popsicleian, will try your suggestion as well. Thanks! :)

Greg G 08-16-2012 06:11 PM

Haven't been working on my serve much while I'm working on the forehand. But it's really getting on my nerves. Right now I'm practically just spinning it in to start the point.

Warmup
http://youtu.be/Tx0_5DkRkcM

Match Play
http://youtu.be/vVewlxrdJQI

The thing is, why can I hit a decent overhead with pace, and not have the power on my serve? Is it a mental thing? :confused:
Net Play
http://youtu.be/qxwn5Fg389E

LeeD 08-16-2012 06:25 PM

Overheads, you expect less from yourself, and you're standing in front of NML, a much shorter distance to hit the ball. The ball is also falling from up higher, so you get some extra momentum from that. Very few players hit their overheads nearly as hard as their serves. In your case, your overheads are good enough, but if you served at that speed, your opponent will crush it into a corner.
Once again, your motion on the forward swing is wrong. It's too long after you hit the ball, you never concentrate the rackethead speed anywhere along the swing, instead swinging a long smooth motion, that NEVER cracks the whip.
Think of what it takes to crack a whip to supersonic speeds. You need, at some time, to slow the hand so the head of the whip can speed past, creating the whipping supersonic speed as you pull back. Dont pull back on the serve, but do the rest.

Limpinhitter 08-16-2012 06:25 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Greg G (Post 6812584)
Haven't been working on my serve much while I'm working on the forehand. But it's really getting on my nerves. Right now I'm practically just spinning it in to start the point.

Warmup
http://youtu.be/Tx0_5DkRkcM

Match Play
http://youtu.be/vVewlxrdJQI

The thing is, why can I hit a decent overhead with pace, and not have the power on my serve? Is it a mental thing? :confused:
Net Play
http://youtu.be/qxwn5Fg389E

Your serve has potential. I would recommend re-reading my posts above. It all still applies. The biggest bang for your buck will come from getting your toss more forward into the court. Most of your tosses would still land behind the baseline if you let them bounce. That's killing your serve. When you practice your serve, start with 10 minutes of toss only practice. Try to get the ball to consistently land at least 1-1.5 feet in front of your left toe. Then practice serving as if you are going to serve and volley. The intent to S&V may help get your toss forward.

Greg G 08-16-2012 07:32 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by LeeD (Post 6812608)
Once again, your motion on the forward swing is wrong. It's too long after you hit the ball, you never concentrate the rackethead speed anywhere along the swing, instead swinging a long smooth motion, that NEVER cracks the whip.

Got it. Will work on that. Here's a new serve series which I think is pretty good. Gonna watch it repeatedly...
http://www.essentialtennis.com/video/followthrough75/


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