Talk Tennis

Talk Tennis (http://tt.tennis-warehouse.com/index.php)
-   Tennis Tips/Instruction (http://tt.tennis-warehouse.com/forumdisplay.php?f=17)
-   -   Hitting up vs. Brushing up on the serve (http://tt.tennis-warehouse.com/showthread.php?t=453054)

HunterST 01-29-2013 01:47 PM

Hitting up vs. Brushing up on the serve
 
"Make sure you hit up on the ball." It's an extremely common piece of advice on the serve, but it's a bit unclear. I always took it to mean brushing up the back of the ball with a closed racket face (perpendicular to the ground).

While learning how to serve a volleyball, I began to wonder if I misinterpreted. To serve a volleyball overhand, you have to, very litterally, hit up. That means the hand would be angled upward on contact.

Considering this, I wondered if players should be "hitting up" in this manner on a tennis serve as well.

I tried it out and had some mixed results. My 1st serve seemed to benefit. It got a little more powerful and went in with pretty good consistency. Topspin serve got less consistent though. I'm not sure where I stand on this issue.

Thoughts on this?

LeeD 01-29-2013 01:51 PM

Well, topspin second serves, for sure, you gotta hit upwards so the ball clears the net. If you hit straight out level with the ground, the topspin brings the ball down below net level.
For flat serves, you don't need to clear the net by more than 10", so while your ball CAN leave your racket dead level with the ground, a racket moving upwards with a SLIGHTLY closed face can give you a deadball effect, like a knuckle ball, so the ball arcs downwards, but you hit a flat fast serve.
That is an advanced technique. If you do the math, your strikepoint maybe mid 9' above the net, you cannot "SEE" the service court, and neither can the ball. You need to impart some curve to the ball, but not topspin, as that slows down the speed of the ball.

greystar403 01-29-2013 06:53 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by HunterST (Post 7178231)
"Make sure you hit up on the ball." It's an extremely common piece of advice on the serve, but it's a bit unclear. I always took it to mean brushing up the back of the ball with a closed racket face (perpendicular to the ground).

While learning how to serve a volleyball, I began to wonder if I misinterpreted. To serve a volleyball overhand, you have to, very litterally, hit up. That means the hand would be angled upward on contact.

Considering this, I wondered if players should be "hitting up" in this manner on a tennis serve as well.

I tried it out and had some mixed results. My 1st serve seemed to benefit. It got a little more powerful and went in with pretty good consistency. Topspin serve got less consistent though. I'm not sure where I stand on this issue.

Thoughts on this?

I point the racquet face SLIGHTLY SLIGHTLY upward because the ball stays on the racquet a tiny bit longer, which results in more spin. You also get a slight height boost.

The results aren't very noticable. I guess for me it's more in my head.

HunterST 01-29-2013 07:49 PM

Anyone else care to weigh in? Now that I think about it, if the racquet face isn't open, the ball can't go up.

charliefedererer 01-29-2013 11:56 PM

"Up the Mountain" excerpt form Serve Doctor presents: M.P.H. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WlPVdppfYGs

The basic idea is many players feel the main direction of energy direction is forward, like when a pitcher throws a fastball to a catcher.

But Pat Dougherty, the Bollettieri Camp "serve doctor", explains serving is more like throwing a ball straight up into the air.


Here's a picture of Sampras ready to launch "up the mountain" out of his incredibly aggressive trophy position:




Here is a series of photos of his serve, illustrating not just his body, but his arm and racquet are directed almost straight up.



I think the upward body launch is just pretty apparent.

But notice how low he drops his upside down racquet in pic 4.

He then pulls the butt of the racquet almost straight up in pics 5 before the elbow just starts to straighten out in pic 6 initiating the racquet "flip" from upside down to right side up, and the last second pronation movement seen in pic 7.

Keeping a relaxed wrist and throwing the butt of the racquet up at the ball can't help but flip the racquet, and if you got the racquet well out to the right side of the body, resulting in pronation.

The signature pose in pic 10 with the elbow high and the racquet straight down is from not resisting that flip and pronation until the movement is complete.

THAT is "hitting up the mountain".



Of course in a second "topspin" or "kick" serve, the ball is struck at a lower point, and the ball does get "brushed up", as can be seen below:



Notice the ball is indeed rising after it leaves the racquet, as the ball is well below the top of the "24" in pic 24, and equal to the top of the "27" in pic 27.

The stop action in this photo sequence allows us to see how extension at the elbow maintains the "hit the ball with the butt of the racquet" aim until at least pic 7.
Then like Pete above, but in more detail here, you can see how a loose arm and wrist allows the racquet to flip to right side up, and to pronate from left to right - getting that a nice "slap" on the ball in addition to the "brushing up" quality.

luvforty 01-30-2013 03:51 AM

charlie - I call you the serve surgeon !

Dimcorner 01-30-2013 05:13 AM

Count me in as a converted up the hill hitter! I thought I was going to end up launching the ball to the next court (I did a few balls) but after figuring out timing and small adjustments to wrist angle I'm getting the hang of it. I can swing almost at full speed, not crack my shin, and my hitting partner says they are landing in more often with more spin AND speed (than my old 50% speed 2nd serve swings)

luvforty 01-30-2013 05:26 AM

the other way to describe this -

since the swing is a circular motion, not linear, so the initial acceleration direction is not the impact direction.

think about hammering a nail into a wall, you do accelerate UP initially.....

but you accelerate forward only if you hammer one into the floor :)

fuzz nation 01-30-2013 06:49 AM

Even the tip of trying to "hit up on the ball" isn't universal. I might say that to a player who was bending at the waist too much and effectively pulling down through their serves. One of my kids hits her serves with a lot of spin though, since she already knows how to hit "up on the ball" just fine. I'm actually trying to coax her to hit a little more "through the ball" so she can generate some pace when she needs it.

The tip or the image that a teacher uses to promote one action or another is almost completely dependent on what that player is already doing if that guidance is actually going to be constructive. This might be my round-about way of saying that you're probably hitting up on the ball just fine.

Also keep in mind that there are significant differences between serving a tennis ball over a 36"-40" net and serving a volleyball over a net that's... hmm... well, it's sure higher than six feet! The volleyball has to get up over that high net from the top of our reach, but the tennis ball has to get down over that much lower net starting from a point well over a foot higher than the top of our reach (remember that a standard racquet is 27"). While that volleyball physically requires a little upward drive to clear that net, not so much at all in the case of the tennis serve.

What is sort of interesting to me is that the volleyball serve doesn't benefit from the extra mechanical element that we get in a tennis setting when wielding a racquet (the racquet head can fly faster than a v-ball server's hand). I'd say that this makes the volleyball serve a very good illustration of how much power can be derived from the legs and core for that general motion. Guess I've gotta tune in on some volleyball coverage now...

HunterST 01-30-2013 07:37 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by fuzz nation (Post 7179691)
Even the tip of trying to "hit up on the ball" isn't universal. I might say that to a player who was bending at the waist too much and effectively pulling down through their serves. One of my kids hits her serves with a lot of spin though, since she already knows how to hit "up on the ball" just fine. I'm actually trying to coax her to hit a little more "through the ball" so she can generate some pace when she needs it.

The tip or the image that a teacher uses to promote one action or another is almost completely dependent on what that player is already doing if that guidance is actually going to be constructive. This might be my round-about way of saying that you're probably hitting up on the ball just fine.

Also keep in mind that there are significant differences between serving a tennis ball over a 36"-40" net and serving a volleyball over a net that's... hmm... well, it's sure higher than six feet! The volleyball has to get up over that high net from the top of our reach, but the tennis ball has to get down over that much lower net starting from a point well over a foot higher than the top of our reach (remember that a standard racquet is 27"). While that volleyball physically requires a little upward drive to clear that net, not so much at all in the case of the tennis serve.

What is sort of interesting to me is that the volleyball serve doesn't benefit from the extra mechanical element that we get in a tennis setting when wielding a racquet (the racquet head can fly faster than a v-ball server's hand). I'd say that this makes the volleyball serve a very good illustration of how much power can be derived from the legs and core for that general motion. Guess I've gotta tune in on some volleyball coverage now...

Yeah, that upward drive that is demanded for a volleyball serve is what got me thinking about what "hitting up meant." Obviously it would be way more exaggerated in a vb serve than in tennis, but I wondered if that was what hitting up was.

Chas Tennis 01-30-2013 09:55 AM

Phrases such as 'hit up the mountain' or any other words to describe the very complex 3D body movements in a serve require clarification from those who use them. How can a few words describe a complex 3 D motion?

'brushing up the back of the ball'
'hitting from 7 to 1 o'clock' on a kick serve

How many of these terms have a positive value that outweighs their possibly misleading interpretations?

For example
https://vimeo.com/40449544
Maybe ?? Stosur is 'brushing up the back of the ball' with a '7 to 1' direction, very fast, at 240fps it's difficult to see. But you can see that the racket is also definitely rotating very rapidly at impact. I've heard 'hit 1 to 7' many times but the more complex racket rotation has never been part of the description. 'Brushing' seems to me a different motion conceptually than this rapid rotation (I think that this interpretation of brushing is screwing up my kick serve improvements.). If you brush up 1 to 7 and don't have the racket rotation is your kick serve forever doomed? (Yes, we all know our serves are likely doomed forever anyhow......)

In this video, what part of the motion of this serve is ’up the mountain’? What is the clear and useful interpretation of the term?
https://vimeo.com/53440915
I believe that his hand stays mostly level for some time before and after impact.

Also, while the less important components of the serve that can be observed by eye get a lot of attention and discussions the most important part of the serve that can only be seen in high speed videos receives hardly any discussion. A completely muddling and misleading term "pronation" is most often used instead of internal shoulder rotation (upper arm axial rotation). Is there a single instructional video where the term internal shoulder rotation is used?

https://vimeo.com/27528701

Where is the up the mountain, brush the ball, hit 1 to 7, etc . What stands out is the very high racket head speed created by the rotation of the upper arm.

If you have some short phrases for describing components of the service motion, please reply with the term, its meaning and possibly find a high speed video to show how term applies?

BTW in the OP - "with a closed racket face (perpendicular to the ground)". A Closed racket means that the highest edge of the racket, as held, is forward, closer to the opposite court. A closed racket tends to hit the ball more downward than a neutral or open face. The racket might feel closed at impact on the serve but you can’t tell unless you check with high speed video. In the videos of pros the racket face seems close to neutral (not open or closed). PS - Players often hit overheads into the net because they are positioned a little too far away from the falling ball and therefore reach and contact it with a closed racket face. If the toss on the serve is too far in front the same thing might happen.

LeeD 01-30-2013 10:03 AM

"up the mountain" is NOT straight up, but about 30 degrees upward, like a long throw....baseball or football

toly 01-30-2013 11:43 AM

Federer 2nd Serve Ball's Trajectory
 
It seems that Federer hits the ball slightly downward with tilted forward racquet face.



There is original video http://youtu.be/0ic0NN_VJzw :)

Chas Tennis 01-30-2013 11:59 AM

That Federer serve is just one shot. Maybe it was a fault.

The question needs stats on successful serves.

Racket Head Motion During Impact - Also, given the racket motion, the time that the ball is in contact with the strings, say, 0.005 sec, is not necessarily negligible regarding the racket velocity. IRS, for example, takes only about 0.03 sec for the racket to be edge-on at about 90 to the forearm to β at impact. Tilt during contact?

How much is the racket tilting (closing) during those 0.005 seconds of ball contact? When during that time was the video frame captured?

sureshs 01-30-2013 12:05 PM

Many first serves are aimed ever so slightly down when they come off the strings. That small deviation is critical to bringing down the ball into the box, because air drag, gravity and spin all together are still not enough, for that kind of swing speed.

LeeD 01-30-2013 12:34 PM

I think that hitting slightly down thing might work for the pros who hit 130+ serves, but for duffers like me, hitting barely 100, we need to hit slightly upwards, since our ball curves downwards much more due to slow speed, air drag, gravity, and wandering target and strikepoints.
Regardless, what IS important is to finish our service swing stroke AS we are hitting the ball, and definetely NOT after hitting the ball, which is seen in most vids of us guys trying to show off our serves.

toly 01-30-2013 05:05 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Chas Tennis (Post 7180332)
That Federer serve is just one shot. Maybe it was a fault.

I have no idea.

Quote:

Originally Posted by Chas Tennis (Post 7180332)
The question needs stats on successful serves.

Racket Head Motion During Impact - Also, given the racket motion, the time that the ball is in contact with the strings, say, 0.005 sec, is not necessarily negligible regarding the racket velocity. IRS, for example, takes only about 0.03 sec for the racket to be edge-on at about 90 to the forearm to β at impact. Tilt during contact?

How much is the racket tilting (closing) during those 0.005 seconds of ball contact? When during that time was the video frame captured?

There is racquet motion around impact where video speed is 500fps. IMO contact point is in Frame9.



See also some examples in thread http://tt.tennis-warehouse.com/showthread.php?t=440128

user92626 01-30-2013 05:27 PM

I pretty much understand and visualize serving the serve as Federer does. That is hitting down with a slightly close racket face, but because the racket head is on the upward/forward swingpath, the ball goes forward with power and some spin. :)

That's just how the racket contacts the ball for the service motion. The real challenge lies in how to accelerate the racket, ie power.

Chas Tennis 01-30-2013 05:35 PM

Toly, Interesting definitely is a closed face before, during and after impact.

Maybe that is a slice or kick.

Looks different than this serve. Maybe this is a flat serve. ?
https://vimeo.com/53440915

I thought that Stosur's kick serve looked closed racket at impact but from behind it was not possible to be sure.

What are the angles on the racket face for each type of serve at impact?

sureshs 01-30-2013 05:38 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by LeeD (Post 7180396)
I think that hitting slightly down thing might work for the pros who hit 130+ serves, but for duffers like me, hitting barely 100, we need to hit slightly upwards, since our ball curves downwards much more due to slow speed, air drag, gravity, and wandering target and strikepoints.
Regardless, what IS important is to finish our service swing stroke AS we are hitting the ball, and definetely NOT after hitting the ball, which is seen in most vids of us guys trying to show off our serves.

Can you elaborate on that?


All times are GMT -8. The time now is 04:43 AM.

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