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-   -   Righty: can serve left, can't serve right (http://tt.tennis-warehouse.com/showthread.php?t=462931)

bkpr 05-07-2013 09:16 PM

Righty: can serve left, can't serve right
 
Hey all.

My serve has improved quite a lot since getting advice in another thread. I'm finding these days I can serve out wide fairly easily from the deuce side, and serve ok down the T from the ad side — both moving/sliding to my right — but I'm having trouble serving to my left: down the tee from the deuce side, and out wide from the ad side. I feel there's one or two things I could do to help guide my motion to produce this serve direction, but I can't figure out what it is. I've tried:

• Holding the grip with a more eastern grip vs continental. I've had the best success with this method, but it's still maybe 1 in 10 attempts. This method usually produces a hard body shot which sometimes works to win/set up the point.
• Angling my stance and body slightly towards that side vs my usual stance. This doesn't seem to make any, or much, difference.
• Imagine/aim hitting the ball directly through the back of the ball instead of hitting 'up' on the ball. This produces a body shot most of the time.

I try to keep my toss in the same spot for each serve but in honesty it's a little inconsistent, but getting better. When I want to change the direction of the ball I tend to shift my grip slightly to achieve this, and also visualise hitting the ball in different places on The Clock Face™.

How does everyone else change their grip/motion/stance/etc to hit to the right (for a righty). Any advice would be appreciated, even if it's just some other ideas to try. I'm not looking for a "quick fix", but if I can find something that seems to make it easier I'll practise it.

theblueark 05-07-2013 10:38 PM

I've always had this problem and it still comes back when I have long periods without practice. What works for me is instead of mentally aiming for the right corner of the serve box, I mentally aim to hit it out. Or aim to hit the right net post. Ends up that I'll miss my target too far to the left, which ends up being "in".

I keep practicing that and I find that the resulting landing spot and my mental target slowly "syncs" closer and closer.

bkpr 05-08-2013 04:39 AM

I never thought of doing that (for obvious reasons ;)) I'm sure there is a better, or more 'correct' adjustment, but I'll give that a try regardless.

Dimcorner 05-08-2013 05:16 AM

That seems to work for me too. I swear to myself I'm aiming WAY to far out and it lands in. When I aim for the corner it lands in the middle of the box. I'm sure with practice I can mentally adjust my aim to be correct, but for now that's what seems to work, aim about 1-2ft wide right and it will generally still land in.

I also feel there is no way it's landing in and it will hit the net, but it really doesn't.

LeeD 05-08-2013 01:22 PM

Aiming serves...
Followthru in the direction you want the ball to go.

user92626 05-08-2013 01:29 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by LeeD (Post 7395948)
Aiming serves...
Followthru in the direction you want the ball to go.

Today must be a special day. I find myself agreeing twice with LeeD.

I use the same technique - plow my racket through the ball in the direction where I want it to go, like FH.

bkpr 05-08-2013 01:31 PM

Seems logical (simple) enough. Don't know why it never occurred to me. I'll give it a try tomorrow. Thanks!

psv255 05-08-2013 02:20 PM

I had similar troubles when attempting to go down the T on the deuce side; what helped me was opening my serve stance a bit (in other words, pointing my feet a bit more into the court when preparing). There's a point in the stance past which you can't follow through in the direction you want to hit the ball (unless you're hitting a slice), so you might want to open it up a bit.

hope this helps.

bkpr 05-08-2013 07:08 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by psv255 (Post 7396099)
…what helped me was opening my serve stance a bit (in other words, pointing my feet a bit more into the court when preparing).

Do you mean pointing your toes towards the net more? Currently my left/front foot is almost parallel to the baseline, pointing a little into the net, but not much. I understand being more 'open' is also moving your back foot out from behind your body, and for a righty, a little to the right. Is this what you mean/do?

psv255 05-09-2013 04:46 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by bkpr (Post 7396518)
Do you mean pointing your toes towards the net more? Currently my left/front foot is almost parallel to the baseline, pointing a little into the net, but not much. I understand being more 'open' is also moving your back foot out from behind your body, and for a righty, a little to the right. Is this what you mean/do?

Exactly, starting out facing more towards the net.
Before I did what you/I described above, there wasn't much freedom for the shoulder/upper body to uncoil in a linear way (to flatten out more down the middle), so all I would get is a medium-rate slice that would split the service line when I would try to go down the T. What you did by angling off even more (even more parallel to baseline) made it impossible to hit the T by simply following through in that direction.

bkpr 05-09-2013 05:24 AM

Thanks for the clarification. Ideally I don't want to change my stance if I can avoid it — I love the idea that my stance and toss are the same for every serve to confuse/surprise my opponent (even though I'm not there yet). In saying that, I'll be trying all the ideas here to see which works best for me.

Nellie 05-09-2013 07:12 AM

Check your toss. A lot of rec players toss to a certain position in front of the server in the court, which works for the deuce court (serving from the right side), but is way out of line for the ad court (serving from the left side). Try letting the ball drop to the ground to see where it falls relative to your body.

Per comments above, your stance orientation may also be slightly off. For me, as a righty, my shoulders are generally pointed down the T on the deuce side and at the right net post on ad side. I see lot of people who set up wrong on one side and, consequently, really struggle on that side.

bkpr 05-09-2013 08:30 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Nellie (Post 7397315)
I see lot of people who set up wrong on one side and, consequently, really struggle on that side.

Yes this makes sense: you're aiming at two areas in different general directions (with a slight overlap), so using the same stance/position on ad and deuce sides would be wrong. I'll have a look at that also.

=== few seconds later ===

When I think about it, I'm able to turn my body and serve almost 180 degrees from where I'm facing when I begin my motion. It's when I need to aim <75 degrees, i.e., less twist to my left and more straight on, that I have trouble: I end up curving still to the left. So I'm not sure opening my stance would make the right difference. In theory it would make me curve the ball to the left even further (assuming everything else stays the same).

Hmmm, I guess experimentation is the key.

psv255 05-09-2013 09:05 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by bkpr (Post 7397713)
So I'm not sure opening my stance would make the right difference. In theory it would make me curve the ball to the left even further (assuming everything else stays the same).

Unless you want an extremely curvy slice down the T (in which case, you need to keep the stance closed and experiment with the toss), then you would also have to flatten out your swing and open the stance. It might not be a problem of simply changing the direction in which you hit your serve, but the way you actually hit it.

To clarify, are you asking about a serve like this?
https://www.youtube.com/watch?&v=EXNc_iMkSIY#t=26s

bkpr 05-09-2013 10:28 AM

Yes, like that (ideally even closer to the Tee). And also out wide from the ad side.

charliefedererer 05-10-2013 07:07 AM

LeeD gave you the answer, but it seems a little more explanation is in order to understand "Followthru in the direction you want the ball to go."



When we serve, we throw the side of our body at the court we are serving into.



So in our trophy position (pic 4), we are in a bow shape with our front hip over the baseline, and our upper body tilted backwards at the back fence.
Our tossing shoulder is straight up, and our hitting shoulder is straight down.

As we serve we throw the right side of our body up and forward (pics 5-eight) to impact.
Our shoulders should "cartwheel" vertically so that by impact (pic eight) our hitting shoulder is now straight up, and our tossing shoulder is now straight down.
The "bow shape" is now reversed - with the upper body now in front of the hips.

You can really see this cartwheel/vertical shoulder over shoulder action and the bow shape/reversing the bow shape in the following video of Soderling serving:
Robin Söderling serve slowmotion http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a56pvP1i6x8

[You really need to have this vertical shoulder over shoulder motion, both to increase your serve speed and provide direction to your serve, and to avoid a rotator cuff shoulder injury:
Preventing Rotator Cuff Injury http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lTRvxaBMh8s ]



Now to serve to the right "cartwheel" your shoulders slightly more to the right.

To serve to the left "cartwheel" your shoulders slightly more to the left.


Ian from essential tennis shows in this video that it takes only a subtle difference in the direction you cartwheel to get your serve to go either wide or down the middle:
Pronating on Wide and Middle serves:http://www.essentialtennis.com/video...e-serves/1723/
[Don't be dismayed on his talking about pronation -we all know we need to pronate - but pay attention to the slight difference in the wide down the middle serve.]


I hope this helps.

bkpr 05-10-2013 08:34 AM

Thanks for all your great info CF, and the time you take to help people like me :)

The takeaways from that video for me are:
1. Stance and 95% of serve action is the same
2. Move your weight/momentum towards the target; straight ahead for down the tee, towards the corner for out wide (deuce court serve)
3. Racquet face at contact pointing towards the target; straight ahead for down the tee, more to the left for out wide (deuce court serve).

Now, 1 & 2 I can do. 3 on the other hand, I think is too difficult (for me at least) to consciously do. There's just no way I can adjust my pronation timing to be a millisecond or two later or earlier to get the desired angle. I'm hoping this is a byproduct of no. 2.

I can see clearly from the video though, what "Followthru in the direction you want the ball to go" means/looks like. Thanks for the link!

ga tennis 05-10-2013 08:48 AM

My daughters doubles partner serves lefty and righty and hits two forehands. In a few years she is gonna be incredible because of the angles she will be able to pull off and the abilty to serve equally with both hands is gonna be a HUGE advantage.

Raul_SJ 05-10-2013 09:21 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by bkpr (Post 7401421)
Thanks for all your great info CF, and the time you take to help people like me :)

The takeaways from that video for me are:
1. Stance and 95% of serve action is the same
2. Move your weight/momentum towards the target; straight ahead for down the tee, towards the corner for out wide (deuce court serve)
3. Racquet face at contact pointing towards the target; straight ahead for down the tee, more to the left for out wide (deuce court serve).

Now, 1 & 2 I can do. 3 on the other hand, I think is too difficult (for me at least) to consciously do. There's just no way I can adjust my pronation timing to be a millisecond or two later or earlier to get the desired angle. I'm hoping this is a byproduct of no. 2.

I can see clearly from the video though, what "Followthru in the direction you want the ball to go" means/looks like. Thanks for the link!

I am also having a similar problem with the serve -- all my flat serves are going down the T from the Deuce court and wide in the Ad.

I am trying the following approach:

The important point to keep in mind is that there is only a few degrees of racquet head tilt difference between wide serves and down the T serves.

Given the above, I would NOT change the toss and NOT change the stance.

Focus on the feel of hitting the ball on the right side and on the left side.

If you hit the right side of the ball on a flat serve, it will go wide on the deuce court.If you hit the left side of the ball on a flat serve, it will go down the T on the deuce court.

I think CharlieFederer's post regarding the cartwheel, etc, is useful in general for generating power but we must also address the root cause of the issue
i.e., getting a feel for the racquet head angle at contact.

bkpr 05-10-2013 01:41 PM

Probably true. In my initial post I mentioned I have some success in gripping the racquet differently, which I imagine changes the angle of the racquet face as it hits the ball (assuming all other things are equal). In some respects it's the same result as imagining hitting a different part of the ball.

I'm not sure which would work best though: changing the grip (physical 100% change), or visualising hitting a different part of the ball (mental change, which may lead to a physical change in the swing). Will need to test both :)


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