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-   -   Started Using Video to Improve my Serve (http://tt.tennis-warehouse.com/showthread.php?t=462943)

travlerajm 05-08-2013 12:26 AM

Started Using Video to Improve my Serve
 
I started hitting balls with my wife regularly for the last month. Been taking advantage of the opportunity to get serve reps have her record a few of my serves. I've found it really helps me get the kinks out and shows me what to work on.

My serve had regressed due to lack of practice and is currently the weakest part of my game (5.0 player right now). But 10 years ago (and even moreso, 20 years ago), my serve was my big weapon. I've improved my serve form in the last few weeks, but still a long way to go to get back to the hammer of my tournament days.

Here's a hard slider followed by a hard topspin second. I hope to post an improvement soon - my goal is to hit the curtain >7 ft high (been 10 years since I could last do that consistently).

http://youtu.be/cKfoTV9GquM

HughJars 05-08-2013 01:21 AM

Thanks for the vid! Can see how this was a weapon - it has some decent heat/racket head speed, and once you brush off the cobwebs youll be flying again in no time I reckon.

Are you conciously trying to jump when you serve? It just seems that a lot of your leg drive is being used to get you to jump up vertically and not into the court at all. There is only a limited amount of forward momentum and you seem to go up and down on the spot a bit. This might be inhibiting your serve speed.

travlerajm 05-08-2013 01:29 AM

My old serve used have much more jump. I used to land further in the court than anybody - about 6 feet in (and higher too). My jump serve was a little like Battistone, but without the extra step. Today I seemed to land about 1-2 feet in. I'm working toward getting more forward jump back in general, as that used to be my secret (in spite of the fact that few pros do it). But today I was testing out a ball toss location a little less out in front, and it seems to have led to less forward jump (I'm usually at 2-3 feet these days). Mostly, I use the height that my ball hits the curtain to guide my tweaks.

Other things I'm working on are:
1. Getting my hips further out in front of my shoulders in the trophy position.
2. Turning my back to the net more in the trophy position.
3. Finding the optimum toss location.
4. Raising my contact point higher (might need to jump higher to do this).
5. Pulling the racquet down faster to have more distance to accelerate the racquet upward.
6. Experimenting with wider stance with rear foot further back for better weight transfer (like I used to).

JohnB 05-08-2013 02:35 AM

I think you loose energy from the ground up. It's visible when you look at your right leg. It comes around your body and it is not travelling backwards. If you take a look at this you'll see that his right leg points backwards. I believe that is due to Roddick activating his glutes for hip rotation. If you fire your glutes more, I think the leg kick back automatically and you will have a power increase (that is if your timing has adjusted)


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=91IxRV4RDt8

sureshs 05-08-2013 06:51 AM

Nice serve. Seems to achieve a lot compared to the energy input - very efficient.

Lukhas 05-08-2013 07:16 AM

Nice serve. But it looks like you're jumping on your serve. If you are trying to launch, pitch your racquet to the ball up there, your body will instinctively use leg drive.

/2cents

Chas Tennis 05-08-2013 08:31 AM

Video Considerations for the Serve
 
The impact parts of the serve are too fast for standard frame rate video cameras. At 30 fps, a frame is taken every 33 milliseconds (0.033 second); at 60 fps, a frame is taken every 17 milliseconds (0.017 second).

This high speed video at 420 fps shows all that happens in the 20 milliseconds before impact.
https://vimeo.com/65434652

The racket goes from the edge on to the ball to ball impact in about 20 milliseconds. Likely, at 30 fps for this 20 milliseconds you would get only one or no frames and with 60 fps one or two frames. The very rapid internal shoulder rotation can be seen by the rotation of the elbow bones & upper arm - more apparent later in the video, after ball impact.

This video & its thumnail from behind show the critical angle between the arm and racket at impact. This rapidly changing angle is visible for only a few milliseconds around impact as the racket is moving very fast.

https://vimeo.com/27528701



From the side view, most people looking at serve videos don't notice that the racket is at an angle to the arm at impact.

You don't have a high speed video camera? Check, because a lot of cameras have high speed video modes such as the Canon Powershot cameras.

Some compromise tricks to get the most information from your video camera:

1) Always shoot in direct sunlight (sharp shadows are cast) because the light levels are roughly 100X those of indoor tennis courts. Your video camera most probably uses automatic exposure control and it will usually adjust exposure by using faster shutter speeds for high light levels. Result - the video will have much less motion blur and you might be able to accurately see where the arm, racket, ball, etc are located. Most smartphones use very fast shutter speeds in direct sunlight so that the images of fast moving objects are very sharp.

2) Some new DSLR's have manual exposure control or shutter priority (auto) shutter speed adjustments for video. Some offer very fast shutter speeds such as 1/4000 second. These cameras might also have 60 fps.

3) View from high & directly behind the server so that the camera views along the ball's trajectory. That is both an informative view and since the racket is moving away from the camera at impact the motion blur will be greatly reduced at the time of impact- lower motion blur.

4) For 30 or 60 fps cameras, repeat the same serve until you catch one where you can see ball impact as shown in the above video thumbnail.

5) Consider any Jello Effect distortions produced in video cameras of very rapidly moving objects, especially so with high resolution HD smartphone cameras.

You can get a lot of information, mostly for the slower body parts, from your current videos. But the motion blur and low frame rate will always obscure the fastest parts of the serve, especially those in the last 0.05 second leading to ball impact. It could be very misleading to develop your serve based on videos that can't show what is happening at impact.

Govnor 05-08-2013 08:38 AM

lots of pace, nice. it does appear like you're forcing the jump a bit, that's the only thing I can make out from the vid.

LeeD 05-08-2013 02:13 PM

Nobody can ever bounce a serve 7' high at the backboard. Not Isner, not Dr.Ivo, not Battisone, not any of us.
Hot weather, abrasive court, TALL guy, maybe 4-5' up the backboard.
Now you can hit a rock or something on a court and do it, but that's not really a consistent bounce, is it?
Nice motion, you're getting old, lost some pop and some lift.

NLBwell 05-08-2013 08:58 PM

LeeD. Yes you can hit it 7' or more up the back fence. It has to be a big serve with a lot of topspin. The spin is more important than the velocity. A flat serve can't do it, it will only hit the back fence harder, not much higher past a certain velocity.

WildVolley 05-08-2013 09:53 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by LeeD (Post 7395919)
Nobody can ever bounce a serve 7' high at the backboard. Not Isner, not Dr.Ivo, not Battisone, not any of us.
Hot weather, abrasive court, TALL guy, maybe 4-5' up the backboard.
Now you can hit a rock or something on a court and do it, but that's not really a consistent bounce, is it?
Nice motion, you're getting old, lost some pop and some lift.

You so sure about that Lee?

I was at Indian Wells watching a match against the back fence (seating) right above the middle line judge. Balls hit by Karlovic were almost getting us.:shock:

I can't say with certainty but I'd reckon that some would be hitting 7' up on a regular court fence.

I've done it before, but I think it hit a pebble in the service box.:)

Relinquis 05-08-2013 10:08 PM

you play with pebbles on your courts? clean that up man!

Cheetah 05-08-2013 11:46 PM

good pace.
i'm going with 'not efficient' though.
you're losing a lot of energy with the jump and you're also hitting while your body is falling.
you have a live arm and you are using your legs but timing is off. (not hitting on the way up) (check out essentialtennis.com's free serve course in 3 parts for good info on that)

i'm going to guess you hit a lot of serves long, right?
you need to incorporate some hip coiling. you have none currently. minus a minimum of 5mph right there.
could use some more cartwheel too.
I'd bet with that live arm and a little better timing, coil and some more cartwheel you could hit at least 10mph faster which is a lot.
Also, that first serve is not a slice.

onehandbh 05-09-2013 02:35 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by travlerajm (Post 7394267)
ays.
Here's a hard slider followed by a hard topspin second. I hope to post an improvement soon - my goal is to hit the curtain >7 ft high (been 10 years since I could last do that consistently).
http://youtu.be/cKfoTV9GquM

If those courts are the ones I think they are (the ones whose mascot is
the smaller version of the Malamute) , I might be visiting there
in early July. Want to meet up for some tennis then?

travlerajm 05-09-2013 05:50 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by onehandbh (Post 7396802)
If those courts are the ones I think they are (the ones whose mascot is
the smaller version of the Malamute) , I might be visiting there
in early July. Want to meet up for some tennis then?

Love to. Just let me know.

LeeD 05-09-2013 08:51 PM

Big difference between what you can do now, compared to what you think you used to do.
You're not even all that old.

travlerajm 05-09-2013 09:52 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by LeeD (Post 7399966)
Big difference between what you can do now, compared to what you think you used to do.
You're not even all that old.

I'm 40. You don't have to remind me that I'm over the hill. But how do you know that I'm not baiting you in? Why would I post a video showing a 2nd serve hitting less than 5' high on the fence, then publicly challenge myself to go 2 feet higher, unless I was confident that I can go significantly higher?

Yes, the form in my video has some biomechanical flaws and is not up to the level up my biggest serves of the past - I don't jump forward nearly as far into the court as I used to, for starters. However, even if my form remains the same as in the video, I can still pick up quite a boost in bounce height simply by changing a few things:

1. The serves in the video were with half-dead balls. New balls ought to add a foot, right?
2. The serves in the video were were with kevlar hybrid strung tight in a dense pattern. Switching to an extended OS with open pattern, strung loose with syn gut might add another?
3. I use a racquet with 370 SW. In my experience, serve speed with a heavy racquet can improve rapidly with more reps because my arm strength improves rapidly when I am able to hit serves several times a week instead of once every 2 weeks. I just starting serving 2x per week a few weeks ago, so I can still gain here if I can continue to get serve reps over the summer.

charliefedererer 05-10-2013 07:09 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by travlerajm (Post 7394314)
My old serve used have much more jump. I used to land further in the court than anybody - about 6 feet in (and higher too). My jump serve was a little like Battistone, but without the extra step. Today I seemed to land about 1-2 feet in. I'm working toward getting more forward jump back in general, as that used to be my secret (in spite of the fact that few pros do it). But today I was testing out a ball toss location a little less out in front, and it seems to have led to less forward jump (I'm usually at 2-3 feet these days). Mostly, I use the height that my ball hits the curtain to guide my tweaks.

Other things I'm working on are:
1. Getting my hips further out in front of my shoulders in the trophy position.
2. Turning my back to the net more in the trophy position.
3. Finding the optimum toss location.
4. Raising my contact point higher (might need to jump higher to do this).
5. Pulling the racquet down faster to have more distance to accelerate the racquet upward.
6. Experimenting with wider stance with rear foot further back for better weight transfer (like I used to).

I have not doubt your serve will get faster, with #1 being your biggest source of added power.
[It will also solve your swinging your right leg around as the greater force exerted upward/forward will overcome your currently stronger coil/uncoil force.]

You may also be able to tweak keeping your tossing arm up straighter and a little longer to get better shoulder over shoulder action.


The racquet drop should be "passive", with the added distance down a function of the leg push off so fast it leaves your racquet/arm behind. Is there possibly a little more juice left in the legs?

A bigger racquet supination at the racquet drop also should be "passive" based on the rapid uncoiling swinging that racquet well over to the left with a "limp" wrist.


Your practicing more will be your biggest ticket to success.

Having perfect timing in the kinetic chain elements to build on them in succession will put you over the top.

With that in mind, you may consider trying a slightly lighter frame to get more reps in.


Over time, reconsider whether a tiny more bit of pace on your 5 foot kicker is more productive in match play that a 7 foot kick - I'm sure you have seen many 5.0's will just move in to take it on the rise. (Still, the more options the better.)


Just listen to your body - it would be a pity to suffer an injury when you love tennis so much and already have a serve most would love to have.

Good luck!

LeeD 05-10-2013 03:03 PM

I've heard of posters who post a vid of themselves, then challenge themselves publicly by saying..."2.5 to 5.0 in one year" ????????

Wilson6-1 05-11-2013 02:26 PM

OP, solid serve. I have never really looked at how high my serves bounce, but you have me intrigued.

The only advice I would give is that you seem to be jumping straight up and then swinging instead of jumping into the serve (if that makes sense). It seems like you are losing power right before impact because you are coming back down.


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