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-   -   Serve Tips? (Video attached) (http://tt.tennis-warehouse.com/showthread.php?t=465755)

mptennis 06-05-2013 05:41 PM

Serve Tips? (Video attached)
 
I was just hoping that I might get some good tips just to make my serve a better weapon. I've recently just got back into playing after a 4 year hiatus (went to a small college and there weren't many people that played) and I'm trying to get serious about it, and I feel that my serve just leaves a lot to be desired. I'm a bigger guy, about 6'2" and 220 (trying to cut that down though) and based on that size I don't feel like my serve is as big or heavy as it should/could be. I know placement, variety, and consistency are more important than pace but I was just hoping that there might be someone out there that could identify a few things I could improve on or do differently on my serve. I pretty much taught myself in high school, no instructors or anything, so I feel I could easily be missing some important aspects of a good service motion. I appreciate all constructive criticism, or I suppose just any criticism in general, thanks!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tqvoJ...ature=youtu.be

sureshs 06-05-2013 05:47 PM

You seem to know what to do, just a matter of doing it consistently all the time.

Larrysümmers 06-05-2013 06:49 PM

i think if you would keep your tossing arm up a tad bit longer youd be more consistent. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s6sq0nl9190

WildVolley 06-05-2013 07:00 PM

I don't like your takeback - too whippy.:twisted:

But on a serious note, I think your shoulders are a little horizontal during the motion. I think with a more aggressive leg push and more of a shoulder-over-shoulder motion, you could up your pace. I agree with Larry that getting the tossing arm up higher and longer would help this general change. You're getting decent pop as it is, but I think you could kick it up a level.

Keep practicing and good luck.

LeeD 06-05-2013 07:32 PM

Nice motion, relaxed, easy swing, no effort, you can serve like that all day.
But, nice motion, relaxed, easy swing, no effort....that is the problem, no effort, easy swing.
Swing faster, then the technicalities come up, like throwing your hip forwards, angling upwards, more leg drive, more consistent leg thrust.

mptennis 06-05-2013 07:58 PM

Lee, the leg thrust has always been the most difficult for me, just doesn't feel natural. So I just bend at the knees on the toss and then try and explode through the ball?

WildVolley, I agree with you about the takeback. The first time I saw it I just thought it looked very very dainty, but I'm not sure what to do different. And could you elaborate on the shoulder-over-shoulder motion? Are you saying when I hit the ball I should rotate my torso so that my shoulders would be perpendicular to the court as opposed to parallel?

WildVolley 06-05-2013 08:51 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by mptennis (Post 7477710)
WildVolley, I agree with you about the takeback. The first time I saw it I just thought it looked very very dainty, but I'm not sure what to do different. And could you elaborate on the shoulder-over-shoulder motion? Are you saying when I hit the ball I should rotate my torso so that my shoulders would be perpendicular to the court as opposed to parallel?

The takeback is mostly just for style as long as you hit the proper trophy/power position, so don't worry too much about it.

Shoulder over shoulder just means that rather than having your shoulders parallel to the court during the motion, you should start with the toss shoulder going high and the hitting shoulder low and then they should change places as you go into the motion.

Look at this video of Sampras hitting a few warm-up serves.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KqRqdbBEzUM

Notice how his hitting shoulder goes over the tossing shoulder at contact. It really isn't perpendicular to the court because in 3D everything is at an angle to the court (you sort of lean your torso over to get this motion, which protects you from lifting your arm too high in the shoulder socket). This is just the way that most of the big servers hit.

Realize that Sampras is exceptionally athletic in his serve. Most players don't have that much leg thrust or lean, but it is still worth noting, and something you should experiment with.

mptennis 06-06-2013 04:25 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by WildVolley (Post 7477808)
The takeback is mostly just for style as long as you hit the proper trophy/power position, so don't worry too much about it.

Shoulder over shoulder just means that rather than having your shoulders parallel to the court during the motion, you should start with the toss shoulder going high and the hitting shoulder low and then they should change places as you go into the motion.

Look at this video of Sampras hitting a few warm-up serves.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KqRqdbBEzUM

Notice how his hitting shoulder goes over the tossing shoulder at contact. It really isn't perpendicular to the court because in 3D everything is at an angle to the court (you sort of lean your torso over to get this motion, which protects you from lifting your arm too high in the shoulder socket). This is just the way that most of the big servers hit.

Realize that Sampras is exceptionally athletic in his serve. Most players don't have that much leg thrust or lean, but it is still worth noting, and something you should experiment with.

After watching and comparing both videos it makes so much more sense, thanks. I suppose to do this I'll need to get my toss up a little bit? Seems like that ball isn't in the air long enough to give me the time to rotate properly. If weather permits I'll get out on the court after work and try and tweak it. I appreciate all of the suggestions!

andrewpmast 06-06-2013 05:23 AM

What transformed my serve overnight was rotating my grip to a more continental and keeping the racket loose in my hand. Also, hitting "upward" (vertical). Serving is like throwing, so I often just throw tennis balls using the natural wrist/whip that throwing a ball does. Then, after it's warmed up, put a tennis racket in my hand and do the same throwing motion.

Bobby Jr 06-06-2013 05:45 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by WildVolley (Post 7477591)
...I think your shoulders are a little horizontal during the motion. I think with a more aggressive leg push and more of a shoulder-over-shoulder motion, you could up your pace.

This ^.

Additionally it looks a little front on. At the most extreme he's only just gone past side-on with his torso. Showing his back to the net more would increase (in theory) the potential for the shoulder cartwheel motion. I know plenty of pros don't show any more (Berdych for example) but it's still something to consider given how many great servers do get around more.

mptennis 06-06-2013 10:33 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Bobby Jr (Post 7478559)
This ^.

Additionally it looks a little front on. At the most extreme he's only just gone past side-on with his torso. Showing his back to the net more would increase (in theory) the potential for the shoulder cartwheel motion. I know plenty of pros don't show any more (Berdych for example) but it's still something to consider given how many great servers do get around more.

So to do this do I just need to rotate my torso on the toss, or actually change my standing position at the beginning of the serve? Watching this video of Federer (I love his serve, looks so natural), it seems like his body is turned a little more away from the court, and on the toss he turns his back toward the net post, whereas my back faces just the next court.

Bobby Jr 06-06-2013 02:31 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by mptennis (Post 7479733)
So to do this do I just need to rotate my torso on the toss, or actually change my standing position at the beginning of the serve? Watching this video of Federer (I love his serve, looks so natural)..

I think in the first instance you should concentrate on the shoulder-over-shoulder cartwheeling. It is part of the same aspect of serving and one which would help most club players to put some effort into.

Regarding your stance: Someone like Roddick would get the turn even using a similar stance to you at the beginning of his serve. Others would be more back-on - John McEnroe being an extreme of being back on at the beginning. Federer, as you say, is a quite side on. That video of him is a superb video of how he serves. There's so much to crib from that footage too, you can see how the fundamentals of his match serve are still very much there even when he's just warming up.

LeeD 06-06-2013 02:35 PM

You'll never figure out the technique you need to serve fast until you start to swing faster, then find out what helps the ball go even faster.
Right now, you're doing relaxed, easy serves.

LeeD 06-06-2013 03:03 PM

To be fair, I watched the whole vid..... this time.
The last 5 or so, you seem to decide to swing somewhat faster.
Inconsistency is your enemy. You hit all over the racket, try all sorts of serves, use different techniques.
Lower racket hand, you are not a Navritilova clone. If you don't like the feel of pushing upwards to jump up into your serves, at least drive into the court consistently on every serve.
Turn much more sideways on the prep position, which automatically get's your racket back and your shoulder's set.
Toss height is fine.
TRY hitting a few full out, then reign it in until you get the control you want.
Right now, there is little control, but you're swinging only 70% fast.
Tons of potential, but raw right now.

Shangri La 06-06-2013 03:32 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by mptennis (Post 7477710)
Lee, the leg thrust has always been the most difficult for me, just doesn't feel natural. So I just bend at the knees on the toss and then try and explode through the ball?

Minimal leg drive has always been a big problem of my serve (amongst many other). I watched my own video and made one change - keep tossing arm up a bit longer. Then knee bend became a lot more natural. Not sure if this will work for you, but it helped me. Overall you have a nice and smooth serve.

mptennis 06-06-2013 03:34 PM

I appreciate all the feedback guys. I got out on the court today and mainly hit with a friend, but I did get some serving in and tried to incorporate a lot of the things that have been mentioned. Hopefully I'll have a video up tomorrow night in case you want to see if there is any improvement. Thanks!

LeeD 06-06-2013 03:43 PM

There is some debate whether lift or foreward drive is more important on the tennis serve.
Lift gives you higher strikepoint, a good thing.
Forward drive doesn't, but taking you into court, maybe the forward contact point adds momentum, shortens ball travel distance, and cut's off the angles, allowing to make up some contact point height loss.
I"m 64, can't run one step. I lost my 9'7" contact point maybe 30 years ago, after my unsuccessful motocross career (lotsa crashes..:)). But, serving from 1992 until today, the speed is about the same, the leg drive all but gone.
So, what's more important? High contact point, or more forward contact point which might boost serve speed and might shorten reaction time for the opponent?
I do notice ALL the pros on TV really make it a point to raise the toss arm as high as possible, almost hold it a millesecond, before they swing at the ball with the other hand. Is this so important, or is this something taught nowadaze?
Naturally, I cannot raise my toss hand much over my head....rotator cuff worn.....makes for interesting toss locations.

GoudX 06-06-2013 04:50 PM

The thing that jumps out to me is the low contact point, and lack of knee bend. Try to fix the first by throwing the ball about a foot higher on impact. You won't notice an immediate difference, but once you get it well drilled it will give you more consistency and more options.

mptennis 06-09-2013 01:39 PM

Well I took another video today, but after watching it, it doesn't seem all that different from the first one I posted after all. (It's here in case you're curious.) I still need to keep my tossing arm up longer, which I felt like I was, and I'm getting absolutely no knee bend. I do know that in practice (I played doubles for about 4 hours Saturday night) I have been getting some more action on it when I rotate more, but for some reason today when I took the video I just forgot about it. I'll get another one up soon.

Lukhas 06-09-2013 01:52 PM

^Maybe you're hitting down a bit instead of throwing your racquet towards the ball, but you seem to get it in consistently. I'd check your feet balance though. Your front foot moves a bit toward the baseline when you serve, making your feet wider apart than at the start and slightly unbalanced. You're not really using your feet, your serve is mostly upper-body, but you get some good action on it. I listened to Roddick's advice on it: toss, down, and up. No need to do it quickly like him, but that's how it feels for me.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Wkah8U1GQ_k

Of course, concentrate on leg drive only if you have mastered what's happening in your upper body.


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