Originally Posted by Limpinhitter
I think it's pretty clear that Ralph incorporated some of what was on the video into his serve. Whether it helped much is debatable. But, it's also pretty clear to me that this coach doesn't fully understand the serve, or, how to throw a ball. As a result, he was focusing on symptoms rather than the disease.
IMO, alhtough Ralph does get a good shoulder turn in his windup, the missing element in Ralph's serve is that he doesn't get a sufficient shoulder tilt and spine angle to rotate his upper body around. As a result, his serve is mostly an arm swing with little support from upper body rotation. The focus on Ralphs arm position in the trophy pose without understanding that it was being caused by having level shoulders in the trophy position (aka: Jimmy Connors syndrome), is why the lesson wasn't particularly valuable as far as I'm concerned.
Rafa does have problems with his shoulder tilt.
But holding his racquet in the old way in his trophy position contributed to this:
It does seem he did improve his shoulder angle by bending his elbow, letting his rear shoulder drop down.
But of course, even with the elbow bent, he can still manage to screw up the steep shoulder tilt by raising his upper hitting arm up higher at times:
(Cincinatti, August 2011)
It just seems incredible that someone with obiviously the tremendous talent of Rafa, and access to video and coaching wouldn't easily have changed his steep shoulder angle to look more like others, including Djokavic below:
I do agree it looks like he is getting a good shoulder turn in his windup - his old serve often had his back just pointed at the sideline, rather than having his back turned around so much it is practically facing into the court [although the last photo of Rafa may have been for a second "topspin" serve].