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Old 11-10-2012, 01:13 AM   #16
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Join Date: Feb 2006
Location: Stuck in the Matrix somewhere in Santa Clara CA
Posts: 10,787

Originally Posted by rufus_smith View Post
Nice find. In there is the only video I've ever seen of Berger serve. It's just one serve versus Becker, btw, because it started raining. I served the Berger way for a few weeks in the summer because of temporary injuries and it worked fine. It helped me focus more on the ball toss since the hitting arm is already set. You might lose a little maximum possible serve speed but not much. You gain serve reliability I think. Heck, I may go back to it.
Originally Posted by dlam View Post
Yes essentially resting the throat of the racket over his right clavicle to start the serve motion
I teach a variation of this Berger serve to novice servers and to intermediate servers who have a significant hitch when attempting a fuller motion. I started with the same variation when I taught myself to serve with my opposite arm -- I normally serve lefty but have developed a pretty decent righty serve.

The thing that I do not like about the Berger serve is that he starts with his right elbow forward. It should be pulled back -- as if pulling back an arrow in a bow. In his start position, he does not employ a pectoral stretch (due to his inferior elbow position). The Serve Doctor (implicitly) talks about this elbow position. (However, in this spring-loaded serve, the server uses a variation of the abbreviated takeback rather than starting with the racket throat starting on the clavicle).

I use this "sans takeback" serve as part of a progression. This enables the server to focus on the toss and on the upward swing of the racket head from the so-called BS ("back scratch") position up to the contact. Note: I am one of those who is not fond of the backscratch (BS) terminology -- some servers get the wrong idea by trying to "scratch the back".

After the shoulder/clavicle serve is mastered, the next step in the progression is to develop a serve with the racket starting the "trophy position" -- the elbow starts with a 90 degree band and it (the elbow) is pulled back and is directly in line with the shoulder tilt.

I currently use this "trophy" serve for my right-handed serve. With this serve variation, the server should make certain that they achieve a good (deep) racket head drop (what some refer to as the backscratch position). Many servers do not achieve an adequate racket head drop.

= Trophy position

"Backscratch" position:
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