3 serving styles

HuusHould

Professional
I was wondering what people thought about these generic serving styles that Dougy Eng came up with and Wayno Elderton is discussing in this video (link below). Is the "staggered" style just an abbreviated toss with a classical swing, I mean that makes sense given they have the highest toss, it looks like this with Berdych, but Serena goes a bit lower with the tossing arm. I mean obviously you can't abbreviate the swing and have a classical tossing motion (down to the thigh like the Fed) because the racquet would get there too early in the absence of a hitch which would impair power?

Which style do you you think is likely to suit the majority of players? Do you think one is better for lower level players? etc. Do you think platform and pinpoint stances go better with one or more of these styles? Do you agree on the specifics of the generic styles (i.e. that a low ball toss usually goes with an abbreviated action etc)

 
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heninfan99

Talk Tennis Guru
Awesome 80s soundtrack.

Agree on the basic styles. I imagine you could toe drag with all three but might be rushed on the abbreviated.
 

SinjinCooper

Hall of Fame
Which style do you you think is likely to suit the majority of players? Do you think one is better for lower level players? etc.
Classical. Not "likely." Certainly. It's the fundamental service motion; the one upon which the others depend in order to make sense.

Classical serve style is nothing but pure throwing mechanics, brought to the act of serving, and as such it's by FAR the best way to teach (or to learn) how to serve in a way that uses both arms and the body properly. The arms go up and out together, equal and opposite, into positions that work together in concert to both drive the upper body's movement AND place the hitting arm in position where it will function fluidly. The body learns better, and works better, symmetrically.

Every other serving style BUILDS upon that one, working off the assumption that you can already perform its basics well, and can fully understand how to alter it in the prescribed way(s) WITHOUT fundamentally altering the underlying mechanics. When you try to initially build your serve off of any other style, this quickly becomes a flawed assumption, because the underlying mechanics are missing. The upshot is most serves stagnate forever in <=4.0 land.

You can't paint Guernica until you can shade a piece of fruit. You can try, but it'll be a train wreck, and people will laugh at you. In exactly the same way, and for exactly the same reasons, you can't hit like Sock or Sampras until you can hit like Chrissie or Vic Braden.
 

HuusHould

Professional
I've found the classical, "chop your toes off" racquet action to be a lot more accurate than my attempts at an abbreviated action. (I might gain 5kmh more power, but lose 20% accuracy, a losing trade off) I've settled on a slightly abbreviated toss with a classical swing. I think when I started getting my hips back a bit more, or sticking my backside out A Rod/ Groth style it jerked the tossing arm around, so I abbreviated the toss to minimise this effect (initially my racquet arm wanted to abbreviate as @SinjinCooper alluded to the arms want to mirror each other, but I changed due to relative inaccuracy) so I guess in doing so I moved my serve along the continuum toward a staggered action.
 

SystemicAnomaly

Talk Tennis Guru
... Which style do you you think is likely to suit the majority of players? Do you think one is better for lower level players? etc. Do you think platform and pinpoint stances go better with one or more of these styles? Do you agree on the specifics of the generic styles (i.e. that a low ball toss usually goes with an abbreviated action etc)
It really depends on the individual. Difficult to say that one of the 3 serve rhythms (as identified by Doug Eng) is suitable for a majority of players. I do not agree with Sinjin that the Classic (down-together, up-together) rhythm is the simplest for most players to learn. I have seen far too many who have struggled trying to get this serve rhythm work for them. It works for many but not everyone is the same. @dgold44 and others on TT have expressed difficulties with a classic rhythm. Some players fare better with an abbreviated rhythm while others find that a moderate stagger is the easiest. OTOH, an extreme stagger, like the one employed by Sampras, is usually not easy for most players to implement.

On average, lower tosses are easiest with an abbreviated rhythm. Staggered rhythms, especially those with significant staggers, will often require a fairly high toss. Classic rhythms usually require a moderate to high toss. On average, the toss requirement is a little bit lower for classic than it is for a staggered rhythm.
 

SystemicAnomaly

Talk Tennis Guru

Limpinhitter

G.O.A.T.
I was wondering what people thought about these generic serving styles that Dougy Eng came up with and Wayno Elderton is discussing in this video (link below). Is the "staggered" style just an abbreviated toss with a classical swing, I mean that makes sense given they have the highest toss, it looks like this with Berdych, but Serena goes a bit lower with the tossing arm. I mean obviously you can't abbreviate the swing and have a classical tossing motion (down to the thigh like the Fed) because the racquet would get there too early in the absence of a hitch which would impair power?

Which style do you you think is likely to suit the majority of players? Do you think one is better for lower level players? etc. Do you think platform and pinpoint stances go better with one or more of these styles? Do you agree on the specifics of the generic styles (i.e. that a low ball toss usually goes with an abbreviated action etc)

Much ado about nothing.
 

Limpinhitter

G.O.A.T.
Classical. Not "likely." Certainly. It's the fundamental service motion; the one upon which the others depend in order to make sense.

Classical serve style is nothing but pure throwing mechanics, brought to the act of serving, and as such it's by FAR the best way to teach (or to learn) how to serve in a way that uses both arms and the body properly. The arms go up and out together, equal and opposite, into positions that work together in concert to both drive the upper body's movement AND place the hitting arm in position where it will function fluidly. The body learns better, and works better, symmetrically.

Every other serving style BUILDS upon that one, working off the assumption that you can already perform its basics well, and can fully understand how to alter it in the prescribed way(s) WITHOUT fundamentally altering the underlying mechanics. When you try to initially build your serve off of any other style, this quickly becomes a flawed assumption, because the underlying mechanics are missing. The upshot is most serves stagnate forever in <=4.0 land.

You can't paint Guernica until you can shade a piece of fruit. You can try, but it'll be a train wreck, and people will laugh at you. In exactly the same way, and for exactly the same reasons, you can't hit like Sock or Sampras until you can hit like Chrissie or Vic Braden.
I disagree. A staggered rhythm makes it easier to execute a good throwing motion and the other elements of a good serve, especially for beginners.
 

HuusHould

Professional
I disagree. A staggered rhythm makes it easier to execute a good throwing motion and the other elements of a good serve, especially for beginners.
Yeah I think staggered or classical are easier for beginners. The action for an abbreviated swing was once described to me as like a conductor, conducting the orchestra.
 
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SystemicAnomaly

Talk Tennis Guru
Yeah I think staggered or classical are easier for beginners. The action for an abbreviated swing was once described to me as like a conductor, conducting the orchestra.
When I was suffering from some shoulder issues (external rotation & nerve compression) with left shoulder, I taught myself to serve with my opposite (right) arm. I found it easiest to learn a right-handed serve with an abbreviated motion. I developed it into a very decent intermediate (4.0) serve. (It wasn't that difficult for me to learn a righty serve since I naturally throw right-handed but play sports primarily left-handed). Quite a few of my students have also found an abbreviated serve the easiest to learn as well.

There is an important step that I employed prior to developing an abbreviated serve rhythm. First, I learned to hit a "trophy" serve. The serving arm and racket are pre-set to the trophy position. Then the other arm executes the toss. No need to "conduct" or to synchronize the arms -- since the racket arm is put into place first and then the toss is performed. Once the "trophy serve" is mastered, the next step can be moving the arms at the same time to develop an abbreviated serve rhythm.

Here we have Andre Agassi executing a simple "trophy" serve in '93 while recovery from an injury (wrist or shoulder?):



Note that Maria Sharapova had adopted an abbreviated serve motion for a while while recovering from shoulder surgery
 
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dgold44

G.O.A.T.
Would be great to have Jeff as your pro !!!

Yes lower toss and abbreviated motion is best for players like me who cannot do the traditional Federer type moion

Just too many moving parts and the timing is too hard for me
 

Raul_SJ

G.O.A.T.
Classical. Not "likely." Certainly. It's the fundamental service motion; the one upon which the others depend in order to make sense.

Classical serve style is nothing but pure throwing mechanics, brought to the act of serving, and as such it's by FAR the best way to teach (or to learn) how to serve in a way that uses both arms and the body properly. The arms go up and out together, equal and opposite, into positions that work together in concert to both drive the upper body's movement AND place the hitting arm in position where it will function fluidly. The body learns better, and works better, symmetrically.
No. It is not that cut and clear. Jeff Salzenstein advocates the staggered serve, not arms going up together. Many beginners will find it easier to incorporate a throwing motion with staggered style.

 

Pete Player

Hall of Fame
Actually, it doesn’t make a big difference on the throwing motion, which basically happens after they reach the trophy position.

The staggered and abbreviated rythms are different from classic and each other because the shorter track to that trophy position.

A classic serve may as well have big jump after the ball as well as abbreviated. As kid, I used to serve the classic rythm onto ball, which was moving upwards with a big jump. Since now old hog, i barely get my feet off the ground, yet still jump and toss it higher than back then, 35-40 years back.

If you’ve got a quick inner clock, the zik-zak-rythm of an abbreviated start is lot easier to adopt. The classic is more like a walz.


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dgold44

G.O.A.T.
No. It is not that cut and clear. Jeff Salzenstein advocates the staggered serve, not arms going up together. Many beginners will find it easier to incorporate a throwing motion with staggered style.

Did not know jeff advocates the stag serve
I believe djoker has this type
 

Raul_SJ

G.O.A.T.
Many pro servers look to be staggered.

Did not know jeff advocates the stag serve
I believe djoker has this type
Skip to 28:00 Jeff talks about it. "It's NOT down and up together, you HAVE to delay the hand ..."

https://s3-us-west-1.amazonaws.com/tennisservemasterclass/WebClass/serve-masterclass-email+Master+class+edit.mp4

Jeff says Federer is even more delayed than he is, but I don't see that in the Federer pic. Federer looks more classical -- down and up together.

Or maybe Jeff is talking about the position of the racquet tip. Federer's tip is lower, even though his hand is much higher than Jeff's.

Maybe @Limpinhitter can comment on Federer vs Jeff and which pic is more staggered.. He had me change to a staggered serve and opponents are telling me my serve has much more pace. Got immediate results with that change.



Wawrinka is perfectly down and up together.

 
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Raul_SJ

G.O.A.T.
@Raul_SJ


Take a close look at the Salzenstein serve in post #9. It is actually an abbreviated serve but has a definite stagger element to it. Watch the video at half speed (or 1/4 speed). This will make the stagger very evident.
Why does Jeff consider Federer to be more staggered than he is? See pics in previous post.
 

SystemicAnomaly

Talk Tennis Guru
Why does Jeff consider Federer to be more staggered than he is? See pics in previous post.
I have seen Federer's serve used as an example of a classic rhythm. However, in the videos that I've studied, Roger employs a moderate stagger.


Definite stagger here. Certainly not as much stagger as Sampras, Tsonga or Safina but a stagger just the same. I would say the Roger's stagger is comparable to Jeff's stagger but maybe not more stagger (as Jeff claims). However, Federer's serve has evolved over the years. In his youth, he intentionally copied the Sampras serve. He could very well had employed more stagger early in his career at a time when Salzenstein was playing collegiate and then pro tennis.
 
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Raul_SJ

G.O.A.T.
I would say the Roger's stagger is comparable to Jeff's stagger but maybe not more stagger (as Jeff claims). However, Federer's serve has evolved over the years. In his youth, he intentionally copied the Sampras serve. He could very well had employed more stagger early in his career at a time when Salzenstein was playing collegiate and then pro tennis.
Jeff references the racquet tip position to measure stagger, "Federer is even lower than I am". It is his recent video from last week and he is comparing himself to the current Federer motion.

Skip to 28:00

https://s3-us-west-1.amazonaws.com/tennisservemasterclass/WebClass/serve-masterclass-email+Master+class+edit.mp4
 

SystemicAnomaly

Talk Tennis Guru
Stanimal is definitely closer to the classic, down-together, up together than Fedex is. However, I do not regard Stan's serve as an optimal model for most players wishing to develop a more advanced serve. Trying to hit big serves, as Stan does, with his mechanics could put undue stress on the shoulder or other body parts. He employs minimal coil, shoulder tilt and knee bend. Elbow too high at trophy position as well. Do any examples of a classic rhythm come to mind that employs more coil?

 
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SystemicAnomaly

Talk Tennis Guru
Jeff references the racquet tip position to measure stagger, "Federer is even lower than I am". It is his recent video from last week and he is comparing himself to the current Federer motion.

Skip to 28:00

https://s3-us-west-1.amazonaws.com/tennisservemasterclass/WebClass/serve-masterclass-email+Master+class+edit.mp4
Perhaps it depends on the specific criteria that you use to establish who has more/less stagger. Upper arm, lower arm, wrist angle, racket orientation, racket position, etc.
 

Raul_SJ

G.O.A.T.
Perhaps it depends on the specific criteria that you use to establish who has more/less stagger. Upper arm, lower arm, wrist angle, racket orientation, racket position, etc.
Yes, that's what I was wondering. What is the convention. I assumed stagger was established by arm position and Federer was pretty much classical up together and Jeff was much more staggered. But then I saw Jeff's comments. "My racquet is at waist level. Federer is even lower"... I can see how Federer could be considered extremely staggered and Jeff moderately staggered if racquet tip is used.
 

SystemicAnomaly

Talk Tennis Guru
Jeff references the racquet tip position to measure stagger, "Federer is even lower than I am". It is his recent video from last week and he is comparing himself to the current Federer motion.

Skip to 28:00

https://s3-us-west-1.amazonaws.com/tennisservemasterclass/WebClass/serve-masterclass-email+Master+class+edit.mp4
Just looked at that part of his video. He says that Sampras' racket is lower and Federer's racket is SLIGHTLY lower. To me that means that Jeff and Roger employ a similar stagger (even tho' Jeff is abbreviated and Roger is not). Still, he can be referencing his experience of Roger's serve from 15+ yrs ago. Does he know an example of a current Federer serve in his video?

Yes, that's what I was wondering. What is the convention. I assumed stagger was established by arm position and Federer was pretty much classical up together and Jeff was much more staggered...
I still do not see Federer's serve as a classic Up-together. Despite the claim made elsewhere.
 

Raul_SJ

G.O.A.T.
By arm position reference, I had initially considered Federer to be close to, but not quite, classical and Jeff to be at least moderately staggered. I can see how people would see Federer as classical.

Yes, you are correct Jeff says Federer is "slightly" more staggered than he is, based on racquet position.

Don't think he shows Federer in this recent video but based on other videos, Jeff is always up to date on the current motions of Federer and Nadal.

Youznhy is extremely staggered, similar to Sampras.



 
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SystemicAnomaly

Talk Tennis Guru
@Raul_SJ @HuusHould

Not sure that Doug Eng ever classified Federer's serve as a classic rhythm. Eng refers to Andy Murray's serve motion as an example of "classic". However, 10sDog and Wayne Elderton have used Eng's idea and have chosen to classify Federer's serve as a classic rhythm. There has been discussion here (TT) and on YouTube that calls this classification into question. In the video below, Lisa Raymond (I think) appears to be closer to a classic rhythm than Federer. At release, Roger's left arm is more than 30 degrees (nearly 45 degrees) wrt horizontal. At this point, his right (upper) arm is a few degrees shy of horizontal. However, his racket head is lower and is angled down somewhat. Should the arm/upper arm or the racket position/orientation be the primary criteria for determining lag/stagger?

 

heninfan99

Talk Tennis Guru
Amazingly effective motion. Many of the great servers do not have a severe knee bend and do not jump high off the ground. These things are unnecessary. This has been fully proven on the tour by pros.
 

SystemicAnomaly

Talk Tennis Guru
@HuusHould
ONE pro server with minimal coil, knee bend and shoulder tilt does not constitute "many great servers". This minimalist serve is not a trend among modern elite servers = nothing has been proven. Note that most of us do not have the anatomy/physique that allows Stan to generate a lot of high velocity serves without injuring ourselves. Even Stan, himself, pulled out of the 2106 Olympics and other events because of shoulder injury/pain.

Note that I am NOT advocating a severe knee bend or a high jump on the serve. Most elite servers employ a moderate, not excessive, knee bend. Some come off the ground quite a bit while others come off the ground somewhat less. But even those who do not come off the ground very much will still employ a fair amount of leg drive and a generous coil.
 
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dgold44

G.O.A.T.
I do abbreviated serve and up together !!!

My serve was a terrible 3.5 last spring but now I say it’s a 4.0

I find the lower ball toss to work better for me
 

dgold44

G.O.A.T.
@HuusHould
ONE pro server with minimal coil, knee bend and shoulder tilt does not constitute "many great servers". This minimalist serve is not a trend among modern elite servers = nothing has been proven. Note that most of us do not have the anatomy/physique that allows Stan to generate a lot of high velocity serves without injuring ourselves. Even Stan, himself, pulled out of the 2106 Olympics and other events because of shoulder injury/pain.

Note that I am NOT advocating a severe knee bend or a high jump on the serve. Most elite servers employ a moderate, not excessive, knee bend. Some come off the ground quite a bit while others come off the ground somewhat less. But even those who do not come off the ground very much will still employ a fair amount of leg drive and a generous coil.
Do u finish your topspin serve in the dirty diaper ??
This just feels most natural to me

I just naturally finish the TS serve on my right side
 

SystemicAnomaly

Talk Tennis Guru
@HuusHould

Don't get me wrong. It is ok to employ minimal knee bend, upper body coil and shoulder tilt when 1st learning the serve. However, a greater amount of these elements should be added when developing a bigger serve -- hitting with more power or more spin (or both). Just because we see one big server with a minimalist serve, we should not take this to be some sort of paradigm shift.

Jeff had a serve that was better than most top 20 guys today !!!
Do u finish your topspin serve in the dirty diaper ??
This just feels most natural to me

I just naturally finish the TS serve on my right side
Jeff studied Sampras and other elite servers in great depth. He used quite a bit of slo-mo HD footage of serves from Yandell (TP.net) to develop his won serve.

I do employ a "dirty diaper" with my topspin serve. However, the dirty diaper action is not always evident on Federer's serves.
 

dgold44

G.O.A.T.
@HuusHould

Don't get me wrong. It is ok to employ minimal knee bend, upper body coil and shoulder tilt when 1st learning the serve. However, a greater amount of these elements should be added when developing a bigger serve -- hitting with more power or more spin (or both). Just because we see one big server with a minimalist serve, we should not take this to be some sort of paradigm shift.




Jeff studied Sampras and other elite servers in great depth. He used quite a bit of slo-mo HD footage of serves from Yandell (TP.net) to develop his won serve.

I do employ a "dirty diaper" with my topspin serve. However, the dirty diaper action is not always evident on Federer's serves.
Looks like fed has no DD !!!
I think Becker and edberg finished on right side with arm bent and elbow up as in the DD
 

SystemicAnomaly

Talk Tennis Guru
Looks like fed has no DD !!!
I think Becker and edberg finished on right side with arm bent and elbow up as in the DD
I have detected a mild DD on some of Roger's serve. I wonder if he had more of a DD earlier in his playing days when he was intentionally emulating Sampras.

Note that the DD does not necessarily mean that you need to finish on your dominant side. Pete Sampras is known for a very strong DD -- but he did not actually finish the serve there. His DD flowed right into a finish across his body and on his left -- for 1st serves and 2nd serves.
 
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Pete Player

Hall of Fame
Stanimal’s coil is somewhat short, but uncoiling is big as in any big serves. And the off shoulder drop is also quite significant during the throwing motion.

It may well be, that Waw have some movability issues, which will not allow him to lower elbow position in the trophy, yet the elbow drops as the racket goes down, which I think is key to his explosive power. Upper arm rolls bacwards, instead of just dropping the racket, before the forward motion starts as it should do.


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SystemicAnomaly

Talk Tennis Guru
Stanimal’s coil is somewhat short, but uncoiling is big as in any big serves...
Huh? Does not compute. How can he have a "big" uncoil if he doesn't coil up much in the first place? Like a lot of WTA servers, his coil is barely more than 90 degrees wrt the net. Contrast this with most elite servers who coil 140 degrees or more.
 

Pete Player

Hall of Fame
Huh? Does not compute. How can he have a "big" uncoil if he doesn't coil up much in the first place? Like a lot of WTA servers, his coil is barely more than 90 degrees wrt the net. Contrast this with most elite servers who coil 140 degrees or more.
Well, it depends on the stance also. Some, who looks to be coiling backwards really much have about the same amount of coil as Waw, and their stretch between shoulders and hips is about the same as well. Quite often those, who coil back really much on the shoulders compared to the net have turned the hips quite early and have smaller x-factor between the shoulders and hips at impact.

Stan deliveres the the x-factor within a shorter time and uncoil the shoulders fearsly.


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SystemicAnomaly

Talk Tennis Guru
Well, it depends on the stance also. Some, who looks to be coiling backwards really much have about the same amount of coil as Waw, and their stretch between shoulders and hips is about the same as well. Quite often those, who coil back really much on the shoulders compared to the net have turned the hips quite early and have smaller x-factor between the shoulders and hips at impact.

Stan deliveres the the x-factor within a shorter time and uncoil the shoulders fearsly.
Sounds like a reference to separation angle -- tension (potential energy) stored in the core when the upper torso and the hip are offset. Stan has some separation angle but nowhere as much separation as elite servers such as Sampras, Federer, Roddick and others. Wawarinka is a very strong/powerful guy who generates considerable serve power/RHS in an unconventional manner. If we see start to see other players who can do this in the same manner consistently (repeatedly) and without injury, then we might be able to say that we have a new paradigm for the serve. Until then, Stan's serve power is an anomaly & fairly unique to him.

 

Pete Player

Hall of Fame
Pin-point stance is by way the easily blowing the separation angles and potential energy restored in the body, if the step is taken too long around the outside the planted front foot.


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Pete Player

Hall of Fame
Pls clarify. Not sure what you are saying in the 1st part of this statement.
The place, where you plant your back foot is essential for keeping hips closed late to have the tension between hips and shoulders still present, when you start the push from the ground.

If stepping around the front foot as lot of oldies rec players do, the throwing motion sequence is starting above your waistline and the lower body erffort does not sum up into rhs.


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SystemicAnomaly

Talk Tennis Guru
The place, where you plant your back foot is essential for keeping hips closed late to have the tension between hips and shoulders still present, when you start the push from the ground.

If stepping around the front foot as lot of oldies rec players do, the throwing motion sequence is starting above your waistline and the lower body erffort does not sum up into rhs.
Like the way that Stan steps around with his right foot in the vid above?
 
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