Discussion in 'Tennis Tips/Instruction' started by julian, Dec 2, 2009.
Elbow in or out, up or down, as long as your serves go to it's potential, it works. If your serve is weak, then look to get the mechanics straightened out.
Some great servers used low elbow, Karlovic for one.
Some great servers used high elbow, Navritilova comes to mind.
As for length of motion, the Couriers, Agassi's, and Roddicks used short violent motions, while lots of other guys used longer, smoother motions.
Whatever works, don't use what doesn't.
No matter what, if you have a fluid motion from the trophy position up to contact, you WILL end up in that position. How well you do it does determine the speed and spin of your serve. I feel the steeper I can get it without forcing it, the more racket head speed, pace, and spin I can generate. Problem is, you need quite a vicious upward motion or a VERY flexible body to get it down low. My arm is flexible, but my motion isn't that violently upward and it's not THAT flexible...
to me that low elbow position comes naturally if you get a good shoulder angle. ie left shoulder up right shoulder down. the elbow up comes from the throwing motion. to me its the depth of the racquet drop and the speed/acceleration in and out of it that determines howw good your serve is.
agree with all 3 replies above.
as long as you get to a good hitting position at impact, the racket drop happens naturally.
videos like this are the product of the technologies we have today. it's a double edged sword. on one hand the teacher/student gets to see stuff they never could without the slow-mo vids, on the other hand people can fall into the analysis paralysis trap.
You have got it right there larry, along with the delayed extension of the elbow or upper arm. With many servers the extension starts prematurely and leaks off power from an otherwise excellent power position.
The role of the hitting elbow
Well i am glad to have spurred a little debate about the role of the hitting elbow on the serve. If you listen correctly i am only trying to point out that the elbow only needs to be pointing up when the racket is in the what i call the "power position" when the racket is pointing at the ground (after the trophy position and before contact). Too often my students focus on keeping their elbow up during the backswing phase or trophy position but never get into the proper power position hence resulting in the lack of power and racket head speed. So it really does not matter how low the elbow gets (during the backswing phase & trophy) as long as it is pointing straight up before hitting up on the ball. My name is Christophe Delavaut USPTA-PTR Tennis professional and the video mentioned above is one of the many video lessons on my strokes and doubles strategy website www.tennisoxygen.com. For free tips subscribe to my You tube channel: http://www.youtube.com/xstf
Thanks, keep up the debates and i am glad to answer any questions you may have to improve your game.
Love your vids and have looked at several. I tried to get this subject covered on Tennisone about 8 years ago, but they didn't get the importance of the power position, or as I called it, "the launch position" for launching into the shot. Understanding and working with this has enabled me to develop some very big servers over the years. Maybe you will consider adding what I have taught as the twin component to this, which I call the "delayed extension" of the elbow right after your power position. IF the elbow starts to extend early, you lose power, and many players use this to get more control on the less powerful second serve.
But by delaying this extension as long as possible, the serve can get max upward swing speed for Big first serves.
See what you think!
im not sure i agree with delaying the extension as a problem since you have to extend to get the racquet up to contact point. i think its the delay to pronation that counts, stay on edge going to the ball until the last poosible moment then pronate into the hit. that gives max acceleration imho. 5263 what do you think?
Understand we are talking that last 6-10% of extra mph.
This is what separates the good pro servers from the elite pro servers like Roddick and Sampras.
I think the understanding of it is a simple time/dist equation. The longer the extension is delayed (to a point of course), the further the racket must travel to contact in the same amount of time. Further travel in same time means faster racket. All pro servers delay the pronation. The sub 125 pro servers start to extend the elbow earlier than the 125+ servers.
The longer the extension is delayed (to a point of course), the further the racket must travel to contact in the same amount of time.
if the starting point is the peak depth of the racquet drop then the distance stays the same or actually gets shorter due to leg lift. the longer you wait the faster you would need to accellerate to get to contact. so to me its the tome issue not distance thats different in delaying the extension. what am i confusing??
Well, the important thing is that you see the result of the delay, which you state above.
If you think for a moment how the arm that starts earlier has gotten a head start thru leaving earlier. Now it has less distance to travel.
The arm that has delayed some is now behind, and must travel farther,
thus faster to catch up to the same contact point.
It was my impression that the important acceleration and pronation should be delayed and takes place just prior to impact (whipping action).
You got it.
Little confused about what XSTF says about the "power position". At first (around 1:40 or so), it sounds as if he is referring to the trophy position (elbow down) as the power position. A bit later, it sounds as if the racquet drop (with the elbow up) is his "power position". Am I hearing it wrong?
I've see plenty of amateur servers have a difficult time with a very low elbow position on the trophy position. Most elite servers will have the serving elbow pretty much in line with the shoulder tilt. Djoko is a little bit lower than most in this respect, while Tomas Berdych appears to be even lower than Djoko. The problems that some servers have with the dropped (lowered) elbow on the trophy are a reduction in power and a difficulty in timing the drop and the upward swing. These players will often get a very good measure of spin, but all that I've observed have reduced power (due to the spin & timing issues?).
Seems some tall fellers had low trophy arms, like Karlovic and our LawLaw, but shorter tykes see more likely to have higher elbows.
But they're talking about elbow pointing at sky after the ball is tossed, so it being a dynamic position, really hard to tell exactly what happens unless micro frames are taken.
For sure, serves are very different between 5'10" tykes and 6'8" giants.
^ I'm a bit puzzled about the point that XSTF was trying to make about the elbow position at the trophy -- he mentions it but I could not quite make out exactly what he is trying to say about it. From what I've observed, a very low elbow at the trophy will often impact the quality and spin/speed of the serve.
If you listen correctly i am only trying to point out that the elbow only needs to be pointing up when the racket is in the what i call the "power position" when the racket is pointing at the ground (after the trophy position and before contact).quoted from above
i beleive xstf refers to the power position as the racquet drop position
gzhpcu, you understand the theory dont worry. keep serving. btw merry christmas larry
julian , whats your opinion???
Then what is he saying around 1:40? That is what threw me, cuz it sounds like he is referring to the trophy position as the power position (but then later seems to indicate that the "elbow up" position is the power position). What exactly does he say? I may be mis-hearing what he is trying to say.
Elbow up refers to the racket drop, which is the power position, though not clearly said in the video.
If you listen correctly i am only trying to point out that the elbow only needs to be pointing up when the racket is in the what i call the "power position" when the racket is pointing at the ground (after the trophy position and before contact). " from above . we on the tw message board sometime refer to this position as the racquet drop
you stated it more concisely gzhpcu.
A serve by Djokovic
http://www.tennis.com/yourgame/instructionarticles/serve/serve.aspx?id=177738 is worth analyzing.
It is my last post.Sayonara
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