Any TIPS on Serve Toss ?

Discussion in 'Tennis Tips/Instruction' started by Nostradamus, Apr 14, 2013.

  1. 5263

    5263 G.O.A.T.

    Mar 31, 2008
    Actually other than platform vs pinpoint, they hit all the same critical ck points
    on their serves as well. It may look different to you, but at the core, they are
    quite similar.
  2. Nostradamus

    Nostradamus Talk Tennis Guru

    Nov 30, 2011
    In the future
    Agree, I think the part where they both drop the hand all the way down to the knee might be making it very tough for some amateurs. It makes the tossing motion Longer, which makes it more Complicated. but if I use the short tossing motion, it completely throw off my Sampras serving motion. so I am stuck with this long toss motion.
  3. TennisA

    TennisA Rookie

    Mar 12, 2012
    Not sure if this has been mentioned yet, but how do you grip the ball when you toss it? I used to have an extremely erratic toss, and one of the reasons why was because I would hold the ball in my palm, with my hands gripped on top pretty much.
    If you're gripping the ball too much, it may be causing you to mess up on your timing of the release of the ball
  4. SystemicAnomaly

    SystemicAnomaly G.O.A.T.

    Feb 25, 2006
    Stuck in the Matrix somewhere in Santa Clara CA
    The J toss

    In the past few years quite a few TW posters have been incorrectly referring to a toss with a parabolic trajectory as a J toss. I seem to recall that CharlieF has referred to a ball toss with a J trajectory a few years back. However, it may have been another poster who referred to this as a J toss. Here is recent thread where I attempted to set the record straight:

    I learned the J toss about 35 years ago from Dan Braden (a college team coach and brother of Vic Braden) . Here is what the terminology actually refers to:

    In the following video, Tommy Haas appears to use a J toss that is very similar to the one above. Andy Murray's motion is a little bit like a J toss but it doesn't really have quite the same characteristics. A true J toss has quite a different feel than other tosses. The flavor of the J toss is very much like a tai chi movement.

    For many servers the motion of the hand is more of a slanted V -- it does not have the tai chi roundness of the J toss. It would appear that Sampras' motion is either a narrow V or a toss along single line (the hand moves down and up nearly along the same slanted line).
  5. Lukhas

    Lukhas Legend

    Apr 3, 2013
    See second post, I put some links there. Said J toss is also mentioned in one of the videos, it's just not called anything special. :lol:
  6. charliefedererer

    charliefedererer Legend

    Feb 13, 2009
    Your toss is "all over the place" because you are either:

    1. not bringing the ball up through the exact same path every time you toss and releasing it at the same point.

    2. not bringing your arm up at exactly the same rate every time you toss the ball.
    Last edited: Apr 16, 2013
  7. charliefedererer

    charliefedererer Legend

    Feb 13, 2009
    If you are not bringing the ball up through the exact path every time you toss and not releasing it exactly at the same point, the following post I made in another thread may help:

    "Check out the sequence of Sampras tossing below:


    Like all the pros, he tosses with his arm roughly parallel to the baseline.
    Federer Murray Haas & more ball toss common threads:

    (The reason for this is so as the tossing arm goes up, your shoulders can be well coiled by ball release (pic 7), so you don't feel rushed getting into a trophy pose before having to start the racquet drop/swing portion of the serve.)

    As Pete demonstrates above, the arm is kept straight with no elbow or wrist bend. (So the arm moves only at the shoulder.)

    The ball is simply released when the hand reaches a point a little above the shoulder, at eye level:


    By having kept the arm straight with no wrist or elbow flick, but merely opening the hand to release the ball, the ball will go up and come down in a parabolic shape that resembles an upside down J:


    As long as you bring the arm up at the same speed, follow the same path up with your arm, and release the ball at the same point, it should always go in the same place.

    If you want the ball to go higher, bring it up a little faster.

    If you want the ball to drop more past your body to the left, release it a little later.
    If you want the ball to drop more to the right, before it reaches your body, release a little earlier.
    (Reverse these directions if you are left handed.)

    Now for the trickier part, how to toss more into the court, or back more/over your head:

    If you want to toss the ball out into the court for a first serve like Sampras does above, start the toss with your arm closer to your back foot (pic 1), and as you bring the arm up, move your arm ever so slightly forward so that by the time of release, your arm is past your front foot (pic 7). [Note that at about half way through the toss in pic 3 the ball has been moved forward to a position 1/2 way between the front and back foot.]

    (And obviously if you wanted to toss a second serve to land directly over your head, just start bringing your hand up with the ball in between your feet (like the position the ball is in pic 3, but starting with your hand lower) and just bring it straight up between your feet.

    Hopefully, I've given you a way to help solve your serving woes.

    Oh, .... but one more thing. Even if you understand what to do, it will still take practice to really get it down."
  8. charliefedererer

    charliefedererer Legend

    Feb 13, 2009
    If you are having trouble bringing the ball up at the same rate to toss the ball every time, you may need to add an extra element to get a big body movement going to give you the rhythm for a consistent serve.

    If you are doing the Sampras serve motion, you are undoubtedly lifting your left toe up as you rock back to start your serve.

    You can still do this, but add in the much deeper "Federer lean" to get that big body movement to get your serve toss off to a consistent rhythm each and every time.

    Here's a section of a post from another thread that goes into more detail:

    "Tip #2: Don't "arm" your ball toss!


    We've all been told not to "arm" our groundstrokes and serves.

    Instead, the hitting arm motion should be preceded by a big body motion (coiling), to generate the initial energy in hitting the ball, with the arm swing following the reversal of the big body motion (coiling to uncoiling).

    So too on the toss, a big body motion to initiate momemtum followed by a reverse of the big body movement, helps get the arm going up. But in the case of the toss, the motion is not coiling, but instead first leaning into the court, then leaning back, to helps get the arm going up!

    Go back to that video of all the pros serve tosses. Note that all first lean into the court, then lean back.

    Federer's lean in and lean back is more exagerated than most, but as usual, Fed is not wasting motion here:


    When leaning in (pics 1,2 above), the tossing arm is going to going to be very low.

    When leaning back, the tossing arm is going to start to rise as the shoulders and hips go from a downward slant (pic 1 above) to an upward slant (pic 3).

    This reversal of the shoulders/hip from a downward to upward slant provides the momentum to get your tossing arm moving upward.

    The result is that you don't have to work hard on your toss if you let your big body movement help supply the energy.

    [To those who have already noticed this "lean in" is actually "forming a bow shape" forwards, with the 'lean back" going all the way past vertical to forming the "bow shape in the opposite direction in the trophy pose - see tip #4 below - only to reverse again through the hitting motion.]

    Watching the video helps to emphasize the "lean in" and "lean back", and how the toss is intrinsically interwoven with getting into the trophy position:
    Roger Federer - Serve in Slow Motion

    Tip #3: The tempo of how fast you lean back, from your initial lean in, determines how fast to elevate your tossing arm.

    Every orchestra needs a conductor, and every conductor has a baton to set the tempo of the music.

    Your tossing arm is should be going up at a constant speed, and your tossing arm acts as the baton to set the tempo to your serve.
    Tennis Serve Tossing Motion Tempo

    How fast your tossing arm movement should move comes from how fast you lean back (pic 1 to pic 2 above) in the initiation of the toss.

    [Lean back too fast, and your tossing arm will move up too fast, and the ball will go too high.
    Lean back too slow and your tossing arm will move up too slow, and ball will not be tossed high enough.
    Lean back "just right" and your tossing arm will move up at "just the right" speed to get your toss to the right height.]

    Tip #4: Your tossing arm continuing up and up and up until it is straight overhead gets you into the bow position.

    Getting your body into the shape of a "bow" (when viewed from the side), is something everyone agrees is important to get that big shoulder over shoulder cartwheel action that can help power your serve.

    As your tossing arm continues to go up after the toss (pics 3-4), you will automatically be getting a steeper shoulder angle.

    With that steeper shoulder angle, your front hip will have to protrude over the baseline (pic 5) to counterweight the backward lean of the upper body to the fence.

    This is what Brent Abel is emphasizing that video above where he states that even after ball release, your tossing arm should continue up, up, up at a constant rate, and allow your left hip to protrude forward.

    In conclusion: Your "toss" should be perceived as being set up by a big body motion (lean in) to get it started.

    The "toss" also should have a "follow through" of your tossing arm going up straight overhead to get you into the agressive trophy position you'll need to bash that ball."
  9. Say Chi Sin Lo

    Say Chi Sin Lo G.O.A.T.

    Aug 30, 2005
    ^^^ Pretty much what I said earlier but in a much more elegant and scientific way:

    RELEASE the ball, don't chuck it up. Let it "flow" out of your hands.
  10. Raul_SJ

    Raul_SJ Hall of Fame

    May 19, 2011
    San Jose, California
    Good advice. I will try this.

    Alternately, perhaps we can keep the same angle of the tossing arm relative to the baseline for both first and second serves. And if we want the toss more/less into the court, release it with a faster/slower speed...

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