Backfoot shuffles forward before contact on serve

Discussion in 'Tennis Tips/Instruction' started by ManuGinobili, Jan 5, 2010.

  1. ManuGinobili

    ManuGinobili Hall of Fame

    Jun 4, 2009
    Can't remember where I read this (could be on this forum)... a coach said that during a serve motion you should keep your back foot well planted (until the push up) like Sampras and Federer

    ..because if you, like many others, have a habit of making a step forward with that back foot right before (or worse, while) you push the legs up, the energy stored in that back leg is lost...

    Look at Monfils's pinpoint stance, his feet do not move before the push off
    Or Fed's platform stance,

    Whereas Murray starts with feet far apart in a platform stance, then steps the right foot forward into a pinpoint stance, and then push his legs up off the ground.
    This might not be the perfect example because Andy Poo has such good form anyway, I just couldn't find a better vid on youtube.

    the coach even pointed out a lot of pros make this mistake which results in a weaker serve... it might be a little thing but I'm just being a lil curious

    So my question is, is he right and does it make a big difference?

    Edit: guess I'm really an idiot in phrasing the question.... hope it's clearer this time round
    Last edited: Jan 5, 2010
  2. i8myshirt

    i8myshirt Rookie

    Oct 22, 2007
    What you're looking for is the comparison between the platform and pinppoint stances of serves (platform being the Sampras and Federer one as the pinpoint is the Murray one).
    I'm pretty sure this has been discussed many times, so you'll find your answers with the search feature.

    From what I remember though, it's seems like a "whatever feels better for you" kind of thing.
  3. ManuGinobili

    ManuGinobili Hall of Fame

    Jun 4, 2009
    edit: see edit above
    Last edited: Jan 5, 2010
  4. SystemicAnomaly

    SystemicAnomaly G.O.A.T.

    Feb 25, 2006
    Stuck in the Matrix somewhere in Santa Clara CA
    It sure sounded like you were talking about a pinpoint vs platform since your first post compared platform servers versus Murray's implementation of a pinpoint stance. It would have been clearer if you had compared Monfils' pinpoint implementation to Murray's. I really don't see Murray's leg movement as any significant loss of energy. It appears to give him a more dramatic weight shift forward. He still pushes off with both legs -- the back leg comes off the ground first -- but then this also happens with Monfils' serve as well as with the platform servers.
  5. fuzz nation

    fuzz nation G.O.A.T.

    Oct 20, 2006
    I'd expect to see some loss of leg power in a serve if the hitter transfered his/her weight forward while winding up, but left the back foot planted in the back yard where they couldn't extend that leg any farther when driving up to hit the ball. Too much of the leg drive would be derived from only the forward leg which typically works pretty hard with a good serve already.

    If I slide my back foot forward as I load up to hit a serve, I can flex it better and make a better surge up and forward through contact. The impression I get if I leave my back foot planted in more of a platform setup is that I can't rock my body weight forward into my serve so well. Marat Safin seems to take that forward move into his serve to more of an extreme by actually striding forward into his stance. I noodled with this a little bit, but it made my motion and toss a little unpredictable... like Marat!

    With the back foot sliding forward during contact on a serve, there would certainly be less power available for a good hit. As far as I can tell though, most servers bring that back foot forward to replant and load up that leg before hitting the ball. I don't think that it's vital to serve one way or the other. The serve can be powerful and reliable either way.
  6. charliefedererer

    charliefedererer Legend

    Feb 13, 2009
    Your coach might be addressing a different problem he sees, rather than the pinpoint versus platform stance.

    Too many people serve standing too erect.

    Their body then has a pendulum motion as they rock back on their right leg, then drag than right foot forward as they reach out to hit the ball thown in front of them for their first serve.

    To use the energy in your legs and torso to power the serve, as soon as you release the ball, you must take a deep knee bend and twist your torso as you make a bow shape with your body in agressive trophy pose position.

    By sinking down with this deep knee bend, there is so much body weight on the back foot that it can't creep forward. Instead, to serve it will take a powerful push off both feet to get you moving up to hit the ball. This then is not a "too erect" pendulum serve with a back foot dragging forward, but a leaping powerful serve starting from the ground up.
  7. armsty

    armsty Hall of Fame

    May 25, 2008
    Sydney, Australia
    I drag my toe, so insted of stepping forward like Murray, I toe drag. Everyone at the courts knows the 1foot long lines with a small curve behind the baseline are mine :p
  8. papa

    papa Hall of Fame

    Jul 13, 2004
    Or mine, I do the same thing. I also happen to think the majority of the push comes from the front leg anyway.

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