Beginner's serve (video): your tips?

WildVolley

Legend
Not bad for a beginner. With a few tweaks I think you can turn up your serving more than a notch.

Here's what I noticed. (Watch your videos and see if you can see the same thing. Shooting some in slow motion will help you see this more clearly.)

*On the flat serve you are hitting with a bent arm at contact. The arm should straighten out just prior to contact.

*Rather than mostly using internal rotation (involving turning the arm at the shoulder) at contact, you are flexing the wrist back and pushing forward through the ball.

*Your elbow may be a little high with respect to your shoulder line at trophy position. The rule of thumb is that your elbow should basically be inline with the shoulders at this point in the serve.

Shooting video from behind you at head height and to the right of you at head height - preferably slow motion - will make it easier to compare your serve to a good pro model.

Good luck and keep practicing.
 

LeeD

Bionic Poster
Looking good. You have a 3rd year good athletes serve already.
I'd try to slow the hand and hitting elbow just before impact, instead of following thru completely, so you gain a bit of high elbow, high hand racket head speed, allowing the racket head to come past the hand for maxiimum racket head speed.
But that is an advanced technique, one I can't do well myself, then again, your serve is very advanced.
 

Chas Tennis

G.O.A.T.
Flat serve on video-

This frame appears to have edge on to the ball.


In the next frame, however, suddenly the racket is face on to the ball. That looks like a Waiter's Tray technique. For comments search TW: Waiter's Tray Chas


High level serve at the "Big L" position with edge on to the ball.
http://www.hi-techtennis.com/serve/nalbandian_l.php

A frame from a kick serve nearest impact - I can't tell where we are during the stroke but if this is impact the racket does not appear to be able to go up as it would on a kick serve. The camera frame rate, 25 or 30 fps?, is too slow to catch impact very often. You ball bounce seems high.


An effective kick serve from a club player. Notice that the racket strings are going higher during impact.
https://vimeo.com/92106325

High level kick serve
https://vimeo.com/27528701

A Waiter's Tray serve uses arm swinging to generate racket head speed without much upper arm rotation from internal shoulder rotation as in a high level serve. The fact that your strings face the ball so early probably means that you are not rotating your upper arm to add racket head speed and a Waiter's Tray technique. Search other replies for more information.

This information is for feedback on your serve and is not instruction on how to perform the serve.
 
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FranzS

Rookie
WildVolley, LeeD... thank you very much for your suggestions, those are the things I was looking for, I mean details that I'm not aware of and that I should start thinking about! High elbow in trophy position was the only thing I really noticed (apart from the tendency to be generally off balance with my serving motion)
 

FranzS

Rookie
Chas Tennis, thank you for taking your time to do that! Thanks for the suggestion. I know I must fix the waiter's serve, and maybe I think my pronation is not full? I mean I should turn the headface to the opposite side on follow through?
 

Chas Tennis

G.O.A.T.
Chas Tennis, thank you for taking your time to do that! Thanks for the suggestion. I know I must fix the waiter's serve, and maybe I think my pronation is not full? I mean I should turn the headface to the opposite side on follow through?
A good book is
Technique Development for Tennis Stroke Production (2009), B. Elliott, M. Reid, M. Crespo from the ITF Store.
 

boramiNYC

Hall of Fame
Excellent serve for a 'beginner'. Keep at it.

One thing I noticed was you are flexing your body a tad too quick. So the extension is not fully achieved. Slow down the body flexion forward and give some time for your hand to do its thing. Which is pronate fully. Even for a flat serve the pronation at the hand will help generate racquet head speed. Your body is in a rush so your hand has no time to pronate. But your rhythm is excellent and balance seems adequate.
 

shindemac

Hall of Fame
Your serve is prob more intermediate in terms of skill. You have all the basics that I am looking for. You are starting to get power (your serve hit the back fence). To get your serve to become 'advanced', you will need to continue practicing and keep improving everything.

I am only going to give general advice and not any specific tips. As you practice, you'll start to develop muscle memory and become more comfortable. Your entire body will naturally start to relax because you no longer have to consciously think about the motion. Also, you will notice little things more and how that affects your serve. Your body control will also improve so you can make these micro adjustments. In time, your serve will improve and get stronger. The only thing you need to do is practice consistently to achieve all this. Practice each week, at least 2 times per week. Your mind can only focus on one thought, so pick something to work on whether it's your ball toss, balance, relaxation, or your trophy. Or nothing and just try to pick up the nuances from serve to serve and use this as a self feedback loop to improve.

The only other suggestion I have, is to learn to serve to the 3 spots:down the T, middle, and wide.
 

GuyClinch

Legend
Nice serve. You do open up early though - and waiter it some like Chas says. This is very hard to fix - especially on the flat serve. Chas harps on the ISR issues - but the real issue for rec serves is opening up early because you want to hit the ball square.

That being said your serve can hang at the 4.0 level - provided you have a second serve to go with it.. You get some good pop.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JAZOa7viL4A

Watch his serve right after the trophy position - and watch how his palm never fully faces the sky. Slice and Kick servers are actually easier once you understand this concept.. on the flat serve there is some urge to open up to make sure you hit the ball instead of using ISR/pronation to square up at the end.
 

FranzS

Rookie
A good book is
Technique Development for Tennis Stroke Production (2009), B. Elliott, M. Reid, M. Crespo from the ITF Store.
Thanks!

Excellent serve for a 'beginner'. Keep at it.

One thing I noticed was you are flexing your body a tad too quick. So the extension is not fully achieved. Slow down the body flexion forward and give some time for your hand to do its thing. Which is pronate fully. Even for a flat serve the pronation at the hand will help generate racquet head speed. Your body is in a rush so your hand has no time to pronate. But your rhythm is excellent and balance seems adequate.
Yep, I notice it. Do you think a higher toss would also help for a better motion?

Your serve is prob more intermediate in terms of skill. You have all the basics that I am looking for. You are starting to get power (your serve hit the back fence). To get your serve to become 'advanced', you will need to continue practicing and keep improving everything.

I am only going to give general advice and not any specific tips. As you practice, you'll start to develop muscle memory and become more comfortable. Your entire body will naturally start to relax because you no longer have to consciously think about the motion. Also, you will notice little things more and how that affects your serve. Your body control will also improve so you can make these micro adjustments. In time, your serve will improve and get stronger. The only thing you need to do is practice consistently to achieve all this. Practice each week, at least 2 times per week. Your mind can only focus on one thought, so pick something to work on whether it's your ball toss, balance, relaxation, or your trophy. Or nothing and just try to pick up the nuances from serve to serve and use this as a self feedback loop to improve.

The only other suggestion I have, is to learn to serve to the 3 spots:down the T, middle, and wide.
Thanks for your comment! Practicing (and trying to stay always more relaxed while serving) once/twice a week is what I'm doing but you know you get to a point that you feel you need some specific advice to focus on.

Nice serve. You do open up early though - and waiter it some like Chas says. This is very hard to fix - especially on the flat serve. Chas harps on the ISR issues - but the real issue for rec serves is opening up early because you want to hit the ball square.

That being said your serve can hang at the 4.0 level - provided you have a second serve to go with it.. You get some good pop.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JAZOa7viL4A

Watch his serve right after the trophy position - and watch how his palm never fully faces the sky. Slice and Kick servers are actually easier once you understand this concept.. on the flat serve there is some urge to open up to make sure you hit the ball instead of using ISR/pronation to square up at the end.
Thanks for your comment. BTW, the 'kick'ish' serves in the video are my second serves.
Wish I could mimic Raonic's serve! I'm not tall either (1,79m / 6'10").
 

JonC

Banned
Need more extension - reach so that your fully stretched. You also need more racquet speed - let it go more, control kills the serve.
 
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