connection between player height and serve stance?

SystemicAnomaly

Talk Tennis Guru
Okay so there are some 5'10" ATP players with platform. What about 5'9" or shorter? Nishioka only? Maybe discounting WTA was a mistake because they're all shorter. I tend to think WTA serves have more inconsistencies and stray further from ideal technique, but that seems like it's changing for sure.

I thought maybe I read that theres a higher percentage of pinpoint servers on the womens side.
Don't believe there have been too many ATP singles players shorter than 5'10" in the past 2 or 3 decades.

I had mentioned in one of my posts that majority of WTA players are PP servers.
 

jdawgg

Rookie
Players (I can find) that are 5'9" or shorter in the ATP top 100:

Schwartzman, Ferrer, Chang, Rios, Santoro, Rochus, Grosjean, Sela, Clement, Russel, Nishioka, Cipolla, Montanes, Coria

Not a lot, true.

Sela had feet close together but a platform, Nishioka has a platform. All the rest have pinpoint.

12/14, or 86% of players 5'9" or shorter, in the ATP top 100, have/had a pinpoint stance.
Interesting stuff.
 
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GuyClinch

Legend
FWIW I suspect pinpoint is the stance that allows more power - hence it is quite popular on the tour. For rec players I think platform stance is more straightforward and basic. I'd imagine that the coach might evolve the player to it if they wanted more power - so makes sense that both tall players who want to hit aces or short players who want to get lift would use it. A narrow platform basically is equivalent to pinpoint.. So its just super popular overall..
 

Dbrizz

New User
I’m 5’9” and switched from pinpoint to platform and I prefer platform now. Nishikori has recently switched back to pinpoint. He was pinpoint then platform now back to pinpoint. Personally I find I get more power and accuracy from platform. I felt like my kick was bigger with pinpoint though.
 
I've noticed, being short myself (5'8''), that most of the top players that are short have a pinpoint stance. I've been reading some of Brian Gordon's articles on biomechanics of the serve and stances and such (on tennisplayer.net). Haven't researched enough to use that information and apply it to short servers.

So, I'm just wondering if anyone has explanations of why this is? Any examples of top atp players that are short with a platform stance? I mean ferrer, goffin, chang, rochus and many others all employ a pinpoint.

I would think the easiest explanation is that it just allows you to jump higher therefore counteracting, to some degree, the inherent disadvantage of short servers. But then wouldn't taller servers want to get even taller?

I'm currently using a platform so this applies to me and wondering if I should change.
Dan Evans [5' 9"], Andre Agassi [5' 11"], and the shortest: Cibulkova at 5' 3".

I used to have a pinpoint but I kept uncoiling prematurely by bringing my back foot laterally past my front foot. I thought it would be easier to change to platform than to fix the foot slide [fewer moving parts].
 

jdawgg

Rookie
FWIW I suspect pinpoint is the stance that allows more power - hence it is quite popular on the tour. For rec players I think platform stance is more straightforward and basic. I'd imagine that the coach might evolve the player to it if they wanted more power - so makes sense that both tall players who want to hit aces or short players who want to get lift would use it. A narrow platform basically is equivalent to pinpoint.. So its just super popular overall..
What you suspect doesn't matter. Sorry to be blunt, but I hate when people think their opinion is more valid than research and data from experts in the field. It was already referenced from studies that it didn't contribute more power to the serve, only a higher jump and contact point.
 

jdawgg

Rookie
Dan Evans [5' 9"], Andre Agassi [5' 11"], and the shortest: Cibulkova at 5' 3".

I used to have a pinpoint but I kept uncoiling prematurely by bringing my back foot laterally past my front foot. I thought it would be easier to change to platform than to fix the foot slide [fewer moving parts].
I'm still using a modified platform myself. Not the highest on my list of priorities to change. Just interesting to see a lot of short players using pinpoint at the highest levels.
 

SystemicAnomaly

Talk Tennis Guru
Dan Evans [5' 9"], Andre Agassi [5' 11"], and the shortest: Cibulkova at 5' 3".

I used to have a pinpoint but I kept uncoiling prematurely by bringing my back foot laterally past my front foot. I thought it would be easier to change to platform than to fix the foot slide [fewer moving parts].
I believe that Lauren Davis is a mere 5'2" tall. I remember an epic battle she had with another shorty, Simona Halep, a few years back. it's not often that she that gets to play somebody shorter than herself.
 
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Dragy

Legend
I used to have a pinpoint but I kept uncoiling prematurely by bringing my back foot laterally past my front foot. I thought it would be easier to change to platform than to fix the foot slide [fewer moving parts].
Same stuff, just couldn’t get that back foot under control :X3:
 
Same stuff, just couldn’t get that back foot under control :X3:
From the "out of the frying pan, into the fire" files, now I have problem with the front foot moving. It's completely illogical, since it just disrupts my balance, but some supposedly discarded algorithm in my brain is moving my front foot forward, unbeknownst to me.
 

GuyClinch

Legend
What you suspect doesn't matter. Sorry to be blunt, but I hate when people think their opinion is more valid than research and data from experts in the field. It was already referenced from studies that it didn't contribute more power to the serve, only a higher jump and contact point.
What research? WTF are you talking about? The biggest serve ever hit in the world PINPOINT.


Research that DOG. LMAO.
 

jdawgg

Rookie
Note that an effective leg drive can promote a deeper racket head drop and a greater amount of ESR (External Shoulder Rotation). One can achieve a generous degree of ESR with leg drive with less stress to the shoulder. Studied have shown that trying to achieve this ESR with very little leg drive tends put undue stress on the shoulder. This could explain, in part, why Stanimal has been plagued with shoulder problems during his career.
Studies... What studies. I have never seen a study that showed that. I have done a lot of research on this topic. Please direct me to the study your are referencing.
Old posts but I did find studies about this earlier today. The biggest one is from Bahamonde and is referenced in ITF Biomechanics of Advanced Tennis. I have a hardcopy of the book that goes into the details but I don't think many would be interested in that. If someone is interested I can post it. But mostly I just wanted to say that Systemic is absolutely correct here.

"Those players with more effective knee flexion-extension during the service action were associated with lower loading at the shoulder and elbow."


Edit: GuyClinch should take a look at post #43 to see the research. Sam Groth's serve there is not even recognized by the ATP. It's sad that I have to say this, but it's also not proof of pinpoint having more power than platform. Additionally, Milos Raonic served 155 with a platform, same with Roddick at a height much lower than the recognized two fastest serves from Isner and Karlovic at 156 and 157.
 
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Chas Tennis

G.O.A.T.
Ball Velocity, Projection Angle and Impact Height

The vertical scale showing projection angle runs from -8 degrees to +1 degrees (relative to the horizonal).

The distance of impact into the court is also a factor for determining whether the ball goes in.

Here is the kind of data we need for discussions of height, serve projection angle and speed. Unfortunately, the type of serve is not on the graph.


https://www.researchgate.net/publication/256099241_A_kinematic_comparison_of_successful_and_unsuccessful_tennis_serves_across_the_elite_development_pathway
 
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socallefty

Hall of Fame
From the "out of the frying pan, into the fire" files, now I have problem with the front foot moving. It's completely illogical, since it just disrupts my balance, but some supposedly discarded algorithm in my brain is moving my front foot forward, unbeknownst to me.
This is the most common reason why 80% of rec players footfault on every serve - they move their front foot forward just before they contact the ball. It seems like it has to do with bending the knee during the toss rather than after it, having a resulting hitch in the service motion and then moving the front foot forward to retain balance for an extended period during the timing hitch. I’ve found that if rec players start their serve stance with more weight on their front foot and the heel of the back foot tilted up, then they stop this footfaulting problem. Most of them start their stance with the weight more on the back foot and then don’t rock forward properly to anchor the front foot and prevent it from moving.
 
D

Deleted member 780836

Guest
Personally, platform gives me a higher serve percentage in, easier to aim and the motion just feels more natural so it doesn't break down easily in high stress service games. Pinpoint gives a slight increase in power but with massive regression of serve percentage in and it's way too inconsistent for me. So the choice for me is obvious. Everyone is different though, try both out for a few weeks each and decide for yourself.
 

SystemicAnomaly

Talk Tennis Guru
Some insist on referring to Andy Roddick's stance as PP. Don't see it. Feet are too far apart. And he did not require the extra (pinpoint) movement of the back leg, coming forward, to implement his launch stance. Would characterize this as a narrow platform

 

jdawgg

Rookie
Ball Velocity, Projection Angle and Impact Height

The vertical scale showing projection angle runs from -8 degrees to +1 degrees (relative to the horizonal).

The distance of impact into the court is also a factor for determining whether the ball goes in.
Just read some of this study. Interesting stuff, difficult to unpack some of it. It sounds like projection angle is the angle the ball bounces off the racquet strings relative to the horizontal? The lower the projection angle the less chance of the serve going in -- perhaps, dumping the ball into the net.

Could be misunderstanding but it sounds like the distal joints (elbow and wrist) have a lot of control over the projection angle and are what is causing a lot of service faults. Maybe I'll play around with that a little to see what joints influence the angle of the racquet.

I noticed the projection angle on my serve looks like it's positive almost. Lots of my first serves going long -- inconsistent. Somewhat counter to this study. Maybe I should try to find a better projection angle?
 

Chas Tennis

G.O.A.T.
Just read some of this study. Interesting stuff, difficult to unpack some of it. It sounds like projection angle is the angle the ball bounces off the racquet strings relative to the horizontal? The lower the projection angle the less chance of the serve going in -- perhaps, dumping the ball into the net.

Could be misunderstanding but it sounds like the distal joints (elbow and wrist) have a lot of control over the projection angle and are what is causing a lot of service faults. Maybe I'll play around with that a little to see what joints influence the angle of the racquet.

I noticed the projection angle on my serve looks like it's positive almost. Lots of my first serves going long -- inconsistent. Somewhat counter to this study. Maybe I should try to find a better projection angle?
The publication is for elite lady servers and one high ranking WTA server.

The serve types, I believe, are flat serves. Read the first comments about the advantages & % gained by the first serves.

Projection angle is the angle of the initial trajectory line to the horizontal direction. It is a common term in the biomechanics of other sports too.

At +1 degree the trajectory is rising off the racket. Most of the serves were headed down as I believe nearly all ATP serves are. Some high level kick serves may rise by a bit but I have not seen data showing those projection angles. See Rod Cross, Physics of the Kick Serve.

There is some evidence showing that the kick serve has the racket face tilted closed much more than the slice or flat serves - perhaps by 12-15 d. closed tilt just before impact. The flat and slice serves are about neutral open-closed just before impact.

Flat, slice and kick serves have spin vectors with some top spin component, some sidespin component and some spiral spin component. There is a ball diagram showing spin vector measurements but I do not believe the serves included ATP serves.

If your serves mostly have positive projection angles do some high speed video from the side and see what is going on.

From the side camera view, the typical impact of a slice or flat serve should show the trunk and arm tilted down at a considerable angle and the racket shaft about neutral (side view) just before impact. The wrist is extended to get those angles.

See high speed videos for the details and variations.
 
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FloridaAG

Professional
I am 5'7 and after serving platform my while tennis life - 37 or so years - recently switched to pin point. It has been helpful for me both flat and kickers
 

Lukhas

Legend

There are a bit of interesting takes. Federer hits the ball as if he's 6'5" even though he's listed at 6'1"; just as high as fellow platform user Raonic who happens to be listed at 6'5", or as high as pinpoint server Del Potro, who's supposedly two inches taller than the Canadian. Sharapova's contact point is fairly variable... albeit consistently higher than Djokovic's despite both of them being listed at around the same height. Likewise, Konta seems to hit the ball higher than Nishikori despite supposedly being as tall as one another. Serena Williams doesn't get much air on her serves, but it doesn't seem to bother her too much...
 

aaron_h27

Professional
I switched from pinpoint to platform 4-5 years ago and my serve improved so much. Less moving parts. 5'7, 5.0 player. My coach as a junior only taught platform stance to everybody. Gotta stay away from one size fits all coaches.
 

SystemicAnomaly

Talk Tennis Guru

SystemicAnomaly

Talk Tennis Guru
What research? WTF are you talking about? The biggest serve ever hit in the world PINPOINT.


Research that DOG. LMAO.
Important to note that Sam Growth stands at a towering 194 cm. In fact, most of the fastest serves are from pinpointers who range from just over 6'4" up to 6'11". (The PP stance appears to a favorite with the tallest pro players as well as the shortest). Of the giants, Milos Raonic (6'5") is a platformer with one of the fastest serves of all time = 155 mph.

For tall-ish players at 193 cm (~6'4") or under we see more fast platformers like Federer, Thiem, Roddick (155 mph), Tsitsipas, Taylor Dent (150 mph), Djokovic, Sampras and others.

Not sure if Sampras ever served over 130 mph. However, with his massive serve spin, his RHS rivaled the fastest servers of his day as well as the speed demons of the past 2 decades. His first serves could average 3000 rpm and his 2nd serve could exceed 5200 rpm. It takes an extremely high RHS to achieve this.

Numerous serve studies in the 80s, 90s and the past 2 decades show a relatively small difference in GRF or speed potential between PP and platform stances. PP edges out platform in these respects. However, it really comes down to the individual, whether pro or rec player, as to which stance will produce the fastest serves or RHS speed.

Height can be one be factor which produces the best results. Other anatomical differences can also be important factors. ROM / flexibility of the joints, lengths of bones in the legs and arms, predominant muscle fiber types and, possibly, other differences in anatomy can influence which stance will work best for the individual. Other non-anatomical factors undoubtedly can also come into play.

How an individual implements the serve can greatly influence which stance variation will produce the best results. A 2015 study (C. Martin) indicates that doubles players, S&V players and players with an attacking game style will tend to embrace the foot-back (platform) stance significantly more often than players with a baseline game style will.
 

Dbrizz

New User
That might be the benefit for shorter players. The trajectory the ball takes to the service box has a smaller margin of error at a lower height. Missing long and into the net more often than a taller player.
Jdawgg what did you end up doing? Switching to pinpoint? I'm 5'9" and can switch back and forth but my ball is flatter and harder with pinpoint. I have better control on platform. I'm considering trying pinpoint again and learning how to control the power better.
 
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