Critique My Serve

JoshyS

Rookie
After a 3 year absence from competitive play, id like to put the wheels in motion about making a return. So much to my girlfriends delight i managed to drag her to the courts today so she could get a few videos of my serve. Its been a good few months since ive really spent any time at all on my serve so any help and advice would be appreciated. There are two videos below from different angles of me warming up few serves:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=muY4kPOZ9nM

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BaGnLG-tL1I

It doesnt look too bad considering how little time ive spent on it but one thing that bothers me is my back (left) foot. It looks to me as though it comes too far forward. I feel as though this could be restricting the amount of spring i get from my knee bend up into contact. It looks as though my toss could be a little more forward to help maximise the spring from my knee bend as well. Bare in mind when your watching the videos is that im only warming up so im not accelerating up into contact as much as i normally would so my feet dont leave the ground as much. Thanks in advance, Josh.
 

Falloutjr

Banned
One major thing I noticed is that you don't get a lot of body rotation. Look at your right arm, it essentially sits there through the entire motion. I think if you pulled your arm down through the service motion, you could get more racquet head speed.
 

JoshyS

Rookie
Good point about the right arm. I think pulling it in will definitely help the racket head speed. Any opinions on the footwork? Is it hindering me?

It was taken on some secluded courts on the nottingham university campus. You recognise them?
 

kanwar

New User
Im in no position to give much advice(as im pretty hopeless myself) but i think your action or the motions are quite good you just need to use your WHOLE body as much as you can really spring into the serve.

I think you'll get even more speed like that.
 

ChopShot

Semi-Pro
Not that your serve is anywhere near bad, but...
Your left leg is coming way too far forward. The arm and upper body action looks good, but your left leg is getting in the way. Your weight seems to be backwards because of it, which is anything but ideal for a flat first serve. Try a pinpoint stance, and lean into the court some more - lead with your hip.
Oh, that, and your motion is completely devoid of leg action. Yes, there's some bending here and there, but seriously! Where's the effort? You need to explode into the ball much more. Other than that, though, you really seem to be blessed with the makings of a great serve.
 

ark_28

Legend
Good point about the right arm. I think pulling it in will definitely help the racket head speed. Any opinions on the footwork? Is it hindering me?

It was taken on some secluded courts on the nottingham university campus. You recognise them?
It did look familiar! I played a bit at Leicester University! near enough! but graduated a few years back!

Am a lefty as well! pretty impressed with your seve, maybe your contact point could be a tad earlier but I think having not played in 3 years thats very impressive! would be happy to hit with you sometime! :)
 
D

decades

Guest
I think you have the basis for a really good serve. it looks like you need to work on your footwork. make sure to keep your head up as you seem to hit the tape and net quite a bit. make sure the toss is a bit into the court. your body rotation, racquet drop, all the upper body stuff...looks great.
 

JoshyS

Rookie
Thanks for the compliments, theyre much appreciated. I definitely think theres room for a lot more leg action to spring up into contact. I can also see how my footwork means im leaning as much into the serve as id want to be meaning my weight transfer into contact isnt as great meaning less power. However, it just doesnt feel as comfortable when i bring my feet together. Im considering taking a little step forward with my leading foot like safin does here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lhrfqjokS_Q. If that doesnt help i guess if you practise something for long enough it starts to become more comfortable. And lastly i know there was probably a few too many net cords as id like here but its been a while since ive played in front of the cameras. My consistancy usually isnt too much of a problem, honestly lol.
 

spacediver

Hall of Fame
looks pretty good. Agree with falloutjr: you don't seem to be getting much forward angular momentum out of your body. There should be a large component of forward rotation of your entire body, like a cartwheel, into the court. A good diagnostic of forward rotation is the back kick of the outside leg after impact (in your case, the left leg). This back kick should occur naturally in order to prevent you from falling onto the court, in an attempt to regain balance from all the forward rotation provided by the legs and trunk. In your case, there isn't enough forward rotation in order to necessitate such a countermovement by the left leg.

You might address this by incorporating more of a backward lean in your motion (backwards relative to the back viewpoint).


edit: interestingly, safin doesn't seem to kick back either in that video you posted. I think this may be due partially to the fact that these are warmup serves. If you look at him serving in a match situation, there is a clear kick back of the leg:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qJvKGEGS3u0
 
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JoshyS

Rookie
I see what you mean. Maybe it because these are warm-up serves as well. I'll see if i can drag my girlfriend to the courts again so i can get some vids of some proper serves to see if the spring from my knee bend and back kick are more prevalent.
 

ChopShot

Semi-Pro
I see what you mean. Maybe it because these are warm-up serves as well. I'll see if i can drag my girlfriend to the courts again so i can get some vids of some proper serves to see if the spring from my knee bend and back kick are more prevalent.
I think, considering that you're a lefty and the way your serve generally looks right now, that Fernando Verdasco is a very good model for your serve. Almost identical arm action, but I'd advise you to copy his lower body action. Take a look at the last part of the following video for his service in slo-mo:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w_tClRQWHys
 

Dreamer

Professional
Your feet are limiting the height where you strike the ball. They are also getting in the way of your jump, which instead of forward is kind of static
 

Off The Wall

Semi-Pro
Your back is bending back over your seat. That's a power drain. Instead, drop your left shoulder lower than your right on your toss/trophy position and push your right hip forward for balance. Then you're loaded and ready to strike.
 

DeShaun

Banned
I think your own analysis is spot on. You are hardly pushing off at all from your left foot, it's apparently lagging though acting as a kind of counter-wieght which is aiding your overall balance. Further, the rotation of your shoulders around your spine and neck is being suppressed or prevented from giving its maximum input to your kinetic chain's amperage because, I think, your chest, arm and shoulders are developed enough that this is allowing or encouraging you to use too much arm and too little torso rotation. But getting back to your left foot, what you are doing is sliding it to the baseline, but what is happening is that your hips are turning towards the net, rather than remaining perpendicular to it. If you hold your hips perpendicular, A.) You probably will not feel a need any longer for sliding your left foot forward. B.) But more importantly, this posture would encourage the greater degree of shoulder rotation than presently, by forcing you to twist your torso (to the right) as your hips would be facing parallel with the baseline. For longevity's sake, your body will thank you one day if you, when serving, allow the simple rotation of your shoulders to do more of the channeling and releasing of force upon the ball than that done by your wrist, elbow, and shoulder sockets combined.
 

4sound

Semi-Pro
I see this a lot with players coming to me for serving lessons wanting more consistency/control/power on their serves no matter how many buckets of balls they practice.

The biggest thing is proper core rotation. Shoulder to hip separation relationship. Some call it "X" factor for ground strokes but it also applies to the serve. It's kind of hard to explain in words but basically you should feel the power across from left shoulder to right quad when you land.

A couple of other little things:
Keep your tossing arm up longer.
Finish with your right foot first into the court towards your target.

If you find your weight pulling you to the right (instead of towards your target) after you serve (especially into the deuce side), there's not enough rotation separation between your left shoulder and your left hip.
 
H

HugoBossDB

Guest
Firstly, phenomenal service motion.

I think the footwork commentary has been covered. Something really simple that has been overlooked is your head.

Your contact is a little spotty mainly, I think, because your eyes are coming off target to see where it goes (something I'm infamous for, haha). Keep your head calm and focus on stroke mechanics and contact. If you can make crisp contact with a service motion of your caliber the ball will go in. Just trust that it will.
 
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