Getting racquet drop on the serve

StringSnapper

Hall of Fame
I've never had a good drop (or really any drop, for that matter.. maybe a 1 inch drop now LOL) but today i was serving pretty well.

I put a permanent table tennis fixture up in the backyard and i've been playing a lot of that while ive had my groin injury. For those of you that dont know, the forehand technique in table tennis is interesting... it kind of is supposed to come up at a 45 degree angle and smack you in the forehead... The closest thing i think it resembles to a tennis forehand is a lasso finish, with lots of topspin.

Anyway, i was trying it out today a bit brushing up more on my FH and it seemed to work well.

One very weird thing though, when I went to serve (and i had all this lasso style brushing going on wired into my body) it felt like i was almost "lassoing" my serve in. Hard to explain. Anyway, i felt like this crazy topspin on the ball and it just lurched forward off the ground and impressive speed. It felt effortless too. Perhaps my ESR / racquet drop was better?



Anyone experienced something like this before? I'll have to video it next time i serve.
 
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GuyClinch

Legend
Racquet drop can be a timing issue, IMHO. If you kind of rush to the trophy position - while tossing - and then wait and go - you can end up with a shorter drop because you are not allowing yourself time to go into a full drop. Your mind wants to hit the ball - so it doesn't chance on a full drop - because ball might be too low then.

So one idea would be to split it up. Shadow swing a full drop - then incorporate the tossing motion and legs back in. Then adjust height of your toss so everything works on time.

BTW easiest way to shadow full drop is to start with racquet arm extended like a Novak/Kyrgios.


Notice how the racquet kind of helicopters over his head and then drops. If you shadow this kind of action in slow motion with a losey gosey arm you will get full drop. Nick gets alot more shoulder tilt and leg drive then most rec players will. But this arm action - you can mimic it - and you can stop and feel the full drop.
 

StringSnapper

Hall of Fame
@Curious @FiReFTW @Bender @ByeByePoly @nytennisaddict @J011yroger


Had a serve today, unfortunately i lost that "lasso" feeling... anyway, video'd it and below are the results...


0:47 - practicing putting right hand out to stop over rotation. Usually i seem to tuck my arm in, which i think makes me lean to the right too much, over rotate, and cause pain in my right hip when i land.

1:26 - i seem to stay more upright here, and it seems to translate to more power into the shot (hits the back fence off one bounce)
1:52 - seemed like decent power
2:08 - seems decent

3:12 - not sure what happened here? everything seems to align and go massive power transfer into contact

3:33 another one bounce fence hitter



Overall it seems like i'm getting more power. Not quite there yet though... and the drop is still lacking, but it is improved
 
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Curious

Legend
Two things caught my eye:
1. Racket is dropping by wrist bending back mostly, not arm rotation ie ESR. Could there be a restriction of ROM there?
2. Your torso is bending to the right far too much somehow.
 
@Curious @FiReFTW @Bender @ByeByePoly @nytennisaddict @J011yroger


Had a serve today, unfortunately i lost that "lasso" feeling... anyway, video'd it and below are the results...

Looking at the one at 0:13: at contact, your arm and legs are about perpendicular to the court but your upper body is at a severe rightward-tiling angle. At the very least, this is causing your contact point to be much lower than it could be if you "straightened out" your body. In this frame, you look severely constricted.

Independent of that, a way to get more racquet drop is to work on shoulder flexibility: yours looks quite inflexible. Have you tried anchoring an elastic band and walking in the other direction while holding the other end?

This is one way at 0:04:


where the anchor point is in front of you and you pull backwards. I'm thinking where the anchor point is behind you and by walking forwards, the band pulls your arm backwards.

Look where Simon's lower arm [between elbow and hand] is when he finishes pulling: if you consider that 0 degrees, someone with a flexible shoulder should be able to keep moving their arm backwards by 30 degrees or more [Djokovic has a ridiculous range of motion]. If you can slowly work on stretching this motion, I think your racquet drop will improve. Just make sure you do the stretch in small increments past zero degrees; you don't want to hurt yourself.
 
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FiReFTW

Legend
Whats ur tennis goal?

Because your serve is fine enough for a decent tennis level, its not that bad, it has decent pace, just seems ur consistency is not great so i would focus on that. Trying to hit spots not obsessing over racquet drop which is probably just a not so flexible shoulder.
 

Curious

Legend
Whats ur tennis goal?

Because your serve is fine enough for a decent tennis level, its not that bad, it has decent pace, just seems ur consistency is not great so i would focus on that. Trying to hit spots not obsessing over racquet drop which is probably just a not so flexible shoulder.
Is this a little condescending?! He is your age and clearly wants to improve his tennis as much as you do.
 

dgold44

G.O.A.T.
I've never had a good drop (or really any drop, for that matter.. maybe a 1 inch drop now LOL) but today i was serving pretty well.

I put a permanent table tennis fixture up in the backyard and i've been playing a lot of that while ive had my groin injury. For those of you that dont know, the forehand technique in table tennis is interesting... it kind of is supposed to come up at a 45 degree angle and smack you in the forehead... The closest thing i think it resembles to a tennis forehand is a lasso finish, with lots of topspin.

Anyway, i was trying it out today a bit brushing up more on my FH and it seemed to work well.

One very weird thing though, when I went to serve (and i had all this lasso style brushing going on wired into my body) it felt like i was almost "lassoing" my serve in. Hard to explain. Anyway, i felt like this crazy topspin on the ball and it just lurched forward off the ground and impressive speed. It felt effortless too. Perhaps my ESR / racquet drop was better?



Anyone experienced something like this before? I'll have to video it next time i serve.
Most folks never learn the racket drop and always have a garbage serve and never see why .
It’s better to think as circular path than up and down
Shallow rack drops are very hard to ever fix
 

dgold44

G.O.A.T.
I had a terrible shallow drop and after 2 yrs of practice the best I ever got was mediocre drop .
Because you cannot see it makes it very hard
 

Curious

Legend
I had a terrible shallow drop and after 2 yrs of practice the best I ever got was mediocre drop .
Because you cannot see it makes it very hard
Is it a lack of shoulder range of motion? If it’s not that, it shouldn’t be impossible to fix.
 

FiReFTW

Legend
Is this a little condescending?! He is your age and clearly wants to improve his tennis as much as you do.
Why condescending, im just asking him what his goal is, he never said what it is if I remember correctly.

My coach says that building a player requires both the coach (or in this case people here that he asks for advice) and the player in question to have a clear picture what the goal is, and then base the advice on that.
Someone whos goal is 3.5 or someone whos goal is 5.5 or whos goal is to go pro (just examples) should have completely different objectives and training and what they work on and how, and if someone plays for a long while and has a technique that is adequate for his goal and would take a long time to correct, sometimes its better to just work on this current motion and improve the consistency and everything.

Thats why my question still stands @StringSnapper what is your goal?
 

Curious

Legend
Why condescending, im just asking him what his goal is, he never said what it is if I remember correctly.

My coach says that building a player requires both the coach (or in this case people here that he asks for advice) and the player in question to have a clear picture what the goal is, and then base the advice on that.
Someone whos goal is 3.5 or someone whos goal is 5.5 or whos goal is to go pro (just examples) should have completely different objectives and training and what they work on and how, and if someone plays for a long while and has a technique that is adequate for his goal and would take a long time to correct, sometimes its better to just work on this current motion and improve the consistency and everything.

Thats why my question still stands @StringSnapper what is your goal?
Come on, you well know that just like you and many others here he wants to be his best possible version of himself/ reach his potential ceiling.
 

FiReFTW

Legend
Come on, you well know that just like you and many others here he wants to be his best possible version of himself/ reach his potential ceiling.
I would say probably a very few have such a goal, but if thats his goal then yes he has alot of things to improve in his serve and I will try to offer my feedback as best I can from my limited 2 year knowledge.
 

sredna42

Hall of Fame
What’s meant by a live arm? Always wondered.
Zero tension, whip like. I also like to call it "linguine arm" since I heard someone refer to kyrgios' arm during serving with that word.
When I actually could serve and wasn't a broken mass of injuries, I found that if I drove up with the legs as the racquet head drop is just beginning, it, as a natural consequence, caused a deep racquet head drop.
 

FiReFTW

Legend
What’s meant by a live arm? Always wondered.
Ability to accelerate the arm plus flexibility that results in a whip like snap.

Alot of trainers when they see someone with both these qualities seem to say he has a very live arm.

Imagine the opposite, someone not flexible and also say extremely muscular like a bodybuilder with a very weighty arm and not good acceleration and unflexible, non whip like, more like slow buldozer like.
 

Keendog

Semi-Pro
I highly recommend Jeff Salzenstein videos for learning to serve with a stronger technique.

Some highlights that may help you that I have picked up from his vids:
  1. Moving your grip to right to a weak continental makes pronation easier, ie the V between your thumb and finger on the right edge of the top bevel. EDIT: You're a lefty so towards left edge.
  2. From trophy to drop get that racquet as close as possible to your head, as if your gonna comb it with your racquet.
  3. Spread fingers along the grip, your first finger should extend along the handle as this is gonna drive your pronation - you have a block grip.
EDIT: I forgot this awesome idea :): https://tt.tennis-warehouse.com/index.php?threads/i-have-invented-the-greatest-serving-tool-mankind-has-ever-seen.629534/

Here is a good place to start:

 
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Curious

Legend
From trophy to drop get that racquet as close as possible to your head, as if your gonna comb it with your racquet.
That was also my observation with pro players at the AO -most of them do that. But I don’t quite get the rationale behind it.
 

Keendog

Semi-Pro
[
1:26 - i seem to stay more upright here, and it seems to translate to more power into the shot (hits the back fence off one bounce)
1:52 - seemed like decent power
2:08 - seems decent

3:12 - not sure what happened here? everything seems to align and go massive power transfer into contact


3:33 another one bounce fence hitter
BTW the one you like at 3:12 i think your toss location was better, more to the left and more in the court. You seem to have to fall away heavily to your right in order to make contact with the ball, try tossing it to the left more and also slightly further in the court
 

Keendog

Semi-Pro
That was also my observation with pro players at the AO -most of them do that. But I don’t quite get the rationale behind it.
MY OPINION IS, For the elbow to drive up comfortably it needs to have space to move into. If the wrist and racquet is where it wants to go then that will hamper it's movement. It is also a lever, if at contact it is extended so that it is at 0 degrees with your upper arm, then you can "load" it more by bending it as much as possible, from a 90 degree angle with upper arm to probably at a guess up to 135 degrees fully bent. So if you bring it in and comb your hair with your racquet this will give a greater elbow bend, and on the swing forward this is 135 degrees of extension that adds power from the same amount of shoulder effort, like a lever.

That probably wasn't a good explanation, but from experimentation it definitely helps.
 
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Curious

Legend
MY OPINION IS, For the elbow to drive up comfortably it needs to have space to move into. If the wrist and racquet is where it wants to go then that will hamper it's movement. It is also a lever, if at contact it is extended so that it is at 0 degrees with your upper arm, then you can "load" it more by bending it as much as possible, from a 90 degree angle with upper arm to probably at a guess up to 135 degrees fully bent. So if you bring it in and comb your hair with your racquet this will give a greater elbow bend, and on the swing forward this is 135 degrees of extension that adds power from the same amount of shoulder effort, like a lever.

That probably wasn't a good explanation, but from experimentation it definitely helps.
But some argue that the elbow angle should be maintained at 90 degrees for a more effective ESR. Also the role of elbow extension in serve is probably quite small compared to ESR.
 

Keendog

Semi-Pro
But some argue that the elbow angle should be maintained at 90 degrees for a more effective ESR. Also the role of elbow extension in serve is probably quite small compared to ESR.
Believe whatever you want to believe. It's hard to explain but it helps energy transfer cleanly from body to arm, and for the arm to swing forward loosely as there is 'space' for it to move into
 
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D

Deleted member 23235

Guest
@Curious @FiReFTW @Bender @ByeByePoly @nytennisaddict @J011yroger


Had a serve today, unfortunately i lost that "lasso" feeling... anyway, video'd it and below are the results...


0:47 - practicing putting right hand out to stop over rotation. Usually i seem to tuck my arm in, which i think makes me lean to the right too much, over rotate, and cause pain in my right hip when i land.

1:26 - i seem to stay more upright here, and it seems to translate to more power into the shot (hits the back fence off one bounce)
1:52 - seemed like decent power
2:08 - seems decent

3:12 - not sure what happened here? everything seems to align and go massive power transfer into contact

3:33 another one bounce fence hitter



Overall it seems like i'm getting more power. Not quite there yet though... and the drop is still lacking, but it is improved
What kind of serves are you trying to hit?
Seems like youre trying to hit flat off a toss directly overhead?

I’d be more interested to understand your approach to spin serves.! But Your comments indicate you’re going for power?
 

FiReFTW

Legend
What kind of serves are you trying to hit?
Seems like youre trying to hit flat off a toss directly overhead?

I’d be more interested to understand your approach to spin serves.! But Your comments indicate you’re going for power?
Something i also noticed, toss overhead, swingpath very through the ball into the court.
 

gzhpcu

Professional
As suggested above, look up Jeff Salzenstein on Youtube, look for “elbow the enemy”. Great stuff!
 
@StringSnapper - flexibility question: can you grasp your hands behind your back like this? (serving arm on top)

Note, however, that, at least for me, the shoulder that experiences more stress in this stretch is the side where the arm is under; in the above image, the left. My right arm would feel strain more in the triceps.

If I'm a righty and I want to work on shoulder flexibility for my serve, the opposite stretch where the right arm is under is the key, IMO.

Most people can't even touch fingers, let alone grasp them and pull. And it's very possible to strain a neck muscle trying to grasp fingers. A better way of doing this stretch is to:

- put your arm whose shoulder you want to stretch behind your back
- squat in front of your bed [some kind of raised surface, maybe a couple of feet off the ground] with your back to the bed
- slowly lower yourself such that your elbow and lower arm stay on the bed while the rest of your body goes down: rather than trying to lift your arm up, you're using the resistance of the bed and the fact that you're lowering yourself to create the same stretch

This will accomplish the stretch in the above picture without having to grasp fingers. It's also very slow and controlled [as long as you can hold the squat OK]. The surface needs to be high enough to offer resistance to your shoulder: too low and you won't be stretching anything.

Those with rotator cuff problems have to extra careful with stretches like these.
 

ByeByePoly

G.O.A.T.
@Curious @FiReFTW @Bender @ByeByePoly @nytennisaddict @J011yroger


Had a serve today, unfortunately i lost that "lasso" feeling... anyway, video'd it and below are the results...


0:47 - practicing putting right hand out to stop over rotation. Usually i seem to tuck my arm in, which i think makes me lean to the right too much, over rotate, and cause pain in my right hip when i land.

1:26 - i seem to stay more upright here, and it seems to translate to more power into the shot (hits the back fence off one bounce)
1:52 - seemed like decent power
2:08 - seems decent

3:12 - not sure what happened here? everything seems to align and go massive power transfer into contact

3:33 another one bounce fence hitter



Overall it seems like i'm getting more power. Not quite there yet though... and the drop is still lacking, but it is improved
Sir Snap ... I see definite improvement ... more natural looking throwing motion to my eyes. These guys are better technically on serve mechanics than me, I just don't spend much time on it. But without looking at slo mo or frames, I was thinking the same thing @Curious said. I would think at your age you could get more rotation back (ESR) at shoulder, which is really what makes for a full smoith throwing motion.

FYI ... you are a lefty ... more "can opener" @01:02 will win you a lot of points.
 

sredna42

Hall of Fame
MY OPINION IS, For the elbow to drive up comfortably it needs to have space to move into. If the wrist and racquet is where it wants to go then that will hamper it's movement. It is also a lever, if at contact it is extended so that it is at 0 degrees with your upper arm, then you can "load" it more by bending it as much as possible, from a 90 degree angle with upper arm to probably at a guess up to 135 degrees fully bent. So if you bring it in and comb your hair with your racquet this will give a greater elbow bend, and on the swing forward this is 135 degrees of extension that adds power from the same amount of shoulder effort, like a lever.

That probably wasn't a good explanation, but from experimentation it definitely helps.
Shhhhhhhhh!!!!
If you keep talking like that you'll summon mr.potato head

There was a point where i thought I could serve well, but then I learned the feeling of hitting up at the ball, which makes you drive with the legs, and once the leg drive started happening at the right time, i instantly felt how deep the racquet would go behind my back. I'd know when a serve was gonna be a good one when i felt that. It was like being drunk with power.

Now, of course, it's gone and i can't serve for sh*t
 

sredna42

Hall of Fame

Curious

Legend
Another thing, it occurred to me whilst learning the feeling of this, is that it was kinda similar to the lag on a forehand induced by the legs driving the stroke, not a forced thing at all, just happens as a byproduct of getting the sequence right,
Very good point (y). If you’re tense and stiff and trying to arm it, it doesn’t happen, does it?
 

sredna42

Hall of Fame
Very good point (y). If you’re tense and stiff and trying to arm it, it doesn’t happen, does it?
Yeah, I describe the feeling as "linguine arm", It's why you see skinny kids able to throw really fast serves down, the whole motion should feel more like fluidly cracking a whip than forcefully throwing a racquet. But just getting your timing perfect so the point of the crack is perfectly when the strings hit the ball, not before (golfer's elbow) or after (fault into net)

Keep in mind i suck at tennis, these are just my thoughts along the road
 

sredna42

Hall of Fame
Very good point (y). If you’re tense and stiff and trying to arm it, it doesn’t happen, does it?
Another thing, almost any progress i made (LOL which is little) came when i just learned or fine tuned a feeling of a shot, how it felt and tinkering based on what happened, rather than rigidly trying to imitate a textbook technique.
 
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StringSnapper

Hall of Fame
Okay so far out of this thread ive got:

Racquet isnt dropping
Torso is falling to the right

@Curious i'll do a video give me a sec. I seem to be able to do it, maybe not super well though.

@S&V-not_dead_yet thanks ill give that exercise a go and see how bendy i can make my shoulder

@FiReFTW right now my overall tennis goal is to get a 5+ ranking in the league i play in (australian ranking not NTRP). I'm actually almost there , i got bumped from 6+ to 5 before the season summer break started, but i think i'm barely a 5 right now and to get 5+ i would need a better serve. My serving goals are to get a racquet drop and hit the back fence in one bounce on every first serve

Zero tension, whip like. I also like to call it "linguine arm" since I heard someone refer to kyrgios' arm during serving with that word.
When I actually could serve and wasn't a broken mass of injuries, I found that if I drove up with the legs as the racquet head drop is just beginning, it, as a natural consequence, caused a deep racquet head drop.
I note you say "as the racquet head drop is just beginning" do you mean to say that you would arm the start of the drop, then push up straight after with the legs to assist the drop?

Is that right - or should the drop be completely massive from the legs / upward thrust only?

@Keendog Oh jeez, i think i used to have my fingers spread more but i was told to block grip it lol. I have watched Salzensteins stuff before, and when i shadow swing i can really feel it wizzing past the back of my head. For some reason wheneve the ball enters the picture it just doesnt happen. Maybe i tense up or something unconsciously when the ball is there?

I havent used the water bottle before but i did do the feeltennis guy bag of balls. The thing is my shadow swings are already pretty perfect looking - my torso stays upright and i get a racquet drop.

You're right though... I need to get that wizzing feeling on the back of my head. Thats what the pros do. Maybe you're right about serve location...

You say maybe i need to make contact in front and to my left more?

Heres a video of my serve from about 6 months ago:

Do you think my contact is further to my left?

Check out this pic of Roger... on the right is a flat, on the left is a slice. he's making contact outside his feet. Unfortunately on my newest video the camera wasnt positioned so you could see my legs, but i think i'm making contact over my foot - do i need to be tossing even further to my right? It feels like i would be falling over then, though...


Another thing... when he makes contact the racquet isnt pointing straight up. mine is. Maybe thats my problem here? My torso rotates to the right so i can get my racquet straight up and down... but maybe i shouldnt be doing this. And if i didnt do that, maybe i'd be more upright. Hmm.

What kind of serves are you trying to hit?
Seems like youre trying to hit flat off a toss directly overhead?

I’d be more interested to understand your approach to spin serves.! But Your comments indicate you’re going for power?
I am looking more for mechanics than style of serve at this point (a good racquet drop etc)
 
Okay so far out of this thread ive got:
@S&V-not_dead_yet thanks ill give that exercise a go and see how bendy i can make my shoulder
Another, simpler one [accounting for the fact that you're a lefty]:
- lie on your bed with your left shoulder and arm hanging off the bed
- use a light weight [start with a few pounds] in your left hand. Arrange your arm in the same position as Simon is in his video with the elastic band.

Gravity will pull your arm down gradually. I'd avoid using too much weight; the idea isn't to force the flexibility like you would if you're trying to bench press a heavy weight. The idea is to do a gradual stretch.

If someone is willing, they can manually stretch your shoulder by gently pressing down.
 
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