Help on serve analysis

SystemicAnomaly

Talk Tennis Guru
Lol
My criteria are not as strict as yours apparently
I look at the basics
Great serve
He has a very decent serve but it can be tweaked to make it even better. The OP, himself, is aware that it is not optimal. We've provided him with a number of insights that should help to improve it -- with minimal risk of an overuse injury
 

mrmarble

Rookie
He has a very decent serve but it can be tweaked to make it even better. The OP, himself, is aware that it is not optimal. We've provided him with a number of insights that should help to improve it -- with minimal risk of an overuse injury
What’s he gonna get with that tweaking?
Extra pace?
Extra spin?
Win more points?
All?
 

SystemicAnomaly

Talk Tennis Guru
What’s he gonna get with that tweaking?
Extra pace?
Extra spin?
Win more points?
All?
He has an athletic, fairly aggressive serving style. An improved, more efficient serve, with optimal mechanics, will likely produce improved results with less stress to the body. Less risk of an overuse injury as I indicated in my previous post. He will very likely develop a more consistent serve as well

He already gets a decent measure of spin. More pace or even more spin might be achievable but these are not always the only concerns. Stanimal is a good example of this. With suboptimal mechanics, Stan has able to hit huge serves -- many in excess of 140 mph. However his mechanics appear to have taken its toll on his shoulder. He has been out with shoulder issues 5 or 6 times in the past decade. Something to consider -- particularly since a significant percentage of tennis player and other overhead action athletes develop overuse injuries of the dominant shoulder in their 50s. Some develop it much sooner.
 
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What’s he gonna get with that tweaking?
Extra pace?
Extra spin?
Win more points?
All?
I'm a curiosity driven tennis learner. I want to understand the strokes. If winning more points is top priority, I should've been practicing placement more than anything else right now. I think SA is spot on. Learning tennis at my age, improving techniques with minimized injury risk is very important. The amazing thing about this forum is that experienced folks are willing to spend time helping me in a way private lessons can't.
 

mrmarble

Rookie
I'm a curiosity driven tennis learner. I want to understand the strokes. If winning more points is top priority, I should've been practicing placement more than anything else right now. I think SA is spot on. Learning tennis at my age, improving techniques with minimized injury risk is very important. The amazing thing about this forum is that experienced folks are willing to spend time helping me in a way private lessons can't.
Ok
But paralysis by analysis is a real thing
Be careful
 

ChaelAZ

G.O.A.T.
Cartwheel:
How can I get more shoulder over shoulder motion? I read a lot of posts here. I get the concept, but when I look at my own video, I can't tell how much cartwheeling I have. Maybe I have zero? or I have it but it's not fast enough?

Contact:
When I look at the video frame by frame, I still can't see whether I'm making clean contact or not. My serve always has spin and I can't quite feel whether I hit the sweet spot or not. I don't even know how to hit a flat serve anymore.

Over-rotation:
do I still have over-rotation problem? I'm trying to tuck the arm. Freezing the video at contact point, I'm not facing the net. but not quite sure if I fix it or not.

Toss:
am I tossing high enough? I think I miss more frequently on relatively low toss. Should I intentionally toss more towards 12 o'clock?

Please comment!

What exactly is wrong with your serve? Consistency? Want more power over spin? You may have answered that above, but just curious.

I think the motion overall is decent. Only thing I see that you might consider is a more forward ball toss and contact point for more drive/power. You have MORE than enough upward push and brush to kick, but looking through several of the serves I would like to see a better hard, flat or other variety serve. Maybe they are in there since I only spot checked a few.

Cheers.
 
What exactly is wrong with your serve? Consistency? Want more power over spin? You may have answered that above, but just curious.

I think the motion overall is decent. Only thing I see that you might consider is a more forward ball toss and contact point for more drive/power. You have MORE than enough upward push and brush to kick, but looking through several of the serves I would like to see a better hard, flat or other variety serve. Maybe they are in there since I only spot checked a few.

Cheers.
My goal is to maximize my potential of higher level serve. So I think I need to learn effortless power through coordinating different motions from legs all the way to arm and wrist. Once I feel I get that down. I will need to add more power over spin as you suggest. After that, I'll learn to control placement. If (big if) I can do all of these with consistency, I'll try to learn how to conceal placement and change placement at the last second. That'll be enough to keep me busy for many years...
 

tomkowy

Rookie
Hello :)

Side thought: don't focus on going so low with the knees. If the upper body does not coordinate the movement well, you can't transfer the power from the legs. Going so low with legs can drive you off balance so I'd suggest to go more shallow with knees. You will have more stability this way.

Most important thing: your racquet drop is performed by your arm, it's done artificially. Look at the screenshot: https://ibb.co/HDBpcx9
Your shoulders or hips didn't move and your racquet is already dropped. You use power from your arm but not from your body. This move should work other way around: you start pushing with legs, turning hips and shoulders first. If you have a relaxed arm, moving the shoulder (turning and moving it up) will cause the racquet to drop. These videos explain the idea:

Try to do this move slowly without the ball first. Trophy position -> legs pushing, shoulder rotates and goes up -> racquet drops because of the inertia. Remember about keeping your arm relaxed and relaxed grip. Otherwise it will not work. Here you have this exact moment showed (turning shoulder leads to racket drop):

If something is not clear, feel free to ask :)
 
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SystemicAnomaly

Talk Tennis Guru
Side thought: don't focus on going so low with the knees. If the upper body does not coordinate the movement well, you can't transfer the power from the legs. Going so low with legs can drive you off balance so I'd suggest to go more shallow with knees. You will have more stability this way.
Great feedback here.

Most important thing: your racquet drop is performed by your arm, it's done artificially. Look at the screenshot: https://ibb.co/HDBpcx9

Your shoulders or hips didn't move and your racquet is already dropped. You use power from your arm but not from your body. This move should work other way around: you start pushing with legs, turning hips and shoulders first. If you have a relaxed arm, moving the shoulder (turning and moving it up) will cause the racquet to drop. These videos explain the idea:

Excellent presentation and insight from the RacquetFlex guys (Daytri & Dayday). But it bothers me that this video implies that pronation and supination are actions of the wrist. They are, in fact, actions of the forearm -- actions utilized to turn the hand.

The hand can be turned with rotations of the forearm and/or with rotations of the shoulder (ESR & ISR). It is incorrect to refer to shoulder rotations as wrist actions just as it is incorrect to refer to forearm rotations as wrist actions.

Ultimately, it is the hand that is turning the racket (face) -- either with an action of the forearm or an action of the shoulder.

Too much emphasis on the wrist. Otherwise, great video presentation from RacquetetFlex.
 

tomkowy

Rookie
Too much emphasis on the wrist. Otherwise, great video presentation from RacquetetFlex.
Yeah, all this part about supination, pronation, etc. may be confusing because of the jargon. I Also agree that trying to actively manipulate the wrist does not end well :) But they present nicely how the loop is happening.
 
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Nellie

Hall of Fame
Looks to me like an inconsistent toss (low and behind on slice). Your last serve looked like a pretty good flat serve. The difference in toss location is really small
 

Chas Tennis

G.O.A.T.
Hello :)

Side thought: don't focus on going so low with the knees. If the upper body does not coordinate the movement well, you can't transfer the power from the legs. Going so low with legs can drive you off balance so I'd suggest to go more shallow with knees. You will have more stability this way.

Most important thing: your racquet drop is performed by your arm, it's done artificially. Look at the screenshot: https://ibb.co/HDBpcx9
Your shoulders or hips didn't move and your racquet is already dropped. You use power from your arm but not from your body. This move should work other way around: you start pushing with legs, turning hips and shoulders first. If you have a relaxed arm, moving the shoulder (turning and moving it up) will cause the racquet to drop. These videos explain the idea:

Try to do this move slowly without the ball first. Trophy position -> legs pushing, shoulder rotates and goes up -> racquet drops because of the inertia. Remember about keeping your arm relaxed and relaxed grip. Otherwise it will not work. Here you have this exact moment showed (turning shoulder leads to racket drop):

If something is not clear, feel free to ask :)
Why does the player display such a risky high upper arm orientation that increases the risk of shoulder impingement for a high level serve?
 
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Chas Tennis

G.O.A.T.
Which player?
I saw a Before & After GIF (I think) at the bottom video of your post. The "After" had the upper arm going up much too high.

See 8:52 "After". Note angle of upper arm near impact and compare to high level serves.
 
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5263

G.O.A.T.
Lol
My criteria are not as strict as yours apparently
I look at the basics
Great serve
He does have a nice motion, but it matters if the motion is more up or more on the downward path like on a ferris wheel where you are rising or on the descent. This matters greatly on the serve for the orientation of the racket to ball contact.

Do you mind listing what you see as the basics of the serve? thanks
 

SystemicAnomaly

Talk Tennis Guru
I’m sure you know what they are and see them all in this guys serve
Different coaches see different things. Or they see similar things with a somewhat different perspective. So decent coaches will often approach perceived flaws or suboptimal mechanics in a very different manner.

@5263 is an accomplished coach with a good deal of insight & experience
 

mrmarble

Rookie
Different coaches see different things. Or they see similar things with a somewhat different perspective. So decent coaches will often approach perceived flaws or suboptimal mechanics in a very different manner.

@5263 is an accomplished coach with a good deal of insight & experience
Basics are basics
 

SystemicAnomaly

Talk Tennis Guru
Basics are basics
Don't know what this means. Sounds ambiguous. Rather vague. Nearly meaningless? Gotta qualify it

If you ask the question what are the basic strokes in tennis, you often get five or six as an answer. But you might also get something between 3 and 8. Beyond the basics strokes, what are the basics or fundamentals of tennis? Again, you are not going to get the same answers.
 

mrmarble

Rookie
Don't know what this means. Sounds ambiguous. Rather vague. Nearly meaningless? Gotta qualify it

If you ask the question what are the basic strokes in tennis, you often get five or six as an answer. But you might also get something between 3 and 8. Beyond the basics strokes, what are the basics or fundamentals of tennis? Again, you are not going to get the same answers.
Basics are basics
The rest don’t matter
Was the point
 

Digital Atheist

Professional
Agree with the comments about leg drive timing.

It's so hard for me to have upper chest facing sky instead of side fence... Is this doable for rec player without doing a lot yoga?
That is probably in part because your earlier "setup" doesn't really promote such a position. It doesn't need to be exactly like the top professionals, but the short answer is yes (as I mentioned, as long as most of the required elements are in place beforehand, since chest facing the sky is more of a consequence of these actions).

Dragy showed you how something similar can be achieved without stressing the back too much. There is a thoracic extension thread that has examples of chest facing the sky, and you may find the conversation interesting:

How is your upward throwing motion? Can you reach the back fence when throwing from the baseline (without any runup or stepping through), or perhaps even clear it?
 

SystemicAnomaly

Talk Tennis Guru
I’m sure you guys would find a lot issues if I posted a disguised serve of Federer or forehand of Fognini lol
Even the pros do not always exhibit "perfect" mechanics. Back in 2008/09, I was posting about a "deficiency" (relatively moderate / minor flaw) in Novak's serve. In 2010, he hired 3 different coaches to correct his serve issues. The following year, Novak had a very dominant year (primarily due to diet and improved serve stats) and finally achieved his #1 status.

Some 4-5 years ago, I was pointing out the substandard aspects of Stan W's serve -- a huge serve that many here on TT were using as a template. My concern was that hitting serves, especially big serves, in this manner was potentially stressful to the shoulder. I discovered, a year or two later, that my concerns were well-founded. Subsequent research revealed that Stanimal has been out with shoulder issues some five or six times in the past decade. Something I did not know when I had speculated that his sort of mechanics could potentially be stressful to his shoulder.

Issues with the RF serve are considerably less than than of the issues with the serve of SW or the old serve of ND. Some have pointed out that he has a slight hint of WTE in his drop. While I would not teach his drop, I would not "fix" it either -- unless it manifested as a problem later on in serve mechanics. Rog also employs very little "archer's bow" and does drive forward very much (lands on the BL) even tho he gets a considerable amount of leg drive that results in quite a bit of vertical (jump). But despite these very minor "flaws", RF has had one of the most effective serves in the past and 2 decades. So the trick here is to identify & discriminate between mechanics that are seriously or significantly flawed and those that are only slightly off the norm. (The latter may often have some benefits that outweigh a perceived drawback).
 

mrmarble

Rookie
Even the pros do not always exhibit "perfect" mechanics. Back in 2008/09, I was posting about a "deficiency" (relatively moderate / minor flaw) in Novak's serve. In 2010, he hired 3 different coaches to correct his serve issues. The following year, Novak had a very dominant year (primarily due to diet and improved serve stats) and finally achieved his #1 status.

Some 4-5 years ago, I was pointing out the substandard aspects of Stan W's serve -- a huge serve that many here on TT were using as a template. My concern was that hitting serves, especially big serves, in this manner was potentially stressful to the shoulder. I discovered, a year or two later, that my concerns were well-founded. Subsequent research revealed that Stanimal has been out with shoulder issues some five or six times in the past decade. Something I did not know when I had speculated that his sort of mechanics could potentially be stressful to his shoulder.

Issues with the RF serve are considerably less than than of the issues with the serve of SW or the old serve of ND. Some have pointed out that he has a slight hint of WTE in his drop. While I would not teach his drop, I would not "fix" it either -- unless it manifested as a problem later on in serve mechanics. Rog also employs very little "archer's bow" and does drive forward very much (lands on the BL) even tho he gets a considerable amount of leg drive that results in quite a bit of vertical (jump). But despite these very minor "flaws", RF has had one of the most effective serves in the past and 2 decades. So the trick here is to identify & discriminate between mechanics that are seriously or significantly flawed and those that are only slightly off the norm. (The latter may often have some benefits that outweigh a perceived drawback).
Fair enough youre perfectionist lol
But we need some sort of balance here. The audience is folks that will most probably never go beyond 4.5.
So first of all can they really achieve that perfect or let’s say optimal form that youre advocating
Second, will it make a big difference in their game?
MEP automatically comes to mind here lol
 

SystemicAnomaly

Talk Tennis Guru
Fair enough youre perfectionist lol
But we need some sort of balance here. The audience is folks that will most probably never go beyond 4.5.
So first of all can they really achieve that perfect or let’s say optimal form that youre advocating
Second, will it make a big difference in their game?
MEP automatically comes to mind here lol
Not a perfectionist. I was some 35+ years ago -- until I realized that perfectionism is not an ideal philosophy, behavior or approach. It leads to considerable anxiety, frustration &, often, procrastination and a reluctance to tackle tasks that one might not be perfect at

Instead, I learned a to embrace learning, developing and striving for excellence (quite a different thing from a perfectionism).

Speaking of perfection, there is no real perfect form or mechanics. If there were, all pros would be using the very same grips and the very same mechanics. There are usually several outstanding (or even decent) ways to hold a racket, execute a stroke, or perform footwork, but a myriad of inferior or substandard ways of doing so. Each of the preferred ways has its own strengths and weaknesses -- none are really perfect.

A balance is exactly what I shoot for with myself and my students. With a majority of students, I go under the assumption that, with proper instruction and practice, a 4.5 level is potentially achievable. However, a smaller percentage will never come close to that and some students are capable of achieving higher levels.

The balance I look for is what will help the student to succeed in the short run in addition to what will help them to succeed in the long run. And I always keep in mind, potential overuse injuries that certain types of actions (mechanics) might promote (or increase risk).
 
Check the timing for leg drive and upward swing. You are supposed to be at the bottom of your drop here:


Model:
@Dragy @SystemicAnomaly @Digital Atheist
I don't know how to post screenshot to compare with the one Dragy posted. I think I improved leg drive timing, although developing excessive knee bend now smh. At least, the racquet head is now below my shoulder (if not consistently at waist level), when front leg reaches full extension. If I can consistently reach this position at around 0:11 (best one among these?), do you think that is enough thoracic extension for me?
 

SystemicAnomaly

Talk Tennis Guru
Still seeing the R elbow dropping too much (significantly) late in the trophy phase as the racket head start to drop. Racket face opens up quite a bit during the drop (WTE). But this is not your greatest issue, by any means, since you get your racket "on edge" late in the drop and for the start of the upward swing. You might go for palm down on the salute (just prior to trophy) and then "comb the hair" to keep the palm & racket face from opening up. But, as indicated, this is not your biggest issue right now. The R elbow position is more of a problem as well as the following issue:

Knee flexion appears to be greater than it needs to be and, as a result, leg drive still appears to be late. L knee is still slightly flexed at the bottom of your racket drop (and sometimes at the start of the upward swing). Coming off the ground energetically but a skosh late on some serves
 

Dragy

Legend
@Dragy @SystemicAnomaly @Digital Atheist
I don't know how to post screenshot to compare with the one Dragy posted. I think I improved leg drive timing, although developing excessive knee bend now smh. At least, the racquet head is now below my shoulder (if not consistently at waist level), when front leg reaches full extension. If I can consistently reach this position at around 0:11 (best one among these?), do you think that is enough thoracic extension for me?
Timing is clearly better. Good job!

It looks like you get weakish zip from the RHS you produce - ball goes slower then expected. May have something to do with making contact too close to the tip and/or stretching up too much. Look at Fed warmup serves - can you hit in the same manner focusing on clean contact? Let the ball drop a bit more, maybe toss it more to 1 o'clock. You need the clean and flush feel and ball catapulting a bit more - then you can get the toss back up and reproduce that feel with dose of topspin.

 
Still seeing the R elbow dropping too much (significantly) late in the trophy phase as the racket head start to drop. Racket face opens up quite a bit during the drop (WTE). But this is not your greatest issue, by any means, since you get your racket "on edge" late in the drop and for the start of the upward swing. You might go for palm down on the salute (just prior to trophy) and then "comb the hair" to keep the palm & racket face from opening up. But, as indicated, this is not your biggest issue right now. The R elbow position is more of a problem as well as the following issue:

Knee flexion appears to be greater than it needs to be and, as a result, leg drive still appears to be late. L knee is still slightly flexed at the bottom of your racket drop (and sometimes at the start of the upward swing). Coming off the ground energetically but a skosh late on some serves
every time I try to focus on fixing one thing, 5 other problems creep in. I'll definitely work on the these as well...
 
Timing is clearly better. Good job!

It looks like you get weakish zip from the RHS you produce - ball goes slower then expected. May have something to do with making contact too close to the tip and/or stretching up too much. Look at Fed warmup serves - can you hit in the same manner focusing on clean contact? Let the ball drop a bit more, maybe toss it more to 1 o'clock. You need the clean and flush feel and ball catapulting a bit more - then you can get the toss back up and reproduce that feel with dose of topspin.

Yes, my serve contact definitely needs to be cleaner. looking at old recordings frame by frame, I found out that I often end up hitting center left of the string bed. Too much of my RHS went to producing spin.
 

a12345

Professional
Yes, my serve contact definitely needs to be cleaner. looking at old recordings frame by frame, I found out that I often end up hitting center left of the string bed. Too much of my RHS went to producing spin.
At the moment you are hitting around the ball left to right which is creating more spin, and there's nothing wrong with doing that for more consistency.

But if you want to hit flatter with more power you just need to change the angle of the swingpath to be straighter, coming more directly behind the ball like youre hitting it on top of its head.

One thing that would help which I can't really tell from the videos, is to simply toss the ball more in front.
 

ballmachineguy

Professional
@Dragy @SystemicAnomaly @Digital Atheist
I don't know how to post screenshot to compare with the one Dragy posted. I think I improved leg drive timing, although developing excessive knee bend now smh. At least, the racquet head is now below my shoulder (if not consistently at waist level), when front leg reaches full extension. If I can consistently reach this position at around 0:11 (best one among these?), do you think that is enough thoracic extension for me?
Why are you rotating your hips?
This ain’t figure skating brutha!
 
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ballmachineguy

Professional
taking away body rotation will leave arm as the only power source.
By Jove I think you’ve got it! That’s what you are shooting for. Body rotation robs power.

I am pretty sure thinking you need to spin with the jump is what is making it look like your leg drive is messed up and screwing up the shoulder cartwheel. You can’t have one shoulder go over the other and at the same time rotate them around each other.
 
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