Help on the serve, how do I stop these ?

crazytennis

Semi-Pro
Hi,
I have two major problems with my serve. Any help and drills removing these bad habits is highly appreciated.

I have an abbreviated motion and will post videos as soon as possible.

1) I move my back foot way too much. I'm almost facing the net straight on when I'm hitting the ball, as my backfoot moves too much and I'm standing shoulder width apart staring onto the net when I hit.

2) During the trophy pose, the L on my right(hitting hand) stops for a while and then starts going back to hit the ball. I mean, my right hand isn't fluid from start to finish but stops and starts again in the middle.

Thank you for the help.
 
1. Lean forward with your serve, I used to move my back foot a lot and I found it was because i was shifting my COG from back to left instead from back to front.

2. I don't really understand this question, but I'll try to answer it. I don't thing your hand stopping is a bad thing, I occasionally pause on my serve when I accidentally toss too high but still in the right place. So I'm guessing you wait for the ball to come down before hitting it? And I really don't understand the L part so yeah.
 

skiracer55

Hall of Fame
Hi,
I have two major problems with my serve. Any help and drills removing these bad habits is highly appreciated.

I have an abbreviated motion and will post videos as soon as possible.

1) I move my back foot way too much. I'm almost facing the net straight on when I'm hitting the ball, as my backfoot moves too much and I'm standing shoulder width apart staring onto the net when I hit.

2) During the trophy pose, the L on my right(hitting hand) stops for a while and then starts going back to hit the ball. I mean, my right hand isn't fluid from start to finish but stops and starts again in the middle.

Thank you for the help.
You kind of already have your answer, which is "don't". Meaning the following:

- Serve styles vary, but if you're ending up facing the net, you're overrotating and giving up a bunch of your power...also control.

- No hitches in the serve, or any other stroke, for that matter. If you start and stop, you lose pace, spin, and control.

This isn't a drill, but rather some thoughts that may help:

- Beginners are taught to start the toss and backswing at the same time. The best servers get a lot of the backswing done before the toss. If you toss early, you have to adjust your swing to where the toss happened to end up. If you get a lot of the backswing done, you have a better chance of placing the ball where you want it for whatever you're trying to do with the serve.

- The power servers are using a Continental or even a little over toward the forehand grip from that. If you get into what is really a semi-Western backhand grip, you may get more spin, but you'll definitely cut down on the power, and you may not be able to direct the ball very well. Use Continental and adjust the swing path to get whatever spin or direction you want.

- The best servers are using a relatively simple, abbreviated backswing. Like a lot of other things in life, simpler is usually better. My backswing starts at waist level, goes out and up. I don't drop the racket to make a big loop. The fewer curlicues you have on your service stroke, the easier it is to come up with a toss that's as high as you need and no higher. If you have a lot of fruit salad on your backswing, you have to toss up into the stratosphere...and then hope you time it right.

- Serving, like all of tennis, is a leg sport, not an arm sport. Actually, it's a whole body sport. If you want more spin, power, safety, direction on your serve, get the legs, hips, shoulder turn, all of the parts working together.

- As Stan Smith noted, the wrist is the trigger. I'm talking about getting snap on the serve, which is the final link in the kinesthetic chain that gets power, spin, and all the other goodies on the serve. There are drills you can do to get more snap...like getting yourself into the back-scratching position, or whatever it's called these days, tossing, and trying to belt the serve down into the court as hard as possible...hard enough to bounce it over the fence is usually a good goal.

- Rhythm and sense of all the parts of the serve working together is definitely key. Another of my former coaches (Dave Hodge, former Men's Assistant at CU Boulder, current Men's Assistant at Stanford) gave me a great way to look at serving: The serve is the only stroke you hit that is not a response to the other player's stroke. Therefore, have an objective every time, even if it's "Okay, second serve, lots of kick and safety, straight down the middle." If your thought is "Hail Mary, full of grace, I hope this serve isn't a fault", guess what? You'll whap it right into the net. What he said was, make up a little video in your head of what you're going to do with the service motion and where that's going to take the ball into your opponent's service box. Take a deep breath, relax, and replay the video in real time. Works like a charm...
 
Top