If serve is done without tilting

user92626

G.O.A.T.
Could someone tell me that if you stood straight with arms out (fig 1), holding a racket -- like you're not tilting, hitting a ball above you in a traditional serve -- how would the swing & swing path of Federer's serve look like?

I really have trouble constructing a swing that's powerful and comfortable in this body configuration.



Fig 1


Fig 2. Federer serve.
 
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Raul_SJ

G.O.A.T.
By tilt I assume you are asking about "shoulder over shoulder" motion aka cartwheel.
Some servers have less shoulder tilt and rely more on the hip motion to generate power. Example: Kyrgios. Taller players can get away with this.

You have to tilt (shoulders) or the racquet can't drop down behind the head and you get awful shoulder impingement.
Shoulder tilt has nothing to do with degree of racquet drop, i.e. ESR.
A baseball pitcher (horizontal throw with far less tilt) will achieve just as much "racquet drop" (ESR) as a server "throwing" upwards with steep shoulder tilt.

 
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user92626

G.O.A.T.
Those photos of baseball pitchers are awesome. Basically I'm doing the same thing for serving. Meaning, the contact point is pretty low and to the side, as opposed to high up and straight.

Another thing is... Federer looks very comfortable and seemingly having a lot of leverage from that position.

If you were to stand normally, ie eliminating the back bending to not overcomplicate things, how would you swing the serve? I guess some similar swing path across the chest, but what exactly? That's my question.
 

Raul_SJ

G.O.A.T.
Not clear on the question. The only difference is that you would not continue lifting the tossing arm towards the sky after toss is released, resulting in a more level shoulder position at the beginning of the motion. You can still drop the front shoulder at contact to create a similar high-level contact position that is safe from impingement.

But I think that tilting sets you up for shoulder-over-shoulder cartwheel-like motion. Eliminating that tilt and cartwheel robs you of power. Also much more difficult to get topspin without tilting -- will be limited to slice and flat. And flat will be tough to get in if you are contacting more to the side rather than 12 o'clock.

Maybe @SystemicAnomaly can comment.
 
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bitcoinoperated

Professional
Ok I think I understand your question more now but not sure why you are thinking about it this way. One thing with the serve is that you can't separate the swing from the body position the 'overcomplicate things' are integral to being able to swing properly and part of what makes it so hard.

It's not really a back bend but getting the body on angle so you can get your shoulders to roll vertically one over the other. The knee bend is important as this means you can get the body angle and not topple over:



A big part of the serve is getting your body out of the way. This drill can help get the feel:

 

user92626

G.O.A.T.
Not clear on the question.
I'm asking a hypothetical question. The real serve cannot be done this way, but for understanding of the swing path and leverage, how would you swing if you stood upright like you're about to do a FH shot.
 

user92626

G.O.A.T.
Ok I think I understand your question more now but not sure why you are thinking about it this way. One thing with the serve is that you can't separate the swing from the body position the 'overcomplicate things' are integral to being able to swing properly and part of what makes it so hard.

It's not really a back bend but getting the body on angle so you can get your shoulders to roll vertically one over the other. The knee bend is important as this means you can get the body angle and not topple over:



A big part of the serve is getting your body out of the way. This drill can help get the feel:

Awesome! the bottom picture kinda shows what I mean -- as a way to understanding the serve.

As you said the serve requires "getting the body on angle" and "The knee bend" but those things can be quite difficult for some people. I believe they have to be done timely and if not, you'll be struggle to keep balance and the whole thing will be out of wack. That's a real challenge in learning the serve.
 

Chas Tennis

G.O.A.T.
You have an unknown serving technique.

In a high level serve the upper arm is limited in how high it can go relative to the shoulder joint throughout the service motion. The ATP servers limit this angle by how they serve, tilts and twists, etc. . Pictures or frames of high speed videos show the angles that the ATP players use.

If you raise your arm higher in an unknown technique you may risk shoulder impingement and rotator cuff injury. Only the high level technique using internal shoulder rotation ISR has been discussed for safety as far as I know.

See the video by Todd Ellenbecker, "Rotator Cuff Injury". You may have to join Tennis Resources for a few months to see the video. There are also many threads and posts on this angle. Find the thread with comments by tennis biomechanics researcher David Whiteside.

Thread - Informative Videos - Shoulder Injury
https://tt.tennis-warehouse.com/index.php?threads/shoulder-injury-informative-videos.556000/
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There is a serving technique seen in serve videos of several posters here where

1) the server holds their arm more out to the side.
2) they use ISR
3) they use much less swing joint angle swing from elbow
4) the racket faces the sky lower in the later motion (it's never edge on to the ball)
5) but they do not have a Waiter's Tray serve.

Sometimes it is hard to tell so maybe this serve technique blends into a high level technique for some people.

Google and TW Search: TomT serve Chas and similar

TomT serve - racket faces sky - not a Waiter's Tray.
https://tt.tennis-warehouse.com/index.php?threads/serve-technique-for-golfers-elbow.571628/#post-10597507

"Chas Tennis, Aug 28, 2016 Edit Report
This is a serve from TomT from a 2013 thread. Toly selected these frames and labeled the two frames below to show internal shoulder rotation (ISR). Between frames 2,3 and 4, I can't distinguish the ISR from the elbow extension.


Shows ISR labeled that I used very forcefully for a poor volley technique.

http://tt.tennis-warehouse.com/inde...nate-or-no-pronate.456513/page-2#post-7607067


TomT made no compliant of GE and had good pace on his serve.

This serve bears a similarity to the serves of Raul_RJ and Bigservesofthands. I'm also now noticing this technique in other servers.
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------
My experience-

A few years before I learned about ISR and the serve I was experimenting to increase the pace of my volley. I did not know what ISR was. Look at the above serve pictures and imagine the ball much lower and that I'm lower and forward but using a similar motion to develop racket head speed on my volley. After just 3 or 4 very forceful volleys I gave myself a sudden Golfer's Elbow injury.

I had a match a few days later and made the GE worse in the warm up. We played the match and won. I realized that I was injured, stopped playing tennis and started to research the injury. About 3 weeks after the injury I found a specific description of tennis elbow and how such tendon injuries can become defectively healed in just a 'few weeks', 3 weeks was it ?, I had tried to use my elbow for nearly that time. I stopped for some time, maybe 3 months, and when I returned there was still a little pain so maybe it was not long enough. I think I narrowly missed tendinosis. There is probably some tendinosis but not very extensive. I have had occasional slight pain but that has decreased over the years. I have had a few other GE injuries and stopped stressing it with good results. Feels normal 99% of the time.

I have read that Golfer's Elbow in tennis is associated with the serve and forehand. Since (my estimates) 50% of rec players use a Waiter's Tray technique, 30% use miscellaneous techniques and maybe only 20% use a technique resembling a high level serve, what can you believe about the cause if the technique is unknown?

I know that I suddenly gave myself a GE injury doing a volley with a technique similar to what you see in the TomT serve pictures. I would also expect similarity in baseball pitching. There is a condition called little league elbow that is related to GE but may also involve adolescent growth plates. Research baseball pitching injuries.

Why would this stress the elbow at the medial epcondyle? The lat and pec muscles cause large forces to rotate the upper arm. But if the mass of the forearm and racket have to be accelerated their inertia resists the acceleration. In a high level technique, the arm is near straight and only the mass of the racket closer to the axis has to be accelerated. Less torque and less stress on the tendon for a high level serving technique.

I really don't have good information on how GE injuries are caused by the serve. If a video of your technique shows that you accelerate the forearm and racket with the elbow bent consider my experience.

Last edited: Aug 28, 2016"
 
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user92626

G.O.A.T.
Thanks @Chas Tennis

I didn't know this problem (shown in the pics in your post) was common for many players. So, how would he fix his serve?

Like him, I also have an OK racket-drop and OK power (doing fine for years with this to-the-side, low contact point serve :)). But it's just strange that if I toss straight up, I feel like I'm over-reaching and thus losing power.
 

Chas Tennis

G.O.A.T.
Probably less than 5% of servers have those characteristics. Also, some of those might have a straighter elbow. This is my opinion only, as there are hardly any descriptions of miscellaneous serving techniques.

I believe that observing the best current strokes with high speed video and doing side-by-side comparisons to your own strokes provides the best available feedback unless you also have a knowledgeable coach using high speed video.

To consider a complete rework of a serve technique
1) understand what the current high level serve involving ISR is along with some of the most basic biomechanics behind it.

Biomechanics and Tennis, review article
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2577481/

2) understand what your current stroke is

3) decide whether to change or not given your limitations, risks, motivation, interest, money for lessons, goals,... etc.

4) use all the quality tennis teaching resources available. Use high speed video for feedback, understanding and as a sanity check.
 
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Dan R

Semi-Pro
Could someone tell me that if you stood straight with arms out (fig 1), holding a racket -- like you're not tilting, hitting a ball above you in a traditional serve -- how would the swing & swing path of Federer's serve look like?

I really have trouble constructing a swing that's powerful and comfortable in this body configuration.



Fig 1


Fig 2. Federer serve.
I think what you may be getting at is a sidearm through. If you don’t tilt you shoulders, or arch your back, it’s a side arm throw.

That picture of Fed he’s in the middle of his motion. If you took a picture before or after this position you’d see shoulder tilt.
 

Chas Tennis

G.O.A.T.
I found this excellent video that answers my question.

It's a great break-down of the serve for those who are still struggling.


(Amazing, after 10 years of playing I still couldn't understand the serve until now :))
The video demo of the racket motion does not look right. Looks like the racket goes toward the ball edge on and then uses pronation and or some ISR around the time of impact. It does not look like a high level technique.

When he demonstrates pronation with a bent elbow, 5:18, it is the same way that a very old Fuzzy Yellow Balls video does.

FYB 2008 video. Pronation is demonstrated correctly. But pronation does not supply most force to accelerate the racket, internal shoulder rotation does.

That FYB video should be corrected.

Both of these demos do match the joint motion of pronation - OK - with a bent elbow only pronation rotates the wrist. The demos do not match what high speed videos show happens on the high level serve with a near straight arm. These mistaken demos and racket path in the post and orientation in post #12 are a direct result of using the incorrect word, pronation, to describe internal shoulder rotation on the tennis serve.

Reference - Elliott and Marshall's break through publications on the serve, published about 20 years ago.
 
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user92626

G.O.A.T.
@Chas Tennis

Could you post a video that shows the correct use of pronation and internal shoulder rotation?

Honestly I'm confused by what you mean. You can write a ton of texts but some pictures or videos or some simple analogies that we know of would be most useful.
 

Chas Tennis

G.O.A.T.
Slice serve.

Look only at the bone shadows at the elbow.

For single frame, click Vimeo, full frame, hold down the SHIFT KEY and use the ARROW KEYS.
 

user92626

G.O.A.T.
Chas,

Iv'e looked at the video dozens of times. I can't tell the difference between your server's swing and Clay's swing!!! What should I look for?
 

Chas Tennis

G.O.A.T.
I did not see the serve. At 3:58 he hits a serve showing ISR, the same as the video that I showed. That's it. His upper arm between his shoulder and elbow rotates. (humerus bone) The bone/tendon shadows at his elbow rotate like a top to prove ISR. That is a good high level serve based on ISR.

I don't see much ISR in the drills, demos or in the discussion at all. It's hidden and not mentioned. For example, look at 4:12 and look for the upper arm to rotate as the racket approaches impact position. There's hardly any rotation. I can't tell if that is a useful drill. ? But it sure does not look like a serve.

The part on pronation at 5:18 is presented by another instructor. He does not discuss ISR or show the bone that rotates at the shoulder joint.

When this motion is called 'pronation' and the upper arm is never mentioned it is no wonder that so many misunderstand the serve.

This publication set things straight 18 years ago for tennis biomechanics.
https://www.researchgate.net/profile/Bruce_Elliott/publication/12492723_Long-axis_rotation_The_missing_link_in_proximal-to-distal_segmental_sequencing/links/004635393c2ce077ab000000/Long-axis-rotation-The-missing-link-in-proximal-to-distal-segmental-sequencing.pdf

Then too the tennis researchers did not confirm ISR until 1995.
 
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moonballs

Hall of Fame
Could someone tell me that if you stood straight with arms out (fig 1), holding a racket -- like you're not tilting, hitting a ball above you in a traditional serve -- how would the swing & swing path of Federer's serve look like?

I really have trouble constructing a swing that's powerful and comfortable in this body configuration.



Fig 1


Fig 2. Federer serve.
There is a Japanese video called “serve level up” on YT where the coach demonstrated serving slice serves from the side. he shows the top spin serve and under spin slice are the same arm motion.
 
D

Deleted member 23235

Guest
There is a Japanese video called “serve level up” on YT where the coach demonstrated serving slice serves from the side. he shows the top spin serve and under spin slice are the same arm motion.
thx for the reminder!
i saw this vid a couple years ago... thought "decent, and entertaining", but watching it again, there are some new nuggets i might not have noticed/remembered.
things i really like (reviewing it again):
1. power source progressions (forearm, ISR? (ie. elbow at 90, rotate down), torso coil, legs)... though IMO he skips the power of the hip snap... while interesting to know the breakdown, easier to teach someone by just makeing them throw a football (for the upper body/leg isolation - doesn't really teach the hip snap)
2. spin progressions (UH sidespin, underspin, "slice" sidespin, topspin)... will deifnitely use these to teach serves
3. the pronation drills (particularly when he's applying underspin)
4. i've done the "hit the edge" drill before,... but still worth mentioning, given how many WT serves i see

and obviously the vid addresses the shoulder tilt issue
 
D

Deleted member 23235

Guest
Twist return!
not exactly sure what he means by that in the vid... i interpretted as "power is generated by the rotational forces of by various power sources (forearm, ISR, core coil,...)
 

user92626

G.O.A.T.
I just wanna add that at this point, the video by Clay is very helpful and imo extremely easy to follow.

My approach to learning is to break things down to individual components and master them one by one if possible. Then, you can "script" them all together.

I finally understand and have the feel of leverage for the serve. This is awesome!!!!
 

Raul_SJ

G.O.A.T.
don't see how "topspin and slice are the same arm motion"

Which part of that Japanese video shows thst?
 

SystemicAnomaly

Talk Tennis Guru
@ronwest @nytennisaddict
There is a Japanese video called “serve level up” on YT where the coach demonstrated serving slice serves from the side. he shows the top spin serve and under spin slice are the same arm motion.
What is under spin slice?

Great video for the most but the underarm "sidespin" that he shows at 9:15 (and 9:24) is primarily spiral spin (aka gyrosspin or corkscrew spin). The spin axis for sidespin is vertical (more or less) while the spin axis for spiral spin is (more like) horizontal in the direction that the ball is traveling. Think of an American football or a badminton shuttle spin. This is spireal spin.

Byun? Is that a sound that Yonex (and other Japanese) rackets make? o_O
 
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ronwest

New User
@ronwest @nytennisaddict


What is under spin slice?

Great video for the most but the underarm "sidespin" that he shows at 9:15 (and 9:24) is primarily spiral spin (aka gyrosspin or corkscrew spin). The spin axis for sidespin is vertical (more or less) while the spin axis for spiral spin is (more like) horizontal in the direction that the ball is traveling. Think of an American football or a badminton shuttle spin. This is spireal spin.

Byun? Is that a sound that Yonex (and other Japanese) rackets make? o_O
Regarding the spin types: I think we should not get hung up on his terms since he is not a native English speaker. He is just trying to demonstrate the different possible spin axes using internal rotation/pronation.

I think Byun is his word for the sound of the racket hitting the ball a rapid glancing blow. I live near Kalamazoo MI and hear that sound a lot every August at the Boys Nationals!
 
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