Discussion in 'Tennis Tips/Instruction' started by Ryoma, Oct 13, 2007.
Need some insight on Federer's service motion. Tricky, any expert advice?
Fed has maybe the simplest service motion on tour.
He doesn't throw the ball that far into the court actually.
His racket arm goes in one fluid and continous motion from where he starts with the ball in hand to the contact point.
Racket arm basically goes up with the ball, drops down (no pause while pointing racket up) and boom.
Feet aren't flat, toes are balancing his body along with his core strength.
This will be a nice thread. I copy Federer's serve and it is also my favorite, so beautiful. I usually just analyz from vids on youtube.
Second Serve: http://youtube.com/watch?v=noioPHxCtJE
Kick Serve: http://youtube.com/watch?v=9QZQe-B4cNI
procomparetennis.net has some very clear videos and photosequences which can help study Fed's action.
Unfortunately in the Kick Serve video link (above) its almost impossible to see Fed's motion.
Insights by tricky and others would be great.
Yes, it looks very elegant, very fluid, graceful !
Federer takes a big loop into the trophy position, unlike those with abbreviated motions. He doesn't seem to have the shoulder flexibility of Roddick and his forearm hits about parallel on the racquet drop. His racquet drop is not nearly as deep as most of the other players.
His swing must be fairly deceptive, because he doesn't go for as much pace as most of the other top 10 players. I'd guess his first serve averages around 120mph, though I saw him hit some at 128mph during the last US Open. Still, he gets a high number of aces and relies on precision and spin.
The other thing interesting about his serve is the use of his stomach and hip muscles. He pulls his knees up slightly at contact. It sort of reminds me of Taylor Dent.
Very astute observation. In studying many pro serve videos I noticed that also and it made me wonder what the technically acceptable "range" is for how deep a drop.
Obviously he has a fantastic outcome, but it is unique in some ways.
when i see his serve it always seems like he throws the ball pretty far behind his head... anyone else see that? and what type of grip does he use? continental?
I was wondering if his serve has any simliarity to his forehand. It seems that there is something tricky during the takeback...
He's slightly east of the continental grip. Imagine it as a extremely mild eastern backhand grip, and slightly weaker continental (very slightly to the left)
Same toss, strikes the ball in different positions, however it's deceptive to tell how and when he will strike the ball, because he can hit the kick serve out wide from the same toss that he normally would hit down the middle (duece side), and his body really doesn't give you any clues because his back is completely turned to you. Extremely difficult to read.
His serve has immense side/top spin, especially on the second serve. He uses an american twist type second serve, which is one of the main reasons why his second serve is so difficult to attack (although recently some players have made inways to attacking it).
Extreme precision with his serve, but because he puts so much slice on it, it's much weaker on clay.
A very relaxed motion, with a strong controlled wrist snap. It is this well-timed wrist snap which dictates placement, spin and power.
BTW, Federer's groundstrokes are potent because of the racquet head speed generated by superior wrist snap. Very similar to how Borg was dominant during his era.
fuzzyyellowballs.com says its instructional videos on serve are based on Fed's serve (altho they do show Isner and Henman).
These comments pretty much are contrary to most common teaching theory and stroke analysis these days, but maybe you are describing a different element of the serve and groundstrokes and calling it a wrist snap.
Tricky's writing an explanation . . .
Most important thing is that Federer's motion is not like Sampras (*might* have been when they matched up, but it's changed since), except that it looks really relaxed and it's really hard to pick up. Joker, now that dude has Sampras's service motion down, and even has the ridiculous racquet drop that Sampras had.
As NamRanger pointed out, Federer uses a grip between Eastern BH and continental grip. That's one reason why his racquet drop is not as deep as others, the shoulder girdle requires that the hands be in a parallel with body position for a "maximal" drop.
Along with that grip, he uses a different body sequence than most of the other players, which is well suited for that grip. That body sequence, which looks like a big coil, basically makes every ball toss look like a kick serve. It's difficult to pick up ball toss, because his body is fanning away from the body when he's setting up the trophy position. It's impossible to pick up the direction of his swing by his hips or torso because he doesn't use leg drive to power his shot. Instead he uses torso rotation, which is also why he doesn't throw the ball that far into the court.
So, here's the very basic steps:
1) So, first thing is to establish the grip. First, try out a full Eastern BH grip and hold with just the thumb-3rd-4th fingers. Eventually you'll move closer to a continental, but for the sake of contrast and feel, try out a full Eastern grip.
2) Now, hold the racquet so that there's crease on the left side of your wrist, just under the thumb. You want to keep that position through the entire takeback.
3) Now practice the basic arm motion in a basic circle or C. Remember to hold that thumb-wrist position (i.e. crease.) Remember to swing up on the stroke (i.e. puff out sternum) and feel a stretch in the right lat.
3a) Notice how there's much more hip rotation than arm motion with continental grip.
3b) Notice how you don't bend as much forward at end of arm motion.
3c) Notice how evenly your weight is distributed through the motion.
3d) Believe it or not, it's not the grip that's causing all this but that crease you mantained on your wrist through the takeback
4) Now work on tightening the arm motion. Trace the basic circle or C, but this time, trace with the elbow rather than the hand. If you do this correctly, your arm motion will be smaller, but faster and feel more rhythmic. Keep trying this until it feels comfortable.
5) Watch the takeback in a mirror. You'll notice that the arm motion looks a lot like Federer now.
6) Once you have the arm motion down, you go on with the rest of the stroke. Before you start the takeback, "sit." Bend end from the hips and imagine you're sitting down. Don't intentionally bend from the knees; let the hips them for you.
6a) Notice how the farther you takeback, the more your body coils
6b) Notice how your body starts to lean backwards, as if you're falling away from the ball.
6c) Notice how much of your back is shown toward the net.
6d) Notice how the weight is not on your knees, but your butt.
7) To trigger the serve, lift from the butt.
As you feel more comfortable with this motion, work on moving the grip over closer to a continental, while keeping the crease and rest of motion.
Isn't bending the hips the same as bending the knees?
It looks similar, but what you're doing is facilitating the "sit and "lift", which is unique for this style of serve. With this takeback, it leads to a big coil. You can also view it as "backing the butt up."
If you try bending from the knees, you'll feel a disconnect between the arm and the body, and you won't get much of a twist or that "fall away from the body." This is, again, unique to Federer's serve and is against convention of how most people are taught to lower their center of gravity.
So, how would I know if I'm doing this correctly? Should I think of "lowering" my butt?
Just to let you know, it's specific to Federer's serve. If you try this with your normal serve, it might be confusing.
You know if you're doing this correctly if as soon as you do this, your hips starts to rotate. Normally, most people rotate their hips in order to facilitate a knee bend. In Federer's case, it's in reverse, he's bending around the hip (or "sitting" with the butt), in order to facilitate rotation.
Through the takeback, you'll also notice that your body starts to bend backwards a lot, and that the lower you go, the more your back shows to the net. If you were to merely bend from the knees, you don't get this twist. You can verify this.
But, again, this is unique to his serve. Most people who serve with a true continental grip and well out forward would not benefit from this; in fact, it would really hose their motion executing a serve this way. You would have to get his takeback down and verify that your body uses hip rotation to drive this kind of serve. Only then will it makes sense to execute a serve this way.
I am having trouble visualizing this "2) Now, hold the racquet so that there's crease on the left side of your wrist, just under the thumb"
It's basically how you would hold the grip for a 1H BH. When you do this, you'll notice a crease in the skin around the wrist, especially around the left side of it.
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