Is Kyrgios exploding the myths?

Curious

Legend
Minimal turn and coil, tossing arm not up vertical and stays up only for a nanosecond and yet you see the result!
Where’s all that pace coming from then?
Looks like it’s all hips and bowing type stretching.


 

nyta2

Professional
to me, power sources on a serve are:
* legs
* core rotation
* hip

coil... definitely seeing hip/shoulder separation (just doesn't look as pronounced compared to platform stance servers)
hips look obvious (from the side view)
definitely legs..

the intagibles (that i can't see)... are how wel they are firing in sequence...
i really like his lagged rhythm... and there's no pause in trophy... just keeps the momentum going.

i think the vertical arm idea (for me anyway) was a "trick" to help with a consistent toss... but also i think he's toss further into the court than say a platform server
 

Bagel Boy

Rookie
I think what may get missed by us rec players, and he demonstrates well, is how he's absolutely relaxed and therefore fluid during the entire motion. It's also why you may not see "toss arm not up vertical and stays up for a nanosecond" - he's not going through mechanical steps like a gun discharging; he has his own fluid and relaxed rhythm that ultimately provides him with that velocity.
 
He just got what baseball coaches call a "live arm". Sure your legs and trunk do help but the biggest thing is still having a "good arm" as well as having a good efficient arm path (especially external and internal rotation).

Good throwers and servers have a high degree of external rotation and a fast rate of internal rotation which is partially technique but also flexibility and explosiveness.
 

ByeByePoly

G.O.A.T.
He just got what baseball coaches call a "live arm". Sure your legs and trunk do help but the biggest thing is still having a "good arm" as well as having a good efficient arm path (especially external and internal rotation).

Good throwers and servers have a high degree of external rotation and a fast rate of internal rotation which is partially technique but also flexibility and explosiveness.
Yeah ... I almost said live arm too. What I wonder is if there are live arm components without the big isr rom. Based on checking my isr from serves (ttw serve discussions) ... my rom is pretty limited. I suspect that has always been the case ... not particularly flexible ... and yet could hurl a rock and baseball at very good pace compared to peers and teammates. Maybe the extreme isr is the icing on top ... difference between the pro 120 mph servers and the 140?
 
Yeah ... I almost said live arm too. What I wonder is if there are live arm components without the big isr rom. Based on checking my isr from serves (ttw serve discussions) ... my rom is pretty limited. I suspect that has always been the case ... not particularly flexible ... and yet could hurl a rock and baseball at very good pace compared to peers and teammates. Maybe the extreme isr is the icing on top ... difference between the pro 120 mph servers and the 140?
The Key is not really ISR but ESR. Professional throwers actually have less ISR range than normal people in many cases (called glenhumeral internal rotation deficit) but much increased ESR.

So the ISR we observe with those guys is mostly going from extreme ESR back to slightly past neutral.
 

ByeByePoly

G.O.A.T.
The Key is not really ISR but ESR. Professional throwers actually have less ISR range than normal people in many cases (called glenhumeral internal rotation deficit) but much increased ESR.

So the ISR we observe with those guys is mostly going from extreme ESR back to slightly past neutral.
Sorry ... I meant ESR. Asked a different way ... what percentage of Kyrgios 140 mph serve comes from his ability to get forearm past level (wow) with court. My guess is there are differences in "live arm" components besides esr rom ... but only extreme esr rom gets you to such rarified air. Maybe someone here will point to a huge server with more average esr rom ... but I would be surprised.
 

socallefty

Legend
By now, the OP should have realized that there are multiple techniques used by top pros to hit every shot and serve and they make them all work well enough to win at the highest level. There is no reason for a rec player to be looking for one technique that is superior to everything else for every shot. Just find a technique that is somewhat textbook that feels natural and practice a lot, hopefully under coaching supervision.
 

GuyClinch

Legend
If you angle your shoulders up alot - you cannot turn that much.. Try it. Guys serve is pretty normal.. You don't get turn on a serve like a baseball pitcher gets because baseball players are not aiming so up..
 

Curious

Legend
If you angle your shoulders up alot - you cannot turn that much.. Try it. Guys serve is pretty normal.. You don't get turn on a serve like a baseball pitcher gets because baseball players are not aiming so up..
Sampras has a huge turn and a shoulder tilt at the same time.
 
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SystemicAnomaly

Talk Tennis Guru
@Curious

Even tho Nick K does not appear to have as much coil as other elite servers, he still has a significant separation angle. Once he brings his back foot up and he gets to the trophy phase, take a close look at the direction of his feet, knees and hips. They are aligned in a different direction than his upper torso. This separation angle is an indication of potential energy in his core -- to be released later (and his shoulder-over-shoulder rotation and upward swing).
 

tonylg

Legend
Minimal turn and coil, tossing arm not up vertical and stays up only for a nanosecond and yet you see the result!
Where’s all that pace coming from then?
Looks like it’s all hips and bowing type stretching.


What on earth are you talking about?

Tossing arm perfectly vertical doesn't matter, but he's almost poster child for keeping the tossing arm up and maintaining good shoulder tilt.

Remember what I said about shoulders doing a cartwheel? Watch from the side view how low he keeps his right shoulder and then how it comes up as he pulls his left arm down.

Minimal coil and turn? Huh? It's a serve. His chest and torso rotate over 90 degrees, which is great.

As others have said, the best part is his loose fluid action. Actually, the whole thing is good.

You're watching videos, but misinterpreting what you see. Just get a coach.
 

WildVolley

Legend
Even tho Nick K does not appear to have as much coil as other elite servers, he still has a significant separation angle. Once he brings his back foot up and he gets to the trophy phase, take a close look at the direction of his feet, knees and hips. They are aligned in a different direction than his upper torso. This separation angle is an indication of potential energy in his core -- to be released later (and his shoulder-over-shoulder rotation and upward swing).
I just think Nick's motion is fairly efficient. In some respects, it is similar to the ace machine Goran Ivanisevic's. Both are about 6'4" which also helps.

 

Curious

Legend
What on earth are you talking about?

Tossing arm perfectly vertical doesn't matter, but he's almost poster child for keeping the tossing arm up and maintaining good shoulder tilt.

Remember what I said about shoulders doing a cartwheel? Watch from the side view how low he keeps his right shoulder and then how it comes up as he pulls his left arm down.

Minimal coil and turn? Huh? It's a serve. His chest and torso rotate over 90 degrees, which is great.

As others have said, the best part is his loose fluid action. Actually, the whole thing is good.

You're watching videos, but misinterpreting what you see. Just get a coach.
Well, any of these doesn’t change the fact that his turn is much less than other pros and his tossing arm stays up shorter than other pros. I know his quick action serving motion is a factor for the latter. Btw just so you know, I believe Kyrgios has the best serve ever!
 

Curious

Legend
Here’s another with zero shoulder turn! Even looks like coiling the opposite way lol, look at the left shoulder at trophy position.


 

tonylg

Legend
Well, any of these doesn’t change the fact that his turn is much less than other pros and his tossing arm stays up shorter than other pros. I know his quick action serving motion is a factor for the latter. Btw just so you know, I believe Kyrgios has the best serve ever!
Again, you miss the point. Nick's right shoulder and elbow stay low relative to the left until the start of his racquet drop. At this point you could almost draw a line up to where he's going .. from his right elbow through right shoulder, left shoulder and left elbow up a point just past where he'll make impact. Where the left hand is doesn't matter. ALL great servers have this.

At the start of the drop, he begins to pull the left arm down. This has to happen to clear space for the right shoulder to start to drive up and over. That is followed by the elbow, the hand lags the elbow and the racquet lags the hand. That's the "loose" or "live" arm progression. The left arm and shouler pull well out of the way as the right elbow starts to catapult over the right shoulder. The hand and racquet still lag.

The final part of the serve is where the right elbow extends and the wrist snaps the racquet over. Pronantion isn't forced here, it's inevitable. Racquet head speed is massive as it catches up with what the rest of the body has just done. It has a long way to go. Watch Fed, Sampras, Becker, anyone .. all those elements are there. It's the fundamental stuff. You're trying to do calculus before basic algebra.
 

Curious

Legend
Again, you miss the point. Nick's right shoulder and elbow stay low relative to the left until the start of his racquet drop. At this point you could almost draw a line up to where he's going .. from his right elbow through right shoulder, left shoulder and left elbow up a point just past where he'll make impact. Where the left hand is doesn't matter. ALL great servers have this.

At the start of the drop, he begins to pull the left arm down. This has to happen to clear space for the right shoulder to start to drive up and over. That is followed by the elbow, the hand lags the elbow and the racquet lags the hand. That's the "loose" or "live" arm progression. The left arm and shouler pull well out of the way as the right elbow starts to catapult over the right shoulder. The hand and racquet still lag.

The final part of the serve is where the right elbow extends and the wrist snaps the racquet over. Pronantion isn't forced here, it's inevitable. Racquet head speed is massive as it catches up with what the rest of the body has just done. It has a long way to go. Watch Fed, Sampras, Becker, anyone .. all those elements are there. It's the fundamental stuff. You're trying to do calculus before basic algebra.
I agree with you that tossing arm looking lower and coming down quicker than say Djoker’s is not an issue, so I accept that. But the other thing is very clear, neither Kyrgios nor Zverev have any torso turn, what they have is shoulder tilt.
 

tonylg

Legend
Here’s another with zero shoulder turn! Even looks like coiling the opposite way lol, look at the left shoulder at trophy position.


Again, I don't think you're understanding what you're looking at. The progression of frames at 43 seconds clearly shows what I described. Sasha doesn't keep his right elbow as low as Nick, otherwise it's fundamentally the same when you strip out the stuff that has no bearing on the outcome.
 

tonylg

Legend
I agree with you that tossing arm looking lower and coming down quicker than say Djoker’s is not an issue, so I accept that. But the other thing is very clear, neither Kyrgios nor Zverev have any torso turn, what they have is shoulder tilt.
Why are you even talking about torso turn? They both have it, but it's driven by what the shoulders and chest do, not the other way around.
 

ByeByePoly

G.O.A.T.
They don’t have shoulder turn, mate.
I haven’t spent much time here on serve technique threads ... but maybe I see why @tonylg sees the shoulder turn, and you don’t.

If I look at Zerev at trophy, I don’t see hips past feet, or shoulders past hip ... so I don’t see any coil either. If I look at Fed (below) at trophy, I see the coil.

But frame advance Zerev from trophy ... he steps (maybe then hips past feet), and then as he powers up with legs and hips rotate forward, he ends up with shoulders past his (coiled) before delivery.

Could that be it ... variety in when coil happens ... Fed by trophy, Zerev later? Is this just shoulder turn timing difference between pinpoint and platform?

SinjinCooper used to say good players would add shoulder turn during the step forward on neutral FHs ... maybe it’s similar with Zerev’s serve.

 
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Curious

Legend
I haven’t spent much time here on serve technique threads ... but maybe I see why @tonylg sees the shoulder turn, and you don’t.

If I look at Zerev at trophy, I don’t see hips past feet, or shoulders past hip ... so I don’t see any coil either. If I look at Fed (below) at trophy, I see the coil.

But frame advance Zerev from trophy ... he steps (maybe then hips past feet), and then as he powers up with legs and hips rotate forward, he ends up with shoulders past his (coiled) before delivery.

Could that be it ... variety in when coil happens ... Fed by trophy, Zerev later? Is this just shoulder turn timing difference between pinpoint and platform?

SinjinCooper used to say good players would add shoulder turn during the step forward on neutral FHs ... maybe it’s similar with Zerev’s serve.

Yes, I see what you mean. Very subtle coil there. Do you see the same on Kyrgios serve as well?
I’m watching the imaginary line between his shoulders and its position/angle in space doesn’t seem to change at all throughout the serve.


 

onehandbh

Legend
Minimal turn and coil, tossing arm not up vertical and stays up only for a nanosecond and yet you see the result!
Where’s all that pace coming from then?
Looks like it’s all hips and bowing type stretching.


He has the shoulder-over-shoulder part of the throwing motion and looks pretty good to me.

He does not have as much hip to shoulder separation, but this probably does not have a big impact on his serve velocity. Being less sideways, probably makes it harder for him to hit a heavy kick serve, but at his height, may as well go for bigger second serves.
 

Chas Tennis

G.O.A.T.
It is hard to look at a video and observe the relative percent of 'power' or pace that a sub-motion is accounting for. But Kyrgios's Thoracic Extension looks as if he might be getting good use from it.

See thread on Thoracic Extension & Flexion on the serve.

To compare serves single frame on Youtube, use the period & comma keys. Always select the video with alt key + left mouse click otherwise, the video starts playing when selected. Compare maximum Thoracic Extension for the two servers. The likely biomechanical use of TE is explained in the thread.

Thoracic Flexion can either stretch the lat muscle or cause forces that cause ISR.

(Study the principal of a two joint muscle. Then realize that the lat is a multi-joint muscle and its length is affected by the straightness of the spine.) .
 
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Curious

Legend
He has the shoulder-over-shoulder part of the throwing motion and looks pretty good to me.

He does not have as much hip to shoulder separation, but this probably does not have a big impact on his serve velocity. Being less sideways, probably makes it harder for him to hit a heavy kick serve, but at his height, may as well go for bigger second serves.
Yes, more shoulder over shoulder than a torso rotation was my point. That’s why I said he tilts the right shoulder down but doesn’t really stretch/pull/coil it back unlike many other pro players. There are other things as well like his starting position of torso, how he faces almost fully towards the right net post, exactly the same as Zverev, never shows his back to the opponent unlike Federer or McEnroe. Anyway it was just a few observations.
 

Return_Ace

Hall of Fame
...never shows his back to the opponent unlike Federer or McEnroe.
Isn't this a Platform vs. Pinpoint thing?

Platformers generally can rotate more because separation of the feet (width wise) gives them more stability when rotated.

Pinpointers generally have their feet in line with direction of travel and use the step-in to help wind from the bottom up, so need less shoulder turn to achieve similar levels of torque in the core.
 

Curious

Legend
Isn't this a Platform vs. Pinpoint thing?

Platformers generally can rotate more because separation of the feet (width wise) gives them more stability when rotated.

Pinpointers generally have their feet in line with direction of travel and use the step-in to help wind from the bottom up, so need less shoulder turn to achieve similar levels of torque in the core.
Do you see any difference between how Kyrgios coils and how this guy coils?

 
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Dragy

Legend
I'm puzzled how you can claim no torso rotation. Here are frames at trophy and at contact. You see his chest at trophy and his back at contact. You see his hip sideways at trophy and his butt at contact. Yes he doesn't coil as much in prep, and he starts uncoiling faster than some other servers, with Sampras being extreme opposite. So what?
 

Curious

Legend
I'm puzzled how you can claim no torso rotation. Here are frames at trophy and at contact. You see his chest at trophy and his back at contact. You see his hip sideways at trophy and his butt at contact. Yes he doesn't coil as much in prep, and he starts uncoiling faster than some other servers, with Sampras being extreme opposite. So what?
What you’re missing is most of that is coming from his shoulder over shoulder rotation aka cartwheeling. Nick has very little long axis torso coil if any. That’s the point in this thread.
 

Return_Ace

Hall of Fame
Do you see any difference between how Kyrgios coils and how this guy coils?

Yes, look at their feet starting positions in terms of width across the baseline.

Safin has a pre-step which puts him even wider, giving him an almost Platform like start, which gives him the stability to rotate pre-pinpoint.

You'll then notice that Safin's back foot travels more towards the netpost (across the court left-to-right), whereas Kyrgios is more of a step towards the court with his back foot travelling more into the court (in terms of relative direction).

All it means is that Safin prefers to generate more of his power through rotation, and less through momentum/drive into the court, whereas Kyrgios flips it the other way. Note, I'm not saying that either one doesn't do the other, just that whereas maybe Safin is split 60/40 rotation/drive, Kyrgios is 40/60 instead (numbers purely hypothetical).
 

Curious

Legend
Yes, look at their feet starting positions in terms of width across the baseline.

Safin has a pre-step which puts him even wider, giving him an almost Platform like start, which gives him the stability to rotate pre-pinpoint.

You'll then notice that Safin's back foot travels more towards the netpost (across the court left-to-right), whereas Kyrgios is more of a step towards the court with his back foot travelling more into the court (in terms of relative direction).

All it means is that Safin prefers to generate more of his power through rotation, and less through momentum/drive into the court, whereas Kyrgios flips it the other way. Note, I'm not saying that either one doesn't do the other, just that whereas maybe Safin is split 60/40 rotation/drive, Kyrgios is 40/60 instead (numbers purely hypothetical).
All I’m saying is Nick doesn’t use much long axis rotation at all. It’s mostly shoulder over shoulder motion. Of course this is the perfect use of long axis torso coil/uncoil.


 

Return_Ace

Hall of Fame
All I’m saying is Nick doesn’t use much long axis rotation at all. It’s mostly shoulder over shoulder motion. Of course this is the perfect use of long axis torso coil/uncoil.


Yes, but i don't understand what myths you're saying that Nick is an example of dispelling.

If it's that he doesn't rotate, that's untrue, it's just that the pinpoint stance, in the way that he uses it, doesn't require much shoulder rotation, because his hips are counter wound in the opposite direction.

It's not so much about rotation as it is how much torque you can store up in your core.

Also, don't forget that we're also trying to analyse the technique of not just Pro's, but the Elite of the Elite, who have years more flexibility and strength build up than anyone else playing. Sampras, Federer, McEnroe etc. don't rotate like that just because they can get into that position, they do it because they're flexible and strong enough to maintain their strength in that position. It's fine trying to emulate what they're doing, but understanding why they do it and why they're able to do it is more important.
 

Dragy

Legend
What you’re missing is most of that is coming from his shoulder over shoulder rotation aka cartwheeling. Nick has very little long axis torso coil if any. That’s the point in this thread.
Cmon man, you cannot turn from chest facing one side to chest facing other side without rotating around the spine as an axis. Well you can turn upside-down with a somersault motion, but that would be 180 degree, not 90. Cartwheeling keeps your chest facing same side.

I think you see strong shoulder-over-shoulder motion which camouflages torso turn. But if you apply some formal logic - there's no way Nick's chest changes orientation the way it does without rotation around spine.
 

Curious

Legend
Cmon man, you cannot turn from chest facing one side to chest facing other side without rotating around the spine as an axis. Well you can turn upside-down with a somersault motion, but that would be 180 degree, not 90. Cartwheeling keeps your chest facing same side.

I think you see strong shoulder-over-shoulder motion which camouflages torso turn. But if you apply some formal logic - there's no way Nick's chest changes orientation the way it does without rotation around spine.
I know but Nick’s starting position is already turned like his chest is at a 60degree angle to the net ( much more open than most players btw ), during the trophy position it goes up to 90 degrees, then uncoils forward from there. In other words he doesn’t coil much, he’s just sideways at the trophy position, whereas Sampras is like 120 degrees at that moment and that’s my whole point.
 

SystemicAnomaly

Talk Tennis Guru
They don’t have shoulder turn, mate.
I'm not understanding how you can say that 90+° of turn is no turn. It's less than most elite servers but it's still something like 70-80% of the coil seen with many pro servers.

And there's the separation angle between hips and upper torso that's another source of (stored) energy. His 193 cm height is another factor going for him. No doubt that he has a high percentage of a fast which muscle fibers and other anatomical advantages that many people do not.
 

Curious

Legend
Jesus Christ!! Could someone please tell me the difference between these two serves so that I can stop spending time on this f’ng thread?



 

SystemicAnomaly

Talk Tennis Guru
I know but Nick’s starting position is already turned like his chest is at a 60degree angle to the net ( much more open than most players btw ), during the trophy position it goes up to 90 degrees, then uncoils forward from there. In other words he doesn’t coil much, he’s just sideways at the trophy position, whereas Sampras is like 120 degrees at that moment and that’s my whole point.
Less but still about 75% (maybe more). There are quite a few links in the kinetic chain. He obviously makes up for the lesser coil with a greater contribution from other elements (links).

Note also that Sampras was 8-9 cm shorter than Kyrgios. And using an 85 sq" racket with '90s technology and strings. My guess is that Pete had more spin on his serves than Nick. Pete averaged close to 3000 rpm on 1st serves and sometimes exceeded 5000 rpm on 2nd serves. That's a lot of rotational kinetic energy.
 

Return_Ace

Hall of Fame
I know but Nick’s starting position is already turned like his chest is at a 60degree angle to the net ( much more open than most players btw ), during the trophy position it goes up to 90 degrees, then uncoils forward from there. In other words he doesn’t coil much, he’s just sideways at the trophy position, whereas Sampras is like 120 degrees at that moment and that’s my whole point.
Again, you can't compare shoulder turn in Platform servers vs. Pinpoint... literally different biomechanics on what is happening.

Jesus Christ!! Could someone please tell me the difference between these two serves so that I can stop spending time on this f’ng thread?



Look at where your hips are pointing.

In Serve #1, your lower body is pointing "forwards", combined with your (smaller) shoulder turn, you've got your torque generated in the core.

In Serve #2, your lower body is pointing backwards/to the right, this means you will need more "active" rotational force in order to drive forwards (i.e. you will use slightly different muscles).



As for which is more/less correct, it's whichever you can be most stable in and generate the most amount of force towards the ball, for some it will be #1, some will be #2.
 

Return_Ace

Hall of Fame
And for some it will be limited by how much rotational flexibility you have.

I would also hazard a complete guess that Serve #2 drives off the back leg more, and less from the core/trunk (maybe 60/40 split between leg power), whereas Serve #1 probably is 70/30 front/back leg, but makes up from having the core wound tighter.
 

SystemicAnomaly

Talk Tennis Guru
Something else to keep in mind. Nick might be putting added stress on his right shoulder with his "reduced-coil" serve mechanics. He pulled out of competition last February with a shoulder injury saying that it had flared up again.

Many have also advocated the minimalist serve mechanics of Stan Wawrinka. Minimal knee bend, shoulder tilt and coil. And yet he has been able to serve up quite a few heaters in excess of 140 mph. But this may have come at a price. I believe he's been out with shoulder injuries at least five or six times in the past decade.
 

Dragy

Legend
Jesus Christ!! Could someone please tell me the difference between these two serves so that I can stop spending time on this f’ng thread?



I cannot. I see what you try to do differently, but not sure it has much to do with Nick. Key question is what motion gives you personally best combination of:
- pace
- spin
- consistency
- precision,
while not stressing your body exposing it to injury, and remaining repeatable during long tennis day.
 
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