My Work on The Serve Is Paying Off / Video

Finally I have a serve that I am not ashamed to show in a video. I think I need to be more
balanced and get rid of the lean to the left after but I am open to any advice or tips.
I also like a estimate of how fast these might be.

Repeat the video with your racket and arm in the frame. You also need to video in direct sunlight so that your camera's automatic exposure control will select a faster shutter and reduce the motion blur.
 

Heck

Rookie
Repeat the video with your racket and arm in the frame. You also need to video in direct sunlight so that your camera's automatic exposure control will select a faster shutter and reduce the motion blur.
Yeah I wonder why I have motion blur in my shots. I never really set up my camera for action shots. I will give it a try and maybe try manual mode.
 
Yeah I wonder why I have motion blur in my shots. I never really set up my camera for action shots. I will give it a try and maybe try manual mode.
Look especially for a high speed video mode. Usually you can get your camera's specs and user's manual off the internet.

I don't know how many cameras now have manual mode for video. Almost or maybe none have manual mode for high speed video. Casio had some excellent cameras designed for high speed video with manual control and a shutter speed to 1/40,000 sec. My FH100 has it. Mine cost $239. They stopped producing those cameras. Some cameras with high speed video mode have fast enough automatic shutters in direct sunlight so that the motion blur is small. Some smart phones and GoPro have fast shutters and small motion blur.
 
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Nice to see someone practicing serve in winter. Time to invest in a $30 hopper.
Seems like a nice amount of spin, and your body is stepping forward into the court.

The biggest thing I see is you could have a lot more leg bend.
Trophy arm could be more vertical. I struggle with this, as well.
 

movdqa

Talk Tennis Guru
What grip are you using on the serve? It seems like it's moving over towards Eastern FH.
 

HunterST

Hall of Fame
I think more legs is the most obvious element of the serve you could improve. You're using a pinpoint stance which is usually to maximize leg drive. Most of your momentum is pretty linear. Focus on just a little more leg bend and then exploding up into the serve.

As far as a speed guess, it's tough from just a video. I would say your serves are probably around 75-85 mph, though.
 

movdqa

Talk Tennis Guru
I think more legs is the most obvious element of the serve you could improve. You're using a pinpoint stance which is usually to maximize leg drive. Most of your momentum is pretty linear. Focus on just a little more leg bend and then exploding up into the serve.

As far as a speed guess, it's tough from just a video. I would say your serves are probably around 75-85 mph, though.
The ideal is to get it around four feet into the back fence. It's hard to tell how far back the bubble is compared to a typical fence. But it was two bounces to get there so I'd say that your estimate is accurate. He's got good spin and control and it would help to add some power for pace.
 

Bender

G.O.A.T.
Why is there a horror movie soundtrack playing in the video?


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
 
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Heck

Rookie
Nice to see someone practicing serve in winter. Time to invest in a $30 hopper.
Seems like a nice amount of spin, and your body is stepping forward into the court.

The biggest thing I see is you could have a lot more leg bend.
Trophy arm could be more vertical. I struggle with this, as well.
Yes I get lazy on the leg bend. I worked on the arm a lot this fall and still fall back on old habits.


Nice smooth spin serve. How about a flat serve?
Most of those were my flat serve lol. The pronation seems to add that spin.


I think more legs is the most obvious element of the serve you could improve. You're using a pinpoint stance which is usually to maximize leg drive. Most of your momentum is pretty linear. Focus on just a little more leg bend and then exploding up into the serve.

As far as a speed guess, it's tough from just a video. I would say your serves are probably around 75-85 mph, though.
Will work on that leg drive for sure.

Why is there a horror movie soundtrack playing in the video?


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
Cinematic effect! Sounds better than that heater running in the background lol. And I did try and clean up the audio it was worst.
 
It takes a few months for the new form to stick and start working better than the old.

Try getting to your outdoor matches 30 mins. early.
If you want to focus on your serve, you need to pick one thing at a time.
Only think about that, and do 2-3 hoppers (that is my mental limit)
Leg bend. toss placement, etc.
If you do this all summer, you will bring your serve to the next level.
 
Most of those were my flat serve lol. The pronation seems to add that spin.
Unless I am sorely mistaken, correct pronation should take away the spin and allow hitting flat. I think there is confusion about pronation in serving, to say the least.
 
Most of OP serves appear to be moving from right to left before and after the bounce which indicates the ball has some sideways spin. Unless physics is different where I live than other places a completely flat serve, which in effect is like a perfect knuckleball, should bounce straight ahead. Yes in the middle of his swing I grant there is some pronation/forearm roll. When I swing with more prolonged pronation/forearm roll I hit a ball with virtually no spin.
 

r2473

G.O.A.T.
Good work, try keeping your tossing arm up longer. When I practice I exaggerate keeping my tossing arm and head up, well after contact.
I agree, keeping your tossing arm extended and head up is critical.

I like Pat Doughtry's suggestion of imagining you are grabbing on to the top of the fence and pulling yourself up with your tossing arm. This exaggerates it, which is what you want in training.
Most of OP serves appear to be moving from right to left before and after the bounce which indicates the ball has some sideways spin. Unless physics is different where I live than other places a completely flat serve, which in effect is like a perfect knuckleball, should bounce straight ahead. Yes in the middle of his swing I grant there is some pronation/forearm roll. When I swing with more prolonged pronation/forearm roll I hit a ball with virtually no spin.
He could do better with pronation as you say. And I think it would help.
 
I agree, keeping your tossing arm extended and head up is critical.

I like Pat Doughtry's suggestion of imagining you are grabbing on to the top of the fence and pulling yourself up with your tossing arm. This exaggerates it, which is what you want in training.

He could do better with pronation as you say. And I think it would help.
I think I saw more of the women at the Aus. Open going for the big flat serve on first serve more than ever before. Woz. and Halep I think. Lower percentage shot for sure but gets some easy points when it is working. Then of course spin in the second. I just discovered the pronated flat serve myself recently. Matter or fact I just really understood pronation fairly recently.
 
This video does not mention internal shoulder rotation (ISR) or make clear how the arm is rotated. It is an old video, 2008, and should be updated.

The confusion comes from the fact that with the arm near straight both pronation and internal shoulder rotation cause the wrist/hand to turn in the exact same way. When the wrist was first observed by eye the incorrect term 'pronation' started being used..........

It would help everyone to understand if the proper terms for joint motions were used.

See publication Biomechanics and Tennis, 2006, B. Elliott
 
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Heck,
Ignore everything they say about pronation, ISR, and that other gibberish.
Talk to any Div1 or ATP player, and he will have no idea what you're talking about.
You don't think about this stuff. The serve is an explosion, and you're just along for the ride.
Focus on things you can control like the toss, grip, leg bend, and racket head speed.
 

Fxanimator1

Hall of Fame
Seems like you could relax your hitting arm a bit more by using your body/core to deliver more of the power.
Speed-wise, 70-80.
 
Heck,
Ignore everything they say about pronation, ISR, and that other gibberish.
Talk to any Div1 or ATP player, and he will have no idea what you're talking about.
You don't think about this stuff. The serve is an explosion, and you're just along for the ride.
Focus on things you can control like the toss, grip, leg bend, and racket head speed.
One of these days you might learn how to do the pronation/forearm roll/ISR combination of things to mix in a very effective flat serve to go along with your current spin serve and you'll know what some of us are talking about and why it's such a nice addition to your game.
 

TennisCJC

Legend
Try to let you whole body relax. Really keep your shoulders loose, arms loose and grips on ball and racket loose. I watched your serve at 25% speed and your racket drop looks a little tight. Let the push up and in with legs and shoulder turn roll or whip the racket head thru the drop and up and into contact. You look like you are tensing the shoulders a bit and it is shortening your drop and possibly showing the racket down. Work on relaxing the shoulders instead of contracting them. Think of a relaxed smoothly accelerating shoulder motion.

Don't worry about the spin you have on your 1st serve. You actually want spin on your 1st serve. Watch Federer serve and almost every 1st serve he hits moves R to L in flight and after the bounce. Sampras average around 2,500 rpm on his 1st servers and much much higher rpm on his 2nd serves.
 

Heck

Rookie
As I expected I got great advice and tips here and thanks for all for taking the time to help.


Try to let you whole body relax. Really keep your shoulders loose, arms loose and grips on ball and racket loose. I watched your serve at 25% speed and your racket drop looks a little tight. Let the push up and in with legs and shoulder turn roll or whip the racket head thru the drop and up and into contact. You look like you are tensing the shoulders a bit and it is shortening your drop and possibly showing the racket down. Work on relaxing the shoulders instead of contracting them. Think of a relaxed smoothly accelerating shoulder motion.

Don't worry about the spin you have on your 1st serve. You actually want spin on your 1st serve. Watch Federer serve and almost every 1st serve he hits moves R to L in flight and after the bounce. Sampras average around 2,500 rpm on his 1st servers and much much higher rpm on his 2nd serves.
I was playing a casual mixed match last night and tried serving loose on the arm and felt I got more "whip". When the score got tight I tried to add more leg drive and got more pace and spin on the ball.
The relax body and shoulders is going to be a more long term fix. I do feel that I am crunching after contact or even at contact and that is why I am feeling and looking off balance at the end of the follow trough.
I will post up results when I get a major improvement.
 

Kevo

Legend
Heck,
Ignore everything they say about pronation, ISR, and that other gibberish.
Talk to any Div1 or ATP player, and he will have no idea what you're talking about.
You don't think about this stuff. The serve is an explosion, and you're just along for the ride.
Focus on things you can control like the toss, grip, leg bend, and racket head speed.
I think you are not considering that many of those players started young and had a coach to guide them into making the right motions through some series of progressions that probably didn't involve any of that technical gibberish as you call it. For people who are trying to coach themselves, they most likely will need to understand that gibberish if they ever want to have a professional level technique on the serve. If you look at video of pro players they all do those things. Some of course are better than others. Whether or not they know the terms or understand the mechanics the way their coaches do is not important to a player trying to coach themselves.
 

Kevo

Legend
I was playing a casual mixed match last night and tried serving loose on the arm and felt I got more "whip". When the score got tight I tried to add more leg drive and got more pace and spin on the ball.
The relax body and shoulders is going to be a more long term fix. I do feel that I am crunching after contact or even at contact and that is why I am feeling and looking off balance at the end of the follow trough.
I will post up results when I get a major improvement.
I think a lot of players try to do to much at once when working on their serve. My advice when coaching someone on fixing their serve is usually to ignore the legs and focus first on contact. You seem to be dropping your posture while swinging through the ball. I'd say slow things down, concentrate on getting the toss in the right spot so that you are looking up at the ball and making clean contact over head. Try to let the racquet come down on it's own. If you are pulling the racquet through the ball or crunching through the ball as you call it, then that is energy that is not going up into the ball.

To really have a great serve you need proper timing and firing of all parts of the kinetic chain. The more separation you can get of those parts so that one flows seamlessly into the other the better your serve will be. That's why I like for people to work on individual components and add things in once you've mastered each part. If you blend these things together it makes the whole serve muddy so to speak.
 

bitcoinoperated

Professional
Others may be more qualified but I'll have a go.

You are standing up straight which isn't allowing the racquet to arc down and around dropping properly



You are also not staying sideways and facing the court too early. The pinpoint stance seems to be hurting you here, even if you don't stick with it the platform stance for a bit may help you keep from doing this. Safin's right foot is creeping further over that his left like you but he's staying sideways and his body angle is giving space for the racquet to drop



This vid may help you

 

Heck

Rookie
I am going to upload a new video tonight. I check out a video from tennis evolution about balance on the serve and worked on that. I also took a stab at taking a few with a
platform stance. I am open to changing from pin point if it helps with my balance. I tried to relax more and used a faster stutter speed on the camera and got better quality.
 

vex

Hall of Fame
I am going to upload a new video tonight. I check out a video from tennis evolution about balance on the serve and worked on that. I also took a stab at taking a few with a
platform stance. I am open to changing from pin point if it helps with my balance. I tried to relax more and used a faster stutter speed on the camera and got better quality.
Practice some 1st serves where you hit with like 90% plow thru and 10% topspin.
 

vex

Hall of Fame
Heck,
Ignore everything they say about pronation, ISR, and that other gibberish.
Talk to any Div1 or ATP player, and he will have no idea what you're talking about.
You don't think about this stuff. The serve is an explosion, and you're just along for the ride.
Focus on things you can control like the toss, grip, leg bend, and racket head speed.
^ This person has a garbage serve and has no idea what he's talking about. See any of his vids for evidence.

You absolutely must learn to pronate if you want to have a great serve.
 
Well here it goes. No music lol.

At 11 seconds your racket looks edge on to the ball. But around this position on the high level serve there is a position often called the "Big L" (a checkpoint, it is like an upside down L).
http://www.hi-techtennis.com/serve/nalbandian_l.php

http://www.hi-techtennis.com/serve/flash/nalbandian_l.mp4

The arm is near straight while your elbow is at about 45 d. You seem to be extending your elbow at this later stage of the motion toward the ball for racket head speed. Yours is a different technique.

You should study what you are doing more using comparisons to high levels servers. You can see the differences.

You need to also study and understand what Todd Ellenbecker has to say in the video Rotator Cuff Injury about the upper arm to shoulder angle. You can see the proper shoulder angle range throughout the serve in high speed videos of nearly all ATP servers.

If your elbow is at 45 d. near the Big L position (instead of near straight) it is likely that you are not paying attention to observe the angles and comparisons to high level serves.

There is a biomechanical motion and some checkpoints afterward to indicate if the motion is likely to be effective. The checkpoints are feedback for the motion. But somehow getting to checkpoints without the motions is not the same.
 
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Kevo

Legend
It feels to me like you are actively using your body/arm to produce a follow through. The follow through should be a consequence of the effort and energy put into making contact with the ball. The arm should come down because it has no where else to go, not because you are pulling it through the ball and down. It's hard to explain, but this is one reason I like to ignore most of the serve and concentrate just on the toss and pronation into contact when starting someone out or rebuilding a serve. All those other pieces can really get in the way of making proper contact at a proper height overhead with the head and shoulders in the proper upward focused posture. The nalbandian clip Chas posted illustrates how awkward it is. You won't develop a posture like that without having a proper toss first, and then the proper mechanism of contact overhead. It's a reaching up of the hitting arm high overhead and then a rotation of the arm/racquet lever roughly 180 degrees through the ball. It's not really a swinging of the arm through the ball. Again, hard to grasp with words. Most of the time I end up needing to position people so they can feel it. Even watching me demonstrate it's pretty rare that someone can see it and then do it with no help.
 

Heck

Rookie
At 11 seconds your racket looks edge on to the ball. But around this position on the high level serve there is a position often called the "Big L" (a checkpoint, it is like an upside down L).
http://www.hi-techtennis.com/serve/nalbandian_l.php

http://www.hi-techtennis.com/serve/flash/nalbandian_l.mp4

The arm is near straight while your elbow is at about 45 d. You seem to be extending your elbow at this later stage of the motion toward the ball for racket head speed. Yours is a different technique.

You should study what you are doing more using comparisons to high levels servers. You can see the differences.

You need to also study and understand what Todd Ellenbecker has to say in the video Rotator Cuff Injury about the upper arm to shoulder angle. You can see the proper shoulder angle range throughout the serve in high speed videos of nearly all ATP servers.

If your elbow is at 45 d. near the Big L position (instead of near straight) it is likely that you are not paying attention to observe the angles and comparisons to high level serves.

There is a biomechanical motion and some checkpoints afterward to indicate if the motion is likely to be effective. The checkpoints are feedback for the motion. But somehow getting to checkpoints without the motions is not the same.
I see what you are saying about my arm and the big L. Time to do some research as you suggested. Thanks for taking the time and pointing me in the right direction. Does not seem like
a easy fix but I am up to the challenge to improve.
 

Heck

Rookie
It feels to me like you are actively using your body/arm to produce a follow through. The follow through should be a consequence of the effort and energy put into making contact with the ball. The arm should come down because it has no where else to go, not because you are pulling it through the ball and down. It's hard to explain, but this is one reason I like to ignore most of the serve and concentrate just on the toss and pronation into contact when starting someone out or rebuilding a serve. All those other pieces can really get in the way of making proper contact at a proper height overhead with the head and shoulders in the proper upward focused posture. The nalbandian clip Chas posted illustrates how awkward it is. You won't develop a posture like that without having a proper toss first, and then the proper mechanism of contact overhead. It's a reaching up of the hitting arm high overhead and then a rotation of the arm/racquet lever roughly 180 degrees through the ball. It's not really a swinging of the arm through the ball. Again, hard to grasp with words. Most of the time I end up needing to position people so they can feel it. Even watching me demonstrate it's pretty rare that someone can see it and then do it with no help.
I think I will breaking it down to working on just the arm and pronation. This old dog will learn! lol
 

bitcoinoperated

Professional
You need have have a break in the wrist and spread your index finger out: compare the racquet/arm angles below, your racquet is miles back front year head which will affect the drop. Also, for platform you need to be on your toes (which will help the body angle point in my last post) and weight shouldn't be heavily on the front(!) leg.

 

Dartagnan64

Legend
Why are people comparing a 50 year old dude to a bunch of 20 somethings? A 50 year old won't have the spine and shoulder flexibility to get anywhere close to a pro level serve. At least not without a humungous amount of physio and effort.
 
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