New serve tip for the holidays

Kevo

Legend
Good tip.

I'd add that the arm straightening is set up by having a proper toss and contact location. I harp on that all the time. The toss is boss. Accept and embrace it or you are surely destined to forever have a serve that can't live up to its potential. In fact, contact location in relation to your body is one of the most important things to learn if you want to play good tennis. Many people struggle with that in perpetuity.
 

sureshs

Bionic Poster
Good tip.

I'd add that the arm straightening is set up by having a proper toss and contact location. I harp on that all the time. The toss is boss. Accept and embrace it or you are surely destined to forever have a serve that can't live up to its potential. In fact, contact location in relation to your body is one of the most important things to learn if you want to play good tennis. Many people struggle with that in perpetuity.
Consistent toss cannot be taught to adults beyond a certain level of accuracy. It requires a kind of coordination which cannot be improved beyond a certain level. So adult student must be taught to be realistic and make micro adjustments to compensate for the toss.
 
The best advise I ever had for serving is, look at the ball at the impact (more even, breath out at the ball as you hit it) and (even more important) imagine exactly where you want the ball to land (and if you can, the path the ball should take so it hits the spot you want).
 

Kevo

Legend
Consistent toss cannot be taught to adults beyond a certain level of accuracy. It requires a kind of coordination which cannot be improved beyond a certain level. So adult student must be taught to be realistic and make micro adjustments to compensate for the toss.
I don't believe that at all. I would believe that most adults aren't humble enough to accept that they actually need to practice tossing and therefore they just won't do it.
 

sureshs

Bionic Poster
The best advise I ever had for serving is, look at the ball at the impact (more even, breath out at the ball as you hit it) and (even more important) imagine exactly where you want the ball to land (and if you can, the path the ball should take so it hits the spot you want).
Sorry but that is not good advice when playing in the sun. You need to be able to serve without having to look intensely at the impact.
 

sureshs

Bionic Poster
I don't believe that at all. I would believe that most adults aren't humble enough to accept that they actually need to practice tossing and therefore they just won't do it.
It has been said on here to practice a thousand tosses a week and stuff like that. Not practical. We need to rush from work or other family work to the courts and be ready to play after a few practice serves and maybe a few more ghost tosses. Our partners are not eager to wait any longer.
 

Hmgraphite1

Hall of Fame
I don't believe that at all. I would believe that most adults aren't humble enough to accept that they actually need to practice tossing and therefore they just won't do it.
A lot has to do with balance, some older folks need to do yoga, tai chi or other so they stay "young"
 

ByeByePoly

G.O.A.T.
The main key is to strike the right balance between proper technique and micro adjustments. The balance is different at different skill levels.
Can we get a definition for "micro adjustment"? Maybe 2ft variance in toss location? This could end up as skeet shooting.

Is this just a tip until after Christmas?
 

ByeByePoly

G.O.A.T.
Good tip.

I'd add that the arm straightening is set up by having a proper toss and contact location. I harp on that all the time. The toss is boss. Accept and embrace it or you are surely destined to forever have a serve that can't live up to its potential. In fact, contact location in relation to your body is one of the most important things to learn if you want to play good tennis. Many people struggle with that in perpetuity.
Your wife's name must be Toss.
 

sureshs

Bionic Poster
A lot has to do with balance, some older folks need to do yoga, tai chi or other so they stay "young"
I know a lot of old and young people, fat and fit, who have toss problems. Yoga may help in general, but still fall short. There is no substitute for the skill which has to be learned as a junior. I have seen former baseball players, all round athletes, fit guys who bike 50 miles and run marathons - and they can't get the toss right. That is why adult players come back from camp after camp without improving their serve.
 
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Hmgraphite1

Hall of Fame
I know a lot of old and young people, fat and fit, who have toss problems. Yoga may help in general, but still fall short. There is no substitute for the skill which has to be learned as a junior. I have seen former baseball players, all round athletes, fit guys who bike 50 miles and run marathons - and they can't get the toss right. That is why adult players come back from camp after camp without improving their serve.
True, the solution for all is not the same one thing. For many the toss is not really the issue but what is done to get the racquet up to the ball.
 

mcs1970

Hall of Fame
True, the solution for all is not the same one thing. For many the toss is not really the issue but what is done to get the racquet up to the ball.
^This. When I first started Tennis seriously, I almost quit and went back to racquetball, because my toss was terrible, and I didn't want to just dink the ball in to win some rec matches. I was convinced I had a hitch in my arm. What helped was the realization that the racquet figure 8 motion > any deficiencies in the toss. It got to the point where I was serving consistently even in windy conditions even though my toss was still terrible. Later on I fixed my toss too (the dumb cue that I employ to this day is visualizing that I'm throwing the ball to someone on a ladder catching it :)) . I think where mastery over toss is absolutely needed is if you want to have control over different types of serves. OTOH, if you are just trying to consistently get the ball in at a good decent pace, racquet loop and arc on your serve is more important than the toss.
 

Kevo

Legend
It has been said on here to practice a thousand tosses a week and stuff like that. Not practical. We need to rush from work or other family work to the courts and be ready to play after a few practice serves and maybe a few more ghost tosses. Our partners are not eager to wait any longer.
Yes, this is exactly why many rec players never progress. They simply won't be bothered to actually practice. I have kids dribble balls on their racquet to build muscles, coordination, get comfortable with grips etc. I tell them to start off by getting to 20 in a row. Most can do that in a week. Then I tell them if you can do 20 you can do 100. Many complain. Then I proceed to show them how long it takes to do 100 bounces. It can be done in about a minute by anyone who has practiced it a little bit. Then most of them after seeing what's possible have no problem getting to 100 after another week. Only the ones who don't actually practice fail at this.

1000 tosses a week is nothing. If you can't be bothered to spend 5-10 minutes a day practicing something you shouldn't expect to be good at it. There were times when I was practicing my serve regularly that I would do that many actual serves in 3-4 days. I spent more time refilling the basket than I did serving and I was usually only on the court for 60-90mins. That would be serves and ground strokes with the ball machine.

So if you want to get better at something you simply have to put in the work. If you don't want to put in the work then be happy with where you're at or decide to change and go work at it. Sitting in the wishy washy middle ground of excuses and inaction is a waste.
 

mcs1970

Hall of Fame
Yes, this is exactly why many rec players never progress. They simply won't be bothered to actually practice. I have kids dribble balls on their racquet to build muscles, coordination, get comfortable with grips etc. I tell them to start off by getting to 20 in a row. Most can do that in a week. Then I tell them if you can do 20 you can do 100. Many complain. Then I proceed to show them how long it takes to do 100 bounces. It can be done in about a minute by anyone who has practiced it a little bit. Then most of them after seeing what's possible have no problem getting to 100 after another week. Only the ones who don't actually practice fail at this.

1000 tosses a week is nothing. If you can't be bothered to spend 5-10 minutes a day practicing something you shouldn't expect to be good at it. There were times when I was practicing my serve regularly that I would do that many actual serves in 3-4 days. I spent more time refilling the basket than I did serving and I was usually only on the court for 60-90mins. That would be serves and ground strokes with the ball machine.

So if you want to get better at something you simply have to put in the work. If you don't want to put in the work then be happy with where you're at or decide to change and go work at it. Sitting in the wishy washy middle ground of excuses and inaction is a waste.
It's not just about practice. I was practicing diligently good or bad weather. The commitment was absolutely there. Yet, my left arm would literally refuse to straighten up, even though I have zero problems tossing with my right hand. That's why I was convinced I either had the yips or some congenital defect. As mentioned in my previous post, the cue that I employ now has absolutely changed my toss. Sometimes as coaches, you might want to look at other things than just assume that it's about wishy washy excuses, and that practice will fix everything.
 

Kevo

Legend
I think where mastery over toss is absolutely needed is if you want to have control over different types of serves. OTOH, if you are just trying to consistently get the ball in at a good decent pace, racquet loop and arc on your serve is more important than the toss.
I would disagree, but it may depend on your definition of decent pace. If your serve is not faster than the forehand you're going hit during the match, I wouldn't call that decent pace for a serve unless it's a kick serve. And your kick serve needs to have noticeably more spin than that topspin rally ball, but could be similar pace. The serve should be more difficult to deal with than a ground stroke.

I think there are people that do a good job of getting the ball in play with an inconsistent toss, but I can't recall seeing anyone with a good serve at a 4.0 or 4.5 level that didn't also have a good consistent toss. Usually if I see someone with poor toss I know their serve is going to be relatively weaker than another similar level player. Usually this means they are going to be better at something else that allows them to compensate for the weaker serve. And I don't think I've ever played a match at 4.5 against a player with a bad toss.

Well, I take that back. My first 4.5 match ever the other guy had a somewhat inconsistent game including serve. I ended up beating him easily and I found out after the match he was playing up from 4.0. None of my other 4.5 matches worked out that way the rest of the first season. I think I was only about 50% that season. 4.0 to 4.5 was a pretty big jump up.
 

onehandbh

Legend
Arm should be bent at the elbow at the end of the take back but should be straight at impact. Just keep these two reference points in your head and you will be fine for the holidays.
What happens if the opposite is done.
Arm straight at takeback and bent at impact?
 

Kevo

Legend
It's not just about practice. I was practicing diligently good or bad weather. The commitment was absolutely there. Yet, my left arm would literally refuse to straighten up, even though I have zero problems tossing with my right hand. That's why I was convinced I either had the yips or some congenital defect. As mentioned in my previous post, the cue that I employ now has absolutely changed my toss. Sometimes as coaches, you might want to look at other things than just assume that it's about wishy washy excuses, and that practice will fix everything.
Well, if I was your coach you'd be awesome for sure if you were practicing diligently. ;-)

And for sure I wouldn't have had you practicing diligently something you couldn't do right. That's basic coaching 101 I would think.

Coaches make adjustments when needed. Some people do have physical issues. I had a student once who was having some serve difficulty when we first started lessons on it. I kept seeing a hitch and gave him my usual set of cues and tried a few different things. After about 10 minutes I thought something must be going on, so I stopped and asked him if he ever had any kinds of problems with his arm or shoulder. He said he had broken it when he was little just above the wrist. So we went through everything slowly joint by joint and step by step and made some adjustments to find out what he could and couldn't do freely and relaxed with his shoulder, arm and wrist. After about 10 more minutes, a grip adjustment and slight change to the toss he was doing just fine.
 

user92626

G.O.A.T.
It's not just about practice. I was practicing diligently good or bad weather. The commitment was absolutely there. Yet, my left arm would literally refuse to straighten up, even though I have zero problems tossing with my right hand. That's why I was convinced I either had the yips or some congenital defect. As mentioned in my previous post, the cue that I employ now has absolutely changed my toss. Sometimes as coaches, you might want to look at other things than just assume that it's about wishy washy excuses, and that practice will fix everything.
IMO, in most cases it's not about physical defects or lack of practice.

It's usually about lack of good, correct instructions and understanding of what to do.

I'm constantly amazed at new things I discovered. I thought I knew a lot after 10 years but high speed videos (on my phone) point out a lot of wrongs. Thanks @Chas for pushing the idea of high speed video.
 

mcs1970

Hall of Fame
IMO, in most cases it's not about physical defects or lack of practice.

It's usually about lack of good, correct instructions and understanding of what to do.

I'm constantly amazed at new things I discovered. I thought I knew a lot after 10 years but high speed videos (on my phone) point out a lot of wrongs. Thanks @Chas for pushing the idea of high speed video.
Yep...as even great athletes bemoan if they could only pair the knowledge of their brains at 40 with their bodies when they were 20. If great ones are learning all the time, we have so much more we can learn.
 
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Irrefutable

New User
Arm should be bent at the elbow at the end of the take back but should be straight at impact. Just keep these two reference points in your head and you will be fine for the holidays.
actually the arm should be slightly bent at contact.... you will add spin and your service % will go up... flat serves are inconsistent at best
 

user92626

G.O.A.T.
I think today my brain has finally come around and accepted that pronation is required and the racket head has to go from the "inside" to the outside or side of the body. And I must strengthen up the ISR action.

You can't get away from these basics if you want a sound, powerful serve.

 
I think today my brain has finally come around and accepted that pronation is required and the racket head has to go from the "inside" to the outside or side of the body. And I must strengthen up the ISR action.

You can't get away from these basics if you want a sound, powerful serve.

That orientation and motion never appear in the tennis serve.
 

FiReFTW

Legend
I think today my brain has finally come around and accepted that pronation is required and the racket head has to go from the "inside" to the outside or side of the body. And I must strengthen up the ISR action.

You can't get away from these basics if you want a sound, powerful serve.

A lot of WTA girls dont do it and serve big, also andy murray and a few guys also dont and serve 130mph.

I think its more about maximizing spin with this.

But you can serve big without "full" pronation.

https://www.tennisplayer.net/public/tour_strokes/john_yandell/murray_serve/
 

sureshs

Bionic Poster
actually the arm should be slightly bent at contact.... you will add spin and your service % will go up... flat serves are inconsistent at best
I was trying that yesterday and you are right that it helps. Very slightly bent at contact.
 

user92626

G.O.A.T.
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FiReFTW

Legend
The ISR and the pronation by Andy couldn't be more pronounced and obvious:



Did you even watch my link? Andy does not fully pronate, his racquet pronates half way (on most serves) and the stringbed is pointed down after the ball leaves the strings, while some other players like Isner, Federer etc... fully pronate around and the stringbed faces the right fence.



 

FiReFTW

Legend
I never argued Andy "fully" or not "fully pronates"

However, he does pronate and perform the isr motion.
Yes but in your post before you said you must pronate and the racquet has to come from inside to outside if you want a powerful serve, that inside to outside for me means that the stringbed faces the right fence after, or what did you mean by it?
 

user92626

G.O.A.T.
Yes but in your post before you said you must pronate and the racquet has to come from inside to outside if you want a powerful serve, that inside to outside for me means that the stringbed faces the right fence after, or what did you mean by it?
Post #38 to Chas is what I mean: the racket's swing direction

Pronation is indicative with the racket face. It's just one aspect. Swing direction (path) is different.
 

FiReFTW

Legend
Post #38 to Chas is what I mean: the racket's swing direction

Pronation is indicative with the racket face. It's just one aspect. Swing direction (path) is different.
Aha, but that swing has some slice on it, if you hit it flat its less to the outside direction, tho still slightly.
 

user92626

G.O.A.T.
Look at this photo.

From photo 1-9, you can put Federer's whole body in an imaginary rectangle box.




From 10 on, his arm and body break out of the box! This was important for me to realize. :) I needed to understand the proper setup and (the intent of) the swing path!!!!

 
D

Deleted member 23235

Guest
Look at this photo.

From photo 1-9, you can put Federer's whole body in an imaginary rectangle box.




From 10 on, his arm and body break out of the box! This was important for me to realize. :) I needed to understand the proper setup and (the intent of) the swing path!!!!

i like the box idea...
 

ByeByePoly

G.O.A.T.
I found this interesting ... the following is as high as Roscoe Tanner's tossing arm got. He served 150 mph serves.

 

ByeByePoly

G.O.A.T.
Amazing serve.
Some nice footage of him vs. Wilander in the Aussie final.
I find it interesting because the logic is that you could not have a pro level serve without a very consistent toss. Most of the comments here ... which seem logical to me it that you need an fully extended vertical tossing arm in order to get a consistent toss. In Rosco's case ... 1) he either is able to produce a consistent toss from that horizontal arm delivery (has to be this, but how do you review that) ... or 2) he is able to hit a grand slam winning (one Australian Open) serve with an inconsistent toss with his technique.

I starting thinking about this because I noticed in my serve video, that my toss arm never gets totally vertical (but I beat Rosco :cool:). I don't intend to start serving baskets of balls (to big a risk of injury I would think at my age) ... but did try tweaking my delivery to where I did have a fully extended left arm. Turns out even a little change like this is a timing challenge. I might experiment some more in spring. Anyway, starting looking at pro serve tosses, and release points (ball leaving the hand). Fed for example releases the ball before his left arm goes into full vertical extension. BUT ... other than Rosco, I have not found a pro example where the tossing arm doesn't end up vertical. Even my fricken 2 years of playing rookie I hit with ends up with a pose that looks like a pro serve. :mad: So my thoughts at this point is a vertical tossing arm isn't an absolute requirement to still have all the gold standard k-chain serving stuff happen. I think my toss is consistent (see below) ... so my reason to alter/fix it would be any other benefits ... maybe delay of throwing motion (Jolly had pointed out I "throw" too early).

Consistent Serve Toss:

Logical suggestion, but how exactly do you measure that? I thought about this a while back. If I am standing at the baseline ready to serve to deuce court, and you ask me to point to my intended ball toss for my 1) slice wide serve ... and my 2) flat down the T ... I have no idea. It's all muscle memory. I might be hitting all my kick serves in a fairly consistent toss location, and same for deuce wide ... but the body has learned to make an appropriate toss for serve type (ain't no pro that can hit every serve from same toss .... and don't need to ... rec tennis). So if I can't "name the spot" ... sure in the heck can't "measure the inconsistency". It would be easy if you have to chase a lot of tosses, or bail on a serve and re-toss. I don't ever do that ... which could simply mean I just hit some really bad tosses every now and then (hey ... isn't that a skill also? :p)
 

ByeByePoly

G.O.A.T.
^^^ I want to try that, though I doubt if I will hit 150 mph
Design a gadget that can measure our toss location consistency. I'm sure that dying tennis market will be huge. :confused:

Edit: lol ... we already have that ... ttw members commenting on posted video. :eek:
 
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