Not another... StringSnapper serve thread

#1
Okay now i've settled on the Salzenstein trophy pose method, this session i was focusing on two things:

Trying to get the elbow up before the hand
Trying to "bow" my front hip out into the court and catapult myself up and into the ball more to prevent too much leaning to my right at contact and after contact.


Had this really weird feeling after awhile which was something like, if i could just get my torso "catapult" movement down, the arm was kind of just along for the ride. And the body controlled the direction of the serve more than anything else... Hell, after i got into trophy pose the body controlled everything. In fact, with this new takeback there only feels like 4 inches of actual arm movement in the serve (to get to trophy)

Maybe a little arm/shoulder is also required to get the elbow up first before the hand? Not sure if i was doing this right.


Btw 2:51 was actually the start of my session where i was trying a few things, like the elbow the ball drill

Maybe next time i will try some of the drills shown here, video posted by @heninfan99

From that video it looks like i'm getting a good drop and staying more upright. If I compare it frame by frame to Salzensteins video found below, it looks like when he gets to ESR just after trophy pose... his racquet drop comes more from his body exploding upwards, where as mine seems to come more from either arm motion or rotating left to right (as opposed to more up, as he does) - his racquet is more "on edge" before contact than mine.
(at 4:17 he serves)




@IowaGuy @ChaelAZ @Keendog @FiReFTW @Curious @sredna42 @S&V-not_dead_yet @GuyClinch @Bender @nytennisaddict @ByeByePoly @Keendog @IowaGuy @Raul_SJ @dak95_00 @Fxanimator1 @fuzz nation @Chas Tennis @atp2015 @TennisDawg @ChaelAZ @sac65849 @coupergear @Hmgraphite1 @pencilcheck @sac65849
 
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#2
I think it's good you've slowed down between each serve and incorporate more shadow swings. BTW your shadow swings look perfect.

When you were in the far side of the court serving towards camera those were great serves and you were really close to feeling it. Then when you came back in front of camera it was horrible, so whatever you were trying to do then forget it. Go back to whatever made you serve better from the far court. It seems more natural to serve to AD side as well, so practice to that side instead.

When you were in front of camera it seemed you are still swatting at the ball, not swinging through it. Here is a vid that doesn't have any exercises but may help you see the difference.

 

sredna42

Professional
#3
I think it's good you've slowed down between each serve and incorporate more shadow swings. BTW your shadow swings look perfect.

When you were in the far side of the court serving towards camera those were great serves and you were really close to feeling it. Then when you came back in front of camera it was horrible, so whatever you were trying to do then forget it. Go back to whatever made you serve better from the far court. It seems more natural to serve to AD side as well, so practice to that side instead.

When you were in front of camera it seemed you are still swatting at the ball, not swinging through it. Here is a vid that doesn't have any exercises but may help you see the difference.

That is actually a very good video
 
#4
Okay now i've settled on the Salzenstein trophy pose method, this session i was focusing on two things:

Trying to get the elbow up before the hand
Trying to "bow" my front hip out into the court and catapult myself up and into the ball more to prevent too much leaning to my right at contact and after contact.
Let me know how the "bow" goes: I try to do that and see almost none on video, which means I'll have to exaggerate to the point of almost falling over.
 
#5
You progressed way beyond the point where you should be incorporating the leg drive imo.
Do some squats and lunges to warm up your quads and then push off the ground on the serve.
By driving your feet into the ground you will get the force to catapult your torso. I drive so much I end up crashing into the ground if it wasn't for my front leg stopping me. That front foot which had just driven up , smashes into the ground due to the catapulting upper body.
 

atp2015

Hall of Fame
#6
Good part is that the tp is fine.
The meat and potatoes of your swing technique is still waiter tray. Slow motion clearly shows it and compare that frame by frame with a known high level serve.
Just the drop through contact.
It needs overhaul. I would learn to come up on edge and try to hit topspin, however slow , without anything else.
Once the foundation is built, add fluidity, power etc.
 
#8
Okay now i've settled on the Salzenstein trophy pose method, this session i was focusing on two things:

Trying to get the elbow up before the hand
Trying to "bow" my front hip out into the court and catapult myself up and into the ball more to prevent too much leaning to my right at contact and after contact.


Had this really weird feeling after awhile which was something like, if i could just get my torso "catapult" movement down, the arm was kind of just along for the ride. And the body controlled the direction of the serve more than anything else... Hell, after i got into trophy pose the body controlled everything. In fact, with this new takeback there only feels like 4 inches of actual arm movement in the serve (to get to trophy)

Maybe a little arm/shoulder is also required to get the elbow up first before the hand? Not sure if i was doing this right.


Btw 2:51 was actually the start of my session where i was trying a few things, like the elbow the ball drill

Maybe next time i will try some of the drills shown here, video posted by @heninfan99

From that video it looks like i'm getting a good drop and staying more upright. If I compare it frame by frame to Salzensteins video found below, it looks like when he gets to ESR just after trophy pose... his racquet drop comes more from his body exploding upwards, where as mine seems to come more from either arm motion or rotating left to right (as opposed to more up, as he does) - his racquet is more "on edge" before contact than mine.
(at 4:17 he serves)




@IowaGuy @ChaelAZ @Keendog @FiReFTW @Curious @sredna42 @S&V-not_dead_yet @GuyClinch @Bender @nytennisaddict @ByeByePoly @Keendog @IowaGuy @Raul_SJ @dak95_00 @Fxanimator1 @fuzz nation @Chas Tennis @atp2015 @TennisDawg @ChaelAZ @sac65849 @coupergear @Hmgraphite1 @pencilcheck @sac65849
YES!!!

Completely geeking out at my computer right now - you're totally getting it. Well done, mister!

Your early serves in that video are a little funky just because your back foot has already left the court as your body is rotating/pivoting forward on your front foot. That's only a matter or re-synchronizing what you do and when you do it... and later on it looks like you effectively adjust in a better direction.

After those experiments with setting the racquet and tossing, you hit an actual serve at about 4:14 that clearly has more upward drive to the ball, but it also has more of your back leg contributing to that upward drive. That's a real breakthrough.

After you throw a ball - much appreciated - the following serves definitely include more drive off your back leg for the actual swing. It looks as though you're "climbing the ladder" and each serve has more of that "upward throwing" component.

Watch that very last serve you hit at 4:54 - look at how your head and shoulders drive up instead of you bowing forward at the waist and dropping down and off to the right. WOW you've got everything driving up into contact right there. You're essentially throwing your racquet up toward the top of those far trees without actually letting go of it. That specific serve may have sailed long, but all you need to do is relocate your toss a couple of inches further out ahead of you so that the racquet face has a little more room to turn over. But keep driving up to get the ball down in that box.

You're also doing what looks like exactly the right thing with working on individual components of your overall move. That makes a mess, which is just what you need to do as you sort things out. Eventually the re-ordered components will mesh and make a solid serve happen. The first step with that new move is to get consistent contact happening - don't obsess over placement yet. When the move becomes more natural and repeatable, you'll be able to dial in your placement primarily by finding the right locations for your toss.
 
#9
I like your aproach, slow and methodical, adding shadow swings, adding drills.. keep working at this, really focus on this for weeks and months now, and it will improve alot of things, you just need dedication and patience.

Your serve looks much better than the one you posted last time, last time you were leaning to ur right alot and the ball was hit very through and down and very flat.

Now your not leaning right as extremely anymore much more upright and your hitting much more up into the ball and getting alot more topspin, your on the right track.

Just go slow and focus on mechanics and doing drills and things like in this videos and forget trying to smash it hard, first you need a good fundation then you can slowly start speeding up.

I also agree with @fuzz nation , the serve at 4:54 is great

Keep working on it @StringSnapper
 
#11
Nice job. Power still leaking due to leaning/falling to the right. That imbalance might be preventing you from being explosive. I would focus specifically on the toss and move it like 1 foot to the left. Tilt the shoulders more and keep the head and eyes around the contact point as long as possible. This last one makes a big difference because it makes a good shoulder tilt possible.
 
#12
I posted this thread last night before i went to bed and it kept me awake for awhile.
Firstly, my real body dominated serves unfortunately i don't think got captured on this video, my phone ran out of storage so these serves were more from the middle of my session. Which sucks, but it was still a great a-ha inside moment to have.


Anyway:

When i review my serve and Salzy's serve, one major difference is what the body is doing. Just after trophy pose, his body catapults UP. My body starts rotating left to right already, and barely goes up.

In fact, using the serve at 4:17 from trophy position his chest moves up for 7 frames, and only on the 7th frame does any left to right (clockwise for us leftys) rotation occur.
1st-6th frame: he only moves up
7th-8th frame: he moves up and rotates
9th frame: his body seems suspended in the air, unmoving, the arm whips through for contact
10th frame+: his body starts falling



From my trophy pose, i seem to try to rise and rotate AT THE SAME TIME. And i do a lot more rotating than rising, where he does a lot more rising than rotating.


(at 4:17 he serves)
 
#13
When i review my serve and Salzy's serve, one major difference is what the body is doing. Just after trophy pose, his body catapults UP.
Because of the two things I have mentioned: toss more towards the left and keep the head and eyes up on the ball so that shoulders remain tilted as long as necessary. You would appreciate that tilted shoulders are needed for a catapulting motion!!
 
#14
Interested in knowing how you feel about your serve overall.
I like all that you are doing, and the work is commendable and will pay off.
Right now (as opposed to 2 or 3 weeks ago) it feels like i'm using 1/10th the effort to hit the same speed serves. Which is encouraging, because i know theres still a lot of power leaks (my torso rotation still isnt perfect, my drop looks a bit armed or elbow flexion still instead of true ESR and my racquet isn't on edge before contact).

Still, happy with the progress so far.
 
#18
Good point of course. This, keeping the head and eyes up and tilting the shoulders go hand in hand.
Agreed. You had already mentioned the head and eyes so I didn’t need to. :)

It is possible to keep the eyes focused upward and still drop the arm early though. Harder to do with the head since wherever the head tilts, the body’s balance will follow in the same direction. The eyes are free to wander independently.
 
#19
Good part is that the tp is fine.
The meat and potatoes of your swing technique is still waiter tray. Slow motion clearly shows it and compare that frame by frame with a known high level serve.
Just the drop through contact.
It needs overhaul. I would learn to come up on edge and try to hit topspin, however slow , without anything else.
Once the foundation is built, add fluidity, power etc.
Do you think topspin (you mean a kick serve or just normal topspin?) is easiest to get into "on edge" into contact?
 
#20
It seems the major thing i need to work on now is pushing UP into contact, like Salzy.
@Curious and @mad dog1 mention keeping eyes / head / tossing arm up more - i think perhaps these could be symptoms of not enough leg drive up and too much early rotation. What do u think guys?
I also suspect the lack of @Keendog "snap" into the ball could be related to this. I know what you mean by lack of snap, i def don't have it. I'll use that video I posted in the OP to work on it too, the drill trying to tomahawk the ball on the frame for awhile.

I think theres something wrong with my drop still. In those first few serves i get a drop - however I am suspect its more elbow flexion than proper ESR. It doesn't look like Curious's serve or Salzenteins. As @atp2015 said, the swing itself needs work. I think jumping UP and forcing PROPER ESR may correct this. Even if it doesnt, it seems required for the serve anyway.

Okay so for next time:

-Keep trophy pose the same.
-Do some reps tomahawking the ball on the frame to try and get the 'snap' down
-Focus on driving UP into the ball, and only last second rotation *driving up here means catapulting off the forward hip thrust, as opposed to squatting knee bend*
 
#21
It seems the major thing i need to work on now is pushing UP into contact, like Salzy.
@Curious and @mad dog1 mention keeping eyes / head / tossing arm up more - i think perhaps these could be symptoms of not enough leg drive up and too much early rotation. What do u think guys?
I also suspect the lack of @Keendog "snap" into the ball could be related to this. I know what you mean by lack of snap, i def don't have it. I'll use that video I posted in the OP to work on it too, the drill trying to tomahawk the ball on the frame for awhile.

I think theres something wrong with my drop still. In those first few serves i get a drop - however I am suspect its more elbow flexion than proper ESR. It doesn't look like Curious's serve or Salzenteins. As @atp2015 said, the swing itself needs work. I think jumping UP and forcing PROPER ESR may correct this. Even if it doesnt, it seems required for the serve anyway.

Okay so for next time:

-Keep trophy pose the same.
-Do some reps tomahawking the ball on the frame to try and get the 'snap' down
-Focus on driving UP into the ball, and only last second rotation *driving up here means catapulting off the forward hip thrust, as opposed to squatting knee bend*
Tossing more to the left is a must too I reckon, to prevent that falling to the right.
 
#22
@StringSnapper
Leg drive and keeping head/tossing arm up longer are 2 separate things. It is possible to explode up to contact with minimal leg drive. You see the pros doing this effectively on warm up serves where they are swinging easy.

The reason why you are rotating instead of catapulting is because once you drop the tossing arm the shoulders become more horizontally position making it impossible to catapult and you are left rotating.

The leg drive just adds more explosiveness. I would not focus on leg drive at the moment. It’s something you want to add later.
 
#23
@StringSnapper
Leg drive and keeping head/tossing arm up longer are 2 separate things. It is possible to explode up to contact with minimal leg drive. You see the pros doing this effectively on warm up serves where they are swinging easy.

The leg drive just adds more explosiveness. I would not focus on leg drive at the moment. It’s something you want to add later.
This will wake @IowaGuy up now!
 
#26
@StringSnapper
Leg drive and keeping head/tossing arm up longer are 2 separate things. It is possible to explode up to contact with minimal leg drive. You see the pros doing this effectively on warm up serves where they are swinging easy.

The reason why you are rotating instead of catapulting is because once you drop the tossing arm the shoulders become more horizontally position making it impossible to catapult and you are left rotating.

The leg drive just adds more explosiveness. I would not focus on leg drive at the moment. It’s something you want to add later.
So you think power mostly comes from torso rotation/catapulting/ISR?
 
#29
@StringSnapper
Leg drive and keeping head/tossing arm up longer are 2 separate things. It is possible to explode up to contact with minimal leg drive. You see the pros doing this effectively on warm up serves where they are swinging easy.

The reason why you are rotating instead of catapulting is because once you drop the tossing arm the shoulders become more horizontally position making it impossible to catapult and you are left rotating.

The leg drive just adds more explosiveness. I would not focus on leg drive at the moment. It’s something you want to add later.
Yeah i mean more direction.

Right now i rotate straight away and barely go up (and if i do, its at the same time), but Salzy goes up (for 6 frames, only up) and then rotates (for two, and he's still going up too). Much more up than rotation. He's not 'exploding' up in the serve i was analysing either, its just a crappy warm up serve. Its just the overall body positioning and what he's doing.

When i look at my serve frame by frame, my front arm and Salzys front arm arent THAT different. Nor is my head for that matter - in fact i seem to keep my arm and head up almost the same, maybe 1 frame less. Can you and @Curious please elaborate as to what you mean here? Are you talking about that 1 frame?



However, theres like a 9 frame difference in how our bodies move, and a 1 frame difference in the head / tossing arm. I'm thinking i fix the body then the head and tossing arm 1 frame will also fix.

I'm opening the two videos, mine and Salzy's serve at 4:17 and watching our serves frame by frame and playing "spot the difference".
 
#30
No, I'm just wondering if you think so or not.
It’s hard to say. All I know is that on my serve, with the leg drive, the ball really explodes higher off the bounce. Without the leg drive, the ball doesn’t have the same explosive effect and certainly doesn’t bounce as high. Even on flat serves.
 
#31
Yeah i mean more direction.

Right now i rotate straight away and barely go up (and if i do, its at the same time), but Salzy goes up (for 6 frames, only up) and then rotates (for two, and he's still going up too). Much more up than rotation. He's not 'exploding' up in the serve i was analysing either, its just a crappy warm up serve. Its just the overall body positioning and what he's doing.

When i look at my serve frame by frame, my front arm and Salzys front arm arent THAT different. Nor is my head for that matter - in fact i seem to keep my arm and head up almost the same, maybe 1 frame less. Can you and @Curious please elaborate as to what you mean here? Are you talking about that 1 frame?



However, theres like a 9 frame difference in how our bodies move, and a 1 frame difference in the head / tossing arm. I'm thinking i fix the body then the head and tossing arm 1 frame will also fix.

I'm opening the two videos, mine and Salzy's serve at 4:17 and watching our serves frame by frame and playing "spot the difference".
Sorry, man. I don’t talk frames. Tennis is nearly impossible to teach and learn via frames, angles, and degrees, etc. It’s hard enough to do it in person already when it comes to the serve. I would have to explain and show you in person. That’s why I keep recommending you work with a good coach.
 

IowaGuy

Hall of Fame
#32
This will wake @IowaGuy up now!
It’s hard to say. All I know is that on my serve, with the leg drive, the ball really explodes higher off the bounce. Without the leg drive, the ball doesn’t have the same explosive effect and certainly doesn’t bounce as high. Even on flat serves.
@Curious - it seems like you enjoy experiments (as do I). Have you tried serving yet, without letting your feet leave the ground?

Give that a try and let me know how much power you lose from your serve :)
 

atp2015

Hall of Fame
#33
Do you think topspin (you mean a kick serve or just normal topspin?) is easiest to get into "on edge" into contact?
Yes, the basic topspin serve is easy if you come on edge and brush the top of the ball. Now you will have huge liberty to place the serve anywhere and swing as fast as you can without going long. You can brush the top part of the ball only if you come on edge and maintain it until just before contact.
 
#34
@Curious - it seems like you enjoy experiments (as do I). Have you tried serving yet, without letting your feet leave the ground?

Give that a try and let me know how much power you lose from your serve :)
I don’t have any way of measuring but I do know that the leg drive adds acceleration to my rotation which in turn adds racquet head speed and whip to my racquet. End result is the ball has more action (pop, exploding off the bounce, spin) when it reaches the other side of the court. How many mph? No idea.

Every time I try to add a new element to my serve, I have to remove the leg drive from the sequence so as to get the timing and rhythm down first. Then I try to add back the leg drive.
 

IowaGuy

Hall of Fame
#36
I don’t have any way of measuring but I do know that the leg drive adds acceleration to my rotation which in turn adds racquet head speed and whip to my racquet. End result is the ball has more action (pop, exploding off the bounce, spin) when it reaches the other side of the court. How many mph? No idea.

Every time I try to add a new element to my serve, I have to remove the leg drive from the sequence so as to get the timing and rhythm down first. Then I try to add back the leg drive.
That's interesting.

I've been working on incorporating some new stuff to my serve toolbox (extreme deuce slice, for example), and I have to keep the leg drive otherwise my contact point and timing are both off.

I'm 45 and don't have the leg drive I did when I was 18 and squatting near 400 (football weight training), but I still get quite a bit off the ground and I think that's enough to affect my angle over the net and of course the overall timing of the serve...
 
#37
That's interesting.

I've been working on incorporating some new stuff to my serve toolbox (extreme deuce slice, for example), and I have to keep the leg drive otherwise my contact point and timing are both off.

I'm 45 and don't have the leg drive I did when I was 18 and squatting near 400 (football weight training), but I still get quite a bit off the ground and I think that's enough to affect my angle over the net and of course the overall timing of the serve...
For me, I believe it has to do with height of the toss. As an example, whenI tried to add more shoulder coil, I needed to give myself more time to get to contact so I had to toss higher. But when I tried to toss higher, it inevitably started to wander whjch threw off my entire serve rhythm. So if I eliminated the leg drive, I could add more shoulder coil. Now that I have achieved more shoulder coil, I’m trying to increase the height of the toss to add back the leg drive.
 
#38
The toss is the boss. Say it with me. The toss is the boss.

So I would fix two things both toss related before working on anything else. You pretty much have all the ingredients, and I think doing these two things will help get the rest of the serve to fall into place.

First, know where you contact location should be. Second, when you shadow swing, watch that location. I noticed a lot of your shadow swings are done with your head down and not looking to your contact spot. You're basically training yourself with those shadow swings to have a less vertical swing motion.

For the contact location, you want the ball more overhead and less off to your side. Also, try not to toss it to far in front of you. As you add more leg drive and lean you can toss farther out, but for now while you are working on it without worrying too much about the legs, which I think is smart, try not to toss the ball very far into the court. You want to encourage a more upward swing of the arm. Right now it looks like you are getting too much windmill action on the arm. You really want to try and transfer the momentum of your arm going upward into the turn of the racquet and let the racquet's change in direction and resulting forward momentum pull the arm down from the hand. Hopefully that makes sense.
 
#39
The toss is the boss. Say it with me. The toss is the boss.

So I would fix two things both toss related before working on anything else. You pretty much have all the ingredients, and I think doing these two things will help get the rest of the serve to fall into place.

First, know where you contact location should be. Second, when you shadow swing, watch that location. I noticed a lot of your shadow swings are done with your head down and not looking to your contact spot. You're basically training yourself with those shadow swings to have a less vertical swing motion.

For the contact location, you want the ball more overhead and less off to your side. Also, try not to toss it to far in front of you. As you add more leg drive and lean you can toss farther out, but for now while you are working on it without worrying too much about the legs, which I think is smart, try not to toss the ball very far into the court. You want to encourage a more upward swing of the arm. Right now it looks like you are getting too much windmill action on the arm. You really want to try and transfer the momentum of your arm going upward into the turn of the racquet and let the racquet's change in direction and resulting forward momentum pull the arm down from the hand. Hopefully that makes sense.
Good stuff. All mentioned before but doesn’t hurt to reiterate and reinforce. :)
 
#40
Good stuff. All mentioned before but doesn’t hurt to reiterate and reinforce. :)
I have come to think of the toss as a sort of cornerstone of a player's tennis game. The toss controls the serve to a large extent, and the serve is the most important shot in tennis. So I think that developing a rock solid toss is one of the most important things you can do learning to play tennis, yet so many players don't really think of their toss at all. Many spend a lot of time working on their serve, but they might not ever give their toss more than a minute or two of consideration.

So you'll probably find me droning on about the toss fairly often. Sometimes I wonder how many slams Sharapova would have won if she had spend a bit of time early on developing a less ridiculous toss. Whoever the first coach she had was who let her keep such height on her toss should really feel some serious regret over that mistake. And Sharapova herself ought to know better after going through at least one round of serve rehab in her career and not doing something about that toss. Such a tragedy.
 
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