now I understand why serve is hard

tennis4me

Hall of Fame
Please post picture of the on-court coach (so that I make sure I don't see any friends there). :twisted:

In seriousness, I don't remember anymore how I first learned to serve. Maybe I did learn the frying pan way first, then the correct way. :)
 
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Attila_the_gorilla

Guest
I think the easiest method to teach the serve is to begin with the slice serve. That will automatically make the student use the correct grip. And then all other serves can develop from there.
 

Raul_SJ

G.O.A.T.
many players learn the serve this way.
That is not necessarily a bad way to learn serving, particularly for beginning women.

I was recently hitting with a beginner and she was serving with a sidearm forehand swing. At least this way, it gets you tossing over your head and into a throwing motion.
 

Bendex

Professional
It's standard for coaches to teach beginners this way. It's what we were told to do at my coaching course. Personally though, I don't like having to correct a student who has grooved their serve using a forehand grip. It can take years to bring them around to a conti. I'd rather they spent a bit more time as beginners learning to serve with a conti in the first place.
 

Raul_SJ

G.O.A.T.
Introducing the Conti grip at an early stage to beginners is not viable. Most will struggle with it and get discouraged. It is one of the hardest things to pick up in tennis.

Beginners typically use the forehand grip for at least a year before transitioning.
 
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Bendex

Professional
Introducing the Conti grip at an early stage to beginners is not viable. Most will struggle with it and get discouraged. It is one of the hardest things to pick up in tennis.

Beginners typically use the forehand grip for at least a year before transitioning.
Stand them at the net and have them hit with some side spin into the service box. They take a step back when they get one in. It isn't that long before they get to the base line.
 
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Attila_the_gorilla

Guest
Stand them at the net and have them hit with some side spin into the service box. They take a step back when they get one in. It isn't that long before they get to the base line.
I agree, and I don't think this is hard for a beginner. Just make sure they don't expect to serve 120 mile bombs on the first day. For beginners it's not about speed but timing and spin. Speed will come later as their timing improves.
 

LakeSnake

Professional
My wife started playing about 3 weeks ago, and her coach started her with the conti from the baseline. She realizes it's going to be a long road after watching my struggles (luckily, she is probably more talented). My 6-year old is using a forehand grip and is able to successfully serve with it-it's her favorite shot. It's not going to be fun trying to change that...
 

movdqa

Talk Tennis Guru
Watching what they're doing with their left arm is painful.

If you want to know what it feels like, try serving left-handed.
 

WildVolley

Legend
Introducing the Conti grip at an early stage to beginners is not viable. Most will struggle with it and get discouraged. It is one of the hardest things to pick up in tennis.

Beginners typically use the forehand grip for at least a year before transitioning.
Do you have any research on this point?

I've never particularly had trouble with my serve. I credit that to having a few private lessons early in my playing. The pro showed me how to hold a continental grip and the serve motion. That's what I've done since. I never served with a forehand grip or waiter's tray motion.

The caveat is that I knew how to throw. Perhaps those who don't know how to throw have trouble adopting the continental grip.

I've taught some beginners how to serve. Some took to the continental grip right away and others wanted to shift to forehand grip. At a minimum, my experience tells me that you should start with a continental or you may be setting your student back years.
 

dman72

Hall of Fame
I started out with a frying pan grip as an 11 year old playing a few times a summer with my older brother. When I started playing friends more competitively during summers as a teenager, I still used frying pan, but I could serve harder than all of them because of height and I guess natural ability. I graduated over to continental when I started playing seriously all year round. It wasn't hard for me. However, I have a friend who played high school tennis and has very good groundstrokes...probably better than mine, good volleys also. Still serves with a frying pan grip and badly at that. I tried in multiple sessions to teach him to use continental .....showed him how I could serve from my knees with it...told him to stop thinking he was serving and just hit the ball into the court....he was hitting balls on the edge of his racquet over the fence. Just can't break what is hard wired. We can't play matches because his serve is so bad.
 

movdqa

Talk Tennis Guru
I started out a long time ago with the continental grip when it was common to use it for everything - and I did. My goal was to hit the ball as hard as I could. Later on, I worked on getting it in the court.
 

Govnor

Professional
I think it's about goals and what the student brings with them. Is it a 50 y/o lady that just wants to fit in to a group and play some matches? Or is it an athletic 16 y/o boy that plays other sports and wants to become a good player?

Serving "correctly" isn't particularly easy. We all know this. It takes time and effort. It probably isn't worth it for some situations (some, not most) as the time/effort/ability combination would detract from their tennis goals, not enhance them. My 0.02
 

dct693

Semi-Pro
Introducing the Conti grip at an early stage to beginners is not viable. Most will struggle with it and get discouraged. It is one of the hardest things to pick up in tennis.

Beginners typically use the forehand grip for at least a year before transitioning.
It all depends on the goals and ability of the individual. At first, no one told me that I needed to use a conti grip for serving.Then I watched youtube videos and tried it out. Felt really weird. However, I wanted long-term success and not a quick fix so I stuck with it. A year later, I have a usable flat serve, a good slice, and a dependable kick serve.

I say give the student the information and encouragement. What he/she decides to do with it is up to him/her.
 

AJB

New User
Introducing the Conti grip at an early stage to beginners is not viable. Most will struggle with it and get discouraged. It is one of the hardest things to pick up in tennis.

Beginners typically use the forehand grip for at least a year before transitioning.
Completely disagree with this approach, where incorrect and harmful habits are taught first because doing it the right way is "too hard for beginners." The thinking is presumably that they will transition to the correct way "once they get better," but, as Vic Braden used to say: "And when is that supposed to happen?"

A much better teaching approach is to start beginners off doing things the right way but in small increments, sometimes called progressions. The key is to form correct habits from the outset rather than spend 10x as much time later correcting wrong habits. Teach in small steps to set students up for success at each stage, then build on them towards a full motion.
 

taurussable

Professional
i agree habits die hard. I see plenty female 4.0s with a waiter serve. they can serve pretty flat and hard with not much margin for error but they so used to it and no motivation to change.
 

Govnor

Professional
i agree habits die hard. I see plenty female 4.0s with a waiter serve. they can serve pretty flat and hard with not much margin for error but they so used to it and no motivation to change.
For sure. I'd say vast majority of female 4.0s do not serve "correctly". If I ever see a female with a legit big/spinny serve she is usually a lot better than 4.0.
 

mntlblok

Hall of Fame
motivation

i agree habits die hard. I see plenty female 4.0s with a waiter serve. they can serve pretty flat and hard with not much margin for error but they're so used to it and no motivation to change.
Not so sure about the "no motivation to change". They sometimes don't seem to be so "used to it" at 4-5, 30-40, second serve. Maybe that situation just doesn't come up very often. :)
 

sureshs

Bionic Poster
There is a company which sells a grip which reinforces the Continental. As far as I could tell, it has a small rod perpendicular to the plane of the bevel and you have to pass it between the fore and middle fingers when gripping the racket. I saw the ad in Tennis Industry magazine.
 

tennisdad65

Hall of Fame
There is a company which sells a grip which reinforces the Continental. As far as I could tell, it has a small rod perpendicular to the plane of the bevel and you have to pass it between the fore and middle fingers when gripping the racket. I saw the ad in Tennis Industry magazine.
There was a thread where the OP wanted to know where he could buy a continental (or eastern? ) grip :) .. This would really help him.
 

LeeD

Bionic Poster
Every stroke evolves from a beginner to a 3.5, then evolves more as the 3.5 approach's 4.0, evolves again as he approach's 4.5, then get's further refinement if he ever get's better.
Not just the serve, the every stroke.
 

GuyClinch

Legend
Lots of people using forehand grip. It's more effective for lots of people who do not play that often or that well.. Even in league play up to 4.0 you see it on both sides - (more so with women).

its actually a more 'logical' way to do it..

With a forehand serve your racquet is moving roughly in the direction you want the ball to go. With the forehand serve your racquet head strings will face where you want the ball to go for the whole serve. With the forehand serve you can generally serve with a lower toss - so timing is easier.. With the forehand serve your students can go and start point play on the first day..

People say 'just throw the racquet' and while this is true - and the correct way to learn a 'real' serve..

1) You have to have the strings contact the ball at the correct time while facing in the correct direction..Timing issues like a hitch can cause all kinds of weird issues with your serve - making it even worse then a forehand serve. Even people with decent throwing form will suffer from issues like high elbow or low elbow..
2) You have to understand and believe in the idea that the strings will eventually square up and hit the ball - even though you start your swing on edge.
3) You have to get used to the idea that for the spin serves your racquet will move in a very different direction then the ball will go - and you have to believe when you do this it will go in.

Lots of people stick with the forehand serve - and some men can even hit 80-90mph serves with it.. If you are teaching pro it might not seem reasonable to believe that you can teach everyone a correct serve in some intro group lesson..
 
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Chas Tennis

G.O.A.T.
Lots of people using forehand grip. It's more effective for lots of people who do not play that often or that well.. Even in league play up to 4.0 you see it on both sides - (more so with women).

its actually a more 'logical' way to do it..

With a forehand serve your racquet is moving roughly in the direction you want the ball to go. With the forehand serve your racquet head strings will face where you want the ball to go for the whole serve. With the forehand serve you can generally serve with a lower toss - so timing is easier.. With the forehand serve your students can go and start point play on the first day..

People say 'just throw the racquet' and while this is true - and the correct way to learn a 'real' serve..

1) You have to have the strings contact the ball at the correct time while facing in the correct direction..Timing issues like a hitch can cause all kinds of weird issues with your serve - making it even worse then a forehand serve. Even people with decent throwing form will suffer from issues like high elbow or low elbow..
2) You have to understand and believe in the idea that the strings will eventually square up and hit the ball - even though you start your swing on edge.
3) You have to get used to the idea that for the spin serves your racquet will move in a very different direction then the ball will go - and you have to believe when you do this it will go in.

Lots of people stick with the forehand serve - and some men can even hit 80-90mph serves with it.. If you are teaching pro it might not seem reasonable to believe that you can teach everyone a correct serve in some intro group lesson..
Great points, clearly made. Thanks.
 

Chas Tennis

G.O.A.T.
Earlier thread on the "Frying Pan Serve"
http://tt.tennis-warehouse.com/showthread.php?t=509394

Terms used to describe this type of serve - Waiter's Tray, Frying Pan, Housewife's Serve?, ..... any others?

If anyone finds information on the positions of the USPTA or USTA on this issue of two serving techniques, please post.

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Wrist Snap

The term wrist snap is undefined for tennis usage as far as I can tell - making perpetual disagreements likely.

Would you say that a 'wrist snap' is a part of the Waiter's Tray serve? Might some of the wide-spread Waiter's Tray techniques, hardly defined, have a forceful wrist snap while the high level serve does not. ? Might this account for some of the continuing disagreements over whether there's a 'wrist snap' in the serve?

My personal usage is that a wrist snap includes considerable forearm muscle forces to flex the wrist. Some Waiter's Tray techniques might include forceful forearm muscle activity to flex the wrist, wrist snap. If the wrist flexes due mostly to other body motions, without much forearm muscle forces, I would not call that a wrist snap. (An added complication, muscle forces from elastic muscles forces, using the stretch shortening cycle, might not feel forceful.)
 
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sureshs

Bionic Poster
Lots of people stick with the forehand serve - and some men can even hit 80-90mph serves with it..
I love it when a frying-pan guy hits hard flat serves while his opponent uses conti grip and correct technique and serves slow and ineffective ones! Technique does not matter till you are at the level from which it matters, that is just the harsh truth of life.
 

movdqa

Talk Tennis Guru
I love it when a frying-pan guy hits hard flat serves while his opponent uses conti grip and correct technique and serves slow and ineffective ones! Technique does not matter till you are at the level from which it matters, that is just the harsh truth of life.
The frying pan serves generally doesn't work that well for the shorter player as geometry gets in the way in trying to add pace.

The frying pan serve also doesn't allow you the flexibility to hit flat, slice and kick serves. Often, serve variety will get you a lot of cheap points over just raw heat; else Mr. Isner would be ranked a lot higher and Mr. Roddick would have a lot more titles.
 

mntlblok

Hall of Fame
Earlier thread on the "Frying Pan Serve"
http://tt.tennis-warehouse.com/showthread.php?t=509394

Terms used to describe this type of serve - Waiter's Tray, Frying Pan, Housewife's Serve?, ..... any others?

If anyone finds information on the positions of the USPTA or USTA on this issue of two serving techniques, please post.

----------------------------------------------------------------------

Wrist Snap

The term wrist snap is undefined for tennis usage as far as I can tell - making perpetual disagreements likely.

Would you say that a 'wrist snap' is a part of the Waiter's Tray serve? Might some of the wide-spread Waiter's Tray techniques, hardly defined, have a forceful wrist snap while the high level serve does not. ? Might this account for some of the continuing disagreements over whether there's a 'wrist snap' in the serve?

My personal usage is that a wrist snap includes considerable forearm muscle forces to flex the wrist. Some Waiter's Tray techniques might include forceful forearm muscle activity to flex the wrist, wrist snap. If the wrist flexes due mostly to other body motions, without much forearm muscle forces, I would not call that a wrist snap. (An added complication, muscle forces from elastic muscles forces, using the stretch shortening cycle, might not feel forceful.)
Went back and read the other thread and enjoyed it. I continue to find nothing with which to disagree with "Coaching Mastery" about.

One of the ways that *some* folks utilize the Waiter's Tray serves may actually have some value. That would be the one that is hit with a *lot* of underspin. This one can be hit with a surprising amount of "pop", stays low, and *really* fouls up a lot of topspinners who don't understand how to deal with such balls (see the recent thread on "thinking too much"). I see it as a means of learning to hit a special situation shot - the dreaded high forehand volley that the vast majority of the time goes into the net. Folks who master this type of serve figure out that a key is to never let the racket face close in the hit, which is exactly what makes high forehand volleys have a chance for success. I reckon I'd still be in the camp of those who would be inclined to, if there's any way possible, to teach continental grip serves (though this particular shot *can* be hit with a continental grip, too).

Now, to this issue of "wrist snap" in the serve, I *may* have recently come up with some new insight. As my wrist can't "extend", I've had to come up with other means of helping to generate racket head speed in that plane for my serves and overheads. The nice kid who recently posted a video of himself hitting on a wall may have helped me work this out in my head, too.

Anyway, the means that I now realize that I use for opening the racket face on the forehand side for volleys, serves, and overheads is allowing the butt of the grip to fall away from the palm of my hand, especially in the "racket drop". I then *definitely* feel a "snap" as I go up, but it must be from slapping the butt of the racket back against my palm. What little "lay back" I can get with my wrist also disappears, but only to the "neutral" position, *not* into any flexion. Rather, the momentum of the change in wrist angle seems to go into a combination of ulnar deviation (which I used to think was most of it, but it turns out that I have *very* little movement capability in that plane, either) and primarily forearm rotation (pronation). As I'm not capable of a flat serve with my wrist and most of my finish is out to the right rather than towards the target, I also have very little ISR (yer bailiwick).

An earlier hint that my fingers and hand had much more to do with my serve than I had realized came almost a year ago when I went straight from a (rare) golf outing to the nearby tennis club of one of my regular hitting partners. I had badly injured my hand hitting a golf ball *really* fat (and really hard). See photo: https://www.flickr.com/photos/mentalblock/17311508155/in/set-72157650697596641 Tried to serve and found that my hand - and *especially* my fingers - couldn't take it. Sorta like that Chandrasekaran fellow out in San Diego who figures out what parts of the brain do based on what parts don't function in folks with brain injuries.
 

movdqa

Talk Tennis Guru
The underspin serve is pretty rare these days - I used to see it more when I was younger, but, yes, it would stay pretty low and not necessarily have a lot of pace on it. Back then, people were using continental and eastern forehands so they were easy to handle. It might be harder to handle for those with western grips used to topspin serves today.

Though that's why it's good to have a slice serve as well as the flat and topspin serves. If you look at the pros, they can do all three.
 
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