# Obsession about serve mechanics: racket moving on edge

#### Curious

##### Legend
I can say this has been the greatest obsession of mine since I started playing tennis: racket should move on edge all the way until pronation. The racket face bloody opens up to the sky right after the trophy while the racket starts dropping no matter how hard I have tried. Some pro players do the same to a small extent, like Federer, Ferrer but it was a relief when I saw Shapovalov has it as much as I do! Maybe it's not that crucial, maybe the crucial part is when the racket is going up towards contact that matters and obviously there is not a single pro who doesn't do it properly there.

#### Hmgraphite1

##### Hall of Fame
I think the on edge statement was supposed to mean it travels through the on edge position

#### Chas Tennis

##### Legend
I can say this has been the greatest obsession of mine since I started playing tennis: racket should move on edge all the way until pronation. The racket face bloody opens up to the sky right after the trophy while the racket starts dropping no matter how hard I have tried. Some pro players do the same to a small extent, like Federer, Ferrer but it was a relief when I saw Shapovalov has it as much as I do! Maybe it's not that crucial, maybe the crucial part is when the racket is going up towards contact that matters and obviously there is not a single pro who doesn't do it properly there.

"I can say this has been the greatest obsession of mine since I started playing tennis: racket should move on edge all the way until pronation."

Can you define the term "on edge"? Show pictures or examples of "on edge".

Could you show pictures of "racket should move on edge all the way until pronation".? To know "all the way" you would have to know the entire service motion before "pronation". Also, the readers that you are communicating with would have to know that too. See post #2. When the racket is in the racket drop position is that 'on edge'?

What does "pronation" mean? The defined kinesiology term? Or the declining tennis serve usage of 'pronation' as in the past?

Quote some of the people or posters that use the term as you do in the OP. Show a picture of what you mean.

I find an issue in that 'edge on' does have a specific checkpoint meaning at one instant of time in the serve that is very useful for diagnosing high a level serve from a Waiter's Tray technique. Very useful for the 60% or so with WT. To avoid misinterpretation of 'edge on' as used for this useful checkpoint pictures should be shown or the term 'Big L' position used. That is always my use and I show the Hi Tech tennis description and pictures to indicate what I mean. I also show my own pictures and use terms "racket face to the sky".

Since the term is not precisely defined many posters mean different things when using the term 'on edge' or 'edge on'. Many posters also refer to 'edge on' or 'opening up' at other times during the service motion that they have selected but don't show pictures or specify the time. Readers have to figure out when they mean and interpret in their own ways.

1) Use terms that are defined somewhere or
2) Define your terms each time that you use them
3) Show pictures or videos.

What is different with Shapolavlov's serve? It is 'edge on' to the ball at the Big L position and the arm and racket rotate from ISR and some pronation from around Big L position to impact. Quote the internet sources that are saying that the racket is 'open' or 'on edge' at any other times. With undefined terms the posts go on and on..........

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#### Curious

##### Legend
"I can say this has been the greatest obsession of mine since I started playing tennis: racket should move on edge all the way until pronation."

Can you define the term "on edge"? Show pictures or examples of "on edge".

Could you show pictures of "racket should move on edge all the way until pronation".? To know "all the way" you would have to know the entire service motion before "pronation". Also, the readers that you are communicating with would have to know that too. See post #2. When the racket is in the racket drop position is that 'on edge'?

What does "pronation" mean? The defined kinesiology term? Or the declining tennis serve usage of 'pronation' as in the past?

Quote some of the people or posters that use the term as you do in the OP. Show a picture of what you mean.

I find an issue in that 'edge on' does have a specific checkpoint meaning at one instant of time in the serve that is very useful for diagnosing high a level serve from a Waiter's Tray technique. Very useful for the 60% or so with WT. To avoid misinterpretation of 'edge on' as used for this useful checkpoint pictures should be shown or the term 'Big L' position used. That is always my use and I show the Hi Tech tennis description and pictures to indicate what I mean. I also show my own pictures and use terms "racket face to the sky".

Since the term is not precisely defined many posters mean different things when using the term 'on edge' or 'edge on'. Many posters also refer to 'edge on' or 'opening up' at other times during the service motion that they have selected but don't show pictures or specify the time. Readers have to figure out when they mean and interpret in their own ways.

1) Use terms that are defined somewhere or
2) Define your terms each time that you use them
3) Show pictures or videos.

What is different with Shapolavlov's serve? It is 'edge on' to the ball at the Big L position and the arm and racket rotate from ISR and some pronation from around Big L position to impact. Quote the internet sources that are saying that the racket is 'open' or 'on edge' at any other times. With undefined terms the posts go on and on..........
Let me answer the question that's most relevant to the thread ( too many questions haha). Some players drop the racket 'edge on' from the trophy position, some do it 'stringbed on'. That's what I mean. In Shapovalov video, stop it at 1.16 and go frame by frame until you see the stringbed facing up the sky. In 90% of pro players, the racket edge would be facing up the sky, not the stringbed, hence racket dropping edge on.

#### Hmgraphite1

##### Hall of Fame
Let me answer the question that's most relevant to the thread ( too many questions haha). Some players drop the racket 'edge on' from the trophy position, some do it 'stringbed on'. That's what I mean. In Shapovalov video, stop it at 1.16 and go frame by frame until you see the stringbed facing up the sky. In 90% of pro players, the racket edge would be facing up the sky, not the stringbed, hence racket dropping edge on.
Oh, gotcha, note peoples forearms don't all pronate the same, and some variation in shoulder movement.

#### Kevo

##### Legend
As long as it's on edge at the bottom of the drop, I can't see any reason why it would matter all that much if it wasn't on edge all the way there.

#### Curious

##### Legend
As long as it's on edge at the bottom of the drop, I can't see any reason why it would matter all that much if it wasn't on edge all the way there.
You might be right. What's the benefit of racket travelling on edge? is it faster that way due to less friction or it needs to travel edge on to make the pronation possible? I've always thought it's the first one but maybe it's the second.

#### Chas Tennis

##### Legend
I ask questions because many threads involve word descriptions where the words, 'on edge' for example, are not well defined. If the terms are loose it's hard to know what is meant or to look at a video to understand the issue. If we were to ask readers to draw a racket moving through a service motion 'on edge' what would they draw? But I can draw a racket face facing the sky or a racket edge on to the ball at the Big L position. [Big L is near straight arm and racket forming an up side down "L". ] After I show readers pictures that match the word description then they could draw it also for the one position at the Big L.

Look at the racket single frame through out seconds 27 and 28. I would characterize that first as racket face facing the sky mostly and then more edge facing the sky. Is that different than Shapovalov's serve?
To do stop action on Youtube use the "," and "." keys.

I looked at a Raonic serve and the racket was at about 45 d to the sky at the time when the Sampras and Shapovalov serves were more face to the sky.

I see less variety the closer the racket is to impact, particularly at the Big L. At the Big L position the racket is not perfect for facing the sky or edge facing the ball but I have never seen a high level serve with the face facing the sky at the Big L. I've seen about 45 d. a few times. (Some players have the racket facing the sky at some position, with no Big L position, and still use ISR forcefully, but their technique is different, not high level or WT.)

Another point, I did not invent the Big L but heard about it from somewhere else on the forum I believe. Maybe SystemicAnamoly may have known about it? Later, I found the well done Hi-Tech Tennis webpage. I have confidence that in the final approach to the ball - the last 30 milliseconds - the final biomechanics are much less variable - ISR, wrist and racket orientation.

2008 reference to the Big L. Read the 3rd article. It mentions Big L and also links the Hi Techtennis website. The term "Big L" originated either with Hi TechTennis or some other source - earlier than 2008.
https://60tennisplace.wordpress.com/page/3/

But hundreds of milliseconds before impact or after impact, the players have options. If you want to believe that a particular racket position is significant, first study 10 high level servers for some quick stats. Then look into serve types. More servers.

In tennis matches when receiving, look for the racket face facing the sky. If it's there I don't think that server can hit a kick serve but they can hit a slice serve.

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#### Curious

##### Legend
I ask questions because many threads involve word descriptions where the words, 'on edge' for example, are not well defined. If the terms are loose it's hard to know what is meant or to look at a video to understand the issue. If we were to ask readers to draw a racket moving through a service motion 'on edge' what would they draw? But I can draw a racket face facing the sky or one edge on to the ball at the Big L position. [Big L is near straight arm and racket forming an up side down "l". ] After I show readers pictures that match the word description then they could draw it also for the one position.

Look at the racket single frame through out seconds 27 and 28. I would characterize that first as racket face facing the sky mostly and then more edge facing the sky. Is that different than Shapovalov?
To do stop action on Youtube use the "," and "." keys.

I looked at a Raonic serve and the racket was at about 45 d to the sky.

I see less variety the closer the racket is to impact, particularly at the Big L. At the Big L position the racket is not perfect for facing the sky or edge facing the ball but I have never seen a high level serve with the face facing the sky at the Big L. I've seen about 45 d. (Some players have the racket facing the sky at some position but not Big L, and still use ISR forcefully, but their technique is different, not high level.)

Another point, I did not invent the Big L but heard about it from somewhere else on the forum I believe. SystemicAnamoly may have know about it? Later, I found the well done Hi-Tech Tennis webpage. I have confidence that in the final approach to the ball - the last 30 milliseconds - the final biomechanics are much less variable - ISR & wrist and racket orientation.

But hundreds of milliseconds before impact or after impact, the players have options. If you want to believe that a particular racket position is significant first study 10 high level servers for some quick stats. Then look into serve types. More servers.

Neither Raonic nor Sampras are good examples of racket moving on edge. If you want to see and understand a 100% on edge serve motion, have a look at this.

#### user92626

##### Legend
Do you guys intentionally swing straight up at the ball

Or

smash the ball down at the target?

#### user92626

##### Legend
Curious,
forget what the pro is doing. they know what they're doing.

what important is what you know and are doing which can be vastly different.

#### Curious

##### Legend
Curious,
forget what the pro is doing. they know what they're doing.

what important is what you know and are doing which can be vastly different.
But I don't have many videos of good rec serve to use as an example!

#### user92626

##### Legend
But I don't have many videos of good rec serve to use as an example!
I was asking how YOU perceive and execute the serve.

But never mind if you don't wanna discuss and possibly learn something.

The serve is the toughest stroke to learn. You won't be alone if you don't get it. Cheers.

#### Curious

##### Legend
I was asking how YOU perceive and execute the serve.

But never mind if you don't wanna discuss and possibly learn something.

The serve is the toughest stroke to learn. You won't be alone if you don't get it. Cheers.
Serve is my best shot (in terms of form) if you haven't already seen it.

#### dominikk1985

##### Legend
I can say this has been the greatest obsession of mine since I started playing tennis: racket should move on edge all the way until pronation. The racket face bloody opens up to the sky right after the trophy while the racket starts dropping no matter how hard I have tried. Some pro players do the same to a small extent, like Federer, Ferrer but it was a relief when I saw Shapovalov has it as much as I do! Maybe it's not that crucial, maybe the crucial part is when the racket is going up towards contact that matters and obviously there is not a single pro who doesn't do it properly there.

It doesn't matter if it is on edge all the way. You can have a waiters tray and still serve well as long you are on edge from the low point (what used to be called back scratch position even though this is technically wrong) to almost full arm extension. How the racket is aligned during the drop doesn't matter really although it can influence subsequent phases.

During the upward extension you want to be on edge though to have minimum air resistance of the racket and maximum range of motion for internal rotation of the arm.

If you have a waiters tray during the drop it can work but then you need to do a little twist of the hand to get to on edge which can make the motion more complicated. Pros who practice a lot might make it work but maybe it is easier to already drop on edge.

#### Hmgraphite1

##### Hall of Fame
Serve is my best shot (in terms of form) if you haven't already seen it.

One difference I noted in your serve (really good btw) is when I go through trophy the racquet is also on edge ( the opposite edge) that leads into the drop, leading the way.

#### Curious

##### Legend
It doesn't matter if it is on edge all the way. You can have a waiters tray and still serve well as long you are on edge from the low point (what used to be called back scratch position even though this is technically wrong) to almost full arm extension. How the racket is aligned during the drop doesn't matter really although it can influence subsequent phases.

During the upward extension you want to be on edge though to have minimum air resistance of the racket and maximum range of motion for internal rotation of the arm.

If you have a waiters tray during the drop it can work but then you need to do a little twist of the hand to get to on edge which can make the motion more complicated. Pros who practice a lot might make it work but maybe it is easier to already drop on edge.
I agree. As I said it was some sort of obsession for me to be able to drop it on edge and I can't do it no matter how much I try. The interesting part is that I can do it on shadow serves. I guess the problem could be that when I try to hit the ball, I open the racket face instinctively as I will hit with that part, not the edge of the racket!

#### Chas Tennis

##### Legend
Do you mean the racket position behind his head, at 3 seconds. is roughly neither open or closed? This is 'on edge' at this position? And also through out his service motion?

From that position behind his head, I count 14 frames to around the Big L position. From there it is about 1.5 frames to impact. If the final forward motion takes 30 milliseconds then the racket position behind his head is almost 300 ms before impact. I have not studied racket positions that far before impact. My impression is that there is variety.

You have some reasons to believe that this 'on edge' way is the way it should be done. Where did you hear that?

Serve is my best shot (in terms of form) if you haven't already seen it.

Do you mean the racket position behind your head, at 2 seconds, is mostly face to the sky? Not 'on edge'? This is 'face to the sky' at this position.

Your video is OK for some slower racket motions but not for the last 30 milliseconds. Are you using high speed video?

When the elbow is at 90 d flexion and the wrist holds the racket head away (but not stressed at the wrist ) the moment of inertia is maximum for getting ESR from the body motions. Larger moment of inertia is a plus for ESR. But when the elbow is more flexed than 90 d it allows more elbow extension later. I see the elbow at various angles of flexion for different servers. What is the optimal technique regarding elbow flexion? Too complicated - study the best servers and see what is being done. Often when the racket is like your serve or Wawrinka's, the elbow flexion angles will be different. You have the 90 d elbow flexion angle.

With a little effort we found that two racket face orientations are done at the head area at 300 ms before impact for high level servers. Later at 30 ms before impact the racket has a more similar orientation for most players. If we were studying the racket versus time I think it would show variety at 300 ms before impact and similarity at 30 ms before impact. If two techniques at 300 ms both lead are being used for high level serves then take your pick.

Grips are a factor for racket face orientation.

Looks like a good thing to study. Or to copy from a model server.

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#### Kevo

##### Legend
You might be right. What's the benefit of racket travelling on edge? is it faster that way due to less friction or it needs to travel edge on to make the pronation possible? I've always thought it's the first one but maybe it's the second.
I think it does go through the air better on edge, but I think the main reason is the geometry and leverage of the rotation into the ball (ISR/pronation).

#### Kevo

##### Legend
Serve is my best shot (in terms of form) if you haven't already seen it.

It's good. The only thing I would look at closer is the off balance landing. Not sure how often that happens to you, but you might try moving the toss around a little and see if a location more over your head helps. I would totally quit worrying about the racquet face thing. You are turning your arm as you drop the racquet and it is getting into the proper position at the bottom and coming up edge on, so I don't see anything wrong with that.

D

#### Deleted member 23235

##### Guest
Let me answer the question that's most relevant to the thread ( too many questions haha). Some players drop the racket 'edge on' from the trophy position, some do it 'stringbed on'. That's what I mean. In Shapovalov video, stop it at 1.16 and go frame by frame until you see the stringbed facing up the sky. In 90% of pro players, the racket edge would be facing up the sky, not the stringbed, hence racket dropping edge on.
seems to me it's because his overall range of motion is unusually flexible... i can't do that. his wrist appears to still be in a neutral position

D

#### Deleted member 23235

##### Guest
Neither Raonic nor Sampras are good examples of racket moving on edge. If you want to see and understand a 100% on edge serve motion, have a look at this.

interesting... maybe because thiem is slightly more ebh, or maybe he curls his wrist slightly more.

#### user92626

##### Legend
Yeah, IMO, conceptually and intentionally that's how it should be.

Have you tried to relate it to the FH stroke?

It feels very similar to me.

D

#### Deleted member 23235

##### Guest
Yeah, IMO, conceptually and intentionally that's how it should be.

Have you tried to relate it to the FH stroke?

It feels very similar to me.
other than the concept of brushing up on the ball, fh and serve feel completely different to me.

Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

#### user92626

##### Legend
other than the concept of brushing up on the ball, fh and serve feel completely different to me.

Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
I see.

Well, I could "translate" the FH concept to the serve. Off hand on the throat (pretoss) feels like the FH takeback, .... the swing from the drop is the forward fh swing, down to the closed racketface to opening.

This is the only way I could implement the serve for me (for now). Thinking manually swing on edge and open up racketface just feels ...to manual and awkward.

#### IowaGuy

##### Hall of Fame
I see.

Well, I could "translate" the FH concept to the serve. Off hand on the throat (pretoss) feels like the FH takeback, .... the swing from the drop is the forward fh swing, down to the closed racketface to opening.

This is the only way I could implement the serve for me (for now). Thinking manually swing on edge and open up racketface just feels ...to manual and awkward.
Did you play any "throwing" sports growing up? i.e. baseball, football, etc?

#### Ultra 2

##### Semi-Pro
Serve is my best shot (in terms of form) if you haven't already seen it.

Nice service motion. Are these kick serves or are they flat?

#### FiReFTW

##### Legend
Nice service motion. Are these kick serves or are they flat?
Not sure if serious, can't you see the ball path and contact location?

They are spin 1st serves with quite a bit of topspin and elements of slice, I guess most people here would call them topslice.

#### Ultra 2

##### Semi-Pro
It's easier to tell what the serve is doing when you're on the receiving end.. wasn't sure so I wanted the OP to describe how he is hitting the serves. Mine is really different, uber flat, stays low.. and have been told it skips on contact.

D

#### Deleted member 23235

##### Guest
They are spin 1st serves with quite a bit of topspin and elements of slice, I guess most people here would call them topslice.
you sound like a whiskey or coffee taster

D

#### Deleted member 23235

##### Guest
All my serves have topspin, more on the second.
it's a very robust serve, with hints of slice, and elements of twist.

#### user92626

##### Legend
Did you play any "throwing" sports growing up? i.e. baseball, football, etc?
Nope.

What correlations with other sports do you find?

#### IowaGuy

##### Hall of Fame
Nope.

What correlations with other sports do you find?
Often, people who played baseball or football pick up serving pretty easy, since the throwing motions are somewhat similar as far as activating the kinetic chain.

When you talked about translating the FH into the serve, it appeared to me that you hadn't played other throwing sports.

I consider the FH and serve as completely different, and don't try to translate anything between them...

#### MisterP

##### Hall of Fame
I don’t understand the obsession with trivial details like this. I can show you videos of 5.0 players who use as5 ugly strokes to blow kids and their perfect swings off the court.

#### FiReFTW

##### Legend
I don’t understand the obsession with trivial details like this. I can show you videos of 5.0 players who use as5 ugly strokes to blow kids and their perfect swings off the court.
I doubt any true strong 5.0 uses "ugly" strokes, and by that I mean technically very poor and very lacking fundamentally, yes of course some have better and worse technique, but any good 5.0 has pretty decent technique.

#### MisterP

##### Hall of Fame
I doubt any true strong 5.0 uses "ugly" strokes, and by that I mean technically very poor and very lacking fundamentally, yes of course some have better and worse technique, but any good 5.0 has pretty decent technique.
Search YouTube for Elliot Hirsch. He doesn’t have particularly technically sound strokes. If he posted one of these “Forehand Update Video” threads here on TT people like @Curious would tell him how he’s late/fat/slow etc. And yet, with all his technical flaws and gratuitous lovehandles, there he is beating up on UTR 12’s left and right.

Just play tennis.

#### user92626

##### Legend
I don’t understand the obsession with trivial details like this. I can show you videos of 5.0 players who use as5 ugly strokes to blow kids and their perfect swings off the court.
Search YouTube for Elliot Hirsch. He doesn’t have particularly technically sound strokes. If he posted one of these “Forehand Update Video” threads here on TT people like @Curious would tell him how he’s late/fat/slow etc. And yet, with all his technical flaws and gratuitous lovehandles, there he is beating up on UTR 12’s left and right.

Just play tennis.
Fun (or rec tennis) for you and me and most players is competition playing. But for people like Curious it's ..perfecting a stroke and possibly recording and posting it for others to see The perfect degree of pronating the racket. The perfect degree of shoulder rotating in the FH.

Eventually they probably have very good looking isolated strokes recorded on clips. LOL.

I really doubt they have equally good footwork, game tactics or even could string a bunch of their good looking serve, FH together to win competition points.

They are no pro's. Their hobby time is as limited as any other hobbyists and they have chosen to put it all in these isolated strokes.

#### FiReFTW

##### Legend
Search YouTube for Elliot Hirsch. He doesn’t have particularly technically sound strokes. If he posted one of these “Forehand Update Video” threads here on TT people like @Curious would tell him how he’s late/fat/slow etc. And yet, with all his technical flaws and gratuitous lovehandles, there he is beating up on UTR 12’s left and right.

Just play tennis.

Care to elaborate where the ugly technically poor strokes are?

Your talking nonsense, no player of 5.0 or higher has poor technique and fundamentals.

#### FiReFTW

##### Legend
Fun (or rec tennis) for you and me and most players is competition playing. But for people like Curious it's ..perfecting a stroke and possibly recording and posting it for others to see The perfect degree of pronating the racket. The perfect degree of shoulder rotating in the FH.

Eventually they probably have very good looking isolated strokes recorded on clips. LOL.

I really doubt they have equally good footwork, game tactics or even could string a bunch of their good looking serve, FH together to win competition points.

They are no pro's. Their hobby time is as limited as any other hobbyists and they have chosen to put it all in these isolated strokes.
I agree that obsessing about such things is nonsense, degree of this degree of that... however the fundamentals and the important things are crucial to develop, because they ultimately make the difference between the ceiling and potential of your strokes.

But with fundamentals I mean important things such as unit turn, using ur kinetic chain properly etc... I don't mean you should have the racquet layed down at a certain part at 16 degrees instead of 14 degrees lol.

#### Curious

##### Legend
I’m aware of the rabbit holes and trying to avoid, thanks. But there’s only so much I can do.