Private lesson: how do you get them to help your serve?

Well, that's one example. Is there another example? Also, the data is conflicting at this point as far as I can tell. It could very well be that some people benefit and some don't, so trust your own judgement on it. Just go into it with open eyes and don't be dogmatic if there are signs in the other direction. If you're going to do that much stretching it may be better to do it after the workout. You can probably google a bit and find some actual studies on it if you're interested.
Borna Coric is another ATP player that also stretches and warm up for 60 minutes before picking up the tennis racquet. Saw him did that in person at AO. He is baby Djokovic when he plays his best and baby Murray when he plays at his worst. Dude is the beast in person.

Having said that, I do see your point. It might not work for everyone. The medical community is split on this as well.
 

J011yroger

Talk Tennis Guru
Borna Coric is another ATP player that also stretches and warm up for 60 minutes before picking up the tennis racquet. Saw him did that in person at AO. He is baby Djokovic when he plays his best and baby Murray when he plays at his worst. Dude is the beast in person.

Having said that, I do see your point. It might not work for everyone. The medical community is split on this as well.
Former world #1, 3 time slam champion, 2 time Olympic gold medalist at his worst?

J
 
I've done serves for an hour with someone many times. The serve is so important and I've seen quite a few coaches teach it poorly over the years. I've also done tossing for probably 30 minutes before. Usually people get the toss quickly enough that it's passable for the first couple of progressions, but I revisit it often if needed. The toss is the most important thing to get right when developing your serve.
I’ve been serving for 30 years, but my toss is still inconsistent.
 

FRV2

Semi-Pro
I’ve been serving for 30 years, but my toss is still inconsistent.
Just take random days and spend them practicing the toss. Try to find the landing spot of a good toss and place your racket head there. Then try to keep tossing so that your toss bounces off the strings of your racket. You will see drastic improvements in your toss in no time.
 

Dragy

Hall of Fame
I’ve been serving for 30 years, but my toss is still inconsistent.
Well, your tossing motion involves torso movement. It's hard for a player with more or less performing, and even more so, with a weapon serve, to think of significant rebuild. But I belive literally any player can achieve reliable mid-height toss standing straight and using just his/her arm. It's combining this toss with coiling and swinging, with preferred rhythm which is challenging and forcing other movements creep into and affect tossing motion.
 
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Kevo

Legend
I’ve been serving for 30 years, but my toss is still inconsistent.
Mine is too, but it's usually because I'm letting my mind wander or something else is going on upstairs besides the tennis. If it's inconsistent in general then you probably would benefit from doing at least a little bit of toss focused serve practice now and then.
 

EddieBrock

Semi-Pro
Finally did a serving lesson yesterday. The coach played on the pro tour and definitely knew what he was talking about. Before the lesson I did warmup from p90x that includes things like arm circles, a few jumping jacks, light stretching, etc. We did like a minute warmup with mini tennis and I told him I wanted to work on my serve and specifically my toss.

He told me my fundamental motion is sound as is my swing, but the problem is my tossing (left) arm speeds up, which throws off whole serving tempo and causes my right arm and motion to try and catch up. The fix for that was to keep my arm straight and lift very deliberately, like I'm going to release a bird and be aware that the tossing arm controls the speed of the whole motion.

Another major issue that's present during my motion that's not there when I'm just tossing is I bring my right leg around so it's almost up against the baseline. I didn't realize I was still doing that. When my right leg comes forward it rotates my body so it's facing the court and my left arm goes left, causing my toss to drift leftward. To correct that he had me change my stance so my right leg was further back and had me hold it there until after I tossed the ball.

Yet another issue on my 1st serve was I was sometimes tossing too close to me so I wasn't getting proper extension and I'd collapse. Along with that he said to keep my chest facing up as I made contact with the ball.

Those were the major issues. He also said on my 2nd I should really continue the finish to the right to get the American twist and not just a straight up kick, but I felt like I was doing that well going in. By the end of the lesson I was getting a little tired, but was blasting 1st serves and my 2nd was really jumping.

So I'm really glad I spend the time and money on this lesson. It gave me a few things to work on specific to my serve that I can continue to focus on.
 

J011yroger

Talk Tennis Guru
Finally did a serving lesson yesterday. The coach played on the pro tour and definitely knew what he was talking about. Before the lesson I did warmup from p90x that includes things like arm circles, a few jumping jacks, light stretching, etc. We did like a minute warmup with mini tennis and I told him I wanted to work on my serve and specifically my toss.

He told me my fundamental motion is sound as is my swing, but the problem is my tossing (left) arm speeds up, which throws off whole serving tempo and causes my right arm and motion to try and catch up. The fix for that was to keep my arm straight and lift very deliberately, like I'm going to release a bird and be aware that the tossing arm controls the speed of the whole motion.

Another major issue that's present during my motion that's not there when I'm just tossing is I bring my right leg around so it's almost up against the baseline. I didn't realize I was still doing that. When my right leg comes forward it rotates my body so it's facing the court and my left arm goes left, causing my toss to drift leftward. To correct that he had me change my stance so my right leg was further back and had me hold it there until after I tossed the ball.

Yet another issue on my 1st serve was I was sometimes tossing too close to me so I wasn't getting proper extension and I'd collapse. Along with that he said to keep my chest facing up as I made contact with the ball.

Those were the major issues. He also said on my 2nd I should really continue the finish to the right to get the American twist and not just a straight up kick, but I felt like I was doing that well going in. By the end of the lesson I was getting a little tired, but was blasting 1st serves and my 2nd was really jumping.

So I'm really glad I spend the time and money on this lesson. It gave me a few things to work on specific to my serve that I can continue to focus on.
TW poster #4,886 who did what I said he should and it worked...

J
 
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Yet another issue on my 1st serve was I was sometimes tossing too close to me so I wasn't getting proper extension and I'd collapse. Along with that he said to keep my chest facing up as I made contact with the ball.
.......................................................................................................................................
"Along with that he said to keep my chest facing up as I made contact with the ball."

The chest faces more to the sky for a brief time. By impact, videos of high level servers show the chest is no longer facing up. Of course, describing this motion in words is always weak compared to high speed videos.

Google: tennis serves impact pictures

Look for chest up at impact in these.

Look at the time when the chest faces up and how it faces at impact in high speed videos.
Google: Tennis serve impact slow motion Youtube

The above examples show you two quick methods to check information that you are hearing.
 
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EddieBrock

Semi-Pro
"Along with that he said to keep my chest facing up as I made contact with the ball."

The chest faces more to the sky for a brief time. By impact, videos of high level servers show the chest is no longer facing up. Of course, describing this motion in words is always weak compared to high speed videos.

Google: tennis serves impact pictures

Look for chest up at impact in these.

Look at the time when the chest faces up and how it faces at impact in high speed videos.
Google: Tennis serve impact slow motion Youtube

The above examples show you two quick methods to check information that you are hearing.
In looking at those pictures/videos you are absolutely right the chest does not face up towards the sky at impact. There is no way you could have your chest up facing the sky and hit the ball on your serve. What I think he was saying that the chest shouldn't collapse down either so it is not facing towards the ground. Perhaps that's what I was doing.
 
In looking at those pictures/videos you are absolutely right the chest does not face up towards the sky at impact. There is no way you could have your chest up facing the sky and hit the ball on your serve. What I think he was saying that the chest shouldn't collapse down either so it is not facing towards the ground. Perhaps that's what I was doing.
The chest has some complicated and 3D angles on the serve. First, find impact frames of high speed videos - with ball squished if possible from behind. (The ball can sometimes appear close to the racket strings even if it is 2 feet away from behind or infront camera views.) This varies for individuals and type of serve, especially the kick serve. Find clear high speed videos of high level serves from camera views behind the server (or in front):
1) looking along the the ball's trajectory and
2) another camera view to the side of the ball's trajectory.
Don't use the common camera view along the court center line since the server will look different for the deuce and ad sides.
 

sureshs

Bionic Poster
Finally did a serving lesson yesterday. The coach played on the pro tour and definitely knew what he was talking about. Before the lesson I did warmup from p90x that includes things like arm circles, a few jumping jacks, light stretching, etc. We did like a minute warmup with mini tennis and I told him I wanted to work on my serve and specifically my toss.

He told me my fundamental motion is sound as is my swing, but the problem is my tossing (left) arm speeds up, which throws off whole serving tempo and causes my right arm and motion to try and catch up. The fix for that was to keep my arm straight and lift very deliberately, like I'm going to release a bird and be aware that the tossing arm controls the speed of the whole motion.

Another major issue that's present during my motion that's not there when I'm just tossing is I bring my right leg around so it's almost up against the baseline. I didn't realize I was still doing that. When my right leg comes forward it rotates my body so it's facing the court and my left arm goes left, causing my toss to drift leftward. To correct that he had me change my stance so my right leg was further back and had me hold it there until after I tossed the ball.

Yet another issue on my 1st serve was I was sometimes tossing too close to me so I wasn't getting proper extension and I'd collapse. Along with that he said to keep my chest facing up as I made contact with the ball.

Those were the major issues. He also said on my 2nd I should really continue the finish to the right to get the American twist and not just a straight up kick, but I felt like I was doing that well going in. By the end of the lesson I was getting a little tired, but was blasting 1st serves and my 2nd was really jumping.

So I'm really glad I spend the time and money on this lesson. It gave me a few things to work on specific to my serve that I can continue to focus on.
How did you separate the left arm tempo from the rest of the body? I think some people intrinsically have that ability and others don't (talking about adult learners).
 

RyanRF

Professional
My experience with a handful of coaches over the years has been similar. Most of them avoid talking hard looks at the serve.

It could be that they are uncomfortable teaching serves...

Also it could be that they know changing the serve can lead to frustration. If they tweak something and all of a sudden the student becomes a double-fault machine, the student will probably quit lessons.
 

bitcoinoperated

Professional
I've given up with coaching. The last two coaches seemed to think a waiter's tray serve was fine lolwtfamipayingfor.

Also, for what it's worth, serving is one of those few things that you can really practice without a ball machine or hitting partner. Yes, bad practice makes bad play, but you can still make good progress with solid YouTube videos and lots and LOTS of balls on the court.

There are many areas of my game I suck at but with the vast majority of my training coming from YouTube and a crap ton of reps, my opponents do always mention my "big serve".
This. Add to that slowmo video is on most phones now, it becomes a game of spot the difference from a pro.
 

Kevo

Legend
I've given up with coaching. The last two coaches seemed to think a waiter's tray serve was fine lolwtfamipayingfor.
I see quite a few coaches that seem to be OK with waiter's tray serves. Drives me bonkers. I can understand to some degree how they end up there. It's a royal pain sometimes, like beating a dead horse, trying to get some kids to stop with the waiter's tray. With a lot of kids we work on it and work on it and then I don't see them for the better part of a week and they come back and we have to work on it all over again. I've done the same thing with a few adults before as well. It's really hard for some people to leave their comfort zone.

I sometimes wonder what kind of dumb stuff am I doing because I'm stuck in my comfort zone. Is there someone out there who would see the way I make a sandwich or do push ups and go hey dummy, why are you doing that. Don't you know you should do it this way? Probably those are bad examples since there are lots of right ways to do those things, but hopefully you get the idea. :)
 

heninfan99

Talk Tennis Guru
The junior students will have great serves and that doesn't help you.

The adult students will have crappy serves even after 10 years of lessons. That doesn't help you either.
sure it does. Not all adult students have crap serves, you're projecting there
 

Raul_SJ

Legend
How did you separate the left arm tempo from the rest of the body? I think some people intrinsically have that ability and others don't (talking about adult learners).
Toss it like Serena. Racquet arm does nothing until ball leaves the hand.
Unless you are saying that rec players cannot keep the racquet arm quiet while tossing arm is moving.
That is possible since there may be a natural tendency to lift the hitting arm while tossing arm lifts. Hard to keep the hitting arm down and quiet like below. :unsure:

 
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EddieBrock

Semi-Pro
How did you separate the left arm tempo from the rest of the body? I think some people intrinsically have that ability and others don't (talking about adult learners).
I went out of my way to slow down my left arm. Whenever I get nervous or think about hitting harder/more spin my left arm tends to speed up. He gave me targets and yelled out different serves telling me to get 3 in a row and when I was on the 3rd I would speed up
 

sureshs

Bionic Poster
Toss it like Serena. Racquet arm does nothing until ball leaves the hand.
Unless you are saying that rec players cannot keep the racquet arm quiet while tossing arm is moving.
That is possible since there may be a natural tendency to lift the hitting arm while tossing arm lifts. Hard to keep the hitting arm down and quiet like below. :unsure:

I have tried that. With some effort, I was able to toss with my left arm without moving my right arm. But then I lost all rhythm when the right hand started to move.

So I stuck with the "down together up together" rhythm.

Believe me I have tried everything including abbreviated serves with arm at trophy etc. It is a matter of coordination, not the serve or toss.
 

FRV2

Semi-Pro
I have tried that. With some effort, I was able to toss with my left arm without moving my right arm. But then I lost all rhythm when the right hand started to move.

So I stuck with the "down together up together" rhythm.

Believe me I have tried everything including abbreviated serves with arm at trophy etc. It is a matter of coordination, not the serve or toss.
I don't know why people don't like "down together up together". It keeps things simple. Like you, I wasn't able to do it the other way.
 

EddieBrock

Semi-Pro
I have tried that. With some effort, I was able to toss with my left arm without moving my right arm. But then I lost all rhythm when the right hand started to move.

So I stuck with the "down together up together" rhythm.

Believe me I have tried everything including abbreviated serves with arm at trophy etc. It is a matter of coordination, not the serve or toss.
Seems like it would get the toss in the right place but at the expense of my rhythm. Years ago I went to the abbreviated motion specifically for that reason, but it never fixed my underlying problem which is the toss. I felt like it was a band aid solution.
 

SystemicAnomaly

Talk Tennis Guru
I'm batting a thousand (1.000) on this. Every time I've requested a serve lesson, that is exactly what I got. But then I've only had one private lesson in my life (way back in the mid 80s).

But as a couple of posters have indicated, not all teaching pros are all that comfortable teaching the serve. Try to find one who specializes in the serve. Whenever I'm asked to teach or "fix" a client's serve, that is what we work on. If they feels that they've gotten a handle on it, they might ask me to look at something else in the last 10-15 minutes.
 

EddieBrock

Semi-Pro
This. If you came to me asking for a serve (and only serve) lesson, I'd recommend only a half hour.
Well I'm fine working on other things as well, but my main focus is the serve. What bothers me is if the serve gets relegated to 5 minutes at the end like an afterthought.
 

tennis_balla

Hall of Fame
Finally did a serving lesson yesterday. The coach played on the pro tour and definitely knew what he was talking about.
This was your problem with the others. All fart, no poop. No coach who knows what they are talking about will start teaching a rec player pat the dog in their first lesson. That’s just lack of knowledge from the guy pretending to be a coach.
 

EddieBrock

Semi-Pro
This was your problem with the others. All fart, no poop. No coach who knows what they are talking about will start teaching a rec player pat the dog in their first lesson. That’s just lack of knowledge from the guy pretending to be a coach.
What was wrong with teaching pat the dog? I asked him if there's anything in my game he could see that I could improve. Even though my forehand is pretty good he said it would help with timing against hard hitters and get me more effortless power. Aside from my serve I've been told I have 4.5 strokes.
 

Dragy

Hall of Fame
I don't know why people don't like "down together up together". It keeps things simple. Like you, I wasn't able to do it the other way.
Unless your toss is pretty low getting your hitting arm up together with tossing arm is too early. Makes you prone to either freezing in trophy or leaking to the drop too early. The solution is to go Wawrinka style by raising it high and then settling down into good position, but then again, need some deliberate fine-tune to avoid all issues.
 

FRV2

Semi-Pro
Unless your toss is pretty low getting your hitting arm up together with tossing arm is too early. Makes you prone to either freezing in trophy or leaking to the drop too early. The solution is to go Wawrinka style by raising it high and then settling down into good position, but then again, need some deliberate fine-tune to avoid all issues.
My toss is probably low then. I've never had a problem with it.
 

user92626

Legend
I'm seeing a lot of discussion on the toss.

the toss is the easiest part. It's a toss for god's sake!


The freaking swing is the hardest in the serve. Look at all the serves posted in this place. They all have glaring errors. Too shallow, too waiter tray, too open or too low on the side, on and on....
 

J011yroger

Talk Tennis Guru
I'm seeing a lot of discussion on the toss.

the toss is the easiest part. It's a toss for god's sake!


The freaking swing is the hardest in the serve. Look at all the serves posted in this place. They all have glaring errors. Too shallow, too waiter tray, too open or too low on the side, on and on....
A crappy toss prevents people from hitting their crappy serve in the box.

A crappy toss also prevents people from hitting their good serve in the box.

J
 

user92626

Legend
A crappy toss prevents people from hitting their crappy serve in the box.

A crappy toss also prevents people from hitting their good serve in the box.

J
It's also true if people wears their hat in a crappy way, ie blocking their vision. That's how it feels to me. Much ado about nothing.
 

sureshs

Bionic Poster
Sasha is struggling with his second serve now. He served one which bounced on his side of the net. Commentators noticed that he had a 3 foot variance in where his toss was landing.

Yeah toss is the most basic problem.
 

blablavla

Professional
Sasha is struggling with his second serve now. He served one which bounced on his side of the net. Commentators noticed that he had a 3 foot variance in where his toss was landing.

Yeah toss is the most basic problem.
I remember, I think 2 years ago, during one of the Zverv matches, at a clay Masters, the broadcaster made an analysis of all players toss, and Zverev was the most stable at that tournament, with only 30cm variation
 

EddieBrock

Semi-Pro
Sasha is struggling with his second serve now. He served one which bounced on his side of the net. Commentators noticed that he had a 3 foot variance in where his toss was landing.

Yeah toss is the most basic problem.
I was watching him double fault and thought it looked familiar. It's not like he doesn't know how to hit a 2nd serve, but if his toss is all over the place he is not going to hit it consistently. That's the same problem I have. When I'm tossing well I hit my kick serve really well. When my toss is all over the map I can't hit it in to save my life. Yes the swing is important, but I've got a pretty good swing. Hopefully with that lesson I will improve the toss.
 

Dragy

Hall of Fame
I was watching him double fault and thought it looked familiar. It's not like he doesn't know how to hit a 2nd serve, but if his toss is all over the place he is not going to hit it consistently. That's the same problem I have. When I'm tossing well I hit my kick serve really well. When my toss is all over the map I can't hit it in to save my life. Yes the swing is important, but I've got a pretty good swing. Hopefully with that lesson I will improve the toss.
With his height it’s ridiculous. Didn’t pay close attention recently, but last year I watched his matches his 2nd serve was very fast. I’d say he isn’t hitting spinny kick at all, and therefore his margin for error is not that big. As long as he’s in the zone with toss, timing and psychics, he blasts opponents with 110mph second serves. Once he’s off a bit, double faults appear.
 

sureshs

Bionic Poster
I was watching him double fault and thought it looked familiar. It's not like he doesn't know how to hit a 2nd serve, but if his toss is all over the place he is not going to hit it consistently. That's the same problem I have. When I'm tossing well I hit my kick serve really well. When my toss is all over the map I can't hit it in to save my life. Yes the swing is important, but I've got a pretty good swing. Hopefully with that lesson I will improve the toss.
If you are an adult and have been playing a few years and haven't got the toss right, it is unlikely to happen. Lessons don't help. There could be small increment progress though which will prevent DFs and that is all you can hope for.
 
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