Serve Advice Request

BBender716

Professional
It's been a long time since I video'd my serve and finally picked up a swing stick and swingvision and am dedicated to doing some analysis this summer and drilling (groundstrokes coming soon!). I know there's a ton of room for improvement. For context, I'm currently ~3.5 and my serve tends to be more of a weapon vs a liability since my second serve is consistent and has good movement.

In these videos below, I varied what I was working on and so you'll see some different things that work and some that are downright embarassing. I left it all in there!

In the future, I'll be better about doing 1 serve type/goal per video to facilitate better feedback from you all-- this was just my first time out videoing.

Things I'm trying to work on:
  1. I have difficulty serving to the backhand on both ad and deuce sides-- likely because I'm slicing most everything, and it seems that even when I manage to get my toss further overhead, it still "slices".
  2. Something is funky about my trophy position where it appears my racket may be prematurely dropping a bit too early
  3. How can I better lead with the edge of my racquet for spin serves? Suggestions?
Also if anyone happens to notice consistent mistakes on balls that I "net" vs balls that were in-- I would greatly appreciate. Right now my observation is keeping my head up longer and pushing "up" with the legs vs opening up and leaning into the court too much.


Thanks in advance, I know there's a lot to work on.
https://swing.vision/matches/sw2-xcQ3C40
https://swing.vision/matches/sw2-jPaZrL0
 

SystemicAnomaly

Bionic Poster
One very significant issue with your trophy is that your R elbow drops much too low. The elbow should be in line with your shoulder tilt line. Yours drops quite a bit lower than the tilt line. This can affect your drop timing & quality.

You also have a bit of a WTE. Not certain how much this is affecting your upper swing since I’ve not yet watched your video in a slower speed.
 

SystemicAnomaly

Bionic Poster
FedPeteTrophyElbow.png
 

BBender716

Professional
One very significant issue with your trophy is that your R elbow drops much too low. The elbow should be in line with your shoulder tilt line. Yours drops quite a bit lower than the tilt line. This can affect your drop timing & quality.

You also have a bit of a WTE. Not certain how much this is affecting your upper swing since I’ve not yet watched your video in a slower speed.
Thank you so much. Is the elbow being too low remedied by having it a bit further away from my body and keeping the elbow up? It's not too much tilting of my torso as a whole, right?
 

SystemicAnomaly

Bionic Poster
Thank you so much. Is the elbow being too low remedied by having it a bit further away from my body and keeping the elbow up? It's not too much tilting of my torso as a whole, right?
Yup, the elbow & upper arm should be (abducted) further from the body for the trophy phase. The elbow sb bent at 90° and the upper arm should be nearly 90° wrt the body.

As near I can tell, it looks like you are dropping the elbow as you get to your trophy position. As your arm approaches the trophy phase, the elbow angle looks to be about 120° or so. It seems that the very act of flexing it more, to get it to 90°, causes you to drop your elbow below the shoulder tilt line.

You might try a more abbreviated motion (as opposed to a classic loop or pendulum). Draw (pull) the elbow back with a more flexed angle — so that it is already 90° as you approach a “salute position” — this is palm down position that is a little bit before the classic trophy position. Hopefully, by pulling the elbow back at 90°, you can get it to the proper position and it won’t drop it in an attempt to flex your elbow more as you get there.

No, it does not appear that you are tilting your torso too much. You might even push your hips forward a tad so that your back tilts & lines up with your upper legs. Notice how Boris’s back lines up with his body below. Getting both heels off the ground helps to achieve this

images


Also notice how Roger, Pete & Boris get their L arm straight up (vertical more or less) for their trophy. The L hand has followed the ball up after releasing it. Your L hand stops rising almost immediately after you release the ball. As a result, it does not get anywhere near vertical.

The raised L hand will provide an improved spatial reference to your ball toss. This can help with the swing path and swing timing for your serve. The raised arm should also get your L shoulder a bit higher for a little bit more of a shoulder tilt.

The extended arm should start to come down as you are dropping the racket head behind you. From a palm-down salute position, move the the trophy phase and start your drop with a “comb the hair” motion — so that you are dropping the racket “on edge” if at all possible.

Your racket head should definitely be “on edge” as you start your upward swing.
 
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BBender716

Professional
Yup, the elbow & upper arm should be (abducted) further from the body for the trophy phase. The elbow sb bent at 90° and the upper arm should be nearly 90° wrt the body.

As near I can tell, it looks like you are dropping the elbow as you get to your trophy position. As your arm approaches the trophy phase, the elbow angle looks to be about 120° or so. It seems that the very act of flexing it more, to get it to 90°, causes you to drop your elbow below the shoulder tilt line.

You might try a more abbreviated motion (as opposed to a classic loop or pendulum). Draw (pull) the elbow back with a more flexed angle — so that it is already 90° as you approach a “salute position” — this is palm down position that is a little bit before the classic trophy position. Hopefully, by pulling the elbow back at 90°, you can get it to the proper position and it won’t drop it in an attempt to flex your elbow more as you get there.

No, it does not appear that you are tilting your torso too much. You might even push your hips forward a tad so that your back tilts & lines up with your upper legs. Notice how Boris’s back lines up with his body below. Getting both heels off the ground helps to achieve this

images


Also notice how Roger, Pete & Boris get their L arm straight up (vertical more or less) for their trophy. The L hand has followed the ball up after releasing it. Your L hand stops rising almost immediately after you release the ball. As a result, it does not get anywhere near vertical.

The L hand will provide an improved spatial reference to your ball toss. This can help a little bit with swing path and swing timing for your shirt. The raised arm should also get your L shoulder a bit higher for a little bit more of a shoulder tilt.

The extended arm should start to come down as you are dropping the racket head behind you. From a palm-down salute position, move the the trophy phase and start your drop with a “comb the hair” motion — so that you are dropping the racket “on edge” if at all possible.

Your racket head should definitely be “on edge” as you start your upward swing.
Thanks this is super helpful. I'll start by just keeping my elbow out while still trying to stay loose-- I feel like the additional abduction causes a bit more tension since it requires holding the elbow elevated vs letting it "droop" lol
 

SystemicAnomaly

Bionic Poster
Thanks this is super helpful. I'll start by just keeping my elbow out while still trying to stay loose-- I feel like the additional abduction causes a bit more tension since it requires holding the elbow elevated vs letting it "droop" lol
Tension? Don't think I've ever been aware of tension with this position. Do you have some sort of shoulder issue?
 

Chas Tennis

G.O.A.T.
I can upload the uncut version to YT. Not sure how to best upload a swingvision cut to YT...
Recordings at a frame rate of about 240 fps work well for tennis strokes.

An object moving at 100 MPH moves at 1760 inches per second. 1760"/ 240 gives 7.3 inches of movement for, say, a tennis racket at 100 MPH. That could be better but it is pretty good. 60 fps gives 4 X 7.3" = 29" that is too much for analysis.

What was the recording rate for swingvision?
 
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SystemicAnomaly

Bionic Poster
Nah, just the effort of elevating the elbow is an active effort vs letting it set next to the body down lower.
You're gonna have to elevate it at some point during your motion. You do elevate your elbow eventually — but much later than you should.

In the larger scheme of things, the elevated elbow (for your trophy & drop) makes it easier to produce an optimal external rotation of the shoulder (ESR) for a proper & easier racket head drop. By not elevating the elbow, ESR & the drop is trickier to time and to execute properly. As it is, it doesn’t look like you are getting & keeping the racket head “on edge” quite as much as you should.

I was able to stop your video when your racket head was approaching the bottom of your drop and I noticed a couple of other things I had not noticed before (difficult to detect w/o slow motion).

Your elbow was still too low at that point. (The shoulder tilt should start to level off at that point & the elbow should still be in line with tilt, more or less). Not only is your elbow too low at that point, it also has moved forward of your chest — it is not pulled back as it should be. With the elbow pulled back, there sb a stretch of your R pec muscle and the front of your R shoulder. But you have released this stretch much too early (if it was even there at all with the earlier low elbow). Part of Jeff’s “Elbow the Enemy” is getting that pec stretch (as well as sufficiently coiling the upper torso).

It looks your elbow is eventually elevated — at the start of your upward swing as near as I can tell.

The other thing that I noticed with your racket near the bottom of its drop is that your leg drive is not properly timed. You have decent knee flexion for the trophy phase. But, as you start your racket drop, the legs should start to extend. By the time you reach the bottom of your drop, your legs should be fully extended (and you should start to leave the ground before you start your upper swing).

You knees are still bent when you reach the bottom of your drop. And you don’t leave the ground until some time after you have started your upward swing. This is a late leg drive.
 
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SystemicAnomaly

Bionic Poster
KM9UtrYcr2ci5dhWwiUXL1NYRPc-rZcp2pav0yLtjFBh58oh2AwnOQJ8ZDmNIjLCXGasdHeSaCD1_J2h0WelnCpCmkYAKxkZ1E_qJR3Uips6clVu

Novak at the bottom of his racquet drop. His eyes are still on the ball. His shoulder tilt has gone past horizontal and he now has a reverse tilt -- with the elbow up and still in line with that tilt.

He still shows a stretch of the R pectoral (and R shoulder) at this point. That stretch won't be released until later -- during the upward swing.

Note that he appears to be driving his chest and R shoulder upward. The elbow is still back -- it has not yet moved forward of his coronal plane (or his chest). Your elbow moved forward before it got to this point in the drop.

Note that Novak's legs are full extended at this point in his serve. His R foot has already left the ground and his L foot is just starting to leave the ground. Your knees are still partially flexed at this point. You are leaving the ground late -- during the upward swing.
 

Chas Tennis

G.O.A.T.
I can upload the uncut version to YT. Not sure how to best upload a swingvision cut to YT...
Recordings at a frame rate of about 240 fps work well for tennis strokes. An object moving at 100 MPH moves 1760 inches per second. 1760"/ 240 gives 7.3 inches of movement for, say, a tennis racket at 100 MPH. 60 fps gives 4 X 7.3" = 29" that is too much for analysis.

What was the recording rate for swingvision?
 

Chas Tennis

G.O.A.T.
KM9UtrYcr2ci5dhWwiUXL1NYRPc-rZcp2pav0yLtjFBh58oh2AwnOQJ8ZDmNIjLCXGasdHeSaCD1_J2h0WelnCpCmkYAKxkZ1E_qJR3Uips6clVu

Novak at the bottom of his racquet drop. His eyes are still on the ball. His shoulder tilt has gone past horizontal and he now has a reverse tilt -- with the elbow up and still in line with that tilt.

He still shows a stretch of the R pectoral (and R shoulder) at this point. That stretch won't be released until later -- during the upward swing.

Note that he appears to be driving his chest and R shoulder upward. The elbow is still back -- it has not yet moved forward of his coronal plane (or his chest). Your elbow moved forward before it got to this point in the drop.

Note that Novak's legs are full extended at this point in his serve. His R foot has already left the ground and his L foot is just starting to leave the ground. Your knees are still partially flexed at this point. You are leaving the ground late -- during the upward swing.
Your picture captures Thoracic Extension - which appears to follow the acceleration when the hips extend and the knees extend, in other words, follows the jump. Search Thoracic Extension Tennis Serve for a thread on TE. By bending the back with Thoracic Extension the amount of stretch to the lat muscle is reduced. Changes to the stretch of the muscles that produce Internal Shoulder Rotation (ISR) should always be part of the analysis of the tennis serve biomechanics.

To single frame on Youtube, stop video, go full screen, and use the period & comma keys.

The higher camera view points tend to show serve and stroke sub-motions that often might not show up well from the more common ground level camera views.

A great high speed video camera - that is available used for under $100 - is the Casio Ex-FH 100. It has full control of the shutter speed with its fastest shutter speed down to 25 microseconds.
 
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SystemicAnomaly

Bionic Poster
Your picture captures Thoracic Extension - which appears to follow the acceleration when the hips extend and the knees extend, in other words, follows the jump. Search Thoracic Extension Tennis Serve for a thread on TE. By bending the back with Thoracic Extension the amount of stretch to the lat muscle is reduced. Changes to the stretch of the muscles that produce Internal Shoulder Rotation (ISR) should always be part of the analysis of the tennis serve biomechanics.

I had thought about mentioning Thoracic Extension when I posted that image but then decided against it for good reason— I did not want to overwhelm the OP with TMI. I’ve already given him enuff feedback to chew on for a while. DId not see a reason to pile on even more info.
 

Chas Tennis

G.O.A.T.
I had thought about mentioning Thoracic Extension when I posted that image but then decided against it for good reason— I did not want to overwhelm the OP with TMI. I’ve already given him enuff feedback to chew on for a while. DId not see a reason to pile on even more info.
I missed Thoracic Extension for over 40 years and I wish someone had 'overwhelmed' me with what is true for the serve in the 1970's. Then, ISR was not even known by the tennis research world. !! But I have to say that you also have a valid point about the OP being overwhelmed. I believe that if a commonly observed sub-motion in the ATP is left out of a tennis stroke, then the stroke will usually not work very effectively.
 
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SystemicAnomaly

Bionic Poster
I missed Thoracic Extension for over 40 years and I wish someone had 'overwhelmed' me in 1970's. Then ISR was not even known by the tennis research world. But I have to say that you also have a valid point about the OP being overwhelmed. I believe that if a commonly observed sub-motion in the ATP is left out of a tennis stroke, then the stroke will usually not work very effectively.
Thoracic Extension is a fairly advanced concept. Not a good idea at all to overwhelm students with too many such concept when they have other, more fundamental, issues with their mechanics.

That would be like trying to teach differential equations or calculus to someone who has not yet mastered arithmetic & algebra.

Look at paragraph 3 in post #15 again. I alluded to Thoracic Extension there w/o naming it or dwelling on it. I felt that I had given the OP more than enuff feedback at this point. Perhaps even too much. It can be very counterproductive to throw too much at him before he's ready for it. Fix the easy stuff first and then go after more advanced concepts.
 

SystemicAnomaly

Bionic Poster
I missed Thoracic Extension for over 40 years and I wish someone had 'overwhelmed' me with what is true for the serve in the 1970's. Then, ISR was not even known by the tennis research world. !! But I have to say that you also have a valid point about the OP being overwhelmed. I believe that if a commonly observed sub-motion in the ATP is left out of a tennis stroke, then the stroke will usually not work very effectively.
I had not heard the term, Thoracic Extension, until you started posting about it some years back (2016?). However, after reading what this fancy term referred to, I realized that it was something that I had started incorporating into my serves, especially 2nd serves, back in the late 1980s.

I was learning about stroke biomechanics and the closed kinetic chain from a college team coach who kept up with the latest ideas back then. Altho’ I learned TE from him for the serve, he never used the term.
 

BBender716

Professional
You're gonna have to elevate it at some point during your motion. You do elevate your elbow eventually — but much later than you should.

In the larger scheme of things, the elevated elbow (for your trophy & drop) makes it easier to produce an optimal external rotation of the shoulder (ESR) for a proper & easier racket head drop. By not elevating the elbow, ESR & the drop is trickier to time and to execute properly. As it is, it doesn’t look like you are getting & keeping the racket head “on edge” quite as much as you should.

I was able to stop your video when your racket head was approaching the bottom of your drop and I noticed a couple of other things I had not noticed before (difficult to detect w/o slow motion).

Your elbow was still too low at that point. (The shoulder tilt should start to level off at that point & the elbow should still be in line with tilt, more or less). Not only is your elbow too low at that point, it also has moved forward of your chest — it is not pulled back as it should be. With the elbow pulled back, there sb a stretch of your R pec muscle and the front of your R shoulder. But you have released this stretch much too early (if it was even there at all with the earlier low elbow). Part of Jeff’s “Elbow the Enemy” is getting that pec stretch (as well as sufficiently coiling the upper torso).

It looks your elbow is eventually elevated — at the start of your upward swing as near as I can tell.

The other thing that I noticed with your racket near the bottom of its drop is that your leg drive is not properly timed. You have decent knee flexion for the trophy phase. But, as you start your racket drop, the legs should start to extend. By the time you reach the bottom of your drop, your legs should be fully extended (and you should start to leave the ground before you start your upper swing).

You knees are still bent when you reach the bottom of your drop. And you don’t leave the ground until some time after you have started your upward swing. This is a late leg drive.
This is extremely helpful. The "pec-stretch" feeling makes sense when I try incorporating this feedback just around the house in front of a mirror doing trophy pose.

I'll probably start by working on (1) elevating the elbow throughout trophy and up to racquet drop, (2) forcing leading with the edge, and then once those start geling-- working on leg drive timing. Will update with more progress hopefully after some good weather this weekend.

@Chas Tennis
Thanks for the suggestions on slow motion! I will take some videos using the slow motion feature on my phone that allows for 1/8x slowdown, increased framerate.
 

Chas Tennis

G.O.A.T.
I had not heard the term, Thoracic Extension, until you started posting about it some years back (2016?). However, after reading what this fancy term referred to, I realized that it was something that I had started incorporating into my serves, especially 2nd serves, back in the late 1980s.

I was learning about stroke biomechanics and the closed kinetic chain from a college team coach who kept up with the latest ideas back then. Altho’ I learned TE from him for the serve, he never used the term.
I had heard about 'chest up' since the 1980s. In decades, I had learned very little about TE. I decided to finally study it with high speed video. The videos were very clear in showing what followed what in the busiest and most important part of the tennis serve. I am still looking for more biomechanics references that analyze the details of Thoracic Extension & Flexion for the tennis serve. Please post if you find. I provided some discussion but there must be more out there. There were some other references related to TE and tennis and they are posted in my thread on TE. Everything athletic involves the stretch shorten cycle and everyone can see what might be causing what during that fraction of a second, for example, the jump causes Thoracic Extension. The videos show the location of skin but what is going on inside the body needs more scientific measurements. Using Kinovea, I could place a millisecond time scale that shows when events occurred prior to impact. If anyone wants to know what goes on leading to impact, see this video.

Here is what's true about the final fraction of a second of the tennis serve.
To single frame on Youtube, stop video, go full screen, use the period & comma keys.

Suggestion - single frame and create a timeline and list each sub-motion that you can find. (Play through the video pauses that Kniovea created.)
 
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nyta2

Hall of Fame
  1. I have difficulty serving to the backhand on both ad and deuce sides-- likely because I'm slicing most everything, and it seems that even when I manage to get my toss further overhead, it still "slices".
  2. Something is funky about my trophy position where it appears my racket may be prematurely dropping a bit too early
  3. How can I better lead with the edge of my racquet for spin serves? Suggestions?
didn't watch the vids, just responding to the text...
1. imo no need to change your toss location relative to your head to change your target... just need to learn to slice to your spots... (feel&practice). if you have heavy slice, it could be that opponents are cheating to their bh side, so must learn to go sharp angle to their fh, to make them respect that shot, then it makes it easier to "find" their bh... if you're tossing "more overhead" with the idea of hitting topspin or kick, you need to stay sideways at contact (which can be really tough muscle memory habit to break in the beginning if you don't already know the feel)
2. if racquet is dropping prematurely, many times i see it's because someone is placing it there (holdover from maybe serving from the "back scratch" position). once i get to trophy, my mindset is just to "launch"... similar to the fh lag, the "racquet drop" on the serve is the lag created when launching up & out toward the contact... (vs. me "placing" the racquet in the "backscratch" position)
3. practice serves,.... where you make contact with the the edge of the racquet :)
 

eah123

Professional
Your racquet path is too left to right from racquet drop. That is why you keep slicing unintentionally and have difficulty hitting up the T when serving from deuce side and out wide from the ad side.
 

Curious

G.O.A.T.
Your racquet path is too left to right from racquet drop. That is why you keep slicing unintentionally and have difficulty hitting up the T when serving from deuce side and out wide from the ad side.
Is it the swing path or the racket face angle at contact? I learned from Moratoglu that you can serve flat down the T and slice out wide with the same swing path and same toss. You only change the timing of pronation to have different contact angles.
 

Digital Atheist

Hall of Fame
It's been a long time since I video'd my serve and finally picked up a swing stick and swingvision and am dedicated to doing some analysis this summer and drilling (groundstrokes coming soon!). I know there's a ton of room for improvement. For context, I'm currently ~3.5 and my serve tends to be more of a weapon vs a liability since my second serve is consistent and has good movement.

In these videos below, I varied what I was working on and so you'll see some different things that work and some that are downright embarassing. I left it all in there!

In the future, I'll be better about doing 1 serve type/goal per video to facilitate better feedback from you all-- this was just my first time out videoing.

Things I'm trying to work on:
  1. I have difficulty serving to the backhand on both ad and deuce sides-- likely because I'm slicing most everything, and it seems that even when I manage to get my toss further overhead, it still "slices".
  2. Something is funky about my trophy position where it appears my racket may be prematurely dropping a bit too early
  3. How can I better lead with the edge of my racquet for spin serves? Suggestions?
Also if anyone happens to notice consistent mistakes on balls that I "net" vs balls that were in-- I would greatly appreciate. Right now my observation is keeping my head up longer and pushing "up" with the legs vs opening up and leaning into the court too much.


Thanks in advance, I know there's a lot to work on.
https://swing.vision/matches/sw2-xcQ3C40
https://swing.vision/matches/sw2-jPaZrL0
Having watched the videos on my phone, I wonder, do you ever get a sore/tired arm?

I am going to try and download and then do some frames for you. I can tell you that the bolded text is indeed important, but not for the reasons you might think! You are doing a version of the basketball sky hook on the follow-through, and that's a problem imo.

I'll be back :)
 
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Digital Atheist

Hall of Fame
Is it the swing path or the racket face angle at contact? I learned from Moratoglu that you can serve flat down the T and slice out wide with the same swing path and same toss. You only change the timing of pronation to have different contact angles.
It's both, but not at the same time! Racquet angle changes direction, that is obvious. But for this to be successfully implemented you should have something resembling a correct swing path (among other things).
 

Curious

G.O.A.T.
It's both, but not at the same time! Racquet angle changes direction, that is obvious. But for this to be successfully implemented you should have something resembling a correct swing path (among other things).
Fewer the variables the better. Same swing path, same toss the opponent has no chance of predicting whether you’re hitting down the T or out wide.
 

BBender716

Professional
Just got some more videos and will get them here sooner. But basically some things I've been working on and have noticed based on feedback and trying some things out on the court:

1. Staying vertical longer, head up, and pushing "up" and not "crumpling"/turning into the court too soon is critical to a successful serve for me and greatly reduces netting serves
2. Hitting elbow further away from the body/in line with shoulders and elevated vs what's in the first videos
3. Also most interestingly- I am also realizing I think my stance was much too parallel to the baseline which left it almost impossible to do anything but slice and made it extremely difficult to get the racquet to swing on the edge at the ball. I'm experimenting with a stance that points more into the court than parallel to the baseline and I'm finding power much easier in addition to much easier to hit pure kick serves to backhands.
 

BBender716

Professional
Having watched the videos on my phone, I wonder, do you ever get a sore/tired arm?

I am going to try and download and then do some frames for you. I can tell you that the bolded text is indeed important, but not for the reasons you might think! You are doing a version of the basketball sky hook on the follow-through, and that's a problem imo.

I'll be back :)
Occasionally, but ironically, only when I'm trying new things to improve my form and haven't quite put it all together :)

The standard 'serve' in these videos without any changes somehow doesn't cause me arm pain even using stiff full beds of poly.

However, I'm finally getting private 1:1 lessons in the past month or so, where I'm making several significant changes on my groundstrokes + serve and am getting some arm pain for the first time so I switched to gut/poly as I work on revamping my technique to play it safe as I clearly am still putting it all together there!
 

BBender716

Professional
Two more snippits. Still lots to work on but my two takeaways here are:
1) On the balls I netted, it was indeed from not keeping vertical long enough and pulling my head / shoulder down too early
2) I made a significant improvement on my MPH simply by being slightly more perpendicular to the court and allowing me to have a better path to the ball
3) I could still be more consistent on getting my elbow up/level with the shoulder line
3) Still lots to work on and need to better dial in accuracy through reps with the different stance and changes, but overall I think it's coming along more


Thanks all for your continued input and help!
 

SystemicAnomaly

Bionic Poster
Still not seeing the tossing arm getting close to vertical. In the 1st video it appears to be about 45° or so. It might be my imagination, but the arm seemed a bit higher -- perhaps almost 60° wrt to the court surface.

Look for the ball to be about 2 feet (60cm or so) above a fully outstretched (vertical) arm. This sb your signal that it's time to start your racket drop. If you don't see that, your arm might be too low during the trophy phase or you might be pulling your head /eyes down too early.

During your upward swing, your arm should no longer be up there but you should try to keep your eyes up for as long as comfortable. Some elite players have their eyes still up at contact while others may have pulled the eyes down very shortly before contact. I'd encourage you to keep your eyes up during as much of your upward swing as possible -- perhaps 3/4 of the upward swing or more.
 
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Digital Atheist

Hall of Fame
Screenshots as promised. Sorry for the delay. The first two images are the same serve and I think they are a first serve down the T (serve is down the T, that much I know).

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Frame 1 (maybe Frame 2 is also acceptable) is where your racquet should be in the correct trophy position, right before leg drive starts and your knee bend is at its deepest. BUT, leg drive starts at frame 5 and you have a major racquet leak and you are dropping your elbow incorrectly (that isn't as critical as the other stuff and you could almost get away with it if your swing path was correct).

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So your back shoulder stays back the whole time, your entire body stays sideways and your tossing arm tucks such that it is nearly impossible for you to unwind into the strike. Imo you need to forget about tucking the off arm since it is part of your problem and you will naturally do it anyway.

Raonic says the hitting shoulder at contact should be slightly behind the off shoulder which is usually true and a good idea, but very soon after it should be in front. Your swing path is wrong and there is no ISR/pronation to allow for the racquet to square up into contact. Instead, you swing straight past the ball parallel to the baseline like you are holding an axe and there is quite a bit of forward wrist flexion involved.

Now, you do something else that might be cause for injury concern, and I'm guessing this is a spin serve:
AP1GczPMqRsFIq7FaoCEzt7U61u2q4KndNdKtFz9KYUsQVG1gW6ZkeUB6_S411iUcTpaMtLOMf38ChPbrbHHeihgX3MycP0_l3YtRrcu2SuW2x0Xq2cqOYXFYylwrTujWkVkCPRkscNM08r2mopCMkhGS8Zu=w1366-h604-s-no-gm
`
That wrist looks terribly uncomfortable and it isn't what should happen, but if it doesn't hurt don't worry too much about that specifically. Again note your off arm getting in the road of your swing/deceleration.

You might need to video from the side view since I suspect your toss is either way too far back, or you put yourself in a position where it is behind you and then you perform a basketball sky hook. For comparison, here are some pros at contact.
AP1GczNJL7u-ZPOjsDiPjwVov488XbVpLugMPgZVpjnDwDp4vKxF5LZgL9lE19lyOqujZQ59HBAuJ2RSw3bCHDJnQI27XFy4wdXONHitWFKyqghOAKEcNYm5bwhEgkCQ99qUzhYPhKVazJj9wD9QoMppYQG9=w861-h503-s-no-gm


And Zverev from the side;
AP1GczPFIRcmAt1nkay1zRO1G7y7pZYISNNWZ9XU5Kh6LM9Q-7DS1Gsv9Wqh7BZF6La266X2gylCeZ3vYa5P8xiBonAEPMd6-9kxVEYdBHveEyK_8e6fEIQ35CPGSNq4XRZpMkfjRSCjmTWYkwRCR-hJRqwn=w394-h649-s-no-gm

I will reiterate a point I have made in other threads - the back hip must stay back, but the hitting shoulder must also be allowed to come around through torso rotation, and it is fine to almost square up (there is still a sideways component to prevent horizontal spinning where the entire body comes around and faces the net, which is also wrong).

In summary:
Can you replicate this kind of serve warmup, where you "walk through" the serve?? You need to be able to master the upper body with mimimal help from the legs.


See how he is nowhere near as sideways as you and his hitting shoulder comes around and through in front of him.

1. Practice the half serve from a proper trophy position to coordinate your upper body correctly.
2. Practice throwing a ball for height, not distance, but general throwing drills will almost certainly help.
3. You might have to learn how to use ISR/pronation to square the strings up to the ball, siince you don't do that at all right now.

Something like this, just to learn how it feels (no fast swings).

I would also add that Joker is probably a good model to compare against (for checking key serve positions), since he is a platform server (feet don't move) and he does stay somewhat sideways, even on first serves. He also decelerates his swing with an albow bend/break which you seem to like. Good luck!!

Edit: You have good leg drive so adding that back in later shouldn't be a big deal.
 
Last edited:

Move

Hall of Fame
Screenshots as promised. Sorry for the delay. The first two images are the same serve and I think they are a first serve down the T (serve is down the T, that much I know).

AP1GczMY5XOZm-krikp9u0ZkAJf26Vv2R1TO5TSPzy2sufSsnfc2VRSdn5W2WQlI-Tcdjm5LShdVclWBIfKNyuGDa72ySE-l0j704Lls5ojPHvdP1j4qBnnxc11Q7qGKcGS3IyIp8gcW8x_cYoSdDVkJcvqX=w1366-h509-s-no-gm

Frame 1 is where your racquet should be in the correct trophy position, right before leg drive starts and your knee bend is at its deepest. BUT, leg drive starts at frame 5 and you have a major racquet leak and you are dropping your elbow incorrectly (that isn't as critical as the other stuff and you could almost get away with it if your swing path was correct).

From that last frame you almost swing across parallel to the baseline, with no torso rotation or body contribution at all, including no ISR.
AP1GczOEeEI25jCXGDQJGX5MehNCNeIbllqA2Gtvc3RL9epBgYnK-YmHvqHmjf8pyLiNU_pKy-mVoJT75S9dafWRW6D6_hxvAuzEJB-rIx1l_dfUMk6LyhJAG-DBBsNGIvDNsba1-LzIpBdkUJgJClS75vDH=w1366-h434-s-no-gm

So your back shoulder stays back the whole time, your entire body stays sideways and your tossing arm tucks such that it is nearly impossible for you to unwind into the strike. Using this method there is no way for you to hit a really powerful serve. You need to forget about tucking the off arm since it is part of your problem. Raonic says the hitting shoulder at contact should be slightly behind the off shoulder which is usually true, but very soon after it should be in front. Your swing path is wrong and there is no ISR/pronation to allow for the racquet to square up into contact. Instead, you swing straight past the ball parallel to the baseline like you are holding an axe.

Now, you do something else that might be cause for injury concern, and I'm guessing this is a spin serve:
AP1GczPMqRsFIq7FaoCEzt7U61u2q4KndNdKtFz9KYUsQVG1gW6ZkeUB6_S411iUcTpaMtLOMf38ChPbrbHHeihgX3MycP0_l3YtRrcu2SuW2x0Xq2cqOYXFYylwrTujWkVkCPRkscNM08r2mopCMkhGS8Zu=w1366-h604-s-no-gm

That wrist looks terribly uncomfortable and it isn't what should happen. Again note your off arm getting in the road of your swing because you don't allow your torso to rotate through the strike.

You might need to video from the side view since I suspect your toss is either way too far back, or you pur yourself in a position where it is behind you and then you perform a basketball sky hook. For comparison, here are some pros at contact.
AP1GczNJL7u-ZPOjsDiPjwVov488XbVpLugMPgZVpjnDwDp4vKxF5LZgL9lE19lyOqujZQ59HBAuJ2RSw3bCHDJnQI27XFy4wdXONHitWFKyqghOAKEcNYm5bwhEgkCQ99qUzhYPhKVazJj9wD9QoMppYQG9=w861-h503-s-no-gm


And Zverev from the side;
AP1GczPFIRcmAt1nkay1zRO1G7y7pZYISNNWZ9XU5Kh6LM9Q-7DS1Gsv9Wqh7BZF6La266X2gylCeZ3vYa5P8xiBonAEPMd6-9kxVEYdBHveEyK_8e6fEIQ35CPGSNq4XRZpMkfjRSCjmTWYkwRCR-hJRqwn=w394-h649-s-no-gm

I will reiterate a point I have made in other threads - the back hip must stay back, but the hitting shoulder must also be allowed to come around through torso rotation, and itis fine to almost square up (there is still a sideways component to prevent horizontal spinning where the entire body comes around and faces the net, which is also wrong).

In summary:
Can you replicate this kind of serve warmup, where you "walk through" the serve?? You need to be able to master the upper body with mimimal help from the legs.


See how he is nowhere near as sideways as you and his hitting shoulder comes around and through in front of him.

1. Practice the half serve from a proper trophy position to coordinate your upper body correctly.
2. Practice throwing a ball for height, not distance, but general throwing drills will almost certainly help.
3. You might have to learn how to use ISR/pronation to square the strings up to the ball, siince you don't do that at all right now.

Something like this, just to learn how it feels (no fast swings).

Good luck!!

Edit: You have good leg drive so adding that back in later shouldn't be a big deal.
Allow me to chime in. Great analysis and advice by @Digital Atheist here.
Looks you are trying to actively using your right hip? Forget about that, it messes up your serve. Lead with the left knee, hip and chestbone into contact and allow the right hip along the ride for stability when the serve motion ends. The right side of your body should be loose and then becomes explosive into contact with the ball, forget about aiming because it all happens too fast
 
Last edited:

SystemicAnomaly

Bionic Poster
Two more snippits. Still lots to work on but my two takeaways here are:
1) On the balls I netted, it was indeed from not keeping vertical long enough and pulling my head / shoulder down too early
2) I made a significant improvement on my MPH simply by being slightly more perpendicular to the court and allowing me to have a better path to the ball
3) I could still be more consistent on getting my elbow up/level with the shoulder line
3) Still lots to work on and need to better dial in accuracy through reps with the different stance and changes, but overall I think it's coming along more


Thanks all for your continued input and help!
Yup, still seeing that low R elbow during the trophy phase and a good part of the racket drop. And the elbow still starts to move forward (of the chest & shoulder line) prematurely— it’s happening even before the bottom of the racket head drop. (This is quite evident toward the end of the 1st snapshot sequence DA posted above).
 

Digital Atheist

Hall of Fame
I know I added a lot of info, but there are other drills that might help (some drills resonate more than others, depending on the individual). So you could try, in addition to elbow the enemy, this half serve drill from Jeff:

And you might get something from this discussion about rollng the elbow up and out:
 

Chas Tennis

G.O.A.T.
Screenshots as promised. Sorry for the delay. The first two images are the same serve and I think they are a first serve down the T (serve is down the T, that much I know).

AP1GczMY5XOZm-krikp9u0ZkAJf26Vv2R1TO5TSPzy2sufSsnfc2VRSdn5W2WQlI-Tcdjm5LShdVclWBIfKNyuGDa72ySE-l0j704Lls5ojPHvdP1j4qBnnxc11Q7qGKcGS3IyIp8gcW8x_cYoSdDVkJcvqX=w1366-h509-s-no-gm

Frame 1 (maybe Frame 2 is also acceptable) is where your racquet should be in the correct trophy position, right before leg drive starts and your knee bend is at its deepest. BUT, leg drive starts at frame 5 and you have a major racquet leak and you are dropping your elbow incorrectly (that isn't as critical as the other stuff and you could almost get away with it if your swing path was correct).

AP1GczOEeEI25jCXGDQJGX5MehNCNeIbllqA2Gtvc3RL9epBgYnK-YmHvqHmjf8pyLiNU_pKy-mVoJT75S9dafWRW6D6_hxvAuzEJB-rIx1l_dfUMk6LyhJAG-DBBsNGIvDNsba1-LzIpBdkUJgJClS75vDH=w1366-h434-s-no-gm

So your back shoulder stays back the whole time, your entire body stays sideways and your tossing arm tucks such that it is nearly impossible for you to unwind into the strike. Imo you need to forget about tucking the off arm since it is part of your problem and you will naturally do it anyway.

Raonic says the hitting shoulder at contact should be slightly behind the off shoulder which is usually true and a good idea, but very soon after it should be in front. Your swing path is wrong and there is no ISR/pronation to allow for the racquet to square up into contact. Instead, you swing straight past the ball parallel to the baseline like you are holding an axe and there is quite a bit of forward wrist flexion involved.

Now, you do something else that might be cause for injury concern, and I'm guessing this is a spin serve:
AP1GczPMqRsFIq7FaoCEzt7U61u2q4KndNdKtFz9KYUsQVG1gW6ZkeUB6_S411iUcTpaMtLOMf38ChPbrbHHeihgX3MycP0_l3YtRrcu2SuW2x0Xq2cqOYXFYylwrTujWkVkCPRkscNM08r2mopCMkhGS8Zu=w1366-h604-s-no-gm
`
That wrist looks terribly uncomfortable and it isn't what should happen, but if it doesn't hurt don't worry too much about that specifically. Again note your off arm getting in the road of your swing/deceleration.

You might need to video from the side view since I suspect your toss is either way too far back, or you put yourself in a position where it is behind you and then you perform a basketball sky hook. For comparison, here are some pros at contact.
AP1GczNJL7u-ZPOjsDiPjwVov488XbVpLugMPgZVpjnDwDp4vKxF5LZgL9lE19lyOqujZQ59HBAuJ2RSw3bCHDJnQI27XFy4wdXONHitWFKyqghOAKEcNYm5bwhEgkCQ99qUzhYPhKVazJj9wD9QoMppYQG9=w861-h503-s-no-gm


And Zverev from the side;
AP1GczPFIRcmAt1nkay1zRO1G7y7pZYISNNWZ9XU5Kh6LM9Q-7DS1Gsv9Wqh7BZF6La266X2gylCeZ3vYa5P8xiBonAEPMd6-9kxVEYdBHveEyK_8e6fEIQ35CPGSNq4XRZpMkfjRSCjmTWYkwRCR-hJRqwn=w394-h649-s-no-gm

I will reiterate a point I have made in other threads - the back hip must stay back, but the hitting shoulder must also be allowed to come around through torso rotation, and it is fine to almost square up (there is still a sideways component to prevent horizontal spinning where the entire body comes around and faces the net, which is also wrong).

In summary:
Can you replicate this kind of serve warmup, where you "walk through" the serve?? You need to be able to master the upper body with mimimal help from the legs.


See how he is nowhere near as sideways as you and his hitting shoulder comes around and through in front of him.

1. Practice the half serve from a proper trophy position to coordinate your upper body correctly.
2. Practice throwing a ball for height, not distance, but general throwing drills will almost certainly help.
3. You might have to learn how to use ISR/pronation to square the strings up to the ball, siince you don't do that at all right now.

Something like this, just to learn how it feels (no fast swings).

I would also add that Joker is probably a good model to compare against (for checking key serve positions), since he is a platform server (feet don't move) and he does stay somewhat sideways, even on first serves. He also decelerates his swing with an albow bend/break which you seem to like. Good luck!!

Edit: You have good leg drive so adding that back in later shouldn't be a big deal.
The most important reference frame for all strokes is always the frame with impact. For the Zverev serve, assuming flat or slice serve, the body and straight arm are often in a line as shown, but the racket appears vertical at impact. It only appears vertical from the side camera view. Not really vertical, it tilts left from the behind camera view. If the ball always shows then this impact frame is always a great reference. Nice to include the type of serve but that is often hard to know on the internet. Kick. Slice, Flat, Top Spin, Unknown.

OP, what pro have you chosen for a comparison?
 
Last edited:

Digital Atheist

Hall of Fame
The most important reference frame for all strokes is always the frame with impact. For the Zereve serve, assuming flat or slice serve, the body and straight arm are often in a line as shown, but the racket appears vertical at impact. It only appears vertical from the side camera view. It tilts left from the behind camera view. If the ball always shows then this impact frame is always a great reference. Nice to include the type of serve but that is often hard to know on the internet. Kick. Slice, Flat, Top Spin, Unknown.

OP, what pro have you chosen for a comparison?
Yes that's true. The side view was for the shoulder positioning so @BBender716 can see the relationship between the two at contact on a regular first serve. The earlier contact image featuring Joker, Thiem, Fritz etc showed the forearm to racquet angle at contact, which is certainly important.

I recommended joker for reasons I outlined above.
 

SystemicAnomaly

Bionic Poster
Yes that's true. The side view was for the shoulder positioning so @BBender716 can see the relationship between the two at contact on a regular first serve. The earlier contact image featuring Joker, Thiem, Fritz etc showed the forearm to racquet angle at contact, which is certainly important.

I recommended joker for reasons I outlined above.
I’ve used stills of Novak executing the serve quite a few times. Caveat: AVOID images & videos of his serve prior to 2011. In 2010, it took 3 different serving coaches to fix his ongoing elbow issues
 

Chas Tennis

G.O.A.T.
Screenshots as promised. Sorry for the delay. The first two images are the same serve and I think they are a first serve down the T (serve is down the T, that much I know).

AP1GczMY5XOZm-krikp9u0ZkAJf26Vv2R1TO5TSPzy2sufSsnfc2VRSdn5W2WQlI-Tcdjm5LShdVclWBIfKNyuGDa72ySE-l0j704Lls5ojPHvdP1j4qBnnxc11Q7qGKcGS3IyIp8gcW8x_cYoSdDVkJcvqX=w1366-h509-s-no-gm

Frame 1 (maybe Frame 2 is also acceptable) is where your racquet should be in the correct trophy position, right before leg drive starts and your knee bend is at its deepest. BUT, leg drive starts at frame 5 and you have a major racquet leak and you are dropping your elbow incorrectly (that isn't as critical as the other stuff and you could almost get away with it if your swing path was correct).

AP1GczOEeEI25jCXGDQJGX5MehNCNeIbllqA2Gtvc3RL9epBgYnK-YmHvqHmjf8pyLiNU_pKy-mVoJT75S9dafWRW6D6_hxvAuzEJB-rIx1l_dfUMk6LyhJAG-DBBsNGIvDNsba1-LzIpBdkUJgJClS75vDH=w1366-h434-s-no-gm

So your back shoulder stays back the whole time, your entire body stays sideways and your tossing arm tucks such that it is nearly impossible for you to unwind into the strike. Imo you need to forget about tucking the off arm since it is part of your problem and you will naturally do it anyway.

Raonic says the hitting shoulder at contact should be slightly behind the off shoulder which is usually true and a good idea, but very soon after it should be in front. Your swing path is wrong and there is no ISR/pronation to allow for the racquet to square up into contact. Instead, you swing straight past the ball parallel to the baseline like you are holding an axe and there is quite a bit of forward wrist flexion involved.

Now, you do something else that might be cause for injury concern, and I'm guessing this is a spin serve:
AP1GczPMqRsFIq7FaoCEzt7U61u2q4KndNdKtFz9KYUsQVG1gW6ZkeUB6_S411iUcTpaMtLOMf38ChPbrbHHeihgX3MycP0_l3YtRrcu2SuW2x0Xq2cqOYXFYylwrTujWkVkCPRkscNM08r2mopCMkhGS8Zu=w1366-h604-s-no-gm
`
That wrist looks terribly uncomfortable and it isn't what should happen, but if it doesn't hurt don't worry too much about that specifically. Again note your off arm getting in the road of your swing/deceleration.

You might need to video from the side view since I suspect your toss is either way too far back, or you put yourself in a position where it is behind you and then you perform a basketball sky hook. For comparison, here are some pros at contact.
AP1GczNJL7u-ZPOjsDiPjwVov488XbVpLugMPgZVpjnDwDp4vKxF5LZgL9lE19lyOqujZQ59HBAuJ2RSw3bCHDJnQI27XFy4wdXONHitWFKyqghOAKEcNYm5bwhEgkCQ99qUzhYPhKVazJj9wD9QoMppYQG9=w861-h503-s-no-gm


And Zverev from the side;
AP1GczPFIRcmAt1nkay1zRO1G7y7pZYISNNWZ9XU5Kh6LM9Q-7DS1Gsv9Wqh7BZF6La266X2gylCeZ3vYa5P8xiBonAEPMd6-9kxVEYdBHveEyK_8e6fEIQ35CPGSNq4XRZpMkfjRSCjmTWYkwRCR-hJRqwn=w394-h649-s-no-gm

I will reiterate a point I have made in other threads - the back hip must stay back, but the hitting shoulder must also be allowed to come around through torso rotation, and it is fine to almost square up (there is still a sideways component to prevent horizontal spinning where the entire body comes around and faces the net, which is also wrong).

In summary:
Can you replicate this kind of serve warmup, where you "walk through" the serve?? You need to be able to master the upper body with mimimal help from the legs.


See how he is nowhere near as sideways as you and his hitting shoulder comes around and through in front of him.

1. Practice the half serve from a proper trophy position to coordinate your upper body correctly.
2. Practice throwing a ball for height, not distance, but general throwing drills will almost certainly help.
3. You might have to learn how to use ISR/pronation to square the strings up to the ball, siince you don't do that at all right now.

Something like this, just to learn how it feels (no fast swings).

I would also add that Joker is probably a good model to compare against (for checking key serve positions), since he is a platform server (feet don't move) and he does stay somewhat sideways, even on first serves. He also decelerates his swing with an albow bend/break which you seem to like. Good luck!!

Edit: You have good leg drive so adding that back in later shouldn't be a big deal.
I can only view on a phone for now.

Like you said, OP does not do Internal Shoulder Rotation. Your frames make that crystal clear.
 
Last edited:

Chas Tennis

G.O.A.T.
OP

Forum Search: Internal Shoulder Rotation
Member: Chas Tennis

Look for IRS descriptions and videos.

Look for Ellenbecker recommendation to reduce the risk of shoulder impingement during the service motion.

You need to understand the high level serve with ISR.
 

BBender716

Professional
OK so after reading, the biggest thing that @Digital Atheist pointed out that I noticed myself was the racquet leaking "past" trophy prior to leg drive. I'm going to drop the leg drive and focus on:

1. Not moving "past" trophy during the brief moment of waiting to explode into the serve/whether with legs or driving the elbow up.
2. ISR, but this is what I need to familiarize myself most with in terms of the "feeling" so I will find some drills that help me feel what successful ISR feels like so I can reproduce over and over. Is it mostly coming from the idea of driving the elbow up and forward and pulling the racquet?
3. Tossing arm fully vertical

I assume adding in leg drive should be just before the top half starts to
Some of these things, as abnormal as they are, I'm not doing intentionally (particularly the offhand moving out of the way).

Thank you guys again! Just wait until I ask for advice on my god awful forehand I'm working on completely overhauling. I'm talking, finally doing a real bleeping unit turn with weight transfer instead of the classic "super open stance with dead off arm"!
 

BBender716

Professional
Thinking through this some more and doing some shadow swinging, I think part of my two issues with getting good ISR is actually stemming from two things:

1. My toss is too far inside the baseline, so when I am trying to make contact, I'm adjusting by doing more wrist flexion because I don't have "room" to perform any significant amount of ISR and also results in the "skyhook" serve motion. I think I can toss further in front and also "lean" more into the court.
2. When learning a spin serve, especially slice, I think I overdid the concept of brushing the ball where I think my arm motion has very little/zero ISR and my swing is too parallel to the baseline and that concept has bled into all my serves. Out of curiousity, how does one get good ISR on spin serves without losing too much movement but gaining velocity?

Does these two make sense? I'll have some side videos next time to validate my hypotheses.
 

Chas Tennis

G.O.A.T.
OK so after reading, the biggest thing that @Digital Atheist pointed out that I noticed myself was the racquet leaking "past" trophy prior to leg drive. I'm going to drop the leg drive and focus on:

1. Not moving "past" trophy during the brief moment of waiting to explode into the serve/whether with legs or driving the elbow up.
2. ISR, but this is what I need to familiarize myself most with in terms of the "feeling" so I will find some drills that help me feel what successful ISR feels like so I can reproduce over and over. Is it mostly coming from the idea of driving the elbow up and forward and pulling the racquet?
3. Tossing arm fully vertical

I assume adding in leg drive should be just before the top half starts to
Some of these things, as abnormal as they are, I'm not doing intentionally (particularly the offhand moving out of the way).

Thank you guys again! Just wait until I ask for advice on my god awful forehand I'm working on completely overhauling. I'm talking, finally doing a real bleeping unit turn with weight transfer instead of the classic "super open stance with dead off arm"!
ISR involves ESR and several other motions during the service motion that stretch muscles.

I posted much more about the other sub-motions around 2015. Especially all the sub-motions that stretch ISR muscles.

Last, I looked into the often called 'chest up' sub-motion of the serve and found lots of interesting new information. As usual, the word description of chest up was misleading but the video showed me after 50 years of ignorance, what was going on. Once you see something in a tennis stroke, your always see it.

Search my thread Thread
Thoracic Extension of the Spine and the Tennis Serve.

Be sure to see the video detailing what happens with a millisecond time scale.

I suggest that you switch your mental view of the serve to be guided by your own high speed video observations and not by tennis word descriptions or average player thoughts.
 
Last edited:

Chas Tennis

G.O.A.T.
Belief in looking at the tossed ball until impact.

You also appear to have the belief that you must be looking at the ball at impact. High speed videos show a few ATP servers looking at the ball to impact, but most ATP servers break off looking at the ball before impact. Look at high speed video, ~240 fps, compilations of serves and stop on the frame closest to impact, side camera view and look at the head orientation. Most are not looking at the ball until impact. Robredo has an extreme head position as you do. That appears stressful to the neck and looking also limits limits how your upper body can bend.
 

SystemicAnomaly

Bionic Poster
OK so after reading, the biggest thing that @Digital Atheist pointed out that I noticed myself was the racquet leaking "past" trophy prior to leg drive. I'm going to drop the leg drive and focus on:

1. Not moving "past" trophy during the brief moment of waiting to explode into the serve/whether with legs or driving the elbow up.
2. ISR, but this is what I need to familiarize myself most with in terms of the "feeling" so I will find some drills that help me feel what successful ISR feels like so I can reproduce over and over. Is it mostly coming from the idea of driving the elbow up and forward and pulling the racquet?
3. Tossing arm fully vertical

I assume adding in leg drive should be just before the top half starts to
Some of these things, as abnormal as they are, I'm not doing intentionally (particularly the offhand moving out of the way).

Thank you guys again! Just wait until I ask for advice on my god awful forehand I'm working on completely overhauling. I'm talking, finally doing a real bleeping unit turn with weight transfer instead of the classic "super open stance with dead off arm"!
Have you tried Jeff’s half-serve drill (earlier in this thread)? This might be the easiest way to fix the racquet leak issue — w/o needing to eliminate the knee bend / leg drive.

After doing the half serve drill for a while, try the racquet / arm in a lower position rather than. salute position— like a power position or lower. After the ball toss, delay the movement of racquet arm a bit — staggered rhythm
 

SystemicAnomaly

Bionic Poster
… and don’t rush the racquet to get to your trophy phase when using a staggered rhythm. The motion for the prep & trophy phase should be a moderate speed. No pause needed for the trophy phase. RHS should be increased later — with the drop & upward swing.
 
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