Serve advice

QiZ

New User
I've never video myself playing before and I regret doing it. My form looks ugly and the serve looks really slow.

Can I get some advice on form or something to make my serves faster?

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Chas Tennis

G.O.A.T.
The motion blur of the racket is excessive. Repeat in bright sunlight and you may get better results.

Also, the camera view behind and looking along the ball's trajectory is better for seeing racket angles.
 
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Deleted member 754093

Guest
The motion blur of the racket is excessive. Repeat in bright sunlight and you may get better results.

Also, the camera view behind and looking along the ball's trajectory is better for seeing racket angles.
Excellent analysis
 

QiZ

New User
The motion blur of the racket is excessive. Repeat in bright sunlight and you may get better results.

Also, the camera view behind and looking along the ball's trajectory is better for seeing racket angles.
Lol thanks. I'll try again and film with a better potato.

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dennis

Rookie
get your toss more consistent, this will help you keep your balance. Your back foot is getting to different positions. Keep your grip and wrist loose to develop RHS. Try hitting the ball hard without aiming it or jumping, see how your action compares. Also, check this out

 

QiZ

New User
get your toss more consistent, this will help you keep your balance. Your back foot is getting to different positions. Keep your grip and wrist loose to develop RHS. Try hitting the ball hard without aiming it or jumping, see how your action compares. Also, check this out

Wow good eye! Didn't notice my back foot was just lost back there. I tend to serve a lot more consistently when I only use the upper parts of my body. I remember not double faulting once during a match when I didn't use my legs cause they we're just extra parts to worry about when going through the motions.

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FiReFTW

Legend
Your serve is slow because you are wasting away massive amounts of power by stoping your arm and racquet when you raise them up to the trophy pose.
All the momentum you gained you stop on the top and then start from almost zero again, instead of building up the momentum from start to finish in one fluid motion.
Once you start your service motion by raising ur racquet up from bellow the racquet and arm should keep moving and building up momentum and speed till you hit the ball.
 

Limpinhitter

G.O.A.T.
I've never video myself playing before and I regret doing it. My form looks ugly and the serve looks really slow.

Can I get some advice on form or something to make my serves faster?

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You are trying to generate power by swinging hard with your arm. Rather, you should generate power on serve the same way you do on forehand, by employing upper body rotation and the kinetic chain.
 

FiReFTW

Legend
You are trying to generate power by swinging hard with your arm. Rather, you should generate power on serve the same way you do on forehand, by employing upper body rotation and the kinetic chain.
Good observation.
From what I notice he actually coils his hips and turns his upper body at start which looks good if only he would then uncoil into the shot, but instead he steps forward with his back foot and uncoils before even hitting, then he hits the ball with little body involvement.
 

Guy Jones

Rookie
You are trying too hard with your wrists, instead let it snap to generate racquet speed. You don't need to try 'too hard', just let the racquet flow. Also bring the racquet behind you and appreciate that the bigger distance it has to hit the ball the more speed it can build up.
 

QiZ

New User
Okay so keep my back foot steady, time my arm movement better so there's no awkward pause, and uncoil the center of body along with arm for power.

Is that right summary?

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Limpinhitter

G.O.A.T.
Good observation.
From what I notice he actually coils his hips and turns his upper body at start which looks good if only he would then uncoil into the shot, but instead he steps forward with his back foot and uncoils before even hitting, then he hits the ball with little body involvement.
Very well explained.
 

FiReFTW

Legend
Okay so keep my back foot steady, time my arm movement better so there's no awkward pause, and uncoil the center of body along with arm for power.

Is that right summary?

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Your focusing too much on the center, the uncoiling starts from the ground up, so it starts with ur legs not ur center.
 

QiZ

New User
Nope no coach. Shoot I was hoping to practice it in pieces by leaving the legs out of the equation.

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Guy Jones

Rookie
You are bringing the racquet behind you with a stiff arm, leave it to do what it wants with a soft arm, accelerate the racquet quickly and keep your wrist soft. That's the most important thing, you need a soft wrist that just holds onto the racquet but doesn't slow it down. Your action looks very stiff, quite automated, but you should let your body be as supple as possible.
 

FiReFTW

Legend
Nope no coach. Shoot I was hoping to practice it in pieces by leaving the legs out of the equation.

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You can start by adding very little legs, just a light jump, but still incorporate them, so u dont have to relearn the whole motion later. You need to get a feel and understanding on what youd body needs to do to hit a serve.
 

QiZ

New User
This is good stuff, any good video examples? More of a visual learner.

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FiReFTW

Legend
Watch federer serve on youtube and notice how he bends his legs and turn his upper body away almost back towards the fence, then he starts his motion by pushing sith his legs and then hips and then upper body. Also note how his arm keeps moving and is one fluid continious motion.
His arm is relaxed and he is barely holding the racquet.
Its like the has a pendulum and is swinging it, throwing the racquet forward almost like throwing a ball forward.
 

Guy Jones

Rookie
You don't have a bad serve really, but there are a few tips you should improve on. I like your throw up, it's a good starting point, but try and be more free with you action, don't keep the racquet close to your body. The racquet should resemble a throwing action in the swing, maximum velocity is needed, a part of that is the wrist movement.

Practice hitting with a really heavily modified grip (chopper). At first is should feel like you are slicing every ball, but once you get used to it the grip literally allows you to just put maximum power on everything.
 

FiReFTW

Legend
Btw OP, a question for you.
How much were you suprized when you saw yourself on the vid?
Its quite funny how when we play it seems like we hit federeresque shots, then on video look funny and akward and the ball so much slower than it seems in real life.
 

GuyClinch

Legend
Watch federer serve on youtube and notice how he bends his legs and turn his upper body away almost back towards the fence, then he starts his motion by pushing sith his legs and then hips and then upper body. Also note how his arm keeps moving and is one fluid continious motion.
His arm is relaxed and he is barely holding the racquet.
Its like the has a pendulum and is swinging it, throwing the racquet forward almost like throwing a ball forward.
Good tips. I think that abbreviated motion is a good starting point for some. But for many it really robs any fluidity you might get out of your serve motion. You have to transition away from that for more of a loop for more power..

And for the OP - serve is not trash at all.
 

QiZ

New User
The difference is astonishing! It makes me wonder how everything else looks. I actually thought that I was emulating this video I tried to base my serve off of,
.

Somewhere along the line I added my own weird quirks like the legs and the stiffness of the arms.

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QiZ

New User
I think I was trying to bring the legs together like what Mischa zverev does. Watching his match with isner right now.

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Guy Jones

Rookie
I don't think whether you bring the legs together or not is an issue, it's the speed of your serve. You hit a decent serve but if you want to improve it you need to think less about technique and more about yourself really. You can hit a serve, yes, that box is ticked, but can you hit a serve not worried about your technique and smash it? I think you are too concerned and this concern makes you stiffen up.
 

FiReFTW

Legend
The difference is astonishing! It makes me wonder how everything else looks. I actually thought that I was emulating this video I tried to base my serve off of,
.

Somewhere along the line I added my own weird quirks like the legs and the stiffness of the arms.

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In that back view from roger you can clearly see how his arm and racquet keep moving and building up momentum from start to finish, compared to you with your break on top.
It makes a huge difference.
Grab the racquet in ur hand to test it out, now hold it with just thumb and index finger on the grip, let the head point towards the ground.
Now start swinging it forwards and backwards a bit, lets say 45 degrees.
Now when you swing it forward try to add a bit more to it, so you get it up to 90 degrees.
Now stop swinging it completely, just let it hang down.
Now try to add some momentum to bring it up to 90 degrees again.
You will notice just how much more effort you need to bring it up from a standstill compared to when you ready have momentum.
Same thing with the serve.
You can have all the mechanics in the world down perfectly and insane strenght and technique, but if you stop your motion between the stroke and then try to explode and hit, it wont help you, you will lose massive power.
 

Limpinhitter

G.O.A.T.
Okay so keep my back foot steady, time my arm movement better so there's no awkward pause, and uncoil the center of body along with arm for power.

Is that right summary?

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No. The pause is not the issue. Many great servers have a pause at the peak of their tosses ie: John McEnroe, Boris Becker and Andy Roddick. The problem is that you are getting into a pretty good set-up when you toss the ball (it could be better), where you are in position to utilize some (but not enough), upper body rotation to help generate racquet head speed, but then, you come out of your set-up before you make your upward swing and are left to generate power by trying to swing hard with only your arm rather than using upper body rotation.

In your set-up position, at the peak of your toss, your upper body should be turned so that your back is to the target, and tilted so that your left shoulder is nearly directly above your right shoulder. (See the first pic of Sampras below). One simple move that can help to accomplish both turn and tilt of the upper body is, as you toss the ball, slide your left hip toward the right net post. This will promote upper body turn and tilt at the same time. At the peak of the toss, you then rotate your right shoulder up to the ball so that your upper body rotates like a tilted cylinder. At contact, your shoulders have reversed positions so that your right shoulder is now almost directly above your left shoulder. (See the second pic of Sampras below). Rotating the upper body like a tilted cylinder will promote maximum racquet head speed.




 

Curious

Legend
You are squatting and arching your back instead of loading with a proper knee bend. Back should be relatively straight in its vertical axis and on the same line as your thighs.

 

TennisCJC

Legend
Qiz, read post #6 by dennis and watch the video. You definitely do not get your chest up which would allow you to have more of a topspin element to your serve. you bend the knees but keep your shoulders over the feet. This causes your forward swing to slide around the outside the ball. I noticed your serve has a natural slice and most of your serve swing out to your L.

If you work on chest up, think of it as bending at the knee to get the chest up and not arching the back. In the videos of Federer above, the line from his knees to his shoulders is fairly straight with only a small arch of the back. Federer looks like he is bending at the knees and leaning his body back which allows him to hit up.

This, chest up, is proper technique for 1st serves as well as kick serves.

By the way, your serve is pretty good. You get good shoulder turn and lift from the legs. I think if you can turn the squat action at trophy pause into more of a chest up motion, it will help.
 

Digital Atheist

Professional
In that back view from roger you can clearly see how his arm and racquet keep moving and building up momentum from start to finish, compared to you with your break on top.
It makes a huge difference.
Federer is one of the few pro players who actually slows down approaching trophy, and in fact in his case the racquet head almost completely stops, so the claim the trophy pause makes a huge difference seems irreconcilable when compared to this information. It is true a continuous motion can lead to a small gain in power due to the aforementioned momentum building - but the advantage in power of a continuous motion is not huge, and can sometimes be detrimental due to timing issues with the legs (one of the reasons the trophy pause is now taught by some coaches).

Salzenstein prefers a continuous motion to a pause (but notice he doesn't claim a TP is a serious power killer) so there are other advantages. Also note the title of the video:

The Top Tennis guys have an interesting and viable approach regarding this topic which I like:

No. The pause is not the issue.
Agree.

OP, you have a decent serve and it has the potential to be even better. Have a look at just how long you keep your tossing arm up for, or rather how you don't really bring it down properly (side view is best around 1:33). Surprisingly, imo it's up too long (even at contact) and that is inhibiting the shoulder over shoulder action that will help with your racquet head speed as you drive up to the ball (and why you aren't 'chest up to the sky'). Compare to the Sampras image at contact above or look at some side on youtube videos of your favourite server using frame by frame.
 

FiReFTW

Legend
The continious motion idea comes from salzenstein videos indeed.
Also seems like pro players seem to all have it, no really complete stop at the top.
Tho im suprized that its actually not true with every single player, I had to go check on youtube but roddick does indeed make a complete stop at the top, yet he is one of the biggest servers ever, thats quite suprizing.
Perhaps the continious motion does indeed not really gain that much more power, at least not if you stop at the top, if you stopped somewhere after it would probably be more detremental.
 

gregor.b

Professional
Hi mate, keep your left arm up a little longer and that should help keep your shoulders closed a little longer.
Your shoulders are opening out ( think rotating) too early and you are hitting the serve front on.
This is sucking power from the serve.
 

dennis

Rookie
roddick does indeed make a complete stop at the top, yet he is one of the biggest servers ever, thats quite suprizing.
Perhaps the continious motion does indeed not really gain that much more power, at least not if you stop at the top, if you stopped somewhere after it would probably be more detremental.
I think Roddick does an early pause but goes through his trophy position continuously, it's just a bit later in his serving rhythm (his tossing arm has dropped quite a bit by the time he reaches trophy). Others slow down quite a bit eg Berdych but they don't stop and lose momentum (except Graf).
 

time_fly

Hall of Fame
I think the "natural slice" action on this serve is coming from the fact that his back front steps "in front" of his front foot on my serves, opening him up too early. By "in front" I mean in front of his body, or more towards the right edge of the court since he's starting sideways.

I think the serve looks pretty good overall. I think by staying closed a bit longer to get more body rotation through the ball and maybe relaxing the arm more as other posters suggested this serve will instantly pick up a lot more velocity with not too much change.
 

Digital Atheist

Professional
I think Roddick does an early pause but goes through his trophy position continuously, it's just a bit later in his serving rhythm (his tossing arm has dropped quite a bit by the time he reaches trophy). .
Agree. There are several threads on here discussing trophy positions, in particular Roddick and that seems to be the consensus.

Others slow down quite a bit eg Berdych but they don't stop and lose momentum (except Graf).
Given momentum is defined as something like the impetus gained by a moving object, then that argument requires a gradual continual building of acceleration for momentum to noticably contribute to RHS. If you slow right down before accelerating again, then by definition imo that must result in some loss.

Interestingly, Boris Becker went from a more traditional motion without any delay to a higher toss and a pronounced pause.


I prefer the original, but that is beside the point. If a trophy pause is really such a big deal then Boris didn't get the memo. So for those convinced a small trophy pause really is a bad thing, I am curious as to how/why you came to that conclusion?
 
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GuyClinch

Legend
I think Roddick does an early pause but goes through his trophy position continuously, it's just a bit later in his serving rhythm (his tossing arm has dropped quite a bit by the time he reaches trophy). Others slow down quite a bit eg Berdych but they don't stop and lose momentum (except Graf).
Roddick actually has something of a loop. Its an abbreviated loop - but its a loop - once he starts his motion from his 'quick start' its quite fluid all the way through..

It's true you don't need to have a loop to serve with good pop. But it IMHO makes it easier. This is why even someone like Jeff Salzenstein who really focuses on the trophy position makes a very large point about having a fluid continous motion as well.

Too much focus on the trophy position as if that's the 'start' of the serve is going to rob power and not just because of the racquet head speed lots from the start to the pause.

What my coach was explaining the other day is that a good way to serve is to rotate back after you start facing forward - and seperate your hands for the toss. This will give you a pretty big loop. But this loop is helpful.

If you are trying to start from a very abbreviated postion its harder to get that initial - body rotation. Its harder to time everything and get it working together properly.. Super abbreviated is good to isolate some motions.

FWIW forehand/backhand the same way. its not that no one can do it - without a loop. Its that the loop makes generating power and spin easier. You could start in Rick Macci PTD postion and hit pretty nice looking forehands. But left to their own devices players always incorporate the loop. Makes it easier to time the upper body rotations and such and to get the feel of the shot.

YMMV.

Likewise no doubt Fed could serve 110 starting kinda near his trophy. But he doesn't do that - he has a loop. Why? because it works.
 

Curious

Legend
I really doubt it matters in which way you come to the trophy pose as long as you do it right after that point. Throw is the key and it starts from the trophy pose.
 

Digital Atheist

Professional
http://www.optimumtennis.net/tennis-serve-motion.htm

OP might find some value in that article. Finding your own rhythm is important.

You can decide whether the tossing arm is up too long or not long enough (same thing with rotating too early), but imo that left arm is interfering with the shoulder over shoulder - or cartwheel or whatever you want to call it - that allows your upper body to launch with maximum effect because it is forcing your shoulders to remain quite level and not tilted:



Clay Ballard has a decent video (with transcript) on the topic here:
https://topspeedtennis.com/topic/6-4-tennis-serve-technique-using-the-left-arm-for-speed/

A shorter version:

I'm not a high level coach so I can't comment with any authority as I am self taught, but I think I've managed to develop a reasonable understanding of the serves critical components and key positions, and that tossing arm position is a major issue in developing a power serve (unlike your trophy pause). If I'm wrong hopefully someone with more knowledge will offer a correction as I don't want to point you down the wrong path.

EDIT: Try throwing a ball while leaving your left arm in front of your face like it is on your serve and see how far it goes.
 
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QiZ

New User
Wow information overload. I went to the us open to get some inspiration. Querrey took that match easy.


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C

Chadillac

Guest
I've never video myself playing before and I regret doing it. My form looks ugly and the serve looks really slow.

Can I get some advice on form or something to make my serves faster?

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Looks like sirus black, look at his videos in this section, will help you out
 
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