Serve feedback needed

RokasR

New User
Hey guys,
been playing for almost 1,5 years now. Started serving from platform stance, as the time went by moved to pinpoint stance, I'm able to generate more power and spin, but really struggle with consistency. Recorded a slo mo video -
would be great to hear some feedback on my serve - what's bad, what can be improved etc. Thanks and good luck on your serves!
 

Richboi

Rookie
Hey guys,
been playing for almost 1,5 years now. Started serving from platform stance, as the time went by moved to pinpoint stance, I'm able to generate more power and spin, but really struggle with consistency. Recorded a slo mo video -
would be great to hear some feedback on my serve - what's bad, what can be improved etc. Thanks and good luck on your serves!
I’m at work right now, but got a quick analysis based on the first two serves I saw.

-you lose the balance and power from your legs/body when you go to hit the ball. For example, you tend to shift ur momentum upward to hit true ball but then your racquet hasn’t followed yet. Therefore you can say, the stroke got broken into two. As a result you end up just arming the serve - leading to less power and control. (No fluidity)

- next thing is that you tend to swing more across from right to left, instead of going up towards the ball. Meaning your swing path is more from the side, lining with your shoulder. Instead of going more over from the back, a little more behind your head.

Quick analysis so far, will follow up later. Excuse any typos or bad grammar


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
 

Dragy

Hall of Fame
2 things first:
- get rid of the jump so far; yours is ill-timed, too early, and steals your balance which could be used to train good swing first;
- keep your racquet from opening early, don’t swing stringbed straight onto the ball, but swing without opening, up and accross the ball, so that it only opens to direct the ball as pivoting around the end of range of motion; don’t fight glancing contact, don’t pursue flush flat hit.

Also the things to look at, though not that major:
- high toss, might give you unnecessary trouble, though might work ok;
- elbow too low at trophy. Upper arm should be more or less in line with shoulder line (while shoulders are tilted).
 
Looks like a Waiter's Tray as golden chicken says.

There are many threads on the Waiter's Tray serve, still the world's most common serving technique.
 

Claes

New User
Your timing is off. A toss that high looks mighty difficult to match with a fluid motion; but I guess it's possible. The important thing is to find rhythm, without that every other correction will be in vain. Do the tennis balls-in-a-sock-drill.

Second I would focus on the thing mentioned several times above, geting rid of the waiter's tray motion.
 

RokasR

New User
Great advice guys! I was feeling from time to time that my serve ended up in the tray position, but apparently it's most of the time. Any of u had the problem? Gonna try tips from feel tennis next time on court, post some progress. Regarding toss height - it's best to control it by slowing down the toss motion? What's your opinion?

Sent from my SM-G950F using Tapatalk
 

SystemicAnomaly

Talk Tennis Guru
Yup, WTE (waiter's tray error) as mentioned previously. Make sure you are using a continental grip or something close to a conti grip. After your trophy position, be sure that you are dropping the racket on edge. Don't let the racket face open up (toward the sky) during the drop or as you start the upward swing.

Toss is rather high but might not need to be changed radically or at all if it does not seem to be creating timing (or other) issues. Pete Sampras had a pretty high toss that suited him quite well. But then, he is Pete Sampras. YMMV.
 

Curious

Legend
Yup, WTE (waiter's tray error) as mentioned previously. Make sure you are using a continental grip or something close to a conti grip. After your trophy position, be sure that you are dropping the racket on edge. Don't let the racket face open up (toward the sky) during the drop or as you start the upward swing.

Toss is rather high but might not need to be changed radically or at all if it does not seem to be creating timing (or other) issues. Pete Sampras had a pretty high toss that suited him quite well. But then, he is Pete Sampras. YMMV.
Is it possible to hit waiter’s tray serve despite using a continental grip?
Would you agree that both Federer and Ferrer seem not to drop the racket on edge after trophy position?
 

SystemicAnomaly

Talk Tennis Guru
Is it possible to hit waiter’s tray serve despite using a continental grip?
Would you agree that both Federer and Ferrer seem not to drop the racket on edge after trophy position?
Sure a WTE is possible with a proper grip. But much more common with players who employ a panhandle grip or an Eastern Fh grip (or similar). Never really looked at Ferrer's serve. Fed doesn't drop the racket strictly "on edge". His racket face open up a bit at the start of his drop but he never opens up to an full-blown WT position. More important, his racket face does not remain partially open after the initial drop phase. He is definitely "on edge" at the bottom of the drop and during the upward swing as he comes out of the drop. So, sure, there is more than one way to initiate a racket drop and avoid a WTE.

OTOH the OP drops with the face very obviously (fully) open and never gets the racket "on edge".
 

Curious

Legend
Sure a WTE is possible with a proper grip. But much more common with players who employ a panhandle grip or an Eastern Fh grip (or similar). Never really looked at Ferrer's serve. Fed doesn't drop the racket strictly "on edge". His racket face open up a bit at the start of his drop but he never opens up to an full-blown WT position. More important, his racket face does not remain partially open after the initial drop phase. He is definitely "on edge" at the bottom of the drop and during the upward swing as he comes out of the drop. So, sure, there is more than one way to initiate a racket drop and avoid a WTE.

OTOH the OP drops with the face very obviously (fully) open and never gets the racket "on edge".
I see what you mean. Maybe it’s ok as long as it is on edge during the upward swing, would you agree?
Ferrer opens it up more than Federer while going down from trophy position but again after that it travels on edge.
Mine opens up even more (with conti grip) then corrects itself and goes up on edge until pronation starts. I dislike that opening up badly though.
 

SystemicAnomaly

Talk Tennis Guru
I see what you mean. Maybe it’s ok as long as it is on edge during the upward swing, would you agree?
Ferrer opens it up more than Federer while going down from trophy position but again after that it travels on edge.
Mine opens up even more (with conti grip) then corrects itself and goes up on edge until pronation starts. I dislike that opening up badly though.
Yes, on edge for the first part of the upward swing is the most important. Just looked at Ferrer's serve. You are correct, his racket does open up on the drop more that Fed does. I've seen a few players do something like this but still manage to get a decent racket face orientation on the upward swing.

Bottom line. Prior to starting the final upward swing, getting the racket "on edge" on a proper drop assures us that the forearm is supinated and the shoulder is externally rotated. This stretches the pronator muscles and internal rotator muscle for release later during the upward swing. With the WTE, we don't see any supination / pronation. ESR appears to be less than it would be for a proper drop so internal rotators are not stretched quite as much.

My guess is that the ISR is forced or is more demanding on the shoulder with many WT implementations.
 
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ChaelAZ

Legend
Hey guys,
been playing for almost 1,5 years now. Started serving from platform stance, as the time went by moved to pinpoint stance, I'm able to generate more power and spin, but really struggle with consistency. Recorded a slo mo video -
would be great to hear some feedback on my serve - what's bad, what can be improved etc. Thanks and good luck on your serves!

Just curious, do you have a shoulder injury or neck issue?
 

FRV2

Professional
Just a few of my takes:

1. Try to serve without moving the front foot forward during the toss (don't lift it up whilst rocking back and forth to create momentum)
2. When you start sliding your back foot forward, you should be using the momentum to also push your hips into the court
3. Don't make contact with the ball on the way down. Make sure when you make contact with the ball, your body is still moving up and forward.
4. Use a continental grip (if you aren't already) and attack the ball with the edge of your racket.
 
There are many past posts with analyses of poster's serves, including many with Waiter's Tray technique. Many posts have clear pictures and videos. High speed videos show the WT and everyone should be able to see it in their own high speed videos. Use high speed video for feedback on what you are doing. The service motion invovles stretching muscles but many comments just involve going to positions, checkpoints, etc. Understanding that the muscles are being stretched is critical. See Stretch Shorten Cycle. That takes care of feedback and some of what you should understand.

See Hitech Tennis webpage "Waiter's Tray Error".

See the Todd Ellenbecker video "Rotator Cuff Injury" for the proper positioning of the upper arm to reduce the risks of shoulder injuries.
 

blablavla

Hall of Fame
Hey guys,
been playing for almost 1,5 years now. Started serving from platform stance, as the time went by moved to pinpoint stance, I'm able to generate more power and spin, but really struggle with consistency. Recorded a slo mo video -
would be great to hear some feedback on my serve - what's bad, what can be improved etc. Thanks and good luck on your serves!
1. while some folks tend to learn really quick, for most people getting to a decent serve is a long journey. 1.5 years doesn't tell me anything. No idea how fast you learn, no idea how many hours you put into serve, no idea if you learn from youtube or from a coach
2. your toss seems to be quite consistent - that's good.
3. while your toss is quite high, 3 out of 4 serves were hit rather low, and 1 seemed to be hit on the side (off center) of the stringbed.
- hitting the ball a tad lower is just fine for kick serves, but I guess you are not there yet
-> so try to hit the ball a tad earlier and with the center of the stringbed (sweet spot). Try to do the move without ball, and see where your racket is, so that is the point where the ball should be tossed
4. practice, practice, practice
5. practice, practice, practice
6. take the advice from this board with a grain of salt. While some posters will give you really good advice, others will give you lot of criticism that neither helps you, nor doesn't carry any actionable steps
7. while some folks will make here a very detailed analysis, pointing you towards a perfect motion, you'll need to figure out what works for you and what doesn't. Nobody here knows which motion will work best for you
8. practice, practice, practice
 

Mountain Ghost

Semi-Pro
Change you grip to a continental ... your swing path should be to the right net post (NOT your target) ... and ... your wrist bend should be from 1:00 to 7:00 (as on a clock ... with a vertical hand - thumb up and little finger down).

Your toss is also WAY too high ... causing a big pause in the overall flow.

I would advise not doing a modern take back for now ... and instead taking the racquet head back first and opening up the racquet face ... at least until you get your grip, wrist bend and swing path more correct ~ MG
 

Dim Sim

Rookie
The bolded part is hilarious.

You know how many years it takes to build a good consistent serve?
Less than 1? Dependent on inherent skill, volume and quality of practice, correct tuition and determination. The idea that it’s intrinsically hard or takes X period to develop is bogus.
 

FiReFTW

Legend
Less than 1? Dependent on inherent skill, volume and quality of practice, correct tuition and determination. The idea that it’s intrinsically hard or takes X period to develop is bogus.
If ur talking about bunting the serve then yes, if talking about flat slice kick with good fast speed precision and accuracy then what you said times 10.
 

Dim Sim

Rookie
If ur talking about bunting the serve then yes, if talking about flat slice kick with good fast speed precision and accuracy then what you said times 10.
Rrrrrrheally? 10 years? I don’t get the desire to characterise learning a serve as harder than it in fact is.
 

Claes

New User
Rrrrrrheally? 10 years? I don’t get the desire to characterise learning a serve as harder than it in fact is.
As a newcomer to this forum I have noticed that there are a couple of thoughts that gets bandied around, like they were absolute truths, quite often. For instance: "Every skill (like a forehand, or serve, etc) in tennis are so immensely difficult to learn, that it takes eons of time to even get to something serviceable." If this truly was the case I guess it's a miracle that there even exist such a thing as recreational tennis. Every rally should be bound to implode just after (dink) serve. Another one is the: "self education through instructional video or text is impossible; get a coach". Neither this I think is even slightly true. And why are these people even hanging around here if that were the case? I myself just recently started practice with a coach, and that's something I am going to continue with, it's really helpful. But the biggest improvement up to date has come from studying (in places like this fora) and then experimenting on my own.

Some people practice and play for 20 and their serve s*cks
Agreed. You sometimes see, even quite good, amateurs with bad serves. But that is because they practiced on the wrong things. They probably never took the plunge and changed their grip from eastern forehand to continental for example. Likely because, like all major changes in technique, it's a rather dispiriting experience; where you get worse before you get better. Or they never bothered to read up on how to serve properly.

If OP is motivated and has sufficient spare time to practice, I think he could improve his serve massively in a timeframe of say a couple of months. It's a typical summer project.
For inspiration, and a couple of tips (I especially agree with his third point): link
 

Dim Sim

Rookie
As a newcomer to this forum I have noticed that there are a couple of thoughts that gets bandied around, like they were absolute truths, quite often. For instance: "Every skill (like a forehand, or serve, etc) in tennis are so immensely difficult to learn, that it takes eons of time to even get to something serviceable." If this truly was the case I guess it's a miracle that there even exist such a thing as recreational tennis. Every rally should be bound to implode just after (dink) serve. Another one is the: "self education through instructional video or text is impossible; get a coach". Neither this I think is even slightly true. And why are these people even hanging around here if that were the case? I myself just recently started practice with a coach, and that's something I am going to continue with, it's really helpful. But the biggest improvement up to date has come from studying (in places like this fora) and then experimenting on my own.



Agreed. You sometimes see, even quite good, amateurs with bad serves. But that is because they practiced on the wrong things. They probably never took the plunge and changed their grip from eastern forehand to continental for example. Likely because, like all major changes in technique, it's a rather dispiriting experience; where you get worse before you get better. Or they never bothered to read up on how to serve properly.

If OP is motivated and has sufficient spare time to practice, I think he could improve his serve massively in a timeframe of say a couple of months. It's a typical summer project.
For inspiration, and a couple of tips (I especially agree with his third point): link
Yep. Much of the chatter is unhelpfully: it’s really hard; or, because a lot of people do it poorly you are destined to do it poorly. None of the strokes are really that hard to do competently and all can be learned quickly with decent practice and tuition. Easier than learning how to consistently cast a light lure or a fly in varying conditions, for instance.
 

mnttlrg

Semi-Pro
Try using a super-low toss that stops going up right where you want to strike it. Otherwise your timing / strike will be hopelessly bad.

Also, use more shoulders for power and less arm / wrist.
 

Dim Sim

Rookie
Mate, you’ll go mad listening to the various and inconsistent advice on these forums. Your toss is too high and it’s screwing your tempo such that your racket has to wait for it to descend and then you simply tap at the other side of the court. You also don’t toss it far enough into the court with the result that you are not getting any thrust from your torso into the ball - try chucking it a foot further toward the net and see what happens and adjust as needed. If I were you I’d spend time on Nick Aracic’s Intuitive Tennis channel on youtube or suck it up and pay for a few lessons with a pro just working on the serve. All looks good till you try and loop the moon with that nutso toss.
 
My 2 cents.

Your toss is too high. This kills any type of flow because it creates such a large pause in the motion. Your ball looks to be dropping 2 or 3 feet before you are able to spring back up into it. Ideally, hit the toss near its peak (near meaning maybe ball dropping 3 to 12 inches from its apex to contact point). A ball picks up speed as it drops, so hitting it closer to its peak is easier to time as the ball will not be dropping as fast versus letting it drop 2 or 3 feet. Plus, you'll be glad for a lower toss in days when the sun and / or wind is not cooperating. This should all help to improve consistency.

There are other technical elements that I won't get into much. If you're not using a continental grip, you should tackle that for sure. This then might help you on some other aspects in regards to your swing path to the ball or not leading with the edge. There are other aspects pointed out, but the toss height and grip alone are enough at this point to try and tackle. Get those two things adjusted and comfortable and then you can begin looking at some other technical aspects.
 
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