Serve: feet aligned towards right the net post, or more parallel to the baseline?

Serve: feet aligned towards right net post, or more parallel to the baseline?


  • Total voters
    23

Fintft

Legend
Which one would you recommend?

I was doing the first version (with the left foot and shoulder pointing more towards the right net post), but then the coach changed it Friday to more parallel to the baseline, claiming that my serve has better form that way?!

I've noticed a loss in power, his answer being "swing your racquet faster"- while keeping everything else the same (easier said then done right way, maybe in time, who knows?)…

A second coach asked me Sunday on his own, if I didn't lose any power with this change?
After doing only ground strokes with the second guy, I went and tried again both variations of the serve and I'm pretty sure that I get more power when I start with the left foot pointing towards the right net post ( I can get more into the court with the toss and throwing my body up into the serve), while it's probably also true that my toss and swing can be more erratic then when I start with shoulders and feet almost parallel to the baseline (this way I get more spin though)…

What do you think?
 

LeeD

Bionic Poster
Foot pointing more forwards can flatten out your swing, giving you more "power" for first fast serves.
Feet pointing towards sideline, along the baseline, can give you more spin, more angled attack swingpath, so you can swing faster on your second serves, add more spin, slow down the ball, get it IN, and more spin gives higher bounces.
 

Fintft

Legend
Foot pointing more forwards can flatten out your swing, giving you more "power" for first fast serves.
Feet pointing towards sideline, along the baseline, can give you more spin, more angled attack swingpath, so you can swing faster on your second serves, add more spin, slow down the ball, get it IN, and more spin gives higher bounces.
I agree with everything you said, but can one just vary on the fly, or settle for one? And if only one, which position would that be? Myself, I kinda prefer the first version....
 

dman72

Hall of Fame
Parralel can also force more shoulder and hip rotation..you can't get quite as much arm into it, but you can get much more of the rest of your body into it, and it basically forces you to pronate more. My biggest serves come from an almost McEnroe-esque stance.

I have a bad habit of pointing more towards the court, and my serve regresses when I do. You FEEL like your bashing your serve harder when you're pointed more towards the court because you have to arm the ball more. But it's really not as effective.
 

Fintft

Legend
Parralel can also force more shoulder and hip rotation..you can't get quite as much arm into it, but you can get much more of the rest of your body into it, and it basically forces you to pronate more. My biggest serves come from an almost McEnroe-esque stance.

I have a bad habit of pointing more towards the court, and my serve regresses when I do. You FEEL like your bashing your serve harder when you're pointed more towards the court because you have to arm the ball more. But it's really not as effective.
Thank you and since you had more practice with both position, you most probably know better then me (you having more power with the almost McEnroe-esque stance).

I agree that I feel like I'm putting more of my body into it, but also, I kinda tend to have a delayed racquet arm this way....
 

suryanaga

New User
Parallel! Serving with your feet pointing forwards reduces your potential to rotate and makes it difficult to really drop your weight into the court.
 

LeeD

Bionic Poster
Maybe OP should try different stances.
I know it takes decades to try, and maybe centuries to DEcide, but OP should do some work himself.
 

Fintft

Legend
Parallel! Serving with your feet pointing forwards reduces your potential to rotate and makes it difficult to really drop your weight into the court.
Not forwards, but left foot towards right post...
It may be that way I can actually use the knee(s) flex to push more of my weight into the court, as opposed to jumping sideways (with hips pointing towards the court, feet aligned to the baseline).
 

ProgressoR

Hall of Fame
make sure your form is ok with both stances, if it feels better to you one way and your form is bad, then that is a step backwards when you are looking to improve.

It could be your form degenerates with one or other of the options, or maybe both.

For consistency of serve prep, I would stick with one. Personally I have back foot parallel to base line and front left foot somewhat pointing towards the right net post. I figure its a pretty safe neutral position and if I cant do what I want from it, i improve my form and technique.

Which ever you choose, are you sure you are getting good cartwheel action, good torso rotation, left hip into court, looking over your left shoulder in trophy, and launching into the ball for every serve?
 

Fintft

Legend
make sure your form is ok with both stances, if it feels better to you one way and your form is bad, then that is a step backwards when you are looking to improve.

It could be your form degenerates with one or other of the options, or maybe both.

For consistency of serve prep, I would stick with one. Personally I have back foot parallel to base line and front left foot somewhat pointing towards the right net post. I figure its a pretty safe neutral position and if I cant do what I want from it, i improve my form and technique.

Which ever you choose, are you sure you are getting good cartwheel action, good torso rotation, left hip into court, looking over your left shoulder in trophy, and launching into the ball for every serve?
One coach says that the form is better when I start with shoulders and feet parallel to the baseline and he migh be right (although I think that I'm losing power that way).

My preference would be your set-up and that's why I'm trying to decide which one to practice, for consistency (although I'm worried about the form or "degenerating").

I'm aiming to do all of those things, but I'm not succesfull on every serve, much less on every toss...With your set-up one problem is that I tend to turn too early (again according to the coach Friday, I'll need to ask someone to tape me to see with my own eyes again - or look at older tapes for now).

Thanks!
 

SystemicAnomaly

Talk Tennis Guru
Foot pointing more forwards can flatten out your swing, giving you more "power" for first fast serves.
Feet pointing towards sideline, along the baseline, can give you more spin, more angled attack swingpath, so you can swing faster on your second serves, add more spin, slow down the ball, get it IN, and more spin gives higher bounces.
This appears to be the case. Take a look at images of Sampras, Roddick, Federer and others. In some, the front (left) foot is pointing at some angle to the baseline (toward the net post, more or less). In other images, these guys have the front foot nearly parallel to the baseline.

http://www.optimumtennis.net/images/andy-roddick-serve-analysis.jpg
http://www.tennisone.com/magazine/iwells/mclennan/roddick.ser.rear.3_Lg_Prog.jpg

http://www.*********warehouse.com/Images/sampras.jpg ********* = tennis DVD (w/o the space)
http://www.optimumtennis.net/images/sampras-serve.jpg

http://thehollywoodminute.typepad.com/.a/6a00e55001693a88330133f30761e8970b-800wi
http://goldyuk.files.wordpress.com/2009/12/federer_serve_balltoss_crop.jpg


With the front foot pointing toward the net post, the directions of the hips are probably offset from the direction of the torso (when coiled). This offset tends to store more energy in the core muscles (like a rubber band airplane) which is released as the torso uncoils. This migh be ideal for a 1st serve. On the 2nd serve, however, the torso uncoil is more in an upward direction to produce more spin. The chest and back shoulder initially move upward more on the spin serve before the come around.
.
 
Last edited:

Lukhas

Legend
^If you notice one thing about Federer and Roddick, it's that their front foot is pointing more inside the baseline when serving from deuce, while their parallel to the baseline when serving from ad. I omitted Sampras since in the first picture he is still undergoing his preparation has hasn't actually started to serve. That would make sense for me. They're maybe slightly alter their feet positioning depending on the side they're serving on, which isn't unheard of.

EDIT: Federer and Roddick serve stances.
Serving from deuce:
http://www.busy-tennis-players.com/images/RoddickServeFromBackWithMarkings.jpg
http://kevware.com/tennis/wp-content/uploads/2012/02/AndyRoddick_serve.jpg
http://thehollywoodminute.typepad.com/.a/6a00e55001693a88330133f30761e8970b-800wi

Serving from ad:
http://image.guardian.co.uk/sys-images/Sport/Pix/site_furniture/2003/06/20/roddick_serve1.gif
http://files.myopera.com/tlufc/albums/742533/2055362454_17f4cb249f.jpg
http://www.datadiary.com/UserFiles/Wallpaper/sports/tennis/Org201207020620392818000.jpg
http://goldyuk.files.wordpress.com/2009/12/federer_serve_balltoss_crop.jpg
 
Last edited:

SystemicAnomaly

Talk Tennis Guru
^ That is a valid point. Some servers will point the front foot towards the net post (or a similar direction), regardless of whether they are serving from the deuce side of the ad side (or even if they move away from a central serving position as in doubles). Others will make an adjustment as you have indicated.
.
 
M

MurrayMyInspiration

Guest
Whatever you do pick one adn stick with it for first and second serves, dont go changing it find what works and stick wiht it.
 

arche3

Banned
Rafa points his front foot towards the net. Back foot towards side. Very crooked stance. But he has a great serve.
 

purple-n-gold

Hall of Fame
^ That is a valid point. Some servers will point the front foot towards the net post (or a similar direction), regardless of whether they are serving from the deuce side of the ad side (or even if they move away from a central serving position as in doubles). Others will make an adjustment as you have indicated.
.
Yeah, my lead foot position depends on what type of serve I am trying to hit. Tend to stand more parallel on the ad side, cool to know others do this as well:)
 

SystemicAnomaly

Talk Tennis Guru
^If you notice one thing about Federer and Roddick, it's that their front foot is pointing more inside the baseline when serving from deuce, while their parallel to the baseline when serving from ad. I omitted Sampras since in the first picture he is still undergoing his preparation has hasn't actually started to serve...
Yes, Sampras is a bit different from Roddick & Federer in this respect. When serving from the deuce side, he starts with "toes up" on his left foot (he does this on ad side as well). It points toward the net/netpost. As he goes into his motion and coils the body, the toes come down but the foot rotates with the coil. It appears that the angle of his foot at the trophy seems to vary somewhat with the amount of coil (which, in turn, varies from 1st serve to 2nd serve).

From the images & videos of Sampras' deuce serves that I've looked at today, his left is parallel to this line at the trophy on many 2nd serves. On his first serve, he has a somewhat different angle. However, I've not come across one yet where the foot point toward the net post (after he puts the toes down).

 
Last edited:

SystemicAnomaly

Talk Tennis Guru
^ Rats, the TW auto-censor got me again. The OptimumTennis.net page is enetitled "Tennis Second Serve: The Foundation Of Serving in Tennis".

************* = second- serve (so spaces)

No idea why this character string would be bleeped. Check out the page and image. It shows a very different angle on Sampras' left foot for the 2nd serve. Here is another image that shows a foot angle that is diiferent than the Optimum Tennis (2ns serve) image:

http://www.top-tennis-training.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/04/sampras-serve1.jpg
 

Fintft

Legend
Yes, Sampras is a bit different from Roddick & Federer in this respect. When serving from the deuce side, he starts with "toes up" on his left foot (he does this on ad side as well). It points toward the net/netpost. As he goes into his motion and coils the body, the toes come down but the foot rotates with the coil. It appears that the angle of his foot at the trophy seems to vary somewhat with the amount of coil (which, in turn, varies from 1st serve to 2nd serve).

From the images & videos of Sampras' deuce serves that I've looked at today, his left is parallel to this line at the trophy on many 2nd serves. On his first serve, he has a somewhat different angle. However, I've not come across one yet where the foot point toward the net post (after he puts the toes down).


Thanks! Personally I'm doing the opposite: feet more parallel to the baseline on the first serve, more towards the net (left foot towards the right net post) on the second serve.
 

LeeD

Bionic Poster
I find I get more spin with more sideways alignment, so it's better for spin serves.
More direct, I can hit straighter and faster, possibly not swing as fast.
 

LeeD

Bionic Poster
Same logic as LeeD.
Don't need to analyse and follow anyone when you know what is best all by yourself.
 

corbind

Professional
It's funny I'm not even sure what I do but, after reading this thread, I now need to find out.
 

Raul_SJ

G.O.A.T.
Which one would you recommend?

I was doing the first version (with the left foot and shoulder pointing more towards the right net post), but then the coach changed it Friday to more parallel to the baseline, claiming that my serve has better form that way?!

I've noticed a loss in power, his answer being "swing your racquet faster"- while keeping everything else the same (easier said then done right way, maybe in time, who knows?)…
My experience has been just the opposite.

I immediately got more power when the coach modified my stance where the back foot toes are pointing towards the right side of the back fence (google "Sampras Chong stance.")

It allows you to coil and rotate into the serve.
 

LeeD

Bionic Poster
Terminology.
You say more sideways gives you more power. It gives more swingspeed, to be sure.
Some people think "more power" means a faster flat serve. Straighter alignment, for me, gives me a faster flat serve even if I don't swing as fast.
 

Raul_SJ

G.O.A.T.
Racquet head speed always translates to more pace.

The Chong stance gives me more power than the sideways stance serve, whether it be a flat or spin serve.

It allows one to coil and rotate into the serve. This is what gives Sampras much of his power... Likewise Macenroe who is even more extreme in his coliling.
 

LeeD

Bionic Poster
Very superficial post above.
McEnroe had no serve speed, or big spin.
Sampras was No.1 all time in big spin with very good speed.
Stance here doesn't matter, when comparing the two.
Racket head speed does NOT translate to more speed. It translates to more spin potential, if you an control all that RHS. Spin potential is NOT speed potential.
How often do we see a slow, short swing hit a ball faster than a wild super fast brush on the ball?
 

Mitcheson

Rookie
It takes time to adjust and get used to a new stance because if you change the stance it can have an effect on the ball toss and even the grip, the swing path and follow through.

Most of the pros seem to be more closed than having the front foot pointing at the net post and many close the front foot even more, (slightly) as they rotate in the backswing.

With a more closed stance it seems you don't have to toss the ball quite so far into the court and it is more conducive to topspin and slice with better disguise.

With a closed stance I feared I was somehow jamming my left hip (I'm a righty) probably because I barely get off the ground ... or rotate forwards before leaving the ground. For years I was plagued with terribly hip ache. Opening the front foot helps on groundstrokes but just seemed to mess up my serves if I pointed it towards the net post as it seemed to make me open up too early and not get as much topspin.

The serve is so complex and many of the principles apply in the golf swing, such as rotating the hips, bending the left (front) knee etc. etc. Clay Ballard has done some interesting videos. for both tennis and golf.
 

SystemicAnomaly

Talk Tennis Guru
@Finster
Oops, inadvertently voted for the wrong one and the polling option doesn't seem to be set up for changing a vote (at least not on my Android phone)

Anyway, the 1st option might be somewhat easier if you do not leave the ground for your serve. But for those who do jump, it should be no problem to start with the front foot parallel to the BL and then more easily rotate it while off the ground.
 

Enga

Hall of Fame
I think it might be an older technique to have the foot pointing to the netpost. I remember I had an older coach teach me that. I could imagine it's better if you're not allowed to jump, as with the old rules. With the modern rules, I think it's better to have it parallel with the baseline, because you're just gonna jump anyway.
 

Fintft

Legend
I think it might be an older technique to have the foot pointing to the netpost. I remember I had an older coach teach me that. I could imagine it's better if you're not allowed to jump, as with the old rules. With the modern rules, I think it's better to have it parallel with the baseline, because you're just gonna jump anyway.
It takes time to adjust and get used to a new stance because if you change the stance it can have an effect on the ball toss and even the grip, the swing path and follow through.

Most of the pros seem to be more closed than having the front foot pointing at the net post and many close the front foot even more, (slightly) as they rotate in the backswing.

With a more closed stance it seems you don't have to toss the ball quite so far into the court and it is more conducive to topspin and slice with better disguise.

With a closed stance I feared I was somehow jamming my left hip (I'm a righty) probably because I barely get off the ground ... or rotate forwards before leaving the ground. For years I was plagued with terribly hip ache. Opening the front foot helps on groundstrokes but just seemed to mess up my serves if I pointed it towards the net post as it seemed to make me open up too early and not get as much topspin.

The serve is so complex and many of the principles apply in the golf swing, such as rotating the hips, bending the left (front) knee etc. etc. Clay Ballard has done some interesting videos. for both tennis and golf.
@Finster
Oops, inadvertently voted for the wrong one and the polling option doesn't seem to be set up for changing a vote (at least not on my Android phone)

Anyway, the 1st option might be somewhat easier if you do not leave the ground for your serve. But for those who do jump, it should be no problem to start with the front foot parallel to the BL and then more easily rotate it while off the ground.
You guys and @LeeD are such pros, thanksl
 
Top