Serve landing alternatives

InSydeOut

Rookie
Hi all,

I have been noticing that my left knee has been irritated far more after serving sessions as opposed to ground stroke sessions.

When I serve, I jump up and land on my left leg. I admit it is not a nimble landing either, more thudding. This is stressing out my left knee a lot. Not to mention the load up and leaning also torques the joint to some degree as I use a platform stance.

Can anyone offer any options I have to lessen the impact? How do you guys find your landing when serving?
 

ballmachineguy

Hall of Fame
Sounds like you aren’t sure what is actually causing the irritation. You’ll have to address both possible causes. Try adjusting your stance on the front foot. It is ok to point the toes a little forward so that you are not wrenching your knee. You could always experiment with pinpoint to see if it alleviates the problem. Also, bend the knee on landing. Thudding is no good. Take a ballet class! If all else fails - ice.
 

eah123

Professional
I only get irritation in my landing leg knee if I’m practicing just serves a lot (like 1 hour).
Something to try is instead of landing on the leg and holding, immediately step with the other leg and push back as a baseline recovery step if you play singles, or take 2 steps forward if you serve and volley or play doubles.
 

Chas Tennis

G.O.A.T.
Don't play with any pain.

The next time that you serve, video your serve from behind and from the side in direct sunlight. It is best to use high speed video to catch your landing, lower frame rates might miss something important. Compare your videos to ATP players. You also do a close-up of your left leg, waist down

When you have pain, your knee probably has an unknow injury. You do not want to stress a healing injury, especially with the same stress that caused the injury in the first place, often tennis....

The knee has the meniscus cartilage, that is connected at certain locations but moves around. The meniscus is often injured. The 3 times that I saw a Dr about my meniscus injuries, one occasion needed surgery and 2 required not using my knee for a few months. Don't keep using your knee for tennis to see how you do. I can remember trying to play with pain and my knee getting worse and, on one occasion, the scream as I finally fell to the court.

Another common injury is a tendon injury. See thread Tendon Injury Nuthouse. Stop playing immediately or risk chronic defective healing possibly in only 2-3 weeks as indicated by animal experiments. Months off - study healing time for a new acute tendon injury.
 
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nyta2

Hall of Fame
Hi all,

I have been noticing that my left knee has been irritated far more after serving sessions as opposed to ground stroke sessions.

When I serve, I jump up and land on my left leg. I admit it is not a nimble landing either, more thudding. This is stressing out my left knee a lot. Not to mention the load up and leaning also torques the joint to some degree as I use a platform stance.

Can anyone offer any options I have to lessen the impact? How do you guys find your landing when serving?
i used to have knee issues...
for me i switched platform to pinpoint (also tried narrow platform) to promote pushing off two feet (my tendency, due to a toss too far into the court, was to push mostly off with my left leg
also experimented with a "step through" type serve, while lacking power with safety over net/etc... would have been another alternative that did not cause knee pain.
at the time i also lost a bunch a weight so that hleped too.
 

SystemicAnomaly

Bionic Poster
You might consider a Jumper's knee brace or a fuller brace for your left knee. Moderate, not excessive, knee bend for your trophy phase. Moderate leg drive might be fine as long as you do not drive upward to rapidly. A fast leg drive will likely cause you to jump higher which will result in a greater impact when you land.

When you land make sure that you land on your toes and the ball of your Left foot first. The heel should come down later. This way the foot should absorb some of the impact force than having the knee absorb all of it.
 
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SystemicAnomaly

Bionic Poster
Another option is to employ an old fashion / classic serve. The server used a modest leg drive and did not let the front foot leave the ground at all. Prior to 1960, servers were not permitted to jump. Even though the rule was changed at that time, very few servers employed a jump in their serve until the 1970s. Even then, players in the '70s did not leave the ground very much at all. Pancho Gonzales (circa 1950s or 60s)



Another possible solution is to use a switch step landing that Boris Becker used in the 1980s & '90s. Boris would initially land on his Right foot rather then his Left

 

InSydeOut

Rookie
Another option is to employ an old fashion / classic serve. The server used a modest leg drive and did not let the front foot leave the ground at all. Prior to 1960, servers were not permitted to jump. Even though the rule was changed at that time, very few servers employed a jump in their serve until the 1970s. Even then, players in the '70s did not leave the ground very much at all. Pancho Gonzales (circa 1950s or 60s)



Another possible solution is to use a switch step landing that Boris Becker used in the 1980s & '90s. Boris would initially land on his Right foot rather then his Left

That right foot landing broke my brain for a second there!

About what % do you think the jump adds to the power of a serve? I see some players swiftly hover/skid forward instead of jumping vertically and would like to try that out. If you know of any pros with this please let me know some examples!
 

InSydeOut

Rookie
You might consider a Jumper's knee brace or a fuller brace for your left knee. Moderate, not excessive, knee bend for your trophy phase. Moderate leg drive might be fine as long as you do not drive upward to rapidly. A fast leg drive will likely cause you to jump higher which will result in a greater impact when you land.

When you land make sure that you land on your toes and the ball of your Left foot first. The heel should come down later. This way the foot should absorb some of the impact force and then having the knee absorb all of it.
Never thought of that!
I land with the entirety of the left foot which includes my heel.
 

SystemicAnomaly

Bionic Poster
That right foot landing broke my brain for a second there!

About what % do you think the jump adds to the power of a serve? I see some players swiftly hover/skid forward instead of jumping vertically and would like to try that out. If you know of any pros with this please let me know some examples!
A good vertical leg drive (jump) might only add 15% (give or take) to RHS (for power &/or spin). However, it's advantage goes much further than that. For one thing, it gives you a higher contact point so that your serve can "see" more of the service court. You can hit with more speed / power or more easily hit some parts of the service box with a higher launch point.

Possibly even more important is that, a good leg drive / jump will make it much easier to externally rotate your shoulder for a good racket drop. This action will more easily stretch the internal rotators -- for later release on the upward swing. The bottom line is that employing leg drive for faster racket or more power will actually stress the shoulder less than trying to generate that kind of power without the leg drive / jump.
 

TennisDawg

Hall of Fame
Another option is to employ an old fashion / classic serve. The server used a modest leg drive and did not let the front foot leave the ground at all. Prior to 1960, servers were not permitted to jump. Even though the rule was changed at that time, very few servers employed a jump in their serve until the 1970s. Even then, players in the '70s did not leave the ground very much at all. Pancho Gonzales (circa 1950s or 60s)



Another possible solution is to use a switch step landing that Boris Becker used in the 1980s & '90s. Boris would initially land on his Right foot rather then his Left

I’m a righty and I land on my right foot. I have ample power and feel balanced. At the recreational level I consider it a great serve and it also compensates for my left knee that gets sore after playing. If you can do the Becker scissor move that is a great option, but I find it hard to do. That simple motion used by Gonzales is what I strive for. One thing that helps with that style of serve is your reach when your fully extended. It works better if your tall.
 

TennisDawg

Hall of Fame
I believe that pro / elite players are landing on the foot that they wish to push off from -- in order to create an imbalance and move in the opposite direction. That is, they might land on the left foot in order to move right. Or vice versa.
Interesting, so you’re saying that as a righty you want to push off the back leg (right leg). Honestly though at the recreational level I don’t think too many are concerned with moving in the opposite direction.
 

TennisDawg

Hall of Fame
Huh? Not saying that at all.

If I was a righty (which I'm not), I normally would, initially, push off my right foot to move to the left (to hit a backhand). But I would initially push off my left foot to move right (to hit most of my forehands).

Everybody does this. Not just elite players.
I misunderstood, but how does that pertain to the serve?
 

SystemicAnomaly

Bionic Poster
I misunderstood, but how does that pertain to the serve?
It doesn't. My bad.

I was in the middle of answering questions on one of the split step threads. Switching between tabs / windows, I came back to the wrong thread and saw your post and thought you were talking about the SS. One of the hazards of doing this on a small smartphone screen... will delete my SS posts in this thread since they screw with continuity here
 

SystemicAnomaly

Bionic Poster
I’m a righty and I land on my right foot. I have ample power and feel balanced. At the recreational level I consider it a great serve and it also compensates for my left knee that gets sore after playing. If you can do the Becker scissor move that is a great option, but I find it hard to do. That simple motion used by Gonzales is what I strive for. One thing that helps with that style of serve is your reach when your fully extended. It works better if your tall.
Sooo, are you doing the Gonzales, no-jump implementation of the serve or the Becker implementation? I recall suggesting both of these to someone fairly recently. Was that you?
 

TennisDawg

Hall of Fame
Sooo, are you doing the Gonzales, no-jump implementation of the serve or the Becker implementation? I recall suggesting both of these to someone fairly recently. Was that you?
I wish I could serve like the great Gonzales. 8-B. No you suggested this to someone else, but I got some affirmation from your post. I find it much easier to do the Gonzales no jump. I struggled with landing on the left foot for far too long then I studied classic servers and tried landing on my right foot. I noticed I was more balanced because I have previous injuries and surgeries in my left knee. I am a bit over 6 feet but I have long arms, so that compensates some for not leaving the air. I tried doing the Becker scissor move and It was very difficult for me. Becker was perfectly balanced and was an elite player. You also need two good legs to do the Becker serve and it helps to be young. I also find it easier to serve/volley in doubles with that style serve.
 
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