Serve Video Review

mptennis

Rookie
I was hoping I could get some feedback on my serve. Lately I've been trying to incorporate more leg drive which is challenging for me as I'm not naturally very explosive. The first few serves don't include this as I was just trying to warm up the shoulder. I've seen some YouTube videos that make it seem like my racquet should be more horizontal than vertical during the preparation phase, but I've also seen some advice contradicting that so I thought I'd post here to get some opinions based on my actual motion. I appreciate any and all advice! Video is here.
 

Fintft

G.O.A.T.
I'll the experts answer in more detail, but here are my 2 cents:
a) At the beginning of the video, you jump on one foot, before bringing the back foot together with the front one in pin point stance. Later you use platform in a better way.
b) Keep you head up more, for more extension.
 

TennisDawg

Hall of Fame
It would be helpful to have slow motion. But, anyway it looks like your’re going into racquet drop before you start your leg drive. Try a progression as practice starting in the trophy pose and delay the racquet drop until you’re into the leg drive.
 
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badmice2

Professional
nice foundation you have going. A few things I noticed from the video:

- as @Fintft pointed out, left arm dropping off a bit quick, and you’re pulling your body down with it.

- your holding the right side of your body from coming / rotating forward - your shoulder, right arm, right leg, all of it. Your right shoulder doesn’t really follow through with your swing naturally.

- you’re loading off your left foot from the get go, looking like your trying to fight for some sort of rotation.

- can’t tell where you’re location your loss, but looks like you’re hitting over your head.

Outside of the load you want to work on, what else are you looking to improve?
 

mptennis

Rookie
It would be helpful to have slow motion. But, anyway it looks like your’re going into racquet drop before you start your leg drive. Try a progression as practice starting in the trophy pose and delay the racquet drop until you’re into the leg drop.
On the video you should be able to adjust the playback speed down to like 10%. Is that not an option for you?
 

mptennis

Rookie
nice foundation you have going. A few things I noticed from the video:

- as @Fintft pointed out, left arm dropping off a bit quick, and you’re pulling your body down with it.

- your holding the right side of your body from coming / rotating forward - your shoulder, right arm, right leg, all of it. Your right shoulder doesn’t really follow through with your swing naturally.

- you’re loading off your left foot from the get go, looking like your trying to fight for some sort of rotation.

- can’t tell where you’re location your loss, but looks like you’re hitting over your head.

Outside of the load you want to work on, what else are you looking to improve?
Could you perhaps explain what you mean concerning my right shoulder not following through?

I've been trying to focus on hitting above my head, going for heavy tops in to try to get my percentages up.

As far as what I want to work on, it's pretty much anything that can be improved. I'm relatively self taught, just have done a lot of reading and video watching, so I was curious what more experienced players might say. Was wondering if there were any glaring issues with my motion, or tweaks (like the ones suggested) that I should incorporate. I'd love to get more speed, I feel like it should be heavier at my size, but more importantly just looking for general feedback.
 

badmice2

Professional
Could you perhaps explain what you mean concerning my right shoulder not following through?
Likely has to do with the way you’re setting up yourself…

Serve mirrors throwing motion a bit, where your right side of your body should follow your chest momentum into your shot. At the moment, it comes across as you’re holding the rotation back (intended or otherwise). Again, this is my observation.

You’re doing a lot in trying to kick your left leg/foot forward, and perhaps that’s also holding you back in getting the axis of your body to rotate through.

If you want to experiment, try this - stand with your toes parallel to the baseline (this means your whole body will be chest forward facing the net), and try serving with your normal motion. You may find yourself fight the left side of your body, or you might find yourself feeling different with your right coming through more. Either way the goal of the exercise is to get you to feel the swing if you get your shoulder more squared at the net at ball contact.
 
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mptennis

Rookie
Likely has to do with that way you’re setting up yourself…

Serve mirrors throwing motion a bit, where your right side of your body should follow your chest momentum into your shot. At the moment, it comes across as you’re holding the rotation back (intended or otherwise). Again, this is my observation.

You’re doing a lot in trying to kick your left leg/foot forward, and perhaps that’s also holding you back in getting the axis of your body to rotate through.

If you want to experiment, try this - stand with your toes parallel to the baseline (this means your whole body will be chest forward facing the net), and try serving with your normal motion. You may find yourself fight the left side of your body, or you might find yourself feeling different with your right coming through more. Either way the goal of the exercise is to get you to feel the swing if you get your shoulder more squared at the net at ball contact.
So at the point I make contact with the ball it seems like my chest is currently at around a 45 degree angle:

You're saying that my shoulders should be square to the net by the time I make contact? And I guess to do that I just need to rotate earlier and/or swing later?

I've got no idea what's going on with my left foot, I hadn't noticed it before. Clearly foot faulting as well.
 

TennisDawg

Hall of Fame
On the video you should be able to adjust the playback speed down to like 10%. Is that not an option for you?
When I click on X1 to change video speed it asks to create an account. I don’t wanna do that. So back to my point your racquet drop has no acceleration. I believe it’s because your legs are not synchronized to the racquet drop. I would start there. I can see your racquet dropping. You shouldn’t be able to see the racquet it should be a blur if it’s accelerating.
 

badmice2

Professional
So at the point I make contact with the ball it seems like my chest is currently at around a 45 degree angle:

You're saying that my shoulders should be square to the net by the time I make contact? And I guess to do that I just need to rotate earlier and/or swing later?

I've got no idea what's going on with my left foot, I hadn't noticed it before. Clearly foot faulting as well.
That's my assessment of it. I prefer to teach my players to rotate a bit more at the point of contact.

The other is to allow your left hip to rotate and open up your body more. Like your screenshot, it's coming across you're holding your left hip in place, though right hip looks naturally stuck.

It's hard to make recommendation without being on the ground watching, so I'm not advising a specific way to deliver your swing. I'm also not going to throw a bunch of videos at you to look at, because what someone else can do doesnt always translate to what you can deliver.

I can only recommend by suggesting you get more body flexibility/mobility with your serve. Your body movement with your swing delivery seems very rigid; it's holding back your arm/racket delivery.
 

NattyGut

Semi-Pro
It would be helpful to have slow motion. But, anyway it looks like your’re going into racquet drop before you start your leg drive. Try a progression as practice starting in the trophy pose and delay the racquet drop until you’re into the leg drop.

with Tennis Dawg ... Check out around 17:45:


... one can revisit this often and always pick up something new
 
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SystemicAnomaly

Bionic Poster
So at the point I make contact with the ball it seems like my chest is currently at around a 45 degree angle:

You're saying that my shoulders should be square to the net by the time I make contact? And I guess to do that I just need to rotate earlier and/or swing later?

I've got no idea what's going on with my left foot, I hadn't noticed it before. Clearly foot faulting as well.
Your arm and racquet are too vertical at contact in this image. This can stress the shoulder (impingement) and limit your RHS. In the image below, notice how the R arm is angled somewhat to the R while the racquet is angled to the L

mqdefault.jpg
 

SystemicAnomaly

Bionic Poster
Could not see the pinpoint serves in your video. Do I have to sign up with an account in order to view the first 20+ minutes of your video?

With your platform stance, I'm not seeing very much knee flexion, during the trophy phase, with your R leg. You do you moderate flexion with the L leg but very little with your R. This will severely limit your upward leg drive.

A bit more flexion in both legs as you get to the trophy phase. As you start to drop the racquet head, after the trophy phase, the legs should start to straighten (extend). By the time you reach the bottom of your drop, the legs should be fully extended and you should start to leave the ground
 

mptennis

Rookie
Your arm and racquet are too vertical at contact in this image. This can stress the shoulder (impingement) and limit your RHS. In the image below, notice how the R arm is angled somewhat to the R while the racquet is angled to the L

mqdefault.jpg
That definitely explains the shoulder pain I often have after (and during) serving. I'm trying to figure out how to modify my motion to ensure I don't do that. I guess by forcing my left shoulder downward, going for the "shoulder over shoulder" motion?
 

socallefty

G.O.A.T.
Before you fix anything else, either find a way to weight transfer so that you don’t move your front foot forward or stand further back from the baseline before you serve. It is not OK to footfault on every serve when you play a match.

Also I agree with the post above saying that you bring your racquet up too vertically instead of tilting it inwards. #1 cause of golfers elbow from improper serve technique. Everyone who serves like this gets shoulder and elbow pain.

Fix these two issues before you fix anything else so that you can play without injuring yourself and follow the rules of the game.
 

mptennis

Rookie
Could not see the pinpoint serves in your video. Do I have to sign up with an account in order to view the first 20+ minutes of your video?

With your platform stance, I'm not seeing very much knee flexion, during the trophy phase, with your R leg. You do you moderate flexion with the L leg but very little with your R. This will severely limit your upward leg drive.

A bit more flexion in both legs as you get to the trophy phase. As you start to drop the racquet head, after the trophy phase, the legs should start to straighten (extend). By the time you reach the bottom of your drop, the legs should be fully extended and you should start to leave the ground
I exported this video to just show all serves, the first 20+ minutes were groundstrokes on the ball machine. I don't recall hitting a pinpoint serve during the session, maybe I tried a few to see if the leg drive felt more natural but I consider myself a platform server...the pinpoint leg movement just adds another thing that can go wrong for me.

Not sure how many serves you watched, but the first handful didn't feature much leg drive, I was kind of working towards it. As I continued on the leg drive got deeper and deeper. I've captured some images of my knee bend at it's deepest part, my racquet drop, and my contact point to see if that helps. I'm also working on uploading the video to YouTube so it's easier for people without SwingVision accounts to see the slow-mo, though that's taking a while for YouTube to process.

Images:
 

mptennis

Rookie
Before you fix anything else, either find a way to weight transfer so that you don’t move your front foot forward or stand further back from the baseline before you serve. It is not OK to footfault on every serve when you play a match.

Also I agree with the post above saying that you bring your racquet up too vertically instead of tilting it inwards.m #1 cause of golfers elbow from improper serve technique. Everyone who serves like this gets shoulder and elbow pain.
I think it was the first few warm ups where I foot faulted, as I've watched more it seems like it was less of an issue.

Edit - I take that back. After watching more I see that it indeed happens too often. Gonna work on that for sure.

Do you have any suggestions on what I need to do to stop being so vertical? Is it just my swing path and I need to swing more diagonal rather than just vertical?
 
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SystemicAnomaly

Bionic Poster
I exported this video to just show all serves, the first 20+ minutes were groundstrokes on the ball machine. I don't recall hitting a pinpoint serve during the session, maybe I tried a few to see if the leg drive felt more natural but I consider myself a platform server...the pinpoint leg movement just adds another thing that can go wrong for me.

Not sure how many serves you watched, but the first handful didn't feature much leg drive, I was kind of working towards it. As I continued on the leg drive got deeper and deeper. I've captured some images of my knee bend at it's deepest part, my racquet drop, and my contact point to see if that helps. I'm also working on uploading the video to YouTube so it's easier for people without SwingVision accounts to see the slow-mo, though that's taking a while for YouTube to process.

Images:
That looks better than the platform serves that I had watched. This image looks to be a scosh after the trophy position (or perhaps there’s a racquet leak issue if this is your trophy position).

You might try just a little bit more knee bend than seen here. But not absolutely necessary
 

socallefty

G.O.A.T.
Do you have any suggestions on what I need to do to stop being so vertical? Is it just my swing path and I need to swing more diagonal rather than just vertical?
More knee bend and more internal shoulder rotation (ISR) should help correct your swing path. Also maybe a more relaxed arm with a more loose grip. Also with most good servers, the stringbed contacting the ball then faces outwards (facing the right fence) after contact before the followthrough starts to bring it across the body - you don‘t do that. You probably should work with a coach as there are too many things to fix on your own.
 
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SystemicAnomaly

Bionic Poster
That definitely explains the shoulder pain I often have after (and during) serving. I'm trying to figure out how to modify my motion to ensure I don't do that. I guess by forcing my left shoulder downward, going for the "shoulder over shoulder" motion?
You do have a decent amount of shoulder tilt (reverse tilt) in the image provided. If you pull the L arm down a bit more (into the gut), you might get the L shoulder down a little bit more — but not that important to get it lower than seen in the image.

The real issue is to make sure that the R arm does not rise too much above the shoulder tilt line. If you angle the arm to the R and racket off to the L, this should be less stressful to the shoulder.

A better leg drive, properly-timed, can also help to put less stress on the shoulder
 

Chas Tennis

G.O.A.T.
So at the point I make contact with the ball it seems like my chest is currently at around a 45 degree angle:

You're saying that my shoulders should be square to the net by the time I make contact? And I guess to do that I just need to rotate earlier and/or swing later?

I've got no idea what's going on with my left foot, I hadn't noticed it before. Clearly foot faulting as well.
nbhB6LBl.jpg
97F09E4D831D455CB9492F2D669CA96F.jpg


WARNING

Discussing the alignment of the yellow & red lines -

There is a recommendation by Todd Ellenbecker to limit the angle of the upper arm to the shoulder. He warns in a video "Rotator Cuff Injury". That video is available on Tennis Resources. Get the shortest membership to view the videos.

All or almost all ATP players appear to follow Ellenbecker's recommendation on the angle of the upper arm & shoulder.

Your arm in the picture is too high for a high level serve using Internal Shoulder Rotation (ISR). Post your videos using Youtube, it can single frame, no sign up.....

Forum Search: Internal Shoulder Rotation Ellenbecker Rotator Cuff Injury
Member: Chas Tennis

I have posted on this subject many times with pictures and videos.

You might have the idea that 'I should reach as high as possible' That is totally wrong for a high level serve - pictures show many angles at impact, not reaching straight up. Look at a picture and observe all the angles. Google: tennis serve ATP pictures __Look at all the angles, including in side camera views. Always remember angles are in 3D but images show only 2D.

The only studied serve technique is the high level serve with ISR as used in the ATP. But most active tennis players do not use the high level serve, the majority use a 'Waiter's Tray' technique. Lots of posts on that too.

All other technique are DIY and suspect. [DIY - do-it-yourself]

Welcome to the
Tennis Serve Nuthouse.
 
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NattyGut

Semi-Pro
Is OP using a continental grip? If using continental, is OP under-rotating into the ball / failing to uncoil?

I ask b/c the above shoulder and arm alignment comparisons show:




Both players racquets are square to the ball at impact (sure they are serving from other sides of the court)

OP chest and hips are not square to his target

OP racket is aimed at T; OP body aimed out wide.

If OP chest and hips were square to target, alignment might appear somewhat more similar to proper arm and shoulder alignment.
 

mptennis

Rookie
I appreciate all the advice thus far. I was finally able to get the video into YouTube and trimmed it to include a few serves just so there wasn't too much to watch.

Is OP using a continental grip? If using continental, is OP under-rotating into the ball / failing to uncoil?

I ask b/c the above shoulder and arm alignment comparisons show:




Both players racquets are square to the ball at impact (sure they are serving from other sides of the court)

OP chest and hips are not square to his target

OP racket is aimed at T; OP body aimed out wide.

If OP chest and hips were square to target, alignment might appear somewhat more similar to proper arm and shoulder alignment.
I kind of go back and forth between continental and more semi-western. I learned my version of the kick serve using a semi-western grip, so when I'm missing serves I normally rotate more western to try and get more topspin. In these videos I was probably more semi-west than continental. My hope is to get out on the courts today to try some things and I plan to go continental the whole time.

nbhB6LBl.jpg
97F09E4D831D455CB9492F2D669CA96F.jpg


WARNING

Discussing the alignment of the yellow & red lines -

There is a recommendation by Todd Ellenbecker to limit the angle of the upper arm to the shoulder. He warns in a video "Rotator Cuff Injury". That video is available on Tennis Resources. Get the shortest membership to view the videos.

All or almost all ATP players appear to follow Ellenbecker's recommendation on the angle of the upper arm & shoulder.

Your arm in the picture is too high for a high level serve using Internal Shoulder Rotation (ISR). Post your videos using Youtube, it can single frame, no sign up.....

Forum Search: Internal Shoulder Rotation Ellenbecker Rotator Cuff Injury
Member: Chas Tennis

I have posted on this subject many times with pictures and videos.

You might have the idea that 'I should reach as high as possible' That is totally wrong for a high level serve - pictures show many angles at impact, not reaching straight up. Look at a picture and observe all the angles. Google: tennis serve ATP pictures __Look at all the angles, including in side camera views. Always remember angles are in 3D but images show only 2D.

The only studied serve technique is the high level serve with ISR as used in the ATP. But most active tennis players do not use the high level serve, the majority use a 'Waiter's Tray' technique. Lots of posts on that too.

All other technique are DIY and suspect. [DIY - do-it-yourself]

Welcome to the
Tennis Serve Nuthouse.
YouTube posted above. I definitely see what you're talking about. Mentally I just need to figure out the mechanics to do it. It's actually encouraging though...I've always experienced shoulder pain when serving and it seems like this is pretty clear evidence of the cause, meaning if I fix the motion I get both a better serve and more importantly a comfortable one!
 

NattyGut

Semi-Pro
I appreciate all the advice thus far. I was finally able to get the video into YouTube and trimmed it to include a few serves just so there wasn't too much to watch.


I kind of go back and forth between continental and more semi-western. I learned my version of the kick serve using a semi-western grip, so when I'm missing serves I normally rotate more western to try and get more topspin. In these videos I was probably more semi-west than continental. My hope is to get out on the courts today to try some things and I plan to go continental the whole time.


YouTube posted above. I definitely see what you're talking about. Mentally I just need to figure out the mechanics to do it. It's actually encouraging though...I've always experienced shoulder pain when serving and it seems like this is pretty clear evidence of the cause, meaning if I fix the motion I get both a better serve and more importantly a comfortable one!

Your serve is good and you are putting in the time. To improve it further:

You could enlist Meike Babel to help -- you provide her with video; she reviews and reverts with analysis for a rational fee ... from other users posting her review of their fundamentals on TTW, it appears she typically prefers but does not require video with a side view, in addition to video from behind the player to best assist in her review. Alternatively, enlist a SOLID local pro.

As for the shoulder pain, warming up with a band is invaluable, as is warming up with second serves and practicing those a LOT more than first serves. My shoulder pain has largely gone away by following a good warm up routine using my ADV kit and practicing second serves much more than first serves. (FWIW I think the ADV bags are trashy and gimmicks / far inferior to Solinco bags ... but they sell a good warmup kit)


 
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nyta2

Hall of Fame
I was hoping I could get some feedback on my serve. Lately I've been trying to incorporate more leg drive which is challenging for me as I'm not naturally very explosive. The first few serves don't include this as I was just trying to warm up the shoulder. I've seen some YouTube videos that make it seem like my racquet should be more horizontal than vertical during the preparation phase, but I've also seen some advice contradicting that so I thought I'd post here to get some opinions based on my actual motion. I appreciate any and all advice! Video is here.
if that were my serve, my top priority would be finding the right shape of the ball (more consistent height over the net)...
i would make contact lower and hit up & through more for more spin (in the begininng mostly slice, but later more topslice)
my .02
 

TennisDawg

Hall of Fame
Likely has to do with the way you’re setting up yourself…

Serve mirrors throwing motion a bit, where your right side of your body should follow your chest momentum into your shot. At the moment, it comes across as you’re holding the rotation back (intended or otherwise). Again, this is my observation.

You’re doing a lot in trying to kick your left leg/foot forward, and perhaps that’s also holding you back in getting the axis of your body to rotate through.

If you want to experiment, try this - stand with your toes parallel to the baseline (this means your whole body will be chest forward facing the net), and try serving with your normal motion. You may find yourself fight the left side of your body, or you might find yourself feeling different with your right coming through more. Either way the goal of the exercise is to get you to feel the swing if you get your shoulder more squared at the net at ball contact.
I would modify this drill by serving with right foot still behind left foot. Both feet pointing towards net is not how you wanna make contact and will incorrectly allow the right leg, hip and shoulders to open together. The right shoulder should open before the right leg and hip.
 

Chas Tennis

G.O.A.T.
I appreciate all the advice thus far. I was finally able to get the video into YouTube and trimmed it to include a few serves just so there wasn't too much to watch.


I kind of go back and forth between continental and more semi-western. I learned my version of the kick serve using a semi-western grip, so when I'm missing serves I normally rotate more western to try and get more topspin. In these videos I was probably more semi-west than continental. My hope is to get out on the courts today to try some things and I plan to go continental the whole time.


YouTube posted above. I definitely see what you're talking about. Mentally I just need to figure out the mechanics to do it. It's actually encouraging though...I've always experienced shoulder pain when serving and it seems like this is pretty clear evidence of the cause, meaning if I fix the motion I get both a better serve and more importantly a comfortable one!

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

For serve at 13 sec
This is favorable for observing ISR from start to impact from the elbow shadows. (Any elbow shadow movement from the elbow Pronation joint itself has to be determined.)
1) Go to the frame of impact.
2) Look at the shadows at the elbow. That is the ISR angle at impact.
3) Count frames back and estimate ISR start from the elbow shadow movement. Roughly estimate ISR start angle.

At first look, looks like inadequate ISR.

There is also a serving technique where the face of the racket is angled early and impacts the side of the ball for a slice serve - without much added racket head speed from ISR. ?

Note- Pronation involves joints located both at the wrist and at the elbow.

I don't have time to look at the other serves now.....
 
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mptennis

Rookie
Your serve is good and you are putting in the time. To improve it further:

You could enlist Meike Babel to help -- you provide her with video; she reviews and reverts with analysis for a rational fee ... from other users posting her review of their fundamentals on TTW, it appears she typically prefers but does not require video with a side view, in addition to video from behind the player to best assist in her review. Alternatively, enlist a SOLID local pro.

As for the shoulder pain, warming up with a band is invaluable, as is warming up with second serves and practicing those a LOT more than first serves. My shoulder pain has largely gone away by following a good warm up routine using my ADV kit and practicing second serves much more than first serves. (FWIW I think the ADV bags are trashy and gimmicks / far inferior to Solinco bags ... but they sell a good warmup kit)


Oddly enough I discovered Babel's website yesterday and was giving some consideration to trying it. Given your endorsement today I think I'll give it a chance, that's for the recommendation. The problem with finding a local pro is you just really don't know what you're going to get, at least in my experience.

I typically do some band warm-ups. Unfortunately I didn't do them today and I'm paying for it now. Typing this as I'm icing my shoulder. :cautious: For the record I do like my ADV bag, though I did have to get a new one under warranty...:laughing:
 

mptennis

Rookie
I would modify this drill by serving with right foot still behind left foot. Both feet pointing towards net is not how you wanna make contact and will incorrectly allow the right leg, hip and shoulders to open together. The right shoulder should open before the right leg and hip.
Just for clarification, in your original instructions you said to stand with toes parallel to the baseline, but then said that means your body will be chest facing the net. Did you mean toes perpendicular to the baseline? Parallel to the baseline would mean body facing the side fence. Of course maybe you mean to do that, but attempt to rotate at the hips to face the net. I'm just a little unsure.

For the record I just got back from the courts having given my interpretation of this a try. I'll try to get a video up later once it processes.
 

socallefty

G.O.A.T.
The problem with finding a local pro is you just really don't know what you're going to get, at least in my experience.
The pros who are successful in your area at training juniors will have a website also. If they are willing to coach adults, they are probably a safer bet to try for a long-term development program. A lot of them might work only at private clubs though and don’t coach at public parks.

if you take one or two lessons online or otherwise, they are good for diagnosing the problem, but not necessarily to fix them.
 

Chas Tennis

G.O.A.T.
I appreciate all the advice thus far. I was finally able to get the video into YouTube and trimmed it to include a few serves just so there wasn't too much to watch.


I kind of go back and forth between continental and more semi-western. I learned my version of the kick serve using a semi-western grip, so when I'm missing serves I normally rotate more western to try and get more topspin. In these videos I was probably more semi-west than continental. My hope is to get out on the courts today to try some things and I plan to go continental the whole time.


YouTube posted above. I definitely see what you're talking about. Mentally I just need to figure out the mechanics to do it. It's actually encouraging though...I've always experienced shoulder pain when serving and it seems like this is pretty clear evidence of the cause, meaning if I fix the motion I get both a better serve and more importantly a comfortable one!
There are many posts and threads describing Ellenbecker's recommendation.

But to

1) to have "always experienced shoulder pain when serving" (often pain is associated with an old injury that has defectively healed?)
2) a serving technique trained with upper arm too high
3) other unknown serving technique flaws, to be determined
4) have not studied shoulder impingement
5) have not studied the high level stroke with ISR.
6) have not studied Ellenbecker's recommendation Rotator Cuff Injury video
7) have DIY serving technique that is different than model servers in videos

Then experimenting with your new serve technique now is not a good or safe approach.

Sign up to see the Ellenbecker video? (I have no interest.)
 
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Chas Tennis

G.O.A.T.
I recall this thread as a serious discussion of the Ellenbecker shoulder issue. Whiteside is a biomechanics researcher that has studied tennis. See particularly the last posts and Whiteside posts.

Some of the pictures showing perfect alignment of the line between the 2 shoulders and the upper arm bone have to be taken with a grain of salt. See high speed videos of alignments in use in the ATP. Remember the camera angles can fool you, so look at several camera angles.

In addition, I read somewhere that Internal Shoulder Impingement is often a common tennis shoulder injury. This was pointed originally out on the forum by @yossarian. Here "Internal" means injury on the inner side of a shoulder structure, see video below. This injury is common in baseball pitching and clear videos are available of how it happens. We could use information & videos on how the baseball pitching injury result applies to the tennis serve.

See my thread below for Internal Shoulder Impingement posts near the end of the thread.
Biomechanical References for Tennis Strokes

I can mention information that I believe is related to shoulder injuries but I can't explain them for you because I have no medical training.

In any case, the Ellenbecker recommendation seems to be what most or all ATP players are doing, as seen in clear high speed videos.
 
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mptennis

Rookie
There are many posts and threads describing Ellenbecker's recommendation.

But to

1) to have "always experienced shoulder pain when serving" (often pain is associated with an old injury that has defectively healed?)
2) a serving technique trained with upper arm too high
3) other unknown serving technique flaws, to be determined
4) have not studied shoulder impingement
5) have not studied the high level stroke with ISR.
6) have not studied Ellenbecker's recommendation Rotator Cuff Injury video
7) have DIY serving technique that is different than model servers in videos

Then experimenting with your new serve technique now is not a good or safe approach.

Sign up to see the Ellenbecker video? (I have no interest.)
I'm all for watching this video you reference. My problem is that I can't find it. I've looked through 15 pages of serve related videos on Tennis resources and none of them mention Ellenbecker. I have no problem paying to access good material, but I'm hesitant to do it without knowing specifically where that material is. I just need to track it down.

Edit - is it this one? Or maybe this one?

Another edit. I did another forum search for the phrase you mentioned and found where specifically said "Rotator cuff injury video" so I'm guessing that's my answer.

Sigh. And now I see where you said that in your post I quoted. I guess I thought it was a description and not a title. That's what I get for posting before having my coffee.
 
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Dakota C

Rookie
I was hoping I could get some feedback on my serve. Lately I've been trying to incorporate more leg drive which is challenging for me as I'm not naturally very explosive. The first few serves don't include this as I was just trying to warm up the shoulder. I've seen some YouTube videos that make it seem like my racquet should be more horizontal than vertical during the preparation phase, but I've also seen some advice contradicting that so I thought I'd post here to get some opinions based on my actual motion. I appreciate any and all advice! Video is here.
What jumps out to me right away is that the swing from the racket drop up until almost contact is the swing path I would expect for a kick serve, but what you do with your hand into contact is more what I would expect to see for a flat serve.
So you are incorrectly mixing your swing path with the hand movement at the moment.
This is why you have such drastic variation from one serve to the next right now.
Leg drive is in the nice to have category; not worth worrying about until you have the fundamentals implemented better.
 

NattyGut

Semi-Pro
Incorrect grip is affecting the drop. Needs to start with correction to continental as a first progression.

Not sure if this video will insert here due to privacy settings from Youtube ...

On Court With USPTA: Mechanics Of The Serve With Rick Macci​


 

TennisDawg

Hall of Fame
Just for clarification, in your original instructions you said to stand with toes parallel to the baseline, but then said that means your body will be chest facing the net. Did you mean toes perpendicular to the baseline? Parallel to the baseline would mean body facing the side fence. Of course maybe you mean to do that, but attempt to rotate at the hips to face the net. I'm just a little unsure.

For the record I just got back from the courts having given my interpretation of this a try. I'll try to get a video up later once it processes.
I meant to point out that the right side, foot, leg, hip, shoulders are not supposed to open together. In an actual serve the right side does move forward but should lag the left side, even during contact. This would apply to flat and slice serves, not kick serves.

Please refer to my comment below
 
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TennisDawg

Hall of Fame
I meant to point out that the right side, foot, leg, hip, shoulders are not supposed to open together. For the drill feet parallel to the baseline and remain fixed, allow torso to open up, again this is a drill. In an actual serve the right side does move forward but should lag the left side, even during contact. This would apply to flat and slice serves, not kick
 

Digital Atheist

Hall of Fame
[..]
YouTube posted above. I definitely see what you're talking about. Mentally I just need to figure out the mechanics to do it. It's actually encouraging though...I've always experienced shoulder pain when serving and it seems like this is pretty clear evidence of the cause, meaning if I fix the motion I get both a better serve and more importantly a comfortable one!
Ever find your wrist also giving you the occasional niggle? This is probably related to your shoulder/arm alignment and also partly the grip, and if it doesn't hurt then don't worry and focus on the other recommendations.

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mptennis

Rookie
Incorrect grip is affecting the drop. Needs to start with correction to continental as a first progression.

Not sure if this video will insert here due to privacy settings from Youtube ...

On Court With USPTA: Mechanics Of The Serve With Rick Macci​


I've actually watched this several times, but clearly it isn't sticking. I think I tend to start with a continental, but as I serve I slowly shift to bevel 1 instead of 2, and to another poster's point I think I've developed a swing path associated with that more extreme grip.
 

mptennis

Rookie
Ever find your wrist also giving you the occasional niggle? This is probably related to your shoulder/arm alignment and also partly the grip, and if it doesn't hurt then don't worry and focus on the other recommendations.

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I do occasionally get wrist pain after playing, but I'm a software developer by trade so I always chalked it up to constantly typing. I'm finding out now I was doing a lot of things wrong so I'm hoping fixing my serve will not only improve my serve but also give me some physical longevity.
 

Chas Tennis

G.O.A.T.
This shows good practice for the high level serve in the ATP.

To understand the serve and Internal Shoulder Rotation in videos from start to impact, you need to observe
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968B284E561847409B6EF37604C10C3D.jpg




F65CB827E69442A7B56DAF71B8A25E56.jpg


Frames from 240 fps video recording.
After impact, the players may perform the follow through in various ways. See ATP videos.

DIY serves are a zoo. Often something looks stressful.

I had started working on forehands and serves and had some new wrist pain. My serve looked stressful at the wrist, so I changed that. The wrist pain went away.

The Ulna side of the wrist can cause trouble and be very difficult to heal. When I bend mine with Ulnar Deviation, I see that it is stopped suddenly by my bone structure - this can be trouble at high speeds. A common tennis wrist injury on the Ulna side (little finger side) is TFCC. See injury posts in the Health and Fitness Forum.

Reference TFCC. Search this "NCBI" site for free ("pmc") online medical, sports and biomechanics publications.

There are lots of wrist injuries so don't assume this is your injury or decide on some other injury that sounds good.
 
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mptennis

Rookie
This shows good practice for the high level serve in the ATP.


After impact, the players may perform the follow through in various ways. See ATP videos.

DIY serves are a zoo. Often something looks stressful.

I had started working on forehands and serves and had some new wrist pain. My serve looked stressful at the wrist, so I changed that. The wrist pain went away.

The Ulna side of the wrist can cause trouble and be very difficult to heal. When I bend mine with Ulnar Deviation, I see that it is stopped suddenly by my bone structure - this can be trouble at high speeds. A common tennis wrist injury on the Ulna side (little finger side) is TFCC. See injury posts in the Health and Fitness Forum.

Reference TFCC. Search this "NCBI" site for free ("pmc") online medical, sports and biomechanics publications.

There are lots of wrist injuries so don't assume this is your injury or decide on some other injury that sounds good.
KPalt2Wl.jpg
968B284E561847409B6EF37604C10C3D.jpg


These images are very helpful for me when compared to the still shot of myself at impact. You're right on both counts; the arm at the shoulder is too extreme and the wrist angle is as well. I had always heard that you try to hit the ball at the highest point, which makes sense. But mechanically to do that I was raising my arm straight up and then tilting my wrist, so that the top of the racquet was the maximum height I could possibly get it. I now realize that I went too extreme.
 

Chas Tennis

G.O.A.T.
KPalt2Wl.jpg
968B284E561847409B6EF37604C10C3D.jpg


These images are very helpful for me when compared to the still shot of myself at impact. You're right on both counts; the arm at the shoulder is too extreme and the wrist angle is as well. I had always heard that you try to hit the ball at the highest point, which makes sense. But mechanically to do that I was raising my arm straight up and then tilting my wrist, so that the top of the racquet was the maximum height I could possibly get it. I now realize that I went too extreme.

You need two camera views to get any idea of the orientation of the body and arms. I can see that the pro server's body is tilted forward. But that you are much more upright.

To start, simply take a video of your serve from behind looking along the ball's trajectory so that you can see the ball bounce. And a video from the side. Look at pro videos first and see their behind and side camera views. Compare your side view video to the pros. In words, the body tilts forward and the arm often appears aligned with the back from the side camera view. The racket shaft appears near vertical from the side camera view for the slice and flat serve impacts. Kick serve, I believe, is tilted forward >10 degrees for ATP & Stosur. Of course we can see that from the behind camera view that the racket shaft is not really vertical at impact, it is tilted to the left. See picture of server at impact.

If you think of your body as upright and shaped like a rectangle with the shoulders as corners, as I once did, you will have a hard time understanding the 3D angles being used in tennis strokes. Get the side camera view. Tennis is full of tree word descriptions that are easy to remember. When compared to videos nearly all word descriptions are wrong and misleading. Check video to know what is true - but that is tricky also because the camera takes a 2D picture of a 3D space.
 
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mptennis

Rookie
You need two camera views to get any idea of the orientation of the body and arms. I can see that the pro server's body is tilted forward. But that you are much more upright.

To start, simply take a video of your serve from behind looking along the ball's trajectory so that you can see the ball bounce. And a video from the side. Look at pro videos first and see their behind and side camera views. Compare your side view video to the pros. In words, the body tilts forward and the arm often appears aligned with the back from the side camera view. The racket shaft is appears near vertical from the side camera view for the slice and flat serve impacts. Kick I believe is tilted forward 10 degrees. Of course we can see that from the behind camera view that the racket shaft is not really vertical at impact, it is tilted to the left. See picture of server at impact.

If you think of your body as upright and shaped like a rectangle with the shoulders as corners, as I once did, you will have a hard time knowing the 3D angles being used in tennis strokes. Get the side camera view. Tennis is full of tree word descriptions that are easy to remember. When compared to videos nearly all word descriptions are wrong and misleading. Check video to know what is true - but that is tricky also because the camera takes a 2D picture of a 3D volume.
I was planning on getting both views here soon (per one user's suggestion I had thought about submitting them to Meike Babel for a personal review and she requests both views), I just have to let my shoulder get a bit better. I spent some time on Friday working on that internal shoulder rotation but apparently my shoulder was still too high so it's still quite sore.
 

SystemicAnomaly

Bionic Poster
I was planning on getting both views here soon (per one user's suggestion I had thought about submitting them to Meike Babel for a personal review and she requests both views), I just have to let my shoulder get a bit better. I spent some time on Friday working on that internal shoulder rotation but apparently my shoulder was still too high so it's still quite sore.
It is NOT that the shoulder is too high. The issue is that elbow is too high wrt the shoulder tilt line.

In fact, if the shoulder is lower and your arm is still vertical at contact, the impingement issue would be even worse.
 

mptennis

Rookie
It is NOT that the shoulder is too high. The issue is that elbow is too high wrt the shoulder tilt line.

In fact, if the shoulder is lower and your arm is still vertical at contact, the impingement issue would be even worse.
I see what you're saying. That's what I meant but I was describing it incorrectly. Thanks for pointing that out, it's helpful.
 

Digital Atheist

Hall of Fame
I do occasionally get wrist pain after playing, but I'm a software developer by trade so I always chalked it up to constantly typing. I'm finding out now I was doing a lot of things wrong so I'm hoping fixing my serve will not only improve my serve but also give me some physical longevity.
Compare the above image I posted to this:
054b7c05adae94725e3ec2824761f29d.jpg

Almost no (wrist) flexion and note how the side that made contact is facing outward in the Fed image, but it doesn't have to be as much as Federer. Again, that might get fixed when you sort the other stuff, but something to be aware of, since there is also a possibility you will have to actually learn what that feels like.
 
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Chas Tennis

G.O.A.T.
I was planning on getting both views here soon (per one user's suggestion I had thought about submitting them to Meike Babel for a personal review and she requests both views), I just have to let my shoulder get a bit better. I spent some time on Friday working on that internal shoulder rotation but apparently my shoulder was still too high so it's still quite sore.
Stop experimenting when you have any pain.
 

SystemicAnomaly

Bionic Poster
Compare the above image I posted to this:
054b7c05adae94725e3ec2824761f29d.jpg

Almost no flexion and note how the side that made contact is facing outward (it doesn't have to be as much as Federer). Again, that might get fixed when you sort the other stuff, but something to be aware of, since there is also a possibility you will have to actually learn what that feels like.
Shoulder flexion, elbow flexion, wrist flexion? I’m certain you were not talking shoulder flexion. Could be elbow flexion but, more likely, wrist flexion.

Many players, who hear some coaches say “snap the wrist” might be inclined to employ too much wrist flexion and insufficient ISR / shoulder pronation.

Note that Sampras did employ elbow flexion after contact. The dirty diaper. This action might have been a bit easier on the shoulder. Did not see this flexion with Federer’s follow-thru.
 
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