Serve Video Review

Jono123

Semi-Pro
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.

Your serve has a lot going for it. A smooth abbreviated swing and good racket drop. However your ball toss is not in front enough seeing weight transfer forward. So you're hemorrhaging power.

There are smaller things to address but that's what stood out for me.
 

MGArchitect

New User
Lots of good input here, also a pretty good base to start from. I have two recommendations for your process though.
1) move the basket farther away from yourself or even closer to the back fence because it looks almost like you are trying to avoid hitting it with your racquet. (This will help with the suggestion about arm angle)
2) bounce the ball a couple more times or go a little slower for the preparation phase. This helps to get the momentum going correctly by rocking back first and then moving forward - you seem to be already starting moving forward when the motion begins
 

eah123

Professional
For me, the number one issue is that you are tossing straight up over your head, which is causing you to brush up like you are doing a kick serve, or slice when the ball toss/contact is more to the right.

I would start by tossing further into the court. This will force your body to be more open at contact and swing more down and forward. I like this recent video from Intuitive tennis which explains it better.

 

Chas Tennis

G.O.A.T.
For me, the number one issue is that you are tossing straight up over your head, which is causing you to brush up like you are doing a kick serve, or slice when the ball toss/contact is more to the right.

I would start by tossing further into the court. This will force your body to be more open at contact and swing more down and forward. I like this recent video from Intuitive tennis which explains it better.


The kick serve toss is not to over the head, that is another tennis myth. The ball is impacted close to over the head, that is what is often seen in high speed videos. But the part that is often not noticed is that the head moves forward between the toss release and impact.

Kick serve from Fuzzy Yellow Balls.
Impact is right above the head. Toss the ball to where impact should be. Arm looks about vertical at impact.

Slice serve.
Arm angle and racket angle at impact?

Flat serve.
Arm tilts to right, racket tilts left at impact.
 
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Chas Tennis

G.O.A.T.
You can compare your video to the pro single frame and right above or below the pro video on the forum.

1) Place cursor on Youtube slide bar. Drag it back and forth to see the pattern of the stroke. Compare your pattern to the pro's.

2) Vary Youtube settings to speed 0.25X, (click gear icon) use period & comma keys to go forth and back. Again & again...

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

To select a video, place cursor on the video and hold down the ALT key and click with the left mouse key, otherwise the video starts playing when you select it. You can go full screen and come back down and the video stays on the same frame.

4) Comparisons need similar camera angles. Find your model server in a high speed video from the same camera angle. The closer the camera angle is, the more accurate the comparison is. Or find a model server and duplicate the camera angle for your serve video.
 
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mptennis

Rookie
The kick serve toss is not to over the head, that is another tennis myth. The ball is impacted close to over the head, that is what is often seen in high speed videos. But the part that is often not noticed is that the head moves forward between the toss release and impact.

Kick serve from Fuzzy Yellow Balls.
Impact is right above the head. Toss the ball to where impact should be. Arm looks about vertical at impact.

Slice serve.
Arm angle and racket angle at impact?

Flat serve.
Arm tilts to right, racket tilts left at impact.

It seems like my toss isn't over my head, I move into it as you describe. However I still think my main issue is the right elbow being way too high, the arm is nearly completely vertical. I think I can solve this by adjusting the toss to be a little further to the right.

 

mptennis

Rookie
Lots of good input here, also a pretty good base to start from. I have two recommendations for your process though.
1) move the basket farther away from yourself or even closer to the back fence because it looks almost like you are trying to avoid hitting it with your racquet. (This will help with the suggestion about arm angle)
2) bounce the ball a couple more times or go a little slower for the preparation phase. This helps to get the momentum going correctly by rocking back first and then moving forward - you seem to be already starting moving forward when the motion begins
I'm sure I'm subconsciously trying to avoid hitting it. I've actually hit it several times before.:-D

I hadn't thought about trying to slow down the preparation, I'll give it a try. Thanks!
 

mptennis

Rookie
I had a chance to get some practice in today. I tried to focus on a number of things including:
  • Getting the hitting elbow lower as to not have such a vertical swing (after watching the video I realize I have a long way to go)
  • More methodic preparation
  • Squaring shoulders to court at the time of hitting
  • Keeping the wrist loose
  • True continental grip
  • Better toss position
All in all it felt better. Watching the video shows that I still need to get the toss more out in front (I think that'll help with my arm angle at the hitting point) but my shoulder felt fine so that's an improvement for me. I eliminated the leg drive almost entirely to really focus on the upper body. I plan to work in that leg drive and trunk location after I get my swing mechanics where they need to be. Once again I'd appreciate any feedback.

and
.
 

Digital Atheist

Hall of Fame
That is definitely an improvement on the previous wrist position (first image); compare to the 101mph serve @ 1:16 as a good example, since it appeared to be legitimately faster than almost all of the others.
AP1GczP_2ldYQ2hbQBwKpsxxgD-QKHXjoUutagzemmKo19Y1TMRP8lRnRKvS9aMhNxg9AUxLEKYDXIAO-y3a61NZPeZIdlx73qX5joXf2tWrXnJ80XQbbO566tlrcrw8KaUd1Eu4UJIASk0dM4GCG4_HWHpg=w212-h462-s-no-gm
AP1GczPwa3UQxBgbN0RbiQaH5Qatl6AKwAkfwwMzOI3W4TKNgLhRKDyjkqwgrdy9jYEfneHnu4YLqWxVVkuXBal9DMXl6eARaW7Z6HmacGBD6RDNhZlzJ-GTP_jZFLcyGOscIXjfeEf64LJKEFxp5M_TcCi9=w1092-h460-s-no-gm


Keep at it, you aren't far away at all and your deceleration/follow-through is much better.
 
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mptennis

Rookie
That is definitely an improvement on the previous wrist position (first image); compare to the 101mph serve @ 1:16 as a good example, since it appeared to be legitimately faster than almost all of the others.
AP1GczN0UR0b6kVHauuB5-qIhO3nJgwm2A0IEaEXr2ILuJNlBaB467RcwA0hD5JREDbpBIx4I4_04eFg_H7QenFyfz21a2U5VLxzms7EaJ_o0Qttrqk5YkgZAIzpTpizBa93WNRKVwo83WJvUPu7MnPDl5lt=w212-h462-s-no-gm
AP1GczPROE-wgvjDy-lu6qUSR7Z8u-QhexSzITvCm1lg9a53z8StswwbB3ZGi3T0An18uYsGiyDduY6_YqxjCJeL4pyYm4_QeJEBxoqraoWoA_LeHNXJOv0pi_P1MFdM1gYxUOVMMGpKLcgTlZ-boS1TqmIQ=w1092-h460-s-no-gm


Keep at it, you aren't far away at all and your deceleration/follow-through is much better.
Did you use a tool to generate the images or was it all manual? The framing is so consistent.
 

Digital Atheist

Hall of Fame
Did you use a tool to generate the images or was it all manual? The framing is so consistent.
I have a keyboard shortcut for selecting regions so I just shift + prt sc, then manually select each relevant frame, making sure to include the red YT play bar as an alignment reference. Then GIMP and manual adjustment (using keyboard shortcuts to move images sideways and preserve alignment) is the only way to allow each frame to be visible while overlapping so close. In my experience, even when doing a tight crop of each frame and joining them, the resulting final image can be rather wide (especially if there are more frames than yours). I would rather do the extra 3 minutes work since I think it serves the purpose better!

If there are more than 10 images, I would usually download the video and then use Avidemux to auto generate the relevant frames, before importing into GIMP.
 

badmice2

Professional
I had a chance to get some practice in today. I tried to focus on a number of things including:
  • Getting the hitting elbow lower as to not have such a vertical swing (after watching the video I realize I have a long way to go)
  • More methodic preparation
  • Squaring shoulders to court at the time of hitting
  • Keeping the wrist loose
  • True continental grip
  • Better toss position
All in all it felt better. Watching the video shows that I still need to get the toss more out in front (I think that'll help with my arm angle at the hitting point) but my shoulder felt fine so that's an improvement for me. I eliminated the leg drive almost entirely to really focus on the upper body. I plan to work in that leg drive and trunk location after I get my swing mechanics where they need to be. Once again I'd appreciate any feedback.

and

A lot of improvements.

A few things to consider: see if you can make more time to load the knee bend longer, in doing so, it should also give you some time to coil your hips.

on your stance release, try and get your left hip to follow into the direction of your serve. Ie if you’re serving out wide (ad court), your hip should follow towards the ball.
 

Dragy

Legend
I had a chance to get some practice in today. I tried to focus on a number of things including:
  • Getting the hitting elbow lower as to not have such a vertical swing (after watching the video I realize I have a long way to go)
  • More methodic preparation
  • Squaring shoulders to court at the time of hitting
  • Keeping the wrist loose
  • True continental grip
  • Better toss position
All in all it felt better. Watching the video shows that I still need to get the toss more out in front (I think that'll help with my arm angle at the hitting point) but my shoulder felt fine so that's an improvement for me. I eliminated the leg drive almost entirely to really focus on the upper body. I plan to work in that leg drive and trunk location after I get my swing mechanics where they need to be. Once again I'd appreciate any feedback.

and
.
Did you notice you footfault every single time? This is not just illegal, but also marks an issue with your prep and toss. For instance, you cannot try to toss farther in front when you already need to slide your front foot as you do.

Check this video, it might seem not directly related, but I bet it will help a lot simply doing this:


(What I mean toss as you shift forward, not earlier)
 

mptennis

Rookie
Did you notice you footfault every single time? This is not just illegal, but also marks an issue with your prep and toss. For instance, you cannot try to toss farther in front when you already need to slide your front foot as you do.

Check this video, it might seem not directly related, but I bet it will help a lot simply doing this:


(What I mean toss as you shift forward, not earlier)
Yes I noticed, it was a big eye opener when I first reviewed that video. Thanks for the suggestion.
 

mptennis

Rookie
A lot of improvements.

A few things to consider: see if you can make more time to load the knee bend longer, in doing so, it should also give you some time to coil your hips.

on your stance release, try and get your left hip to follow into the direction of your serve. Ie if you’re serving out wide (ad court), your hip should follow towards the ball.
I'm gonna have to think on this one, mechanically it's not instantly making sense to me. If my body is rotating from right to left I'm not sure how to turn move my hip back towards the right side of the court.
 

badmice2

Professional
I'm gonna have to think on this one, mechanically it's not instantly making sense to me. If my body is rotating from right to left I'm not sure how to turn move my hip back towards the right side of the court.
You’re supposed to go right to left, but you should end up with you unit (as in unit turn) facing across the court, not to the left of the court.

You can think of it this way, If you simply stand sideways at the start, it would be roughly a quarter turn when you’re done delivering your serve. The “coiling” starts at the racket take back and roughly ends when you contact the ball, not thereafter. In doing so, you as a unit should be moving forward in unisons towards the direction of your shot.
 
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