Serve video suggestions

#1
Guys ... need some help with serve instructional video suggestions.

I have started hitting with someone fairly new to tennis, and trying to offer advice on his serve. At this point I don't want to post his video here.

Where he is at with his serve:

good:
- good toss
- pretty good timing with toss arm and serve arm motion. He is down with serve arm at toss like a Samprass style serve.
- good shoulder over shoulder at contact
- decent pace for flawed technique

bad:
- not continental ... fh eastern/sw ... yes, waiter tray
- does not get up to trophy position ... arm stays too straight rather than elbow bend trophy position with racquet vertical
- racquet does not get behind shoulder in full vertical (upside down) position
- little knee bend

My thinking is to get him to fluid proper throwing ... trophy position ... racquet drop motion before any leg drive, k-chain elements. Like I said, his current timing between his toss and serving arm is decent (serving arm is continuous without pause once put in motion). Any videos that come to mind to help him work on (drills) for serving arm motion?

I already sent him the following ... I thought Ian did a good job with the explanation of the throwing motion.

 

Raul_SJ

Hall of Fame
#8
- not continental ... fh eastern/sw ... yes, waiter tray
- does not get up to trophy position ... arm stays too straight rather than elbow bend trophy position with racquet vertical
I wonder if it's better to keep the arm bent on the take back, to help avoid the WT.

Yes, some pros straighten on the take back and then get into proper trophy position. I'm thinking it's better to avoid that straight arm in the first place -- i.e. never have the racquet tip pointing to the back fence... Djok used to have that straight arm motion and then changed it.
 
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#10
Thanks ... but this will be a free DIY project. :cool:
You'd rather spend your time to find short videos (from many sources...quality of information unknown). Then take the time to put that information into a coherent whole. Instead of spending $20 for a 2 hour video that breaks down the serve in all manner of ways. From beginning to end. And a product that's been proven to provide solid instruction.

That's so interesting.
 
#11
I wonder if it's better to keep the arm bent on the take back, to help avoid the WT.

Yes, some pros straighten on the take back and then get into proper trophy position. I'm thinking it's better to avoid that straight arm in the first place -- i.e. never have the racquet tip pointing to the back fence... Djok used to have that straight arm motion and then changed it.
Probably getting to trophy position is like getting to the slot ... just get there. :cool:

 
#12
You'd rather spend your time to find short videos (from many sources...quality of information unknown). Then take the time to put that information into a coherent whole. Instead of spending $20 for a 2 hour video that breaks down the serve in all manner of ways. From beginning to end. And a product that's been proven to provide solid instruction.

That's so interesting.
New friend I met at the park that I am helping (or ruining :p) is currently unemployed. We are just enjoying the tennis and giving him some tips. If we actually improve his strokes ... just a bonus. Poor 34 year old already lost sets to a 60 year old with bad hamstrings and a sweat gutter. :p
 
#14
New friend I met at the park that I am helping (or ruining :p) is currently unemployed. We are just enjoying the tennis and giving him some tips. If we actually improve his strokes ... just a bonus. Poor 34 year old already lost sets to a 60 year old with bad hamstrings and a sweat gutter. :p
Help him get a job then have him buy you one of the DVDs too
 
#15
New friend I met at the park that I am helping (or ruining :p) is currently unemployed. We are just enjoying the tennis and giving him some tips. If we actually improve his strokes ... just a bonus. Poor 34 year old already lost sets to a 60 year old with bad hamstrings and a sweat gutter. :p
Very interesting from a psychology perspective for me.

I've seen it so many times. Guy is having trouble with his serve (or forehand, or skiing well, or hitting a golf ball, or any number of things). Another well meaning guy steps in to help and seems to think that, a few minutes of instruction; one "key tip" or two will make this person start to perform basically immediately. It's especially comical when I see men trying to help their wives or girlfriends on the golf course. It's as if they somehow think she's going to start hitting the ball well because of a masterful tip from a worse than bogey amateur golfer ("just keep your head down; NO!!!, you have to do it like this; dammit, aren't you listening". So funny.

It's also true from the other side. Kid is on the driving range banana slicing shots. Asks anybody who will listen if they will help him. He also seems to think that he's "so close" to doing it right. Just one good tip away.

It's so strange because if you asked either one of these people "do you think a few quick tips on the tennis court / driving range / ski slopes will help someone having trouble?", everyone will say it won't. That learning these things just takes time, effort, practice. And that nobody learns anything from tips.

But yet, I see the same thing repeated over and over nearly everyday in all manners of life. So interesting. In fact, you might say that the entire "self help" industry (books, videos, seminars) is based on this. And even when people spend their money on one book and it doesn't help, they are more than ready to buy another and another book.
 
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#16
Very interesting from a psychology perspective for me.

I've seen it so many times. Guy is having trouble with his serve (or forehand, or skiing well, or hitting a golf ball, or any number of things). Another well meaning guy steps in to help and seems to think that, a few minutes of instruction; one "key tip" or two will make this person start to perform basically immediately. It's especially comical when I see men trying to help their wives or girlfriends on the golf course. It's as if they somehow think she's going to start hitting the ball well because of a masterful tip from a worse than bogey amateur golfer ("just keep your head down; NO!!!, you have to do it like this; dammit, aren't you listening". So funny.

It's also true from the other side. Kid is on the driving range banana slicing shots. Asks anybody who will listen if they will help him. He also seems to think that he's "so close" to doing it right. Just one good tip away.

It's so strange because if you asked either one of these people "do you think a few quick tips on the tennis court / driving range / ski slopes will help someone having trouble?", everyone will say it won't. That learning these things just takes time, effort, practice. And that nobody learns anything from tips.

But yet, I see the same thing repeated over and over nearly everyday in all manners of life. So interesting.
You're so gentle in the way you assess the situation. 'Strange' 'Funny'

I admire the tact.

I on the other hand think those one-tip-wonder micromanager people straight up have unresolved God-complexes... thinking they can speak magic words that bring Good into the world.

Hmm... I guess it is kinda funny.
 
#17
I'd say you are most likely wasting your time. He needs to change from his Eastern FH/SW grip and he's probably not going to do that. Too big a project. You guys can nibble around the edges making small changes that might help but most likely will never make the big change that needs to be made.
 

Raul_SJ

Hall of Fame
#18
Probably getting to trophy position is like getting to the slot ... just get there. :cool:

Straight arm can work. But if his arm is straight on the way to trophy, like in the 2010 Djok, it makes it more likely that he will flip into WT on the way to trophy, and not get into proper bent elbow trophy. Best for rec players to be more bent.

 
#19
I'd say you are most likely wasting your time. He needs to change from his Eastern FH/SW grip and he's probably not going to do that. Too big a project. You guys can nibble around the edges making small changes that might help but most likely will never make the big change that needs to be made.
There are worse places to waste your time than a tennis court ... maybe asking on the internet for serve instruction video suggestions. :D

We improved his 1hbh slice in one hitting session ... maybe we will get lucky on serve also. No problem with him changing his grip ... he just has never heard you should serve with a continental grip. He has hit a lot on a wall, so just hitting with me is giving him reps and quick improvement. Also ... how ever he did it (he said he watched pro video and tried to mimic it) he showed up with FH and 1hbh topspin strokes that look really good. His serve isn't a start from scratch project imo ... he has worked out much of the timing, and to be honest ... a better looking toss than mine. We just have to get the easy pace from the trophy position/racquet drop thing. JUST :p
 

Raul_SJ

Hall of Fame
#20
You'd rather spend your time to find short videos (from many sources...quality of information unknown). Then take the time to put that information into a coherent whole. Instead of spending $20 for a 2 hour video that breaks down the serve in all manner of ways. From beginning to end. And a product that's been proven to provide solid instruction.

That's so interesting.
Sureshs has said he hangs out in the adjacent court during lessons so he can overhear the coaching lessons. :eek:
 
#22
I liked the mute the best ... actually pretty good. Man ... lot's of racquets scraping and banging on fences ... my Volkl V1 Pros aren't ever going to touch a fence. :p I already talked to him about hitting up on the ball ... you could see he thinks in terms of hitting down on it. That giant red thing Oscar had certainly would make an impression. :D
 
#24
Very interesting from a psychology perspective for me.

I've seen it so many times. Guy is having trouble with his serve (or forehand, or skiing well, or hitting a golf ball, or any number of things). Another well meaning guy steps in to help and seems to think that, a few minutes of instruction; one "key tip" or two will make this person start to perform basically immediately. It's especially comical when I see men trying to help their wives or girlfriends on the golf course. It's as if they somehow think she's going to start hitting the ball well because of a masterful tip from a worse than bogey amateur golfer ("just keep your head down; NO!!!, you have to do it like this; dammit, aren't you listening". So funny.

It's also true from the other side. Kid is on the driving range banana slicing shots. Asks anybody who will listen if they will help him. He also seems to think that he's "so close" to doing it right. Just one good tip away.

It's so strange because if you asked either one of these people "do you think a few quick tips on the tennis court / driving range / ski slopes will help someone having trouble?", everyone will say it won't. That learning these things just takes time, effort, practice. And that nobody learns anything from tips.

But yet, I see the same thing repeated over and over nearly everyday in all manners of life. So interesting. In fact, you might say that the entire "self help" industry (books, videos, seminars) is based on this. And even when people spend their money on one book and it doesn't help, they are more than ready to buy another and another book.
It makes you wonder ... how did the first tennis player learn how to play tennis?
 
#26
I liked the mute the best ... actually pretty good. Man ... lot's of racquets scraping and banging on fences ... my Volkl V1 Pros aren't ever going to touch a fence. :p I already talked to him about hitting up on the ball ... you could see he thinks in terms of hitting down on it. That giant red thing Oscar had certainly would make an impression. :D
I think the two biggest things for people transitioning from beginner serve to advanced serve is to understand that 1.) you swing up, not down, and 2.) you swing across the ball, up and to the right (righties), not through it.
 
#31
I think the two biggest things for people transitioning from beginner serve to advanced serve is to understand that 1.) you swing up, not down, and 2.) you swing across the ball, up and to the right (righties), not through it.
True, but it won't make any sense to anyone that doesn't already know what it means.
 

Curious

Hall of Fame
#35
Make him use conti grip and hit the ball with the edge of the racket. Then ask him to start moving the racket angle very gradually until the stringbed is finally square to the ball. He will soon find pronation naturally and as a necessity rather than a meaningless trick!

 
#38
Make him use conti grip and hit the ball with the edge of the racket. Then ask him to start moving the racket angle very gradually until the stringbed is finally square to the ball. He will soon find pronation naturally and as a necessity rather than a meaningless trick!

Jeeze ... who knew learning to serve could be so hard on racquets. Going to need a cr@p racquet for fence scraping and edge hits. :p
 
#39
There are worse places to waste your time than a tennis court ... maybe asking on the internet for serve instruction video suggestions. :D

We improved his 1hbh slice in one hitting session ... maybe we will get lucky on serve also. No problem with him changing his grip ... he just has never heard you should serve with a continental grip. He has hit a lot on a wall, so just hitting with me is giving him reps and quick improvement. Also ... how ever he did it (he said he watched pro video and tried to mimic it) he showed up with FH and 1hbh topspin strokes that look really good. His serve isn't a start from scratch project imo ... he has worked out much of the timing, and to be honest ... a better looking toss than mine. We just have to get the easy pace from the trophy position/racquet drop thing. JUST :p
Well then good luck to you. Maybe he's more adaptable than some I've had who had no inclination whatsoever to make that grip change.
 
#43
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It is important to note that this video is Pat Dougherty giving a lesson on how to improve what we usually call the Waiter's Tray serve. He refers to the WT technique as 'hammer that serve'. He also discusses the "advanced serve".

I misunderstood what he was talking about for a year or two. Listen carefully as he quickly changes to 'advanced serve' information, back again to WT. Know which serving technique he is talking about.

This is the only video lesson that I know of that deals with improving the Waiter's Tray serve.

OP, you should screen the server for Waiter's Tray as chances are WT is what most active tennis players are doing. You can see the face-to-sky racket orientation when the server is serving at you by eye. 30 fps video should show it also if you video a few serves to catch the racket face to the sky at the right time. Camera with ball coming at it or from behind with ball going directly away shows WT well. Even still pictures if you take enough of them.

He should be aware of the Ellenbecker video "Rotator Cuff Injury" and Jim McLennan videos on the upper arm orientation for the high level serving technique. I've posted information many times. If he has a WT and wants to keep it - Who knows about the upper arm orientation??
 
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#44
Make him use conti grip and hit the ball with the edge of the racket. Then ask him to start moving the racket angle very gradually until the stringbed is finally square to the ball. He will soon find pronation naturally and as a necessity rather than a meaningless trick!

I have sent grasshopper your video and told him there will be a test on Monday. :p He already had Ian's video from my first post. I liked Knox's last video (the non-talker :D) ... he might get that one later. He already has a good toss and timing with his serving arm. It will be interesting to see if we can keep what he has, and just add trophy position and better racquet drop. I told him "some" had said he wouldn't change to continental. He is motivated now ... hehehe.

Edit: changing the battery in a Lobster ball machine is a PITA!!! That was my morning task.
 
#45
I have sent grasshopper your video and told him there will be a test on Monday. :p He already had Ian's video from my first post. I liked Knox's last video (the non-talker :D) ... he might get that one later. He already has a good toss and timing with his serving arm. It will be interesting to see if we can keep what he has, and just add trophy position and better racquet drop. I told him "some" had said he wouldn't change to continental. He is motivated now ... hehehe.

Edit: changing the battery in a Lobster ball machine is a PITA!!! That was my morning task.
How "actively" do you supinate the forearm going into and just after the racquet drop to get it to kick out just before the forward "edge on chop" pronation?
 
#46
How "actively" do you supinate the forearm going into and just after the racquet drop to get it to kick out just before the forward "edge on chop" pronation?
Is this a trick question? By "you" did you mean BBP or generic "you". Either way I have been on this forum long enough to never admit to "active" anything other than imagination.
 
#49
I hit with my "student" :cool: this morning. We didn't work on his serve much, but I did discuss (the good and the not so good) his serve video and pics I had grabbed from his video. He had watched Ian's video, but not the one @Curious posted, so I walked him through that concept/drill. I had punctured two tennis balls to release the pressure to make sure he didn't hurt the side of his racquet. Told him to try that drill on his own and see if it helped changing to continental grip. For a laugh, I had him throw a tennis ball back and forth like playing catch in baseball. WTF ... his arm stayed straight and he through with arm going vertical ... and threw pretty frickin good that way. It only took a short time to get why. Guy is from India ... never played baseball in his life, but a ton of Cricket. :p:p:p DOH!!! I told him that abomination has no place in the game of tennis and got him to throw like baseball. At first it had a bit of "the girl" throw, but not for long. In five minutes he had a guy throw. :D Seriously ... the first person I try to help their serve requires a cricket purge ... can't make this up.

Guy's FH and 1hbh are both going to be great if he gets to play enough. His FH already looks like a tv atp fh ... well timed off back leg with big lag and good pace and topspin ... just needs reps. His best 1hbh looks great also ... but not solid enough front leg balance on all of them. Again ... reps. Looks like he is hitting bh eastern (unfortunately also on his bh slice), and sw fh. No clue about volleys or overheads yet. :D
 
#50

I like this guy's videos generally and this one I think might be helpful because he focuses a lot on the water's tray serve and the grip change that is necessary.

Another thing to try with someone like this is to watch their throwing motion. If the person doesn't pronate with an overhead throwing motion, then try side arm. I think it's easier to get people to pronate throwing side arm, and frankly that is closer to the right motion anyway.
 
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