Struggling with serve, goes to the net. Video included.

Hi all,
I've been playing tennis for about a year now, but struggling with my serve a lot, most of the times it goes to the net.
Any tips on what to work on here, please?
Here's the video https://www.dropbox.com/s/phuo71bshxfdy9a/Serve.mp4
(Same but in slow motion https://www.dropbox.com/s/7q3jv9zil7jvw1g/Serve%20slow%20mo.mp4)
Also here's bunch of pictures of my contact point, for some reason really struggling to keep the racquet in a straight line with the arm on the contact. https://www.dropbox.com/s/c1kju8j0aw34zuq/2020-10-20_16-56-31%20%286%29.png
 

Cashman

Hall of Fame
The immediate problem is that you’re sort of falling over the top of your serve a bit, rather than driving up and through it.

Pause the video at the moment of contact and look at the location of your body and the angle of your wrist and racquet face. Then compare it to a similar paused frame in this video (e.g. around 2:23):


But there’s a fair bit of other stuff going on, and if you can afford it I would probably get an hour with a coach to work through your serve motion. They will fix a few things about your motion and swing path that will overall make things a lot easier.
 
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Znak

Professional
I'll add that it looks like you're in a forehand grip, if you are make sure you're using the hammer grip/continental.
 

Dragy

Hall of Fame
You grip definitely looks like shifted towards FH. Let’s not discuss naming conventions - just try shifting it 0.5-1 bevel.
You are trying to kind of hit the ball from behind horizontally. Try swinging up from below the ball and continue to full upward (tilted) stretch past contact.
Try to aim deeper, try to send the ball past the service line.

Those are light impact suggestions. If they work for you, you can go on with practice. If not, one can say you need a careful rebuild - many things look improper, and unless you are really good with evolving, you might struggle to tweak 1-2 things and barely improve from this point.
 

Dragy

Hall of Fame
And one more thing, particularly with sending balls into the net: it's very likely due to mishitting, probably hitting very close to the tip. Try focusing on hitting the sweetspot cleanly. Maybe try to "carry" the racquet farther and higher past the ball instead of pulling it down.
 

3loudboys

Hall of Fame
Had a look at the slo mo serves and for me you are allowing the fall to fall to low when you strike it and then hitting down with a slightly crooked arm. Try to hit up at the ball with your arm extended straight so you max out on the height of the toss b y making yourself as tall as you can be. An extension of this after getting comfortable with it would be to add a leg drive upwards and get off the floor.

My son had a similar problem, he was letting it drop to low and hitting it down on it and his coach got him to serve from outside the court over the back fence into the court, reaching up to the ball and throwing his racket up. He thought that was funny, but lo and behold on court with a box to aim for, he started hitting it over and in by making himself tall, extending arm and hitting up at the ball.

Nice vids btw - very clear.
 

SystemicAnomaly

Talk Tennis Guru
You are tossing pretty far into the court. That would be ok if you were leaning (or jumping) forward more into the court. The lean you have in the 3rd image is pretty good; but your toss still appears to be too far forward.

You should try to hit up on the serve. It appears you might be trying to do this but, because your tosses are so far forward, you end up hitting down on many of your serves.

Take a look at the angle of your right arm at contact. Looks to be between 30° and 45° as you reach forward with your arm (even tho your racket is closer to vertical)

Try tossing less forward of the baseline for now. Maybe 30-50 cm (1 to 1.5 ft) in front of the baseline. Lean into the serve -- as if you were trying to get your head underneath the ball. Try to get your racket arm up higher -- maybe something like 75° relative to the horizontal.

You appear to be lifting your tossing arm too much toward the net. Many top servers if their tossing arm closer to parallel to the baseline but may rec players find this to extreme to implement. I suggest to compromise. Lift the arm closer to 45° or so.

This can help you attain a bit more body coil for your serve. It could also help you achieve a toss that is not quite as far forward.

The Sampras GIF below shows him lifting his arm nearly parallel to the baseline. Note also that the serve toss does not travel straight up and down. There is a distinct parabolic arc to his ball toss.
 

SystemicAnomaly

Talk Tennis Guru
A standard conti grip would have the base index knuckle on bevel 2. An Eastern Fh grip has it on bevel 3. You may be closer to a 2.5 grip (knuckle on the corner between bevel 2 and 3). This is known as an Aussie grip or a semi-continental grip. This grip might be ok for flat 1st serves but you should probably be trying for more of a spin serve (topspin or topspin-slice serve) for more consistency.

Some rec players will start the serve motion with a conti grip but somewhere during the motion it shifts closer to a bevel 3 (or bevel 2.5) grip.

Your serve exhibits a classic WTE (waiters tray error)... the racket face opens up to the sky and you end up hitting an open-face frying pan serve. Novices find this to be a simple motion but, unfortunately, it is difficult to build a high level serve off of this. And you will never develop a decent spin serve with this WTE / frying pan action.

Instead of serving with an open face, try swinging the racket "on edge". Check out the video below for clues on how to do this. Try to get the racket to a salute position for your trophy phase. Palm down. And then "comb the hair" for your racket drop. This should help to avoid the dreaded WTE.

The upward swing after the drop should also be "on edge" as if you were throwing an ax as if are going to cut the ball with the edge of the racket. Shortly before the racket contacts the ball, the hand is rotated to present the racket strings to the ball. With a moderate rotation, you should be able to brush at at an angle on the ball to produce topspin and sidespin. Or you can rotate it more to square up the racket face to "high five" the ball.

 

Dragy

Hall of Fame
A standard conti grip would have the base index knuckle on bevel 2. An Eastern Fh grip has it on bevel 3. You may be closer to a 2.5 grip (knuckle on the corner between bevel 2 and 3). This is known as an Aussie grip or a semi-continental grip. This grip might be ok for flat 1st serves but you should probably be trying for more of a spin serve (topspin or topspin-slice serve) for more consistency.

Some rec players will start the serve motion with a conti grip but somewhere during the motion it shifts closer to a bevel 3 (or bevel 2.5) grip.

Your serve exhibits a classic WTE (waiters tray error)... the racket face opens up to the sky and you end up hitting an open-face frying pan serve. Novices find this to be a simple motion but, unfortunately, it is difficult to build a high level serve off of this. And you will never develop a decent spin serve with this WTE / frying pan action.

Instead of serving with an open face, try swinging the racket "on edge". Check out the video below for clues on how to do this. Try to get the racket to a salute position for your trophy phase. Palm down. And then "comb the hair" for your racket drop. This should help to avoid the dreaded WTE.

The upward swing after the drop should also be "on edge" as if you were throwing an ax as if are going to cut the ball with the edge of the racket. Shortly before the racket contacts the ball, the hand is rotated to present the racket strings to the ball. With a moderate rotation, you should be able to brush at at an angle on the ball to produce topspin and sidespin. Or you can rotate it more to square up the racket face to "high five" the ball.

I sometimes get afraid our suggestions are overwhelming for fellow players asking for tips.
Other times I’m just 100% sure they get overwhelmed.
 

SystemicAnomaly

Talk Tennis Guru
I sometimes get afraid our suggestions are overwhelming for fellow players asking for tips.
Other times I’m just 100% sure they get overwhelmed.
OP might be better off taking a few private lessons to learn a proper spin serve... w/o the WTE.

It is definitely more of a challenge teaching in a text-based format than it is in person. Not always easy to find that optimal balance between insufficient info and TMI in this forum format. And then there's also the problem of too many cooks.
 

Jake Speeed

Rookie
"IntroSport.com"

They make a good deal of money through your visual participation.

In fact, they all do. I'm actually glad we didn't have internet when I started playing and teaching.
 
Kind of surprised that no one has mentioned what I believe is glaring. What are you waiting for as far as tossing the ball is concerned? You rock back then shift your weight forward, get to the point you should actually be hitting the ball and then you toss. There is only one option for tossing the ball, it is when you start forward. Not 1/100 of a sec after. That means 1) you stop the rear weight shift, 2) start forward weight shift and Initiate toss at exact same moment. Anything else and your timing will be off. Fix that first and then address what still needs fixing. Some of the other problems will be fixed by timing improvement.
 

SystemicAnomaly

Talk Tennis Guru
"IntroSport.com"

They make a good deal of money through your visual participation.

In fact, they all do. I'm actually glad we didn't have internet when I started playing and teaching.
IntroSport? Not familiar.

I've taught quite a few teens & adults who've taught themselves via videos or instructions on the interwebs. Many have been way off in their mechanics. You gotta wonder what they were watching.

But some have done remarkably well and have gotten most of it right. These players will often come to me to find out why something is not quite working as expected.

They, often, are not executing the stroke they way they think they are. I'll demonstrate to them what they are doing and then show them what I believe their video or instruction source was probably trying get across.
 

3loudboys

Hall of Fame
IntroSport? Not familiar.

I've taught quite a few teens & adults who've taught themselves via videos or instructions on the interwebs. Many have been way off in their mechanics. You gotta wonder what they were watching.

But some have done remarkably well and have gotten most of it right. These players will often come to me to find out why something is not quite working as expected.

They, often, are not executing the stroke they way they think they are. I'll demonstrate to them what they are doing and then show them what I believe their video or instruction source was probably trying get across.
So important to demonstrate as audio learning is so tough without visual and kinesthetic. I have read up on certain tech/aspects of the game on my road to mediocrity using some web content, but nothing substitutes for some good old fashioned one on one coaching. My kids have really benefitted.
 

Jake Speeed

Rookie
There's a good number of things going on there that need correction. However, what you're already doing is a great start.

I would like to see a video, as good as the efforts you've already invested, taken from the rear. Only then can I properly make an assessment and analyze the issues, for the benefit of giving correct advice, and to tell you the steps or changes you will have to make and in what order these changes will have to be made.

Without that "rear" video, I'd just be throwing the obvious at you and your improvement will be "long term" or not really much better at all.

I'll offer this. In learning a proper service motion, it's not even necessary for the ball to go into the court. It's pointless in fact.

I generally have my students practice and develop their service motion close to the back fence. A good thing actually for a few reasons. The lease important reason is, all the balls stay on this side of the net for an easy "pick up."

The most important reason is, the student is no longer concentrating on placing the ball into the court. A very bad thing actually.

Yea I know, for some, this is difficult to digest, but I assure you, developing a good service motion has nothing to do with where the ball goes. Directional changes for that purpose is an easy fix and is generally taught later.

The "motion" and the "proper" technique must come first. Getting the ball to go where you want it to go comes later.
 

SystemicAnomaly

Talk Tennis Guru
Also here's bunch of pictures of my contact point, for some reason really struggling to keep the racquet in a straight line with the arm on the contact. https://www.dropbox.com/s/c1kju8j0aw34zuq/2020-10-20_16-56-31%20%286%29.png


Posting this pic of Maria serving to help you make more sense of the my observations in post #8. Compare these to the images of your own contacts.

This appears to me to be a 1st serve. (She would likely be turned a bit more toward that chair in the pic at contact if she was hitting a spin serve). Maria has tossed the ball a fair amt into the court. She has launched herself up and forward to make this contact.

Not suggesting that you necessarily need to jump as high as Maria does. But I am suggesting you lean into the toss as she does. You have a decent lean on 1 or 2 of your contacts but you are too vertical on most of them even tho your toss is fairly far forward. Maria's upper body is tilted a little bit more than her lower body. This is not unusual for high level serves.

Take note of how Maria extends her right arm upward to make contact. (Nearly the same angle as her upper body). The arm angle definitely appears to be greater than 60°. (Racket angle is a bit closer to vertical). The contact is just a little bit forward of her head. She has nearly gotten underneath the toss. For a 2nd (spin) serve, her head would likely be more (nearly) underneath her toss.

Your arm is reaching forward more than upward... somewhere between 30° and 45° wrt the court on your contacts. Your contacts are quite a bit forward of your head. Undoubtedly a large part of why many of your serves going to the net.

Suggestions: Toss a bit less into the court. (Lift the tossing arm at an angle rather than toward the net as suggested in prev post). Lean more into the toss -- try to get your head (nearly) underneath the ball. Reach upward more for the ball rather than too far forward.

Any questions?
 

Chas Tennis

G.O.A.T.
The OP is using the Waiter's Tray technique as Systemic Anomaly posted. That technique is used by the majority of active tennis players. That is the number one issue to determine for the serve. Study the issue.

The OP should study threads and posts with the words internal shoulder rotation. I've posted a lot on that subject.

One difference between the high level serving technique is that the racket head speed is developed both by swinging forward and by rotating the entire arm at the shoulder, like a top. In other words, the upper arm, or humerus, spins like a top (around its long axis). With a Waiter's Tray (WT) there is little or no pace developed from the rotation of the humerus/arm and racket.

If you try to develop high pace with the WT by swinging faster the racket face closes faster. Any lack of control is likely to affect how closed (angle downward of the racket face) the racket face is at impact and the ball can tend to go too high or low. The side-to-side aim is very good with the WT since it is set early in the swing. For the WT, the racket face is seen to face the sky a few feet before impact and closes to impact. For the high level serve the racket edge faces the ball. That difference make the likely WT easy to spot in videos.


Both the swing and the rotation of the racket head show up clearly in high speed videos for the high level serve. 6000 fps.

Look carefully and notice the swinging as the top edge of the racket head move forward faster than the bottom edge. Look for the racket rotation from internal shoulder rotation as the farthest edge moves faster than the nearest edge. This is a high level serve with ISR.

Your WT serve does not have the racket rotation from ISR. All pace is developed just from the racket head closing as it moves forward. A closed up of your racket head at impact will show this.

It is difficult to change from a WT serve to a high level serve. Don't go out and try isolated suggestions without understanding that your technique is not the same as a high level technique and why requires study.

Search forum: internal shoulder rotation serve Chas
Search forum: Waiter's Tray ISR Chas

There is a safety issue in how the upper arm is orientated to the shoulder joint for the high level serve. If too high the risk of impingement is increased. See videos of ATP servers for examples.

There are many posts and threads.
Search Ellenbecker rotator cuff injury impingement Whiteside Chas
 
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SystemicAnomaly

Talk Tennis Guru
The OP is using the Waiter's Tray technique as Systemic Anomaly posted. That technique is used by the majority of active tennis players. That is the number one issue to determine for the serve. Study the issue.

The OP should study threads and posts with the words internal shoulder rotation. I've posted a lot on that subject.

One difference between the high level serving technique is that the racket head speed is developed both by swinging forward and by rotating the entire arm at the shoulder, like a top. In other words, the upper arm, or humerus, spins like a top (around its long axis). With a Waiter's Tray (WT) there is little or no pace developed from the rotation of the humerus/arm and racket.

If you try to develop high pace with the WT by swinging faster the racket face closes faster. Any lack of control is likely to affect how closed (angle downward of the racket face) the racket face is and the ball can tend to go high or low. The side-to-side aim is very good with the WT since it is set early in the swing. For the WT the racket face is seen to face the sky and closes to impact.

Compare your racket when it faces the sky to this where 'the edge is toward the ball' (at the lower red arrow).

Toly composite picture.

Both the swing and the rotation of the racket head show up clearly in high speed videos for the high level serve. 6000 fps.

Look carefully and notice the swinging as the top edge of the racket head move forward faster than the bottom edge. Look for the racket rotation from internal shoulder rotation as the farthest edge moves faster than the nearest edge. This is a high level serve with ISR.

Your WT serve does not have the racket rotation from ISR. All pace is developed just from the racket head closing as it moves forward. A closed up of your racket head at impact will show this.

It is difficult to change from a WT serve to a high level serve. Don't go out and try isolated suggestions without understanding that your technique is not the same as a high level technique and why requires study.

Search forum: internal shoulder rotation serve Chas
Search forum: Waiter's Tray ISR Chas

There is a safety issue in how the upper arm is orientated to the shoulder joint for the high level serve. If too high the risk of impingement is increased. See videos of ATP servers for examples.

There are many posts and threads.
Search Ellenbecker rotator cuff injury impingement Whiteside Chas
Much too much CT.

We've undoubtedly already overwhelmed the OP with waaay TMI several posts ago.
 

Jake Speeed

Rookie
A test to see if I can get an image Posted?

OK. Seems like I cannot simply "upload" a JPEG from a file?

Am I missing something?
 
Wow, so much feedback, so many info gems and tips tailored to my situation!
Greatly appreciate your time spent on all this.
I will be diving in deeper into all these responses, trying to digest and apply it while practicing.
I actually already have a coach and their feedback is very similar, but I usually like to get bunch of different opinions.
And like this thread showed, there's some very interesting insights and different perspectives on how to fix/improve my serve issues.
Also love how some of you went into deep waters with the analysis,
for beginners the serve can be mysterious and counter-intuitive with seemingly 100 moving parts which you need to get each part right.
Without realizing it I was hitting the ball too much in front of me and driving/pushing it forward, instead of hitting up into the ball and extending myself vertically to the max.
Was able to improve that a little yesterday, and right away the ball went nicely over the net!
 

eah123

New User
Serve is the most complex stroke in all of tennis.

The best advice I have is to simplify it as much as possible, and to work on it 1 piece at a time with a coach until each piece is mastered.

It doesn't have to be a high level coach, just somebody who knows how to serve and is patient.

Forget everything you think you learned already.

For you, the first thing I would work on is proper stance.

Choose pinpoint or platform. Platform is simpler, but many people cannot do it properly either due to inflexibility in the knees or weakness in the back leg. If learning the pinpoint stance, start serving with feet together before learning how to "step in" properly.

Second thing I would work on with you would be making proper pronation and point of contact starting from the racquet drop position. Watch this video.

If you can master these 2 things, which may take 6 months to a year of regular practice, you will have a solid base from which to add the other pieces of the serve.

Good luck!
 

Nellie

Hall of Fame
There is a lot of inconsistency in your contact point. A lot of new players struggle with too many moving parts (e.g., forward and back rocking and foot movement), and I would suggest simplifying your motion for now by (1) setting your feet shoulder width apart and to line up (as a righty) toward the middle of the court when you are serving from the deuce side or toward the right net post when serving toward the ad side, (2) tossing so the ball lands roughly on your front shoulder (so if you extend your left, tossing arm straight up while tossing, the ball would pretty much go back to your left hand), and (3) serve by swinging smoothly through the ball without moving your feet. You will often see pros doing this when warming up. You can experiment with your toss location and height to see what works for your body and technique, and you can always add more motion back once you groove the contact point.
 

samarai

Semi-Pro
grip seems wrong (continental), toss motion looks good. stay more sideways and u want to hit up on the ball not down. Keep that left arm up after toss so that u dont collapse and hit down
 

Chas Tennis

G.O.A.T.
A test to see if I can get an image Posted?

OK. Seems like I cannot simply "upload" a JPEG from a file?

Am I missing something?
Image on Internet. Try this. Find a picture in this thread. Right click on the picture. Select: "Copy Image Address" (Don't copy copyrighted or proprietary photos.)

Now open a Reply box. Place the cursor where you want the picture to be, click, and then click on the image icon on the top of the Reply Box. It looks like two mountains and a moon. Paste the Image Address into the box that appears. The picture should appear in the Reply Box. Now select Preview at the bottom right of the Reply Box. Your picture should appear as it would be posted. You can then erase everything in the Reply Box or post it.

Image on your computer. You cannot post a picture file directly from your computer. To post a picture on your computer you first need to upload your picture file to one of the many photo hosting websites. Google has one. View the picture about the right size on the photo hosting website (not the little picture) and then do as above, right click, select Copy Image Address. Then use that Image Address as described above.

For any subject. Google: kick serve pictures ____the word "pictures" will get you many pictures and websites that might show your subject. You can double click on the picture to go to the website with the picture. You could post a link to the site with the picture as websites like traffic. Pictures show only 2 dimensions well and the 3rd direction - toward or away from the camera - is shrunken or hidden. Pick pictures from camera angles that best show the 2 dimensions that you most want to write about, always remembering and avoiding the shrunken direction. Always check your stroke facts with high speed videos from two directions. There are many misinterpretations of pictures and arguments over what they show on the forum.
 
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Chas Tennis

G.O.A.T.
Much too much CT.

We've undoubtedly already overwhelmed the OP with waaay TMI several posts ago.
The adult OP can decide if he wants more information or not. Is there anything that is untrue in post #18?

If the OP wants more detail, pictures, videos and references he can search the forum as suggested.
 

Chas Tennis

G.O.A.T.
.................................................................
Without realizing it I was hitting the ball too much in front of me and driving/pushing it forward, instead of hitting up into the ball and extending myself vertically to the max.
.............................................................................................
Videos of high level serves show that "extending myself vertically to the max" is not what is done in a high level serve.


If you view pictures from behind there are other non vertical angles that are not shown in the above picture, the arm tilts right and the racket tilts left. If you believe "vertical" you cannot be doing the high level serve, nothing is vertical to give maximum height.

Pat Dougherty has the only video that I know of that discusses how to improve the Waiter's Tray. Hammer That Serve. Listen very carefully as he talks about both the advanced serve and 'hammer that serve' for the WT.
 
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A standard conti grip would have the base index knuckle on bevel 2. An Eastern Fh grip has it on bevel 3. You may be closer to a 2.5 grip (knuckle on the corner between bevel 2 and 3). This is known as an Aussie grip or a semi-continental grip. This grip might be ok for flat 1st serves but you should probably be trying for more of a spin serve (topspin or topspin-slice serve) for more consistency.

Some rec players will start the serve motion with a conti grip but somewhere during the motion it shifts closer to a bevel 3 (or bevel 2.5) grip.

Your serve exhibits a classic WTE (waiters tray error)... the racket face opens up to the sky and you end up hitting an open-face frying pan serve. Novices find this to be a simple motion but, unfortunately, it is difficult to build a high level serve off of this. And you will never develop a decent spin serve with this WTE / frying pan action.

Instead of serving with an open face, try swinging the racket "on edge". Check out the video below for clues on how to do this. Try to get the racket to a salute position for your trophy phase. Palm down. And then "comb the hair" for your racket drop. This should help to avoid the dreaded WTE.

The upward swing after the drop should also be "on edge" as if you were throwing an ax as if are going to cut the ball with the edge of the racket. Shortly before the racket contacts the ball, the hand is rotated to present the racket strings to the ball. With a moderate rotation, you should be able to brush at at an angle on the ball to produce topspin and sidespin. Or you can rotate it more to square up the racket face to "high five" the ball.

What a video! Never saw a serve explained like that! Trying this immediately on the court today!
 
The OP is using the Waiter's Tray technique as Systemic Anomaly posted. That technique is used by the majority of active tennis players. That is the number one issue to determine for the serve. Study the issue.

The OP should study threads and posts with the words internal shoulder rotation. I've posted a lot on that subject.

One difference between the high level serving technique is that the racket head speed is developed both by swinging forward and by rotating the entire arm at the shoulder, like a top. In other words, the upper arm, or humerus, spins like a top (around its long axis). With a Waiter's Tray (WT) there is little or no pace developed from the rotation of the humerus/arm and racket.

If you try to develop high pace with the WT by swinging faster the racket face closes faster. Any lack of control is likely to affect how closed (angle downward of the racket face) the racket face is at impact and the ball can tend to go too high or low. The side-to-side aim is very good with the WT since it is set early in the swing. For the WT, the racket face is seen to face the sky a few feet before impact and closes to impact. For the high level serve the racket edge faces the ball. That difference make the likely WT easy to spot in videos.


Both the swing and the rotation of the racket head show up clearly in high speed videos for the high level serve. 6000 fps.

Look carefully and notice the swinging as the top edge of the racket head move forward faster than the bottom edge. Look for the racket rotation from internal shoulder rotation as the farthest edge moves faster than the nearest edge. This is a high level serve with ISR.

Your WT serve does not have the racket rotation from ISR. All pace is developed just from the racket head closing as it moves forward. A closed up of your racket head at impact will show this.

It is difficult to change from a WT serve to a high level serve. Don't go out and try isolated suggestions without understanding that your technique is not the same as a high level technique and why requires study.

Search forum: internal shoulder rotation serve Chas
Search forum: Waiter's Tray ISR Chas

There is a safety issue in how the upper arm is orientated to the shoulder joint for the high level serve. If too high the risk of impingement is increased. See videos of ATP servers for examples.

There are many posts and threads.
Search Ellenbecker rotator cuff injury impingement Whiteside Chas
Thank you, definitely more advanced information here, will be trying to study and understand it!
 

SystemicAnomaly

Talk Tennis Guru

SystemicAnomaly

Talk Tennis Guru
Videos of high level serves show that "extending myself vertically to the max" is not what is done in a high level serve.


If you view pictures from behind there are other non vertical angles that are not shown in the above picture, the arm tilts right and the racket tilts left. If you believe "vertical" you cannot be doing the high level serve, nothing is vertical to give maximum height.

Pat Dougherty has the only video that I know of that discusses how to improve the Waiter's Tray. Hammer That Serve. Listen very carefully as he talks about both the advanced serve and 'hammer that serve' for the WT.
Correct. Did not mean to indicate that the racket would actually be vertical, particularly when viewed from the back (or front) perspective.

Was trying to get across that OP was reaching too far forward to contact the ball. Arm should be higher and the racket should be closer to the vertical plane.
 

Chas Tennis

G.O.A.T.
The service motion ends like this regarding the approach to the ball. This also shows the arm tilted to the right and the racket shaft tilted to the left. This video has pauses to read the messages and see the positions. To do single frame use the period & comma keys. Hold down the period key to get through the pauses. Examine every frame approaching the ball.


But most of the service motion involves several sub-motions that mostly stretch muscles for ISR, like the lat. Some sub-motions are ESR, leg thrust, shoulder-over-shoulder, trunk twist, somersault, thoracic extension and flexion, others. All these are seen in high speed videos of high level serves. The names were given by tennis researchers about 20 years ago.

This server has good form regarding the Ellenbecker impingement issues as do most ATP servers.

Finding an instructor or studying the available information are reasonable approaches.

Welcome to the Tennis Serve Nuthouse.
 
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A standard conti grip would have the base index knuckle on bevel 2. An Eastern Fh grip has it on bevel 3. You may be closer to a 2.5 grip (knuckle on the corner between bevel 2 and 3). This is known as an Aussie grip or a semi-continental grip. This grip might be ok for flat 1st serves but you should probably be trying for more of a spin serve (topspin or topspin-slice serve) for more consistency.

Some rec players will start the serve motion with a conti grip but somewhere during the motion it shifts closer to a bevel 3 (or bevel 2.5) grip.

Your serve exhibits a classic WTE (waiters tray error)... the racket face opens up to the sky and you end up hitting an open-face frying pan serve. Novices find this to be a simple motion but, unfortunately, it is difficult to build a high level serve off of this. And you will never develop a decent spin serve with this WTE / frying pan action.

Instead of serving with an open face, try swinging the racket "on edge". Check out the video below for clues on how to do this. Try to get the racket to a salute position for your trophy phase. Palm down. And then "comb the hair" for your racket drop. This should help to avoid the dreaded WTE.

The upward swing after the drop should also be "on edge" as if you were throwing an ax as if are going to cut the ball with the edge of the racket. Shortly before the racket contacts the ball, the hand is rotated to present the racket strings to the ball. With a moderate rotation, you should be able to brush at at an angle on the ball to produce topspin and sidespin. Or you can rotate it more to square up the racket face to "high five" the ball.

I've been making some notes based on the feedback from this thread, and decided to work on getting rid of my WTE first.
No one ever mentioned that I had WTE, and TBH I didn't even know about that concept until this thread.
I was trying to replicate the movement that the coach from the video of the message that I am replying to was showing.
I wasn't dropping the racquet behind my back before and my racquet would travel towards the ball with open face instead of on edge, I was trying to change it today.
Today my racquet was still opening up too early, but I think I made a little progress there.
Also I now started noticing my grip looks a little odd , to me it is visible during the racquet takeback. Not sure what's happening along the way, but I start the serve with continental.
(Amazing how much you can see on tape, that you're not aware of when practicing.)
My hitting arm still isn't as extended as it should be and is bent on the contact, but I was focusing solely on the WTE issue today, going to work on that later.

Video https://www.dropbox.com/s/vhloa0mf31l3e2r/Getting rid of WTE.mp4
(You can slow down the video in the player settings.)
 

SystemicAnomaly

Talk Tennis Guru
I've been making some notes based on the feedback from this thread, and decided to work on getting rid of my WTE first.
No one ever mentioned that I had WTE, and TBH I didn't even know about that concept until this thread.
I was trying to replicate the movement that the coach from the video of the message that I am replying to was showing.
I wasn't dropping the racquet behind my back before and my racquet would travel towards the ball with open face instead of on edge, I was trying to change it today.
Today my racquet was still opening up too early, but I think I made a little progress there.
Also I now started noticing my grip looks a little odd , to me it is visible during the racquet takeback. Not sure what's happening along the way, but I start the serve with continental.
(Amazing how much you can see on tape, that you're not aware of when practicing.)
My hitting arm still isn't as extended as it should be and is bent on the contact, but I was focusing solely on the WTE issue today, going to work on that later.

Video https://www.dropbox.com/s/vhloa0mf31l3e2r/Getting rid of WTE.mp4
(You can slow down the video in the player settings.)
(y)
Congrats. Great progress. You are correct, the racket face is still opening up a bit early. Perhaps visualizing the image below might help. Or think about chopping an overhead tree branch with the edge of your racket -- before you turn your hand (shoulder and forearm rotations) to present the strings to the ball to brush it.

 

SystemicAnomaly

Talk Tennis Guru
Secret language primer:

OP = Original Post or Original Poster
ISR = internal shoulder rotation
ESR = external shoulder rotation
WTE = waiter's tray error
Wrist Snap = fictitious wrist action
Veggie Burger = bun + produce. No patty
Grilled Cheese = Veggie burger + cheese

For 4x4, Animal Style & other secret language phrases, refer to these links

 
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I've been making some notes based on the feedback from this thread, and decided to work on getting rid of my WTE first.
Stumbled right out of the gate. You can fix the waiter tray and your serve will still stink. You can drop the racquet down further and your serve will still stink. You can open up later and your serve will still stink. You can change your grip and your serve will still stink. You can extend further and your serve will still stink. Have I mentioned yet that you can fix all of those things and your serve will still stink? Let me do it now then. You can fix all of those things and your serve will STILL stink. You have no chance! May sound harsh, but it is true. You took notes, you changed some things up, but you still ignored the one thing that you must change or you will NEVER have a good serve. NEVER!!!!! Practice for a millennium and it will still stink. Someone mentioned that there was too much advice and apparently it was true. The advice I gave you in post #13 can’t be ignored unless you want your serve to stink.
Just so you get it, try this. These are extremes, but will illustrate the point. Step with right foot into pinpoint and then start toss and hit the serve. Next, toss the ball, then start the step to pinpoint and hit the ball. There will be a world of difference. One way works, the other never will. Did I mention NEVER! Seriously, just trying to help you. Should you need some professional level proof, I have included a video. Ignore the platform guys. Watch the pin pointers (the ones that bring feet together). You won’t see anyone start their right foot before tossing. It is a timing thing. It must be done this way. Once you get that fixed, anything still lacking can be addressed.

 

Morch Us

Professional
There is a lot of room for improvement in your serve and so you will be overwhelmed with suggestions here. But the direct answer to your question is that, your serve goes to net simply because your racket moves down from just before the contact point all the way through and after the contact with the ball. This is what causes your serve to land in the net (instead of going long) most of the time. You can see this clearly by pausing the video at contact point and looking at frames before and after. This is caused by the fact that your racket does not have any more way to go up.

To fix this (and only this) you contact the ball ON your way up on the racket (which is the correct progression).

But this may now cause the ball land long. But if you achieve that you know you fixed the first issue. Now to fix this second issue, the correct progression is to develop spin on the ball by moving your racket more on a left to right and up path during contact (instead of your current path of stright forward to target). It will take time. (or you could simply slow the serve down and depend on gravity to make it in, which works.. but not a suggested progression).

Similarly the hacky way to avoid net (not a suggested progression) is to open up the racket on contact point, this will make the ball go up even if you cannot swing the racket up.

struggling with my serve a lot, most of the times it goes to the net.
 

Chas Tennis

G.O.A.T.
I guess you guys have a secrete language with these "abbreviations?"
There are also some common texting abbreviations well know to frequent texters, AKA, 'the young'. AKA = also known as. TBH = to be honest. You can Google the texting abbreviations.

For the defined joint motions ISR, ESR, etc. I often type the proper terms in the first time that I use them in a thread (good practice). You can Google the defined joint motion terms and find definitions, pictures and videos.

There is one tricky thing about the defined joint terms that took me a few years to understand and confirm. The joint motion terms are being used to mean either joint motions or the angle of the joint. For example, the wrist is extending and it is now at an angle of extension of 14 degrees. Or for the motion in the opposite direction, the wrist is flexing and it is now at an angle of extension of 14 degrees.

If you use the defined joint motions, as internal shoulder rotation, readers can Google what you mean. If not, the meaning may be lost or ambiguous. Many common motions are described by the largest body part seen moving, as 'shoulder turn'. But the joints and other body parts causing 'shoulder turn' might be the spine, hips and feet all together.

If you know the joint motion terms it is useful for reading biomechanical analyses of tennis strokes. I also know and often mention 2 or 3 of the main muscles used for each stroke.

Sometimes angles are mentioned that are not joint angles but how things appear in images - 'the angle between the forearm and racket shaft is about 20-30 degrees at impact for the serve'. The grip and nearby wrist joint combine to give the forearm to racket shaft angle seen in images. And the camera angle has to be right to get accuracy.

There is also a 16 year old forum war going on between posters that think in terms of words for describing tennis strokes vs posters that think in terms of videos.....................

I have collected my spiel of information, descriptions, videos and pictures, etc over the last 9 years and put it out there again and again. I can see where this repetition can be annoying to some of the regular posters. Sorry. And I am tired of typing Ellenbecker.......... But often the OP is new and has not seen any of it. Over the years, my information and videos have been matched to the stroke flaws frequently seen when posters post stroke videos.
 
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SystemicAnomaly

Talk Tennis Guru
Video https://www.dropbox.com/s/vhloa0mf31l3e2r/Getting rid of WTE.mp4
(You can slow down the video in the player settings.)
As mentioned previously, quite impressed with the changes you achieved in just 2 days. Still a fair amt of work to be done however.

Looks like you've changed your tossing arm lift angle in addition to your racket face orientation (& swingpath). The toss is pretty eratic tho. Some of that looks like it might be experimentation. But you should practice to try to achieve more consistent tosses.

It's ok to have 2 different tosses (or even 3 diff tosses). But these toss variations should be for hitting different types of serves. NOT for hitting different parts of the service box. Good returners may pick up on it if you are using different tosses for different serve placements.

Try to find one consistent toss at first. Perhaps one that is front of your right shoulder at contact (or a midpoint between your head and your right shoulder). This toss location works for hitting flat as well as for hitting topspin-slice. (Toss directly in front of your head if you want more topspin).

Tossing further to the right than your right shoulder is ok for hitting slice serves but makes it difficult add topspin clearance on your serves. After you've mastered that 1st toss, then consider a 2nd toss placement.

It looks like you are jumping less or using less leg drive with these serves than your were previously. That's ok for now but you should probably adjust your left foot if you plan limit your leg drive.

One way is to angle your front foot at the start of your serve. Maybe point it toward the net post. If you do this, make sure that it is not limiting your upper body (torso) coil. The other variation is to start your foot closer to parallel to the baseline but then rotate or pivot it as you progress thru you serve.

In either case, it is best to have the left foot point in the direction of your target area (serve box) once you've made contact. It looks like sometimes you are keeping the left foot parallel to the baseline too long and then awkwardly stepping across with it with your right leg.

Other times, your left foot points too far to the left. In both cases, you seem to be falling off to the left quite often. Quite a bit off balance at times. This could be due, in part, to the erratic tosses.

Practice some shadow swings and see if you can consistently drive up and forward rather than falling off to the left. Once you are more comfortable with your new toss and new swing, add more leg drive back to your serve motion.
 
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Jake Speeed

Rookie
There are also some common texting abbreviations well know to frequent texters, AKA, 'the young'. AKA = also known as. TBH = to be honest. You can Google the texting abbreviations.

For the defined joint motions ISR, ESR, etc. I often type the proper terms in the first time that I use them in a thread (good practice). You can Google the defined joint motion terms and find definitions, pictures and videos.

There is one tricky thing about the defined joint terms that took me a few years to understand and confirm. The joint motion terms are being used to mean either joint motions or the angle of the joint. For example, the wrist is extending and it is now at an angle of extension of 14 degrees. Or for the motion in the opposite direction, the wrist is flexing and it is now at an angle of extension of 14 degrees.

If you use the defined joint motions, as internal shoulder rotation, readers can Google what you mean. If not, the meaning may be lost or ambiguous. Many common motions are described by the largest body part seen moving, as 'shoulder turn'. But the joints and other body parts causing 'shoulder turn' might be the spine, hips and feet all together.

If you know the joint motion terms it is useful for reading biomechanical analyses of tennis strokes. I also know and often mention 2 or 3 of the main muscles used for each stroke.

Sometimes angles are mentioned that are not joint angles but how things appear in images - 'the angle between the forearm and racket shaft is about 20-30 degrees at impact for the serve'. The grip and nearby wrist joint combine to give the forearm to racket shaft angle seen in images. And the camera angle has to be right to get accuracy.

There is also a 16 year old forum war going on between posters that think in terms of words for describing tennis strokes vs posters that think in terms of videos.....................

I have collected my spiel of information, descriptions, videos and pictures, etc over the last 9 years and put it out there again and again. I can see where the repetition can be annoying to some of the regular posters. Sorry. And I am tired of typing Ellenbecker.......... But often the OP is new and has not seen any of it. Over the years, my information and videos have been matched to the stroke flaws frequently seen when posters post stroke videos.
Like I said, the internet as a learning guide, is doing more damage than good and you're a funny guy.
 

Chas Tennis

G.O.A.T.
Advice for a Waiter's Tray serve was given by Pat Dougherty in a video, post #27.

What is occurring during a high level serve has also been discussed and shown in a video, post #37.

Each technique is different as videos show and we should keep that in mind. The fixes for each technique are different.
 
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Jake Speeed

Rookie
Advice for a Waiter's Tray serve was given by Pat Dougherty in a video, post #27.

What is occurring during a high level serve has also been discussed and shown in a video, post #37.

Each technique is different as videos show and we should keep that in mind. The fixes for each technique are different.

The "hammer" concept has been around as far back as I can remember. The "waiter's tray" "pat the dog on the head," I see this stuff all the time. Creative individuals.

I would advise my students to pay little attention to these guys. Possibly even stay off the net.

And here's another thing about the "hammer technique" you won't find on line or I'd be surprised if it was.

The LE of the racket is extremely important in serving and so little attention it's given, especially in mastering service pronation. SP.

I have to add something to all this "service motion stuff." These guys that teach "on line" aren't looking at you in real time. They are not there to give correction. So you progress for hours doing many things incorrectly, another problem.

Yea, I see these guys explaining "top spin" serves, but, ARE YOU READY FOR AN ADVANCED SERVE? Advanced anything? Are you ready? Many are not, this is why I like to "dial" some players back. So they can learn what they "skipped over" trying to progress when they haven't mastered even the basics. Plenty of those people around. The Forum is loaded with them.

And loaded with Experts also.

This is why much of this on line crap can do more harm then good.

Hey! I've seen fly by night certified USTA tennis instructors do more damage than good. Most of these USTA instructors are only 3.5 at best and have been playing only a few years.

I know of a club in Florida that has almost 20 courts and not one of their instructors are of any true value. Even the ones with accents.

And the OP. I think he's having fun with you at your expense. Good for him.
 
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Chas Tennis

G.O.A.T.
The "hammer" concept has been around as far back as I can remember. The "waiter's tray" "pat the dog on the head," I see this stuff all the time. Creative individuals.

I would advise my students to pay little attention to these guys. Possibly even stay off the net.

And here's another thing about the "hammer technique" you won't find on line or I'd be surprised if it was.

The LE of the racket is extremely important in serving and so little attention it's given, especially in mastering service pronation. SP.

I have to add something to all this "service motion stuff." These guys that teach "on line" aren't looking at you in real time. They are not there to give correction. So you progress for hours doing many things incorrectly, another problem.

Yea, I see these guys explaining "top spin" serves, but, ARE YOU READY FOR AN ADVANCED SERVE? Advanced anything? Are you ready? Many are not, this is why I like to "dial" some players back. So they can learn what they "skipped over" trying to progress when they haven't mastered even the basics. Plenty of those people around. The Forum is loaded with them.

And loaded with Experts also.

This is why much of this on line crap can do more harm then good.

Hey! I've seen fly by night certified USTA tennis instructors do more damage than good. Most of these USTA instructors are only 3.5 at best and have been playing only a few years.

I know of a club in Florida that has almost 20 courts and not one of their instructors are of any true value. Even the ones with accents.

And the OP. I think he's having fun with you at your expense. Good for him.
Dougherty says that he is showing how to optimize the Waiter's Tray serve, for WT he uses the 'Hammer' term. He also uses the term "Advanced Serve" to refer to what we call the 'high level serve' on the forum. He switches back and forth. I missed that he was talking about the WT technique for a year or two after I first viewed the video.

This thread might get off topic if we cover the good and bad information on the internet.
 
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Jake Speeed

Rookie
Dougherty says that he is showing how to optimize the Waiter's Tray serve, for WT he uses the Hammer term. He also uses the term "Advanced Serve" to refer to what we call the 'high level serve' on the forum. He switches back and forth. I missed that he was talking about the WT technique for a year or two after I first viewed the video.

This thread is getting off topic.
It isn't getting off topic because EVERYONE wants to improve and "most" go about it the wrong way and get "pointless" advice.

I've seen this over a "lifetime" of tennis instruction and no one wants to entertain a conversation about this issue.

And don't try to tell me it doesn't exist. I see it here in droves.
 
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