Tennis Serve Footwork & Jump

Chas Tennis

G.O.A.T.
The footwork on the tennis serve and the jump is not an easy subject to understand. Sometimes one foot does not seem to push on the ground, ??.

The serving technique of Pete Sampras is one successful footwork and jump technique that is particularly clear to observe. What does Sampras's back foot do?

Look at feet, legs and the curved body, etc., and analyze what is being done.

Post videos of other high level servers and point out their footwork and jump techniques.
 
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polksio

Semi-Pro
the foot doesnt push off the ground
the abs pull the leg up
sometimes its enough to pull the foot off the ground sometimes not
 

WildVolley

Legend
The footwork on the tennis serve and the jump is not an easy subject to understand. Sometimes one foot does not seem to push on the ground, ??.
The back foot helps move his weight forward and slightly helps load the front leg. Most of the jump is performed off the front foot.

I'm not sure what's difficult to understand. It is fairly easy to emulate Sampras's footwork on the serve. Sampras got a decent hop with little effort because he was quite explosive. For example, he could easily dunk a basketball.
 

chrisb

Semi-Pro
same as your groundies You push down on the court and lift into your swing I t intuitive with good athletes
 

Chas Tennis

G.O.A.T.
It would seem that two legs pushing on the ground would provide more force for a jump.

If a high jumper gets up speed and converts that to a vertical jump using one straight leg - as I interpret high jumping - that has a reasonable explanation.

After I posted this thread I realized that all the Sampras serves were serve and volley, with his moving forward after the motion.

But I have seen other footwork and jumps that have not made sense to me. ?
 

TennisDawg

Professional
I don’t believe jumping is done deliberately. It is a natural action as the server unloads while doing racquet drop then accelerating torso, shoulders, arm to hit the ball. The momentum creates the jump. The server doesn’t think about it much. I’m referring to elite servers.
 

Chas Tennis

G.O.A.T.
Athletic Jumps

For single frame on Youtube use the period & comma keys.

Standing high jump.
I believe that hip extensors are contributing to this amazing jump. He get upward body momentum and then uses great flexibility to pull his feet up. Does any of this jump apply to the serve?

Running High Jump converting forward speed into upward motion. Uses one foot on ground. See lift off. Does not seem to apply with the low forward speed during a serve. ?

Standing long jump.

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Some of these same muscles and joints must be used during the jump in the tennis serve? The part played by the body is not so clear as the part played by the legs. ? We can see knee extension. Are we seeing hip extension?

In the serve, the spine and trunk have some bending. The bending is not simply forward or to the side. What hidden muscle springs are doing what and when?


Giorgi. The end of this motion appears to lead to the Thoracic Extension (back bend/'chest up') sub-motion of the serve.

For years, I had read that the chest should 'face up' on the serve and I would point my chest up before the toss.......'face up' didn't include when during the serve......... if you check out your ideas just once with video...........
 
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Curious

Legend
I believe that hip extensors are contributing to this amazing jump.
Extensors or flexors?
Also, the jump on the serve looks more like angled forward rather than pure vertical. Would this explain why the back leg doesn’t seem to contribute much to the push?
 

Curious

Legend
Another question:
Why don’t we have our weight more on the back leg right before the push? Leaning back that is. The issue seems like with the toss into the court we tend to lean forward as well losing all the power from the back leg.
 

Chas Tennis

G.O.A.T.
Extensors or flexors?
Also, the jump on the serve looks more like angled forward rather than pure vertical. Would this explain why the back leg doesn’t seem to contribute much to the push?
There are platform and pin point stances. I'm not sure how to classify Sampras in the OP. But he is playing serve and volley so we need some more clear high speed video showing footwork on other ATP servers.

If you look at the Giorgi video you can see that both her knees extend, her hips extend and her upper body bends back as her hips jump more straight up. (There is a Jeff Sel... video that shows the posture before the jump.)
 
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Curious

Legend
There are platform and pin point stances. I'm not sure how to classify Sampras in the OP. But he is playing serve and volley so we need some more clear high speed video showing footwork on the ATP servers.

If you look at the Giorgi video you can see that both her knees extend and her hips extend and her upper body bends back as her hips jump more straight up. (There is a Jeff Sel... video that shows this posture before the jump.)
I said flexors specifically for that highest standing jump you posted ( the final stage when he lands). But the initial part of a jump involves a lot of extension, you’re right.
 

Chas Tennis

G.O.A.T.
Extensors or flexors?
Also, the jump on the serve looks more like angled forward rather than pure vertical. Would this explain why the back leg doesn’t seem to contribute much to the push?
There are platform and pin point stances. I'm not sure how to classify Sampras in the OP. But he is playing serve and volley so we need some more clear high speed video showing footwork.

If you look at the Giorgi video you can see that both her knees extend, her hips extend and her upper body tilts back as her hips jump more straight up.

Relative to the Salzenstein video, notice that Giorgi has a little hip flexion that she extends for her jump. I don't know what percentages we would find looking at that issue for many ATP servers. ? How much hip flexion/extension is being used for the jump?

See videos of the same stances and serve types.
 
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Shroud

G.O.A.T.
The footwork on the tennis serve and the jump is not an easy subject to understand. Sometimes one foot does not seem to push on the ground, ??.

The serving technique of Pete Sampras is one successful footwork and jump technique that is particularly clear to observe. What does Sampras's back foot do?

Look at feet, legs and the curved body, etc., and analyze what is being done.

Post videos of other high level servers and point out their footwork and jump techniques.
here is a good vid that shows the stances and list player examples of each

 

Chas Tennis

G.O.A.T.
Sam Groth serve. Feet several inches apart. This looks like two feet and body working together.

Milos Raonic. Platform stance. Rear leg and front leg push off.

Gael Monfils. Pin-Point stance using two legs equally more or less.
 
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WildVolley

Legend
It would seem that two legs pushing on the ground would provide more force for a jump.

If a high jumper gets up speed and converts that to a vertical jump using one straight leg - as I interpret high jumping - that has a reasonable explanation.
If the rules precluded a step, then perhaps jumping off both feet would be superior. But loading is important for a jump.

I believe if your goal is to jump both up and in while hitting a serve, Battistone's technique is superior to pinpoint with an aggressive two leg jump after bringing the back foot forward.

 

Chas Tennis

G.O.A.T.
If the rules precluded a step, then perhaps jumping off both feet would be superior. But loading is important for a jump.

I believe if your goal is to jump both up and in while hitting a serve, Battistone's technique is superior to pinpoint with an aggressive two leg jump after bringing the back foot forward.

With his use of his two arms, he is using some of the standing long jump (broad jump) technique. See video post #9.

I have read that it is against the rules of tennis to run toward the base line and jump up for the serve. Taking one quick step from one step back, as Battistone does, seems as if it might be against the rules. ?

The rule evolved from an earlier rule that said you had to keep one foot in contact with the ground, outside the baseline and, I guess, until ball contact. The earlier rule fixed the forward motion. The rule change was around 1961 or 1962.
 
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WildVolley

Legend
With his use of his two arms, he is using some of the standing long jump (broad jump) technique. See video post #9.

I have read that it is against the rules of tennis to run toward the base line and jump up for the serve. Taking one quick step from one step back, as Battistone does, seems as if it might be against the rules?

The rule evolved from an earlier rule that said you had to keep one foot in contact with the ground, outside the baseline and, I guess, until ball contact. The earlier rule fixed the forward motion. The rule change was around 1961 or 1962.
Battistone is an example of someone who is very focused on maximizing his jump within the rules, unlike someone like Sampras. He definitely has broad jump/volleyball style technique, though I find his right hand toss and racquet switch a bit of an affectation.

People complained about Battistone's technique, but it actually follows the rules better than the two step pinpoint players such as Safin. The rules would have to be rewritten to ban Battistone while allowing the standard pinpoint technique.
 

Chas Tennis

G.O.A.T.
The ITF Rules of Tennis. Serve starts at page 7.

For this thread, existing footwork and jumping techniques by successful ATP players would be most interesting. I don't have links for some of the unusual footwork that I have seen - mostly seeing a foot that does not appear to be applying much force for the jump - but that is one subject that I think would be very interesting and has variety.

( I posted the Sampras example before I realized he was approaching the net on each serve. But there are other examples.)
 
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Dan R

Semi-Pro
It is true. I think more precisely - there's two phases to the jump from a platform stance. The first phase is pushing off the ground, mostly with the back leg which comes off the ground first, but that only gets you so far. In the second phase the body is lifted upward by the energy stored in the legs, hips, abs, through release of the energy stored through the kinetic chain.

You can see it in this video
 

Chas Tennis

G.O.A.T.
Boris Becker. See serve technique and footwork at 50 sec. Notice he lands on the right foot and how he places that foot to the left. It seems as if this would limit the range of motion for the pelvis ('hips') rotation. ?

Del Porto. Slow motion starts at 2:25.
Slow Motion Tennis
 
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Chas Tennis

G.O.A.T.
Gulles Muller. Very effective lefty server, simple technique, simple pin-point. See 1:20, 2:01 (close-up feet), 2:15 (knees, hips).
To single frame on Youtube use the period & comma keys.
 

Chas Tennis

G.O.A.T.
Serves with very low toss. Sometimes called a 'lightening bolt serve' because of the very short time between toss release and impact.

See footwork at end, 4:50 Cilic, Almagro, Dolgopolov, Groth, Bob Bryan. There is variety in the footwork & jumps of these 5 low toss servers.

The very low toss is associated with some strong servers.

Roscoe Tanner, leftie, low toss power server, serve & volley. Pin-point stance off of toes. The Tanner video segment ends in the first minute.
 
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