Weight Shift During Serve

RiverRat

Rookie
I play on public courts and am often asked for advice. I try to prioritize suggestions, giving only one morsel at a time, just enough to chew but not choke. I'm also careful to never dole out advice I can't technically support. There's a young guy, a good athlete, whose serve I've observed. I have prioritized contact point and extension up through the ball for him because he hits down, like so many, but I've also noticed his weight shift forward comes after the toss, rather than with it. I want to tell him that he needs to shift forward with the toss because he loses the hip flexion as part of the coil. That may be true, but doesn't he gain a weight transfer into the ball? Do these net out (no pun intended)? I also wonder whether this issue with the late weight shift would complicate his toss and make it less consistent. Any insight others might share on this matter would be greatly appreciated.
 
Is he a platform or pinpoint type server. You could wait to start forward with your weight if platform. Most platform guys bend the knees when they toss and then explode forward when launching up to strike ball. You might be able to wait if you pinpoint and start with weight back ala Isner. (Not that he does that though. Not recommended either). But, if you rock back you should start the forward weight shift and initiate toss at same time. No point in rocking back if when you are done you don’t then start forward. Waiting to toss after you shift forward is a no no. Does that answer the ?
 

RiverRat

Rookie
Is he a platform or pinpoint type server. Waiting to toss after you shift forward is a no no. Does that answer the ?
He is a platform server, so I'm glad I held my tongue. I am 55 and the platform didn't really exist in my early days. I'll experiment with the platform some on my own to understand it better. I don't like teaching anything I can't do. It's too cliche. Thanks so much.
 

golden chicken

Hall of Fame
Platform, and I rock back, pause, toss, and then rock forward.

I can hit pinpoint, and its essentially the same except I move my back foot and lean my whole body over the baseline instead of sticking my hip over the baseline.
 

RiverRat

Rookie
With the pinpoint I shift my weight forward with the ball toss, then press the hip, and explode up into the ball. I feel confident with the workings of the pinpoint but not with platform. I'm also not certain of all the reasons for the workings of the kinetic chain. I just know my kinetic chain works. Love to know more about the reasons if others care to inform me.
 

Dragy

Hall of Fame
In my opinion, ball toss is a separate action. However, depending on your timing, toss action will usually happen simultaneously with some coil action. If so, it will be connected and balanced with other body movements.

If a player has high toss, and you don’t want to change this aspect, he might toss before anything else and then bend knees, push hips forward, lift racquet to trophy, etc.

Now if he has medium to low height toss, and delays coil action to then get rushed, it might be helpful to start “transfer” earlier in the sequence and learn to keep toss unaffected by this move.

Need to figure out issues or limitations before advising such a change. Are there any but your feel for perfection?
 

RiverRat

Rookie
In my opinion, ball toss is a separate action. However, depending on your timing, toss action will usually happen simultaneously with some coil action. If so, it will be connected and balanced with other body movements.

If a player has high toss, and you don’t want to change this aspect, he might toss before anything else and then bend knees, push hips forward, lift racquet to trophy, etc.

Now if he has medium to low height toss, and delays coil action to then get rushed, it might be helpful to start “transfer” earlier in the sequence and learn to keep toss unaffected by this move.

Need to figure out issues or limitations before advising such a change. Are there any but your feel for perfection?
Thanks for the response. I can see that the wide range of ball tosses these days could alter the timing of the coil action. Makes sense to me. If I read you correctly in your last line I need to consider a wide range of factors but, I agree, ultimately it is a feel that lets you know when everything is working together.
 

RiverRat

Rookie
Shapo and Fritz appear to have more delayed knee bends relative to their toss.
This is interesting to me as I explore the platform serve. I wouldn't want to be making a toss in-synch with a knee bend. The two vectors are in opposite directions, which would require more effort on the toss and make the timing more difficult to be precise, so I'm inclined toward their methods. However, with Shapo's double-fault problems against Simon the other day, maybe I should reconsider. ;)
 

RiverRat

Rookie
Push by front foot or back one or both? If I push by front foot the serve is weak. Pinpoint.
I used to routinely serve in the 120s with my pinpoint back in the day, and that was with a Prince potato smasher. We didn't toss the ball to the moon back then so everything was more compact. With the pinpoint, more of the power comes in the uncoiling than with the jump, for one the radius is smaller, more like a figure skater going into the spin. But don't think a pinpoint doesn't engage the trailing leg. The hip-press lets the weight move forward but engages the rear leg as it is drawn forward.
 
This is interesting to me as I explore the platform serve. I wouldn't want to be making a toss in-synch with a knee bend. The two vectors are in opposite directions, which would require more effort on the toss and make the timing more difficult to be precise, so I'm inclined toward their methods. However, with Shapo's double-fault problems against Simon the other day, maybe I should reconsider. ;)
I haven't given it much thought. It's natural for me to bend the knees as the toss goes up as opposed to waiting a bit but is that because of bio-mechanics or habit? Then again, my toss is not particularly high nor is my knee bend particularly deep.

I think it's more of a timing and preference thing.
 

18x20 ftw

Rookie
In the serve analysis of Coco Gauf by Jeff Salzenstein, he points out that she shifts her weight too early, which makes sense. You don’t shift your weight and then start to throw a ball after the momentum has already diminished. I’ll try to find the video.
 

Slowtwitcher

Hall of Fame
For platform:
- Toss with weight on back foot.
- Start knee bend after ball is released.

Jeff S videos are a great source for serve instruction, particularly on platform serve.
 

golden chicken

Hall of Fame
Here is the video, if you care to see. The bit about the weight is just after the two minute mark.

That is a LOT of nitpicking for someone who serves up to 118 mph.

She gets a lot of separation (coil) by stepping forward with her right foot and leaving her shoulders in place. He completely misses that.
 

Jake Speeed

Rookie
I play on public courts and am often asked for advice. I try to prioritize suggestions, giving only one morsel at a time, just enough to chew but not choke. I'm also careful to never dole out advice I can't technically support. There's a young guy, a good athlete, whose serve I've observed. I have prioritized contact point and extension up through the ball for him because he hits down, like so many, but I've also noticed his weight shift forward comes after the toss, rather than with it. I want to tell him that he needs to shift forward with the toss because he loses the hip flexion as part of the coil. That may be true, but doesn't he gain a weight transfer into the ball? Do these net out (no pun intended)? I also wonder whether this issue with the late weight shift
would complicate his toss and make it less consistent. Any insight others might share on this matter would be greatly appreciated.
Could you please elaborate on the highlighted?
 

Jake Speeed

Rookie
That is a LOT of nitpicking for someone who serves up to 118 mph.

She gets a lot of separation (coil) by stepping forward with her right foot and leaving her shoulders in place. He completely misses that.
Triple kudos!

You made it perfectly clear with your sentence which I highlighted above.

Anyone can nitpick to make themselves out to be something they are not.
 

Jake Speeed

Rookie
Is he a platform or pinpoint type server. You could wait to start forward with your weight if platform. Most platform guys bend the knees when they toss and then explode forward when launching up to strike ball. You might be able to wait if you pinpoint and start with weight back ala Isner. (Not that he does that though. Not recommended either). But, if you rock back you should start the forward weight shift and initiate toss at same time. No point in rocking back if when you are done you don’t then start forward. Waiting to toss after you shift forward is a no no. Does that answer the ?
Thank you,

I've learned a great deal.
 

Jake Speeed

Rookie
Pinpoint stance is when you step your feet together during your serve. Platform is when you don't.
And someone came up with a "word" for that? Why am I not surprised.

What if I said "That makes no difference." Would you believe me?

What if I said, "There are more important things to work on than that. Put this aside for a while and don't think about it."

Would you?
 
And someone came up with a "word" for that? Why am I not surprised.

What if I said "That makes no difference." Would you believe me?

What if I said, "There are more important things to work on than that. Put this aside for a while and don't think about it."

Would you?
I would not believe the first statement because it could make a huge difference.

I do believe the second, though; everything's relative. If I have so few flaws in my game that I can actually gain something by looking at the differences between pinpoint and platform, then I'm a pretty darn good player. As it stands, I have way more important things to work on.
 

golden chicken

Hall of Fame
And someone came up with a "word" for that? Why am I not surprised.

What if I said "That makes no difference." Would you believe me?

What if I said, "There are more important things to work on than that. Put this aside for a while and don't think about it."

Would you?
The fact of the matter is we are here on a forum communicating in the written word. There are some movements in tennis that are very complicated to describe in the written word alone, so having universal terms everyone understands and accepts makes communication much easier.

Some players vacillate between the two styles partly because they're chasing errant tosses. For those players seeking to improve, it surely does matter. Granted, you have a bit of chicken and egg here, but the player must either choose a stance that will determine the correct toss location, or choose a toss location that determines which stance works best.

Additionally, some players lose their shoulder-hip separation << another agreed upon and understood term we use here, and/or outright lose their balance when using pinpoint stance. A change to platform with a shoulder turn to create separation would likely help those players.
 

Slowtwitcher

Hall of Fame
The fact of the matter is we are here on a forum communicating in the written word. There are some movements in tennis that are very complicated to describe in the written word alone, so having universal terms everyone understands and accepts makes communication much easier.

Why have a word for serve?
 

Jake Speeed

Rookie
The fact of the matter is we are here on a forum communicating in the written word. There are some movements in tennis that are very complicated to describe in the written word alone, so having universal terms everyone understands and accepts makes communication much easier.

Some players vacillate between the two styles partly because they're chasing errant tosses. For those players seeking to improve, it surely does matter. Granted, you have a bit of chicken and egg here, but the player must either choose a stance that will determine the correct toss location, or choose a toss location that determines which stance works best.

Additionally, some players lose their shoulder-hip separation << another agreed upon and understood term we use here, and/or outright lose their balance when using pinpoint stance. A change to platform with a shoulder turn to create separation would likely help those players.
Vacillate? I would have chosen "alternate." Possibly because it's used more. Or have I got the meaning incorrect?

Errant, as in status quo? Sorry, but I have no idea what "chasing errant ball tosses is or means?


I teach the ball toss as a "placement" because there are a few "places" you toss the ball depending on which serve you elect to hit. And for any given serve, it's always the same place for that serve, or, as best you can do. Why do you think players decide to sometimes not hit a tossed ball?

What does the "toss location" have to do with the stance? A stance can vary per individual, quirks, but the toss has to be "on the money, in fact, every time. Well, if not, you catch then toss again. The toss is an ongoing lesson within itself and it's not practiced all that much.

Interesting, no matter what a player does, in prep, before he or she hits the ball, they always wind up on the ball of their left foot. The relationship of the left foot and the ball toss placement is "key."
Unless you're left handed. :) You could say, the rest of the foot work, qurks, have a way of falling in place per individual, as they do.

"shoulder-hip separation"
Sounds painful. :) there was a time when the service motion was built upon what was called, "rotate down and rotate up." Sadly, and unnecessary, we would rotate down, the bending of the knees, and have our back just about parallel to the base line. I did this and so did many other players. At the time, before the earth cooled, this is what players did. Some still do this to a degree today.

"pinpoint stance. A change to platform with a shoulder turn to create separation would likely help those players."

I believe I commented on this. However, if there's a "balance" problem, you fix it!

I enjoyed reading you and replying to you.

Thank you for the reply.

JS
 

golden chicken

Hall of Fame
vac·il·late
/ˈvasəˌlāt/

verb to alternate or waver between different opinions or actions; be indecisive.




er·rant
/ˈerənt/

adjective erring or straying from the proper course or standards
 

RiverRat

Rookie
I play on public courts and am often asked for advice. I try to prioritize suggestions, giving only one morsel at a time, just enough to chew but not choke. I'm also careful to never dole out advice I can't technically support. There's a young guy, a good athlete, whose serve I've observed. I have prioritized contact point and extension up through the ball for him because he hits down, like so many, but I've also noticed his weight shift forward comes after the toss, rather than with it. I want to tell him that he needs to shift forward with the toss because he loses the hip flexion as part of the coil. That may be true, but doesn't he gain a weight transfer into the ball? Do these net out (no pun intended)? I also wonder whether this issue with the late weight shift would complicate his toss and make it less consistent. Any insight others might share on this matter would be greatly appreciated.

Could you please elaborate on the highlighted?
Priority means I think it's the lowest hanging fruit with the biggest potential gain. Extension means you are fully extended in the arc of the service swing. Hitting down is what people do when they make contact at the top of the arc and believe they have to aim a serve downward. I was taught to shift my weight forward with the toss, which is what the vast majority of players do. Hip flexion is when you press your hip forward into the trophy pose. Coil is a multi-layered movement that includes hip flexion but is initiated from the ground up through all of the skeletal joints. A late weight shift would be one that doesn't initiate from the rear leg to the front along with the ball toss, although others have pointed out that may not be the case because of the height of some tosses and the idiosyncrasies of the platform serve. I'm hoping for constructive comments about the platform serve, which I don't use. These were honest attempts to describe his motion in the platform serve and to communicate my understanding of the pinpoint serve. You asked for a whole lot of clarifications. As I look back at what I wrote, I find it hard to see where there was much need to clarify these items, so I'm a bit leery of why I was asked to say more about these matters.
 
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RiverRat

Rookie
I want to thank everyone who has responded. I have read all of your comments and have gotten much. I hope to one day return the community courtesy.
 

RiverRat

Rookie
I haven't given it much thought. It's natural for me to bend the knees as the toss goes up as opposed to waiting a bit but is that because of bio-mechanics or habit? Then again, my toss is not particularly high nor is my knee bend particularly deep.
I think it's more of a timing and preference thing.
I was just theorizing about the toss and comparing it to the timing of my pinpoint toss. I really have very little knowledge of the ins-and-outs of the platform serve. I'll start paying more attention when watching. I tried to hit a few platform serves today, down at the courts, and failed miserably. It felt so awkward it had me chuckling.
 

Jake Speeed

Rookie
Tough question and difficult to answer without ruffling feathers. So forgive me.

For my background, experience, and what I've seen in tennis over my lifetime, and I'm 75 years old, this gives me 77 years of tennis and 49 years of teaching experience.

I just don't think there's anything there of importance.
 
Tough question and difficult to answer without ruffling feathers. So forgive me.

For my background, experience, and what I've seen in tennis over my lifetime, and I'm 75 years old, this gives me 77 years of tennis and 49 years of teaching experience.

I just don't think there's anything there of importance.
You were playing 2 years before you were born? Impressive!

I think Salzy's concepts are structurally sound and he explains them in ways the average player can easily understand.

If I was a 5.0 who played juniors and/or college, my view would probably be different. As a mid-4.5 who did neither, I find the info useful.
 

Jake Speeed

Rookie
You were playing 2 years before you were born? Impressive!

I think Salzy's concepts are structurally sound and he explains them in ways the average player can easily understand.

If I was a 5.0 who played juniors and/or college, my view would probably be different. As a mid-4.5 who did neither, I find the info useful.
My birth year was 1945. But thanks for the heads up. So I started playing tennis at 8 years, 1953 which sounds about right,

I gave my first lesson in late 1971. So, and I have difficulty with this, instructing for 49 years.

Playing the game for 67 years. Hard to believe where the time goes.
 

SystemicAnomaly

Talk Tennis Guru
I would tell my students to avoid this guy and his website.
Salzenstein has a fairly impressive resume. He played #1 on the Stanford University tennis team for 3 years and then played on the ATP tour for a good part of a decade. Reached top 100 for both doubles & singles on the pro tour. Even tho he never reached top 50, he had beaten top 30 players and developed one of the best serves on the ATP tour in the 00s.

Since he stopped playing on the tour, Jeff has done quite a bit of coaching of top juniors (and a few pro players). I've been looking at his stuff for more than a dozen years. He has provided some outstanding insight in his videos. Don't agree with everything he has to say but I would say that I agree with more than 95% of the stuff he's put out.

Quite surprised you never heard the terms pinpoint and platform. Where have you been teaching? I first heard those terms back in the 1980s. They became fairly well known in the 1990s onward.

I recall pressure plate studies done in the '90s indicate a moderate diff between the two. I can easily serve either PP or platform left-handed. However, for my right-handed serving, I do not feel very comfortable with the PP stance.

Many students feel much more comfortable with one stance over the other. I do not usually dictate which stance they should employ unless I see significant instability or other problems that warrant using the other stance.
 

SystemicAnomaly

Talk Tennis Guru
@Jake Speeed
That is a LOT of nitpicking for someone who serves up to 118 mph.

She gets a lot of separation (coil) by stepping forward with her right foot and leaving her shoulders in place. He completely misses that.
Serving at 118 mph is not everything, even for a young WTA player. Seems she's been plagued with DFs in important matches in the past month or two. This could have been what prompted Jeff to offer some insight. Coco, herself, appears to be aware that she has some serve issues.


Coco has been working with Dr Mark Kovacs, a sports scientist (expert in tennis stroke mechanics). He indicates that, without further changes in her serve mechanics, she could experience injuries of the shoulder (or other parts of the arm).
 
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Chas Tennis

G.O.A.T.
I play on public courts and am often asked for advice. I try to prioritize suggestions, giving only one morsel at a time, just enough to chew but not choke. I'm also careful to never dole out advice I can't technically support. There's a young guy, a good athlete, whose serve I've observed. I have prioritized contact point and extension up through the ball for him because he hits down, like so many, but I've also noticed his weight shift forward comes after the toss, rather than with it. I want to tell him that he needs to shift forward with the toss because he loses the hip flexion as part of the coil. That may be true, but doesn't he gain a weight transfer into the ball? Do these net out (no pun intended)? I also wonder whether this issue with the late weight shift would complicate his toss and make it less consistent. Any insight others might share on this matter would be greatly appreciated.
A lot of threads involve discussions of undefined terms. What is your meaning of "weight shift" on the serve?

Can you show it in a high speed video? To single frame on Vimeo, hold down the SHIFT KEY and use the ARROW KEYS. Sometimes it skips a frame. You can use the time scale and count frames after each second, In the first video, impact has occurred at 20 seconds plus 3 frames. Or describe the time relative to Trophy Position or impact. Weight shift is around ?? seconds or 'ends at impact'.

If you Google weight shift tennis serve can you find information that describes your meaning?

Note the motion of the racket head at impact, and its direction.
 
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Jake Speeed

Rookie
Salzenstein has a fairly impressive resume. He played #1 on the Stanford University tennis team for 3 years and then played on the ATP tour for a good part of a decade. Reached top 100 for both doubles & singles on the pro tour. Even tho he never reached top 50, he had beaten top 30 players and developed one of the best serves on the ATP tour in the 00s.

Since he stopped playing on the tour, Jeff has done quite a bit of coaching of top juniors (and a few pro players). I've been looking at his stuff for more than a dozen years. He has provided some outstanding insight in his videos. Don't agree with everything he has to say but I would say that I agree with more than 95% of the stuff he's put out.

Quite surprised you never heard the terms pinpoint and platform. Where have you been teaching? I first heard those terms back in the 1980s. They became fairly well known in the 1990s onward.

I recall pressure plate studies done in the '90s indicate a moderate diff between the two. I can easily serve either PP or platform left-handed. However, for my right-handed serving, I do not feel very comfortable with the PP stance.

Many students feel much more comfortable with one stance over the other. I do not usually dictate which stance they should employ unless I see significant instability or other problems that warrant using the other stance.
The short reply.

Over my many years of giving instruction, I find that the most talented competitive "players" generally make poor instructors.

I'm not telling anyone to stop visiting the world of on line instruction, the Matrix of tennis instruction, I'm just voicing my opinion like everyone else. This is what the Forum is about, or am I missing something?
 

SystemicAnomaly

Talk Tennis Guru
The short reply.

Over my many years of giving instruction, I find that the most talented competitive "players" generally make poor instructors.

I'm not telling anyone to stop visiting the world of on line instruction, the Matrix of tennis instruction, I'm just voicing my opinion like everyone else. This is what the Forum is about, or am I missing something?
True, top players don't necessarily make the best instructors. Especially when it comes to stroke mechanics. They've usually achieved a high degree of Unconscious (subconscious) Competence and have not analyzed their own mechanics enough to be articulate about it.

But, if it's any consolation, Jeff was not the most talented player on the ATP tour. That's why he never reached the top 50. By his own admission, he had a pretty weak serve during his Stanford years and his early years on the tour. However, he was an ardent student of the game and closely studied the serve mechanics of Sampras (with the help of high-speed HD film from John Yandell). From this he taught himself to hit one of the best serves on the tour. He decided to modify his implementation of the Sampras serve since he was willing to sacrifice Pete's high RPMs for some extra MPH.

He appears to have studied volleys and ground strokes of the top players as well and has learned to articulate what he has learned. But he does have a couple of opinions / biases that I'm not completely on board with. But still find that most of what he has to say is quite useful.
 

Jake Speeed

Rookie
Look, and with the utmost of respect, you can sell Jeff or any one you want who "advertises" on line for money or fame.

There's nothing there I need. I view the internet as a "detriment," not a "fix."

Sure, a place to view a variety of actual technique. To a small degree.

Look. It's great to see a student become "themselves." Being "who they are," and not attempting to be someone else is fantastic.

If you have the ability to accomplish this, as an instructor, your well above the grade and thinking correctly. My view only and I'm entitled to it because I've been there and done this. Also because I've never been told how to think, react or how to perform. I developed my own methods of instruction over many years working with many children, juniors and adults. I don't teach like a newbie instructor. Newbie instructors, unfortunately, this could be another Thread.

This is why, early on I used the word "parrot." I don't parrot anyone who sells tennis on line. It's a salad of of individuals competing for viewers, hits and money. They don't care about you or your daughter or your son. You can tell me I'm wrong, but I strongly believe I'm not.

If these guys are real tennis instructors, they know quite well this on line instruction isn't what it's made up to be.

Here! One of many feathers in my cap. I have a guy now hitting a SHB, only after less than two hours of instruction, better than the THB he was hitting with 10 years of playing. I mentioned this before.

He's tried everything and was unsuccessful. He said the net made him even more confused. I'll hit with him today and video his progress. I haven't seen him in a week. A bad thing.
 

RiverRat

Rookie
Over my many years of giving instruction, I find that the most talented competitive "players" generally make poor instructors.
Over my many years of tennis I've observed that most tennis coaches aren't competent. In fact, there are no tennis players at a non-competitive level of tennis that are worth paying to teach anything more than beginner clinics. Tennis has an industry of hustlers that claim to understand stroke production who can't play a lick, and if you can't play a lick you obviously don't understand shot production.
 
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