What should I work on with my serve?

StringSnapper

Hall of Fame
Currently:

Seemingly i've just got a proper ESR racquet drop for the first time, mostly I think from the Salzy from tennis evolution tip of a "good first move - keep palm down". BTW sometimes my racquet hand cramps when i serve now. Is there something im doing technically wrong to cause this?

I'm trying to:
1. Toss accurately
2. Good first move (trying to keep palm down / ESR active)
3. Rise into contact


What should I work on next? I notice my motion isn't very smooth, i seem to pause at trophy a bit. I also seem to fall to the right too much perhaps? Not sure what else is wrong, but i dont seem to be getting massive power.

Latest serve vid taken today:
Sorry about the camera angle, missed my lower half. I seem a bit more fluid in the last minute or so of the video compared to the start hey?



@IowaGuy @ChaelAZ @Keendog @FiReFTW @Curious @sredna42 @S&V-not_dead_yet @GuyClinch @Bender @nytennisaddict @ByeByePoly @Keendog @IowaGuy @Raul_SJ
 
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Curious

Legend
This is very interesting and exciting. You’re adamant to improve your serve, open for suggestions and there’re people here to look at it and spot issues for you to fix it. Hopefully we’ll get there but I must say there’s not much progress so far and that something weird with your serve seems to be stuck to it badly and just won’t let go! Will continue in a bit. Something has come up.
 

StringSnapper

Hall of Fame
This is very interesting and exciting. You’re adamant to improve your serve, open for suggestions and there’re people here to look at it and spot issues for you to fix it. Hopefully we’ll get there but I must say there’s not much progress so far and that something weird with your serve seems to be stuck to it badly and just won’t let go! Will continue in a bit. Something has come up.
I noticed some of the swings at the start didn't get a good drop, but if you watch from the second half of the video the drop comes back

Theres something else thats not right though...
Take a look at this image below:



Federer on the right, me on the left. Just before contact his racquet is "on edge" where as mine is open

Whats the deal with that?!
 

Curious

Legend
It’s like an instinctive movement. You will hit the ball with the racket face not with the edge so why would you move the racket towards the ball on edge?!
 

StringSnapper

Hall of Fame
It’s like an instinctive movement. You will hit the ball with the racket face not with the edge so why would you move the racket towards the ball on edge?!
Maybe thats the problem, i'm coming out of ESR too early?

I just feel like if i dont come out of ESR then i'll hit the ball with the frame
 

Keendog

Professional
Maybe thats the problem, i'm coming out of ESR too early?

I just feel like if i dont come out of ESR then i'll hit the ball with the frame
You shouldn't be thinking about that. It should just happen. The fact you say that indicates you are likely forcing it to happen by muscling it. Instead just focus on trying to have the loosest arm and loosest grip as possible and see what happens. As more evidence there is still a marked difference between your shadow swing and when you introduce a ball. It's a tough mental hurdle to overcome. Same with golf if you ever play, your practice swings are nice and free, then you step up to the tee and you swing and miss trying to overhit it! Let the club do the work they say in golf.

BTW the toss and body weight is much better, this is a serve you can take into matches, I disagree with Curious this is much improved for one week. Good work (y)
 

dak95_00

Hall of Fame
You are getting stuck in the trophy position. From there you are just lunging with your racquet and missing the back scratching position. You need to get that elbow up so you can snap up at the ball. This is why you are not leading with the edge.

Practice closer to the net or by just hitting the ball without worry or regard to its travels.
 

StringSnapper

Hall of Fame
Okay for my future reference:

*Start in 3 quarter serve... toss first then hit from this position (shoulders already turned), should make rhythm better

*Extend tossing arm out to net post

*at 4:30, start in trophy pose from now on until this motion is 2nd nature, i think my elbow is getting too low

*elbow the enemy: palm down, elbow high and going behind

*hop a couple of times when you land.. keeps you more upright on the serve 4:26 shoutout @JohnYandell

... lots of good stuff for me to work on here.
 

StringSnapper

Hall of Fame
You shouldn't be thinking about that. It should just happen. The fact you say that indicates you are likely forcing it to happen by muscling it. Instead just focus on trying to have the loosest arm and loosest grip as possible and see what happens. As more evidence there is still a marked difference between your shadow swing and when you introduce a ball. It's a tough mental hurdle to overcome. Same with golf if you ever play, your practice swings are nice and free, then you step up to the tee and you swing and miss trying to overhit it! Let the club do the work they say in golf.

BTW the toss and body weight is much better, this is a serve you can take into matches, I disagree with Curious this is much improved for one week. Good work (y)
Yeah it really seems like as long as my first move is good (i.e. palm down, elbowing the enemy) i should get a good drop. I just have to make that consistent and habitual and work on being comfortable and loose doing it.

I think i will practice serving from the "elbow the enemy" position for awhile, similar to that drill with the ball in the elbow. I tried the Salzy stuff before, elbow the enemy, but i think i forgot to keep my palm down! That ball in the elbow drill really gave me the feeling of what that was like lol. Anyway, palm down, elbow back and up, swing!

I'll also do the hop thing too.

OKAY SO the plan is for next time:

1. Start in "elbow the enemy positon" palm down elbow up. Loose arm.
2. Hop on front foot after serve to make sure i'm staying balanced.



I might even do this with a different racquet... I've smashed and broken two racquets before trying to be loose and its just flung right out into the concrete and snapped the frame #framesnapper
 

Curious

Legend
Your racket head is angled towards the right and too much behind your back around the time you start throwing the racket/ trophy position.
 

FiReFTW

Legend
Not sure what else is wrong, but i dont seem to be getting massive power.
You think you can just make a slight tweak and all of a sudden get a great serve with massive power?

It takes a lot of years to build a good serve.

And with you its even worse because u play for a long and have some bad habits.

If you want to build a good serve and improve it you need to stop posting new threads every day and instead work on changing a bad habit you have:

1 habit at a time.

And work on that for months!

Slow swings then more and more, video urself keep checking, then normal swings, keep checking and working until ur doing it always, using specific drills for that problem also.
Then when u think its automatic video during matches and focus on trying to bring that into match play which is a while different beast and forming new muscle memory till its automatic.

Then after many months when ita fixed and automatic ur ready to start correcting the 2nd thing.

If your serious about improving then do this, or your simply wasting your time.

My comment may seem harsh but its not, I want you to really improve and better urself and this is how you do it, trust me.
 

FiReFTW

Legend
And also dont focus on power now, focus and concentrate on that single thing and to correct it, power will come later by its own.
 

Bender

G.O.A.T.
Anyone notice that there is a short pause / interruption in the motion? It’s jarring and could be causing a loss in power.
 

Rabe87

Professional
Currently:

Seemingly i've just got a proper ESR racquet drop for the first time, mostly I think from the Salzy from tennis evolution tip of a "good first move - keep palm down". BTW sometimes my racquet hand cramps when i serve now. Is there something im doing technically wrong to cause this?

I'm trying to:
1. Toss accurately
2. Good first move (trying to keep palm down / ESR active)
3. Rise into contact


What should I work on next? I notice my motion isn't very smooth, i seem to pause at trophy a bit. I also seem to fall to the right too much perhaps? Not sure what else is wrong, but i dont seem to be getting massive power.

Latest serve vid taken today:
Sorry about the camera angle, missed my lower half. I seem a bit more fluid in the last minute or so of the video compared to the start hey?



@IowaGuy @ChaelAZ @Keendog @FiReFTW @Curious @sredna42 @S&V-not_dead_yet @GuyClinch @Bender @nytennisaddict @ByeByePoly @Keendog @IowaGuy @Raul_SJ
I'm admittedly a bit of a servebot on the first serve but if you want to learn a really interesting technique for a kick second-serve watch Ytube vids of Sam Stosur circa 2010-11, literally changed my stance and ball toss and I learnt how to really muscle the ball instead of just using body weight / shoulder torque.
 

FiReFTW

Legend
@StringSnapper

According to Curious you should get to this position:



and not this position:




You should listen to @Curious he is a tennis guru, and work on getting into the same position as that guy with the red shirt and blue hat, and u will be serving 130mph instantly!
 

Curious

Legend
@StringSnapper

According to Curious you should get to this position:



and not this position:




You should listen to @Curious he is a tennis guru, and work on getting into the same position as that guy with the red shirt and blue hat, and u will be serving 130mph instantly!
Nice photos. The problem is he doesn't start his racket throw from that position. I will clarify further in the next video.
 

Keendog

Professional
I think mate Bender and Dak got it right you pause in trophy and pause after dropping the racquet losing all momentum. I think you are thinking about certain positions in the service motion too much and losing rhythm. Thus concentrate on Jeff's rhythm video.

Your toss is in a much better location and I think you are improving. So don't listen to other people telling you how you must learn, post away if you want. I'd rather your threads than Oservers anyday. But don't get caught up with serving by the numbers. Get a rhythm and a good toss and that's the main thing, from there you can do piecemeal improvements.
 

IowaGuy

Hall of Fame
Not sure what else is wrong, but i dont seem to be getting massive power.....Sorry about the camera angle, missed my lower half.
Lower half: where much of the "massive power" comes from :)

It's good that you're so dedicated to improving your serve, but it doesn't look like a naturally-explosive motion for you (you mentioned that you can't throw a ball very well with your left hand). You have good flexibility and I know you're fixated on racket drop, but your front foot doesn't leave the ground on most of your serves. Curious is old enough to be your dad and has a much more explosive motion. You are mostly arming the ball which doesn't produce much power.

All great rec serves that I have seen in 30+ years of playing tennis are very explosive in nature, engaging the entire kinetic chain. That is how one gets "massive power" on the serve, IMHO.

What is your ultimate goal with your serve?
 

IowaGuy

Hall of Fame
Also, I think you'd be surprised how much power can leak from not keeping your toss arm vertical. Regardless of how explosive your serve ends up being, a vertical toss arm would be a definite improvement on your serve power...
 

FiReFTW

Legend
Lower half: where much of the "massive power" comes from :)

It's good that you're so dedicated to improving your serve, but it doesn't look like a naturally-explosive motion for you (you mentioned that you can't throw a ball very well with your left hand). You have good flexibility and I know you're fixated on racket drop, but your front foot doesn't leave the ground on most of your serves. Curious is old enough to be your dad and has a much more explosive motion. You are mostly arming the ball which doesn't produce much power.

All great rec serves that I have seen in 30+ years of playing tennis are very explosive in nature, engaging the entire kinetic chain. That is how one gets "massive power" on the serve, IMHO.

What is your ultimate goal with your serve?
While you are right about everything, I think @StringSnapper shouldn't focus on "explosiveness" because if he reads into this too much he will try even HARDER, and end up ARMING even HARDER and causing even more problems.

He should instead focus on engaging his whole body and kinetic chain but gradually and slowly and focusing more on the fluidity and smoothness and slowly build up from that, thats the most important thing, his serve is not smooth at all and is jerky and rough.
 

FiReFTW

Legend

This is what StringSnapper should focus on acquiring above all else

Theres not alot of explosiveness in these warmup serves, but Roger is very fluid and smooth with his motion and he is engaging his whole body and kinetic chain into the ball, and alot of these balls are hit over 100mph
 

Curious

Legend
I think mate Bender and Dak got it right you pause in trophy and pause after dropping the racquet losing all momentum.
I don't think it's the pause at all. There are so many people who serve great even with a pause, including rec players by the way.
The problem is the position of his racket at the time of the racket throw:

 

IowaGuy

Hall of Fame

This is what StringSnapper should focus on acquiring above all else

Theres not alot of explosiveness in these warmup serves, but Roger is very fluid and smooth with his motion and he is engaging his whole body and kinetic chain into the ball, and alot of these balls are hit over 100mph
Notice that even on these "warm-up" serves that Fed's effortless explosiveness (engagement of the kinetic chain) launches him about a foot into the air...
 

FiReFTW

Legend
@StringSnapper

I strongly advice you ignore Curious, he has no clue what he is talking about

His "problematic" racquet position is a position that many ATP players have and is not the issue your having

Here is a "scrub" who can't serve that has the same position as you



Take from this what you will.
 

FiReFTW

Legend
Notice that even on these "warm-up" serves that Fed's effortless explosiveness (engagement of the kinetic chain) launches him about a foot into the air...
Yes thats what StringSnapper should try to achieve, not really putting EVERYTHING INTO IT, he might probably just arm the ball alot subconsciously, but try to get this whole kinetic chain going fluid and smooth and if he does, all the prestrech and activation will launch you into the air but it will feel effortless, like ur not putting anything into it like in these warm up serves.
Thats what I mean good that you brought it up!
 

Curious

Legend
@StringSnapper

I strongly advice you ignore Curious, he has no clue what he is talking about

His "problematic" racquet position is a position that many ATP players have and is not the issue your having

Here is a "scrub" who can't serve that has the same position as you



Take from this what you will.
There’s not a single pro whose racket is not at least pointing to the sky at the start of the racket throw. It doesn’t take a genius to see Raonic has already started the throw in the red shirt picture! In the other pic it’s at least pointing up.
 

Fxanimator1

Hall of Fame
Okay for my future reference:

*Start in 3 quarter serve... toss first then hit from this position (shoulders already turned), should make rhythm better

*Extend tossing arm out to net post

*at 4:30, start in trophy pose from now on until this motion is 2nd nature, i think my elbow is getting too low

*elbow the enemy: palm down, elbow high and going behind

*hop a couple of times when you land.. keeps you more upright on the serve 4:26 shoutout @JohnYandell

... lots of good stuff for me to work on here.
That third video you posted of Jeff’s would help you immensely.
 

dak95_00

Hall of Fame
Keep it Simple Silly

The serve is a throwing motion with a screwball finish. Don’t try to be Fernando and ruin your arm though. Literally practice soft tossing the ball. Soft toss means literally throwing the ball. In my youth I was a baseball player and a mediocre pitcher. It served me well, pun unintended. You must learn to throw the racquet at the ball but first you must learn to throw. Don’t worry about results other than spin when you are first trying serves. Don’t worry direction. Power just happens. It’s not forced. Buy a Nerf Football and throw that. See what happens when you try forcing a hard throw vs a good through. The same is true of the serve.
 

Bender

G.O.A.T.
I think mate Bender and Dak got it right you pause in trophy and pause after dropping the racquet losing all momentum. I think you are thinking about certain positions in the service motion too much and losing rhythm. Thus concentrate on Jeff's rhythm video.

Your toss is in a much better location and I think you are improving. So don't listen to other people telling you how you must learn, post away if you want. I'd rather your threads than Oservers anyday. But don't get caught up with serving by the numbers. Get a rhythm and a good toss and that's the main thing, from there you can do piecemeal improvements.
Precisely what I was thinking, but you explained it better. It’s a similar situation with the pat the dog position (PTD) or the wrist / racquet lag on the forehand. It’s a symptom of proper technique, it’s not meant to be something you force on the shot in order to make it correct. When you break down a shot into a series of key images, you’re fooled into thinking that all those parts are controlled by the player. This results in people actively snapping their wrists and moving (rather than dropping) their racquets to the PTD position. In reality, either the swing is correct and exhibits the PTD / lag as a natural result, or the swing is incorrect and you’re shoehorning a feature on a fundamentally incorrect and incompatible shot.

Here, the trophy is merely part of the path the racquet travels as it accelerates to contact, but the racquet never STOPS there with any high level serves. It’s always either decelerating, dropping, changing direction, or something, but since it slows down relative to the original windup, there’s a misconception that you’re meant to hold your racquet at that position and then arm the ball as hard as you can when the ball starts to drop into the strike zone.

Of course this is incorrect, because a racquet that reaches an absolute standstill at trophy has no momentum, so the only source of power logically can only come from the racquet drop and the resulting swing, but that distance is relatively short. When you see an overhead ball toss, no good thrower starts the throw exactly at the trophy position; there’s a windup leading to that trophy position, and that trophy position is not a separate standstill moment. Similarly, on a proper serve, there’s the element of the windup that plays a part and the fact that the body is always in motion, either winding up or transferring weight or both, etc.

Basically, the question to be asking is this, @StringSnapper—if you reach a complete standstill in your motion, if even for a moment, then why even bother have a windup? You could in theory just serve with the racquet already raised at trophy and serve, and it’d be no worse than a full motion. In fact it could be better since there are fewer components that can go wrong.
 

fuzz nation

G.O.A.T.
Yeah it really seems like as long as my first move is good (i.e. palm down, elbowing the enemy) i should get a good drop. I just have to make that consistent and habitual and work on being comfortable and loose doing it.

I think i will practice serving from the "elbow the enemy" position for awhile, similar to that drill with the ball in the elbow. I tried the Salzy stuff before, elbow the enemy, but i think i forgot to keep my palm down! That ball in the elbow drill really gave me the feeling of what that was like lol. Anyway, palm down, elbow back and up, swing!

I'll also do the hop thing too.

OKAY SO the plan is for next time:

1. Start in "elbow the enemy positon" palm down elbow up. Loose arm.
2. Hop on front foot after serve to make sure i'm staying balanced.



I might even do this with a different racquet... I've smashed and broken two racquets before trying to be loose and its just flung right out into the concrete and snapped the frame #framesnapper
It's usually easier for me to swing over the top with lighter grip pressure and more of a loose arm when I have enough of a flare at the butt cap that the grip doesn't want to slip out of my hand. It doesn't have to be a doorknob like the grips on Gasguet's racquets, but when there's enough of a little bump down there, it's noticeably easier to swing loose and fast without the racquet trying to get away from me.

A couple of my racquets have a couple extra turns (layers) of spare overgrip on the butt cap to give me enough of that bump and then I cover that with my full overgrip.

Thanks for posting video!! If you can eventually also show us a closer look at a couple of your serves that include your legs and feet, that would actually be a big help. That would reveal a lot about what's going on with your full kinetic chain when you swing at the ball, but there's already a good bit to see now.

If I was out on the court with you, one thing I'd want to try is setting up on the baseline to serve, but swap your racquet for a ball in your racquet hand. Then I'd have you think about using your service motion to throw the ball - not straight ahead, but upward at maybe a 45 degree angle like you're trying to lob your throw into those trees behind the far end of the court.

Throw a couple of balls, pick up your racquet and take a couple of practice service motions, throw a couple more balls, take a couple more practice motions...

A serve isn't identical to throwing a ball, but the two moves have enough in common that those throws could help with getting your general drive pointed in the right direction. Among your opening serves, the one you hit at around 0:20 is a clear example of your drive going downward, not upward. If you were to let go of your racquet when hitting that serve, you'd tomahawk your frame right down into the court. If you're driving in the right direction, you'd look like you're trying to throw your racquet up into those trees.

What's the giveaway? Look at your head and shoulders drop as you sort of bow forward at the waist to leverage the racquet over the top. That action is more "pulling down" instead of driving up. What you'll find once you redirect your "push" is that the effort to drive upward will create a little bit of a natural hop - you'll be pushing up through contact against the court underneath you.

There's a bundle of other stuff to chew over, but this redirection looks like something you need to get after right now. If you keep on with that pulling down, your serve won't be able to progress too far. If you practice some serves with this idea in mind, my advice is to just hit the ball with an upward drive, but don't worry about where you land the ball at first. When you first make this change, you might fly some balls to the back fence or over it. Square one is to get solid contact happening consistently and then you can relocate your toss as necessary to dial in your placement.
 

FiReFTW

Legend
Precisely what I was thinking, but you explained it better. It’s a similar situation with the pat the dog position (PTD) or the wrist / racquet lag on the forehand. It’s a symptom of proper technique, it’s not meant to be something you force on the shot in order to make it correct. When you break down a shot into a series of key images, you’re fooled into thinking that all those parts are controlled by the player. This results in people actively snapping their wrists and moving (rather than dropping) their racquets to the PTD position. In reality, either the swing is correct and exhibits the PTD / lag as a natural result, or the swing is incorrect and you’re shoehorning a feature on a fundamentally incorrect and incompatible shot.

Here, the trophy is merely part of the path the racquet travels as it accelerates to contact, but the racquet never STOPS there with any high level serves. It’s always either decelerating, dropping, changing direction, or something, but since it slows down relative to the original windup, there’s a misconception that you’re meant to hold your racquet at that position and then arm the ball as hard as you can when the ball starts to drop into the strike zone.

Of course this is incorrect, because a racquet that reaches an absolute standstill at trophy has no momentum, so the only source of power logically can only come from the racquet drop and the resulting swing, but that distance is relatively short. When you see an overhead ball toss, no good thrower starts the throw exactly at the trophy position; there’s a windup leading to that trophy position, and that trophy position is not a separate standstill moment. Similarly, on a proper serve, there’s the element of the windup that plays a part and the fact that the body is always in motion, either winding up or transferring weight or both, etc.

Basically, the question to be asking is this, @StringSnapper—if you reach a complete standstill in your motion, if even for a moment, then why even bother have a windup? You could in theory just serve with the racquet already raised at trophy and serve, and it’d be no worse than a full motion. In fact it could be better since there are fewer components that can go wrong.
But he is not stopping his racquet momentum, look at the serve at 0:20

On alot of serves he is using the momentum fine, it doesn't stop, tho on a few serves he does have quite a pause (not sure why it sometimes happens), so its something to be aware of but its not such a problem that you say, because many times his racquet keeps moving throughout the swing, just needs to focus on doing it always.

Bigger problems are:

1.Leaning right and weight pulling right and away from the ball
2.Arming the ball heavily and body having rotation but not putting much of it into the swing because body and arm are completely out of sync so its almost as if the body is wasted being rotated by its own while the arm is swinging on its own disconnected from the body
 

Bender

G.O.A.T.
But he is not stopping his racquet momentum, look at the serve at 0:20

On alot of serves he is using the momentum fine, it doesn't stop, tho on a few serves he does have quite a pause (not sure why it sometimes happens), so its something to be aware of but its not such a problem that you say, because many times his racquet keeps moving throughout the swing, just needs to focus on doing it always.

Bigger problems are:

1.Leaning right and weight pulling right and away from the ball
2.Arming the ball heavily and body having rotation but not putting much of it into the swing because body and arm are completely out of sync so its almost as if the body is wasted being rotated by its own while the arm is swinging on its own disconnected from the body
I only looked at the first few.

The main reason why the strike seems so sluggish is that he’s consciously stopping / holding the racquet at trophy and then injecting pace once trophy has been completely achieved. That’s why the racquet looks out of sync and is flailing with what his arm is trying to do.

The other issues you mentioned are of course notable and since they have been covered I didn’t wish to repeat them. I would say #2 is a symptom of what I just described.

There’s no flow because he stops the flow then tries to restart the flow. Little wonder the racquet looks confused as to what the body is trying to get it to do.
 
Currently:

Seemingly i've just got a proper ESR racquet drop for the first time, mostly I think from the Salzy from tennis evolution tip of a "good first move - keep palm down". BTW sometimes my racquet hand cramps when i serve now. Is there something im doing technically wrong to cause this?

I'm trying to:
1. Toss accurately
2. Good first move (trying to keep palm down / ESR active)
3. Rise into contact


What should I work on next? I notice my motion isn't very smooth, i seem to pause at trophy a bit. I also seem to fall to the right too much perhaps? Not sure what else is wrong, but i dont seem to be getting massive power.
Around 0:09 at the frame just before your racquet starts moving upward to meet the ball, your racquet is almost parallel to the ground. Most people's racquets are perpendicular to the ground. We discussed shoulder flexibility in a different thread but I think that dictates how far down your racquet will drop, not the angle it makes with the ground. It appears your wrist might be locked, which is preventing the racquet from pointing downward. This might indicate overall tension which will rob you of speed.

Around 0:20, as the ball toss is going up, usually one's body is sinking due the knee bend. I can't see your knees but I notice your head does not change vertical position much. This means you aren't bending your knees [or you started in a bent knee position, which I highly doubt].

Then, as the ball drops and you prepare to contact, instead of your head rising which means you are driving with your legs upward, your head actually drops further. Much of this is because you're leaning far to the right [your serve at 0:09 was better from the standpoint of being more vertical overall] but it also could be you're not driving upwards. Since I doubt you're serving from a bent knee position, perhaps you aren't bending your knees much at the trophy pose?

The lean is costing you at least a foot of contact height in addition to power.
 
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IowaGuy

Hall of Fame
Here, the trophy is merely part of the path the racquet travels as it accelerates to contact, but the racquet never STOPS there with any high level serves...no good thrower starts the throw exactly at the trophy position; there’s a windup leading to that trophy position, and that trophy position is not a separate standstill moment....

Basically, the question to be asking is this, @StringSnapper—if you reach a complete standstill in your motion, if even for a moment, then why even bother have a windup? You could in theory just serve with the racquet already raised at trophy and serve, and it’d be no worse than a full motion. In fact it could be better since there are fewer components that can go wrong.
A few pros have used a serve that starts around backscratch or trophy. I'm not a huge fan, but it might simplify things for @StringSnapper so that he could focus on other aspects of the service motion? Certainly Agassi's serve is still explosive starting right from trophy (probably loses a few MPH, but would still be a fantastic rec serve).

Sara Errani


Jay Berger (reached #7 in the world ATP)
Top

Agassi might be most famous example, when he injured his wrist he experimented with a serve starting near trophy position:
 

Bender

G.O.A.T.
A few pros have used a serve that starts around backscratch or trophy. I'm not a huge fan, but it might simplify things for @StringSnapper so that he could focus on other aspects of the service motion? Certainly Agassi's serve is still explosive starting right from trophy (probably loses a few MPH, but would still be a fantastic rec serve).

Sara Errani


Jay Berger (reached #7 in the world ATP)
Top

Agassi might be most famous example, when he injured his wrist he experimented with a serve starting near trophy position:
I dunno about Berger but Errani’s serve was utter garbage and Agassi reverted to his normal serve once his injury woes went away. You do lose power because the racquet loses a fair bit of distance to fully accelerate and gain momentum.

But I do agree that OP could consider limiting his motion first and get the throwing mechanics right. Didn’t work for me because my issue is with the toss more than anything else but OP seems to be suffering from both that and the throwing mechanics. One at a time won’t hurt.
 

atp2015

Hall of Fame
5 things -
1 incorporate max knee bend that you can and keep improving it. It will act as a great foundation if/when you start jumping on your serve. Leg drive, even if you don't jump in the next few months, is number 1.
2 hip thrust and lateral stretch upto the ball.
3 start leg and shoulder strengthening exercises.
4 work towards max racket drop
5 focus up and out however tempting it's to blast one flat.
 
5 things -
1 incorporate max knee bend that you can and keep improving it. It will act as a great foundation if/when you start jumping on your serve. Leg drive, even if you don't jump in the next few months, is number 1.
According to Florian Meyer at Feel Tennis, the arm is by far the dominant factor compared to the legs. If he's correct, then the leg drive is more for other things like raising the contact point and getting forward momentum.

Also, not everyone can bend their knees that far.
 

atp2015

Hall of Fame
According to Florian Meyer at Feel Tennis, the arm is by far the dominant factor compared to the legs. If he's correct, then the leg drive is more for other things like raising the contact point and getting forward momentum.

Also, not everyone can bend their knees that far.
Most people who just blast without a leg drive (not necessarily a jump, just knee bend and stretch) suffer from arm and shoulder issues. That includes Florian Meyer - he has had massive shoulder impingement issues according to himself. I like his coaching method - he is #1 online coach in my book. Just disagree with him on leg drive importance.

Leg drive is not number 1 issue for someone learning to serve. It bubbles to the top after someone reaches a certain serve level.
I don't know if OP has reached that stage. Need to check the swing mechanics in slow-mo.
 
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ByeByePoly

G.O.A.T.
@StringSnapper

I haven't read this thread ... and you got lot's of good help here technically, so here is a less technical comment 8-B

I don't think you are loosey goosey yet with your arm. In particular, at the hand/wrist. I just went and looked at all the great serves, Fed, Sampras, @Curious :p and even old BBP :p:p:p ... all loosey goosey at the wrist. All that time you and @Bender beat the wholly hell out of my "too much arm" on FHs .... and here you are not loosey goosey (enough ... you are making progress).

So get these guys that know technically how to make the server loosey goosey and you are there. Obviously that is the whole arm that has to be "loosey goosey" ... and I like the tip somebody said "think lead with the elbow" ... but for sure I think your wrist has to go to limp noodle (just play some of your BBP "arming" video slams back for yourself .... oh, that was good ... my slam I mean, your videos were good too).

When I shadow serve, my entire arm is very relaxed, but noticeably relaxed at the wrist. (y)
 
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Chas Tennis

G.O.A.T.
Based on observing a few serves, looks like a Waiter's Tray showing little arm rotation approaching impact. Compare to high speed videos of high level serves showing the last 30 milliseconds approaching impact.

Your comparison indicates the serve on left is not a high level serve technique. Serve on right is 'edge on to the ball' at the instnt the frame was exposed. If the entire arm is then rotated by ISR of the upper arm bone at the shoulder joint you can see that the racket would then be face on to the ball. The racket has to be at an angle to the forearm to develop racket head speed from ISR. That angle changes rapidly.


Study high level serves.

Note - I looked for high speed videos of left handed servers and found a Lopez serve. That one serve looked a little like yours regarding the racket face. I consider that serve an anomaly. You can directly see ISR on other Lopez's serves approaching impact.

I just bought a Casio FH100 camera used for $115. It seems to be working so far. It does an excellent job showing the serves fastest parts.
 

atp2015

Hall of Fame
both have show massively low elbow. Compare the height of the elbow. Salzenstein has it at nipple level, the pix below show elbow at the level of navel or below.


@StringSnapper

According to Curious you should get to this position:



and not this position:




You should listen to @Curious he is a tennis guru, and work on getting into the same position as that guy with the red shirt and blue hat, and u will be serving 130mph instantly!
 

TennisDawg

Professional
Currently:

Seemingly i've just got a proper ESR racquet drop for the first time, mostly I think from the Salzy from tennis evolution tip of a "good first move - keep palm down". BTW sometimes my racquet hand cramps when i serve now. Is there something im doing technically wrong to cause this?

I'm trying to:
1. Toss accurately
2. Good first move (trying to keep palm down / ESR active)
3. Rise into contact


What should I work on next? I notice my motion isn't very smooth, i seem to pause at trophy a bit. I also seem to fall to the right too much perhaps? Not sure what else is wrong, but i dont seem to be getting massive power.

Latest serve vid taken today:
Sorry about the camera angle, missed my lower half. I seem a bit more fluid in the last minute or so of the video compared to the start hey?



@IowaGuy @ChaelAZ @Keendog @FiReFTW @Curious @sredna42 @S&V-not_dead_yet @GuyClinch @Bender @nytennisaddict @ByeByePoly @Keendog @IowaGuy @Raul_SJ
If you’re trying to do what Salstein says. I would look at his video. Pay attention to the racquet face pointing towards the net on the take back and also the shorter take back. I have not tried this yet but it makes sense to me if you want ’t to prevent open face (WT) and late contact. Let me know how it works Im excited to try it this Spring.
 

atp2015

Hall of Fame
It looks as if he is trying to get under the ball instead of over the ball. Need to come up on edge and get on top of the ball to brush, not "tap" the ball on it's back.


Based on observing a few serves, looks like a Waiter's Tray showing little arm rotation approaching impact. Compare to high speed videos of high level serves showing the last 30 milliseconds approaching impact.

Your comparison indicates the serve on left is not a high level serve technique. Serve on right is 'edge on to the ball' at the instnt the frame was exposed. If the entire arm is then rotated by ISR of the upper arm bone at the shoulder joint you can see that the racket would then be face on to the ball. The racket has to be at an angle to the forearm to develop racket head speed from ISR. That angle changes rapidly.


Study high level serves.

Note - I looked for high speed videos of left handed servers and found a Lopez serve. That one serve looked a little like yours regarding the racket face. I consider that serve an anomaly. You can directly see ISR on other Lopez's serves approaching impact.

I just bought a Casio FH100 camera used for $115. It seems to be working so far. It does an excellent job showing the serves fastest parts.
 

Chas Tennis

G.O.A.T.
It looks as if he is trying to get under the ball instead of over the ball. Need to come up on edge and get on top of the ball to brush, not "tap" the ball on it's back.
That is a different use of "on edge" than I gave for 'edge on to the ball'. I object to it because there is a misconception, often stated, that the racket head approaches the ball 'on edge' and 'at the last second' it turns to face the ball. I find 'on edge' undefined and 'at the last second' too slow for conveying useful time information on the service motion. (Milliseconds are appropiate for tennis strokes.) I have seen posters serving as if they believe these terms and turning the racket late or about 6" before impact. The phrase 'at the last second' applies to the racket just before impact. When I ask those using the term racket "on edge" to place an arrow at this special last racket face turn I have not gotten a description, or time nor were there any high speed videos.

Looks like a slice serve, could be a flat serve also, not a kick serve. Impact is the higher red arrow, the lower red arrow is about where the 'edge on to the ball' occurs for an instant as is seen. Can you count frames from down from impact and say that "to come up on edge" applies over one frame before impact, or over two frames, over 3 frames, etc. ? Where is the racket getting "on top of the ball". I see it as the racket is closing as it moves forward and rotating from ISR as it moves forward. And in all cases communication is clearer through images explained by words, and not by a few words alone. The lower red arrow shows the 'edge on to the ball' orientation of the racket face that exists for an instant. From the lower red arrow to the upper red arrow takes roughly 30 milliseaconds. This is the critical racket acceleration of the tennis serve.


My usage of 'edge on' is as in the picture of Federer and the one above - the racket is 'edge on to the ball' - for an instant - as shown at the lower red arrow. I believe that these words are used for the checkpoint seen in videos for the purpose of indicating Waiter's Tray from a high level serve. Later I learned that there is another technique - that will show racket 'face to the sky' - but that other technique is a third technique, not a Waiter's Tray serve.
 
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atp2015

Hall of Fame
That is a different use of "on edge" than I gave for 'edge on to the ball'. I object to it because there is a misconception often stated that the racket head approaches the ball 'on edge' and 'at the last second' it turns to face the ball. I find 'on edge' undefined and 'at the last second' too slow for conveying useful time information on the service motion. (Milliseconds are appropiate for tennis strokes.) a high level serve. Later I learned that there is another technique - that will show racket 'face to the sky' - but that other technique is a third technique, not a Waiter's Tray serve.
I have understood "on edge" to mean that the racket face is more in parallel with the side line than the baseline when it comes up after the racket drop. That's the only angle that allows you to come on top of the ball during impact to generate topspin.
 
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