What should I work on with my serve?

ChaelAZ

Legend
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.
Lets face it, that wind isn't helping #1, but definitely can improve in consistency of toss and to me that looks like where balls end up in the net or long. I think #2 is fine, but can improve pushing up into the ball for #3 for more power and kick/spin.

Overall you are doing what you do well and could keep adding in reps with tweaks in your #1 and #3 to see improvements.

Hard to really tell in the video, but one of my first reactions watching was that your arm/wrist/hand/racquet positioning looked stiff, and needs to loosen up, ala Djo kinda thing. Then I saw your comment, so maybe that is why you have hand cramps. I'll see if I can find one of the Djo videos where you can see how loose and relaxed his arm down to the racquet remains, which also adds pop and power.

EDIT: Can find the one I was thinking of where is was warming up serves and was letting his wrist relax and the racquet just dangle, but here you can see it a bit. This is older, but still similar to his current service motion.

 
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ChaelAZ

Legend
Here are a few real serves for you from today. Absolutely love this Raonic grip. By the way my racket drop seems to be much better now with forearm going down even below parallel like 110 degrees. Also the best court I've ever seen.:)(y)


Sweet motion and looks like good balance. Like it. Nice video and nice court.
 

FiReFTW

Legend
Here are a few real serves for you from today. Absolutely love this Raonic grip. By the way my racket drop seems to be much better now with forearm going down even below parallel like 110 degrees. Also the best court I've ever seen.:)(y)

What kind of surface is that carpet or artificial grass?
 

StringSnapper

Hall of Fame
Don't listen to him, mate. Listen to this:

Genius

Did you see that other video I made with the ball in the elbow?

In the 2nd half I do the ball in the elbow drill - does that look better? I don't think my drop was very deep tho



I feel like this must be it. I felt crazy power leaking out in some of these, from what felt like very minimal swing
 
Reply to atp2015 post #50

"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. "

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Then would you say that for the picture shown in post #49, for all frames after racket drop, all 7 fames shown before impact

"that the racket face is more in parallel with the side line than the baseline when it comes up after the racket drop."

As viewed from above the server, I see the racket face rotating quite a bit relative to the baseline and sideline. Do you have a link for your view?
 
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Raul_SJ

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.
Yes, when straightening out the knees, the racquet needs to be at trophy (head level). Racquet is prematurely dropping and hence will not get full benefit of the knee extension and limit the ESR.

See pic. Knees appear to be still bent but racquet is prematurely collapsing.

 

StringSnapper

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.
That's a good idea I might do that
 

ByeByePoly

G.O.A.T.
Lets face it, that wind isn't helping #1, but definitely can improve in consistency of toss and to me that looks like where balls end up in the net or long. I think #2 is fine, but can improve pushing up into the ball for #3 for more power and kick/spin.

Overall you are doing what you do well and could keep adding in reps with tweaks in your #1 and #3 to see improvements.

Hard to really tell in the video, but one of my first reactions watching was that your arm/wrist/hand/racquet positioning looked stiff, and needs to loosen up, ala Djo kinda thing. Then I saw your comment, so maybe that is why you have hand cramps. I'll see if I can find one of the Djo videos where you can see how loose and relaxed his arm down to the racquet remains, which also adds pop and power.

EDIT: Can find the one I was thinking of where is was warming up serves and was letting his wrist relax and the racquet just dangle, but here you can see it a bit. This is older, but still similar to his current service motion.

"Loosey Goosey at the wrist" post #43 (TM)
 

ByeByePoly

G.O.A.T.
Here are a few real serves for you from today. Absolutely love this Raonic grip. By the way my racket drop seems to be much better now with forearm going down even below parallel like 110 degrees. Also the best court I've ever seen.:)(y)

That is a fine looking serve ...
 

Curious

Legend
And this is the tiebreak from 1st set today. My focus on reducing unforced errors seem to be working. Sending the ball back one more time instead of doing crazy stuff. But old habits die hard! Now I know you always ask ''do the results reflect the perceived change, video evidence'' etc. This friend of mine used to beat me easily 9 out of 10 times. Today it was toe to toe. I won first set in tiebreak, he won the second 6-4. And by the way this was the first time we played since I started focusing on smart tennis, fitness and so on. So I'm definitely excited about further improvement with this mentality at work.

 

atp2015

Hall of Fame
Reply to atp2015 post #50

" the racket face is more in parallel

As viewed from above the server, I see the racket face rotating quite a bit relative to the baseline and sideline. Do you have a link for your view?
The angle changes, but majority of the distance the face is parallel to the sideline.
Or more precisely, perpendicular to the server's face.
See the pic

 

ByeByePoly

G.O.A.T.
And this is the tiebreak from 1st set today. My focus on reducing unforced errors seem to be working. Sending the ball back one more time instead of doing crazy stuff. But old habits die hard! Now I know you always ask ''do the results reflect the perceived change, video evidence'' etc. This friend of mine used to beat me easily 9 out of 10 times. Today it was toe to toe. I won first set in tiebreak, he won the second 6-4. And by the way this was the first time we played since I started focusing on smart tennis, fitness and so on. So I'm definitely excited about further improvement with this mentality at work.

Yep ... point construction, very good. Nice bh volley at the end. lol ... never seen anyone lose their racquet on a volley. Cool looking court ... footing would probably make me nervous given the hamstring injuries.
 

FiReFTW

Legend
And this is the tiebreak from 1st set today. My focus on reducing unforced errors seem to be working. Sending the ball back one more time instead of doing crazy stuff. But old habits die hard! Now I know you always ask ''do the results reflect the perceived change, video evidence'' etc. This friend of mine used to beat me easily 9 out of 10 times. Today it was toe to toe. I won first set in tiebreak, he won the second 6-4. And by the way this was the first time we played since I started focusing on smart tennis, fitness and so on. So I'm definitely excited about further improvement with this mentality at work.

Wow your friend has the weirdest service motion ive ever seen, and I have seen the weirdest ive seen so far like 1 week ago in another thread here lol.

Where is that court? I have to visit it one day, its amazing!
 

Curious

Legend
Wow your friend has the weirdest service motion ive ever seen, and I have seen the weirdest ive seen so far like 1 week ago in another thread here lol.

Where is that court? I have to visit it one day, its amazing!
Melbourne.
 

sac65849

New User
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
IMHO you are close, the wind is part of the problem, it looks like this is consciously or unconsciously causing you to tense up your swing as you are chasing the ball. Your power loss probably feels like a bad forehand push. Maybe try to think of the bottom of your racket handle as a flashlight and try to keep that flashlight pointed up toward the ball for a few miliseconds as you start the loading unloading process. Most good servers with widely varying technique usually manage to get the handle pointing vertical at some point. The ball in elbow drill helped your elbow bend so you could get closer to vertical so you could start with a pulling action rather than a push. Think spaghetti wrist and take practice swings without the ball between reps esp in the wind. Look forward to seeing you progress...
 

coupergear

Professional
You have what is known as a waiter's tray serve. You lead with your elbow and your racket face opens towards the Sky. so you end up pushing the ball forward not really swinging the racket through the ball. This limits power. how is your natural throwing motion? If you have a good throwing motion I think you could get to a higher level serve however if you have an inefficient throwing motion I'm not sure if you can do much better.
 
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Hmgraphite1

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
It looks like your swatting flies. Something up with your acceleration. In your finish you wrap the racquet all the way around your right side till its pointing up again. Its like your accelerating more after the impact. I would start by getting a little lift off of both feet and explode up into the shot/ball. Don't just spin around your front foot. You may be too loose. Work on holding that club and knocking the bloody crap out of the ball, just a different mindset for a while
 
The angle changes, but majority of the distance the face is parallel to the sideline.
Or more precisely, perpendicular to the server's face.
See the pic

Here is an overhead view of Frank Salazar's serve. The baseline is visible.

Rare Fuzzy Yellow Balls overhead videos processed by Toly into composite pictures.

Measurements of racket rotation - first frame shown to impact frame - for these 3 pictures:
1) Slice - 70 d. racket head rotation.
2) Flat - 82 d. racket head rotation.
3) Kick - 54 d. racket head rotation.

The protractor measurements does not include racket motion not shown in these pictures. All these racket positions appear to be after racket drop.

The angle of the racket to the baseline could also be measured.

It is always best to give videos priority for communicating tennis stroke positions accurately to readers. Would readers know what you mean regarding the racket face angle to the sideline or baseline in the earlier posts.

I'd say that the racket is rotating from ISR from the Big L position to impact- with more details to be presented by high speed videos.

Notice that the racket handle appears longer at impact for the kick serve than it does for the flat and slice serves. That's because the racket shaft is tilted and the racket head is lower so that it can rise during rise during impact.

Notice that the server's chest is more to the side line for the kick serve.
 
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ByeByePoly

G.O.A.T.
It looks like your swatting flies. Something up with your acceleration. In your finish you wrap the racquet all the way around your right side till its pointing up again. Its like your accelerating more after the impact. I would start by getting a little lift off of both feet and explode up into the shot/ball. Don't just spin around your front foot. You may be too loose. Work on holding that club and knocking the bloody crap out of the ball, just a different mindset for a while
Too loose? Are you ... oops, wrong thread. :-D
 

Keendog

Semi-Pro
And this is the tiebreak from 1st set today. My focus on reducing unforced errors seem to be working. Sending the ball back one more time instead of doing crazy stuff. But old habits die hard! Now I know you always ask ''do the results reflect the perceived change, video evidence'' etc. This friend of mine used to beat me easily 9 out of 10 times. Today it was toe to toe. I won first set in tiebreak, he won the second 6-4. And by the way this was the first time we played since I started focusing on smart tennis, fitness and so on. So I'm definitely excited about further improvement with this mentality at work.

Suns out, guns out? Are you not concerned playing that close to Mordor?
 

aimr75

Hall of Fame
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.
I just see it as being on edge relative to the ball. I get in this position just before impact looking back on a serve vid. Don’t know what I do to get there as it’s an unconscious move.
 

StringSnapper

Hall of Fame
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.
thats a great one thanks
 

StringSnapper

Hall of Fame
Here are a few real serves for you from today. Absolutely love this Raonic grip. By the way my racket drop seems to be much better now with forearm going down even below parallel like 110 degrees. Also the best court I've ever seen.:)(y)

Nice your serve is looking great. Although it was already really good. Whats the difference for you using the Raonic style? More power or spin, or just a deeper more aesthetic drop?

BTW after watching the Salzy video, you do everything he says:

You delay the toss until you're in the 3/4th serve position, your racquet strings face the net for a long time, you get good ESR and drop, and you make contact at the highest point. Then when you land you're balanced and have a small step forward.

Damn, i'm jealous. Nice serve. Were they hitting the back fence in one bounce?
 

StringSnapper

Hall of Fame
I suspect i must have a lot of tension in my wrist contributing to this lack of racquet drop.


I think i need to do the "ball in elbow" drill, with a loose wrist and a higher elbow.
 

Curious

Legend
Whats the difference for you using the Raonic style? More power or spin, or just a deeper more aesthetic drop?
Were they hitting the back fence in one bounce?
I think Raonic and also Stosur (was it?)really nailed it with this extreme wrist flexion all the way up to trophy . Now although it bothers me a little not being able to explain, it’s just a different level, man. Both pace and spin.
Yeah the serves are all one bouncers, some as high as 6 feet.
 

StringSnapper

Hall of Fame
And this is the tiebreak from 1st set today. My focus on reducing unforced errors seem to be working. Sending the ball back one more time instead of doing crazy stuff. But old habits die hard! Now I know you always ask ''do the results reflect the perceived change, video evidence'' etc. This friend of mine used to beat me easily 9 out of 10 times. Today it was toe to toe. I won first set in tiebreak, he won the second 6-4. And by the way this was the first time we played since I started focusing on smart tennis, fitness and so on. So I'm definitely excited about further improvement with this mentality at work.

0.37 and i thought my serve was bad LOL
this is worse than my friends serve who spasms around in trophy pose

Really awesome you did so much better today. Your serve and forehand look technically sound now, and you look really fit. Hard work is paying off and you'll have a much higher ceiling than this guy!
 

StringSnapper

Hall of Fame
And this is the tiebreak from 1st set today. My focus on reducing unforced errors seem to be working. Sending the ball back one more time instead of doing crazy stuff. But old habits die hard! Now I know you always ask ''do the results reflect the perceived change, video evidence'' etc. This friend of mine used to beat me easily 9 out of 10 times. Today it was toe to toe. I won first set in tiebreak, he won the second 6-4. And by the way this was the first time we played since I started focusing on smart tennis, fitness and so on. So I'm definitely excited about further improvement with this mentality at work.

BTW these kind of players can be a nightmare to play against, all their weird inconsistent shots and weird spins etc. Whenever I play them, in long rallies, i feel often that i only win because i'm usually the faster / fitter player. I often have to run pretty hard, unless i'm able to bash my groundies and they can't return them. But its a hard run to get into position to bash my groundies, and i make more errors than usual because of how inconsistent the depths and spins are. and by bash, i mean i leave myself a meter or so from each line but try to hit it really heavy (power + spin) there. thats just my style though... i think you did the right thing coming in to volley.

your FH looks good, you just have to use your legs to get into position and hit it the same way each time aka "defend your strike zone". your backhand looks technically a bit dodgy, but hey even federers is technically a bit dodgy IMO. A lot of REALLY amazing club players in my league with super high rankings (probably 4.5~5.5 even in NTRP standards) only have a slice backhand lol. But they have other strengths, like fh + serve + volley, and their slice is super reliable (especially on grass)
 

StringSnapper

Hall of Fame
I think Raonic and also Stosur (was it?)really nailed it with this extreme wrist flexion all the way up to trophy . Now although it bothers me a little not being able to explain, it’s just a different level, man. Both pace and spin.
Yeah the serves are all one bouncers, some as high as 6 feet.
yeah i guess the one flaw in your serve was the strings opening up slightly early (as in not facing the net as long as possible) - but it didn't seem to bother your motion anyway as you had great drop. But its great you found improvement from it anyway.
 

Curious

Legend
your FH looks good, you just have to use your legs to get into position and hit it the same way each time aka "defend your strike zone". your backhand looks technically a bit dodgy, but hey even federers is technically a bit dodgy IMO. A lot of REALLY amazing club players in my league with super high rankings (probably 4.5~5.5 even in NTRP standards) only have a slice backhand lol. But they have other strengths, like fh + serve + volley, and their slice is super reliable (especially on grass)
I reviewed every point and my errors. Most of them are really due to not being ready for the next shot!
I’m also still missing some very easy balls, service returns but I think that’s because I still get a little tense knowing that I’d almost never beaten him before. Overall he was badly surprised and noticed the change. I should feel more confident the next time. I figured out all his weaknesses and I think I more or less know what to do.
 

Curious

Legend
I have an intriguing idea and I know most people will laugh at this. Suppose you maintain all the fundamental elements of a good serve but use a SW forehand grip! I will sure experiment this but wonder what folks think about it. This is basically about a flat serve and speed. I'm just eliminating the pronation completely and hitting the hell out of the ball head on with on open racket face and I will be using all the ESR, torso rotation, leg drive and that. If you needed to hit a guy on the head with a sauce pan as hard as you can, how would you do it? with pronation or a sauce pan grip?!:p I seriously think I can hit a 120 mph serve like this. Delusion? Maybe. I will give it a go...
 

Raul_SJ

Legend
I have an intriguing idea and I know most people will laugh at this. Suppose you maintain all the fundamental elements of a good serve but use a SW forehand grip!
Cannot really pronate with a SW grip. Serve would be very flat and % would be too low unless you're 6'8+.
This sounds like one of Sureshs Another Serve Secrets tip.

 
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Raul_SJ

Legend
I reviewed every point and my errors. Most of them are really due to not being ready for the next shot!
I’m also still missing some very easy balls, service returns but I think that’s because I still get a little tense knowing that I’d almost never beaten him before. Overall he was badly surprised and noticed the change. I should feel more confident the next time. I figured out all his weaknesses and I think I more or less know what to do.
Teach the poor guy how to serve. He tosses 20 feet high and then literally runs around chasing the toss.
:(
 

Curious

Legend
Cannot really pronate with a SW grip. Serve would be very flat and % would be too low unless you're 6'8+.
This sounds like one of Sureshs Another Serve Secrets tip.

As I said this is purely about pace. Obviously there will be no pronation.
 

ByeByePoly

G.O.A.T.
Wow your friend has the weirdest service motion ive ever seen, and I have seen the weirdest ive seen so far like 1 week ago in another thread here lol.

Where is that court? I have to visit it one day, its amazing!
My nemesis in 4.0 singles tournaments had an even weirder racquet prep, but without the dance moves. Think Goose flapping wings ... and two or three pre-flaps before going into trophy position. His entire game was homegrown unorthodox, but tough to beat ... he won some 4.0 tournaments. I refused to move to 4.5 until I beat him in a 4.0 tournament ... that was a glorious day. That is what I mean with you getting value from lower level tournaments. It's a rite of passage paying your dues thing.

lol ... one day I saw a lady playing tennis that I immediately knew was this guy's wife. I had never seen her before ... but she was flapping like crazy. :-D:-D:-D
 
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