You wanna serve fast?

Dragy

Hall of Fame
Guys you forget torso rotation. Suppose just didn’t put it into posting rather than forget. It’s not solely upward drive, shoulder starts moving around simultaneously if not first. Arm pivots back and then down, circularly.
Early leakage reverses the direction of shoulder rotation gravity works against, which causes different muscles to support the position. Go too far, and you now contract ISR muscles to guide the arm instead of totally relaxing them and allowing free stretch cycle as racquet drops. Opposite, if you do like Macci and @Curious advocate: ESR-responsible muscles guide the prep all the way until the uncoil starts.
Regarding Serena, her forearm and racquet is still close to vertical when uncoil starts, so nothing dramatic.

The “continuous motion through trophy building up speed” story is an old myth from years when ISR loading (stretching) wasn’t understood yet, as far as I believe.
 

Curious

Legend
Guys you forget torso rotation. Suppose just didn’t put it into posting rather than forget. It’s not solely upward drive, shoulder starts moving around simultaneously if not first. Arm pivots back and then down, circularly.
Early leakage reverses the direction of shoulder rotation gravity works against, which causes different muscles to support the position. Go too far, and you now contract ISR muscles to guide the arm instead of totally relaxing them and allowing free stretch cycle as racquet drops. Opposite, if you do like Macci and @Curious advocate: ESR-responsible muscles guide the prep all the way until the uncoil starts.
Regarding Serena, her forearm and racquet is still close to vertical when uncoil starts, so nothing dramatic.

The “continuous motion through trophy building up speed” story is an old myth from years when ISR loading (stretching) wasn’t understood yet, as far as I believe.
Your posts keep making me feel that I might be dumb.
Anyway for the part I’ve understood, you’re right focusing too much on the leg drive initiating the swing I forgot about the torso/shoulder uncoil, which in my case is maybe the biggest driver along with my shoulder muscles and yes that should be perfectly timed with the elbow and racket position I mentioned before.
 

Curious

Legend
Thanks for that! That is how I do it. That is how it should be taught. I just don’t think 70yr-old Margaret is capable of starting from there with her 1 degree of knee bend and just raising up on her toes. She’d push up and her racquet would still be dropping. I agree it is part of successful technique.
Just don’t tell Pliskova.
Yeah, good example for bad timing/out of synch throw and uncoil, leg drive!
 

myke232

Rookie
Working on different mechanics of the serve, not worried about placement. Well, also because courts are all closed due to Covid.
I'm just saying if the ball is not going in then you are practicing the wrong thing and enforcing bad habits. I can see hitting a few to get the feel of sevicing, but not atually spending time and energy practicing techniques. Sucks about the courts being closed though...
 

golden chicken

Hall of Fame
In volleyball, I heard an expression, "drawing a bow (and arrow)" to describe the windup before a spike.

It was a neat crossover tip that helps with the "elbow the enemy" or scap loading ideas.



Second image in the bottom row.

Nevermind the timing of the jump. Just look at what the upper body and arms do.
 

Curious

Legend
In volleyball, I heard an expression, "drawing a bow (and arrow)" to describe the windup before a spike.

It was a neat crossover tip that helps with the "elbow the enemy" or scap loading ideas.



Second image in the bottom row.

Nevermind the timing of the jump. Just look at what the upper body and arms do.
Absolutely, the second image in the bottom row is the summary of this thread. The position of the elbow, and the forearm being angled to the right, not straight up not to the left BUT TO THE RIGHT.
 

jered

Rookie
This is no longer how we teach to hit in volleyball. The bow and arrow mechanic was tearing up young shoulders and is no longer taught (or shouldn't be.) What we coach now is to open your shoulders with elbows bent and both hands up like a goalpost or even with the hitting hand facing downward and even with the shoulder (more advanced.) You then pike, uncoil, and whip the arm loosely at the ball. The elbow doesn't rise over the shoulder until it comes forward past the chest. Much less stress on the shoulder and generates a much higher hand speed with a natural snap.
 

TennisDawg

Professional
Absolutely, the second image in the bottom row is the summary of this thread. The position of the elbow, and the forearm being angled to the right, not straight up not to the left BUT TO THE RIGHT.
I tried this yesterday. I was amazed at the power. The elbow position makes for a natural upper torso rotation. I didn’t have to do a quick serve though, I just used my natural motion. I also paused before the racquet drop without thinking about it, it just felt natural. I hope I can execute when I play a match, that’s the true test.
 

Curious

Legend
I tried this yesterday. I was amazed at the power. The elbow position makes for a natural upper torso rotation. I didn’t have to do a quick serve though, I just used my natural motion. I also paused before the racquet drop without thinking about it, it just felt natural. I hope I can execute when I play a match, that’s the true test.
Yes, it’s natural. Anyone who throws a ball well will have that elbow back, hand low and in front of torso position just like Roddick’s power position. Yet when it comes to serve we get to a variety of all sorts of funny, unnatural positions at trophy. Elbow too high, too low, too far back, hand way over the head, too far back, anything but the simple natural power position. It must be rocket science.
 

golden chicken

Hall of Fame
So, like if you toss with your arm parallel to the baseline, try tossing with your arm perpendicular to the baseline instead. Or somewhere more to the left.
 

Curious

Legend
So, like if you toss with your arm parallel to the baseline, try tossing with your arm perpendicular to the baseline instead. Or somewhere more to the left.
Got it. Tossing arm already angled like 30-45 degrees towards the court but I’ll see if I can increase that angle.
 

SystemicAnomaly

Talk Tennis Guru
@Curious
So, like if you toss with your arm parallel to the baseline, try tossing with your arm perpendicular to the baseline instead. Or somewhere more to the left.
I would not do this. This could have the inadvertent effect of limiting / altering the amount of body coil.

(Another response to follow shortly).
 
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SystemicAnomaly

Talk Tennis Guru
@5263 @SystemicAnomaly
How can I toss the ball more to the left? I’m struggling with that. Any tips other than release the ball a little late/high?
Visualization. Instead of consciously trying to alter some physical aspect of your tossing motion, use imagery. Let your subconscious mind figure out how to put the ball where you need it.

Elite servers, most servers for that matter, will look up, before they release the ball, to watch the toss. Many servers will visualize exactly where they want the ball to be and lift (toss) it to that location. To toss more to the left, simply imagine a toss location that is more to the left.

Your subconscious mind should figure it out in a relatively short time.
 

Curious

Legend
Visualization. Instead of consciously trying to alter some physical aspect of your tossing motion, use imagery. Let your subconscious mind figure out how to put the ball where you need it.

Elite servers, most servers for that matter, will look up, before they release the ball, to watch the toss. Many servers will visualize exactly where they want the ball to be and lift (toss) it to that location. To toss more to the left, simply imagine a toss location that is more to the left.

Your subconscious mind should figure it out in a relatively short time.
You’re basically saying ‘ just, toss more to the left’:D
But I think I get what you mean.
 

SystemicAnomaly

Talk Tennis Guru
You’re basically saying ‘ just, toss more to the left’:D
But I think I get what you mean.
A bit more to it than that. But, yeah.

Visualization can be a powerful tool. It's used in sports & other pursuits all the time. Basketball players can improve their free throw % thru visualization (in addition to actual practice).

You're undoubtedly already using visualization in your tennis game. As you watch the ball leave your opponent's racket, you're probably visualizing approx where it will bounce. Also able to visualize where the ball will go after the bounce so that you can be in an optimal position to intercept it.

Many of us visualize where we want to hit our shots. How do you learn to hit to different parts of the service box? Most of us do not consciously think that we need to swing a little bit differently or alter the racket face orientation. Instead, we picture where we want our serve to go and let our brain & experience get it there.
 
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SystemicAnomaly

Talk Tennis Guru
@Curious

Another variation on toss imagery...

While releasing the ball or prior to releasing the ball, players will look upward to see where their toss is going. An improvement to this is to look upward to the desired location and visualize tossing to this location.

Another variation to this is to visualize the intended swingpath and toss the ball into this path. This variation works quite well for many players.
 

Digital Atheist

Professional
You’re basically saying ‘ just, toss more to the left’
Well, yeah! See below for why it is almost that simple. What did you think the answer was going to be?

A bit more to it than that. But, yeah.

Visualization can be a powerful tool. It's used in sports & other pursuits all the time. Basketball players can improve their free throw % thru visualization (in addition to actual practice).
[..]
I would also add, having seen your serve he knows major technical changes aren't the solution for a problem like "move the toss location more to the left". Instead, this particular issue is up to the individual to work out how to make small changes within their current technique by adjusting until the desired outcome is achieved. The human brain is an amazing thing, and this shouldn't be that difficult. But you're going to have to go out and practice your toss over and over again until you can put it the right spot while also achieving your newly discovered power position. That sounds like a good exercise between you and the wall given the current status in your state.
 

Digital Atheist

Professional
@Curious

Another variation on toss imagery...

While releasing the ball or prior to releasing the ball, players will look upward to see where their toss is going. An improvement to this is to look upward to the desired location and visualize tossing to this location.

Another variation to this is to visualize the intended swingpath and toss the ball into this path. This variation works quite well for many players.
Ultimately, it comes down to trial and error. Yes you're going to have to work at it, and if you don't practice, it won't happen. Simple as that.
 

WildVolley

Legend
Ultimately, it comes down to trial and error. Yes you're going to have to work at it, and if you don't practice, it won't happen. Simple as that.
I think the key is just to have the release point of your toss slightly higher than you (Curious) now have it. That will bring the ball slightly to your left, or it will move in a slight arc to the left.

I tend to suggest trying an exaggeration drill when experimenting with a new toss or something like targeting. Start using your regular motion but try to toss the ball too far left. Use the regular toss motion and try to toss the ball to the right. See if you can notice the difference and then target more accurately.

Of course, the habit you want to avoid is developing a flick either through rapid wrist or arm motion. A good service toss is smooth and precise, not a rapid flick of the ball.
 

Curious

Legend
Don’t see Kyrgios using this elbow take back. Similar to Roddick though
Kyrgios passes through that position very quickly compared to the more obvious Roddick one because of his pause. But yes, Roddick is the extreme example for the great power position with his forearm parallel to the ground, which is crazy.
 

Curious

Legend
I tend to suggest trying an exaggeration drill when experimenting with a new toss or something like targeting. Start using your regular motion but try to toss the ball too far left. Use the regular toss motion and try to toss the ball to the right. See if you can notice the difference and then target more accurately.
Thanks. Tried it. Thought I was exaggerating but noticed watching the video that I barely got it right!:D



 

Bender

G.O.A.T.
I'm waiting for your next thread where the trick to a big serve is the exact opposite, ie to have a high toss so you have more time to wind up or something :p
 

Curious

Legend
I'm waiting for your next thread where the trick to a big serve is the exact opposite, ie to have a high toss so you have more time to wind up or something :p
You’re not very wrong. I’ve been thinking about serving like Connors. And adopting his forehand, too. ;)
 

Bender

G.O.A.T.
You’re not very wrong. I’ve been thinking about serving like Connors. And adopting his forehand, too. ;)
It's classic self-improvement and TTW T&I by extension, really!

Every other week is a new flavour of the month, so we might as well cover all the bases:
  1. If you want a big serve, use a low or a high toss
  2. If you want a big serve, use a platform or a pinpoint stance
  3. If you want a big forehand, use a modern or a classic forehand
 

Curious

Legend
I’ve decided to give up on anything explosive in my movements on any stroke. Come to the conclusion that it’s simply not possible or worth doing that at my age. I want to play nice and easy, effortless, smart tennis so that I don’t get injured and I can play for as many years as possible. So, explosive fast forehands or serves are not an option for me any longer. I’m even thinking about going all continental, seriously. I mean Aussie grip actually.
 

AnyPUG

Semi-Pro
No, I’m done. You’ll see a new version of me in my next match video. Like a mixture of Connors and the green shirt guy. :p
Have you seen GSG's point play? He runs side to side like forever. Can anyone do that given grey haired physical conditioning?
 

WildVolley

Legend
Thanks. Tried it. Thought I was exaggerating but noticed watching the video that I barely got it right!:D
Yep, you're definitely getting the toss better to the left. As long as the toss isn't unusually high, most people should be able to master it within an acceptable error range.

That toss seems a bit higher and to have changed your overall power serve motion a little, but I'm not certain because of the slow motion.
 

golden chicken

Hall of Fame
This is no longer how we teach to hit in volleyball. The bow and arrow mechanic was tearing up young shoulders and is no longer taught (or shouldn't be.) What we coach now is to open your shoulders with elbows bent and both hands up like a goalpost or even with the hitting hand facing downward and even with the shoulder (more advanced.) You then pike, uncoil, and whip the arm loosely at the ball. The elbow doesn't rise over the shoulder until it comes forward past the chest. Much less stress on the shoulder and generates a much higher hand speed with a natural snap.
Have you got a video or link with snapshots that describes this new way? I'm not sure I'm correctly visualizing what you're describing.
 

Curious

Legend
No, I’m done. You’ll see a new version of me in my next match video. Like a mixture of Connors and the green shirt guy. :p
Tennis is back on after a 2.5 month lockdown. First hit tonight. First attempt to emulate Connors strokes. Stay tuned.
 

AnyPUG

Semi-Pro
Tennis is back on after a 2.5 month lockdown. First hit tonight. First attempt to emulate Connors strokes. Stay tuned.
Great to hear that you are able to play again. Instead of Conners I suggest try Brian Dabul - he makes it so simple to hit modern forehand - has lag and a bit of flip thrown in.
If anyone has trouble following these simple steps and can't hit basic modern forehand in 20 minutes should probably look for some other sport.

 
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SystemicAnomaly

Talk Tennis Guru
This is no longer how we teach to hit in volleyball. The bow and arrow mechanic was tearing up young shoulders and is no longer taught (or shouldn't be.) What we coach now is to open your shoulders with elbows bent and both hands up like a goalpost or even with the hitting hand facing downward and even with the shoulder (more advanced.) You then pike, uncoil, and whip the arm loosely at the ball. The elbow doesn't rise over the shoulder until it comes forward past the chest. Much less stress on the shoulder and generates a much higher hand speed with a natural snap.
Can't picture exactly what you're saying. You have a good video that shows what you're saying for hitting (spiking?) in vball.
 

Curious

Legend
After 2.5 months without tennis it was just ecstatic to be on the court again. I think it’s pretty clear that I’m heavily addicted to this thing. I felt wonderful, especially because my knee wasn’t painful for the first time in two years. We were both very rusty but didn’t care at all. You really appreciate the value of something once you lose it.



 

jered

Rookie
Have you got a video or link with snapshots that describes this new way? I'm not sure I'm correctly visualizing what you're describing.
Can't picture exactly what you're saying. You have a good video that shows what you're saying for hitting (spiking?) in vball.
Hmmm... good question. Volleyball materials tend to be horrendously outdated. Let me ask the head coach of my girls' teams if he has any videos or diagrams and I'll get back to you.

I learned bow and arrow like everyone else and was corrected a few years ago to teach this new style by the main coaches. I still tend to revert to bow and arrow in the heat of a game. I have the bad shoulder to prove it. :cry:
 

jered

Rookie
Ha! Well, he responded quickly (first time for everything :-D). I'll just post his response below. Ignore the personal stuff, I thought the context might be helpful.

Hi, Jered.

Yes, I have diagrams if you want to see them next session. They are hardcopy only but I can make you a photocopy. Is this for your daughter? Don't get caught up in the bow and arrow terminology. Your daughter may still roughly arrive in what is sort of that position as seen from the side but her forearm should be at between a 45-90 degree angle to the upper arm. It only briefly looks like bow and arrow as her arm passes through in a whip but her elbow should be low when it is back. As long as she is not coming straight back with a high back elbow in the old style, she should be fine. I haven't seen her have this issue so come see me if she is doing this.

Here's a couple videos that might be helpful. I already showed these to the junior coaches at the start of league. Jim Stone is a great coach who shows some good basic mechanics. Remember the arm is always in motion. I also included some beach players who describe a slightly better mechanic that still applies to court. This is where I've been telling the players to wave to someone behind them to help visualize the correct load position. Very good but don't follow their legwork for court, that's for sand only...


[blah blah. He says that there are plenty of videos, just look at ones in the past couple years that are teaching "the right way." Goes on to talk about some things for my daughter and league. Here's the videos he linked to below]

start at 13min

start at 14min up to about the 18min mark.

You guys found a way to get him to respond quick. He's never this helpful when I'm just asking him regular questions. LOL.
 

ChaelAZ

Legend
How fast is fast? I still personally believe a good 80 mph serve, well-place line or wide does enough to get you up in levels.
 
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