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Old 05-06-2014, 09:43 PM   #16
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Default Re: Developing a real serve at 18

The easiest way to fix a serve is to break it down into individual parts. For example: hit about 100 balls just work on your body rotation, toss the ball and twist your torso away from the court, and then twist back through while hitting using a simple motion. Next hit about 100 balls just bending your knees and exploding into contact (no body rotation). Then hit about 100 balls working on proper pronation (up and out as opposed to snapping down or brushing forward). Then another 100 balls just tossing in front and getting your weight behind the serve. Afterwards you have to slow start integrating them together, and I suggest doing it in the order I listed. It will take a very long time, probably a week or 2 hitting serves every day, but it is the easiest way.

100 balls for each might be a bit excessive, you could probably get away with 50.
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Old 12-27-2014, 03:44 PM   #17
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Default Re: Developing a real serve at 18

OP, it looks like you have developed some bad habits along the way. If I were you, I would review the following videos first.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WuIgTyh4aDs
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iONY6fcqZGg

Then, practice shadow swings using the second video, about 200 times a day for a few weeks. Good luck.

Harry
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Old 12-27-2014, 05:56 PM   #18
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Default Re: Developing a real serve at 18

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Originally Posted by emotion View Post
When I was like 13, just starting tennis, I had a weird, but semi-real serve. Then I somehow broke a rib playing tennis and sort of abandoned it.
Since then, I have had a "pancake serve." It is like I am a 12 year old 3.0 level player based on form alone, but it has actually gotten acceptably good. I play D3 college tennis, played top 6 this last year, played disappointingly badly but stayed top 6 all year. Still with a serve like a 6 year old. I had a player (who beat me 6-0 6-1) tell me he'd never seen a pancake serve be as good as mine.

But I do recognize it is not right, and can't get better really. So I am trying to develop an actual serve. I have some coaching from someone who I am actually better than, but who has a real serve. I will try and upload a video of my efforts soon. It's progressed pretty well, allows me to get much more spin and hit a much better second serve but it's still unreliable and double faults infinitely more than the old one. So please help.

I will try and post a video of my new work-in-progress serve tomorrow.

Here is a youtube video of 15 year old me (I am about to turn 19 now) hitting a serve- I will try to find a newer one soon. It, and the rest of my game, has progressed quite a bit since then, but the form sadly isn't much better.
Its mighty hard to change a tennis or any stroke for that matter, you ask a QB who's been playing for more than five years to change his throwing motion from a sidearm to an 'over the top kind of motion and watch him struggle, IT AINT easy! I used to tinker with my serve to the point where I got the serious case of the yips!! I just couldn't release the ball!!, Id stand there on the baseline appearing as if I'm going to serve but I was really mentally telling myself to release the ball, all because I wanted a ' proper serve'. Anyway, I went back to my old motion and focused instead on the basics like the ball toss/placement, e.g. the height and how far in front I wanted the ball and also racket head speed in the throwing action, I still have off days but my serve is solid now. I've seen both your video clips and you have deffo improved the action a bit but it still seems a little rushed and jerky, it may never be as smooth and wrinkle free as Sampras' or Serena Williams but then it again it doesn't need to be exhibit A, former pro Carsten Braasch keep at it though
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Old 01-01-2015, 07:41 PM   #19
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Default Re: Developing a real serve at 18



Serve+ just game now. This is morning after New Years Party where we went to sleep at 5, so the quality of tennis is low low low. But you can still see my shitty strokes. Won 6-2 2-6 6-2. This video is last game of 2nd and 1st game of 3rd set and features a 4 unforced error game from me, a horrible camera angle, and a point where the ball hits a dead spot on the court and just doesn't bounce. My service game starts at 1:44.
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Old 01-02-2015, 01:23 AM   #20
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Default Re: Developing a real serve at 18

You've watched enough professional tennis to know what a proper service stroke looks like...and you've watched your videos so I assume you can see what you're doing wrong... I'm curious, what are you actually doing systematically to correct your serve?

Here's what I see:
- Your feet are all over the place. You need a stable base to have a stable serve. By the time that ball is out of your hands, your feet shouldn't move except to push up to the ball.
- You need to hit the ball higher. Right now your elbow is bent almost 90 degrees by the time you hit the ball. Either toss the ball higher or don't let it drop so low.
- You're still using the wrong grip when you serve. That is the easiest thing to fix because you do it outside of the service motion - it just takes a while to get used to, but it's easy to fix.
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Old 01-02-2015, 12:29 PM   #21
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Default Re: Developing a real serve at 18

Quote:
Originally Posted by Tight Lines View Post
OP, it looks like you have developed some bad habits along the way. If I were you, I would review the following videos first.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WuIgTyh4aDs
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iONY6fcqZGg

Then, practice shadow swings using the second video, about 200 times a day for a few weeks. Good luck.

Harry
THis is probably sound advice but who has the time to practice 'shadow swings ' 200 times per day? the kids 18 years old and is obviously a keen player, he seems to win a lot of matches against players of his level so I'm not sure if he's going to want to put the time in to radically change his serve and then start to lose matches. if he followed your advice I'm pretty sure he'd improve as we all would but he plays tennis for recreation, for fun so where is the motivation for him to develop a proper serve?
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Old 01-02-2015, 04:18 PM   #22
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Default Re: Developing a real serve at 18

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Originally Posted by NTRP 4.5 View Post
THis is probably sound advice but who has the time to practice 'shadow swings ' 200 times per day? the kids 18 years old and is obviously a keen player, he seems to win a lot of matches against players of his level so I'm not sure if he's going to want to put the time in to radically change his serve and then start to lose matches. if he followed your advice I'm pretty sure he'd improve as we all would but he plays tennis for recreation, for fun so where is the motivation for him to develop a proper serve?
But apparently, if the thread title is to be believed, the OP wants to develop "a real serve". And in the end, if he really wants to improve he needs to fix his serve. It's like rock climbing, anyone strong enough and brave enough can get up a 5.10B, but they'll never get past that if they don't develop the right techniques.

And I don't really think he would lose matches if he changes his serve. His serve is pretty poor as it is (no control, no consistency) - I can't see how it can get worse.
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Old 01-03-2015, 04:15 AM   #23
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Default Re: Developing a real serve at 18

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Originally Posted by T.C View Post
But apparently, if the thread title is to be believed, the OP wants to develop "a real serve". And in the end, if he really wants to improve he needs to fix his serve. It's like rock climbing, anyone strong enough and brave enough can get up a 5.10B, but they'll never get past that if they don't develop the right techniques.

And I don't really think he would lose matches if he changes his serve. His serve is pretty poor as it is (no control, no consistency) - I can't see how it can get worse.
I don't have all that much time, and I'm trying to transfer to a school whose team I would never make, so my motivation is considerably less than it was 6 months ago. However, I am trying to hit some serves each day (or at least was during the week I had when I was both at school and not in class). I have better form when doing that but it produces a ton of doubles so I hit it weaker and with worse form when playing. My ball toss has always been an issue, I am trying to hit it higher but thank you for pointing out I still fall back into that bad habit. I've actually had a couple coaches tell me that my grip, while still a bit odd, is acceptable now (unlike in the first vid). The main thing I noticed from this video was my feet- Jesus, I had no idea they moved that much- or differently from point to point. That's got to be the first thing I fix.

Thanks for feedback, positive or negative.
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Old 01-03-2015, 08:11 AM   #24
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Default Re: Developing a real serve at 18

Quote:
Originally Posted by T.C View Post
But apparently, if the thread title is to be believed, the OP wants to develop "a real serve". And in the end, if he really wants to improve he needs to fix his serve. It's like rock climbing, anyone strong enough and brave enough can get up a 5.10B, but they'll never get past that if they don't develop the right techniques.

And I don't really think he would lose matches if he changes his serve. His serve is pretty poor as it is (no control, no consistency) - I can't see how it can get worse.
Oh I deffo agree with you, he wouldn't lose matches if he successfully improved his serve...its the interim period that would be an issue because the improvement would be incrementally. Maybe if he chose not play during the period of adjustment but apparently at the moment he's lacking in time and motivation to drastically change. I'm a self taught play and ive been playing a while, my serve wasn't conventional in the early days and over the course of one summer in 1987 I smoothed it out to what it is now, its still not a 'real' serve as such, I'd compare it ( if I may ) to Kei Nishikori's serve its a bit of low elbow bowling action, it aint pretty but when its on its a bloody good serve, I'm just not able to kick it out wide from the ad court.
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Old 01-04-2015, 05:02 AM   #25
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Default Re: Developing a real serve at 18

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Originally Posted by NTRP 4.5 View Post
Oh I deffo agree with you, he wouldn't lose matches if he successfully improved his serve...its the interim period that would be an issue because the improvement would be incrementally. Maybe if he chose not play during the period of adjustment but apparently at the moment he's lacking in time and motivation to drastically change. I'm a self taught play and ive been playing a while, my serve wasn't conventional in the early days and over the course of one summer in 1987 I smoothed it out to what it is now, its still not a 'real' serve as such, I'd compare it ( if I may ) to Kei Nishikori's serve its a bit of low elbow bowling action, it aint pretty but when its on its a bloody good serve, I'm just not able to kick it out wide from the ad court.
You misunderstood what I wrote. I meant the OP would probably not lose matches while he's changing his serve; it's not like he has a decent serve and making tweaks would mess it up. He doesn't have much consistency or control right now so there's not much to lose.

What would he lose if he actually uses the proper grip - if he keeps his eye on the ball and has decent coordination he'll still be able to hit the serve. With practice, the proper grip would allow him to hit the ball flat, with top or with slice when he chooses, giving him control. If he hits the ball at full extension - he'll get the ball over the net more often and probably control the ball better because there will be fewer moving parts. He'll also be able to hit it harder with less effort. Right now hitting the ball with his arm bent that much the most he can do is push the ball. Having calmer feet will also give him a more consistent serve (although I shouldn't really criticize footwork as that darn cross-over recovery step is one of my big issues).
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Old 01-04-2015, 10:34 AM   #26
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Default Re: Developing a real serve at 18

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Originally Posted by T.C View Post
You misunderstood what I wrote. I meant the OP would probably not lose matches while he's changing his serve; it's not like he has a decent serve and making tweaks would mess it up. He doesn't have much consistency or control right now so there's not much to lose.

What would he lose if he actually uses the proper grip - if he keeps his eye on the ball and has decent coordination he'll still be able to hit the serve. With practice, the proper grip would allow him to hit the ball flat, with top or with slice when he chooses, giving him control. If he hits the ball at full extension - he'll get the ball over the net more often and probably control the ball better because there will be fewer moving parts. He'll also be able to hit it harder with less effort. Right now hitting the ball with his arm bent that much the most he can do is push the ball. Having calmer feet will also give him a more consistent serve (although I shouldn't really criticize footwork as that darn cross-over recovery step is one of my big issues).
I think I need to hire you to fix my serve
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Old 01-04-2015, 11:05 AM   #27
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Default Re: Developing a real serve at 18

Step 1: Get a hopper full of balls
Step 2: Go to Home Depot and get some duct tape
Step 3: Drive to tennis courts
Step 4: Duct tape your hand to the racket while using a continental grip
Step 5: Practice hitting serves

Just get the right grip down first and then you can work on the rest of the motion.
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Old 01-04-2015, 03:33 PM   #28
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Default Re: Developing a real serve at 18

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Originally Posted by T.C View Post
I'll give you one tip with the ball toss that worked for me: look at the space where you want the ball to be when you toss (basically the contact point) and only hit the ball when it's there. This way you only hit the good tosses. If you look at Djokovic specially, you'll see he's not looking at the ball during the toss but at the location where he wants the ball to end up.

ETA: also relax when you serve. i know it's difficult when all you can think about is not double-faulting. what i usually do is loosely my racket (still continental grip) and kind of sway it back and forth with my wrist limp, arm relaxed while on the line. it's just a reminder what loose relaxed muscles feel like and it loosens me up.
This is my serve as it is today...I'm self taught and the serve just developed this way without coaching, I know my take back is a little abbreviated and I kinda 'bowl; the ball in, Ive tried to change it but each time I do, my whole sh*t gets messed up, its not poetry but its consistent
http://youtu.be/D4iBdQQmqJc
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Old 01-05-2015, 04:25 AM   #29
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Default Re: Developing a real serve at 18

Quote:
Originally Posted by dunlopkickserve View Post
Step 1: Get a hopper full of balls
Step 2: Go to Home Depot and get some duct tape
Step 3: Drive to tennis courts
Step 4: Duct tape your hand to the racket while using a continental grip
Step 5: Practice hitting serves

Just get the right grip down first and then you can work on the rest of the motion.
Yes! The right grip makes it really difficult to hit the serve with a bent arm the way OP is doing so that solves one of his problems.


Quote:
Originally Posted by NTRP 4.5 View Post
This is my serve as it is today...I'm self taught and the serve just developed this way without coaching, I know my take back is a little abbreviated and I kinda 'bowl; the ball in, Ive tried to change it but each time I do, my whole sh*t gets messed up, its not poetry but its consistent
http://youtu.be/D4iBdQQmqJc
If your serve is consistent, controlled, and works for you, there's no need to change. When I started I had a serve similar to yours and it was actually pretty good - I could hit fast flat serves and maybe some slices with a bent arm and semi-western grip - but my coach and I spent two months changing my serve because I needed a better serve. I hit hundreds of serves everyday to get used to the changes we made on my grip and swing.

Have you tried this http://www.tennisflex.net/servemaster/ It will force you to do complete swings and do it correctly (with the proper throwing motion over your shoulder with a high elbow), otherwise the ball will hit you (and it hurts). A knotted towel can give you the same feel. It's exactly like Serena Williams going through the service swing when she's up at net before the coin toss.
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Old 02-02-2015, 07:58 PM   #30
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Default Re: Developing a real serve at 18

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wc4dpfCWGuo

self-taught strokes are hard to correct once muscle memory sets in. serve is probably the most natural thing to do if done and instructed well from the start (then the OHBH and finally the forehand, being the least 'natural').
relaxing, throwing balls, continental grip...all that. good luck.
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