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Archive for the ‘Serve’ Category

Serve, Technically Speaking

Sunday, February 7th, 2010

Paul Roetert of the Managing Director of the United States Tennis Association’s Player Development Program describes serve’s ground up technique checklist in the video clip below.

a) stance: pinpoint or platform
b) grip: continental
c ) knee flexion and extension
d) hip rotation, trunk rotation, separation of hip rotation and trunk rotation
e) internal rotation of shoulder: three different planes of motion: twisting, cart wheeling (shoulder over shoulder), somersaulting
f) forearm pronation
g) follow through

contributions to racket speed at impact
• Leg drive 10%
• Trunk flexion 20%
• Internal rotation 30-40%
• Hand flexion 30%

Source: Couillard’s Tennis Pod Pro Videos

The Essential Elements For Effortless Serves

Saturday, December 26th, 2009

Pat Dougherty, the “Serve Doctor” of the world renowned Bollettieri Tennis Academy demonstrates in these excellent video clips the essential elements to achieve your effortless serves.
1) Learn how to discipline and control your body to components of whip in “Cylinder” Drill or “Balance” Serve. “Two entirely separated intensity levels”: very firm and sturdy controlled posture of your body and stripe quality of your arm to racquet.
2) Upward pitch motion in “Up the Mountain”,
3) Build toss and hit rhythm.

Fundamentals of Tennis Serves

Tuesday, July 28th, 2009

A solid body foundation is a key to perform good tennis groundstrokes, serves and volleys. This foundation is often called set-up for groundstrokes, and balance for serves. Our body anatomy determines optimal swings of groundstrokes and serves which include swing path and swing speed etc for each of us. When you fast swing your racquet either for groundstrokes or for serves without the ball, you can produce swish sound. This “swish point” is corresponding to your largest racquet acceleration. If you locate your swish point and feed a ball to that point, you will get the best swing!

So a paramount task to have your best swings is that do not distort your swing path and distrupt your swing rhythm.

When you serve, do you swing at the toss or toss at the swing? Understanding it will improve your serve tremendously.

The answer is toss into the swing. This tennisone.com newsletter by Jim McLennan explains the reasons, “If you know where your service contact is, and how the rhythm of a swing feels without a toss, then go and duplicate that swing with a ball, but without looking.” If in fact you have “tossed the ball in the way of the swing” you will be surprised at the result. If, on the other hand, your toss is way above the contact zone, or way off to the left or right, it is impossible to serve without looking, and in this instance one is certainly “swinging at the toss.”

Practice your serves with this excellent simple drill as described in the newsletter: locate your serve swish spot, start the service motion without the toss, keep your eyes up looking at the spot, swish your racquet though the spot; then repeat the serve with a ball toss into the swing.

There are various ways to prevent from distorting your swing path and distrupting your swing rhythm, which include feet unweighting, weight shift, toss release height, tossing arm speed at release, head and hand posture etc. For example, one common mistake is that tossing arm drops too early, which leads collapse or distortion of you swing path.

So have a good balance, find your optimal swing path and contact point, toss into the swing, then work reversely to get your full service motion.

Teaching Serve Pronation by Nick Bollettieri

Tuesday, April 14th, 2009

Nick Bolletieri demonstrates in this video how to practice serve pronation in a simple way. Some key points for practicing serves: continental grip, pronation as shown in the clip, practice pronation near the net, hitting up at contact, practice hitting up few yards from baseline.
Continental grip is an essential grip for the serve pronation because it allows forearm and wrist pronate freely. It has been shown that beginners can learn serves with this grip. In his book “Tennis Mastery” for teaching “Advanced Foundation”, tennisone.com senior editor David Smith recommends continental grip, “Advanced Foundation” for serves.

Situations to Start Game Points: Serve and Return of Serve

Monday, March 30th, 2009

For serve, the most important thing is to control the point, then eventually win the point, which means that you don’t allow your opponent to have an attacking shot back to you when you serve. For return of serve, the most important thing is to neutralize the serve. To see what situations you are in will help you identify what you can work on to improve your service games. Here is a list from the most to the least favorable situations for serve and return of serve.
For serve,
a) an outright ace or service winner;
b) one two punch — decent serve, followed by short or high float return, the server then moves in and puts away at the net; decent serve, followed by forced weak return, the server then moves inside the baseline and puts away;
c) decent serve, followed by decent return at middle, the server still controls the point with side by side groundstrokes or solid penetration shots to force opponent’s error or weak return, then wins the point;
d) decent serve, followed by decent return at middle, the server controls the point initially, but loses the control during rally by tentative shots or attacking shots from opponent, then loses the point;
e) serve, followed by effective return, the returner controls the point;
f) serve, followed by aggressive return with pace or placement, the server is forced to error, then loses the point;
g) double faults.
For return of serve,
a) server’s double faults;
b) returner’s outright winner or force that server makes error on return of service return;
c) returner takes control of the point by decent service return and puts the server on the defensive position, then the returner works on the point and win the point;
d) returner neutralizes serve and take away server’s service advantage, and gets equal chance to win the point;
e) returner’s forced error from serve;
f) returner makes unforced error on serve;
g) returner is aced.

Five Essential Elements of Serve

Tuesday, March 10th, 2009

Jim McLennan, an editor of newsletters of tennisone.com understands the essence how to improve your serve by addressing these five common mistakes in his excellent free serve report on his website.

“Sadly, most people rarely improve their serve. In fact, 9 out of 10 people
ALL make the SAME mistakes. Doesn’t matter if it is losing balance with
the toss, an overtight grip or a swing without rythym, your serve will
never improve until you master these basics” – Jim McLennan

1. Losing balance with the toss – shifting your weight forward too soon
2. Toss and swing out of sync – disrupting rhythm
3. An overly tight grip – causing tension from the arm up to the shoulder
4. Serving without any spin
5. Hitting the ball without any snap at the top of the swing

Grap his full report from essentialtennisinstruction.com.



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