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Tour Strokes: My Take on Sabalenka's Serve

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  • stroke
    replied
    Originally posted by stotty View Post
    When you consider how critical the leg drive is and how hard it can be to rectify once it's out of synch, it might be better to teach the serve from the hesitation point to begin with, right at the start of a player's development. Otherwise we are relying mostly on good genetics to get it right...and even with good genetics there is an element of pot luck about it, particularly with the girls.

    I have been trying this for six months now (with my more patient and dedicated juniors) and having better results than merely demonstrating a serve and asking the student to watch carefully and do the same. Basically there is very little point moving on until the upper body and legs are synched.
    That is what BG is doing when he suggests the "probation" serve I think.

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  • stotty
    replied
    When you consider how critical the leg drive is and how hard it can be to rectify once it's out of synch, it might be better to teach the serve from the hesitation point to begin with, right at the start of a player's development. Otherwise we are relying mostly on good genetics to get it right...and even with good genetics there is an element of pot luck about it, particularly with the girls.

    I have been trying this for six months now (with my more patient and dedicated juniors) and having better results than merely demonstrating a serve and asking the student to watch carefully and do the same. Basically there is very little point moving on until the upper body and legs are synched.
    Last edited by stotty; 05-15-2023, 12:57 PM.

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  • johnyandell
    replied
    jySendme some video of your serve. jyandell@tennisplayer.net and copy videotennis@metricmail.com

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  • doctorhl
    replied
    Originally posted by stotty View Post

    Not that I know of. It's a mystery to me why some players seem (as far as I can determine) to hit all the right positions yet don't achieve full arm, hand, racket rotation. I sometimes wonder if it's because players try to be too muscular around the point of impact - just a hunch, no evidence.
    I fully understand, accept, and can see the full service ISR from John's video archives or watching a live performance, but still have difficulty visualizing a clear image of the full ISR movement on my own serve. Perhaps it is because I don't have enough slow motion video of my own from different angles to help create a correct image to visualize. Erasing 50 years of incorrect motor memory and self imagery probably doesn't help!

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  • stotty
    replied
    Originally posted by johnyandell View Post
    Or...they are trying to consciously snap the wrist forward.
    Could be. It would make sense...disturbing the kinetic chain right at the vital moment.

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  • johnyandell
    replied
    Or...they are trying to consciously snap the wrist forward.

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  • stotty
    replied
    Originally posted by doctorhl View Post

    I agree completely with John and you. Please excuse my esoteric questions, but do either of you have any sense of whether the great ISR servers had early sport overhand experiences with throwing or striking something?
    Not that I know of. It's a mystery to me why some players seem (as far as I can determine) to hit all the right positions yet don't achieve full arm, hand, racket rotation. I sometimes wonder if it's because players try to be too muscular around the point of impact - just a hunch, no evidence.

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  • doctorhl
    replied
    Originally posted by stotty View Post
    Interesting take on Sabalenka's serve. `Forum members have certainly been busily typing away with their remedies.

    For me the ISR killers are:
    1. When the grip is slightly errs towards a forehand grip (think Andy Murray)
    2. Ball toss too far in front
    3. Ball toss too far to the right
    4. A previous coach who encouraged slice by instructing to hit around the outside of the ball
    These are the obvious things to look for and once I have cancelled them out, then I tend to go John's route with the imagery and shadow stroking. Amending a sub par ISR is not easy and often means - when it comes to hitting serves - balls flying off to the right as flat as a pancake. Reintroducing slice can also be a challenge with some players.

    But if it isn't the first four, then why? Why do some players have better ISR than others? What in the windup makes a player go into perfect ISR and and what in the windup makes it go wrong? The answer - one would think - lies somewhere in the windup and possibly the stance. Either that or it's genetics.

    Great article as always. John certainly knows how to get us all thinking.
    I agree completely with John and you. Please excuse my esoteric questions, but do either of you have any sense of whether the great ISR servers had early sport overhand experiences with throwing or striking something?

    Leave a comment:


  • stotty
    replied
    Originally posted by jimlosaltos View Post

    Do I correctly recall that Becker had a "hammer grip". At least it was called that back then, fingers closed in a fist. Might not relate to your point about it leaning toward the forehand side?
    As I remember his fingers were well spread with the forefinger jutting out that bit more - the classic hold. His grip was erring towards a forehand and not the traditional service grip used by the rest of the tour. No problem with ISR though. He got away with it unlike Murray and co.

    The trouble with coaching is that some sod will always come along to put the spanner in all the theories and make something unacceptably silly work. Then every Tom, Dick and Harry starts running around with their hands up saying "Look he does it the wrong way". My answer is always ''Look...some get away with it...most don't''.

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  • jimlosaltos
    replied
    Originally posted by stroke View Post
    Or Tsitsipas with at least a Murray type service grip. And Nishikori. Of course, it sure did not effect Becker's final product.
    Do I correctly recall that Becker had a "hammer grip". At least it was called that back then, fingers closed in a fist. Might not relate to your point about it leaning toward the forehand side?

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  • stroke
    replied
    Or Tsitsipas with at least a Murray type service grip. And Nishikori. Of course, it sure did not effect Becker's final product.

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  • stotty
    replied
    Interesting take on Sabalenka's serve. `Forum members have certainly been busily typing away with their remedies.

    For me the ISR killers are:
    1. When the grip is slightly errs towards a forehand grip (think Andy Murray)
    2. Ball toss too far in front
    3. Ball toss too far to the right
    4. A previous coach who encouraged slice by instructing to hit around the outside of the ball
    These are the obvious things to look for and once I have cancelled them out, then I tend to go John's route with the imagery and shadow stroking. Amending a sub par ISR is not easy and often means - when it comes to hitting serves - balls flying off to the right as flat as a pancake. Reintroducing slice can also be a challenge with some players.

    But if it isn't the first four, then why? Why do some players have better ISR than others? What in the windup makes a player go into perfect ISR and and what in the windup makes it go wrong? The answer - one would think - lies somewhere in the windup and possibly the stance. Either that or it's genetics.

    Great article as always. John certainly knows how to get us all thinking.
    Last edited by stotty; 05-08-2023, 06:31 AM.

    Leave a comment:


  • stroke
    replied
    I think you are spot on with your take on her motion. There is no doubt that all the best servers base their motion on this complete internal and external shoulder rotation. The extreme examples of players that do this the best, Roddick, Sampras, somewhat obscure ex player Wayne Arthurs, Goran, are the best servers in the history of tennis.
    Last edited by stroke; 05-08-2023, 02:45 AM.

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  • johnyandell
    started a topic Tour Strokes: My Take on Sabalenka's Serve

    Tour Strokes: My Take on Sabalenka's Serve

    Would love to hear your thoughts on my latest, article, "Tour Strokes: My Take on Sabalenka's Serve"

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