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The Serve: What is the Optimum Stance?

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  • johnyandell
    replied
    Here is Brian's take on it:

    Leave a comment:


  • nytennisaddict
    replied
    Originally posted by klacr View Post

    You and I both Brian.

    I'm 6'6" and have what many people would consider a desirable serve. A student of mine (a 5'2" Chinese woman) told me she wants a serve just like mine. I smiled. It's not that I didn't have the heart to tell her, I do. Its just that she still would not believe me.

    Kyle LaCroix USPTA
    Boca Raton
    i'm 5'4"... i can still try/strive :P

    Leave a comment:


  • nytennisaddict
    replied
    Originally posted by johnyandell View Post
    Let's discuss Brian Gordon's article, "The Serve: What is the Optimum Stance?"
    lol, would be nice to also include link so noobs to the forum like me can find it :P

    Leave a comment:


  • klacr
    replied
    Originally posted by BrianGordon View Post
    Thanks Norman - don't really know the answer to that. A lot of players do it - I can speculate the forward translation of the torso via the step eases the stress on the shoulder - does for me. Normally the forward motion of the torso is acquired as a result of the forward rotation (angular momentum) but that requires a lot more effort than most want in their first swings - the step is pretty passive.

    Can't teach 6'10" - statement of the week. Sad thing is I've seen plenty that try but that's another conversation.
    You and I both Brian.

    I'm 6'6" and have what many people would consider a desirable serve. A student of mine (a 5'2" Chinese woman) told me she wants a serve just like mine. I smiled. It's not that I didn't have the heart to tell her, I do. Its just that she still would not believe me.

    Kyle LaCroix USPTA
    Boca Raton

    Leave a comment:


  • BrianGordon
    replied
    Thanks Norman - don't really know the answer to that. A lot of players do it - I can speculate the forward translation of the torso via the step eases the stress on the shoulder - does for me. Normally the forward motion of the torso is acquired as a result of the forward rotation (angular momentum) but that requires a lot more effort than most want in their first swings - the step is pretty passive.

    Can't teach 6'10" - statement of the week. Sad thing is I've seen plenty that try but that's another conversation.

    Leave a comment:


  • klacr
    replied
    Originally posted by ten1050 View Post
    Hello don budge,

    I did work one summer at the Don Budge Tennis Camp in 1972. John Yandell was kind enough to write an article about my serve back in 2010. Since then I have worked on the platform stance with some success, however the pin point is still part of me. I have recently placed my feet closer together (8 inches) as Brian Gordon recommended, and it is helpful. I believe it is interesting that when Federer was asked what shot would he most like to have, he answered Isner's serve. Federer's choice is ironic since Isner has a pin point stance.

    Sincerely,

    Norman Ashbrooke
    I think Federer's answer about what shot he would like to have had everything to do with effectiveness and result and not technical aspect. Being 6'10" tall can be an advantage. And that's not something you can teach anyone.

    Kyle LaCroix USPTA
    Boca Raton

    Leave a comment:


  • ten1050
    replied
    Hello don budge,

    I did work one summer at the Don Budge Tennis Camp in 1972. John Yandell was kind enough to write an article about my serve back in 2010. Since then I have worked on the platform stance with some success, however the pin point is still part of me. I have recently placed my feet closer together (8 inches) as Brian Gordon recommended, and it is helpful. I believe it is interesting that when Federer was asked what shot would he most like to have, he answered Isner's serve. Federer's choice is ironic since Isner has a pin point stance.

    Sincerely,

    Norman Ashbrooke

    Leave a comment:


  • don_budge
    replied
    Originally posted by ten1050 View Post
    Hello Brian,

    Excellent article on serving stances. I have noticed that some of the best servers on the tour, (Federer, Isner, Lopez), will move their front foot six to eight inches forward when they begin to practice their serve. Of course they do not do this in actual play because it is an obvious foot fault. However, I would like to know your opinion as to why they do this. It is interesting to watch because Federer has a platform stance and Isner has a pin point and yet they both move their front foot when they begin their practice routine.

    Sincerely,

    Norman Ashbrooke
    Norman Ashbrooke aka ten1050...I saw your serve in my strokes and read John's pathway forwards. It seems that John would convert you from pinpoint to platform given his druthers. I think I remember you from the Don Budge Tennis Campus in 1972. You may have been there with a fellow Californian or two.

    Did you convert to platform eventually`

    Leave a comment:


  • bottle
    replied
    And five yards per carry, too. As Sonny (Jurgensen) and Sam (Huff) would tell you. I would listen on my old pickup's radio from the top of a high but more squat mountain in western Virginia while gathering wood to heat our house.

    But John Riggins couldn't stop Sandra Day O'Connor from throwing a national election, could he? And then, on top of it, she went out to play golf and had the gall to hit a hole-in-one. I would say Riggins had good reason to be drunk.
    Last edited by bottle; 01-16-2019, 07:39 AM.

    Leave a comment:


  • don_budge
    replied
    Originally posted by ten1050 View Post
    Excellent article on serving stances. I have noticed that some of the best servers on the tour, (Federer, Isner, Lopez), will move their front foot six to eight inches forward when they begin to practice their serve. Of course they do not do this in actual play because it is an obvious foot fault. However, I would like to know your opinion as to why they do this. It is interesting to watch because Federer has a platform stance and Isner has a pin point and yet they both move their front foot when they begin their practice routine.
    Interesting observation ten1050 aka Norman Ashbrooke.

    I enjoy watching Roger Federer tying his shoes. His movements around the tennis court always take on a meaning. There are no superfluous motions. I have noticed his routine when he is warming up his serve...he will step over the baseline as you observed with his front foot and into the court. Seemingly and nonchalantly unaware of a foot fault. I think he is just loosening up his arm and copping that all important fatalistic approach to perfect motion, relaxed serving. Once all of the parts are warmed up and the confident attitude is downloaded he will pay attention to game situation necessities.

    I used to take my warm up serves anywhere from one or two meters behind the baseline at first before stepping up to the line. Just to loosen up without really focusing on anything but relaxed motion. I would start baseline warmup rallies with a service motion as well. Just to get the wheels of the car on the rollercoaster track greased and eliminating any pre-match friction or nerves. I doubt that there is any significance to Roger's footwork than just the fact he is warming up...loosening up. He doesn't want John Riggins to come out of the stands drunkenly telling him..."loosen up Roger baby...you're too tight." He did this once to Sandra Day O'Connor in a drunken stupor and it sent ripples through the Washington crowd.

    Brian might have other ideas though.
    Last edited by don_budge; 01-15-2019, 03:27 AM.

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  • ten1050
    replied
    Hello Brian,

    Excellent article on serving stances. I have noticed that some of the best servers on the tour, (Federer, Isner, Lopez), will move their front foot six to eight inches forward when they begin to practice their serve. Of course they do not do this in actual play because it is an obvious foot fault. However, I would like to know your opinion as to why they do this. It is interesting to watch because Federer has a platform stance and Isner has a pin point and yet they both move their front foot when they begin their practice routine.

    Sincerely,

    Norman Ashbrooke

    Leave a comment:


  • don_budge
    replied
    Originally posted by BrianGordon View Post
    teachestennis and related points : The distinction between platform and pinpoint is, as I understand it, whether the back foot moves (the latter) or not - the platform designation does not differentiate the distance between the feet. In determining the distance for my players I balance tradeoffs in the direction and magnitude of the ground reaction force, the implications to location of the center of mass, and the neuromuscular benefits to the net leg drive force directly and to forward angular momentum acquisition computationally.

    Based on these factors and particularly for the juniors I coach the range I described is most beneficial. Certainly wider stances work for some players if one deems some tradeoffs acceptable. Based on my understanding I don't consider a narrower base a tweener between the stance types - rather an optimized platform for my players and perhaps others.

    By design this series was intended to be a very qualitative description that summarizes my research and coaching experience over the decades without bogging everyone down with a lot of complexity. More detail is available in the written articles (particularly the wind up and backswing 1) so I refer you to that if you want a more detailed discussion. Thanks for your thought provoking question and comments.

    Phil - I think just the opposite - the platforms and particularly the wider platforms are more conducive to the serve and volley as the ground reaction force becomes more horizontal (forward) as the stance is widened and the legs extended.
    Excellent point and thank you for making that distinction.

    Leave a comment:


  • BrianGordon
    replied
    teachestennis and related points : The distinction between platform and pinpoint is, as I understand it, whether the back foot moves (the latter) or not - the platform designation does not differentiate the distance between the feet. In determining the distance for my players I balance tradeoffs in the direction and magnitude of the ground reaction force, the implications to location of the center of mass, and the neuromuscular benefits to the net leg drive force directly and to forward angular momentum acquisition computationally.

    Based on these factors and particularly for the juniors I coach the range I described is most beneficial. Certainly wider stances work for some players if one deems some tradeoffs acceptable. Based on my understanding I don't consider a narrower base a tweener between the stance types - rather an optimized platform for my players and perhaps others.

    By design this series was intended to be a very qualitative description that summarizes my research and coaching experience over the decades without bogging everyone down with a lot of complexity. More detail is available in the written articles (particularly the wind up and backswing 1) so I refer you to that if you want a more detailed discussion. Thanks for your thought provoking question and comments.

    Phil - I think just the opposite - the platforms and particularly the wider platforms are more conducive to the serve and volley as the ground reaction force becomes more horizontal (forward) as the stance is widened and the legs extended.

    Leave a comment:


  • don_budge
    replied
    Originally posted by teachestennis View Post
    Looks more like he just compromised between the two stances more than picking one. Also I was looking for some data to back up the opinions he stated, but it seemed he hasn't gone that far yet? I can see why he likes the platform better with less moving parts and easier to teach.
    Interesting question. The narrower stance on the platform raised my eyebrows also. I would advocate a wider stance myself but this comes down to feel for the player. Not ultimates dictated from the coach...or even "The Great Brian Gordon". Differences between advocates is not a problem. Sometimes it does come down to quantitative versus qualitative. In the end...I tend to be qualitative. In fact...not just tends but wholly. I am interested in the quantitative now as well as Brian has peaked my interest with the videos. It certainly gives me a better feel for his explanations when I can watch and see how he expresses his ideas. A qualitative approach to quantitative reasoning.


    Originally posted by postpre View Post
    I recorded a few serves today. He wasn't going big. The first couple were without the use of much legs, with narrow platform (taking cues from Brian Gordon, Macci). I've been wanting him to interact with his back leg more but it doesn't come easy for him (with his usual slightly wider platform). Putting his feet closer together tends to simplify weight transfer issues and allows him to feel more weight on the back leg. Also, you may not be able to catch this due to the quality of the video, but he tends to take a little bit of ESR into the beginning of the racquet drop. Even Fed, Sampras, Raonic, etc., lay the wrist back a bit to facilitate the racket drop. I'm not sure what to think about this. Let me know if you see anything with his technique that you find problematic or that can lead to injury.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sYux...Wd31Ih9o2WPw8Q

    Sorry, the video was private when it was initially downloaded. It's public now.
    Here is a case in point from a recent poster with his son's service motion. The video looks to be rather constrained and I would much rather see the original motion with the wider stance because I imagine that the student if more comfortable and feels better with the original than the modified. You see there must be some wiggle room in the width of the stance. Nothing is set in stone here.

    teachestennis...I thought it was a great question when I read your post. I was waiting for the opportune moment to respond to it. It will be interesting to see what Brian has to say as well.

    Leave a comment:


  • gzhpcu
    replied
    Brian, for a consistent serve and volley player, doesn‘t the pinpoint stance allow you to move forward faster?

    Leave a comment:

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