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Thanks for years I have pushed off with my left foot as a right handed player which has resulted in allowing my right foot to carry through first because of the weight transfer was defective. I have begun to retrain my self to have better push off using both feet and focusing balance transfer to my left foot. Thank you so much because I believe improper transfer of weight results in more shoulder strain because of improper weight transfer etc. Thank you
HI, The teaching of pro-nation is new. I a 6.0 player having played for over 30 + years. I feel if I focus on pro-nation I do get some extra kick. Jeff Salzenstein – Tennis Evolution states the teaching of pro-nation is a myth. Not that it does occur, but if we use proper technique pro-nation happens as a normal result of the service action. Thus we should not have to focus on pronating of the racket. Your presentation is excellent. Thanks
Hi Ian, this 5 video series is just what I needed to figure out the problem with my serve. I was struggling with my serve for years and the biggest problem was that I could not tell what I was doing wrong. Thanks to your videos and tips I realized that I was not enough racquet drop. My serve has never worked better and I can't thank you enough for "sharing the passion" keep it up! Congratulations for great service video series you made! Regards from Romania!
Thanks, Ian. What's the proper footwork AFTER landing on the front foot where you want to (1) serve & volley and (2) serve & stay back?
These are the finest teaching videos. Comprehensive. Clear. Excellent video and audio. Glad you made it clear that these can be goals to strive towards. One question. Regarding contact point video 4. , you mentioned Raquet face more closed with kick serve. Which direction is closed. Is it the opposite direction to slice.? Thank you for so much effort. Been taking years of lessons from Gary Adelman who teaches Alexander methods for tennis
Ian; I apologize as I discovered an error. I do land on my right foot not my left foot, hence the reason for my comment,
Hello Ian; Your 5 part serve video is a great series!
I am 72 years old and believe that with perseverance I can improve my serve.
One of my problem is that I grew up in Europe, never played baseball so that throwing a ball (baseball, football) is not a natural motion.
If I stand near the baseline of a tennis court and attempts to throw a tennis ball as far as possible on the other side of the court, my feet are lined up approximately perpendicular to the baseline. As I am preparing to throw, I recoil, turning my shoulders and then uncoil. Inevitably my left foot (I am a righty) goes over the baseline first., pulled by my general forward momentum.
This is the opposite of what you described for tennis pros (righties) who typically land in the court on their left foot.
If I keep that habit, is that going to hinder my serve progress?
Hi, what you discuss in this video is fairly common knowledge among knowledgable, intermediate-adavanced players eg. NTRP 4.0 and up. Can we assume from the focus on this basic concepts that this course is in fact more geared to beginning players, or players who are just being exposed to serve concepts for the first time? Or is there more advanced material inside the course that's unique and not common knowledge? If so, I may purchase. Thank you.
Are these all flat serves? what happens with slice or kik serves, or Tsonga's extreme side spin, thanks!
Very deep analysis techniques of tennis serve.
They have been very useful recommendations.
Hi Ian, Thanks for sharing the serve very infomative a wealth of vauble knowledge Now it's up to the player to practice. I have noticed a change in technique and power generator in both forhand actually all strokes. I'm also wondering about service toss for the flat serve. How high should my toss be to help add pace? Is there a position for toss for slice that is better? Thanks , Bravo Zulu.
wonderful series indeed! trust this would help improve my serve without injuring myself.
Ian I was reviewing these instructions. Question; Where do you hit the ball to get spin serve and still pronate. I am used to carving the ball on the spin serve, which makes my wrist and forearm actually go the opposite of pronating?
Really awesome course. I teach healthcare educators how to use video to educate their learners. You have done a very fine job! I love how you preview what you are going to cover, teach what you promise, and review at the end. Very sound.
At one point you alluded to the kick serve, but never talked about how to do that. Would love a follow-up as my second serve does nothing!
Thanks so much, Dan
Very, very good, thanks.
Similar to John's comment below (8th Oct 2014), next I'll be searching for ET content on controlling placement and type of serve, e.g. kick, slice, aiming wide and on the T etc.
Then it's out to the practice court to continue putting it all together for a deadly serve!
Thanks again, Ian. Great work.
Ian, that's the best explanation/demonstration of pronation I have ever seen.
It seemed to me that Roddick opened up way early. To me, that's not good for imparting sidespin, which I do a lot.
Also, didn't Becker and Sampras finish on the right, with their racquet pointed down?
Something new I like to hear you address is takeback — Federer and many others take their racquet straight down, back and up. Then there's the Aussie way, used by Rafter and many others, in which the racquet is taken back to the side. And there variations of this between them.
Hi Ian, thank you very much for your help. I'm very sorry not be able to buy you course. I'm from Venezuela and we have now a lot of problems to get your currency (dolar). Thank you very much again, for your free advices. Your explanation is very clear, even for me, a spanish speaker. I'm have been improving my english understanding too. I'm going to put in practice this course. Best Regards.
Thanks a lot for those wonderful videos about the serve.
But I am loosing a bit of the vision of the whole swing and rhythm. To me the videos only show some snapshots of the whole movement. Could you please explain something about the rhythm, and how to connect all the pieces together.
I would also like to hear about the movements of the legs. Looks like the whole chain starts with the legs and the lower body. 100% of all the pros are jumping when they are serving. But you didn't talk about that jump. Could you please explain that.
Been a large help. How can I improve timing of rust pronating . Serve off left or right.
I think that contact, i.e. pronation, should be taught right after grip. "Trophy pose" and "racket drop" unnecessarily complicate the picture. If a player learns to pronate, those things will naturally follow. I think that people get so caught up with extraneous, or semi-relevant stuff like bending knees, path of racket etc. that they fail to understand the fundamental importance of the idea of pronation. i.e. that most of the power of the serve comes from the turning of the forearm. Thanks Ian for an excellent series of videos.
Simply a fantastic course.
Thanks for the video series on the serve. The last one was perfect because I finally understand what my arm and racket movement should be. As I watched it I quickly realized a few thing I have been doing wrong for years. I look forward to practicing the technique soon.
My Serves really needed some working on.
Thanks for the serve course Ian!!
Hi Ian, it seems that there is always eye contact with the ball during the service, but only the last moment before the racket reaches the ball, it seems that the players are looking to the net. Is that right?
And, I like your way of analysing. I never saw this before, or has any teacher explained all the steps. Thanks.
Thanks Ian. Very educative information. Puts us on track so that we can absorb all the essential elements of a powerful serve
Awesome! I love it. Thanks.
Ian, thanks so much for putting these videos together, all of them extremely useful. I´ve been trying to put them into practice, however I found out that my main problem is toss consistency. I struggle a lot to keep the toss steady at the ideal contact point. Because of that, I often need to correct my position mid way to the ball, ending up having troubles to direct the ball to where I planned to hit. Is there a way to correct that?
Thanks and regards from Rio de Janeiro, Brazil!
How come that you didn't make one of those discussing and analysing the legs? I hope you will at some point!
Thanks, all 5 were revealing!
Keep it coming! Amazing results already!
I am working on my serve constantly , your videos do help me. I plan to take a few lessons when in Palm Springs,
And Gold Canyon AZ. Next year. Keep up the good work.
Another thank you for the very informative analysis.
The question is: in both flat serve , slice or kick serve this kind of proration pattern of the hand remain the same ?
Is it independent for the kind of serve ?
Would be nice to have another analysis focusing on the differences of the racket movement for the above three kind of serves in tennis.
Thanks a lot,
The videos are a bit too long however worth it.
My serve either has been improving objectively or at least subjectively, for me.
Nevertheless, the important thing is thanks to your videos I feel more confident when I play tennis and I feel like I'm serving and hitting all my shots better.
Thanks for that and please continue.
Beautiful video on the serve. Recommended for everyone.
Awesome!! thank you very much.
This serve course will definitely improve further my service game. I have been feeling the results in so short a time. What more in the near future. I have been playing the game since the late 70's and it was only last year that I learned pronation from one of your earlier videos. It was weird at first but my determination pulled me through and now I'm reaping the fruits of my labor. With your help of course Ian! And with that, thank you. These videos are downloadable at YouTube. Just copy the URL address and go to www.keepvid.com and paste the address on the space provided for. You can choose the video format you want. Hope this would help. If it is worth mentioning, I learned the split step from you too!
Ian, thank you so much for the serve classes! You have awesome instructions here. You dissecated the serve motion like I never saw before.
Certanly my most important serve class ever.
Now that I´ve seen the whole serve course:
A million thanks for making these precise and thorough videos available for us !
Rauli Mäkelä, 67yrs
Seriously brilliant, Ian. Thank you. I'm teaching myself a left-handed serve, and you've reminded me of at least 7 different things I needed to learn to do. Excellent. (Ever tried to teach yourself to pronate with your off-hand?)
I've had this question for years, though. How does the act of pronation differ from kick to twist to flat to slice serve? I believe the toss moves slightly forward and to the outside along the same progression, but I'm unsure of the pronation. It seems maybe making contact during early pronation results in kick and late pronation results in slice?
I was wondering how important is it to keep your forward foot stationary.
Congrats! Outstanding serve course.
Regarding Foot Fault: Many club players foot-fault often and get hurt when an official calls them on it during a match. In the service process how can club players avoid this?
Amazing. Have played for 35 years and this will truly make my serve a dangerous weapon. I've probably been doing some of these techniques already but you give me a lot to consider and to make my serve so much better. Look out players at my club…I'm coming for you. 🙂
Loved the video series.
Very good break down of the serve.
Would love to see a break down of the kick serve.
Thank you for sending me the 5 videos on the serve. They were great and very detailed. My serve has improved a little bit. You helped me revisit the principles of the serve and helped me understand why you do what you do.
Through your videos I have paid more attention to the my grip. I realized that I would unconsciously switch from the continental grip to the eastern forehand grip during my swing which gave me a "flat" serve which more often times than not would land outside the service box. My serves are going in more consistently. I have also paid more attention to the ball toss which can lead me off balance as I would "chase" the ball in flight hoping to get a solid hit.
Once again thanks for your time and energy as I have benefited greatly.
Great series on the serve. I literally took the trophy pose video and practiced in a real match immediately.
Because I have been playing for a long time, it was easy for me to use the visualization of the videos, e.g. the cartwheel movement of the shoulders and put it into use. Although I hit many of the serves long on the first serve, I was still able to get my second serve in using the same techniques although with a little more spin. It will take a little more time to perfect it for myself, but I really could never get the right instruction from any pro other than you.
They just didn't have the technical acumen that you do.
Thanks again and I really like my subscription.
I've gone over this several times to make sure that I don't miss a detail. Thanks again because I've take several lesson and this is the best of them all. U'd have to be brain dead not to get this. Thanks again.
A really great presentation!!!
This was great, I really got a lot out of the videos and you make it simple and I was able to do it step by step, again thanks. I've passed this on to friends as well.
Great videos Ian. My serve is much faster now that you have explained what pronation is about. Do you also pronate on a slice serve?
perfect videos they help me a lot improving my game
im 19 now and im playing for 14 years so i still learn to do better
maybe i can send you a service video of myself
and you can tell me a little what i can improve?
For the first time, I believe that I do understand this "pronation" and "wrist snap" concept. That is, if you approach the ball with the racket edge [and you're a righty] your palm is facing left, now, if just before you contact the ball, you open up your racket so that your palm is facing forward, it only makes sense that as part of the same continuous motion, that is the left facing palm, [with my racket edge approaching the ball] the front/open facing palm,[opening racket face] the next logical sequence would be theright facing palm, ergo, pronation. That'll work if I'm serving a flat serve. But now, the question I have, is that if I wanted to hit a slice serve serving wide onto the deuce court, how do I do that and still pronate? Or can I still pronate? Because, I'm thinking that if I wanted to hit that slice serve I would have to contact the ball at about the 3 o clock position and there's no way I can end up pronating so that my palm faces to the right.
Ian, I LOVE these videos! They have been very informative. However, I was a disappointed that the ball toss was not detailed in the videos. Do you have a video that addresses that subject specifically?
Ian, that was an awesome course on serving! There were some details that you shared that I found incredibly helpful. Thanks so much for the time and effort.
Thanks a lot ian. I have noticed a big difference in my serves compared to before. All I have to practice now is trying to get the net clerance and not hitting the ball out the court. I have a tennis tournament on Tuesday at school and I can guarantee this will help me win. But as they say its not about winning its about taking part.
Great analysis Ian. I agree totally that the wrist does not flex. If I can address the doubters, it is as follows:
The wrist pronation twists the racket face about 90 degrees from edge on to square on to the ball. The additional rotation of the racket is mainly caused by internal rotation of the shoulder, and this is fundamental. Notice how the players' dominant elbow points to a different direction. This extra rotation contributes greatly to racket head velocity, since it allows the racket to rotate from head up to head down. This might be what some mistake for wrist "snap". The wrist is quite stable. The forearm pronates about 90 degrees, and the shoulder internally rotates.
Hello Ian and thanks a lot for the course as it has helped me to clear many things in my mind.
I have a couple of objections about this clip though:
Firstly, regarding the wrist movement, I 've noticed that at the point of contact the arm is at about 60deg leaning forward into the court while the racket is perpendicular (90deg) (see 11:41 ). Shortly after contact, though, the tossing arm and racket are in-line and later in the follow-through the racket even ends up leaning a little in front of the arm. This means that there is also a forward angular movement of the racket (therefore wrist) relatively to the arm ( 11:18 , 10:02 etc ). In other words the wrist moves-releases in front around its axle, causing the system wrist-racket to move like a pendulum, which is what maximizes racket head speed. I think that this forward movement of the wrist in ralation to the arm, may be referred to as 'wrist snap'.
Seconly, I don't agree that what you are doing at the follow-through affects your stroke quality. It's what you do during your stroke that affects and determines your follow-through. It is dangerous to try to modify your follow through (which is just the end result) and not the mechanics of your productive motion which is the cause.
Also a note: The pronation release doesn't cause forward-transfer speed but angular speed (spin). It's the forward motion-release of the wrist that causes increased transfer speed.
Thank you so much for these valuable videos. This has helped me tremendously with my serve.
Great videos Ian! Even though your analysis is great, I have something to add. You didn't cover the ball toss at all. I know that you have one video on YouTube, but it is not nearly as much detailed as these ones, and it doesn't cover the footage of the pros. I think there are a few important elements in the ball toss that should be reviewed like: how to hold the ball, how to toss (not with a wrist), when to release the ball into the air, how high should one toss, what is the speed of the arm, what is the distance of the ball (in the arm) from the body etc. I think there are enough elements for one extra video.
I really admire your work!
All the best!
I didn't realize until I watched this video that landing on my right foot for a righty is actually the wrong thing to do, but my serve works pretty well anyway. Landing on my left foot would change everything about my serve.
Well. What a gift you have given me. Much Aloha to you
This was the video that I had been eagerly anticipating. Through some faulty instruction on the "wrist snap" from a pro, and a fair amount of time and practice using poor/incorrect technique, I developed a serious case of golfer's elbow. Let me warn folks who may be reading this, your wrist, forearm, and elbow are not designed to sustain the amount of force that is generated by snapping your wrist and hitting a tennis ball over and over. Now that I have a clear picture of what the correct technique is, I'm hoping the golfer's elbow will go away. Thanks for the videos, they have been a big help.
Boris Becker landed on his back foot, so to speak. His right foot started as his back foot during the beginning of his serve, but then rotated around to the front. He always landed on his right foot.
Your videos have been a great help and I dearly appreciate the effort you put into them. My service game had improved mostly due to you.
Hi Ian great job you are doing and congrats on all your success. When you talked about Roddicks follow through the upper body does not face to the left, it squares off to the net. Look at all the other players in that video. Please show a video of Sampras arm action on the follow through and what his arm does and upper body does. Once the wrist is released the elbow bends. Keep up the great work.
ok, I tried applying the principles you have presented…all makes great sense when watching the videos…hard to make it all happen in realtime though…but I can tell you my toss has improved immensely , I suspect by slowing it down some and consistently and deliberately going into the trophy pose… but my question is – even if I can emulate it to some degree, it is giving me a much more solid and weightier flat serve..but how do we "translate" these principles into a slice serve or the trickier kick serve…given you have decontructed most repeated ideas…I dont want to make wrong assumptions when trying to create a slice or kick serve!!!
again thanks for the objective analysis
great videos, thanks a lot 🙂
please make videos about playing on the net
really great sound instruction…makes a lot of sense…I'm a leftie server (then swap to right hand to play!)..so although I can transpose, would be good to see a leftie in your examples 🙂 leftie's are more creative but sometimes nice see it for real!
Awesome course. I had been struggling with the transition from the racquet drop to contact point, always felt awkward, not quite smooth and lacking power. These videos made the process crystal clear. Had an immediate improvement in my serve. Thank you.
Thanks for the great breakdown of the flat serve. I've watched other training videos on serving which more mostly an overview of the entire service motion. This was the first time I've seen all the different components of the service motion of the pros–the trophy pose, dropping the elbow, the loading of the entire body, the vertical movement, the racket drop back, the racket on edge, forearm pronation, and so much more. When you have a chance, could you do the same for the slice serve and kick serve? It would really be helpful to learn how to develop a great 2nd serve. Thanks again for what you contribute to the game of tennis.
1. I believe that the serve demonstrated by pros you used is "flat" serve that you never mentioned in the series!
2. "wrist snap" should be correct if one is talking about the kick and top spin serve when the racquet face comes on edge and brush the ball,
3. Big question I have is that does the arm pro-nation (right after the ball is contacted) is used for either top spin or kick serve. I tend to believe that the pro-nation is used for increasing the ball serving pace for all kind of serves,
4. You can educate lots of recreational players by showing how the top players do the top spin and kick serves other than the flat serve. I definitely would appreciate if you can do the video series for kick and variety of top spin serves since you explain the "flat" so well!
Your use of frame by frame analysis is the very best teaching method online or anywhere! Thanks so much for that! It has allowed me to see for the first time exactly what is happening during a serve. We all have different perceptions and abilities to see; so this tool enables me to use my own perceptions in addition to having the benefit of your excellent perceptions. I have switched from other instructors to you. I think what you offer in tennis instruction is the best I have found! I am 70 years old, and returned to tennis after a 17 year unfortunate hiatus. I used to model after Sampras, and used his Wilson Pro Staff, a small and heavy racket. But the control it offers has never been equaled by any other racquet, in my opinion. I had never played doubles, and I quickly found that my age, physical condition, etc., was not conducive to using that racquet. I switched, after many wrong choices, eventually to a Babolat Aero Pro Drive, Rafa's racquet. It has similar control to the Pro Staff, but not the power. I am hoping use of pronation (I used to snap), will add power to my serve. I'm sure it will. If you watch Sampras' serve, you will see him follow through to his body, not left nor right, and using extreme pronation! I believe this is due to the fact that he stands very close to the center line, and often aims for the T. His ace percentage is the highest in history, still! He also has more second serve aces than anyone in history! He consistently served at 136 mph first serves and 121 mph second serves. I think now, after the benefit of your instructional videos, I will go back to modeling after Sampras! Thank you so much! I love the frame by frame videos you offer! I look forward to seeing your ground stroke video instructions!
Which foot comes forward when a player cannot physically jump? Would you have them keep left foot staple
and the right leg come through on the follow through?
I am off to try the pronation thanks this was excellent. El
Are thes all flat serves? How will the spin serve be different with the follow through and pronation?
Top videos, Ian. It would be really useful to describe the bath taken by the distal end of the racquet when viewed from behind. Graphics would be useful for this.
A video on the ball toss would be good. You may well include this in videos of specific serves.
I practiced a couple of times and either hit long or into the net. I am hoping that the follow through/wrist pronation and follow through with the racquet to the left side of my body will help. Keeping my eyes and head looking at the contact point a little bit longer after the strike does help too.
Thanks for all this great information. I know it is helping and I am getting more power with really less effort. It's like I don't have to strong arm the ball. I do have to accelerate at the right time though and pronate.
I still have a lot of trouble with direction, hitting near a target. Do you have any suggestions for hitting a target without taking your eyes of the ball?
Thanks fior the GREAT TEACHING videos. Are all the serves shown a flat serve. How do you get kick or spin out to one side?
Keep up the great work, you make it so understandable.
Excellent videos. Really helped my serve.
This series has been very helpful. My coaches have always said not to jump or have my feet leave the ground during the serve, however you cleared this up for me with this last video. I will work on using my legs more when serving and probably my feet will automatically leave the ground. You are so right about coaches talking about the wrist snap and for all these years that's what I thought was happening but your video cleared this up for me also.
Thanks Ian! Great series! Awsome teaching! Lots of things to learn and practice!
Regards from Argentina
Thanks Ian! Great series! Lots of things to learn and practice.
Regards from Argentina
Im teaching 3 high school girls 6 weeks before there season starts, one of the three has the proper grip because I have been working with her for 2 months, the other two I have just started to work with, I think I wont teach them the proper grip until there season is over since I will only see them 6 more times before there season starts, I have changed all there grips on alll other storkes already , I guess im second guessing myself, should I teach them the proper grip now even though they have been using the wrong grip for two years? or wait until there season is over?
Hey Ian, great video analysis of the serve. The videos of the pros at the moment of contact with strings directly on the ball are awesome. Watching the videos helped give me pace and power I hadn't had before!
What I still struggle with is the precise contact point for a slice or kick serve. I assume all your video examples are for flat serves. What is the relationship of the strings at contact for the slice or kick? Does the direction of the swing path change? How does pronation give spin to drop the ball into the court? Is the racquet still vertical at contact?
The videos are a wonderful demonstration on building a great serve. I appreciate your love of teaching technique to others. Thanks!
Thanks for the videos. I look forward to changing/checking a few things in my game when my arm gets out of a cast. Have you done a video on the kick serve?
As a new tennis player (at age 66) I am finding your lessons very valuable and their practice has really improved my game. Thanks for doing these for us.
First of all great work!
I have a question in this last video.
Does the pronation occurs when hitting a spin or kick serve?
This is the very best tennis serve course I have ever seen Ian..
So well illustrated with the chosen pros shown… and your comments are very pertinent & succinct.
The breakdown on the serve is so helpful .. especially the pronation aspect..I am so tired of being told to "snap my wrist" as I could never do this however much I tried,,
I now understand anatomically what I am trying to do..
Many many thanks for your and generosity in sharing your tennis enthusiasm.
I would like to know how to get the ball kick, and how to move the ball up to right of left side of the receiving panel?
Thanks for these videos. I have learn a lot and already I am improving my serve!!!
what you call pronation is the rotation of the arm counterclockwise at the ball contact? What happen when the rotation in clockwise?
excellent video, very informative and helpful on serve!
This is excellent. I have a much better understanding of how to serve technically correct.
Great stuff Ian.
I extremely liked your serve course and it added to my knowledge of how to properly serve. It gives me the confidence that I am executing it properly and was already on the right track. Now I know what to tweak and I am sure it will improve my service game. Thanks again for your detailed, step by step instruction. I can tell you went through great pains to produce it but I am glad you did. Again, many many thanks.
Excellent series. Thank you, sir! Will put into practice.
Great job. I have been able to fill in several gaps in my serve and have increased my consistency and power. While you mentioned the "kick" or top spin serve, my question deals itself with the flat serve vs the slice. While the grip is the same, where and how do you make the adjustment to hit one or the other.
Not that I don't appreciate all your comments, and breaking down the serve like that, however; I do feel that this is all theory, and a student needs graded exercises to practice that are easy to replicate that guide the hand/wrist/arm combination into the correct sequence.
It really is too difficult for the average recreational player to try to copy what the pros do, all in one go. Jeff Salzenstein has one which he calls the "dirty daiper", which is usefull as far as it goes. However, he does not follow it up with any other exercises. Pronation is extremely anti-intuitive, hence needs a vast amount of training to do it right. I reiterate, I have never seen any internet coach provide graded exercises for this. If you could do that, you would be onto a winner.
As it stands, the average recreational player will appreciate your serve course and probably improve somewhat, but the full power of pronation will still elude him. I have been trying for the past year and a half, and been videoing myself. Looking at the videos, I seem to be doing everything right, and at least have a reliable serve; but does it really trouble any of my peers? Err… Nope.
Thanks anyway though…
Great video. I glad you debunked the "wrist snap" concept. I know several teaching pros who still believe there is a "wrist snap"
Thanks, Ian, for a really helpful series on the serve. It has cleared up a lot of misconceptions. I think my serve is almost there, but your tips will fine-tune and build in some consistency. Is it necessary to ensure the upper arm is parallel with the ground prior to making contact or does it happen automatically, considering the arm is bent at the elbow during the load-up?
Also, I have a problem serving into the sun. My fellow players seem to have loss trouble, facing more towards the net and using a flat racquet. It's a pretty simple serve and probably not all that professional, but it works for them. Is there a technique I can use: eg, stance, grip, a swing path that will give me some pronation and pace etc?
Re downloading your videos: I use Free Download Manager. I click on your video, FDM asks if I want to download it, I click on it and away it goes and saves the MP4 with no trouble at all.
Thanks again, Ian, for this series and all your instruction..
This video was magnificent, as well as the 4 prior. Thanks . I would only hope you could do the same fprmat for forehand and backhand Thanks again, Bill
Ian, great course and tons of useful stuff. I look forward to implementing the ideas from the videos.
A question – how is timing of the various elements combined to produce the 100+ MPH serves of th pros. Is there anything terecerational playe can/ should look for in trying to mae their serves efficient.
Also, your comment in Video #5 re. points to avoid andprevent injury is probably a course in itself??
Keep up the good work!
Finally, I have stopped to copy serves of pros and restored to my previous serve. The points are stance and jump. I got a smooth serve by copying that of pros, but my fore foot could not withstand the load to my fore foot by jump. Thus, I go back to my previous one with the stance parallel to the direction I want to serve, and without jump to contact.
However, the effort to copy the serve of pros left me a nice custom to my serve; bending of knees and movement of the center of balance to the fore foot at toss release, which gives my serve relatively good power.
And I got the most important point that adds enough satisfactory power to my serve!
That is, to relax my dominant arm deliberately when move to a trophy pose, which leads to racket drop naturally and to pleasant movement to contact !!
I do not try it in mach yet, but I got a good feeling with enough consistency.
Tnanks so much, Ian !
Hi Ian, this is Neil here from the UK. I have to say that I am loving your serve videos; they have really helped me a lot already. But one thing I wanted to ask you. In a number of the videos, it looks like the professional are not looking at the ball at the point of contact (e.g. Ivanovic in video 4, but I also notice it with Djokovic in an earlier video). Is that really true? Is it recommended?
Would be interested in your thoughts.
By the way, I found your site whilst looking for some strengthening exercises to combat tennis elbow, but have since really enjoyed looking through a lot of your video footage and excellent instruction.
CONGRATULATIONS ON YOUR 5 PART SERVE SERIES. VERY INTERESTING AND HELPFUL.
LEARNED A LOT AND YOU HAD GREAT INSIGHTS INTO MANY ASPECTS OF THE SERVE. LOOK
FORWARD TO MORE TENNIS INSTRUCTION COMING FROM YOU.
I ready many serve instruction through books ,web siteand video for about six year and try to improve and spend time about ten years in my serve.Your series of serve is wonderful and all information is right and what the pro is doing exactly the fundemental mentioned in your series and no exception.
In my opinion after spending ten year on practise and investiage on serve, the following need to focus:-
1)use continental grip
2)Use your trunk and legs as the souces of power and the hitting arm as loose as possible and act as a whip,if you try to use force in the hitting arm.You must be fail to have a reliable and consistance power serve.
3)Contiuous motion and develop a toss hit rhyme(This will total fail if you try to use froce in your arm)
4)Hit Up (Many think they hit up but actually they hit forward) If you practise sevices and they pass around six feet above the net this is hit up!)
5)No wrist snap not even think about it, it will natural happen by pronate your forarm, if you think about wrist snap,you must fail in your serve at least the result not you wanted
6)If you proanate your forarm the racket face will brusch pass the ball in a very quick action(what we call racket head speed is here ) This is the most important moment we want for doing so many things before!.
7)The direction for your racket path is different to that of the ball
8)By changing the racket face angle when contact the ball, you can have flat,slice and topspin service
After you do the above and you still fail in practise serve or doing serve in match!Becase serve is 50% your body and 50% your mental. Don't be suprise or angry when some day your serve totally fail down even though it is perfect the day before when you practise it, this is very common, i encounter this numerous time.
What we need is to trust ourself,trusting hitting up and the ball will fall in the box with power and spin, no suspect and no challenger to this point.Serve is only part of the tennis game and not all of it. No thinking too much on whether you serve well or not, focus on hitting up smoothly and the result will amazing you
Once again I thinks for u so much for the serve video, it just what I feel after the ten years strugglling on serve.You save me much time if I read this ten years ago! I will not waste time in many wrong areas,they just stylist. Welldone lan
GREAT!!!! Set of videos. Those of us that learned to play 50 years ago land on the back foot because we were not allowed to jump. One foot had to stay on the court or it was a foot fault. There is some good footage of Pancho Gonzales side by side with Federer. You should check it out if you haven't done so. Serves don't get much better than P ancho's
Love your course. Learned a ton. Found the racket drop instruction particularly helpful. My goal is to have a 120 mph serve in one year. I'm around 100 mph now. You asked if any professional players do not lead with the front foot. Boris Becker, arguably one of the best servers of all time, led with his right foot (back foot). http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mFPPz0Iy5A0
All the best,
I'd love it if you did this forforehand and backhand, thanks.
Excellent presentations in the entire 'Serve' series, both the video quality and explanations.
I've started practicing the forearm pronation as you've demonstrated exceptionally well in video #5, but I find I have to grip on bevel #3 rather than bevel #2; forearm pronation during serving with grip on bevel #2 causes significantly more strain on my index-finger knuckle, wrist, and even shoulder than when grip is on bevel #3. Thoughts?
Thanks Ian. I can't tell you how enlightening these Serve videos have been. I have been playing for more than 30 years and always muscled the serve to gain power, worked on some days and didn't on others. Never understood the pronation part completely till now. Tried pronating today and found that I didn't need to muscle the ball and got juice into my serve quite naturally by just pronating. I'm so glad and thankful to have you teach me this trick. Whenever you are in Bangkok, let me know, I would love to show you around. Cheers!
Hi Ian, Your serve course was fantastic. I am amazed though that despite the beautiful and consistent technique of the pros the 1st serve percentage is still in the 60% range. I was wondering how would I develop the components that you described if I am starting from scratch? I say this because I took some video of my serve and there is a lot lacking from the components you mentioned. thanks, Sanil Nath
Great video. Thank you for providing this instruction. My biggest problem is not having the racket on edge just prior to contact. Any other suggested cures other than practicing by hitting the ball on edge first?
I'm seeing improvement with my serve now; still gotta get my pronation down but this has been very helpful. Thank you for breaking it all down!
Much appreciate your teaching, my serve is on the way to be technically sound. Do you think you will give few tips on the differences between flat, slice and kick/topspin serve serves. I am kind of knowing how to slice and kick, but it is always good to gain confirmation from your expertise.
Let me know if you are in Northwest region and doing tennis clinics, I would to join.
Danny Lam from Seattle
I enjoyed your serve course thoroughly. The only constructive criticism I might have is since I am left handed, I have to constantly visualize your instruction the opposite way. I would like to see a left handed player (like Nadal for example) in one of your videos, so that us left handed players feel a little more included. Other than that, the ball toss, trophy pose, racket drop, contact and follow through were very precise, and I have already incorporated these techniques in my serve. Thank you Ian! Awesome lessons!
Not going to lie, I've looked at many serve lesson websites – But this is by far the best I've seen. I've been working hard for one month and have seen great improvements after following your videos. And to be modest, my serve wasn't that bad to begin with. I just wanted to say thanks!! I can tell you put a lot of work into this course, and it shows.
You are Amazing !!
Best Serve lesson I ever had, you went through all the most important key points, and made sure it's totally understandable, thank you so much,
I take a private lessons sometimes with a former ATP player ranked 200 , and your tips and instructions are even better, thank you for that diamond !
Thank you very much Ian! Great and very helpful work.. Hope you keep releasing videos like this and I'll watch all of them first thing! It seems you're born to teach!!!
Many thanks for your analysis on the serve contact and pronation. The videos are very clear and helpful. However I notice that all of them serve from the ad court. Can you manage to show some similar videos but serving from the deduct court for the right hand players?
Ian, you have given a very thorough analysis of the service action and it is really useful to see serves viewed from different angles. Thank you for all your efforts.
Good course! Definitely gives me things to work on.
is there any wrong with the palm going to the left on the follow through? i don't see a power on my serves, it's all spin. can't hit a flat serve. thanks sir.
my follow through instead of the palm going to the right side mine goes to the left side. i am too afraid that the racquet would hit my feet. thanks for the videos, kudos to you sir !!!
very clear presentation- but I just don't FEEL why pronation adds power
Look at federers up on edge, he is using his wrist!
Great instruction videos. It has been very helpful, particularly the last one. But I have one question for you: Is the point of contact and the follow through any different for a flat serve vs kick server or slice server? Thanks!
Thanks very much for clarifying the questionable points about the serve, even though I watched other tapes, and they were all good, I think this series was very punctual.
I registered to your Utility Shot course and I love it. I also have subscribed to your You Tube channel.
I just received the video 5 of 5 FOLLOW THROUGH for the serves and I just realized that when I finish my serve, to which I thank you for helping me improve A LOT, is that my front foot is NOT the one that hits the ground first, it ends up being the back foot with the moment of pushing up it ends up @ the inside of the court and the other foot, which should be the one to touch the court first, ends up lifting a bit pointing back but nowhere near like the videos…. What gives….. I tried this over and over, and I cannot figure out why is this happening.
This might be the only thing that I can find is working against me during my serve, usually by following all your steps, as long I bend my knees and my back properly, everything seems to go well.
Hope to hear from you soon,
All of the video frames at contact seem to show the racquet strings facing forward toward the target. Therefore I'm assuming the example is a "flat" serve. Would the contact frame of a spin second serve show the same orientation of the racquet strings on the ball?
Great set of videos; I learned a ton. Even if I never get very good at executing it I now know what to strive for.
Congrats on the the new baby!
Ian-great series and hasa helped my serve mechanism,HOWEVER you need to show lefties serving to help us lefties to see ourselves!?
Ian thank you so much for this series on serve techniques. One thing that makes the follow through to happen naturally, without thinking of it, is first to have the continental grip and second to have the hand low on the handle. I mean thatone should avoid "choking" the raquet. This way the wrist is allowed to pronate naturally. Sometimes having the pinky almost off the raquet butt will give all the freedom needed in the wrist.
Thank you again for all the hints and looking forward to other series.
This is a link to Drew Storen pitching.
It shows a really violent pronation of the lower arm.
What I also find interesting is the movement of the hips. The hips are a multiplicator for the final racket head speed, since it is at the beginning of the complete kinetic chain ( to be super correct it is the legs and even the feet ). I believe the importance of the hip rotation is generally underestimated, even on a professional level.
Than you for your great instructions!
Excellent – Thank You!
So far my serve has improved greatly!!! Just from getting my racket back. Now that I have practiced that for a couple of weeks, its time to get the follow thru down pat. These videos have really helped. Thanks Mucho.
Ian, what a great presentation. I appreciate the effort it took to create these videos and look forward to your next instructoin.
Ian, well done. The slow motion visuals make this happen. I would very much like to start video taping my serve and work my way thru each of the phases of the serve. It would be great to then compare my videos with yours. I would be very interested in getting downloads for this comparison. You said you are working on it, thanks and good luck with that project.
Great instruction, really liked it and trying to apply what your teaching.
Thanks and look forward to watching more videos.
It is amazing that this was provided – FOR FREE! I am one year back at playing tennis after a 20 year break and I appreciate the full explanation of the service motion. It has already made a huge difference for me. Thank you!
In the next series of videos, please use the same methodology to explain the kick serve.and the twist serve as a second serve, and the slice serve as a first serve.
Thanks very much for these videos. Really great stuff and already improving my technique. Regarding pronation on serve, I have found that movement can be stressful on the shoulder. Any thoughts on long term wear and tear? Also, how does this relate to using a slice serve, which I tend to use more often than flat or kick (but without any pronation).
I am fairly new to tennis. Started in 2010 and then stopped after a heel injury. I picked it up again this Spring due to a coworker wanting a hitting partner. I have learned a lot about tennis from you and Will at FYB. I appreciate all that you offer and the time invested in teaching others. I have been recording my serves and ground strokes to analyze my technique. I agree that video is a great way to see what is happening. I have noticed things with my motion that I was not even aware was happening. Thanks again for this website.
thanks for the detailed explanations Ian.
Ian, this series is undoubtedly the most comprehensive video on the serve stroke that I've ever seen, brilliantly explained and masterfully decomposed, without any superfluous comments, I'm certainly beginning to apply this.
Thank you so much, your students should count their blessings for having you as a coach!
Great service instruction. I feel for the average rec player leading with the front foot into the court after hitting ball is not the way to go. The pros jump to hit the serve for more power and still maintain body control. The average rec player needs to focus on contact and balance. At the point of contact the weight can be on the front foot which is still on the ground followed by movement of the back foot into the court after contact. As the player becomes more advanced with a more aggressive serve the jump with the front foot leading is the way to go. thanks again for all of your instruction.
Do you have any further tips, tricks or exercises to promote going from the trophy position to the racket drop position? Good series!
This series is brilliant. No question.
Please use the same methodology to explain / describe the kick serve.
That's a big please.
Five keys to successful serve is kind of five important movements to learn as you provide us in your previous video, as usual Ian thanks a lot for your free video techniques.
You're welcome, Eli.
Thanks Ian, really brilliant stuff!
Also you're reasoning is clever – "if this wasn't important, why should all these pros be doing it – ?!?"
Actually, what I'm looking forward to now is a prequel; a similar video of the toss for different serves.
The obvious reason is to improve my serve, the second one is to learn more about how to instinctively read
the opponents serve motion, grip and toss to be able to predict the coming serve.
All the best
Thanks for watching, Mauri. I'll have a video out about different types of serves (and tosses) soon.
I really have appreciated the information you have shared via the five videos about serving. I cannot express how much insight I have gleaned about the proper techniques that you have generously shared. I live in a colder climate but will soon be able to get out on the courts and begin to apply my new found knowledge. I look forward to any other "tennis tips" that you may share in the future.
Congrats on a great production.I think you've made things crystal clear on all facets of this amazing skill.It's now up to each one of us to make this a " weapon of mass distraction"!
All the best
Great course. Taking video of myself and comparing to your key teaching points has helped make immediate progress. The points I found most helpful were the racket position (vertical) at contact and making contact on the way up has freed up my serve and given me easier power and surprisingly more consistency. Thank you.
You're very welcome, James!
All I can say is OUTSTANDING, OUTSTANDING,OUTSTANDING !!
Definitely not a waste of 1 minute of my time.
Clear, Logical, Backed up by examples,great slo mo and freeze video, patient, relevant, point by point explanations and reasons why.
I just can't say enough.
Unfortunately I will not be able to put all this together on my serve but I am confident it will help me considerably.
I am 66 years of age. While i will never serve like any of the pros in your course, your course in addition to the help of a low level pro, has moved my serve to a much higher level. I especially like the explanation of pronation,
What has really helped me is the rotion of my corps, going up to meet the ball, and ending in the left side (I am a righty).
I just wanted to say: "THANK YOU!"
You're welcome, Norman!
Well done ian. Ive learned alot and hope to see more of your excellent work in the future…
I have taken two serving lessons and have not gotten 10% of what you have presented here!! I can not think of how you could have presented it any better. The showing the individual positions frame by frame along with very clear explanations really helped me with the correct positions and the timing of these positions. Thank you!
Ian, Thanks, really outstanding lessons. One thing that seems to get emphasized a lot by other coaches is contacting the ball at the "8 o'clock location". But you just say to hit the "back of the ball". Could you comment more on the contact point, and is it critical at all?
Thanks – I really enjoyed the course and finally it stopped raining today so I could get out and try serving with your helpful hints in my ear. Great.
Ian! FANTASTIC, FANTASTIC, FANTASTIC concrete and understandable explanation of pronation! Hands down the BEST instruction I have ever received on how to probate correctly. BRAVO and thank you so much for this wonderfully useful course! This segment was my favorite and that is saying a lot because I loved the first 4 segments as well. Your explanation of how the forearm rotates inwards and the result it has on the palm of the hand and the racket are the most useful explanation I have ever seen/heard! I am blasting this one out to all my friends who struggle with their serve and I am going to video my own and see how close I am to doing it right.
Thankyou so much, Ian! The tennis world is a better place because of you!
Thanks so much for the kind words, Chris.
Thank you so much. These videos are exactly what I needed. Very helpful. My serve has already improved ( a lot!!!). You've done a great job with these.
Thanks again Ian. I have watched all five videos and have been very helpful. I cannot believe the wrist snap nonsense I have been doing for so many years. No wonder all the injuries I have been having. Thanks for everything.
My understanding of the meaning of "wrist snap" has been that it is important to keep a loose grip and wrist so the raquet can easily whip from pointing down at the court to pointing up at the contact position. The centripetal force of the racquet will then keep the arm and wrist hroizontal after contact. Isn't this wrist snap the reason Rodick manages to not release the raquet from pointing down toward the ground until very late in his serving motion?
In the 4th video about contact point, should we assume these are all flat serves? Would a slice or kick serve look different from the side view?
This is the best video I have ever seen on describing "pronation" on a serve motion!!! I never understood what "pronation" was.
On all these video examples you've shown, is "pronation" only used on flat serves? I do not understand how to use the "pronation" movement if I am applying "topspin" or "slice". How do I use "pronation" when using spin on serves? Does this make sense? I tried "pronation" on my 2nd serves for top-spin and I was not able to control my shots.
two more examples of pros finishing on the right side of their bodies are Edberg, always, and Sampras, some of the time. I think that as with Stosur, their reasons may have to do with the mechanics of a seriously top-spun serve.
A wonderful service you have done here Ian, and i am putting the information, all of it, to good use. I find that rythmn seems to be my biggest problem in incorporating all of these changes, and so I'm off to find some soccer socks to work on that (thanks for that video, too!). It's a lot of discipline and work, but with perseverance I hope that my service, a liability, will be as smooth and powerful and accurate as my other strokes. Up two levels!
Thank you very very much for this video series. You really helped me in learning how the wrist should work in the serve and also how not to open the racquet too soon.
Thank you again.
Great series especially with the slo and stop motion. I'm a 67 year old, predominately doubles player with pretty good flexibility. I do most of what you advise, except the push-off. My feet stay on the ground and I find myself falling backward after I finish my swing. In physics, we were taught "for every action there is an equal & opposite reaction", which explains my moving backward. If I were to learn to push-off would that prevent my falling backward?
Ian: The serve videos are excellent, the best I've ever seen. Thank you. I do have one question, related to the foot movement in the follow through. In the "classic" or old fashioned serve (Stan Smith is one player I can picture that fits that category), the players kept their left foot on the court (not leaving the ground to contact the ball), and then brought their right foot forward into the court. What is your comment about that? Thanks again for your great work.
great footage. fantastic comments.
one thing to add: in my opinion forearm pronation leads consequently to shoulder pronation, and that brings the right side of your body more on the ball – more racket speed can be produced, therefore all the pros are ending their movement having the chest on the left…, the pronation of the relatively weak forearm only would not cause the effect discribed.
Hi i saw the video clip, and leared a lot, but what i noticed is the all player in the video have left their feet. Are they litterally jumping, upwards to meet the ball?
It took me a little time to stop thinking about the motion (and just do it), but once I learned to get more core rotation, I have really noticed a big increase in the speed of my serve. Thanks Ian.
Ian – You have done a great job assembling these videos and explaining the important parts of the serve. I have never seen it done better. The videos have explained a great deal of the mechanics of the serve for me. A logical continuation of the series would be to show and explain the mechanics of top spin, flat and slice serves.
Thanks Ian for this serve course! You have provided extremely valuable instruction from the insight you've gleaned analyzing the pro serves. Thanks for the effort you have put forth to review, edit and then instuct from from videos you captured of these pro atheletes. I couldn't think of a better way than what you have done to bring the essential and critical elements of a powerful serve to tennis enthuiasts like me. I've been taking notes, rewinding to get all the elements in place and then taking it to my play and have instantly benefitted from your instuction. I look forward to the process of putting all of these elements together ultimately and enjoying a more successful service game. Thank you, thank you, thank you! Doug- MN
Great slo mo videos, thanks. You have shown us things we cannot possibly see in real time. I assume these are all "flat" serves in these videos. Could you put together a similar video showing in slow mo how the ball is struck in a spin serve?
Thanks for the great course-very thorough and easy to understand-your fine efforts are much appreciated-One exception to the left foot in first was Boris Becker, who led with the right foot on the serve. He's the only big time player I've ever seen do it. Again, you are a credit to the game and thanks for all you do for us. Hope your holidays are great.
Sincerely, Richard in Tampa
Tx for your time, talent, and treasure in teaching tennis to the masses.
The series aims more toward those who are likely playing at a higher level- such as 4.5 -6+.
Perhaps there can be a fundamental level for the 1.0-3+ who are ok with this level but need tips as well.
Also, it would help us lefties if you video a lefty pro in your series even though hard to find unless you tape yourself.
Here's a series just for you, Bob 🙂
Awesome series Ian! Thanks for putting these together.
FYI – If you want to download the videos, you can use a Firefox app called "Download Helper" (if you have Firefox that is). I'm loadin' this one up right now.
Pronation describes the wrist's motion as the racket head comes through, but left unsaid is what is the motion's driver. For a long time I thought, by pronating the wrist, the muscles of the forearm were driving the racket head through the ball. I now believe this is wrong, and that this misconception causes many cases of forehand-side tennis elbow (often called "golf elbow").
I now suspect it's more that it is the inertia of the racket — due to momentum generated when hurling the racket upward from behind the back — that is turning the relaxed wrist and hand during and after contact. When the arm reaches its full extension the hand suddenly stops pulling the racket upward. Because of inertia, the racket's center of mass continues upward at a similar speed, but because the hand at the base has stopped moving the racket now travels in a tight circle around the hand (i.e. over the top of it). Because the racket's center of mass is still traveling at a high rate of speed, the tip of the racket — which is twice as far from the hand — is circling at _double_ speed. (At this point the butt of the racket, in contrast, is not moving very fast at all.) This doubling of the tip's speed at the expense of the butt is the whipping action.
Thus, it is the freely moving racket that turns the relaxed hand and forearm, rather than vice-versa. With the proper throw, preventing pronation would require a strained _reverse_ effort of the forearm to resist the racket's momentum.
Do you agree with my analysis, or do I still misunderstand the forces in play?
100% right about no forward basketball-type wrist snap. Club players argue against that but thanks to video I can whip out my iPod and prove them wrong. And if person just stands up and throws his arm forward (as a test with no racquet) the pronation will occur naturally if one just 'lets fly' from a loose shoulder. It's natural for the body to protect itself thusly.
Great Job Lan !!! really interesting things to learn… I would add that some players, short of preload the pronation movement just before impact, deviating the forehand to the right (refering to the longuitudinal axis of the body), so in the drop of the racket you can see it slightly deviated to the right side of the body of the player. Andy Roddic makes it quite a lot, and probably is one of the keys for his supersonic serve shot. I´m a coach form Madrid, and work in the school of Feliciano Lopez (father). If any time you come Spain, just let me know.
Need A course on ball tose,That would be great,Thanks in advance
Thanks Ian, interesting and very informative tennis serve tips. One question, arching of the back, should we attempt to arch the back or sort of slide the hips forward in a sideways position!? Which would you recommend, please?
Thanks, cannot wait to try all the serve elements.
Excellent presentation. Really clear and helpful.
Emmanuel Xenakis; Belgium
Thanks for the instruction regarding follow-through.
I am an 80 year old doubles playing orthopedic surgeon so I compliment you on using the terms "pronation" and "ulnar deviation". VERY GOOD.
Keep up the good work of instructing us, please.
Oren Ellis, Santa Fe, NM
Boris Becker lands on his back foot.
Great job Ian! The pictures are worth thousands of words! One question……. Do the same principles apply for the slice serve?
Awesome set of service instruction videos – very technical! Seriously helped me understand the technicalities of the serve…which is exactly the best way for me to learn when it comes to learning various aspects of any sport.
Enjoyed the series Ian. Thanks. Have a question. I am trying to get back into playing at 76 yrs old.
I do reach up after the serve but because of age and balance, do not jump or hop up. Therefore I finish my serve on the back foot. Presume that is OK if don't hop otherwise think I would fall on my face if tried to force the front foot forward from the ground…. Is that OK.?
Hello Ian…I've looked and studied all your five videos. Job very well done and it covers the serve very comprehensively. Two things that I would have liked to see is:
1.- You make no mention of the ball toss coordinates. I would be nice to see the toss recommendation in front of the player, as a side view, and the toss from a behind view. Recreational player, and even pros, have inconsistencies with the ball toss. and
2.- Address the amount or lack of pressure on the grip when serving……..f you hold the racquet to tight, than you tend to muscle the ball….etc.
Maybe this can be a follow up video #6.
Thank you for sharing this five video course with all of us……Alex
unbelievable ..you've given me the serve [lose the wrist snap] consistency I NEED to hold my serve to go along with my serves breaks….thank you.DS
All 5 videos on serve were very well presented. A very remarkable achievement Ian. Thank you so much for enlightening me on the complexity of the serve. Hope you will produce more topics on tennis. Looking forward to better things to come.
great job on the fundamentals of serving. thanks for the effort. how about analysis of the kick and slice serve
This is great instruction. I don't think there's any pro in town who would give instruction anywhere near this good (and this is free!). The part about arm pro-nation on the serve was pretty enlightening to me. That's a whole new element that I could add to my serve.
Really enjoyed your serve lessons – thanks – I will try them out as soon as I can.
I have been told for years that I did not have enough "wrist snap," and have spent time checking out my wrist to figure out why this wrist which seems very strong (25 years of carpentry), and flexible (same) did not "snap." i would like to add another expression from the instructional jargon, which if not as damaging, leads to semantic confusion: "back-scratch position." The latter had me twisting my racguet behind my back to have the business face, the strings, against my back, and resulted in a real problem turning the racquet on edge headed for impact. The difficulty was the greater because it would have made it impossible for me to understand why my racquet should be on edge, but then none of my instructors ever indicated that. It is also misleading to call it a "position"; that suggests a static point, and has led to many serves throughout the world with a hitch in that "position." More appropriately, less misleadingly, one might call it the "racquet drop motion" and avoid student misperception.
RE: right hand servers always landing on the left foot:
I am an old timer who remembers the days when servers had to keep one foot had on the ground, when great servers like Budge, Kramer, Gonzales, et al were in their prime and serving with as much power, control and spin as today's masters.
Under the old serving rules, that meant that a right hander would have to move into the court with his right foot and use the left leg to push off. Not only did those old timers serve as dominantly as today's greats, but the left leg push-off got them further into the court and faster to the net than it they used a left foot landing. Try it and see!
By the way, do you have any comment on the reasons for this change in the serving rules?
Excellent video. I think in the older days players did follow through into the court with the back foot. There is more jumping now. I think landing on the front foot ensures staying sideways a little longer too. A video on the toss would be great. Martina Navratilova is the only person I have ever heard articulate the nuances of the toss…just in her commentary. It would be a great topic. Thanks
Thank you very much for sharing all your knowledge. It's very kind of you. One question. Your teaching was so complete, at least for me. I play tennis alot ,but i'm only a recreational player. the question is. Is there any more information to pass in the serving area. because i think you said it all. Roberto, from, Fortaleza, Brazil.
Great video on pronation. I still have the problem of my following through my left side of the body – I frequently end
up with the racket hitting my left knee cap. Can you suggest a way of eliminating this knee hitting. Could it be that
I am not following through all the way and cutting my stroke short? Thanks for your help.
Hi Ian, I was just watching your videos on the service motion. They're excellent. I wanted to have you think about something. The "wrist snap". You commented that there was no wrist snap or flexion at the wrist during the serve however your slow motion videos might suggest otherwise. If you look at the position of the racquet on take back where there is a nearly 90 degree angle between the racquet and forearm one might argue that this position is achieved by wrist extension (the opposite of flexion) or possibly from loosening the grip.
In order for the forearm, hand, racquet handle and head to arrive in a straight line at the time of ball strike something would have to change. Either the grip would have to be re-tightened or the wrist flexed. If it is the latter then the flexion does not go beyond the straight position but this is still considered flexion. Flexion at the wrist is represented by movement of the hand in the direction of the palm. The starting position is not important. Extension is the opposite. I think your videos are a great help to us rec players. The analyses remind me of golf which I'm no good at either. Thanks! Keith Stephenson, M.D.
First of all, congratulations for your work. Just seing the work done with this video course, we can see that you should be a very high level instructor.
It is the very first video that explains all serve steps in a manner that will allow us to progress.
Can you tip me regarding the shoulder flexibility (Andy has an amazing angle of shoulder down!..) I'm really trying to increase it with some exercises but..it's a hard work.
Thanks and congrats again,
Very good question, Ian! I wonder about this too. It seems like stretching with your arm up, but stretching some chest muscles too. I wonder if your fitness trainer can help with this?
thanks ian. ive heard so often ppl talking about using a wrist snap to hit an effective serve or forehand and for so long i thought that really was the case. thanks for clearing up that misconception. i will now go forth and attempt to enlighten those who are still in the dark about this.
Excellent Job Ian, it helps a lot
What about a course on the kick (top spin) serve ?
Thanks a lot
Great video, I have been told by some instructors that to get a flat serve in the box without some spin you would have to be 7 or 8 feet tall. The slow motion racket pictures does not show any upward motion to create some spin. Do you agree that you need some spin or can you get the ball in by pushing off with the legs to get a higher angle. Thanks for some comments.
Hi, Is this only apply for power serve or can you use this same service motion to do KICK serve? if not what adjustment should i do or where to hit the ball at contact?
WOW! i am so appreciative of all of your effort in this. i am a 57 year old 4.5 level tennis fanatic. i was a professional level table tennis player in my youth and changed over to tennis in my early 20s. the tennis serve and overhead are not anything that transfers from all of the technique that i learned and i have struggled with the concept and misconceptions for years. this course has cleared up soooooo much for me. i had just finished up on the 3rd video and after just 2 times out to the court i am feeling the form and seeing excellent results. i'm so excited about the possibility of finally working out a very suspect serve and it's a blast watching my tennis buddies have to adapt to a serve with much more pace, spin, and acton off of the court… from a point starter to a real weapon. this is a very long time dream come true. thank you for clearing up the myths about the wrist snap as well, i have struggled with the varying info about that i have been able to gather over the years. i am anxious to get out on the court and see how i can assimilate the full concept over a little time. this has brought hope and promise to an already excited participant of the game.
Great presentation with effective illustrations of techniques culled from videos of professionals.
This serve series has been the best I've ever seen anywhere!!
Thank you for all your hard work. You are a master teacher!
Thank you very much for your video tutorials. Interestingly. The lessons are very much useful.
super videos!!! These have really given me super things to think of and make a part of my serve.
The serve course is amazing! Very detailed, with a lot of explanations and analysis. As I´m trying to improve my serve, it is my worst shot, I will add all your advices to my movement. Many thanks!
If you produce a hard copy on DVD I will consider buying it. Anyway it was very informative n I certainly will try to improve my serve. Thank you so much.
Great! Great! Great! Your time and effort is very appreciated. You have managed to visually show the PRO serve from beginning to end and explained it thoroughly…KUDOS to you.
I think it would be excellent if you could follow up with one more video of a good club player's serve and contrast it to the pro player's serve…the reality would truly strike a note to your viewers.
The part of the pro serve that eludes me is the vertical direction of their serves. I have achieved all the individual facets but the vertical aspect is still difficult to attain. Any suggestions on how to achieve this aspect???
Used to think contact was all it was about and what happened after was not even rinky dink but not anymore.
Thanks Ian for a truly compelling presentation of what happens after contact and after seeing all those pros doing almost exactly the same thing I will be out checking what I do tomorrow.
I guess what the racket, arm and hand do after contact are kind of like the 'smoking gun' – the signature for what has most likely happened at contact and if this signature isn't right then most likely the racket action at contact won't be right either.
Also, filming the precise influence the racket has on the ball at contact would require some heavyweight investment and therefore looking at what goes on before and after impact are really useful diagnostic tools.
This is the best online course on the service I have seen. The quality of the pictures and stills is awesome and really allows viewers to see all the subtle movements that make up a good serve. Previous courses had made me quite confused about some concepts, like pronation – for example. I hope that some day you might find the time to do a similar course on the kick serve. Thanks.
I really learned a lot.
Things I never understood before although I studied Sports 30 years ago (for just one Semester).
Tourning the wrist about 180 degree instead of "snapping" was most important for me.
Thanks from Germany
Best Regards Ulrich
Do you need to leave the ground? I can see it gives height and power but it doesn't seem to happen for me … not sure why not. I find that I don't normally so guess I am doing something wrong.
on contact, you might have mentioned that pro players hit up on the ball
Very nice work! The best analysis I've seen for the serve. Do u have videos of other strokes?
Essential Tennis rocks!
thank you Ian
Thank youi for this excellent material–clearly presented. D. Allen Carroll
Ian — I really love the 5-part serve course. I can tell that as I am able to absorb some of those ideas, my serve is already getting better.
My question is about a slice serve vis a vis pronation. I'm a lefty. How can I think about blending together the info about pronating with hitting the ball more on the left side of the ball? My natural tendency on the slice serve is the opposite of pronating … having my wrist and forearm turn counterclockwise, but the lesson on follow through makes it sound like I should still pronate (turning wrist and forearm clockwise) on all my serves — flat, slice, and kick. Is that the correct understanding of pronating? Does it happen with all three types of serve?
— Tom S.
Excellent course! Thanks so much. You covered so much. However, one of the basic tenants of the serve is that most have some spin incorporated into them, with most having top spin. I hope you can add information on spin into your serve course.
You have done an incredible good job at showing the complete details that are so easy to understand what goes into a good serve. I certainly hope that I will be able to bring some of this information to the tennis court and improve my serve. It is so different from what I do so that it will take a while for me to transfer to a good service motion but I will watch many times and keep trying what you have shown. Thank you so much for all the effort you have put into these videos. With great appreciation, Herb Pearson
Great videos with clear explanation, detailed analysis of the serve. Thanks for the new tools you have provided. you are certainly an excellent teacher. Thank a lot LAN.
Although there are no new concepts here for me, breaking the video footage down frame by frame allowed me to recognize how far I am from actually doing each step. So thanks, this is a big help. I hope you will follow up with similar explanations of the slice and topspin serves.
Great thank you, Ian!
Looking forwards to receiving other tips from you.
great enjoyed watching
I've never seen such a detailed analysis of the serve. Very helpful!
Your lessons on the serve are excellent.
The slow motion videos make it very easy to see what contact point, pronation, etc. actually are.
Matt writing you from France. I play league tennis and have enjoyed your videos and podcasts. Your service course is particularly excellent and video 5 on follow-through was very enlightening. I really appreciate the detailed way you broke down the pronation. I have been trying to master a kick serve for a few years and it never has come together the way I want. I realized after watching your video that I try to snap the wrist to get the topspin motion and you have showed me clearly that I am on a dead-end path. I look forward to getting to the courts to remodel the kick serve with the new tools you have provided me. You seem like a nice guy and you are certainly an excellent teacher. Thank a lot,
For me, this is a brilliant piece of filming and analysis, that clears the confusion I was experiencing, particularly with regard to the wrist snap. Congratulations on a fine piece of work, thanks so much.
I really appreciate the kind words, Ray. You're welcome!
Best explanation and visuals of pronation I have seen. Thanks. I assume that pronation is used only for the flat serve and not the slice or kick serves. Correct or not? Thanks for your generous sharing of knowledge.
These servers lessons were excellent. I am a USPTA tennis instructor and love the game but my back ground is in basketball. I am constantly looking for information that will improve my instruction and my own game as well. The information you provide has helped me give students most of what they need to understand the basics of the game. I don't pretend to have all of the answers and will probably never understand and demonstrate the skills of tennis they way I understand basketball, but with the assistance of people like you I am joining in the crusade to spread the game of tennis
Great instruction Ian…thank you so much!
Small world…I have a buddy on my tennis team, Brent Geisler. We were talking about you the other night and I mentioned your serve course. He said you guys were Skype buddies. 🙂 We both think your stuff is awesome and I was telling others own my team about it…hopefully send some traffic your way.
Thank you Ian, for a really good serve course. I have learned a lot and I´m trying to do like you showed me but I think it´s really difficult to throw the ball to the same place all the time. The ball wants to go to the left side of me (right handede) espessially when I´m nerveus.
I'm a 4.5 or maybe 5 player with a 6-7 serve. Thank you for explaining so well the misconception about the wrist snap. Although you analyze everything so thoroughly, i'ts also good that you give checkpoints. Many things to think about but the good checkpoints make things fall into place. Results come fast. I guess the next step is to make it all second nature. Regarding the falling with the front foot after serving, complying with your request, let me point out that Boris Becker was a honourable exception – he fell with the right foot (or the wrong one, maybe). Thank you so much for everything. Truly appreciated.You deserve all the praise you get.
Ian, Thank you so much for putting in the time to make this video. I have done something like this in a different subject and it is very time consuming.
I did notice after watching my self and comparing it to the videos, my are motion looks good and the drop but I was SURPRISED that I stop my motion right before I swing – when my racket is back behind me. I think I will just practice the motion without a ball and video tape it. Any suggestions?
I highly recommend taking video of your serve as suggested. Going frame by frame and comparing with the Essential Tennis videos is the best way to see where you need to make corrections.
Here is a video of my serve after a week of practice. I wish I had a before video but I can tell you I had no core rotation, no racket drop, no pronation, and lots of double faults.
If you use the Chrome browser you can download the video here and use Quicktime to view frame-by-frame:
Really enjoyed the course!
this instruction of your s is the best one can get any where in the world. i have visited a lof of acadrmies but none seem to teach the serve in this great way.anyone wanting to serve well can learn from these videos.would like to kndw if you teach in person ,if yes ,then where and what are the charges
HI Ian – very good effort – I think this has been one of the biggest eye openers for me as what happens in a proper serve action – question : what happens with a kick serve? Is the contact point at the same place? (in timing & with the racket straight up?) Or are there differences to this action?
🙂 Wonderful study. I may have still another consider it to see if any such thing was overlooked by me. Overall, really impressive!
Ian: Thanks a million for these serve videos. The last one on pronation and follow through was phenomenal and my favorite because it describes pronation, which I have not yet practiced. The reason: I cannot grasp the notion of creating topspin while pronating the wrist. To me it seems that pronating is great for a flat serve or for a slice serve but how can one create topspin while pronating? I create topspin by coming over the ball when I serve but this seems an impossible task to accomplish while pronating. Again, thank you very much. -Juan
Wow! Who knew? I am blown away that the serve motion finishes with the palm facing 180 degrees to the right from the left facing, on edge, starting point! I am now shadowing my own motion and I seem to keep the "on edge", left facing palm, all the way though….I guess I am slicing everything! My racquet never contacts the ball with the head parallel to the net…always on edge! Have to give this new twist a try tomorrow….hope I don't bash my knees in?
Excellent couple of hours on a .5 second motion!
It was very helpful. I have a question: is it possible to download these 5 videos?
Thank you. Your instruction was so helpful in the way you broke down the serve. Definitely not a waste of time.
I can already see improvement in my serve; just need to get out there more often. Was always perplexed as to
what pronation is. You are the best.
Hi, will you sometime talk and show the importance of the toss and how the racket head hits the ball at contact which includes the angle of the head either up under the ball, flat out, or down into the ball. Each has a different effect with the pronation as well as the spin and speed of the serve. It is the contact point, head on ball that provides spin and control as well as pace. Maybe, include this nuance in the future as it is really important.
HAHA ! I've got one for you. Boris Becker lands on his back foot 🙂
Landing on the right foot (for a righty) actually used to be quite common. Becker is the last one to do it as far as I'm aware, haven't seen anyone since him. Every player used to keep both feet on the ground as well…..the game continues to evolve over time 🙂
Really enjoyed the videos, I have a fast serve (age 45) but lacked consistency. However I know find I am serving faster and more consistent with a lot less effort.
I will be visiting your website a more frequently going fwd.
Thank you from the UK
The only thing you forgot to talk about is the shoulder rotation.
Excellent description of pronation!
Great video. You really hit a key check point for me by showing that thr pros not only are bringing up their rackets on edge but the racket face is facing and is parallel to the sideline. For the first time it is clear how you have to pronate to hit a flat serve. I unfortunately am still trying to figure out how you pronate and hit a spin serve. Any thoughts would be greatly appreciated. Again thanks for the great series.
HI, a great serie Ian, the best I ever see on the serve technique. I simplify my serve,gain in security and speed. Great. My last problem concern the slice, I continue tu struggle where to put the ball in the air( right, behind…)
and how to hold the racket: eastern ?..
Any advice ?
Thouvenin Grenoble France
Interesting comments that I never have heard about before. I'll give it a try. Having the racket face turn 90 degrees I didn't know and also up to 180 degrees was news to me. I understand it'll take a bit of practice. Follow through landing on the front left foot is new to me too. I'll try to have the racket end up on the follow through on my left side. At times I bang up my shin on the follow through.
What changes do you have to make for the second serve? (cut serve/)
I have been told by tennis pros I trust that pronation does not add much speed. You disagree, stating "why would the pros pronate if it did not help?". Simple answer……. Because they seek every advantage over their opponent, no matter HOW SLIGHT.
You're right, but just because that's true doesn't mean pronation makes only a slight difference. Every professional athlete that uses a throwing motion uses a full pronating rotation. Every…..single…..one. On the other hand, I've never seen a rec player that doesn't pronate but has a great serve. None. Until I see contrary evidence to either of those examples I will maintain that I am correct 🙂
Best way to describe pronation I have heard is checking your wristwatch.
Terrific course. Thx for all the tips. It's interesting, before viewing your video I had just finished watching several Federer serves on Youtube in slow motion and I was convinced he was snapping his wrist. I was so convinced I was eager to try it tomorrow in my match. I will go back and watch those Federer videos again to confirm your observations. I think you are right, and thanks for setting me straight [or ulnar flexing me straight].
Great end to a great series. One thing I would have liked to have heard about more is the follow through for the nondominant arm. You described two styles: flared out to the side (Murray, Roddick) and tucked. When does the arm come down and is it purposeful or natural? I noticed that my tossing arm tends to stay up as I am swinging my racquet forward while these examples show that the tossing arm is already down as the racquet makes its forward motion. Some have described this as the arm stopping the body to let the arm whip forward to increase racquet speed. Another misconception?
Thank you very much for all the information in this serve course! It’s helping me tremendously with my serve. Really love the way you presented the info. with stop and freeze of the pros and pointing out each steps…very helpful!
Ian,excellent course and presentation. Thank you!
It immediately helped my serve, particularly the advice to rotate your core up and out, bringing your chest up at the ball. Your observation that the racquet drop is enhanced by doing this is spot on and my physical therapist would say, of course it’s because we are asymmetric and when activating left side of body (rotating up and out to left for right handers), it promotes relaxation of muscles on right side of body diagonally opposite. Grip must be relaxed to achieve maximum racquet drop and for your readers Dennis Vanderneer had an excellent tip for this: hold ball under the racquet with left hand supporting its weight as you prepare to release the ball; this enables loose grip with right hand and if you are successfully doing this, racquet will drop toward the court as you release the ball. You can wiggle fingers of right hand to promote relaxartion of grip (Mikhail Youzhny) or drop ring and small figers off grip (Sampras).
What is your opinion of using the upper 4 inches of strings to contact ball (Harrison) versus middle (Murray)?
Thank you for the time and effort you’ve put into this series. It has been a big help to me already, and I can’t wait to get out on the court and practice these techniques more. I look forward to more of your instructional series.
Hi Ian, I have enjoyed the format as well as the information, it has always been important to me to understand why things are done a certain way. What are the benefits of transferring power through the kinetic chain and the best way to take advantage of it. I am a 4.0-4.5 player who had a strong serve, but I am now able to generate the same pace without “muscling” the action, but rather be relaxed at about 70 % effort. The course is also helping me to teach my wife who loves tennis but is not a “natural athlete”. She is improving one step at a time. Thanks for your help.
So good. Love the break down and the videos. Thank you.
Question – is the same pattern of contact, follow through, etc true for all types of serves -flat serve, slice serve and top spin serve? Does the slice serve involve the pronation of turning the wrist to the right after going through the cycle of facing left, facing forward and finally facing right?
Wonderful series – a real gift.
great series of videos. i’m an orthopedic surgeon and i would recommend a diagram of the wrist and hand too during your 5th video to better understand radial and ulnar deviation, flexion, extension and pronation and supination. i thought you explained it quite well but it may help your viewers if you showed them the planes of movement with a diagram and pictures – similar to how you described the grips on the bevels of the handle of the racket
I’ve been playing recreational tennis at regular intervals for years. It is amazing the things you have revealed about the serve alone that I didn’t know. It makes me realize there must be a lot of things I don’t know about all aspects of tennis. Can’t wait to try out the correct serve production on the court. Thanks again.
Ian, That was great!
I CAN’T WAIT FOR YOUR TOPSPIN, SIDESPIN VERSION OF THE SERVE!!!
PROMISE IT WILL BE COMING, PLEASE!
WE ARE ALL DESPERATE FOR A CLEAR SLO-MO OF THE RAQUET AT CONTACT, HAVING BEEN TOLD ENDLESSLY ABOUT 1 O’CLOCK AND 3 O’CLOCK ETC WITH NO REAL UNDERSTANDING OF THE BRUSHING UP THING!
THANKS IN ADVANCE.
I enjoyed your tips on serving. They definitely help as you tend to get into bad habits and not realise it. This series seems to deal with first serve only? How do the same principles fit in with second topspin and slice service?
Great analysis! I believe yoy revealed the well hidden secrets of the pros.
Big improvement of my serve following these instructions.
Thanks a lot,
Ian, thanks so much. I’ve enjoyed the course and its has been very helpful. I’m a 4.0 player trying to get to 4.5 and the serve is the main thing holding me back so this footage is very helpful for me.
Please clarify on the differences in form between the flat, slice, and kick serves. It looks to me that your examples in the course are flat serves. What are the differences in toss location, contact, and follow-through between the flat serve and the other two types of serves?
Ian, thanks for explaining the difference between wrist snap and pronation. Also the shoulder rotation or cart wheel effect which translate into the racket follow through across the body and left side. I’ll be practicing over the week-end. Much appreciated.
I’m a lefty and wished you had one example from lefty.
I’ve enjoyed each episode. My sever has pick up a lot of pace because of your lessons.
Thank you, for these quality instructions, explanations of the service delivery. I will try to implement some of it in my service delivery,
Thank you for a fantastic set of videos. I took up tennis in September and have picked it up really quickly, except for the serve. I watched your first video and realised my grip was wrong and my stance wasnt right either. However, fixing them didn’t seem to improve my serve and so last week I booked a half hour lesson at my local club. The coach pointed out that my toss was so inconsistent and that most of the time my arm was bent on contact with the ball. Your video on contact suddenly came into my head and it really helped me focus on what I should be doing. I now picture that everytime I’m serving and it’s really helping me. Having just watched this last video, I now understand the wrist snap. My sport at school was badminton where just about every shot is wrist controlled and I just couldn’t understand what I was seeing players do versus my understanding of wrist action! Now I have another image in my head for when Im serving. Thank you so much. I was never that good at sports and now feel that at 46 I have found something I enjoy and I’m good at 🙂
Great series Ian. Well done and thanks for sharing your knowledge!
For me, a natural follow up to the serve motion information would be ball toss positions for the various types of serve. Hope you can provide some video coverage into this someday.
In the meantime, I have lots to work on! Thanks again.
Loved the series…can’t wait for more! So much has been cleared up for me. Thank you, Ian!
Thank you for sharing such useful instructions. They were of a great help.
although I won’t be able to performe my serve that way I’m aware now about how it should be. Tkx.
Your love of teaching really shows! I think you’ve found your calling. All the videos are easy to understand, well-explained, and super helpful, especially for someone like me who is still learning the fundamentals. Thanks a million.
One question I have is how the serve is directed downward into the service box when contact with ball is made (as your slo-mo videos clearly show) with the racquet straight up and down. When I see the still frame video at contact, it looks like the ball is being smashed straight ahead and parallel to the court. Is it the downward path of the racquet head and gravity? Or is there any spin imparted on the ball helping it down? Intuitively, I expected the racquet head to be facing slightly downward at impact.
Thanks again and keep up the fantastic work!!
I would also love to see the “kick” or 2nd serve broken down as beautifully as the flat serve so hope you will get around to doing that in the future.
super job! both individually and the entire series on the serve. Very helpful to have the mechanics of the serve broken down into sections and all the slow motion photography was a great bonus so that I could actually SEE what you were speaking about.
thanks so much!
you are an excellent communicator! The stance & grip have helped, now i will try to get my body to respond to what you have inserted in my brain. The “contact -follow thru lesson is an eye opener.
Excellent videos, can you please make one more video focusing on topspin serve (kick serve)?
I appreciate it.
Great job I have learned alot and am passing on to all my team member
Ian – great job and highly informative. My question is – is jumping necessary? All your “pro” examples do it, but I am 63 and feel that is a huge energy drain for me as well as adding a variable that I am not sure I need.
one of the best explanation of pronation i have heard. it sured cleared up this misconception about a wrist snap. these are great videos, keep up the good work. looking forward to more great videos.
This was the single best instruction I have ever had on tha art and mechanics of the serve. With each video I incorporated the information into my service motion and saw immediate results. I have more “pop” and more spin or action on my serve as a result. As I learn to make the placement with the improved mechanics I know I will win more free Points with aces and winners. I also noticed less double faults with the improved mechanics. Thank you for sharing this information. I respectfully suggest you make this video available on DVD for sale so that I can revisit the lessons when I inevitably need a refresher. This information is too good not to keep a permanent record of it. Lastly, by knowing what to look for I have already helped two other players improve their serves with your tips. Thanks again and sorry I was so long winded, but this stuff is Gold!
Thanks so much for your videos. My serving had gone out the window with changing grip half way through my serve motion. Studying your videos has helped me identify where I am going wrong and now I am practising using your technique that is helping me immensely.
Thanks Ian for all your time and effort in producing these videos. Good job !!
As with some of the other comments, I would like to see the break down of the slice and kick serves. I’m assuming, all these serve videos 1-5 were for the flat serve?
Excellent video series on the serve. You obviously put a great deal of time and effort into them – thank you Ian.
One common factor to all the professionals’ serves that you referenced was that they were all in the air when they made contact. However, I don’t think you specifically mentioned that fact.
I play at the 4.0 level and don’t think I’ve ever seen any of my peers leave the ground when they make contact. Is this something we should all be striving to do?
Ian: Excellent presentation and views of the servers!
I have been moving strongly in the direction you show, but you have happily confirmed most of what I have been working on, and made several points I wasn’t understanding before. Thank you, thank you.
Best info I have had on the serve!!
Thanks so much for your videos on serving .My serve has improved tremendously and it finely all clicked by you breaking down each service motion . I am now serving correctly and it feels great
I Have a strong serve, these videos have made my serve even better. Excellent!! Thanks
Like Rich below, I’d be very interested in the contact and follow through for the slice and kick serves. Great job on these videos! Thanks for your dedication to our sport.
Congratulations for the good work and Thanks for sending us these fantastic videos. I haven’t seen or understood serve action in such details prior to seeing these videos.These videos has helped me a lot and I feel lucky that I have watched your videos . I highly appreciate the work done by you.
I request to make me understand slice and kick serve with same detailing.
You are terrific! This is the best commentary on serves that I’ve ever seen and I’ve seen many, many of them. I wish you could do one like this on the forehand stroke.
One question: I notice that in all of the examples shown, the player jumps into the serve. You don’t mention this part of the serve, its necessity or function. Could you comment?
Thanks again for a wonderful experience.
The group of 5 videos outlining the serve is absolutely outstanding work Ian. I much appreciate this quality of work and will share it with my players. It is always about the love of the game!
First, thank you for all the information on the proper machanics to serving and improving your serving. You are great at explaining things that goes unnoticed. My concern is what should my eyes constantly look at? I have a tendency to look at the ball and right before contact move my eyes to my racquet right before contact to see if I am hitting in the sweet spot. Other times I look at the tennis ball all the way to contact. My results are about the same. Which is correct: look at the ball through contact and /or look at the ball and right before contact look at the raquet face as it is making contact? THANKS YOU!!!!
Hi Ian, good videos, I thought Boris Becker finished his serve down the right hand side, I am sure Roddick did in his earlier career.
I have always finished down the RHS, it feels more natural. Can you see any downside to this
Ian – Your demonstration videos (with explanation) are great. These show the straight serve, typically the first serve. I’m curious as to the slow-mo viewing as to wrist, forearm pronation & follow through for typical second serves – slice and kick. What are the specific mechanics for those and how do they compare/contrast to the straight serve. Thanks, Rich
Great instruction, very detailed and easy to follow. I have improved my serve and will continue to implement the serve process. After my last match everyone commented on my improved serve. I also was able to get many more first serves in. Thanks for the help improving my game.
Ian- One thing you did not discuss is aiming the shot. (I have never seen anybody’s serve video that does.) It seems to me that to serve to the forehand, you have to pronate a little less, pronate more to serve to the backhand. But most people say they never think about pronation; it just happens automatically. Personally, I find if I don’t purposely think about pronating, it doesn’t happen. Nobody seems to be able to explain this. I’m hoping you can. Thanks.
Used to be a strong player….now coming off an injury and found my serve had deteriorated the most. This was so helpful in helping me visualize what I needed to concentrate on to bring my serve back on line. I will never be able to use my lower body aggressively again, but think I can use the wrist pronation to add power and spin to my serve. The term wrist snap never made much sense to me….now I understand why. Thanks so much,
These are wonderfully helpful videos – thanks so much for your time with this.
I realize you didn’t really deal with the actual ball toss, but one thing I always wonder is whether it should be in a different spot (laterally) when serving to the deuce court versus the ad court.
All the best,
Ian. Thanks for the serve course. I appreciate the time and effort you put into it,and as usual, your insightfulness. I think your description of the forearm pronation ( I’m trying to avoid the word “snap”), is the best I’ve seen. If I may be so bold, I’d like to share an observation of my own, made possible only through studying your videos, dealing with what to do with the tossing arm. I know you’ve alluded to it , pointing out the vertical line at the point of contact from the dominant to the non-dominant arm, and the cartwheel effect. I wanted to establish the ” when” the tossing arm wound up tucked to the side. I know Macci or someone on one of those Tennis Channel minutes shows that tucking movement, but the arm seemed to come across the chest, and was supposed to add some momentum to the serve. What I’m seeing, looking especially at the serves from Video 4,at Sharapova at 15:03,del Potro at 14:43, and Murray at 14:11, is that the elbow is tucked at the side while the dominant arm is in the racket drop, the word tomahawk comes to mind, position.This opens the chest and seems to make that cartwheeling, and consequently finishing on the left side, more natural. Today I tried tucking my elbow down early, while my racket was in drop mode , and saw some good effect.
Ian, as a partime tennis player we could only dream serving as well as the pro’s. Great viewing from your videos. My tennis pro was demoing the serve and he repeatly stated about SNAPPING OR POPPING OUR WRIST!!! I have never tried to Snap my wrist, but always made the effort to extend my arm and shoulder straight up with racket head pointing upward at time of contact. I have emailed all my fellow students to watch your videos on the proper way to serve. As you know most men are visual, as your videos are shown frame by frame in a great teaching tool for all to learn. I have been taught by over (20) professionals (USTA) in the past (40 years), and unfortunately they all missed the mark on HOW to serve a tennis ball-Start to Finish. I am 67 yrs. old and never too late to learn from good instructors. Thanks for your videos, they’ve made a big difference in my serve. Papa Jon.
EXCELLENT VIDEOS GOOD INFO TO GET BETTER IN YOU’RE SERVE
VERY CLEAR AND DETAILED NOW COULD I DOWNLOAD ON MY IPHONE SO I CAN TAKE TO THE COURT INSTEAD OF THE LAP ? ANYWAY LOOKING FORWARD FOR MORE INSTRUCTION THANKS
As a USPTA Pro I with nine years of teaching experience, I have found your videos to be truly outstanding. Your method of breaking down the strokes of the professionals has been superior. These videos have been invaluable in my teaching and my own game as well.
Many, many thanks for your work.
Yeah!!! Great. Just finished watching no. 5. Thanks man, my serving is getting better and I have more fun!!!
Thanks so much, Ian.
I have used muscles I never knew I had following these serves! I have been very sore at times!!!!!! BUT my serve has improved a lot. Much of it confirmed that I was already doing the right sort of thing but the finer points make all the difference.
Soon to be 70, I’ve started to play tennis about a year ago. The complexity of the game has overwhelmed me. I began this project to be a companion with my wife who has played off and on
for a number of years (and is 11 years younger than I am). I’ve tried singles (with significant frustration and doubles with similar angst). I’ve taken three private lessons with a teaching pro. He’s a terrific person and teacher, BUT . . . No. 1, there’s no substitute for practice, practice, etc; No. 2, there’s no substitute for having a good understanding about what you’re supposed to do AND how to do it. Your video narrative has given me such a better understanding about what I’m supposed to do. Doing it is up to me, I know that. Knowing what the proper form is to provide good results, has given me new optimism about being able to participate with a “plan”.
I so much appreciate your generosity in presenting the free videos that you offer; and even more, the depth and integrity with which you do so. My many thanks,
most of the instruction on the pronation is for a flat serve, what is the trajectory of the wrist for s slice/ kick or top spin serve. I tend to try and grip the handle too tight when trying to hit up and to the side of the ball..thoughts?
The 5 videos are the best I’ve ever seen about serving. Your attention to detail surely makes you a “scientist of tennis.” Thank you very much.
If the racket is verticle (90 degrees) at contact, what causes the downward motion of the ball into the service box? I seem to hit long when I do this…
Thanks Ian, this is the best instruction on the serve I have ever received. I am working to incorporate these elements into my serve and am seeing results already.
You’re a great instructor. I’ve been playing tennis for over 40 years at the recreational level and am working hard at improving my game, now that I’ve retired (body permitting). The serve has always been the greatest strength in my game, and everything you’ve presented makes sense to me on how to transfer more energy into the ball. I particularly appreciated the last segment on follow through as I’ve noticed the forearm pronation but never understood the move until your presentation. Looking forward to more of your video’s.
very good stuff
Becker was the last player I recall landing on his back foot and Edberg was a server that finished on his right.
Both Edberg and Stosur are famed for their kick serves – so I can understand why they finish right. Can’t imagine why/how you could/would do that on a flat first serve – would have to be uncomfortable.
Great series by the way – really helped my son in a way that I couldn’t explain.
Ian, I just wanted to say what a brilliant breakdown of the current pro serve. I have been playing for years and watching the pros but despite this I had so many bad habits! I have completely reworked my serve based upon these videos and I love it. My opponents want to know how come I am serving so well and consistently! I am telling them all it is because of your web instruction.
BTW if some of your users would like to download the file from youtube they can use: http://saveyoutube.com
I just wanted to say that after going through this course I saw better result just off the first video. I freaking love it. My serve is going ten mph faster and with alot of spin . THANKS IAN! YOU’RE AWESOME
Very good information. One suggestion, it might be helpful to connect the entire serving motion together at the end.
awesome… thanks for your efforts and your patient explanations.
Great work, Ian. Really enjoyed the videos. But why on earth did you choose to feature the service motions of the only 2 current female pros on tour who are notorious for getting really bad, prolonged cases of “the service yips”? I think you need to focus on the less attractive looking female pros the next time you choose to videotape practices at tournaments. I’m sure your wife would agree too. ha ha ha
Congratulations for the excellence of your lessons. Very useful, indeed. Thanks,
Thank you for the great instruction.
With a loose grip, the forearm rotation/pronation will occur naturally. I do find approaching the ball with racket edge is a good guide.
Can you pls send me info about your courses, location, duration, etc?
Thanks for all the serve instruction – I’ll be practicing these points this week. I’ll have a lot to think about while I’m out on the court!
How is pronation affected from the video when spinning the ball when serving from ad court
Ian, are they serving a “flat” serve?? I read you have to be 7ft 6in to serve a flat serve. Slice or kick??
I saw a bunch of question about pronation on slice and kick serves. Yes it still happens the racket doesn’t completely flatten out at contact but enters the ball still a little on edge and the pronation still occurs. It just happens a little later. Watch baseball pitchers, football quarterbacks even javelin throwers it happens. Pronation almost or does happen naturally if you release the energy and let the arm and hand relax. It won’t happen with death grip. Gripping slows the racket down. Try throwing a ball with the ball gripped deep in the palm of your hand and squeezing it really hard. The throw will be a dud. Then grip the ball in your fingers only without it touching the palm of your hand and hold it gently. The racket should be held like you going to throw it not crush it.
Seagrams sponsored a fast serve contest back in the late 70’s. While I was practicing for this my focus for more racket head speed was pronation pronation pronation definitely the key to racket head speed. Watch Pete Sampras the pronation king. If you watch a huge forehand it pronates also after conact for the same reason racket speed thumb up at contact thumb almost down when the racket finishes on the left side.
Great videos, I have learned so much.My problem is trying not to pronate to soon. I cant time it at the back of the ball.
Congratulations for the 5 videos, you have done a fantastic job! You cannot imagine the progress made since I’ve started following your guidelines, in particular from the racket drop to the follow through. I had a rather classical but not powerful serve; now thanks to videos 3, 4 and 5 in particular my serve is completely transformed and it shows in many aspects : power, placement, confidence (1st and 2d serve). These videos obviuosly concern a flat first serve, but I reckon the same principles do apply to the slice, topspin and kick serve if one can control and master the toss accordingly. Please tell me if I’m right? Thanks!
Yes, the same principles all apply for every type of serve! I didn’t have time to get into different types and what differentiates them within these videos. Everything I discussed is pretty much universal among them.
After watching the whole series, I’ve picked up numerous “to” and “not to” do’s that have added great improvements.
Honestly, the Not To do’s are the hardest from me since they require breaking my already bad habits. So the burning question I’ve got to ask is, “Why didn’t you do this years ago before my bad habits became embedded muscle memory?”
Now the real question becomes, “Do you have any suggestions on how the counter muscle memory?”
Very helpful and worth every minute spent watching each section.
Thank you. I have really enjoyerd learning how the pros serve. For your interest I believe Boris Becker used to land on his back foot when serving (which did look a little odd) but he found this enabled him to get to the net quickly to serve volley.
It probably looks odd because I am assuming you are under 50 years old. In 1956 they changed the rules. You had to keep a foot in contact with the ground until contact. Back then all players landed on there back foot. They use to make fun of me in the early 60’s because I landed on my front foot like today’s players, If you watched all the pros back then they all landed on their back foot because they learned under that rule. I must have been a trend setter. Check Pancho Gonzales he had a serve that dominated like Sampras did. Front foot glued to the court but like Pete huge pronation and spaghetti like arm.
Excellent series on the serve ! Thanks so much Ian. I was able, because of your running back and forth in slow motion over some areas of the serve, to see some things which had escaped my eye during the past. Much appreciate you taking time to do all of these videos. I don’t know how with playing tennis, etc., you have time to do so much work for us, but thanks again and keep ’em coming ! Fay in Sedona !
promation causes tendon ities, forearm conditioning is required such as an 8 pound weight exercise.
I KNOW THIS NOW
Actually pronation prevents tendinitis. You you don’t the forearm muscles gets the brunt of the deceleration. If you pronate the load is released.
Sorry for the typo it should have said “If you don’t pronate the forearm takes the brunt of the decelaration”.
Thanks for the videos. I have long felt that improving my service is the area that offers the most potential for me to improve my game.
Ian, thank you so much for these very informative videos. I have never approached my service motion with these particular check points in mind (the racket on edge, pronating forearm left to right). I have always spun my serves attacking the right side of the ball (right handed) for a side spin right to left. Does this (new to me) angle of attack create more of a kick spin, or are most of these serves hard and flat? I am looking forward to taking this to practice and implementing into my game. Regards and thanks again,
I agree Gil. I believe Ian is talking about flat serves, although that is not mentioned specifically. My slice serves and kick serves have a different contact point and arm motion as I’m sure yours do as well. I’m sure Ian will clarify for us.
I guess I should have been clearer as I read my comment. I agree that the fundamentals leading up to the arm extension are the same, no matter what serve you are hitting, but in regards to pronation, I believe this is specific to flat serves.
Is there a difference for the follow-through for a spin serve rather than a first serve? For a right hander a first serve definitely finishes on the left side of the body. But if you are trying to hit up for more topspin for a second serve, does it still go there? It feels to me that sometimes myarm wants to go to the right side. Perhaps that is because I don’t rotate my core enough. So that leads to the follow up question: should you have as much core rotation for a topspin serve?
Boris Becker finished that way and when I first learned to kick so did mine then somewhere it changed to finishing on the left. If you are finishing on the right you are probably getting good movement after the ball lands making the ball jump high to your right. Great for getting the ball to your opponents high backhand strike zone. Most players have a weakness there especially one handers. Also great for doubles getting to the net if you can pick on that strike zone.
Ian, once again you did a magnificent job in breaking down the foundamentals of good sound service technique. You are really a roll, my good man! So glad to see you being sucessful in this venture. Thanks again!!!
On serve contact the racquet head moves through the ball rotating out to the right. (I am right handed.) How is a slice serve hit on the right side of the ball?
Ian…thanks so much for this serving course. While I think many of these aspects happen fairly naturally, I appreciate you breaking them down systematically. They have made me much more conscious of the motion and have given me things to work on that will hopefully help me to be more technically sound.
It’s a high quality work what you’re doing here! It’s teaching me a lot.
Tried the rotation of the forearm in contact and follow through. My power went up dramatically. Thanks for the coaching! However, was NOT able to use the same technique for my slice serve or kick serve. Is this technique only meant for flat serves or can it be used to get more spin and power on slice and kick serves too?
Any feedback is much appreciated.
Thank you for the follow-thru. I have previously tried to make a wrist snap part of my serve. I could not do it. I actually hurt my arm some and just stopped doing it.
I am out to the tennis courts this afternoon to try the pronation move and see if it helps my serve. I can hardly wait to tell my friends that there is no wrist snap in the serve. This is wonderful. Finally I have found something that should make a signifigant improvement in my serve.
Thank you so much.
Thank you so much for these 5 videos! Your analysis is by far the most logical and precise one I’ve seen. It fits right to my style of serve and I really look forward to trying to apply it in detail. I’ll let you know the results!
Thanks for a great serve course with lots of detail and frame by frame shots of the pros, which is great. Lots of pointers for me to work on.
Interested in a frame by frame of Sampras’s serve. Is there a bend in his arm? For me the best men’s serve isn Sampras and women’s serve is Serena.
Very well taught! Could you discuss in a later clip how different types of serve are produced? Your action shots all seem to be showing similar motions. Result: the same type of hard flat serve, no? Thank you for a really good clear series of lessons.
The absolute best description of serve technique ever, final video fabulous!
Thanks a million, Ian I know it is a business but can you allow us to download your videos on serve for future viewing? Amazing tips …trophy position helped my a lot with my serve and surprisingly my toss is getting where it should. I knocked out my double partner so I still have to work on precision
Ian, thanks for the service course, the vidios were excellent. The last vidieo on the follow-through still did not clear up questions I have about what is actualy happening during the contact and follow-through of a high quality serve. when I watch the early part of the acceleration phase the shaft of the racquet is at right angles to the long axis of the forearm, and the wrist appears to be extended. At contact the wrist appears to be in a neutral position carrying on into flexion during the follow-througg
I feel very good to learn with this video. It is awesome!
What a great way to teach technique. If I could down load some of these, it would really be helpful over the long term to refer back to.
Thanks so much.
Boris Becker. Boris Becker actually lands on his back foot. BTW: Greats on the serve. There are so many variables on the serves. You don’t learn them over night. But yes. If you look at old footage of Boris Becker he lands on his right(back) foot.
Awesome! I never really learnt how exactly to do the proper technique of PRONATION! I have also heard about the wrist snap!??!!! Hm wouldn’t that dump the ball into the net? Also what about people who play badminton? The service motion of badminton and tennis are different so if a player were to transition then their serve would be really weak and bad. Thanks for explaining the rotation of the core and the use of the lower body to stablise and finish the serve.
Great, but your talking during the Ivanovic video was distracting…
Your series of videos on the serve are phenomenol. Vertical orientation of the racket at the point of contact was significant for me. I agree with you about the “wrist snap”. Finishing on the left side of your body, for a right hander to me, is the continuation of the cartwheel motion you talked about. I would like to add my voice to the many other people who would like to have a permanent copy of this video series.
These are the best videos ever to help me with my serve. I always serve well after watching them. Sort of improves my visualization. Is it possible to save the videos? Sometimes I can’t access the Internet to view them.
Thanks Ian for this wonderful course on the serve. Have you done or do you plan to do anything on the topspin serve?
Should we have to flex the muscles in our forearms to get the pronation??
I know that I need to flex my tricep to straighten my arm, but by the way you were talking about it being like a whip makes me think that it might be important to keep it more loose, please respond.
Great series,Tthank you. For years I have heard that on acceleration you want to “pull & tuck” the tossing arm. This is to allegedly stop should rotation, whick will accelerate racket head speed into the ball. Like cracking a whip. It appears that Federer totally does this, Harrison somewhat does it, Roddick does it to a lesser extent, and Murray hardly at all. What is your take?
fantastic videos ! my serve is already improving because i am more confident now ; i understand better what is happening with my dominant arm after the toss.
i suppose that video 5 is showing the follow through of a flat serve ? do you have followthrough-videos of the kick-serve or the slice-serve in detail?
Great stuff … Well brought across. Thanks for spending so much time on this, and making it free to view.
Best explanation ever. If you cam up with instruction for $50 range it would work for guys like me.
How do you “kick serve” ,for me it would be a great First serve. I have not incorporated most of this yet ,but , any way when I go for it i hit it long .Would love to correct that!
Ian: It looks like Roddick’s core stops or stays back in relationship to the court, and in comparison to the other pros. So I think Andy gets more of the deacceleration acceration benefit between his core and arm than the other pros. In general he looks more vertical than others up to contact. Vic Braden has shown how much Andy’s elbow travels, which I think he said was farther than others. Just some thoughts here about how Andy gets a little more speed of serve.
Great 5 video breakdown of the service elements. The frame by frame analysis quickly speeds understanding and gives me a step by step training program. It’s helped me improve one segment at a time. On video 5 you speak about the inward rotation of Murray’s forearm as he moves from knife edge to contact…to me that is an outward rotation i.e. away from the body. Yes? No?
Excellent work. Any chance you could comment on first vs. second serves?
Thank you very much for your effort Ian, this last video has made it so clear for us club players the right way in doing a followthru in the serve, you showed us the right way in the pronation of the forearm and where the racket should be at the end of the follow thru. Thank you very much again.
Excellent Biomechanical Enalysis,when are you comeing with other tennis strokes?
Awesome recognition of pronation and the sense of the kjnetic chain of the serve. For me teaching the rotation of the hip is also important for a successful release and follow thruogh. Happy new year…
thanks for a good breakdown of serving! For me one glaring omission is including some discussion on the toss (either separate or in combination with the stance). I see tosses too high (problems outside in the wind), too much to the side (in the effort to generate spin), too far forward (in an effort to be aggressive in getting into the net) and not consistent (causing first serve percentage to fall). I encourage players to practice evaluating their toss by monitoring where the toss lands in the court. Like you have emphasized, it’s part of your style and cannot be slavishly emulated from your favorite player. I have found getting players to monitor the toss gets them focused against distractions and relaxes them from tensing up. They do best when they “pick” the ball from a specific location as they swing. Finally, it’s important to not have a different toss for a different placement ( like a “tell” in poker) that lets the returner know what you are doing!
I really enjoyed your series on the service videos. I always was told I needed to snap my wrist but what you said about pronating really makes more sense. I wil look forward to your future videos. Thank you for making things understandable.
Wwwwwaaaaauuuu what a fantastic course with marvelous pictures/videos and explanations. Great stuff.
I’m on the course and I enjoy it and learn a lot. I’m also on volley course
Now I have a question.
I am writing a book in Danish about modern technique because we have not seen modern technique for a generation or more. We are a small population, but we have got to be upgraded. That’s what I want, viz. to awaken us.
Therefore I need some good pictures of the serve key points, that tell more than words or underline the words. So may I use some of the pictures if I tell about your website, courses etc.? in my book? I’m not a photographer and do not see the stars to videotape them. The quality is excellent.
Regards and thanks on beforehand
okay, wow, that really explains everything you cant see buy watching in real time
thank you, on to practice
Thank you for the excellent video course – very high quality and simple to follow with your narration. One point as a left handed server, it would be great to see one of the left handed pro’s in future clips since I assume they follow the same actions.
Thank you do much! Your videos are wonderfully easy to understand. I was in a car accident and have not been able to play. Hopefully at the beginning of 2012 I’ll be back on the courts again. The very first thing I will do is video my serve and then try to improve using the information you have provided.
One of the best instructional videos on the serve. I do however have a comment. In the videos, the pros all leave their feet. However, I am a senior player and have difficulty jumping. Is there any way to get around jumping and if I don’t will there be a loss of power on my serve.
Thanks so much for your work and efforts in these very beneficial and helpful instructional videos-they are much appreciated-
FYI, the only player I remember that landed on his right foot on the serve was Boris Becker-
Merry Christmas and the happiest of New Years to YOU! Later, Buddy, Richard in Tampa
Ian you are the man,nice job ,thank you very very much
Ian, these five videos are truly the best I’ve ever seen about serve, along with your great comments and instructions. Thank you and congratulations on them!
Very helpful breakdown of the mechanics of the serve. Your hi-speed videos, I believe, displayed a FIRST serve, with the ball slightly out in front of the server. It would be very helpful to see some footage of a side view of these players hitting kick or SECOND serve – I would like to see how the contact point and the pronation differ from the flatter serve.
I have watched a lot of Serve videos and this is the best I’ve seen. In the instuction is sound but the video is unbeliveable. The quality of the video allows you to see what is being taught.
This is a very usefull run through on getting to an effective service action. My son (9) is getting to grips with the serve, this will certainly help me to help him get to where he want to be. The serve technique is the foundation, are you going to be talking in the near future about what you do with the serve and how this relates to the five steps you have covered.
Even though I do it (most of the time), I am struggling in understanding how the face of the racquet that hits the ball ends up facing 180o in the opposite direction at the end of the action.
On downloading, clicking on the YouTube icon and watching through YouTube, you can use YouTube Downloader to download the videos. Works perfectly.
Keep up the good work
Hi Ian, thank you so much for these 5 video’s. i have really enjoyed them very much, and they indeed have helped in improving my service. I think I doing better and better. Of course the small things have all to fall in place in order to make it perfect…..Perfection may be difficult but I’m working on it and your instructions have helped very much. As a matter of fact, when I was in Texas last year a tennis pro taught me also a serve by which I should toss the ball rather low and hit the ball in a fast move as throwing a ball. He and I are approx. 170cm high. The movement is then very fast. It works also and I was intending to be used as an alternative, variation.
Best regards, Casey
Ian, It’s great ! Thanks for the last part of the service motion. I have to see it several times ! I have to learn it. Then come the questions.
Best regards, John.
I love how you broke the key points of serve using different pros. It makes sense.’Even though doing it is another step.
ian, you keep saying the wrist turns 180 degrees, but it looks like only 150 or so degrees. not a big deal but tell me if you see that too.
Ian – SIMPLY AWESOME!
Fantastic video series breaking down the complete serve, pinpointing all the essential elements. Using the pros as examples is perfect. My friend Ed and I are using my IPad to shot videos of each other to trouble shot our own serves. Now we now exactly what to look for. TOP NOTCH WORK!
Thanks so much for sharing your insights,
just two words Ian: THANK YOU!!!!!!!
Excellent series of fundamentals for the serve. The explanation of the pronation was very helpful. I am a 4.0 player working hard to master a slice, kick and flat serve. Can you please explain how the wrist pronation and wrist follow through (ulnar deviation, etc) differ for these 3 types of serves. My sense and feel of the motion is that wrist control has a lot to do with executing all three of these serves, but an explanation would be very helpful.
Your use of stop-motion and slow motion is an excellent teaching technique, allowing the student to see the complexities of the serve. It has been an excellent series of videos. As a senior on a fixed income, I was very appreciative of your providing this high level instruction free. THANK YOU, THANK YOU for making this material available.
Thank you also for putting to rest the myth of the wrist snap. I can’t tell you the frustration I used to experience trying to put wrist snap into my serve because some misguided person told me to. After all of that wasted effort, I finally decided I was incapable of doing wrist snap. I ended up doing pretty much what you teach in this video, but you have given me a lot more to work on. Fun!!
tank you so much Im a wheelchair tennis player and I adapted it and for my it is is very important to improve my service tanks tanks tanks
Thanks for disspelling the myth of the wrist snap during follow through. For many of us the use of a wrist snap has led to injury and challenges with achieving serve accuracy and consistency.
I have followed very closely all your 5 videos on the serve. Thank you very much. Your step by step slow motion analysis has broadened my understanding of how a serve should be performed. Excellent work, Ian. I am looking forward to receiving your instructions on how the
5 videos can be downloaded. If they can be kept in my desktop I can review them from time to time since there is so much valuable information in your analysis. Thanks again, Ian.
Thanks for the great info, Ian.
Just a comment on your desire to make the videos downloadable: your viewers can use an online service to convert a video URL to a downloadable file. I’ve used http://www.online-convert.com in the past with no problem. That doesn’t use your server’s bandwidth, it just goes and gets it at YouTube (or whatever URL.)
Stosur finishes on the right side only when she hits her patented topspin kick serve.Somewhat a la American Twist serve but nowhere near as pronounced as Fabrice Santoro.
Thank you so much for this fabulous series of instructionals! You clarfied the serve for me like no other instructor ever has. Great job!.
Just watching the slo-mo and hearing your analysis made me realize that I was kind of braking my rotation somewhere around contact, with the result that I have not been getting good follow-through all the way through. This is valuable. Thanks, Ian.
This was very helpful to me in that it is something that I am working on with my coach, and you both are saying the same things but this allowed me to see it in slow motion and to take notes, which I can’t do on the court. I read over these notes again and again, and I am able to take them with me when I am practicing. My serve is definitely improving. Thanks for your time.
Great job, Ian, I’m very thankful about your detailed explanation of the pronation… believe me, I paid a lot of attention to every single word you said since the very first video just because for me the most expected part of the course was to hear what you had to share regarding the relaxed arm, the up-on-edge racket raise, the pronation and the follow-through… It was like I didn’t want to miss any detail before getting explained about the hardest part… I mean, what I find the most difficult part… pronation… so I really enjoyed it and I’m convinced my service will now be way better! Regards.
Follow through w/pronation was excellent, and clear and useful. The best of the 5.
Only question is does the racquet go from lower to higher during the strike and beyond. Should the racquet head be higher still after the strike point ??
Nice job ian, great videos. very helpfull. a question : what is the best moment to accelerate the motion serve ? is it once the racket drop is done or is it later when you pronate ?
Thanks Ian, you have changed my serve forever. Your frame by frame video breakdown paints a thousand words. Nice work.
I really treasured all the 5 videos you shared and I started applying it thanks, more power and GOD bless!
There is really nothing that I could add to what has already been said. The material was explained really well!!! My income is limited and I cannot afford expensive courses. However I would like to pay you something and selling your work on dvd’s makes a lot o sense to me.
Excellent instruction and video. In future videos “hand or wrist facing forwards”, should be just facing forward….I know picky, picky.
Great vids. I was wondering… are all the pros you showed serving flat? Could you show us how the kick serve would be different? When you make contact on a flat serve, I believe that your racket face faces dead ahead towards your target but when you make contact for a kick serve, would you racket face be facing somewhat to the right (for a righty) since your arm is going up to hit the ball more sideways from the racket drop position? Am I on the right track with this reasoning? Thanks.
Been playing for 15 years, and turned 65 this week. Had two or three pro teachers, but did not gain much insight into serve form until watching your videos and listening to your comments. Especially technique on getting the racquet back, with the head pointing downward, then the path on edge up to the the ball, etc. I see now the reason for the approach on edge. Understanding the reason rather than just copying the form is so much better. Thank you.
This is the finest, clearest display showing how to pronate during the serve. You have cleared up the “mystery” of the non-wrist snap and getting your racquet over to the left side of your body for the follow through. I wouldn’t have believed it, but I sure do now.
That’s really Awesome job.
Please can you make forehand courses as these courses. You may show the big misconceptions in the forehand.
Thank you for the very useful ideas on serving. I’m sure that they will be helpful in eliminating injuries and improving serve percentages.
Great videos! it could not be explained any better.!! It took me a long time to figure this out and no pro was able to put it the way you did.
Could you comment on the jump that most of the pro do at the time of contact? I feel when I do it My contact point is higher and my serve bounce further within the service line making it harder for the opponent to return.
Could you also comment on the difference between the first serve (flat) and second serve (more top spin). Is the toss different ? I can see some players have a toss more inside of the court for the first serve. Other pros disguise it really well like Federer and the toss is identical.
Am I supposed to drive the ball during the “wrist snap motion” or jus hit the ball?
I feel great with more control during my right stroke when I drive the ball, I just wondered If I should feel the same kind of control during the serve. I think I am getting there. thanks!!
It looks like the arm rotation(pronation) starts occurring when the racket is still at right angles with the forearm and yet the arm is extended at the point of contact with the arm straight down from the racket-ie the 90 degrees of the arm to the racket is gone. This is what has been hard for me to feel and do.
great instruction! Important points highlighted and articulated well. Thank you!!
Great course!! Lots of work to do!
fantastic! instant results!
This video instruction is awesome. I’ve been part of your doubles course 2.0 (also great stuff). With all this, I have one issue regarding the wrist action. We may not want call it a wrist snap, but there is some fairly significant wrist movement. If you look carefully at your video, you will notice that at some point, the arm is straight and the racket is at the 90 degree angle to the arm (and the wrist is fully back because it has to be). Then the racket is moved to the vertical position in order to strike the ball. It is not possible to do this without a significant wrist movement. It is true that the wrist does not move beyond the position of a straight line alignment with the forearm (and the whole arm). This is probably why you do not want to call it a wrist snap. If a player were to move the wrist further (the full snap), he would tend to hit down, which is not what we want.
Perhaps, we should call it a half snap.
In order to learn that movement, I’m trying to imaging that I’m throwing a ball (like a pitcher), but in a movement up.
Thank you very much for giving us your time.
You are a wonderful teacher and you explanations are very clear.
You are making us improve our game day by day.
Hi, thank you so much for these videos – you are indeed extremely good at explaining this difficult stuf and make this very clear – in particular Ithat about the wrist snap (which is infact not what I thouhgt) has always been difficult for me to understand – infact I got last year pain in the extersors of my arm because I tried to make the wrist flex. Another important think that I was not aware of was the video presensented by one of your colleages showing that the tossing arm should be parallel to the baseline I think it will help a lot because it will secure that the body make this rotation with the front pointed aways from the opponent, and maybe also secure that the uncoiling does not happen to early – please let me know if this interpretation makes sense.
Thanks so much!
Thank you for the series on the serve. Does the pronation only apply to the flat serve? I am somewhat confused because the 180 degree turn of the racket head before and after the ball imparted by the pronation would make the racket head go to the inside of the ball which is the opposite of where you want it to go if you are hitting a slice serve where you brush the outside portion of the ball. It would also be true if you are hitting a spin serve where you have the racket head brushing from bottom to top of the ball. I would appreciate any clarification. Thanks
Thanks for such an excellent and informative set of instructions. Will definitely recommend to my friends.
Ian you have excelled yourself giving this course of 5 instructions on the serve. Never has it been made so clear at each stage of the serve what the body has to do to be able to make what is supposed to be a simple action of a serve. There are so many subtlties and with the slow mo and the pros you picked it couldn’t be clearer what the whole kinetic chain is nor could it be better. Thanks so much for your time, effort and willingness to share and coach.
Wow, this is the best I have seen on serves!! I have never really been able to develop a good serve and it never seemed to flow easily. After watching this and trying it in the living room I am so excited to get on the court and practice it now. This really made it so clear going frame by frame like that so as to see exactly what is going on with the arm and wrist. Thanks so much for you great effort and work!!!
Excellent job Ian. Thanks for taking the time to put this together for us. Very informative.
Ian, I have watched all 5 serve videos and I am so happy to hear there is no wrist snap as I have none, too hard but the pronation and wrist to the right and follow through to the left rally works. So may I say
thank you as a 4.5 wannabe… not bad for a 70 year old!
Ian, Thanks, again for the great service tutorials; enjoy your warm& sincere presentation style, as well.
The Grip, Stance & Racket-head Drop segments have been of significant benefit to my serve. I’m actually holding serve more than before and even coming up with a surprising(to me!) ace , from time to time.
Looking forward to more of your good stuff in future.
All the best,
Excellent serve course, I truly enjoyed going through the process with you. It is now a work in progress as far as implementation is concerned, but I am already seeing some favorable results!
One question I have: how does the pronation differ between a flat/1st serve and a kick/2nd serve?
Thanks, Don in TLV
I would like to hear Ian’s take on this but for me simply moving the toss back (more over my head and left) lets me spin it with pretty much the same service motion
Thanks to u so muchman!. This information allready make my serve so much better.Hope too get some kind of camra for much more result. Best too yu
Great Job Ian!
Really appreciated the explanations and video clips!
Thought of one former pro who landed on his right foot coming in.. John Newcombe!
AWESOME!!!! The analytical discourse coupled with slo-mo on pronation…all I could say is WOW!… I FINALLY GET IT! Kudos to you and your team and thank you very much!
Hi Ian, very interesting video once again and I feel like saying “as usual”…But what about the role of the non-toss-arm during the contact and the follow through ? It’s often the source of mistakes in the recreational players who only see the finished motion of the professional player’s serve and drive their free arm to the left and backward after having release the ball. It’s important to show that the role of this arm is to fix the left side of the body till the contact point by keeping it in front of the body. It drives to the left and backwards at the landing to allow a better balance.
Ian,thanks a lot for this wonderful 5 videos,especially the slow motion one.Really understood for the first time how excatly to do a pronation movement and follow through.Really appreciate your clear simple explanation of all these videos and it shows your love for tennis,Thank you once again and hope lot more will come from you like these.
Ian these videos are EXCELLENT… I just KNOW that these are going to help me improve and take my serve to the next level. Thank you SOOOO much for all the hard work you put into these videos and I really hope that you have enjoyed making them as much as I have enjoyed watching them. Keep up the great work! =)
Great slow motion/stop motion to explain how it is done. These are great. I have never seen anybody explain this on the web or even in a clinic. Thanks
Great course, I learned a lot and you have cleared up a lot of questions I had. Recently I had a tennis lesson with a very good pro and I mentioned finishing with my wrist out and he said well you aren’t that young, you should fiish with a flat racquet face. Please resond
Ian, great videos and much improved clarity from your older videos. One question about the serve is at the start of the serve, most drop the racket and then bring up to the “statue” pose with the racket dropping behind your back. Whereas Roddick brings his racket up and then into the statue pose much like a ball player throwing a pitch. Someone commented that this is where he gets his power with accuracy. I’ve tried both and do feel more accuracy with Roddick’s method. Also it seems more concise and therefore easier on your arm. What’s your take on this?
Thank you for the efforts to prepare the serve video course. I have listened to all of them. They are professionally presented and reveiled a lot of the misconceptions about the serve. I very much appreciate your help. While it might be difficult to teach old dogs new tricks, you might have just done it. Again many thanks. God Bless.
P.S. I have also forwarded your e-mail to my tennis mailing list.
Thank you for your great series on the serve. What exercises can we do to strengthen our forearm so that we can pronate the arm quicker for a faster serve. I do have found that snap the wrist made no sense and you have just shown that there is no snap of the wrist.
Thank you very much for making it free for us. I really appreciate all your effort. It’s been very very thorough and helpful. And yes, it would be great if we could download the videos for our constant reference as we are working on the serve.
Very good video. It explains the basics of flat serve in detail,makes it easy to understand and the flow of the video is great. You are very correct on the concept of pronation; none of the pros do a wrist snap because they use a continental grip. I would like to see the elements of the kick serve. The kick and the flat serve are different in the service motion due to the fact that they have a different contact point. I would appreciate it if u can get some vids on the kick serve Thank you.
By far the best free tennis videos I’ve ever seen on the internet. Thank you for going so much into detail. Brilliant analysis of the modern service motion. I will use some of your advice when working with my students in the future.
Rainer, voted as coach of the year 2011 in Berlin, Germany
I think it’s noteworthy to add that it’s not so much that forearm pronation _powers_ the racket head, but rather when the legs and trunk do power the up-and-over motion then forearm pronation _allows_ the racket head to whip forward.
In my experience, painful elbow trouble results from the attempt to gain power through the _forceful_ pronation of the the forearm.
Excellent work, really appreciate the effort, very helpful..
Watched all the 5 videos. Thanks a lot for the all the effort. The things I was able to copy were
made sure I got a trophy pose where the right shoulder was lower than the left with some what bent knees,
a decent racket drop but not as good as the ones you were showing,
the follow through finishing on the left side of the body
which gives me a pretty decent serve with some pop on it.
I still am not able to do a late pronation (I think I pronate early), get the full racket drop and some of the advanced things you talked about like a good cartwheel rotation of the upper body.
But so far soo good.
Amazing videos, thank u very much.
what is the difference between the flat serve & the kick serve refer to those videos?
The difference between the flat serve and the kickserve is the motion and the point of contact. The flat serve you hit the ball dead on and the flat serve you move the racket from 7 to 1 o clock.
Many thanks Ian. These videos make it extremely clear what is actually going on when you serve correctly. It is definitely a case of ‘a picture is worth a thousand words’. Great work!
thanks for all of the useful information! i personally go for a little bit at a time approach, so i didnt do everything at once but one by one by one.I noticed as soon as i set lets try to work on extending the arm fully, my % of serves and control jumped, then i tried to get more rotation and i got more power. Really what i’m trying to get at is that this is the most detailed and effective approach i have ever seen toward the serve and it’s something near impossible to learn out on the court with an instructer. Great job!
Thanks a lot for the time and effort you’ve spent on this course! Great job clearing out some of the concepts. Will definitely try changing a couple of things with the follow through next week. I’ve heard “wrist snapping” numerous times, and I’ve never understood what you’re really supposed to do.
And btw, to all the guys who wants to download the videos. If you’re using firefox, you can download videos from youtube using an addon called “best video downloader”. A download button popps up below the video(you have to watch it on youtube) and you can download it in up to 720p HD. It might be available for other browsers as well, but you’re going to have to look it up.
I have really gotten a lot out of these lessons. However, my pronation is a sometimes thing. I find if I pretend I am drunk or close my eyes I get a really nice pronation. Recently I have had some success by aiming to hit a couple feet behind the ball. This seems to give me “room” to pronate. My friends look at me like I am crazy when I tell them this. I try to think of this as something like initially aiming at the net post on my ground strokes. Do you have a “method” of aim and by aim I mean at the ball rather than where the ball will go?
Ian-I first saw your serve on Will Hamilton’s site some months ago. I immediately saw how your instruction and understanding of the serve was above what I had seen before and have used those videos as a base for improving my own. These videos are, of course, on even a higher level. There is so much to the serve that the local pros for some reason don’t bother to tell 3.5 and 4.0s when giving lessons that we can use when properly presented. You’ve already improved my serve and I am certain that these latest videos will make it even better. By the way, I am in my 60’s and still improving my technique.-John
Many thanks for this amazing course. I really enjoyed the way you presented the material and stressed several very important points (some of them were real eye-openers for me). Keep up the excellent job!
Thank you so much for work for this cours!!
Everthing was in point-video great, explonation was undestandable.
Will be waiting for new ones!
Becker landed on the other foot first.
I agree with the comment below. Your description of the serve mechanics is very good.
I teach biomechanics at the university level and I have been impressed by the overall accuracy of your analysis.
Great job Ian.
Very well explain all the technical details of the service motion,it is the only way to truly understand the mechanics of this very complex action that we call the serve.Thankyou.Pietro
I’d like to question your statement about there being no wrist snap. Go to the 13 minute mark in the video. Notice that Federer’s arm is almost completely extended, but as you point out, the racket head is pointed directly aft and the butt cap pointed directly forward of Federer. If you slowly advance the frames you’ll see that the arm remains extended and moves slightly forward, but that the racket rotated rapidly through the vertical. That sure looks like “wrist snap” to me because it is moving around the wrist joint independently of the rest of arm. The racket head essentially stops rotation when even with the extended arm (13:34).
Once again, I never thought about this even though it’s something I naturally do. I’m really curious to see how focusing on pronation will affect my serve. Still can’t believe how much arm twist there is, I’ve never had a coach describe it this way! Case in point, there was a guy who was doing kick serve instructional videos a few weeks back (I forget his name, it was a link from FYB) and his description of pronation was ridiculously vague.
Great job Ian! the key points you’ve highlighted in these videos are ones I can always return to, even in the middle of a match!
By far the best tennis instruction available on the web! Thank-you so much for sharing your knowledge of the sport we all love. Really looking forward to future videos – I’m currently working on mastering the kick serve (hint, hint…).
Ian – great series for the basic serve; what do pros do to get variation – slice, topspin ect;
also, it would have been nice if you had a lefty pro (there are a few.) in your illustration so we can get the right perspective on these motions.
thank you for this video and others videos especially the fitness video keep going .good job . but i wish we see more videos about forehand ground stroke………etc
Thanks again for this video and the entire series of serve videos.
Is elbow position important? Should the elbow be pointing to the side, 45 degrees, or directly in front of the body?
I really appreciated the follow through video. I have always pronated through contact but have never been able to finish with the racquet on the left side of my body. It seems to me that it’s a core rotation issue. Are there any pointers you can share to get the racquet to finish on the left?
Thanks, Ian, great stuff. This last one is less intuitive for me – twisting the forearm and palm to the right while drawing the arm to the left across the body. It will take a little more work for me. But maybe it will stop my habit of whacking my left knee with the racket on follow-through….
Dear coach Ian ,
I would like to take issue with your theory of the pronation……Please don’t get me wrong ….I’m not minimizing the role of the pronation……but let’s put it in the proper role…….
You asked the question what is the job of the pronation….?? My answer to that is : The job of the pronation is to turn the raquet edge up to the ball from edge to flat, and I would submit to you that the amount of power generated with this action ( pronation )does not amount to more than 5 % of the total power…..I know you maybe asking , where then the power is coming from ??The answer to that is>
THE INTERNAL ROTATION Of Rotator cuff …….
Just think about as you’re reaching up with your palmfacing to the left (righty) and turning your palm to the flat position where the contact is: thus pronating , then proceed to take somebody down with arm wrestling motion all in fluid motion …..You will find out that the pronation facilitated the internal rotation but did NOT contribute to explosive power ….The internal rotaion did …..
Pronation is nothing more than taking the raquet from point A to point B after we externaly rotate then we put all we can on the internal rotation as we continue to pronate …… Just like the throw on a different level …..Ian , Just love your stuff , and I’m intrested in your responce :),,,,,Best regards Ab Hilo .
You don’t get the power by the internal rotation of the rotator cuff, you get the power by how fast you can move your hand, the faster you can move the racket the faster you can hit the ball.
thanks for the great tip!! this resolved my long-term confusion about how one should pronate while serving and how the racquet actually brushes the ball. I have one more question on the racquet swing: besides pronation, there got to be another rotation element in the plane of the palm, which brings the racquet from the position where its axis stays horizontal, to the point of contact where the racquet axis is vertical. isn’t that a windshield wiper type of rotation? if it is purely pronation, think about how the racquet would move. please let me know if I don’t make it clear, and I will try to explain it more. I haven’t seen anything explaining this movement, it might be just a result of the upward momentum, but it is sth worth talking about.
This has to be the best serve course on the net. My serve is decent for a (somewhere between) 3.5-4.0 level player. Yesterday, the jump to contact, upward thrust mindset and straight arm helped to keep it down after two hours of match play. While my 4.0+ buddies started to loose serve control, I was able to maintain it. This week, my first serve started to land a couple of feet up on the back wall after hitting the service court, even with not so fresh balls. I’m really happy. I’m still totally clueless about pronation and I hit myself on the right knee sometimes (I’m right handed) . Lots to learn 🙂 Guess I have to work on shoulder rotation.
thanks for a great serve course. Best I’ve ever seen. Really appreciate your comments on pronation vs. wrist snap in #5.
I’ve been downloading all your videos with no problem. My RealPlayer automtically gives me a popup (upper right-hand edge of the picture frame) sayng “Download This Video”. All I have to do is click on it.
If you have a loose grip (Per Brent Abel or Tom Avery- death grip is 10, loose grip is about 2 or 3), the pronation and follow-through will be natural and not something a club player to think about. By being natural and not forcing it, we can prevent injury.
I guess for pro, they can make an effort to follow through to the right (as for Samatha Srouser) or right.
Well for the kick serve you swing from 7to 1 o clock, at an upward angle from left to right. Most pros finish more to the right then they would do if the did a flat serve because the motion is slightly different.
Once you have decided to hit (for right hand players) 7 to 1, 6 to 12, 8 to 1, 5 to 11 (reverse spin), and with a loose grip of 2 or 3 [with death grip being 10] AND PROVIDED you keep your eyes/head steady on the contact point during follow-through, the motion of the serve will dictate/assist the natural follow through. Our body will do the most natural thing without us thinking. Per Oscar Wegner (in his Tennis in 2 Hours), he has various examples on how to play simply and naturally. Three examples I always keep in my mind. 1st example is when a young child wants to get a cup of water on the kitchen counter, he would walk to his left or right or straight ahead without thinking which foot to step forward first. His focus is to reach for the cup with his hand and his feet will follow. 2nd example is focusing or tracking the ball with the hand. Oscar stresses the idea of: if you have a loose grip (hence your body is also loose or relax), your body/feet/knee bend will behave/move properly without your thinking about it. 3rd example is counting 1 to 5 to make sure we are not hitting too early. Oscar said we always have time. We count 1 (when the server tosses the ball or when the opponent is ready to hit; for groundstroke, Oscar wants us to count 1 when the ball bounces on our side but I found I do not have the skill to react at this late juncture; so I count 1 when the opponent is ready to hit). We count at our own pace to 5 before we hit. We can count fast or slow. Of course during the counting, with loose grip, our body/hand are preparing/positioning for forehand/backhand/or overhead. I use the counting in my own serve too=> I count 1 when I toss the ball and I do not strike the ball until I count to 5. With this counting, I will control when I serve and not be pushed by the ball to hit early. If I have to hit/serve the ball before my count to 5, I know I am rushing and I will not serve. If you try this counting method, you will be surprised that you can get up to 90% to 100% success rate.
I would suggest anyone who are mortals to read up/get videos from the library on Oscar Wegner, Tom Avery, James Jensen. They have a lot of good pointers for us who are not gifted tennis players. Brent Abel also has a lot of good pointers but I think you can get only some from you-tube and not from the library. I bought all the videos from Brent Abel webtennis.net and I try to follow his pointers together with that from Wegner etc. These 4 pros have taught me to play with nice forms (finesse; almost like text book) for a late-comer in tennis.
I wonder for the gifted tennis players, do they have to think like the above or everything is second nature to them???
Ian, great series, thanks for all the work.
You left me wondering: If pronation is a turn of the forearm along its own axis, it does not (by itself) add any forward speed to the racket. And, since the racket turns 180o from facing left-to-forward-to right on a short period of 4 frames = 4/30 = 0.13 s, it adds to the complexity and makes more likely that on the actual moment of contact, the racket may be a little yet to the left or maybe a little too much to the right… (you know, I’m not as realiable as the pros 🙂 ).
But the pros do it! So, why?!?
My only guess (and your observation helped to reach this guess) is that they do it in order to be able to accelerate the racket _on_edge_ – thus reducing the air resistance, the air drag, and only have the racket facing forward during the least and last amount of its path!
That makes sense to my knowledge of physics! So I will now work to copy that!
Pronation also gives topspin to the ball, so it clears the net safely and dips into the service box.
(ps- thanks Ian for a great set of video instruction on the serve)
Hi, this is by far the best tennis course I have seen. Thanks for the wonderful “service” you have done to us all. I assume all the slow mo serves you analyzed are flat serves. Do the same follow through rules apply to kick serves as well? Please let me know. Also, I kind of finish like Murray and roddick, with my tossing arm flared out behind me. I always thought it was wrong, but if they do it, I should be fine too 🙂 Thanks for pointing it out.
On a side note, here is a video of Boris Becker landing on his back foot! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fGJ-XHZkpek
Thanks once again for the intricate details you went through in this series.
Great analysis I think the only thing that is missing is which part of the ball to hit. I think the lower left portion of the ball is the best aim point enabling the server to hit up and diagonally across or a 7 to 1 clock motion. This will enable most players to obtain the spin needed for a consistent serve. thanks Dave Pink
Hi Ian. I have watched all five segments of your serve course. Your camera work is phenonenal.
You have been able to show that all the great players have almost identical features to their service motion. I have saved them all and it is something to refer to frequently to compare with my own motion. I have practiced very hard and have used the video as you suggest. At first, my impression was that I looked awful. But then I noted things I was doing right and could move on to correct the things that I still had wrong. I am far from perfect, but I have been able to progress light years from where I was. I look forward to further improvement and thank you for your commitment to this teaching tool. Bill
Thanks for this super course! Here are some comments/questions:
– I have heard that when serving it is of utmost importance to use a long follow through and to bring the racquet down the other side of your body your. This is the correct way to spread the deceleration of the racquet over a longer time; stopping with the arm well pronated, but still up in front of your shoulder means that all breaking of the racquet speed took less time and all that Force/Time (= impulse or shock) is mainly taken up by the shoulder. Over time this will hurt! I think this is the main reason pros have been trained to make long follow throughs on their serves. Kick serves are a bit special, but the racquet path might go down on your “serving side” but should NOT stop mid-air.
– Could you please clarify a part about the “release” of the forearm and wrist. Do you mean kind of a passive, loosey goosey, spaghetti forearm that rotates inwards thanks to the weight and inertia of the racquet; or should one intentionally use some muscle power in there to actively pronate?
– A problem I have serving is how to transfer my body weight forward during the stroke. Although the toss is fine (warning: assumption; never caught on video), sometimes I feel like falling to the left, and other times to the right. When serving at my best I do not notice this. But, should the “centre of mass” pass right over the front foot, or what? Do you have any rule of thumb regarding this?
Your video analysis is top notch and very helpful to me. Thank you so much for your dedication and generosity. I do have a couple of questions:
1) where should the ball be tossed for a kick serve (vs a flat or slice serve)? 2) What is the direction the swing and point of contact for the kick serve? Do you have an analysis with video clips of the pros doing the kick serve that you’re willing to share with us?
As usual…You explain this very complicated part of tennis so that it can be understood by anybody. This is my Achilles heal! I need to get some consistency in my serve. I feel a little lost with this part of my game. You’ve broke the serve down to make it easy to understand. Time to back to the drawing board.
Thanks for the great vid! The follow through you showed is for flat serve. Can you post videos on top spin and slice serve? Thanks!!!!
This has been one of the best serve lesson ever. Keep up the good work.
As always, it is impossible to thank you for all these magnificent videos, but every time I work on my serve you will be with me AND most importantly with anyone with whom I work in my summer youth programs in MA. Will you be developing anything along these lines for the subtle differences needed for the spin serve. I know these stop-action/slo-mo sequences are SO helpful.
in spite of finding those pros landing on their front foot, I wanted to add though, this is a tremendous installment ian, really nice breakdown and the demonstrations you illustrate to make your points are perfect
I am wondering if you have an idea how many (if any) pros change grips for their second serve, I was taught to do it, some on the internet say the pros don;t, some on the internet say the pros do
I;ll accept your answer as definitive since you do frame by frames before you form your opinions
This is probably the best video explaining service motion. Good job, Ian.
oops, the becker tube didn’t paste right
here’s becker landing on his front foot
becker and nastase touched down with their back foot
youll see it here in the vintage footage when becker was #1
here’s nastase when he moved on in age, hard to get good footage when he was young
both are landing on their back foot
to analyze this subjectively, a serve and volleyer will get at least a step closer to the net using this technique and to be fair, there should be a better weight transfer at the same time
Excellent! Excellent! Excellent! Finally someone mentioned and visually illuminated the forearm turn as opposed to the wrist snap. The racquet being straight up and down at contact which means the ball virtually goes straight allowing for gravity.
Hope you noticed how high the ball was when it passed the net and bounced near the service line.
Hope you noticed the non racquet arm being pulled in front of the body during Federer’s serve which stops the left shoulder and creates a whipping effect in the racquet arm.
Hope you noticed how off balance Roddick was when he released his non-dominate arm. His rotation continued and he had more problems re-establishing his balance.
greatcourse I LEARNED ALOT.CAN YOU EXPLAIN THE DIFFERENCE IN RACKET POSITION AT CONTACT TO CREATE SPIN IE TOPSPIN, SLICE OR KICK
Wonderful Job! Keep up the GREAT INSTRUCTION and teaching tools. Do you have any video that demonstrates the TOP SPIN AND KICK SERVE technique?
Glad you enjoyed it! I don’t currently have anything on the topspin serve but it’s in the plans, hopefully soon!
Thanks Ian. I always enjoy your courses. Looking forwards to Doubles Domination 3.0 and the volley and overhead course.MJS on the forums
Thanks so much for your support, I really appreciate it!
Ian, you’re doing a great job…your simple but clear and insightful instructional video commentaries are just too valuable and very helpful specially to rec players like me. Keep up the good work! You are awesome!
Great to hear you’ve found the course helpful, thanks for the compliments!
Thanks Ian, you are so patient with us lol and so instructive so thank you for the free serve course!!! I enjoy very much and share it on facebook!!
Thanks so much for sharing the course, glad you enjoyed it!
Ian, what I learned from you with those videos is great. I already improved drastically my serve. For the first time after 20 years of tennis and a lot of money spending . I understand clearly the kinetic/beauty of the serve movement. I am very thankful to you.I need some time to digest all the informations, but I will keep you inform of my progress.
Awesome, it makes me so happy that your serve has already improved, thanks so much for telling me!
Great lesson. Big improvement with the racquet on edge and pronating up and out. Also, I need to lean more into the court. I had become a straight up and down server.
Hey that’s great, getting the racket on edge and pronating out is something that a LOT of rec players completely miss. Great job!
QUESTION – Ian, how can we pay you for such a great video service ?
Will you sell these on a DVD ?
The quality of them is at least as high as other videos I have purchased !
Just want you to make some money from this,
unless your a millionaire and dont need the money,
I think its only fair that people pay for what they use here,
just dont see how you benefit by giving away everything for free!
Thanks for that, I really appreciate the gesture. I may release these on DVD and/or make them downloadable, I really haven’t thought that far yet.
If you appreciate the time that I put into this course then you can contribute in two different ways:
1. Share the course with your friends, please tell them about the site!
2. Consider purchasing one of my paid courses when they are made available, which is several times per year, I have a volley course coming up soon!
Thanks again for your consideration, Sally. I really appreciate the support 🙂
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