Fire the Extensors (when serving) !!

Having lunch with the famous Vic Braden at a USPTA conference in Carmel Valley 1989, someone walked by and asked Vic to give a tip on the serve, to which he (famously) replied, “FIRE THE EXTENSORS BABY” It may be that Vic called many “baby” but the memory has stayed with me. As regards extensors,…

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Federer – Sequential Elements on the Serve

Allow the tossing arm to rotate back (not out in front) to move the weight into a balanced position The most common problem occurs when players shift their weight forward doing the tossing action                             Federer releases the ball at eye level…

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Federer – the back foot – and the Scissor Kick Overhead

For the scissor kick overhead, the player drifts back, pushes off and up strongly from the back foot A tricky maneuver but very helpful for players who lose their balance forward when serving. Similarly, Federer keeps his weight back on the serve, even dropping his back hip and shoulder Then he pushes up, his hip…

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Serving with your Wrist in a Cast

This is perhaps a “thought” piece For certainly some will push the serve, some will snap the wrist (impossible with a cast on) and some will rotate their forearm. At this point – I believe all methods work. This one, for better or worse, is far different. In my studies of the serve, and the…

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Leg Kick on the Serve – What is yours?

There are many ways to play this game, many ways to hit the ball, and truly many ways to use your legs when serving. The USTA has an 8 stage model of the serve – which finishes with a pronounced back leg kick (featuring Andy Roddick, the previous model was Maria Sharapova) But what of…

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John McEnroe – slo mo – the receivers point of view

Are there takeaways from this delivery that might help you (and I ) ? YES !! Observe his “dual leg drive” up and into the hit – by staying balanced and getting good use from his back foot he maximizes his leg drive Observe his head with reference to something behind him and note how…

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Stan Wawrinka – a simple kick serve

Stan Wawrinka holds three Grand Slam titles – Australian Open, French Open and the US Open. He owns a brilliant backhand, heavy, penetrating, and truly dominating. But this article and video is about his serve – from a camera angle that shows simplicity. Including …… A pinpoint stance but where Stan gets entirely rebalanced after…

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Federer – Up and Down – then Down and Up

The following five shot sequence identifies key elements within the serve (as demonstrated by the redoubtable Roger) but importantly – these elements are part and parcel of a fluid and effortless delivery And a definition – I am calling UP and Down the moment when the racquet head is UP and the body is DOWN…

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Federer – The Model Serve – and projects for you

                                      This magnificent picture was taken by my friend Jim Fawcette – shot at the Laver Cup in Chicago I want to highlight a number of aspects of his form captured in this photo And for sure…

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Using Your Legs on the Serve – does jumping help?

Okay – the game keeps changing.  The racquets, the training, the speed of the game, and yes for sure the technique. Once it was common, and even a rule, that the server would have to keep one foot on the ground during the delivery.  Then the rule was changed (though I am not sure when…

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Unscrew the Light Bulb (on the serve)

I learned this method from Don Kerr, former Tulane tennis coach, but interestingly a badminton coach who brought his material to the tennis world. He and I developed the Whistler, a biomechanical teaching aide, which led me to a Masters program at the University of West Florida where I studied motor learning as applied to…

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A Challenge to Create Sidespin while Rotating the Forearm

This one is harder than it looks – unless it already looks hard to you – if so GOOD!  

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The Serve – Marin Cilic – Tossing into the Swing

Many players change their rhythm between first and second serves. A one-two-three count creates a swish in a particular location and with a recurring tempo. But when introducing the toss, the rhythm may become disrupted. Either the starting tempo becomes too quick, or just the opposite, an overly high toss creates an extra beat when…

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Roger Serving with a Snap

On Court Exercises The following exercises identify specific elements of the serve. Do not attempt all exercises at once, but rather, start with the first exercise, and take as much time as needed until you feel comfortable, then progress in sequence to the next one and so forth. Snap down Positioned at the service line,…

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Roger Spinning the Serve

On Court Exercises The exercises identify specific elements of the serve. Do not attempt all exercises at once, but rather, start with the first exercise, and take as much time as needed until you feel comfortable, then progress in sequence to the next one and so forth. Swing Off-Line to Create Sidespin To create sidespin…

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Roger Serving Effortlessly (E-)

On Court Exercises The exercises identify specific elements of the serve. Do not attempt all exercises at once, but rather, start with the first exercise, and take as much time as needed until you feel comfortable, then progress in sequence to the next one and so forth. Locate the swish point Practicing without the ball,…

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Serving with Rhythm

  On Court Exercises The following exercises identify specific elements of the serve. Do not attempt all exercises at once, but rather, start with the first exercise, and take as much time as needed until you feel comfortable, then progress in sequence to the next one and so forth. One two three rhythm – without…

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Roger Serving on Balance (B)

      On Court Exercises The exercises identify specific elements of the serve. Do not attempt all exercises at once, but rather, start with the first exercise, and take as much time as needed until you feel comfortable, then progress in sequence to the next one and so forth. Serve within a box Find…

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Type 1 and Type 2 – Overhand Throwing – the Tennis Serve – and the Primacy of Habit

Todd Ellenbecker, Vice President, Medical Services ATP World Tour, “Tennis teaching professionals can identify players of all ability levels, even high level players, who have less than optimal biomechanics on their serve. Often ……. their throwing mechanics also are less than optimal and have many similar characteristic patterns. Some of the same inherent deficiencies occur in…

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Overhand Throwing – a Template for the Serve

Habits, Injuries, Resistance to Change – and Overhand Throwing Technique Todd Ellenbecker, “Tennis teaching professionals can identify players of all ability levels, even high level players, who have less than optimal biomechanics on their serve.  Often … their throwing mechanics also are less than optimal and have many similar characteristic patterns.  Some of the same inherent…

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ETI 019 | Fire the Extensors

Many elements are combined to produce the serve – and one of the secrets is to have all the elements firing in the appropriate sequence.

Timing – we have all felt the effortless hits and unfortunately we all have at one time or another, felt the effortful hits.

One of the most important sequence during the serve occurs with regard to the racquet drop and the knee bend.

In general, on the serve, one must fire in quick sequence large muscles first leading to smaller and then smaller muscles, culminating in a whip at the top of the swing.

As regards the racquet drop and knee bend, the best one I heard on this was from Vic Braden, who said, “Fire the extensors baby!”

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SloMo Analysis of Sam Stosur’s Kick Serve

I had a chance to be courtside at a WTA tournament in Stanford California, marveling at as well as filming  Sam’s incredible serve. With an impressive run at Roland Garros to reach the finals in 2010 and her US Open title in 2011 over Serena Williams, Sam Stosur has played at the highest level of…

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ETI 012 | Tossing into the Swing

As Blackie Jones (my first coach) would ask of a student,”If there are two parts to the serve, being the toss and the swing, do you think it is better to swing at the toss, or toss into the swing?”

And as his lessons and demonstrations proceeded, we were schooled in the tempo, the technique, and the benefits for a toss that was low without being overly low, and this produced a motion that was rhythmic and flowing.

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