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 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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Roger Serving with Rhythm (R)

  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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ETI 047 | Will Staying Sideways help you hit up on the serve?

The common problem I see at the club, as well as on television, is where the server flexes at the waist at the hit – more or less jackknifing to create a little more ball speed.

And this action creates both forward and downward forces – and is generally associated with netted serves.

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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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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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ETI 010 | The Pete Sampras Snap

At the net put your forearm at net level and parallel to the net strap, with the racquet head at right angles to your forearm.

Now practice quickly turning your hand and wrist such that the racquet head snaps forcefully against the net strap.

Take your time, keep experimenting – and once this feels somewhat natural – toss up a few (rather than tossing down a few) and see how it feels on the serve.

You may be pleasantly surprised!

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The Great Pancho Gonzalez

The great Pancho Gonzalez was both featured and honored at this year’s US Open.  Fierce.  Graceful.  Combative.  And until Sampras came along, arguably the best serve in the history of the game. Pancho stories. I watched Pancho play Raz Reed in a small clay court tournament in Lake Worth Florida, 1973(or4).  I had lost in…

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