ETI 052 | Turning Your Forehand into the Serve

On the forehand the left arm goes back with racquet preparation

The role (I think) is to enable the body to coil

The pros now do the same when serving

An identical “first move” positions their tossing arm parallel to the baseline

Many naturally do this rotation on the forehand but not the serve

For an image feel “turn-toss-turn-hit” just like Roger

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8 Comments

  • bb3

    Reply Reply August 17, 2017

    Richard Gasquet is a modern day player whose service motion demonstrates your point: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mKBi16VoXgc

    In short – coil to the side (together with the tossing arm) and uncoil upwards into the serve. Very very simple. Note how bringing the tossing arm to the side also causes him to stay ‘sideways’ to the court throughout the serve – which facilitates natural balance through the service motion – which again is a simple ‘uncoiling’ of the torso with a loose arm carrying out a natural ‘throwing’ motion.

    Feliciano Lopez – a lefty with a very similar simple ‘coil and uncoil’ service motion with the toss to the side: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iVOWNRZzvjc

    How’s about a couple of old school servers with very similar sideways ‘coil and uncoil’ service motions:

    Lew Hoad https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B8yZ-PUvz74

    and Tony Trabert: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7DkxpHHnjdA
    Trabert’s slo mo serve really shows the uncoiling of the torso and shoulders – which results in staying very ‘sideways’ to the court throughout the hit and only turning into the court naturally after the hit from the natural ‘uncoiling’ of the torso and shoulers.

    • Jim McLennan

      Reply Reply October 8, 2017

      BB3 – thanks for this, Lew Hoad was my childhood idol – I saw him play in an exhibition in Marin Country in 1966 but many aspects of his skill were over my then teenage head – lets tay in touch and thanks for the links
      Jim

    • Jim McLennan

      Reply Reply October 8, 2017

      BB3 – thanks for this, Lew Hoad was my childhood idol – I saw him play in an exhibition in Marin Country in 1966 but many aspects of his skill were over my then teenage head – lets tay in touch and thanks for the links
      Jim

  • Noushin

    Reply Reply March 18, 2017

    Many thanks for sharing your invaluable experience and knowledge!

  • Kevin Bryant

    Reply Reply March 14, 2017

    Incorporating that move into my toss has helped me to remember to maximize my turn as well as be helpful in controlling my “tossing yips”. I note that you also have a slight, little “counter-move” (loop?) with your hand before starting it to the side. As part of my yip control, I have a “big” move that starts with my hand up high so that I have a “back swing” (down swing – as I’m turning) before starting up with the toss that, like yours, is with my arm parallel to the baseline. Sort of like what Sampras does as he brings his hand down and seems to sort of bounce it off his left hip before starting up. It feels very “affected”, but it beats catching three or four tosses. 🙂 Seems to give me enough “rhythm” so that I don’t have to “snatch” it up. And, if I include not only the nice, big turn, but also throw in dropping the right shoulder, it becomes nearly impossible for me to miss my topspin serve. 🙂 I’ve given up, however, trying to incorporate a deep knee bend. That, unfortunately, also requires an “un-bending” move. 🙂

    • Jim McLennan

      Reply Reply May 11, 2017

      Kevin – I like your analysis – but at some point it may be worth an experiment to simply toss it up and hit it – for this rhythm thing was to take the analysis out of it – let me know if it helps
      Jim

  • Jon C

    Reply Reply March 14, 2017

    I like this idea Jim. I’ve come to the conclusion that the two are the same stroke almost. If you pretend that the trophy position and the backward rotation (forehand) are the same, what else can one assume? One is that the forehand lag and the serve back-scratch are accomplished in the same way. Here’s the kicker – with both strokes, the arm does almost no work. The arm is brought into contact through the movement of the body – both movements are an upward rotation (serve being much more “up” of course). Pretend that you have no control over the arm and amazing things will happen – assuming correct grip and assuming that the initial intention is to hit ball either:
    1) at its center of gravity – flat
    2) above center – topspin
    3) side
    4) you get the idea

    —– where on the the ball it is hit is determined by racket face angle – ie topspin (forward angle) does NOT require upward movement of the racket but the ball won’t clear the net without it. You can put just as much topspin on a ball with a 100% horizontal swing path – that’s a ping pong serve. The idea of “brushing” up is terrible if that’s how we are telling people to create topspin. Fast racket with closed racket face – that’s how you create top spin (vary the face angle for all other spins). It’s the impact point that matters.

    Jon C

    • Jim McLennan

      Reply Reply May 11, 2017

      Jon – well said when you wrote “with both strokes, the arm does almost no work. The arm is brought into contact through the movement of the body” – interestingly too much of our game is played and or taught with reference to the arm rather than the body – I will stay at it
      best
      Jim

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