Athletics and Recreation

Teaching my Wife How to Serve | On Court Tennis Lesson

Teaching my Wife How to Serve | On Court Tennis Lesson

Hey I just had an idea. You know how
sometimes we really don’t get along on the court – well like you don’t like it
when I give you instructions you would rather just rally with me which is
completely understandable. I mean what wife would want to listen to her husband
dish out instructions. attack go come on go go go and be
aggressive attack come on good on the run go
good try backhand come on all yours I want you to swing faster Trish come on
yes on the run go go. So I was thinking what if I recorded our little practice
and posted it online that way you can you know review it and it can actually
help you to finally fix that serve. What do you think? Yes or no? Yes. All right
let’s do it. Okay take a few serves. Let me just see
the serve. Refresh my memory. Take a few warm-up ones. Okay, you haven’t played in
a while right? How long six months? Okay here’s the problem on your serve. So
when you when you get to this point right here there’s a slowing down of
your serve and then you actually pause in this position right here and then you
basically do a pancake serve. So you’re not getting a lot of power. So what I’m going
to do is change your rhythm a little bit so that the racket once it hits this
area here it’s actually going to speed up and not slow down. So your racket as
it’s going up it slows down and comes to a complete stop.
I want it to go slow here on the bottom and then gradually accelerate so that
you start picking up real speed once you get into the racket drop and then into
the contact. And the way we’re going to fix this is by working on your rhythm. So
what you do is you take your racket back to early into this position and then you
also take it up a little too quick. So take a ball and I want to teach you the
one-two-three rhythm. So go ahead and and put the ball and the racket inside the
court and put your weight on your front foot like this go on your front foot put
the ball next to the racket. Now you can bounce the ball inside the court but the
weight has to be on your front foot you have to kind of lean into the court.
Okay now pause it right there perfect and now you’re gonna keep the racket
here now shift the weight onto your back foot and you can lift the tip of
your front foot up and into the air. That is position number two. Now as you
transfer the weight back to your front foot
go ahead position you you’re going to take the racket into a lag and toss the
ball. Okay. So what that’s gonna do is once the ball is in the air you’re then
going to do two things you’re going to pull the back foot up and you’re going
to take your racket into the trophy phase and then the ball is already going to be
dropping it’s gonna be absolutely no more time to stop.
So naturally by doing this rhythm you you will get rid of that pause and you
will accelerate a lot more because you have to. So let’s do it all over again.
Number one is going to be on the front foot. Let’s do it together.
Front foot number two is gonna be on the back foot keep the racket inside. It’s
very important that you keep the racket inside and now you’re going to do
three things simultaneously you’re going to toss the ball lag the
racket and shift the weight onto the front foot
and see how my racket does not stop from that position. So do the whole thing over
again do one two three. One Two And now three Now you can pull it you can pull the back foot up okay. You don’t have to do
this stationary serve what’s called platform stance. So as the as the weight
is shifting onto the front foot you’re going to toss and then lag the racket
and then once the racket starts going up then you pull the back foot up. Now you
do need a little bit higher toss for that. Start over. Number one Two And three Okay, you gotta throw the ball in front and throw it higher. Comon. One Two It’s better, a lot better but you have to throw the ball in front
otherwise if that toss continues to go behind you like that doesn’t matter what
technique you have it’s not gonna work. One don’t rush, don’t rush. Okay that was
a little better but don’t rush it okay There we go I need you to count. One, two
and then three. You see this again one two three. Okay. At three you’re doing
three things simultaneously. One Better Okay I’m not sure how low the racket
dropped but you definitely didn’t pause. So it wasn’t like where you’re going
here and I’m pausing awaiting for the ball.
It was definitely already more continuous and you did this with your
rhythm you’re not really you know mechanically consciously trying to do
things in your racket drop. This is happening completely because of your new
rhythm. Better And do one more Beautiful serve. What do you think?
Feeling better? Alright there’s your new serve. Nice. Hey guys I want to show you in more
detail how making one adjustment can sometimes help solve multiple problems.
So here’s the before footage on my wife’s serve. Her big problem was the
pausing of the racket in the trophy phase. So let’s take a look at why this is
taking place. We can see here that she takes the racket back and she initiates
the toss pretty quick. Now if you take a look at her feet they are set in place
at this particular moment. It’s very important that we take a look at the
feet because what’s going to happen now is that once she’s in the trophy phase
the back foot is going to slide up. So just pay attention to the back foot in
relation to the trophy position. So the back foot is sliding forward while the
racket is basically pausing in the trophy phase and this is leading to a
lack of acceleration. She basically has to pick up the speed from zero and she’s
not developing any swing momentum because of that. And one additional
problem with this type of rhythm is that she’s initiating the toss off her back
foot and this is not good because often this will lead to a toss that goes
behind the baseline. You can see here that she threw most of the tosses on the
before footage behind the baseline and resulting in a contact that’s way
too far back and consequently landing behind the baseline. And after she
implemented the one-two-three rhythm there are multiple things that have been
proved on her serve without her even knowing it. I want to show you here
exactly what that is. So number one because she’s transferring the weight
forward and initiating the toss she has a much easier time getting that ball
inside the baseline. If you take a look here
she’s going to move forward and toss the ball and this makes it a lot easier to
get that ball inside the baseline. Now I also instructed her to do three
things simultaneously which is toss the ball, move the weight forward and lag the
racket behind. Now interestingly she’s doing a semi abbreviated lag which is
okay. It’s not a full lag and you can see here that her hitting hand is underneath
the toss hand and that is a lag. So what’s gonna happen as a result of this
lag. She’s already moved her weight forward. She has tossed the ball and now
the racket will continuously move without stopping and this is a big advantage
when it comes to swing momentum. So we take a look here the racket does not
stop and she actually starts moving her foot up to the front foot while the
racket is still moving which is a big improvement from the before footage
where she was simply pausing with the racket already back and because the ball
is in front she’s gonna get beautiful forward momentum and the whole serve is
synced better. You can see here she has better extension and she will also land
inside the court with full torso rotation. So this is a big improvement
with multiple technical elements that have gotten better just by making one
simple adjustment. Take a look at the side-by-side footage you will see how
much more awkward and uncomfortable her body looks before she made the adjustment
to her rhythm. So pay attention to he before serve and you will see that because
she’s pausing and the trophy phase, because she’s tossing the ball behind
she is gonna be completely uncomfortable at contact. You see the curvature in her
body and she’s also barely leaving the ground on this serve. So there’s not a
lot of vertical momentum going on. There’s not a lot of rotation. The
hitting arm is actually slightly bent and I’m sure this serve did not feel
good to her. Now after she made the adjustment she made several improvements
to her serve. So number one the racket is more continuously moving in and out of
the trophy phase and she’s also pulling the back foot up towards the front foot
in a much better timing so because of that now as she accelerates upwards
towards the ball she’s also going to be able to rotate much better. She’s gonna
be able to fully extend her arm and we can see here how much more comfortable
she overall looks. There’s less bending in the torso. The arm is actually
completely extended and she is also getting airborne. You can see that both
feet lifted off the ground and she’s also going to land well inside the
baseline. Now there of course some other problems on her serve and one of the
problems that she’s had to deal with for a long time is a very shallow racquet drop.
So the racket normally should drop at least to her lower back. On the
professional players it’s even lower than that and you can see here that her
racket does not drop. It kind of stays level with her
shoulder and this is something that’s very difficult to correct and it’s a
result of muscle memory. She’s been playing tennis for twenty years and she’s
always served like that and this was never addressed. And another problem is
that she simply does not practice enough. This is the first time she’s played in
six months. So what I’m gonna do is make this kind of a long-term project. Make it
a case study. I’m going to try to fix her racquet drop and I’m going to be
recording periodically and then maybe six months from now or a year from now
we’ll put together a video and see if I can get her to drop her racquet a little

Reader Comments

  1. Awesome video as always!! Just a joke but I think maybe you should talk to your wife a bit nicer, then maybe she will learn more quickly. 😛

  2. Love this idea! And yes it looks better already. Great comment at the end on her racket drop (or lack thereof). Very excited to see how much that improves in 6 months (assuming the marriage survives that much tutelage 😉

  3. Loved your wife's expression at the beginning of the vid. I am sure she was thrilled at the turnaround of her serve. Nice job Nick !!!

  4. From 'Here's the problem with your serve' to 'Beautiful Serve!' in a few minutes – intuitive coaching plus a bright student equals a delightful tutorial .

  5. Hi Nikola,

    Kudos to your wife for allowing herself to be viewed by thousands of tennis fans. All, I am sure, comparing every element of her serve with theirs. Takes a lot of guts!

    And you are doing a great job of patiently teaching.

    Thank you.

  6. Good luck, Nik! I made an attempt to help my wife get rid of her pancake serve, just like you. She found the process frustrating and doesn’t like to practice either, so I gave up. I am having better luck with my 11 year old daughter, who does not have the disadvantage of years of muscle memory.

  7. Sorry for the second comment.

    There is an article online titled “Australian Open 2020: Djokovic serving at his best in Melbourne.” The article has a photo of Djokovic serving. His racquet is up and either just hit the ball or about to hit the ball. But his head is facing forward and he is clearly not looking at the ball but at the service box.

    Is this normal/good practice not to – even try – to see the ball hitting the strings on the serve?

  8. Her body language in the beginning of the video made me feel like you will be sleeping on the couch for a few nights :).

    This was a great video with a reminder on weight shifting coach! Keep up the good work!

  9. Hehe my wife would of killed me!!!
    She was able to absorb alot of info in a short period of time. With my wife who's premier league player (Toronto's highest ladies rec level) I would have had to break it down thru imagery and analogies. The higher lvl the harder it is to teach I find.

  10. You are a brave, brave man. Nice coaching job and good for her for trying to do what your teaching, so she made really nice improvement very quickly. May your relationship survive your idea of turning this coaching into a series of videos. Good luck. 🙂

  11. 👍👍👍👍👍👍 I have to give her instruction through her teammate (verbatim of what to say), so it’ll actually get absorbed. Meanwhile, she thinks her teammate is the greatest 😂😂😂🤣🤣🤣coach.

  12. Wow you are becoming my favorite coach/teacher on YT fast. What you are sayin/doing makes sense! As a married man (not as lucky as you), my heart sank when heard that dry 'yeah' from her, then 'problem' from you… but it was heartwarming when you two hugged. Congrats at many levels!!

  13. Great man! You chose the hardest student you could possibly find and film it, fantastic 😍 every husband can relate to it and feels with you hahahahaha

  14. Nikola, Thanks so much for posting this. It's a very entertaining discussion of a real problem, i.e., pausing during the serve. But, to me, it looks like during the "after" portion, your wife is still pausing, e.g., at points at 4:38, 5:00 and 5:10 in the video. Her feet may be moving, but her racquet seems to be paused. Is there a certain amount of pause that's OK? Thanks again for the post.

  15. Wow, so nice to see a wife not flipping shit when the husband says "here's the problem with your…"!
    I discovered this same rhythm for my toss after like 3 years of struggle since starting to play and it has been working wonderfully. With a rhythmic motion like this, there's no thinking and panicking through the motion, the body naturally gets into the right positions at the right time.
    Very simple elegant instructions on your video! I love it.

  16. Wouldn't it also help to have the racquet face parallel to the back? I find that much easier to swing the racquet (lower racquet inertia as well as easier release of elbow). also this way I'm able to put slice or kick on the ball whereas with the waiter's tray, only the flat serve is easy.

  17. Fantastic video! I am still struggling a lot with my serve. I believed that I should keep my weight in the back foot when I release the ball. I am using platform stance, I can't get the serve motion. Should I try the pinpoint stance? Could you please help me with the weight transfer? How should I transfer my weight?

  18. NIck, Thanks for this wonderful video. I liked it a lot, especially the 1-2-3 rhythm with bouncing the ball, and the weight transfer. I currently use a platform stance. Will your method work for me? Your wife is using a pinpoint stance where she moves the back foot forward.

  19. Hi Nikola, at what step (1,2 or 3) do you bend your knees? Also, at three the arm is stretched down below. How do I initiate the bendling of the elbow? By 'throwing' my racket tip upwards by using my hand, or do I start with 'elbowing the enemy'?

  20. Thanks to you both. I appreciated the pointer about the uncomfortable back arch position. Suffering multiple injuries as an older beginner, I wish my instructors taped and paid closer attention to my form. Now I am trying ro remedy all my faux pas.

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