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    Default backhand short serve: is "push" legal?

    I've been trying out different methods of executing the backhand serve.

    #1: the hand stays mostly in the same location; the wrist bends to cause the racquet tap the bird.

    #2: the wrist stays mostly in the same position; the hand moves towards the net causing the racquet to push the bird forward.

    #3: an equal combination of twist and push.

    I've noticed that i get the most consistency with #2, but wasn't sure if that serve is legal since it's mostly a "push." I know carrying the bird is not legal, but wasn't sure if that constituted carrying the bird.

    If #2 is legal, that would be great for me because I find it hard to serve well using #1 if i'm changing racquets. #2 using the same motion so the characteristics of the racquet are not important so it's easier to maintain consistency between racquets.

    For my 'push' serve (#2), my wrist twist about 30 degrees and my hand moves forward by one feet. For serve #1, i twist my wrist about 50 degrees and move my hand about one inch.

    Btw, how do you perform the short serve backhand?
    Last edited by bigredlemon; 05-18-2003 at 01:21 AM.

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    a) legal
    b) I use mostly arm movement as well
    c) I found the same advantages as you did (for myself)
    d) Another advantage is that by additionally using the fingers and thumb just before striking the shuttle, it is possible to develop a pretty disguised flick serve.

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    #2 is certainly legal as long as all the basic rules of service are followed. It's the way I've always done it, and I can't think of anyone I've seen who uses a total wrist shot on the BH serve. Keeping the wrist slightly cocked gives the server the option of using the flick or drive serve.

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    Originally posted by Californian
    #2 is certainly legal as long as all the basic rules of service are followed. It's the way I've always done it, and I can't think of anyone I've seen who uses a total wrist shot on the BH serve.
    I've been watching some of the videos swijay has kindly provided, and most of the players in them do not move the physical location of their hand in their serve. Rather, they rely only on their wrist flick for power.

    I hardly see anyone actually "pushing" the bird with the racquet... as in the racquet stays mostly parallel to the server's body.

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    Interesting. Well, that takes more practice to master. Obviously, they must feel it gives them an advantage the other techniques do not. The only problem I see with a push serve is that it can give the receiver a chance to anticipate better, so you can't get predictable with it.

    Control, reliability, and the ability to be versatile are still the most important elements. Whatever way that is best achieved is the way to go.

    I take back what I said earlier about never seeing anyone serve that way. There was an older gentleman I played against and with many times who did serve backhand with pure wrist. His serves were good, but not exceptional.

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    Without quite realising it, I somehow ended up with the "push" backhand service which one of my better Sunday group players highlighted and termed as "illegal". I have tried to analyse my service to find out why he has identified it as such. If I had struck the bird on both the feathers and cork simultaneously, then I agree that it is a fault service. But I did not as I hit the cork only. Sometimes, I do "cock" my wrist more that usual when I do a flick serve to surprise my opponent. But most times, I move my arm mainly as described by Cheung.

    Why do you think my friend still insists it is a fault service? I never really asked him.
    Can you think of any past or present world class doubles players doing likewise? This will help me quash the accusation of my unconvincing friend.

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    In MD and XD my low and flick serves are all backhand. Occasional forehand high serves against weaker opponents (or stronger ones in less competitive games)
    I used to use a push for my backhand serve, but it has turned into a tap for both low and flick serve.
    I think I'm going to change my backhand serve back to a push.

    In MS I used to always do a high serve, but now i've started to mix in low forehand serves, and for those I use a push with the wrist cocked to allow for a flick if required. My forehand low serve isn't tight enough to use in doubles yet.

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    #1 is the best method. You can flick the serve, aim to the corner ...

    #2-3 will surely kill your chance to get point (if your opponent are good players), because they would be able to detect what u r going to do with the shuttles.

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    on the low serve i dont use any hand movement but use the whole arm to guide the shuttle over,this slight brushing of the shuttle seems to be able to make it quite tight, although it is quite slow. when on the flick serve you use the same motion but flick the wrist and it is at the back. I think at my level this creates disguise as i use the sqame movement. people who use only wrist tend to take larger backswing so you can read the serve easier, unless your a pro and and the strenghth/timing to flick to front/back at will.

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    Originally posted by Loh
    Without quite realising it, I somehow ended up with the "push" backhand service which one of my better Sunday group players highlighted and termed as "illegal". I have tried to analyse my service to find out why he has identified it as such. If I had struck the bird on both the feathers and cork simultaneously, then I agree that it is a fault service. But I did not as I hit the cork only. Sometimes, I do "cock" my wrist more that usual when I do a flick serve to surprise my opponent. But most times, I move my arm mainly as described by Cheung.

    Why do you think my friend still insists it is a fault service? I never really asked him.
    Can you think of any past or present world class doubles players doing likewise? This will help me quash the accusation of my unconvincing friend.
    Either you bring the racquet up too high, or you draw it back once you've started the forward motion is all I can think of.

    To call it illegal without pointing out why is of no use.

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    Originally posted by Californian
    Either you bring the racquet up too high, or you draw it back once you've started the forward motion is all I can think of.

    To call it illegal without pointing out why is of no use.
    I quite agree with you. I did neither of the above as mentioned by you. As I said, I thought he might have classified it as a "slung" shot.

    I will "confront" him for an explanation the next time.

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    Originally posted by swijaya0101
    #1 is the best method. You can flick the serve, aim to the corner ...

    #2-3 will surely kill your chance to get point (if your opponent are good players), because they would be able to detect what u r going to do with the shuttles.
    I just been looking at some videos as well. This is quite a difficult motion to pick up due to poor camera angles, distance of camera lens and small motion of the arm, hands and fingers to produce a serve.

    Tony Gunawan definately turns his wrist during the action. Chandra has a much less obvious 'wrist' movement and seems to pushes more.

    When some people mention wrist action more, I am not sure at which part of the stroke. The follow through after striking the shuttle definately entails adjustment of the wrist. Does this mean that wrist movement predominates at the point of striking the shuttle? This is far harder to discern.

    swijaya makes the point of the shuttle path being more obvious with more arm movement. However, if the quality of the serve is good enough, shouldn't that make it harder to attack? And then if you can mix in a little finger movement to produce a flick of the shuttle, wouldn't that be quite a disguise as well causing the receiver to hestitate?

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    Originally posted by Cheung

    swijaya makes the point of the shuttle path being more obvious with more arm movement. However, if the quality of the serve is good enough, shouldn't that make it harder to attack? And then if you can mix in a little finger movement to produce a flick of the shuttle, wouldn't that be quite a disguise as well causing the receiver to hestitate?
    That's the way I feel about it. As soon as you think the opponent is keying in on your arm motion, you can turn the racquet head just before striking the shuttle to direct it to a different area, or flick a drive serve. You can actually use the arm motion to lure the opponent into thinking he or she can tell what's coming. That's when you make the change.

    I notice this kind of thing on underhand shots during the rally. Some players extend the arm and hold until the last moment and use only the wrist to direct the shot. Others take a forward arm swing, but keep the wrist cocked back, ready to apply quick wrist action to direct the shuttle if they choose to (or they may simply keep the wrist back and use the arm motion to direct the shot--but the potential for split-second action is always there). It doesn't seem to me that it matters which way is used--it's personal preferance.

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    Originally posted by swijaya0101
    #1 is the best method. You can flick the serve, aim to the corner ...

    #2-3 will surely kill your chance to get point (if your opponent are good players), because they would be able to detect what u r going to do with the shuttles.
    Not nessessarily... if I'm going to flick it then obviously i'm not going to use the push method. They still have to be ready for either stroke at the start of the serve. Once the serve is started, it's pretty easy to tell whether it's going to be short or long so I don't think the push will be much of a hinderance on deception at all. I've been watching some of the tournament footage you provided (thx! ) and haven't noticed many players starting with a short serve with a slow stroke and then changing it to a flick mid-stroke. (I do remember this being done a few times, but not very often, and often with poor results anyway, such as it going out or was easily smashed back.) Maybe it would make more difference with less skilled opponents, but for me, the gain is greater than the loss.

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    I thought that the pros only used wrist motion and did not push at all... but after comparing freeze-frames, i've found that most players DO use some push motion, although not much.

    Here's the motion sequence for Sigit. Each frame is spaced exactly 0.04 seconds apart. The blue bulb denote the axis of rotation (his hand) while the blue line represent the rotational axis (shaft of the raquet.) The white line denote the force vector (direction of force applied.)
    Attached Images Attached Images  

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    Here it is again with the motion follow-through. While watching the serve, his wrist seems stationary, but watching it with vectors, we see even he pushes his hand forward (by about 6 inches.) In fact, nearly a third of the forward motion comes from his hand.
    Attached Images Attached Images  

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    Here's a strip of Tony Gunawan's serve. You can clearly see that he heavily relies upon a push for forward momentum. (well, you would have clearly seen it had kwun allowed image heights greater than 640 or allowed image hotlinking.)

    Each frame is for exactly 0.02 seconds. (Twice as many frames as the previous one)
    Attached Images Attached Images  

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