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View Poll Results: where do you contact during a backhand serve?

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  • near racket top

    209 37.39%
  • sweet spot

    327 58.50%
  • near t-joint

    23 4.11%
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  1. #1
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    Thumbs up Contact point on racquet head during backhand serve

    Some of you know I'm taking classes from Darryl Yung here in Vancouver. I had a lesson last week on the backhand serve and I thought that I'd share what I learned with everyone.

    We've talked here at BF about many aspects of service:

    Where to put your feet
    Where you look

    We've talked about how to flick serve, where to aim the serve, forehand or backhand, etc.

    BUT, I can't recall a time when we talked about exactly where the shuttle hits the racquet head (correct me please if I'm wrong, I just want to have the discussion in any case ).

    So what does Darryl say?
    He advocated for the backhand serve the contact point should be at most 4 cross strings down from the 12 o'clock top. Illustration below.

    I've always had a very consistent backhand service. My impact point was always the sweetspot. The change to contacting at the top was immediately noticable, and improved the consistency of flight in between serves for me. I haven't had a chance to try it in anger yet, so it might just be the act of changing that's making me think it's better (Hawthorn Effect? )

    Reasons from Darryl for such this technique:
    -The strings are tighter at that location
    -There is more sensitivity at that location when using the choked up grip backhand grip (right onto the cone).

    His claims:
    -Should allow for flatter trajectory
    -Most importantly consistency.

    So my question: Where on the head do you make contact when you serve backhand?

    a. Racquet Top
    b. Sweet Spot
    c. Near the T joint
    Attached Images Attached Images  
    Last edited by 604badder; 06-14-2005 at 11:11 PM.

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  3. #2
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    Interesting idea.

    I always serve on (or near) the sweetspot, and I expect most people do the same. I will have to try this suggestion

    I imagine this method would make slice serves very difficult.

  4. #3
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    I also serve around or near the sweetspot.. But I guess i'll give your/his tip of making contact on the tighter area a go.. should be good.. cheers..

    - Alby

  5. #4
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    i dont try and hit the sweetspot, usually a bit further up, but i never thought hittin it that far up would be effective. I shall try it methinks.

  6. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by 604badder
    Reasons from Darryl for such this technique:
    -The strings are tighter at that location
    -There is more sensitivity at that location when using the choked up grip backhand grip (right onto the cone).

    His claims:
    -Should allow for flatter trajectory
    -Most importantly consistency.
    Depending on terminology, I think the point would be that there is less sensitivity in that area. This may make the energy transferred to the shuttle more consistent.

    The sweetspot transfers a higher proportion of the energy input to the the shuttle.
    For arguments sake let's say the sweetspot is 100% efficient, and near 12 o'clock is 50% efficient, and we need to get 100 energy units into the shuttle for a good serve.

    hitting in the sweetspot, to give the shuttle 100 energy units, we need to supply 100 energy units. If we hit it too hard, say 110 units, the shuttle gets 100% of the extra energy (10).

    hitting near 12 o'clock, to give the shuttle 100 energy units, we need to supply 200 energy units. If we hit it too hard, say 210 units, the shuttle only gets 50% of the extra energy (5).
    So differences in our swing mean smaller changes in the effect on the shuttle.

    This is only useful if the error in our swing in the 200 range is the same as in the 100 range, i.e. +/- 10.
    If we can do 100 +/- 10 or 200 +/- 30 then it may be better to use the sweetspot.


    Similarly, it is advised to play delicate net shots away from the sweetspot. Possibly for the same reason.

  7. #6
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    Indeed so. And from a bio-mechanical point of view, a very small delicate movement is more difficult to reproduce than a bigger movement. In other words, in this case a bigger swing is better. It also helps disguising those flick serves.

  8. #7
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    I tried using the top of the racket technique after noticing some pros, including Gail Emms, using it. In my experience, as Neil says, the margin for error seems to be favourable, but I found varying direction and weight to be more difficult. I dare say if I had persevered I might have improved, but as Gollum suggests, slicing the serve was difficult, too, which is another reason why I switched back.

  9. #8
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    Please correct me if I am wrong. I thought the 4th string from the top is already in sweet spot already. Also, actually string is at the same tension if it is done right. However, it does feel tighter because the string is shorter at the top compare to the middle and it takes more force to move the string at the same dispacement (different angle). I did pay attention to my back hand serve and is is usually around 4th or 5th string. I look at a few video and saw many pros place the shuttle right before the serve.

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    Well, I tend to serve near the sweet-spot, but as far as I know, the idea with serve in top of your racquet should be to make a cut in your serve. You're able to hit the shuttle quiet hard, but the way racquet hits the shuttle it makes a cut fairly after it's crossed the net which makes i go down ekstremly faster than a normal serve which be flying a bit longer.

    I've learned to use it, but I hardly ever do. Find it hard to do a "loop-serve" above my opponent and therefor he easily could se when I'm doing a long or short serve if I use differents grips when I serve.

    --
    Christoffer

  11. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by 604badder

    So what does Darryl say?
    He advocated for the backhand serve the contact point should be at most 4 cross strings down from the 12 o'clock top. Illustration below.

    Reasons from Darryl for such this technique:
    -The strings are tighter at that location
    -There is more sensitivity at that location when using the choked up grip backhand grip (right onto the cone).

    His claims:
    -Should allow for flatter trajectory
    -Most importantly consistency.
    Are these reasons also valid for the strings nearer the T-joint?

  12. #11
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    604badder

    It's not strictly a Hawthorne effect since that affects people who know they are being studied. Observation is made by a seperate party.

    You are experiencing observer bias on yourself.

  13. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cheung
    Are these reasons also valid for the strings nearer the T-joint?
    maybe, but I would guess the effect would be less.
    When you choke up the grip the sweetspot moves slightly closer to the throat.
    I would have thought the throat area would have a greater COR (coefficient of restitution) than the tip area.

  14. #13
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    Interesting. I agree with Neil that hitting in an area of the racket in which less of the energy is transferred is preferable since a very low amount of effort is needed to propel the shuttle, and less of the error will be transferred to the shuttle.

    You could split low backhand serving styles into 2 types

    If you serve with a pure "push" in that your hand moves in the same direction/path as the racket head then if you choke the grip or hit near the T or the top should not matter in terms of reproducing the same outcome since the racket head will move at the same speed and direction.

    However if you hit the shuttle with a short swing , i.e. one point of your arm like your elbow or hand remains relatively fixed and the racket head describes an arc then choking the grip or hitting nearer the T both reduce the "lever". In this case you would expect to gain the greatest control by having the shortest lever possible since any "error" in the swing is multiplied by the lever.

  15. #14
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    I've just watched some of the AE05 MD Final, and you can see Jonas hitting the shuttle near the tip of the racquet. Lars looks bit closer to the centre of the racquet.

  16. #15
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    I tried this out last night. There seemed to be a modest improvement in my serves In particular, they seemed to travel downwards after crossing the net, rather than continuing their upwards flight briefly.

    The difference was slight, however, so it may not be related. I'll continue to use it, to test.

  17. #16
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    I thought it might depend also on where you hold the shuttle before serving. I hold it near the top of the head; if I try too hard to hit it in the sweet spot, I might hit my hand too.

  18. #17
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    some shots of Lars Paaske serving
    Attached Images Attached Images    

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