Help with serve

Discussion in 'Techniques / Training' started by mtu620, Mar 29, 2022.

  1. mtu620

    mtu620 Regular Member

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    i am always on defense after a serve. Doubles: always get smashed. Singles: per the video clips - serve left yields 1) fast deep clear to backhand or 2) sharp drop to forehand or occasionally 3) deceptive sharp backhand drop; serve right yields 1) deep forehand corner push/clear or 2) sharp forehand drop. In all cases, singles or doubles, I am in defense after a serve.

    This is due to either/all of 1) poor serve technique 2) good return of serve or 3) poor footwork in response to the return. Focusing on 1) - how do I improve the serve? Already watched countless videos.

    Troubleshooting myself: seems arms are too low, shuttle pointing down and to right (rather than straight and to the back), bent arm, right arm and racket face goes up after serve to compensate (otherwise I feel it will hit the net).
     
  2. Ffly

    Ffly Regular Member

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    Try to serve as close to the center line of the court to reduce the possible angles of return. It will be harder for the opponent cross net far on the side (will be a bit closer to the middle, thus better for you). You can also aim a little bit farther than the T to avoid too sharp returns.

    Doing so, if the opponent lifts flat, the angle should be reachable within a step or a jump from the middle of the court but it requires intense focus and a good split step to push hard and intercept it.

    Aside from that there is no magic solution, you need to get ready and push hard on your legs to get there in time.

    The upside of serving short is not leaving the attack initiative right away, but the downside is that you need to be fast enough and comfortable playing late backhand & forehand.

    In your video, you were not really in a defensive position after your short serve, all options were available, you just chose to clear defensively (and on the same side as he is standing in...) everytime. The issue was the shot selection and your recovery which was poor and that put you on defense.

    In doubles, if you get smashed after a serve then it's probably too high
     
    #2 Ffly, Mar 29, 2022
    Last edited: Mar 29, 2022
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  3. Cheung

    Cheung Moderator

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    1. Serve more intelligently
    2. Anticipate most likely return
    3. Improve your first step speed.
     
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  4. precrime3

    precrime3 Regular Member

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    Serving is a neutral shot, the best case scenario is you get a neutral shot back, worse case scenario you have to defend something. It's very rare to win a point straight off the serve so make sure expectations are correct for when you serve. HOWEVER it is so important because it's the only time in the game where you are perfectly balanced, are under no pressure from your opponent and your opponent can only react to the shot.

    Without a doubt you are serving too high (on the low serve). If that is not the case and you're shots are tight to net and land on T, then you need variety in your low serve.

    Your serve is fine at this level it seems. It's a little high but opponents are not rushing to punish it and are waiting for it to come to them. I think #3 is the culprit (lack of experience maybe) but lets focus on #1 here:

    Improve the serve (the question) by focusing on tightness to the net (even in singles) and studying about likely returns. Typically serving to the middle like you're doing is what you'll do most of the time as it'll force opponents to use either forehand or backhand.

    @Ffly mentions serving to the T which I actually disagree with. It's a better option when you're serving from the left (assuming opponent is right handed) as they'll take it on the forehand likely which limits returns.

    If you're serving from the right serving to the middle gives it to their backhand and it's very easy to play any shot from there.

    In short:
    - Focus on tight serves to the middle, not the T (IMO)
    - study likely returns, and be attentive to particular opponent preferred returns.
    - practice footwork (fast to rear court, late forehand/backhand, guarding net, etc.)

    I know that's a lot to take in so let me know if any need clarification
     
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  5. mtu620

    mtu620 Regular Member

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    Thank you all.

    I play multiple times per week x many yrs. Same opponent. Serving to the left (right to left) = opponent uses a backhand to do a fast push/clear deep to my backhand. I know its coming yet I can't do anything about it. Frustrating. I hit a weak backhand (bird is already behind me), yielding an easy put away OR I turn and hit a forehand, but as you can see, the bird is so behind me I can only hit up. This yields easy put-aways too. Similarly, serving right yields fast deep shot to late forehand. I have no time to think so I wack at it, which 100% is a fully-anticipated not-so-deep clear which, in response, is crushed down-the-line.

    What are you recommendations if you think footwork is my main issue? Sub-questions are: 1) since I'm standing right foot forward for serve, how does one quickly switch to right foot back to retrieve the late forehand (e.g. how does one split-step in the front foot forward position, then switch feet)? 2) what recommendations do you have for the late/deep backhand? The bird is 100% to my left even after turning. This puts me in a very uncomfortable situation and forces me to only straight up.
    .
    I agree variety is needed. Serving to the middle, near T, is very hard to me. Something about my racket face/direction/force makes it very comfortable to serve to my opponent, both from the left and from the right. My serves land nearly 100% within 20% of the midpoint of each service line. How does one hit near the T?

    problem is serving to him yields an easy push as I mentioned above. and serving far near doubles line is way too far to achieve on a regular basis. It is a helpless situation.

    As above, how? As positioned the bird "wants" to go to the center, straight into the opponent.
     
  6. Cheung

    Cheung Moderator

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    1. Serve more intelligently - introduce more variation
    2. Anticipate most likely return - get your centre of balance ready
    3. Improve your first step speed. Move faster.

    When you turn for this shot to do an overhead clear, you are only doing a half turn because you are slow. Train to do a full turn. That goes back to my point 3. Move faster.


    Just how much of that has been allocated to training?

    If you want to improve the service return, you are going to need to specifically train for it rather than just playing games.
     
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  7. Cheung

    Cheung Moderator

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    Alternatively, play a high serve to the back tramlines of the court.
     
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  8. precrime3

    precrime3 Regular Member

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    Basically this. I was in a similar situation once where I kept playing with the same guy for months and couldn't beat him (before I had coaching and what not). Even though I know his style and what he was going to do, I still couldn't beat him. It wasn't until I trained catching fast lifts, footwork , etc. I improved.
     
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  9. Ballschubser

    Ballschubser Regular Member

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    I got some issues with a low serve return too, but I was able to improve on it. Some basic points regarding your video:
    1. After a low serve, the opponent needs to take the shuttle below the net, so your racket must be up immediatly after a low serve.
    2. Evaluate your weak spots, for me it is the deep forhand corner and short forhand corner. Try to focus on the corner more to react more quickly.
    3. Ready up after a low serve immediatly, that is, get your center of gravity down, turn your feet already in the direction where you expect the hardest to handle return (e.g. instead of a neutral position, turn your feets so, that you are quicker to your deep forhand corner).
    4. Take a small step to the side where you serve to, so that you are able to intercept too low returns immediatly. This way you force your opponent to play higher returns, which gives you more time to reach it.
    5. Learn to flick, most important. If your opponent can expect a low serve all the time, he will be able to attack it easily , putting you under immediate pressure.

    If you clear or lift a return , it is okay. The basic idea is, to move your opponent. If he fears a good flick, he will stand back, therefor he needs to move forward to reach your low serve. If you are able to quickly intercept, you will be able to put a lot of movement pressure on his return.
     
  10. BadmintonDave

    BadmintonDave Regular Member

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    I struggled with backhand serve and it took me 3 months just to get the basics. 13 years later I am now confident in my short backhand doubles serve to the "T" and quite confident in a wide serve (to the from of the tram lines).

    My technique is simple and I encourage everyone I see struggling with serving to try it too. Put your hands infront of you, relaxed so the shuttle is infront of your non racquet leg hip (i'm right handed left shoulder would be at a 40-50 degree angle). Right hand has a "short" backhand grip for more control. Hold the shuttle by the tip of the feather and angle it diagonally down and right. Aim to hit it with the top 4 horizontal strings.

    Give a few practice swings to see what I mean about the position. By hitting it here you shouldn't be hitting your left wrist or fingers with your racquet frame. I have my left foot forwards, standing at the "T", but just stand whatever is comfortable to you. This could be square on, or the other foot forward. Just make sure to have part of both feet on the ground so it isn't a foul.

    The objective is to get the shuttle to cross as close to the net chord as possible. Anything higher than the net can be attacked by fast opponents. Remain comfortable, and push with your thumb / wrist. Your racquet elbow and shoulder shouldn't really move.

    If you want to flick the opponent, put a bit more pace into the serve just before impact. Do this if they are being very aggressive and standing close to the net on your serve.

    In singles, stand a bit further back from the T, because you have to cover more of the court than in a doubles serve.

    *You can watch all the videos you like, but you have to practice it and learn what you see*. The most efficient way would be to find a coach and get them to teach you. Could take 1 hr, could take 40 hrs. There's no point practicing things that are wrong, so start by learning the right thing and it saves you time in the long term.
     
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  11. Cheung

    Cheung Moderator

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    From the video, I don’t see a big problem with the serve. The opponent is very clearly receiving with an underarm stroke in this singles match. The path of the shuttle is upwards and the OP reacts slowly to this.

    The opponent is not rushing the serve at all.

    IMO, the OP thinks his serve is a problem but it’s actually how he prepares and moves for the shot after the opponent hits the shuttle which is the issue.


    OP has to specifically train to move much better after the opponent hits the shuttle. Things like:

    A) Time his bounce and split better after serving. The video shows split step is pretty bad.

    B) First step faster (includes anticipation - OP has played the same opponent for many years!)

    C) First step stronger - the push off the base after serving is weak - legs look weak to me.

    D) Have a much better (positive mindset) rotation to his round the head side (because his turning round the head body movement is really weak - the opponent knows a straight clear or drop is coming). Might I add the OP thinks he’s turning his body but he isn’t.

    Bonus tip:

    E) Fix his deep forehand stroke technique. He starts the swing too late and hits the shuttle after landing the right foot.
     
    #11 Cheung, Jun 15, 2022
    Last edited: Jun 15, 2022
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  12. ralphz

    ralphz Regular Member

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    You could describe what you mean in much clearer language.

    E.g. It looks like perhaps you don't mean your low serve goes so high that they can do a smash. (a smash is an overhead shot).

    So you could use clearer words than you did
     
  13. mtu620

    mtu620 Regular Member

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    so one should start the swing before landing the right foot? could you elaborate?
     
  14. Cheung

    Cheung Moderator

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    You prepare the racquet inadequately making you late to hit the shuttle. Pull it back more when you are first moving towards that corner.

    check that picture in this link. Note how she has pulled the shoulder back so that the racquet is behind her.

    https://focustaiwan.tw/sports/202206180012


    However, I would say focussing your time on having good footwork and movement after the opponent returns your serve will give you much bigger returns than spending time in the deep forehand corner at present. Your timing, footwork movement and turning of your body are huge limitations and causing you to be on the defensive far too easily and unnecessarily.
     
    #14 Cheung, Jul 7, 2022
    Last edited: Jul 7, 2022
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  15. BadmintonDave

    BadmintonDave Regular Member

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    It helps with momentum and stuff.

    Look at people throwing a javelin or doing a triple jump. They do a run up.

    Same with that situation in badminton.
     
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  16. badliker

    badliker Regular Member

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    I didn't read the other answers, so i'll apologize if this has already been said.
    In singles, you generally don't want to serve "too short". And by that I don't mean making a service error lol. But you know how in mens double, you want to make your serve as close to the front line as possible to apply pressure at the net? Yeah, don't do that in singles.

    In singles we have a lot more to cover. By serving the "double" (that's what I call it) serve, you allow your opponent to have more freedom of what shot they can choose from. It's very easy to make netshots from a double-serve, but also to make a push lift, forcing you in the defensive.
    Instead, what you should be doing in a single, is making your serve a lot longer. Try look at the pro matches: Have you ever seen a single player make a serve that's too short?
    We want the serve to be a little further into the court, but don't over do this. But it should be longer than a double-serve.
    We do this to give ourselves a little more time and to make some of the shots harder to do for our opponent. By serving a little bit further, you allow yourself to have a tiny amount more time, if they try to do a push lift. It's not much, but it can make the difference. By serving a little bit further, you're also making it a little tougher for them to do netshots, as they need the shuttle to travel a bit more, which means they either have to put it a little further into the court (then it doesn't get as tight, and you won't be under too much pressure), or they would have to make it a little higher (to make it fall down tight to the net), but that would also give you more time to react
     
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  17. mtu620

    mtu620 Regular Member

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    Want to revive this post. Recently playing more doubles and having trouble with doubles serve. It is so easily attacked, regardless of how close it is to the service line and regardless of how little power i put into it. It seems to have a floating quality and doesn't go down. It is really frustrating. I have anxiety at the service line because of this weakness and commonly clear/push the serve instead, which is then attacked right back at me because of inability to retreat fast enough.
     
  18. visor

    visor Regular Member

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    Practice your low serves until they're within 2 inches of the net tape and service line. As mentioned before, it's a push/tap, not a hit.

    Then practice your drive serves and flick serves until they're within 2 inches of the doubles service line. And don't be afraid to use it if your opponent is rushing the net often.

    Sent from my SM-G988W using Tapatalk
     
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  19. Cheung

    Cheung Moderator

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    Did you manage to improve your body movement in singles when trying to take the third shot?
     
  20. Cheung

    Cheung Moderator

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    A video would help.

    Could you tell us how much you practice a low doubles serve away from a game?
     

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