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PostPosted: 31 Jan 2017, 15:48 
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Welcome to the "5 Minutes Daily" Service Practice Challenge for February.

I will run this challenge every month, and attempt to keep to it each month. The challenge is to spend (at least) 5 minutes every day, working on a focussed aspect of your serve, every day of the month. Here's how it works:

- Make a somewhat detailed post describing your practice every day during the month.
- No back-dating or pre-dating posts or practice sessions.
- On the last day of the month, if you completed the challenge, post about it, preferably in red text or something so I can notice it. I will be lobbying the mods for a special award / title that can be given to those who complete the challenge.

In your post, please:

- Detail what you did for at least five minutes of practice - with a table? on the floor? on the bed? at the club? with one ball or many? shadow swings?
- Video footage would be *awesome* - I'm hoping this will get me into the habit of recording myself again

Enjoy and practice hard!

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PostPosted: 31 Jan 2017, 15:50 
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In January, nobody completed the challenge. I did pretty well for the first two weeks, but then work got crazy and I didn't prioritise. The great thing about a new month, is a new chance to try!

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PostPosted: 31 Jan 2017, 18:03 
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I did this challenge in Iraq in the year of 2008, it prolly moved my level up two full levels without practicing anything else in one year of THREE minutes of serve practice a day. What LC is proposing is very worthy.

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PostPosted: 01 Feb 2017, 05:59 
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It's the simple things that are often hard to stick to. For many (myself included), improved service is probably the fastest/simplest path to increasing your level. Serve return is also crucial but not as easy to practice...

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PostPosted: 01 Feb 2017, 06:14 
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I only missed one day in January until the 28th when I went out of town. I won't be back until Feb 5th, so I flunked out of Feb before it started. See you in March.


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PostPosted: 01 Feb 2017, 09:03 
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I have subscribed to this thread, but I'm not sure why. We all know this is going to be January all over again. :D


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PostPosted: 01 Feb 2017, 09:24 
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Fighting talk!


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PostPosted: 02 Feb 2017, 07:43 
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Day 1:

Practiced floor serves outside the TT hall. Using inverted rubber today (Hurricane 8 ) - all my serves came back to me, and most came back straight, which means I'm getting better at getting under the ball.

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PostPosted: 02 Feb 2017, 08:19 
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Cool thread and idea, my amateur league starts at the end of February and I want to be sharp as possible so I will take this challenge seriously.

Day 1 started great, was alone in the club so had a binge 3 hour serving practice session, here is a short clip of my backspin drilling, I usually serve for a minute, review the footage and repeat:

https://youtu.be/P8mWiA6AFcM

What I focused on was thin contact ( I often chase the ball downward and contact thick) and Nextlevel's advanced whip pattern (not always there but getting better).

Generally happy about my backspin serve, so far its pretty spinny, short and not as slow as it used to be, would just like to get it lower and sharper, serving from a lower stance should be my first and easiest adaptation to achieve that.


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PostPosted: 02 Feb 2017, 08:30 
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Great video Barfly. Next time, could you try to get the angle from the side so we can see the action a bit better. That's actually more important than where the ball goes.

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PostPosted: 02 Feb 2017, 08:32 
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LordCope wrote:
Great video Barfly. Next time, could you try to get the angle from the side so we can see the action a bit better. That's actually more important than where the ball goes.


Deal!


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PostPosted: 02 Feb 2017, 22:29 
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Hi LordCope this is a great drill for me as I'm recovering from cataract surgery & as I now have to wear glasses while playing for the first time in my life. :swear: I'm either practising at one of the 2 clubs I attend or practising on the floor for at least 20mins every day I'm not at the clubs. At first playing with glasses was weird & I was missing the ball at most of my attempts to serve but I'm getting there with the help of your drill thanks for the idea. :up: :clap:

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PostPosted: 02 Feb 2017, 22:37 
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Day 2:

About 10 mins of practicing service toss. I struggle with consistent and accurate tosses, and I also want to develop a high toss serve, so I've decided to work on toss consistency.

Debater suggested using a sheet of A4 underneath where I would normally make contact with the ball. I did this, placing the sheet in "landscape" orientation, a few inches to the right of my left foot, standing as I would to perform a pendulum serve - ie with my right foot more or less parallel to my left foot, and perhaps 6 inches further back.

I held the ball resting in the cuppiest part of my flat palm, and tossed the ball up, and watched to see where it landed. I found that the accuracy and consistency was *much* better when the toss was made by the whole body going up and down, powered by the thighs, compared to trying to use just the arm.

After practicing for about five minutes, I devised a game... basically I "played" a best of 5 match, where I got a point if the ball landed on the paper, and my opponent got a point if the ball did not land on the paper. I won 11-7 11-9 11-3. That's roughly a 71% accuracy over all. That's actually much better than I expected, but clearly there's a lot of room for improvement.

A good thing about this practice? Even in a busy day, I can find 5 mins to practice with a ball and a piece of paper. No excuses!

EDIT: dodgy maths! 63% which is more like how it felt. And nowhere nearly good enough. But that's why we practice!

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PostPosted: 03 Feb 2017, 00:43 
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Brett recommended a slight variation on this. Not sure if it's on ttedge and too lazy to check.

Replace the paper with your bat. Don't swing, just hold the bat stationary in the place where you would make contact for a straight backspin serve. Toss the ball and see if it lands where you want it, without moving the bat at all.

The biggest advantage of this method for adults is you don't have to bend down to pick up the ball, assuming it hit the rubber.


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PostPosted: 03 Feb 2017, 02:52 
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Day 2

Busy day so only managed to do 10 min of some backspin floor/bed serves until my dog heard me and went on a search&destroy mission killing 3 balls in 5 seconds so I had to abort my practice before I go bust on my stash of balls.

On the bright side, I still qualify for the challenge and I made my dog happy :lol:
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