View Full Version : Serve question

03-07-2004, 04:00 PM
Is pronation necessary in normal serving action? What can pronation do to the ball when serving?


Bungalo Bill
03-07-2004, 05:45 PM
You know so far I have seen a lot of posts on this issue. Pronation occurs naturally because your arm does it for you. It is how your body works. In my opinion, there are more important elements within the serve to focus on then this.

03-07-2004, 06:02 PM
If you serve the ball and it goes in then you've almost certainly pronated your wrist. This is also known as the wrist snap. It adds pace to your racquet like slamming a hinged door or throwing a baseball or snapping a whip (torque = force x radius). Easy to practice, just stand on the service line and serve the ball over the net into the service box. As you feel your wrist snap then move back a few steps and start over until your at the baseline. The wrist snap occurs in every service type, in fact w/ spin serves it becomes even more important to bring the ball down in to the court. However, it is a matter of timing and ball toss.

Camilio Pascual
03-08-2004, 03:35 AM
I agree with BB, but feel pronation should be talked about, anyway. I've found that many beginners interpret "carving" around the ball to give spin as supinating with their arm around the ball. I mention this difference so they are not fighting the pronation that occurs pretty naturally from the wrist snap and proper hitting motion.

03-08-2004, 04:02 AM
Camilio, if you see your palm rather than the back of the hand right after hitting the ball, is it supination or pronation?

03-08-2004, 04:15 AM
It's necessary if you want to serve harder or with more spin. Doing it correctly is a must. Pronation is a natural consequence of doing it correctly. For some idea of what the racquet 'throwing motion' should feel like when serving imagine you're holding a baseball and go through the motion of throwing it skyward. Do it again noting how the arm motion and wrist pronation link together naturally. Now go to the tennis court and serve with a similar 'throwing motion' and don't let go of the racquet. Adjust the 'tragectory' of the 'throwing motion' until your serves land in.

03-08-2004, 04:59 AM
According to a dictionary...

1a. To turn or rotate (the hand or forearm) so that the palm faces down or back.
b. To turn or rotate (the foot) by abduction and eversion so that the inner edge of the sole bears the body's weight.

1. To turn or rotate (the hand or forearm) so that the palm faces up or forward.
2. To turn or rotate (the foot) by adduction and inversion so that the outer edge of the sole bears the body's weight.

So far I've thought they refer to the second meanings applied to the forearm in a serving motion rather than the foot. And I've finally come to figure out many people here say them just to refer to the first meanings which are closer to their etymologies (pronate = bend forward, supinate = bend backward)... hmm

03-08-2004, 06:46 AM
I used to think just like BB on this. However, recent shoulder injury and serving inconsistency have forced me to do research on this subject, and now I think that there are basically two ways of serving. One (the old traditional) way is to do wrist snap. This is basically like throwing motion and I haven't found that actually "snapping" the wrist helps much. You want to have loose wrist and go with the flow. Some might disagree on this. Regardless, you can still serve very hard flat serves with this motion.

The other way to serve is to pronate your forearm not your wrist. This is how Sampras and Graf and many good servers serve. With this motion, your thumb goes from 12 o'clock to 6 o'clock position due to forearm pronation. You can really add addiotional pop using your strong forearm muscle and take a lot of pressure off from your shoulder by actively pronating your forearm. Some players may pronate their forearm without knowing. The main advantage of this motion is that you can put more spin (therefore more consistency) with better disguise while putting less strain on your shoulder.

Personally, I have not been able to serve as hard with the forearm pronation vs. the throwing motion. But, my serve has gotten more consistent and I can hit flat, slice, and topspin serve with the same toss. I think with more practice, I will be able to serve just as hard or harder with this motion vs. the old throwing motion.

Japanese Maple
03-08-2004, 06:59 AM

Review the posts under "pronation only for flat serve"-you can hit
spin serves using either pronation or supination depending on what you are trying to accomplish. For the average tennis player
this topic is one of the most frustrating things to understand
because everyone has different opinions and its very difficult to
get a general consesus. I really wish Pat Dougherty, as promised
would come out with phase 2 of the Sonic Serve showing frame
by frame how to hit the various serves and what exactly happens
to the wrist/forearm for each serve. Also, it would be great to learn
how best to disguise your serves, what serves are best for each
part of the service court,how to probe a returner early in the match
for return weaknesses,importance of speed and spin variations,ect.

03-08-2004, 07:34 AM
I really wish Pat Dougherty, as promised
would come out with phase 2 of the Sonic Serve

Me too! I wonder if there are any plans for it to happen, or if the project was cancelled.

03-08-2004, 03:42 PM
I think y'all are making this harder than it is. If your service grip is continental and you do not pronate your wrist (so that you are now looking at the back of your hand) you would frame every ball. In fact, try serving w/ a severe backhand grip and not frame the ball. But if you do pronate your wrist (as well as flex it thus snapping your wrist), the ball will find the string bed and you will impart spin and speed thus(ly).