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ipodtennispro
08-30-2007, 10:13 AM
I would like anybody's opinion on whether learning to throw a baseball is helpful for students that are learning the service motion. How are the two motions similar? If not, explain and give a better motion to copy. Example: Football?

TennsDog
08-30-2007, 10:49 AM
There are some similarities between the two motions, but not enough that I would ever suggest to someone that they practice throwing to improve serve. Loose arm, shoulder turn, and leading with the elbow are about all I really notice similar between the two. Other that that, a serve should hit the ball up, while a throw goes more straight. The serve moves either the back or neither foot, while throwing moves the front foot (which is one reason I started serving by stepping in with my front foot). Unless you're throwing from center field to home, you don't generally get the same back shoulder drop as with the serve.

Overall, I'd say it could help some people, but I certainly would not go to it first. There are better ways to learn, but throwing baseballs might be worth a shot as a somewhat last resort if nothing else seems to help.

WBF
08-30-2007, 12:26 PM
I was very into baseball and tennis going into high school. Throwing was terrible for tennis (for me), so I gave up baseball for tennis that year.

r2473
08-30-2007, 12:44 PM
I would like anybody's opinion on whether learning to throw a baseball is helpful for students that are learning the service motion. How are the two motions similar? If not, explain and give a better motion to copy. Example: Football?

Bolletteri's (?) "Sonic Serve" video uses the pitching motion as an example of proper serving. If you wish to understand the comparison in detail, I would suggest spending the $30 on the video. It is sold on here on TW.

Dedans Penthouse
08-30-2007, 01:02 PM
The pronation involved in throwing a football (i.e. the release off the finger tips and follow through) is also somewhat akin to the arm's motion while serving.

An example of this: stick a dollar bill folded in half length-wise in your left pocket (assuming you're a right hander) and have it sticking halfway out of your pocket. Slowly mimic the serving motion--barehanded--and pronate the arm as you follow through. Your thumb and index finger should be pointing down as you "finish" your motion....that is, you should now be able to pluck the dollar bill out of your left pocket with the index finger and thumb of your right hand.

ipodtennispro
08-30-2007, 02:01 PM
The pronation involved in throwing a football (i.e. the release off the finger tips and follow through) is also somewhat akin to the arm's motion while serving.

An example of this: stick a dollar bill folded in half length-wise in your left pocket (assuming you're a right hander) and have it sticking halfway out of your pocket. Slowly mimic the serving motion--barehanded--and pronate the arm as you follow through. Your thumb and index finger should be pointing down as you "finish" your motion....that is, you should now be able to pluck the dollar bill out of your left pocket with the index finger and thumb of your right hand.

Thanks!! That's the kind of tip I am looking for. I like that.

dave333
08-30-2007, 04:01 PM
yeah, its more like throwing a foot ball.

mark rodgers
08-30-2007, 07:15 PM
Bolletteri's (?) "Sonic Serve" video uses the pitching motion as an example of proper serving. If you wish to understand the comparison in detail, I would suggest spending the $30 on the video. It is sold on here on TW.

Agreed. There's are several drills on that video where the players are learning proper throwing technique to improvement their serve. One is simply players lining up on both ends of the court and simply playing catch. Another is a player throwing a tennis ball almost straight up in the air to demonstrate that you should mentally try to throw/serve way up. The other drill is done with the player that does a serve motion without a racquet. The player does a regular toss then using a serve/throw motion attempts to hit the tossed ball at it apex as if serving. Of course you have to use proper throw technique in all drills. The biggest difference is in how the throw motion is directed. The throw motion in tennis is directed vertically whereas in regular throwing it's directed horizontally. I think this is the biggest misconception when associating throwing to serving. You throw up, not out.

Of course, then you have to add the pieces that are strictly tennis. Toss, 90 degree knee bend, racquet drop along the hitting side of the body, supination, and pronation.

When I attended the Open two years ago there was a group a players playing baseball catch during warmups! There are definitely many components of the throw in a serve. When you combine the knowledge of the Bolletiere video and the excellent serve instruction section on hi-techtennis dot com you have the tools for achieving a powerful and consistent serve.

ipodtennispro
08-30-2007, 07:40 PM
Agreed. There's are several drills on that video where the players are learning proper throwing technique to improvement their serve. One is simply players lining up on both ends of the court and simply playing catch. Another is a player throwing a tennis ball almost straight up in the air. The other drill is done with the player that does a serve motion without a racquet. The player does a regular toss then using a serve/throw motion attempts to hit the tossed ball as if serving. Of course you have to use proper throw technique in all drills.

When I attended the Open two years ago there was a group a players playing baseball catch during warmups! There are definitely many components of the throw in a serve. When I combine the knowledge of the Bolletiere video and the instruction on hi-techtennis dot com you have the tools for achieving a power and consistent serve.

Yes, I agree. There are many "components" and that is the key. Many coaches like to disagree that the baseball pitch is not similar to the serve,
however, I have never had a problem teaching the serve to former baseball (player's) pitcher's. There must be some kind of connection here and that is why it is the closest thing I can compare it too. The football throw is just as good. I also have seen many players use it as a warm up, I am not surprised to see used at the Open. That reminded of another warm up I saw at the Open many years ago and it was a mini-tennis warm without rackets. They used their feet to soccer kick the ball over and play out the points.

Back to the baseball throw ---I am just curious to know why anyone would be against teaching the throwing motion or, why it would "hurt" any future progress.

Thanks for your comments.

NamRanger
08-31-2007, 08:05 PM
Yes, I agree. There are many "components" and that is the key. Many coaches like to disagree that the baseball pitch is not similar to the serve,
however, I have never had a problem teaching the serve to former baseball (player's) pitcher's. There must be some kind of connection here and that is why it is the closest thing I can compare it too. The football throw is just as good. I also have seen many players use it as a warm up, I am not surprised to see used at the Open. That reminded of another warm up I saw at the Open many years ago and it was a mini-tennis warm without rackets. They used their feet to soccer kick the ball over and play out the points.

Back to the baseball throw ---I am just curious to know why anyone would be against teaching the throwing motion or, why it would "hurt" any future progress.

Thanks for your comments.


They are somewhat similiar, however there are some subtle details that make them different. If you are using things like smooth delivery, weight transfer, and the general arm motion, then yes, they are similiar. However from what I know from watching and talking to some college pitchers, pitching and serving are quite different.

lkdog
08-31-2007, 09:36 PM
A few comments FWIW-

Have looked at the

http://iws.punahou.edu/user/lcouillard/

site and the Serve Tips especially and they are quite good.

As far as translating the throwing motion to the serve there are certain core elements for sure, but it is not really a direct progression or translation IMO.

I played baseball growing up and high level softball for years. Always was considered to have a great arm.
I got serious about tennis in early 30's. Struggled with the serve and still do even though I developed into a 4.0 to 4.5 player and was ranked fairly high in my state in 35's for a few years.

The grip is critical in serving, and swing path as noted is unique to tennis.
Coordinating the toss and weight shift, loop, and serving motion are exponentially more complicated than simply throwing a ball.

Another point of interest, my best buddy cannot throw a ball to save his life, but has an excellent serve.:grin:

All I can say is I wish I would have had better instruction on the serve initially
when I started as once you learn bad habits, even if you get by, they inherently limit your game and also are hard to unlearn.

ipodtennispro
09-01-2007, 03:51 PM
A few comments FWIW-

Have looked at the

http://iws.punahou.edu/user/lcouillard/

site and the Serve Tips especially and they are quite good.

As far as translating the throwing motion to the serve there are certain core elements for sure, but it is not really a direct progression or translation IMO.

I played baseball growing up and high level softball for years. Always was considered to have a great arm.
I got serious about tennis in early 30's. Struggled with the serve and still do even though I developed into a 4.0 to 4.5 player and was ranked fairly high in my state in 35's for a few years.

The grip is critical in serving, and swing path as noted is unique to tennis.
Coordinating the toss and weight shift, loop, and serving motion are exponentially more complicated than simply throwing a ball.

Another point of interest, my best buddy cannot throw a ball to save his life, but has an excellent serve.:grin:

All I can say is I wish I would have had better instruction on the serve initially
when I started as once you learn bad habits, even if you get by, they inherently limit your game and also are hard to unlearn.

You make some good points here. I agree that the serve is unique in itself and nothing can "reproduce" this motion other than real serving. Also, as you pointed out there is the toss and the grip and you have to lower your shoulder and hit "up" on the serve. But, in then end the motion really is very simple however, many people choose to complicate it with unecessary body motions.

I also find it interesting that you have a background as baseball pitcher but have not been able to transfer that motion into your serve. Especially the release point which many pitchers are so good at. I suspect your problems could be the two motions competing with each other???? Do you use a pin point stance?

With regard to your friend, I would have to see his serve to see how good it really is or, better yet -- imagine how much stronger it could be if he added components of the baseball throw into his motion?

I saw Isner play today for the first time. If you are 6' 9" and serve from a tree it doesn't matter what motion you use, it's still going to be big.

"It's the horse"

Thanks for posting.

Rickson
09-01-2007, 03:55 PM
I would like anybody's opinion on whether learning to throw a baseball is helpful for students that are learning the service motion. How are the two motions similar? If not, explain and give a better motion to copy. Example: Football?

Hell no! Throwing a baseball uses a lot of supination while serving uses a lot of pronation. If you threw a baseball exactly like a service motion, it would be like a little girl throwing a ball.

ipodtennispro
09-01-2007, 04:10 PM
Hell no! Throwing a baseball uses a lot of supination while serving uses a lot of pronation. If you threw a baseball exactly like a service motion, it would be like a little girl throwing a ball.

Well, at least we know your stance on this one.

Thanks

Rickson
09-01-2007, 04:17 PM
Well, at least we know your stance on this one.

Thanks

Thank you, thank you very much.

ipodtennispro
09-01-2007, 04:53 PM
They are somewhat similiar, however there are some subtle details that make them different. If you are using things like smooth delivery, weight transfer, and the general arm motion, then yes, they are similiar. However from what I know from watching and talking to some college pitchers, pitching and serving are quite different.

Yes and again, as I quoted earlier, there is nothing better than practicing your serve to better your serve. What I think some people are confusing is replacing practicing your serve with throwing baseballs to improve your serve. I am not advocating that. Your point about the smooth delivery, weight transfer and the general arm motion is really what the SERVE should be and that is the similarity that can be taught at an early age to a 3 year old which is a precursor for the tennis serve. Not many 3 year olds can serve with a full motion but they can learn to throw a ball.

Thanks for posting.

lkdog
09-01-2007, 05:19 PM
I also find it interesting that you have a background as baseball pitcher but have not been able to transfer that motion into your serve. Especially the release point which many pitchers are so good at. I suspect your problems could be the two motions competing with each other???? Do you use a pin point stance?

I have switched back and forth between a pinpoint and platform. Presently using a pinpoint again as it helps me swing up easier. One recent change that has also helped me is going to a Continental grip from an Eastern backhand. It seems to be a more natural throwing sensation to me and I am getting a better racquet loop or drop which is a chronic problem of mine. Maybe the most difficult thing for me is the hitting up notion as a throwing motion is so ingrained in me which is more out than up.
The other tricky thing for me is the advanced serve is really based upon a slice serve with the racquet (and hand while pronating) going out to right more which is not really like a throwing motion which is more directly toward the target. I tend to get handsy with the serve rather than letting the forearm pronation just naturally snap out the right. It is counterintuitive so yes-the two motions compete with each other.

With regard to your friend, I would have to see his serve to see how good it really is or, better yet -- imagine how much stronger it could be if he added components of the baseball throw into his motion?

His serve is steady and solid with good spin and he has good accuracy. Can hit the BH corner most every time. It is not overpowering as he does not really toss into the court very far. It could be better and it is not a weapon but not a liability. Very good for doubles (4.5 level) especially as he has a good volley. Not as good for singles as he gets very few cheap points and does not set himself up with easy balls either too much. If he hits to my forehand I tee off on it, but I see his serve all of the time.