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View Full Version : Help Please, Is it wrong to serve and snap your wrist at contact ??


millenium
04-12-2008, 10:45 AM
I use a continetal grip and good pronation. Also i have good placement. But for my first serve which is flat, it seems the only way to get my serves in the service box is to snap my wrist at contact point and then point racket tip towards the ground. I have heard some coaches say to snap your wrist at contact. But others say to bring the whole arm and shoulder down and the snap of the wrist must come naturally and it is a myth to conciously snap your wrist. Obviously i have good shoulder turn and use my feet to push up aswell but it seems i always have to snap my wrist at contact. Is this wrong?

1012007
04-12-2008, 10:52 AM
No thats ideal, you will get a few more km/h speed on your serve.

seb85
04-12-2008, 11:04 AM
It looks like you're going to get some disagreement here too...

I absolutely disagree. There should be no conscious snap of the wrist at contact. It is fine to bring the arm down in front of you but the wrist should be floppy at all times. Snapping the wrist on purpose will, at best limit your power and at worst give you an injury.

Seb

mordecai
04-12-2008, 11:34 AM
A conscious wrist snap just disaligns the lever that is your arm, and also leads to an improper followthrough with undue strain on your forearm tendons. Snapping your wrist on the serve is a good way to hurt yourself badly.

millenium
04-12-2008, 12:52 PM
Pause at 7 seconds and look at Federers arm this is what i mean. It looks like he has snapped his wrist as his racket tip points to the ground.http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G03Zxg7OKA4

1012007
04-12-2008, 12:58 PM
Yeah he does...

See, it is good to do. It does generate that extra speed on the serve

albino smurf
04-12-2008, 12:59 PM
IMO it's not a snap, but a continuation, with acceleration, of the stroke.

seb85
04-12-2008, 01:02 PM
I don't think he has snapped his wrist particularly. It is clear that the wrist has broken through the ball, however i don't that that is proof that he has consciously 'snapped' it. The wrist will always snap through on its own if you are serving correctly.

All federer has done in this situation is slowed his arm a little after contact to prevent the racket hitting his leg.. (since he is using a slightly different swingpath for this flat serve). this slowing will naturally exaggerate the post impact wrist movement.

The bottom line is that if you consciously snap the wrist through the serve you will probably get hurt sooner or later.

People often look at Federer's strokes as proof that 'wristiness' is ok since he appears to use a lot of wrist movement. However, this movement only occurs because he is extremely loose through all his shots. Indeed being loose through the arm is the only safe way to achieve a Federer type swing.

1012007
04-12-2008, 01:04 PM
Its technically called "Pronation" ie to pronate

1012007
04-12-2008, 01:11 PM
Just found this: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4DpptgXq5j4

Very useful for the people in this thread

seb85
04-12-2008, 01:12 PM
Its technically called "Pronation" ie to pronate

Well yes it is called pronation but actually, technically, only the rotation part of the movement is pronation
http://cancerweb.ncl.ac.uk/cgi-bin/omd?pronation+of+forearm

So, mechanically, pronation ALLOWS the wrist to snap through- without pronation, there would be no possible wrist movement.

Anyway, this is largely irrelavent. What is relavent is stopping the OP from adopting a dangerous bad habit.

I know a lot of coaches talk about 'snapping' this wrist and i think this is a good concept for gaining knowlege of the correct movements. Using the wrist for control is also a very easy way to gain power and placement on the serve. However, and I talk from experience, not transferring to a system wholely or mostly controlled from the body will result in injuries. It has been very long road back to fitness (one that i am still treading) for me after quite a few years without playing partly becuase i relied too heavily on this wrist control for serves and forehands.

So believe me when I say it is hard to correct this habit later!

Seb :)

Bagumbawalla
04-12-2008, 02:26 PM
For as often as this question has been asked, here, it seems to be one of the most misunderstood.

The misunderstanding comes from the loose/imprecise language that is often used in describing tennis motions.

Somebody will say something like, "The speed of the ball in increased by the way his wrist snaps through the ball at contact." But that is a very fuzzy and misleading description of what is going on.

And that leads the novice to think that when they strike the ball during the serve they should, somehow, be "snapping their wrist" at that magical instant-- and that is just not the case.

When you serve, if you do so correctly, there will always be some motion in the wrist, but it should not be forced or consciously muscled. Instead, it comes about as the natural consequence of a smooth, loose swing where the wrist acts sort of like a gate hinge that allows the hand/racket to accelerate, somewhat through the ball, just as those martial-arts sticks (connecter by a rope) moves naturally and freely.

As mentioned above, if you try to muscle the action, you will strain the muscles/tendons and have problems down the line.

Trinity TC
04-12-2008, 03:03 PM
I snap my forearm which makes my wrist do that weird thing that some say is a snap and others say isn't. :)

Djokovicfan4life
04-12-2008, 03:26 PM
No, do not consciously snap your wrist. The reason people disagree about this is because some people's definition of "snapping" is different than others.

Some people mean the little "snap" that occurs at contact as a result of good pronation. Others mean when your wrist actually snaps forward, or ahead of your forearm.

I would strongly advise against the second one as it will probably lead to injuries.

BeHappy
04-12-2008, 03:51 PM
This is an absolutely brilliant article by BungaloBill of TW on this:



HOW DO WAVES BREAK ON THE SHORE?



Your probably wondering "what in the world does this have to do with the role of the wrist in a serve"? Well it has a lot to do with it so please bear with me.

Waves are generated by winds the whirl around the surface of the water. The stronger the wind the bigger the waves. Most of the waves we see that break on a beach are generated miles away from the shore. When a wave is generated and travels through deep water (keeping things simple) a swell will move towards land. A swell in the ocean is a wave but hasn't broken yet.

As the wave or swell travels closer and closer to shore, friction from the ocean's bottom causes the bottom half of the wave to slow down while the upper half without the same friction continues at the same speed. By the time it reaches shallow water, the difference in speed of the top half of the wave is so much greater than the bottom half that it "breaks" or folds over itself.

In California, the continental shelf (the bottom surface of the ocean) gets shallower slowly so that the bottom half of the wave slows down gradually. When it reaches a point where the bottom half cant keep up (shallow water), the wave breaks. But the wave breaks much slower than compared to a wave that breaks in Hawaii's North Shore. Plus, the winds that generated the wave in California's shore tend to be less severe as compared to the winds that generate waves on the North Shore of Hawaii.

On the North Shore of Hawaii, the waves do not slow down gradually as they do in California. There is no continental shelf to gradually slow down the bottom half of the wave. In Hawaii, the winds that generate the waves you see usually originate from Alaska which are very powerful winds. They also generate these waves in very deep water (some that are moving so deep you cant even see the swell on the surface) that travel 30 mph and sometimes faster.

When the wave reaches the North Shore, very little friction has been applied to these waves. On top of this, Hawaii's North Shore's shelf "suddenly" gets shallow and is not gradual like it is in California. The pressure slowing down the bottom half of the wave is tremendous. In other words, the wave or swell comes from deep water to shallow water very quickly.

Since the shelf in Hawaii acts like a sudden "braking" mechanism, the top of the wave is suddenly thrusted forward and upward which produces the very powerful waves you see on TV and what Hawaii's waves are famous for.

If you have read this, you will be able to pick up where I am going with this. You would see that the swell moving through the water resembles the coiling and the torso/lower body movement that will eventually transfer the energy to the shoulders, arm, and wrist. the braking mechanisms are a lot like what happens as one body element transfers the momentum to the other body element. The water represents the looseness of the body and the arm during the serving motion as it moves to meet the ball.

The bottom-lne to all of this is the sudden slowing down of one part while another continues is the "braking" and accelerating that needs to happen in the serve. Flexibility and looseness is what is important to transfer this moving energy, not a purposely done wrist snap as the force that initiated the motion has been completed (the legs, hips, and shoulders).

THE SERVE



When the shoulders slow down by using the non-dominant arm to "brake" or decelerate them, the arm continues to sling forward. Look at Roddick's serve closely. Notice the looseness in his shoulders and the extention he gets at his elbow. Notice the shoulders stop rotating once they are square and it flings the extending arm into the ball. Also, notice the wrist did not "snap".

As the arm slows down, the wrist is slung forward, when the wrist slows down (usually right at impact, the sudden force against the ball causes the wrist to slow down), the weight of the racquet is then forced downward (or breaks) as it has no other place to go - much like a breaking wave. When a wave is breaking the force is dissappating. The same with the serve. You want to make contact when the elbow has fully extended, this is when you are applying the maximum force generated by the legs, hips, and shoulders. The forward and upward energy at this point produces the "bang" you want in the serve then the wrist bends down from the transfer of force to the racquet.

So lets look at why the wrist needs to be loose and when it actually performs its role in the serve.

If you study professional serves you will realize the wrist is most involved when the arm stops or brakes as it reaches full extention. Look at the images for proof. When the upward swing starts in the serve motion, the wrist is thrusted back (lays back) and as the shoulders brakes, the arm begins to transfer the speed to the ball, the wrist isnt in a position yet to break (or catchup) yet and since it started out in a stopped position at the begining of the up swing, it is forced backwards or is laid back as it travels up with the arm. When the arm reached full extension, this "braking" cause the wrist to sling forward and the racquet hits the ball as illustrated below:



The non-dominant arm can be looked at as that shelf in Hawaii's waters. The arm/shoulder/hand is the water - fluidness. The top of the wave at its maximum peak is the the wrist. Look again:



If you learn nothing from my words above, learn this. It is the elbow extending that provides the "brakes" at full extension that allows the wrist and forearm to catchup and transfer the built up speed into the ball. Not purposely snapping the wrist! So, keep a loose arm AT THE ELBOW and extend making contact at full extension, the rest will take care of itself.

Take a closer look at other pictures for more insight:

BallBeemer
04-12-2008, 04:07 PM
Your wrist shouldn't snap. Just follow through.

Djokovicfan4life
04-12-2008, 06:47 PM
Hate to say I told you so, but I just saw this thread. http://tt.tennis-warehouse.com/showthread.php?t=191649

Please don't make the same mistake that this poster did.

Gmedlo
04-12-2008, 07:10 PM
Hate to say I told you so, but I just saw this thread. http://tt.tennis-warehouse.com/showthread.php?t=191649

Please don't make the same mistake that this poster did.

The poster, with all the research he did, still didn't seem to know the difference between snapping his wrist and pronating. I don't see them as related AT ALL. The wrist 'snaps' because the arm is moving like a whip, and inertia will cause the end of the whip to stop last. Pronation is simply turning the wrist inward. If you are consciously snapping, you are probably hitting down on the ball anyway, which won't produce a very effective serve.

OP: yes it is wrong to "snap the wrist at contact". But before you make any assumptions, make sure you fully understand what snapping the wrist is, and what pronation is.

Rafael_Nadal_6257
04-12-2008, 07:16 PM
Just a great post by BB.

My thoughts:
You DO NOT want to consciously snap your wrist. Just keep your wrist nice and relaxed (not TOO floppy!), and your wrist should unconsciously 'snap' (not a good word choice...) into the ball as a by-product of the rest of your serve/serve motion.

Djokovicfan4life
04-12-2008, 07:16 PM
The poster, with all the research he did, still didn't seem to know the difference between snapping his wrist and pronating. I don't see them as related AT ALL. The wrist 'snaps' because the arm is moving like a whip, and inertia will cause the end of the whip to stop last. Pronation is simply turning the wrist inward. If you are consciously snapping, you are probably hitting down on the ball anyway, which won't produce a very effective serve.

OP: yes it is wrong to "snap the wrist at contact". But before you make any assumptions, make sure you fully understand what snapping the wrist is, and what pronation is.

Yeah, I understand the difference between pronating and snapping, I tried to sort of explain it in my OP, I just did a pretty crappy job of doing it. I think the word "snap" should be thrown out of the tennis instruction world. It just causes unnecessary confusion.

From the OP's description it sounded like he was doing what the guy in that thread did and I didn't want him to injure himself.