PDA

View Full Version : Relaxed Arm on the Serve?


whozon3rd
03-26-2004, 08:52 PM
It seems this is an important component in serving and my question is how much? All of the arm or just part of it? Is the lower body driving all the action? I understand "wrist snap" and pronation are primarily passive moves, so which arm muscles (forearm/upper arm) are consciously used?

Bungalo Bill
03-26-2004, 11:51 PM
Just relax your arm at the elbow and especially have a relaxed wrist throughout the swing. Your lower body, upward thrust and rotation will provide the power and help generate fast racquet head speed. Be sure to bring in the tossing arm within your body dont dangle it outside of your body or you will short circuit the speed your trying to generate.

For the sake of not offending anyone here, I have now corrected my term for the serve to an analogy of a whip. I like the whip term best. LOL

jun
03-27-2004, 01:48 AM
I liked to think of it as "loose grip" as well. Just hold it enough that it won't fly out of your hand. Probably like holding egg...

BIll at least one of you is a grown up! ^_^
I thought it was funny when Japanese Maple did all that typing.

I have never heard of "bending" before either.. But I like "whip" better

ma2t
03-27-2004, 04:15 AM
I just want to comment that although I don't read every single post on this board, I do read every one of Bungalo Bill's comments no matter what the thread because they always provide useful information. It's like reading the advice of an unpaid professional consultant.

Mahboob Khan
03-27-2004, 07:36 AM
Hold the racquet quite loose (with continental grip) and it will take care of the rest of your hitting arm. Bungalo Bill's advice is to the point.

whozon3rd
03-27-2004, 08:58 PM
Then it appears the upper arm (triceps and related) is not passive but actiive?

Bungalo Bill
03-27-2004, 09:02 PM
Everything is active, but just keep a relaxed arm especially at the wrist, practice and things should fall into place for you. Some people are able to relax and have more flexibility then other. But with practice you will find out what is meant by all of this.

Joe Average
03-28-2004, 12:31 PM
I used to think "spaghetti" arm. But "whip" works better, because there's the image of the top part of the arm (racquet) snapping forward. Part of that "kinetic chain" people often refer to. I used the "whip" image today while practicing serves and managed, at one point, to get 30 consecutives flat serves into the service box. All the while thinking "whip." Racquet goes up ... the roll of the wrist brings the ball down. It actually works! Just keep the wrist relaxed. Think "Gumby."

Japanese Maple
03-28-2004, 05:09 PM
Joe Average,

Three of the big keys in generating racquet head speed for more
spin for a 2nd serve or penetration for a 1st serve is relax your arm and grip to
get the racquet tip pointing to the ground and the elbow pointing upwards, you want to get the elbow driving upwards to the ball,2)as you drive the elbow upwards to the ball from the racquet pointing from a deep downward position, you snap the arm up
straight up while straightening the elbow3)as you make contact
with the ball you snap the racquet head forward ahead of your
wrist and arm with the tip pointing downwards. One of the keys
for extra spin on the ball is to play around and experiment with
the last hinge in the kinetic change which is wrist flexion-concentrating on this last part of the swing will provide the necessary spin you need for an effective serve. You can do everything correct up to the point of contact but if you do not have
any wrist flexion and the racquet moving forward ahead of your wrist you will not get the necessary spin-wrist flexion is key!
Good Luck!

Bungalo Bill
03-28-2004, 08:28 PM
In general, I think Japanese's comments are good. A good toss location and height will help you achieve maximum efficiency and effectivness of all the aspects of the threads within this post.

However, I am still in firm belief there is no such thing as a "wrist snap" and there is no such thing as a backscratch. I know these are popular terms amongst players that hear these things.

If you want to maximize your racquet head speed just keep a loose wrist which means you will have a relatively loose grip. I like the whip analogy much better. When people focus on the snap, I will bet that at some point, injuries will occur.

The backscratch is also a myth and does harm to a good serve motion as well as producing hitches in the swing. I will say this over and over again, do not concentrate on these things.

On the backscratch, the racquet doesnt actually do this, it moves around more in a circular motion with the racquet actually ending up before going up behind the shoulder area. At Vic Bradens Tennis College we watched many films as he attempted to prove this to us. I was of the camp that people did perform the backscratch for this so-called powerful serve, but I could never produce it without getting all out of sync and develping hitches in my motion. After doubting Vic and losing a bet, I became convinced that the "backscratch" term is simply something to help you visualize the serve but didn't actually happen. The same with the "wrist snap".

A loose arm, a loose wrist, and a smooth motion will produce powerful serves. The exercise I have posted before with a tennis ball attached to a string and swinging it around with your serve (throwing motion) is what you need to serve big. Obviously, your trunk, rotation, and the use of the hips and legs need to be there as well.

Here are two articled to support my views on the back scratch.

http://www.tennis.com/instruction/fullstory.sps?iNewsid=46122&itype=1481

http://www.ifp.uiuc.edu/~anilrao/serve.html

Also, toss from the front foot, the hip stretch is much easier to perform this way. The ball will be in front of your body plane. Do not toss the ball higher then about 6-12 inches above your maximum reach. Perferrably toss the ball and hit it at its climax for maximum effectiveness.

For those that asked about what opening the shoulders means, these pictures will help you see what it looks like.

C_Urala
03-28-2004, 09:47 PM
I can understand what the wrist does on the flat serve. But when I try a topspin serve... should this snap/whip go down or up ?

Japanese Maple
03-29-2004, 03:48 AM
In general, I think Japanese's comments are good. A good toss location and height will help you achieve maximum efficiency and effectivness of all the aspects of the threads within this post.

However, I am still in firm belief there is no such thing as a "wrist snap" and there is no such thing as a backscratch. I know these are popular terms amongst players that hear these things.

If you want to maximize your racquet head speed just keep a loose wrist which means you will have a relatively loose grip. I like the whip analogy much better. When people focus on the snap, I will bet that at some point, injuries will occur.

The backscratch is also a myth and does harm to a good serve motion as well as producing hitches in the swing. I will say this over and over again, do not concentrate on these things.

On the backscratch, the racquet doesnt actually do this, it moves around more in a circular motion with the racquet actually ending up before going up behind the shoulder area. At Vic Bradens Tennis College we watched many films as he attempted to prove this to us. I was of the camp that people did perform the backscratch for this so-called powerful serve, but I could never produce it without getting all out of sync and develping hitches in my motion. After doubting Vic and losing a bet, I became convinced that the "backscratch" term is simply something to help you visualize the serve but didn't actually happen. The same with the "wrist snap".

A loose arm, a loose wrist, and a smooth motion will produce powerful serves. The exercise I have posted before with a tennis ball attached to a string and swinging it around with your serve (throwing motion) is what you need to serve big. Obviously, your trunk, rotation, and the use of the hips and legs need to be there as well.

Here are two articled to support my views on the back scratch.

http://www.tennis.com/instruction/fullstory.sps?iNewsid=46122&itype=1481

http://www.ifp.uiuc.edu/~anilrao/serve.html

Also, toss from the front foot, the hip stretch is much easier to perform this way. The ball will be in front of your body plane. Do not toss the ball higher then about 6-12 inches above your maximum reach. Perferrably toss the ball and hit it at its climax for maximum effectiveness.

For those that asked about what opening the shoulders means, these pictures will help you see what it looks like.

BB, I agree that there is not an actual wrist snap during the serve
motion and by reading my various posts you will see that I talk
only about snapping the racquet head/tip forward and dowward
after contact and not about snapping the wrist. Players will
find that if they snap the racquet at the top with the tip forward,
they will get maximum speed and a great forearm/wrist pronation
without any conscious thought. The more you focus on getting
a pronounced racquet snap at the top, the more relaxed your arm
and grip becomes, and the more you will want to externally rotate your shoulder in the backswing to get the tip pointing deeply
downwards before driving your elbow upwards to the ball. With
a deep racquet drop obtained, this is where you get the majority
of your racquet speed along with forearm/wrist pronation.
This is not a backscratch position per se but is critical for an effective serve and can not be obtained without a nice,loose,relaxed feeling in your arm or grip.

bb, I highlighted the above line for clarification concerning the racquet ending up before going up behind the shoulder-what part
of the racquet ends up?

Tim Tennis
03-29-2004, 06:47 AM
I think that everyone is saying about the same thing. I would like to put in my two cents, which is about all it is worth. I read the terms loose arm, relaxed wrist, relaxed arm, loose grip, whatever. I could not agree more but I think the whole purpose of being relaxed is to fully load the muscle groups that are going to be responsible for accelerating the racquet head from 0 to 100 mph or whatever. To stretch each muscle out to it's full range of motion, to achieve maximum power, they must be relaxed. To fully load for maximum power it is also important to relax the shoulder muscles, muscles in the chest and the stomach. In my opinion once these muscle groups start firing there is nothing relaxed about it. They are contracting for all they are worth, including the wrist. Each is supporting and adding too the racquet head speed. (Side bar My theory is the term wrist snap became popular because teaching pros noticed that the wrist was the weak link and most players did not have the strength to get the racquet head in position to make proper contact with the ball so they had to slow down the hand and let the racquet head catch up.)

I think the term "back scratch" was used to get people to load the tricep, not that they should actually take it to the extreme. I know you all have seen people that serve with a straight/stiff arm. Just to watch them makes my shoulder hurt.

You got to love the game.

Bungalo Bill
03-29-2004, 07:34 AM
In general, I think Japanese's comments are good. A good toss location and height will help you achieve maximum efficiency and effectivness of all the aspects of the threads within this post.

However, I am still in firm belief there is no such thing as a "wrist snap" and there is no such thing as a backscratch. I know these are popular terms amongst players that hear these things.

If you want to maximize your racquet head speed just keep a loose wrist which means you will have a relatively loose grip. I like the whip analogy much better. When people focus on the snap, I will bet that at some point, injuries will occur.

The backscratch is also a myth and does harm to a good serve motion as well as producing hitches in the swing. I will say this over and over again, do not concentrate on these things.

On the backscratch, the racquet doesnt actually do this, it moves around more in a circular motion with the racquet actually ending up before going up behind the shoulder area. At Vic Bradens Tennis College we watched many films as he attempted to prove this to us. I was of the camp that people did perform the backscratch for this so-called powerful serve, but I could never produce it without getting all out of sync and develping hitches in my motion. After doubting Vic and losing a bet, I became convinced that the "backscratch" term is simply something to help you visualize the serve but didn't actually happen. The same with the "wrist snap".

A loose arm, a loose wrist, and a smooth motion will produce powerful serves. The exercise I have posted before with a tennis ball attached to a string and swinging it around with your serve (throwing motion) is what you need to serve big. Obviously, your trunk, rotation, and the use of the hips and legs need to be there as well.

Here are two articled to support my views on the back scratch.

http://www.tennis.com/instruction/fullstory.sps?iNewsid=46122&itype=1481

http://www.ifp.uiuc.edu/~anilrao/serve.html

Also, toss from the front foot, the hip stretch is much easier to perform this way. The ball will be in front of your body plane. Do not toss the ball higher then about 6-12 inches above your maximum reach. Perferrably toss the ball and hit it at its climax for maximum effectiveness.

For those that asked about what opening the shoulders means, these pictures will help you see what it looks like.

BB, I agree that there is not an actual wrist snap during the serve
motion and by reading my various posts you will see that I talk
only about snapping the racquet head/tip forward and dowward
after contact and not about snapping the wrist. Players will
find that if they snap the racquet at the top with the tip forward,
they will get maximum speed and a great forearm/wrist pronation
without any conscious thought. The more you focus on getting
a pronounced racquet snap at the top, the more relaxed your arm
and grip becomes, and the more you will want to externally rotate your shoulder in the backswing to get the tip pointing deeply
downwards before driving your elbow upwards to the ball. With
a deep racquet drop obtained, this is where you get the majority
of your racquet speed along with forearm/wrist pronation.
This is not a backscratch position per se but is critical for an effective serve and can not be obtained without a nice,loose,relaxed feeling in your arm or grip.

bb, I highlighted the above line for clarification concerning the racquet ending up before going up behind the shoulder-what part
of the racquet ends up?

Japanese,

I think we are talking about the same things. As I agree with your comments. Sometimes I find (as you probably know) newer players can take things quite literally that us advanced players have already realized is more as a visual aid.

I find that in your posts, I agree on pretty much everything! I think sometimes our delivery and wording on this limited medium can cause us to not understand things correctly.

I really appreciate your professionalism on your response. Thank you!