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View Full Version : Lower arm and elbow during serve.


BU-Tennis
01-14-2009, 09:21 PM
When serving a straight line should be held through the shoulders and the hitting arm elbow, at least this is what I have gathered. But should the forearm and wrist remain completely flexible? I know that a relaxed hitting arm is key to a good serve but HOW relaxed? I know that when you hit the trophy pose and then start the swing that the upward movement creates the racquet head drop but it seems that this makes the movement of the racquet a little unpredictable and can cause some strain on the shoulder. I tend to make the racquet drop a more conscious movement rather than just letting it happen. Am i doing this correctly or is detrimental to my game?

LeeD
01-15-2009, 09:57 AM
First of all, if you watch various players, they all have different swings leading to good serves. There is no ONE way to tie together the various parts, and players are also built differently, and think differently.
The main conclusion is.... a good serve has good placement, is consistent, goes fast, has some spin when needed.
Some players like to hold so loosely at the trophy position that they barely hold onto the buttcap. But when the racket is actually moving forwards just before impact, some amount of tightnening is applied...not much, just maybe a slight amount more than totally loose.
Other players apply more pressure during the whole stroke. I suspect guys with really low toss's tend to apply more hand pressure throughout the service motion than guys who serve with a more mechanical looking stroke.
So what to do really depends on your results. I don't know if you're tall and skinny, short and heavy, musclebound or stringbean, so I can't say there is ONE cure-all to grip application during the serve motion.

Bungalo Bill
01-15-2009, 10:18 AM
When serving a straight line should be held through the shoulders and the hitting arm elbow, at least this is what I have gathered.

A serve motion is not necessarily held. I dont like the word "held" for the serve motion because it sort of implies something stops. The line you are referring to shapes the body for an upward rise through the ball that also goes forward to the tossed ball. What this is loosely trying to say, is you dont want your body shape to be largely parallel to the court. But on an upward angle. Here is your example video.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Kpj5ZthpxbI

But should the forearm and wrist remain completely flexible? I know that a relaxed hitting arm is key to a good serve but HOW relaxed?

It needs to be REAL, REAL, REAL relaxed. So relaxed, that I could pull the racquet out of your hands with two or three light tugs. There should be little pressure on the handle THROUGHOUT the serve motion. You only want enough pressure so the racquet doesnt fly out of your hand. You can find this out by testing it and learning what the limitation is through practice.

Your shoulder area needs to be completely relaxed. Many players do not have a loose relaxed shoulder when their racquet drops and their hitting arm starts to extend towards the contact point. You want this area real loose because your non-hitting arm folding into the body is going to help with accelerating this arm. Your momentum and body braking is what accelerates a loose hitting shoulder and arm, not your shoulder muscles. Once they tighten, flexiblility is diminished.

and then start the swing that the upward movement creates the racquet head drop but it seems that this makes the movement of the racquet a little unpredictable and can cause some strain on the shoulder.

Not really. The racquet head is only unpredictable if you have a snag or a hitch in your motion. If you attached a ball at the end of a 4' rope, and swing it around and around, you should be able to control the balls flight path. The same is with your racquet head.

I tend to make the racquet drop a more conscious movement rather than just letting it happen. Am i doing this correctly or is detrimental to my game?

That is faulty serve thinking. The motion of the serve is continuous. It does nto stop and the braking that goes on throughout the kinetic chain slows down and accelerates different parts of the body as it works its way up to contact. This is continuous. The only thing you should be working on in your thoughts is to completely relax the hitting arm throughout the motion. In fact, I dont even want you to think, it is something you just do or release. This is difficult to do because subconsciously our muscles fire and of course tighten in the process thinking they have to do something for whatever reason.

For the serve motion, this hitting arm needs to be completely relaxed. Your thoughts need to be towards relaxation and fluidity. And because we tend to tighten our muscles during movements, you need to train yourself through practice to relax the hitting arm and shoulder in th serve. It is not something people just "get."

As for the grip, the strength in the hand largely comes from the pinky and the ring finger. If you try to grip something without those two fingers, your hand strength diminishes. In order to promote relaxation throughout the swing motion and especially in the hand, try and keep the pinky finger off the handle. That way if there is slight pressure applied to the handle at contact (which is many times done subconsciously), it wont be too much and you can better control the amount of relaxation needed.

Bungalo Bill
01-15-2009, 01:23 PM
First of all, if you watch various players, they all have different swings leading to good serves. There is no ONE way to tie together the various parts, and players are also built differently, and think differently.

Again, why are you saying this? There is plenty of evidence that provides the common characteristics for the serve. It is true that players will develop their own styles, however, these styles are developed out of the context of common fundamentals. It is the fundamentals that players need to learn that are common in a good service motion.

The main conclusion is.... a good serve has good placement, is consistent, goes fast, has some spin when needed.

Well this is the goal for a good serve. How someone gets there is a different story.

Some players like to hold so loosely at the trophy position that they barely hold onto the buttcap. But when the racket is actually moving forwards just before impact, some amount of tightnening is applied...not much, just maybe a slight amount more than totally loose.

This sounds way to precise. My first question is "how do you know?"

Other players apply more pressure during the whole stroke.

How do you know? And further, how do you know this is optimal for the person doing it this way regardless if they are a pro or not?

I suspect guys with really low toss's tend to apply more hand pressure throughout the service motion than guys who serve with a more mechanical looking stroke.

What is a real low toss? I do not have a high toss and I dont do what you just indicated.

So what to do really depends on your results. I don't know if you're tall and skinny, short and heavy, musclebound or stringbean, so I can't say there is ONE cure-all to grip application during the serve motion.

Yes, we can. The key aspect of the serve grip is to relax the hand so that the wrist can work like a hinge. Different people will have various degrees on this based on their capability to do this. However, the goal for all people is to have it as loose as possible depending on what they can manage. And even the degree that is manageable to them at this time, would need to be further evaluated if at a different time they can relax it even more.

jasoncho92
01-16-2009, 04:37 AM
Again, why are you saying this? There is plenty of evidence that provides the common characteristics for the serve. It is true that players will develop their own styles, however, these styles are developed out of the context of common fundamentals. It is the fundamentals that players need to learn that are common in a good service motion.



Well this is the goal for a good serve. How someone gets there is a different story.



This sounds way to precise. My first question is "how do you know?"



How do you know? And further, how do you know this is optimal for the person doing it this way regardless if they are a pro or not?



What is a real low toss? I do not have a high toss and I dont do what you just indicated.



Yes, we can. The key aspect of the serve grip is to relax the hand so that the wrist can work like a hinge. Different people will have various degrees on this based on their capability to do this. However, the goal for all people is to have it as loose as possible depending on what they can manage. And even the degree that is manageable to them at this time, would need to be further evaluated if at a different time they can relax it even more.
And no response...