View Full Version : Question about my serve

07-18-2009, 08:11 PM
My tennis instructor told me that serving is like throwing something. However, I could never serve well which is odd because I am a pitcher. So, I decided to add a step to my serve like when you step when you throw. Is this legal? Thanks!

07-18-2009, 08:24 PM
No, not if I understand what you're saying. What your coach is saying is that it's like throwing in the wrist motion. He wants you to pronate your wrist through the serve. When you throw a ball, you naturally pronate your wrist. You don't notice it, but it happens because it has to. NOT pronating is what results in "throwing like a girl".

07-18-2009, 08:30 PM
So for a righty, your left foot can't move, even if it doesn't cross the baseline?

07-19-2009, 02:29 AM
honestly i'm not sure about that but here's video clip about a possible tip for you. hope it helps


like hewitt just did there?

i'm not sure i've seen a pitcher take a step into their throw. i'm not quite sure about what you're asking, if you can find a video explaining that would be great.

07-19-2009, 02:31 AM
sorry double post.. -_-

07-19-2009, 04:29 AM
So for a righty, your left foot can't move, even if it doesn't cross the baseline?

No, that is not true. I've seen some videos where Andy Roddick takes a step backward with his left foot during his service motion. You can actually move either foot -- as long as the step is not huge. The rule is a bit vague, but anything that can be construed as walking (or running) is not permitted. Not sure that a pitching stride would be permitted -- pitchers typically take a stride that is anywhere from 4.5 to 7 feet in length. Not sure if this would be allowed.

Don't really believe that it is necessary either. Altho' they obviously have some "throwing" elements in common, serving mechanics and pitching mechanics are quite different. Even if you excel at pitching, this will not guarantee that you will have a good serving motion. Note that I naturally throw right-handed but I served MUCH better with my left arm than my right. I know several other people that are the same way,

I'll talk more about throwing mechanics for the service motion in my next post. Stay tuned.

07-19-2009, 03:09 PM

At the end of the video the step he takes with his left foot is similar to the one I take in my serve

07-20-2009, 04:54 AM
^ Couldn't get the provided link to work. I modified your link and used this one:

www.youtube.com/watch?v=JhYEWDZbQX0 (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JhYEWDZbQX0)

The step shown is not really a pitcher's stride (which I has assumed is what you were trying to implement since you indicated that you are/were a pitcher). A step of that magnitude should not be a problem not a foot fault), but I don't think that it is really necessary.

In one way, the tennis serve might be a bit more like throwing a long ball in from the outfield. Instead of throwing on something close to a horizontal plane, the serving motion is more like throwing at a steeper angle -- perhaps something like at 45 to 60 degree angle upward.

Actually, the first part of the service "throwing" motion is even steeper than that. In order to achieve a decent racquet drop (which facilitates hitting "up" on the ball), the throwing angle is nearly vertically upward -- you would be throwing at an angle that is more like 75 to 90 degrees upward. The throwing motion used for a tennis serve is something of a blend of these 2 throwing angles -- the 1st part is nearly vertical, while the throwing action just prior to contact and just after contact is more like the 45 degree throw.

Not that the knees are bent and the legs drive upward on the serve. This also facilitates hitting up on the ball. The legs are used in somewhat of a different manner when throwing a baseball. Try to get your hand on some old, cheap or broken tennis racquets. Take these out to the park and trying throwing these instead of throwing balls to simulate a serve. First, try some throws at the 45 degree angle. Then, to work on a deep racquet drop, perform some 75+ degree throws.

In you are interested, I can talk more about pronation (forearm rotation), the role of the tossing arm (after the ball release), and the action of the back leg. I suspect that all of these will differ from your baseball throw.

07-20-2009, 02:51 PM
It occurred to me the step or stride in throwing a baseball, among other things, results in a stretching of the pectoralis (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pectorals) major (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pectorals) (chest) muscle. When the step is performed, the throwing elbow remains back for a while. This results in a stretch in the muscle from the chest (to the shoulder). It is a lot like a rubber band be stretched and then, later, released. This pectoral stretch is normally achieved differently for a tennis serve.

If you are still listening, I can explain how the stretch is achieved in a tennis serve (without taking the step). Other differences between baseball and tennis serve throwing motions include shoulder tilt, the coiling action of the body, and the shoulder-over-shoulder action. I can go into more detail in these as well.

07-20-2009, 06:25 PM
Post away it's all good information.

07-21-2009, 01:02 AM
^ Ok, will do. Disappointed that the OP has not replied tho'.


I'll discuss one of the topics that I mentioned above. Notice the stance and how much coil a good server will employ. The chest is turned away from the receiver in these trophy positions. Compare this to the amount of upper body coil a baseball pitcher uses -- the tennis serve coil is quite a bit greater than the pitcher's coil.

From this trophy position, the racquet head drops to the scratch position -- the racquet head drops so that the racquet is nearly vertical at the bottom of the scratch position. As this drop occurs the elbow stays back for the most part (but it does move a bit). As the racquet is dropping the hips & body are starting to uncoil; the tossing arm is starting to pull down. This latter action will result in some movement of the front shoulder. Because the elbow has not yet started to move much at this point, a stretch should be created in the pectoral muscle of the chest.

If any of this does not make sense, let me know & I'll try to explain it further.

07-21-2009, 06:58 AM
One of the things to note is that serving well feels like throwing straight up into the air, so a big step forward does not help.

07-21-2009, 02:33 PM
^ Yup, one of the points that I made. It is good thing that you emphasized this.

07-21-2009, 02:44 PM
So for a righty, your left foot can't move, even if it doesn't cross the baseline?

You can step with your leftfoot if you don't cross the baseline. Should you? No, when you move your left foot you become unbalanced usually...

07-22-2009, 03:55 AM
Post away it's all good information.

Still looking for more on the other ideas that I mentioned?