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southend
10-24-2009, 11:21 PM
First of all I understand pronation to be as follows:
If you held your right arm and hand up to contact the ball with the leading edge of the racquet, the right thumb and forearm would roll so that the thumb rotates downward, forearm to the left and your wrist moves to the left such that you can read your wristwatch. This happens automatically as you swing forward with the leading edge of the racquet and your forearm, wrist and hand pronate as it nears the contact point.

My pro once held up a tennis ball affixed to the top of a stick that rotated around a fixed axis -- it would spin clockwise or counterclockwise depending on whether you strike the left or right side of the ball. It seems like to make it spin to the right (topspin or kick serve?) you are not pronating. Is this right? If not, how can you make the ball rotate to the right if you pronate which seems like you are striking the left side of the ball. If your wrist at the top (palm is facing the net), aren't you pronating when you move your wrist to the left and supinating if you are moving your wrist to the right side? This has always confused me.

Also, my question is whether you are pronating on a flat, topspin or kick serve or whether you are supinating depending on the type of serve.

And lastly, should I be able to pronate (wrist to the left and thumb down) on every type of serve. Thanks in advance.

xFullCourtTenniSx
10-25-2009, 12:13 AM
First of all I understand pronation to be as follows:
If you held your right arm and hand up to contact the ball with the leading edge of the racquet, the right thumb and forearm would roll so that the thumb rotates downward, forearm to the left and your wrist moves to the left such that you can read your wristwatch. This happens automatically as you swing forward with the leading edge of the racquet and your forearm, wrist and hand pronate as it nears the contact point.

My pro once held up a tennis ball affixed to the top of a stick that rotated around a fixed axis -- it would spin clockwise or counterclockwise depending on whether you strike the left or right side of the ball. It seems like to make it spin to the right (topspin or kick serve?) you are not pronating. Is this right? If not, how can you make the ball rotate to the right if you pronate which seems like you are striking the left side of the ball. If your wrist at the top (palm is facing the net), aren't you pronating when you move your wrist to the left and supinating if you are moving your wrist to the right side? This has always confused me.

Also, my question is whether you are pronating on a flat, topspin or kick serve or whether you are supinating depending on the type of serve.

And lastly, should I be able to pronate (wrist to the left and thumb down) on every type of serve. Thanks in advance.

Why the hell are you overcomplicating things?

You pronate on EVERY serve if you have good form no matter what. You also supinate in ever serve as a part of the loading/unloading of your serve. You have to supinate in order to drop your racket from the trophy position.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4DpptgXq5j4

Look at Sampras' arm. If you held your racket straight up with a 90 degree angle between your arm and the racket with the racket head pointing back, then rotated your forearm to have the racket head pointing forward, THAT IS PRONATION! Leave it at that! Don't overcomplicate things!

Keep it simple stupid.

tricky
10-25-2009, 02:10 AM
If you held your right arm and hand up to contact the ball with the leading edge of the racquet, the right thumb and forearm would roll so that the thumb rotates downward, forearm to the left and your wrist moves to the left such that you can read your wristwatch. This happens automatically as you swing forward with the leading edge of the racquet and your forearm, wrist and hand pronate as it nears the contact point.

Yes, this is what we informally associate with the "pronation phase" of the serve. Technically, pronation is just the forearm rotating (i.e. thumb rotating downwards), so that the racquet face is open at contact point.

If your wrist at the top (palm is facing the net), aren't you pronating when you move your wrist to the left and supinating if you are moving your wrist to the right side?

The forearm supination and wrist moving to the right side doesn't really happen in the serve, even if you're trying to serve a twister. If you actually try to rate your arm that way, it'll be really painful. because it's not natural to the service motion at all. If you did this, you're essentially forcing your arm to "brake" as it's about to go through the contact point. And that will lead to your trunk doing inappropriate, harmful stuff to accomplish that.

One of the effects of pronation is that it alters the angle of your service arm as you hit the ball. That influences the spin you want to impart on it. You already influence that pronation by the "clock metaphor", which you use to hit different kinds of serves.

And lastly, should I be able to pronate (wrist to the left and thumb down) on every type of serve. Thanks in advance.

In a mechanically correct (i.e. cartwheel) service motion, the pronation is always, always there. Otherwise, you'd hit the ball with the frame.

ryangoring
10-25-2009, 06:59 AM
I got the perfect one on pronation.
Here in this video, it gives you the reasons of pronation and effects of it:
http://www.coachkyriltennis.com/revealed.php

southend
10-25-2009, 10:59 AM
OK -- I'll work on pronation on all serves. My confusion (for years) involves the motion similar to striking a tennis ball with your right hand palm. It is possible to carve around the ball on the right side so that your palm faces you -- this is not pronation. I and the majority of untrained recreational players probably do this. Another possibility is striking the ball on the right side with your palm, but in this instance your palm faces away from you and you see the back of the hand -- I think this is pronation. My confusion over the years has been thinking you do both motions depending on the type of serve.

WildVolley
10-25-2009, 01:18 PM
I teach pronation by having students hit a ball onto the court. I have them hold the racket above their head with a continental grip and the butt pointing toward the ground. The natural way to hit a ball bouncing off the court is to pronate into it as you pull the racket down. The main benefit of showing students this is to convince them there's nothing particularly crazy or complex about hitting a serve with a continental grip and that pronation isn't complex.

tricky
10-26-2009, 04:14 PM
It is possible to carve around the ball on the right side so that your palm faces you -- this is not pronation. I and the majority of untrained recreational players probably do this.The tricky part about pronation is that it's intrinsically tied to the shoulder-over-shoulder motion (i.e. "cartwheel") of the serve. It is to the serve what the finish is to the FH.

Most people struggle -- unknowingly so -- with their balance during the toss + windup. That causes problems with the shoulder-over-shoulder motion. That in turn can lead to the pronation feeling a little "cut off" from the rest of the service motion. The pronation still happens (has to in order to avoid framing the ball), but it also feels somewhat disconnected with the rest of the motion.

The problem, there, is that most people then association that disconnection as normal. That leads to questions about directly controlling their forearm rotation, or doing something unique or isolated to enhance it.

Check whether you feel your lower back during any part of your windup. Or if you feel your weight shift to your back foot as you toss the ball. Both suggest issues with balance, and both would lead to the pronation feeling isolated or separate from the rest of serve.

Mahboob Khan
10-26-2009, 06:35 PM
If you are using correct continental grip and able to contact the ball with strings-bed, you are pronating. Pronation allows the racket head to line up to hit the ball in the middle of your stringsbed. Without pronation you will be hitting the ball with the edge of your racket frame.

Some people think that on the slice serve .. slice in the deuce court .. you supinate as you make contact with the ball. They claim that you bypass the ball at 3 o'clock and as you cut the ball you supinate. But the good slicers would do as follows:

-- Bypass the ball at 3 o'clock ok but as they bypass the ball at 3 o'clock their racket head moves up and pronate.

Thus, pronation occurs on each and every serve.

Yes, KISS (keep it simple stupid).

southend
10-26-2009, 10:17 PM
Thanks all!!! I understand and will work on this. No more going back and forth with pronation and supination on the serve.

rosheem
10-27-2009, 09:23 AM
The problem, there, is that most people then association that disconnection as normal. That leads to questions about directly controlling their forearm rotation, or doing something unique or isolated to enhance it.


Very good point.

I struggled with that 'dissociation' for quite some time, thinking that pronation was supposed to be the culmination of a whip action that worked its way outward to the racquet.

Fixing that problem led to a huge leap forward in my serve. Essentially, I was able to regain control of the racquet face through contact and re-integrate triceps extension, which I was kind of bypassing before.

I was also able to maintain a sense of leverage in my hand THROUGH contact, instead of releasing the energy too early and feeling like I was casting through contact or slapping at the ball.

When I think of the old way I used to serve, I wonder why I even bothered with a knee bend or cartwheel motion at all. I might as well have been standing on one leg and just snapping my racquet at the ball.

southend
10-27-2009, 10:37 AM
Very good point.

When I think of the old way I used to serve, I wonder why I even bothered with a knee bend or cartwheel motion at all. I might as well have been standing on one leg and just snapping my racquet at the ball.

I hope I will have a similar ephiphany! I struggle with the multiple parts of the serve given the multitude of tips out there. I find TW to be a great source for improvement. Thanks all.

fuzz nation
10-28-2009, 07:58 AM
I hope I will have a similar ephiphany! I struggle with the multiple parts of the serve given the multitude of tips out there. I find TW to be a great source for improvement. Thanks all.

Hopefully you'll gain an instinct/feel for the right setup, grip, and swing path for you serve so that you'll hit the ball the way you want to without even thinking about the issue of pronation. It honestly ought to happen naturally as a result of those other things (set position, grip, etc.). You certainly don't need to concern yourself with actively manipulating your arm to make that pronating rotation occur. In fact, I'd expect that fixating on it would be detrimental to your developing an easy, fluid service motion.

tricky
10-28-2009, 11:13 AM
I struggled with that 'dissociation' for quite some time, thinking that pronation was supposed to be the culmination of a whip action that worked its way outward to the racquet.

It's subtle, but it tips off there's a hitch in the windup. Because people use continental grips, some pronation would always happen regardless of whether it's conscious or not. Most people come to understand that quickly. However, disassociation still exists, where you feel that the pronation phase seems a separate element from the rest of the serve.

There's also a similar problem with the trophy pose. The trophy pose probably should be called a "trophy phase", because it really just reflects your windup prior to releasing your serve. Creating the trophy pose simply for the sake of creating a trophy pose messes up a person's understanding of the windup and the actual takeback.

The sock drill helps in both cases, because it really gets you away from thinking "set up trophy pose" or "pronate here." Basically, it gets you from overthinking what the racquet in your hand should be doing as you serve. The service motion is similar to throwing and pitching motions. There are differences, but there's still a continuous windup and balance. The sock drill reinforces this.

rosheem
10-28-2009, 12:16 PM
Creating the trophy pose simply for the sake of creating a trophy pose messes up a person's understanding of the windup

I agree that this is one area that has created confusion for those trying to learn proper serve mechanics. I have never seen a pitcher pause at the moment that would correspond to the "trophy" phase in the serve.

I would also love to hear if you have similar thoughts on "the drop".

In a true throwing motion, the 'drop' is part of the forward throw. In other words, there are many things already going forward when 'the drop' occurs in a throwing motion.

In tennis instruction, I think the focus on the drop might lead some to believe that this is where the upward/forward motion starts...when the racquet is at the lowest point in the drop.

Imagine trying to throw like that.

tricky
10-28-2009, 01:23 PM
I agree that this is one area that has created confusion for those trying to learn proper serve mechanics.

Most of my initial focus is really with balance. During the toss and windup, your center of gravity needs to be in front of you. That is, your weight must be moving forward, toward the court. Majority of hitches that you see in people's serve are really due to this issue.

In a true throwing motion, the 'drop' is part of the forward throw. In other words, there are many things already going forward when 'the drop' occurs in a throwing motion.

Pretty much. And in fact, we kinda show all the basic elements this way. We'll also show how improper balance causes problems.

1) First, execute a throwing motion as if you're throwing a football. You can use a sock or just shadow it.

2) Now, execute that football throwing motion while your left hand is extended and pointed at the sky.

Step 2 demonstrates the "shoulder-over-shoulder" motion. (Note that your trunk still opens much earlier than a service motion. Not directly relevant to the discussion, but it's worth noting that though all cartwheel motions are shoulder-over-shoulder, not all shoulder-over-shoulder motions follow a cartwheel.)

If you watch your arm or yourself in a mirror as you execute step 2, you'll see that your throwing arm naturally makes a trophy pose, a racquet drop position (forearm arm correctly to the side of your body, rather than over and behind your back), and a pronated finish. Notice how your pronation feels natural and part of the follow-through. That is thanks to the shoulder-over-shoulder motion, executed with proper balance.

3) Now, execute step 2, but throwing off your back foot. Notice how your pronation feels disconnected. Notice how your racquet drop position is behind your back. Notice how you try to "force" a trophy pose.

Step 3 is what happens when your balance is off. That happens to be what plagues 80% of the serves on this forum.