PDA

View Full Version : Post serve pronation followthrough... so confusing, hurting myself, unintuitive.


dwhiteside
12-23-2009, 09:16 PM
I served a while successfully using a forehand grip but eventually I realized I needed to switch to continental to put more spin on it and to start unleashing the full potential of the body. The forehand/frying pan grip did me allright and feels more 'natural' to begin with, but I know it's not the most effective. So my coach and I have been reworking my serve from scratch starting with the pure pronation motion using continental grip, taking away my legs and torso and just having me kneel down and practice pronating.

Also I'm doing the normal pronation/serve drills like throwing balls, going up to a fence and swinging the edge of the racquet toward it then pronating at the last minute, and all this stuff. The fence drill is fine.

My main problem when I'm working on the continental grip serving/pronation is the follow through post-ball contact serving real balls in a non-drill setting. It feels like I'm stressing my elbow/arm/wrist too much and my racquet isn't naturally coming through the ball in the most logical/biomechanically efficient manner...

For example, when I throw a ball as far as I can from the baseline as in drills, my arm naturally and flowingly comes through down to my side and then to the left and it feels loose and healthy, but when I attempt to serve with this new grip and replicate this throwing/pronating motion that isn't the case and it's like I'm putting too much stress on my wrist and arm and elbow as the racquet comes downward/sideways after the ball is hit.

Any specific advice for the follow through of the serve, or just general tips for what I've talked about? I don't really have anything specific other than my follow through not feeling right and feeling like I'm going to hurt my arm. Although when I look at Sampras and other heavily pronating servers their follow through DOES seem relatively extreme and unnatural to me in terms of how their elbow/arm bends so much to the right... are my muscles simply not used to this since I've been serving with a forehand grip with hardly any pronation for so long?

Any drills I can do to help with the follow through? The fence drill where you swing up to the fence and rotate at the last moment to put the strings toward it is good for the pure act of pronation alone BUT it doesn't deal with this main concern I'm having which is totally post-contact!

I mean, this looks like it would hurt... but it doesn't? Do I just need to condition myself to be able to withstand this? How does the wrist take this?

http://www.usopen.org/images/pics/large/b_0905_Isner1.jpghttp://www.usopen.org/images/pics/large/b_001_tsonga.jpghttp://www.usopen.org/images/pics/large/b_0906_berta2.jpg

Jagman
12-24-2009, 08:11 AM
Generally speaking, I hate to see the term "pronation" used in instruction. Pronation does indeed occur on serve and with groundstrokes. However, it is an effect of a proper motion and not, IMO, something to be pursued apart from the whole. Sometimes, I think the term is used too loosely, by those who don't even understand what pronation is, or how it differentiates from supination (not saying this applies to the OP; it is certainly something my 15 and 12 year old sons have experienced, however). If picturing pronation helps with your mental imagery, fine, but I think it tends more towards obfuscation and frustration.

This is also another area, I believe, where still photography does us a disservice. Copying the serves of the pros is not a bad idea. I can certainly paint that picture and visualize myself hitting a huge ace down the center. I can probably even let reality intrude a bit and perform a more honest mental comparison between the pro and myself. Looking at still photos, however, can be a bit dicey. The image captured depicts but an isolated moment. When this picture becomes the objective for emulation, it begs the question, do we seek to mimic the process or the effect?

Pronation happens. IMHO, it is a term best forgotten by those trying to develop or perfect a technique. Pronation is more important for the coach or teaching pro to recognize, as its absence is symptomatic of a problem with a stroke and helps direct their efforts towards proper corrective measures.

Vic Braden does note that pronation is an effect of using the continental grip on serve and that, unlike the eastern grip, does generate some fatigue in the forearms of those who have not developed those muscles. Braden states this as the reason he allows students to use the eastern grip on serve up until they start playing well (pg 146, Tennis 2000).

Braden also notes use of the baseball pitch as a worthwhile drill for developing the feel for the service motion, adding a snap of the wrist at the end, "much like snapping an old-style thermometer" (pg 144 sidebar, Tennis 2000), for mimicing the explicit feel of pronation.

Catching the ball on a fence with the racquet face is a drill normally associated with developing a consistent toss. As it also demonstrates the proper orientation of the racquet face with the continental grip, it may have some relevance to gaining some familiarity with the way pronation "feels", but is less than ideal in that regard, IMO, because it cannot carry on into the wrist snap or follow-through. Repeated often enough, this drill can be tiring, as you are tensing a muscle and then holding it, not allowing a normal release. As part of a process, pronation is a very brief event, and shouldn't entail any undue fatigue. It's only when we break it out, and start hammering at it in isolation, that we start thinking of pronation as awkward or unnatural.

Serving from the knees is another drill that is not specifically focused on pronation. This drill highlights the need for hitting up on the ball and snapping the wrist to obtain spin, thereby causing the ball to go up and over the net (from a much lower starting position) and still land in the service box. The fact that the wrist snap is targeted in this drill bears relevance again to understanding the concept and "feel" of pronation. However, once more, the sensation is incomplete, because you cannot follow-through completely from a kneeling position.

Prior to Vic Braden, who is basically a scientist (yes, I know, he is also an accomplished player and coach), and speaks in that argot, practically no one used the term "pronation" in regards to tennis instruction. The facet of the serve most directly responsible for this movement is the cocking and uncocking of the wrist. In most of the instructional writings prior to Braden, this action received the most attention as the key to imparting power and spin on serve (see, e.g., page 77 in Tennis Strokes and Strategies 1975). In truth, the cocking/uncocking of the wrist and follow-through are all a part of pronation.

Possibly one of the better all-around drills regarding the serve is designed to impart the feel for a continuous swing. Braden talks about this on pages 152-153 of Tennis 2000. Essentially, you take an old pair of panty hose and insert two tennis balls. Tie an overhand knot in the hose just above the balls to keep them from shifting too much. Grab the open end with the hand of your strong arm and swing the balls through the service motion. If the motion is not continuous, you will smack yourself with the balls. If your follow-through is not properly oriented, you will similarly smack yourself with the balls in the legs or elsewhere :). You add in the wrist snap, imaginary ball toss, and salt to taste. This is a little more helpful, I think, in that it addresses the process, as opposed to a part, and is capable of having varying emphasis.

Serving should be a relaxed motion. It should not involve undue stress or discomfort. Feeling awkward is common to learning any new technique. If something is causing you pain, however, that is a sign you should stop. Either you have hurt yourself or your execution is way off. This is an indication that you should probably have yourself or your technique (perhaps both) examined.

Finally, I would suggest that finding some workable mental imagery and useful drills is something best done in consultation with your pro. There are so many variables that affect a good serve; poor application of technique in any one can lead to problems elsewhere. Best to sort this out under a watchful eye, I think.

Hope that helped. Cheers!

fuzz nation
12-24-2009, 06:00 PM
I only read the start of the OP, but then only needed to read the start of Jagman's response. Don't "practice pronating". It's a result of a proper setup and swing path, not a deliberate movement of its own.

Blake0
12-24-2009, 08:55 PM
As posters above mentioned..don't force the pronation, let it happen as a by product of your stroke. Force it, and you'll risk injury.

dwhiteside
12-24-2009, 10:29 PM
Thanks a lot for the posts guys, especially Jag, that is really great and is going to help me a lot, especially the stuff about Braden...

As for intentionally pronating, I am aware that it's more a byproduct of a healthy and efficient serve as opposed to an element to intentionally strive for, I more was meaning that in general, during the serve with my newfound continental grip, during the "wrist-snap/ball contact" phase, afterwards, I am experiencing awkward sensations that aren't the same as when I throw a ball, sensations that feel like I'm doing something wrong. My coach is a D2 college coach who has a lot of experience so he knows what he's doing when it comes to the drills and such but I can't talk to him for a while because of holiday stuff so I figured I'd post here.

sennoc
12-25-2009, 01:25 AM
You definitely do not understand the role of pronation in tennis.

Pronation occurs in two situations: as an reaction of our joints due to the external forces and as an action of forearm muscles. Visually you see the same rotation of forearm in both cases. But both cases are totally different if you talk about energy transfer along the kinematic chain. First case is a REACTION, second one is an ACTION. Totally different things.

Science proves that the forearm action is one of the most powerful elements in our kinematic chain. As example, its role in one handed topspin backhand (supination) is more important than action of the arm (that's a fact scientifically proved). I suppose it's the same for forehands, but I didn't see any experimental data.

So, if you want to hit hard topspin forehands and backhands, you have to change your style to efficiently use the power of your forearm. Also, you can use pronation as an additional element in kinematic chain in serving. Due to obvious physical and biomechanical facts, pronation increases the speed of flat serves only (in scientific papers people talk about 10% increase) and is not important in serves with rotation.

dwhiteside
12-25-2009, 02:01 AM
This is interesting, sennoc, but I'm not sure how to directly correlate it to the issue of my arm and elbow ending up in an awkward position after I serve with a continental grip. Perhaps I'm trying to unnaturally pronate/wrist-snap too much instead of just letting my body/arm do its work even though it feels like I'm going to hit the ball with the edge of the racquet, since I'm unaccustomed to the continental grip? Call it what you will, but the stage of motion directly before contact where the racquet's edge is facing the ball as it transitions so that the strings contact the ball, both for a flat and topspin serve, is what's giving me trouble in terms of the continued motion of the racquet and by extension my arm and related joints after ball contact. In numerous books and instructional videos this part of the serve chain is referred to as pronation. Semantically I don't really care if it's technically a rotation of the radioulnar joint primary to this motion or if it's more related to the wrist, although I'm sure these are important things to consider, I just care that in order for me to hit the ball with a continental grip I have to somehow contact the ball with the strings and when I do this I'm invariably ending up in a problematic position, or at least one I think is problematic (but may just be due to muscle inexperience?)...

I feel like there's an erratic gap in the follow through of my serve, right in between after my racquet hits the ball and where it ends up roughly around my left hip - like it's not a smooth transition between these two and that I'm artificially bringing the racquet down, consciously, to make up for an incorrect natural followthrough, if that makes sense. A natural follow through similar to what I experience when simply throwing a ball seems to be what experienced continental grip servers can achieve in a relaxed fashion, but it eludes me at the moment. I must admit I've hit myself in the knees and even the shins a few times in attempting to serve with the continental grip.

spacediver
12-25-2009, 02:49 AM
very good thread.

I must admit I've hit myself in the knees and even the shins a few times in attempting to serve with the continental grip.

could this perhaps be due to the toss location? Perhaps you are tossing too far to the right. I'm hardly an expert, but this is just a thought that comes to mind.

spacediver
12-25-2009, 02:58 AM
So, if you want to hit hard topspin forehands and backhands, you have to change your style to efficiently use the power of your forearm. Also, you can use pronation as an additional element in kinematic chain in serving. Due to obvious physical and biomechanical facts, pronation increases the speed of flat serves only (in scientific papers people talk about 10% increase) and is not important in serves with rotation.

how do they compare with pronation to without pronation? Do they use a frying pan grip (eastern forehand) in the no pronation condition?

It makes sense (to me) that pronation should be active rather than a byproduct in this particular context of kinematic linking. The previous link in the chain is the extension of the elbow joint, and this motion is orthogonal, or perpendicular, to the direction of motion involved in pronation. This means that the velocity of the movement involved in pronation can piggyback ontop of the velocity of the movement involved in elbow extension. So I don't think momentum is being transferred from the forearm to the hand (I think).

spacediver
12-25-2009, 03:03 AM
very nice post jagman!



Catching the ball on a fence with the racquet face is a drill normally associated with developing a consistent toss.

can you explain this drill? I can't visualize it based on the description.



Serving from the knees is another drill that is not specifically focused on pronation. This drill highlights the need for hitting up on the ball and snapping the wrist to obtain spin, thereby causing the ball to go up and over the net (from a much lower starting position) and still land in the service box.

I'm confused. In the context of a flat serve, I thought pronation, when combined with a continental grip, served to ensure flat contact with the ball and extra power. If the pronation is timed so that you finish pronating at the moment the racquet face meets the ball, then the direction of the racquet head is perpendicular to the plane of the string bed, and there will be no brushing/slicing of the ball.

What am I misunderstanding here? Am I conflating "snapping wrist" with "pronating wrist"?

By snapping wrist, are you referring to wrist flexion? If so, I can understand completely how this motion will impart topspin on the ball.

Jagman
12-25-2009, 06:49 AM
In his original post, wherein the OP stated that he was having difficulty with pronation on the serve, he stated that his pro had him doing various drills as a corrective. In reiterating those drills, and quoting from Braden's book Tennis 2000, I was merely pointing out that these drills were not designed to teach pronation, but had other purposes. They may facilitate an understanding of what pronation feels like, but IMO are imperfect, because they only entail a partial range of motion.

For example, the drill involving using the racquet to catch a ball against a fence is normally, as described by Braden, used to teach a consistent toss. That is how I encountered the drill many moons ago. The idea is that you assume a service stance next to the fence and perform your toss, gently trapping the ball at its zenith against the fence with the racquet. This gives you an idea of how high your toss should be and whether your toss tends to wander.

Yes, the forearm rotates and yes, this rotational force imparts energy which is part of the kinetic chain. However, there is a practical limit to how far you can travel down the chain concept in order to promote learning. The forearm moves, but not independently. Other than maintaining a relaxed arm and loose wrist to facilitate that movement, there is little else that remains to be done in regard to pronation, provided the other links in the chain are intact.

On serve, the importance of snapping the wrist in regards to pronation, is not so much a purposeful act of cocking/uncocking the wrist, but allowing the wrist to flex. Serving with a grip other than the continental effectively locks the wrist and won't allow for proper pronation. That's why serves with an eastern forehand grip are less powerful, prove more difficult in generating spin, and provide less control.

Spin on serve is created by a combination of where/how you contact the surface of the ball and your follow-through. Snapping the wrist has little to do with generating spin. Yes, the serve on your knees drill utilizes a short chippy-chop motion, but it is the brushing action of the strings and location of contact that generates spin; the wrist action is merely the motor, not the steering wheel.

The pros of yesterday didn't dwell on pronation, but they understood the wrist as the key to added power on the serve. They were attending to the same master, but without the additional semantic baggage.

Vic Braden was a master of high-speed videography and was among the first to actually look at what the pros were doing and how the body's mechanisms aided or hindered the production of various strokes. I find it truly fascinating to read about how the musculo-skeletal system conspires, in specific detail, to hit a perfect forehand. However, I find this degree of exactitude to be less than useful in training. I prefer to have this staggering array of information chunked down to something I can manage.

If you were trying to sell me a kinetic chain, it might be helpful to describe how it works and why it is a superior product. After I have made the decision to buy in, however, my focus turns almost entirely to use. Were the kinetic chain a car, I would be more interested in learning to drive than looking under the hood. Using that same analogy, I realize there are people with an entirely different view.

Should dwelling on pronation provide you with the necessary mental imagery and insight to improve your tennis technique, why, by all means, go for it. Personally, I find the topic, as stated previously, to be more useful to the coach or instructor, than to most players. As always, YMMV.

Merry Christmas!

Fedace
12-25-2009, 06:51 AM
Pronation does NOT hurt. Stop trying to do it. It just happens naturally. Wrist snap is important too. just try to do the Wrist snap and the Pronation just happens automatically. You will hurt your arm if you Don't pronate.......lol

spacediver
12-25-2009, 07:05 AM
thank you jagman, for a thoughtful, comprehensive and lucid reply!

Until your latest post, I never considered the fact that with a frying pan grip, the palm would block the racquet from being snapped forward due to wrist flexion.

Jaewonnie
12-25-2009, 07:25 AM
One reason why pronation might feel uncomfortable is the transition from racket drop to contact. This motion has to be fluid; the racket head has to always move. The racket drop to contact is connected by a smooth motion due to some amount of supination. There's no way you can pronate comfortably unless you swing up on edge (or go a bit further).

Maybe this is the reason why you might feel uncomfortable pronating but from what I remember when I was a beginner tennis player, a eastern-grip doesn't really allow you feel this whippy, pronation motion too well.

spacediver
12-25-2009, 10:50 AM
I'm confused. When does supination figure into the motion? Are you suggesting there is a supination phase right before the pronation phase?

Please elaborate - I've heard others talking about supination during service motion but wasn't sure what they meant.

Blake0
12-25-2009, 12:59 PM
I'm confused. When does supination figure into the motion? Are you suggesting there is a supination phase right before the pronation phase?

Please elaborate - I've heard others talking about supination during service motion but wasn't sure what they meant.

It's more of an advanced technique u should try after you have great technique on the serve. As you swing up you supinate your arm so that you can pronate faster. This is the basic idea of it, don't really know the in-depth explanation for this.

5263
12-25-2009, 02:09 PM
It's more of an advanced technique u should try after you have great technique on the serve. As you swing up you supinate your arm so that you can pronate faster. This is the basic idea of it, don't really know the in-depth explanation for this.
This does not contradict what you are saying, but does relate IMO.
In Brian Gordon's latest publication with regards to serving power centers, he has recorded that the forearm/wrist pronates at a minus 5% relative to the shoulder/upper arm, indicating that the forearm is actually turning slower than the upper arm section.

This could mean that as the power is projected outward towards the wrist/hand, that their is some degree of loss along the way, and not an addition made to the total made by the wrist pronating. This does not mean there is no effort to pronate the forearm, but does relate to that effort being focused on insuring the correct position at contact, opposed to focusing on a big power addition.

His study is of excellent D-1 tennis players and there seems to be the expectation that this data will stay consistent with most or all good servers. Of course there is the chance that this might be an area where a server on the level of Roddick may distinguish himself, although that does not seem to be Brian's expectation at this time. It also could be that BG has no expectation, but keeps his focus on the gathering of data and interpretation of that data. Either way, I find this study very interesting and look forward to more info as things progress. I think it will be interesting to know if this was just an avg with some players on each side of the mark or if it was the norm to register a negative result.

The relation of this to the OP? Makes me wonder if trying to actually add or create a positive % at that power center could cause discomfort or injury.

* I hope Brian will post on this and correct anything not expressed accurately.

Jagman
12-25-2009, 03:01 PM
Look at it this way. In regard to the forearm, you have both pronation and supination. From a neutral posture with your hand stretched out in front of you, your thumb should be up. Rotate the forearm inwards and the palm goes down --- i.e., pronation. Rotate the forearm outward from the neutral position and the palm faces up --- i.e., supination.

Serving, you want the strings to contact the ball, not the edge of the frame. Using the continental grip, which places the edge of the frame in line with the forearm in a neutral position, pronation must then occur at contact if the strings are to meet the ball. It is relatively simple, occurs naturally, and should not be a mental block to developing good technique.

Supination really doesn't figure into the process of serving, other than it is the "ying" to pronation's "yang". Sooner or later, the forearm that rolled inward on the serve is going to revert to a neutral position or beyond. If you think about it, that will certainly happen on the follow-through. I suppose that a fairly loose arm that travels on serve through a full range of motion, going in the process from a pronated to a supinated forearm, will generate more power than a rigid arm with a locked wrist and a limited follow-through. But that's just common-sense.

Most old guys will tell you, given a solid service foundation, that extra power needed for the big serve comes from maintaining a relaxed arm and loose grip. The added flexibility in the wrist is akin to cocking the hammer on a gun and then letting it come forward. It's a completely natural movement. Training to do this consists more of allowing it to happen than attempting to control how a bone conducts a limited rotation about its axis. And it only matters if you already possess a strong serve. If you are still struggling to obtain just a so-so serve, the added power gained by focusing on pronation --- even if successful --- is going to be nil.

If you want another take on the subject, I might recommend that you go here:

http://www.fuzzyyellowballs.com/video-tennis-lessons/serve/serve-fundamentals/pronating-on-your-serve/

Wil Hamilton doesn't really say anything substantially different, I believe, from what I have already put forth, but he is more eloquently technical than I, and offers pictures for those who require a more visual orientation.

There is no secret to pronation. It has been talked about and taught for years without all the trappings of anatomically-correct language. While we understand much more of the "why" today, I still maintain this added knowledge is most useful for the coach or trainer. I must admit, however, that the value of being "taught to properly pronate" is ultimately decided by the user/player and is therefore, highly subjective. Through many difficult years of hard-won experience in fields other than tennis, I have grown inordinately fond of the KISS principle. YMMV.

Felice Navidad!

LeeD
12-25-2009, 04:00 PM
I forgot for THIRTY years !!!
To snap the whip to supersonic speeds, you have to move your arm BACKWARDS just before the fastest tip speeds..:shock::shock:
THANKS AGAIN, DWhiteside !!

spacediver
12-25-2009, 09:53 PM
Supination really doesn't figure into the process of serving, other than it is the "ying" to pronation's "yang". Sooner or later, the forearm that rolled inward on the serve is going to revert to a neutral position or beyond. If you think about it, that will certainly happen on the follow-through. I suppose that a fairly loose arm that travels on serve through a full range of motion, going in the process from a pronated to a supinated forearm, will generate more power than a rigid arm with a locked wrist and a limited follow-through. But that's just common-sense.



so in this account, supination is something that happens well after contact with the ball, correct? If so, it seems a bit trivial, although I think I understand your point about a proper loose pronation resulting in a wrist position that requires supination to get back to neutral.

What about supinating during the early phase of the serve to "prime" the wrist so that it can unload with a full range of pronation (+ stretch reflex).

GuyClinch
12-25-2009, 09:56 PM
Pronation is always a hot topic - I still disagree though with the consensus here. The "pronation is natural" crowd.

1) You can serve with zero pronation and a frying pan grip. Its quite easy to do and its commonly seen among rec players.

2) You can practice pronation and pronate more or less on both overheads and serves.

Though the motion is different - I am sure most people have played basketball and you can easily focus on your wrist flick more and concentrate on getting more "flick" at end of the jumper.

You can do the same with pronation, IMHO.

sennoc
12-26-2009, 01:10 AM
It is really safe to say that every pronation which happens "in a natural way" is just a passive reaction. Such kind of pronation is usually a signal of extreme body position and weaknesses of our technique. It can't improve our strokes, that's impossible.

Pronation - as an element of a stroke - is a conscious action of muscles. You have to know that you use your muscles, you have to know you use them before the contact, to accelerate your racquet.

KiNG
12-26-2009, 03:11 AM
Agree with GuyClinch and sennoc.

"Pronation" happens naturally is BS. At least not until you made it your second nature.

Any PTR or RPT certified instructor here?? I'm one. And I can tell you that you HAVE to focus on pronation when you just started learning the serve!!

What you can do is. Just stand at the service line or even closer to the net, and serve ONLY by pronating your wrist and forearm. And remember to start by gripping the racquet by the throat or top of the grip for the first couple dozens of balls.

GuyClinch
12-26-2009, 04:03 AM
^^^Yes like a lot of starting players I did the same drill. Its not a problem. I think once you get the muscle memory going you incorporate it into your regular serve motion (as you have to pronate anyway with the right grip).

Again its not entirely dissimilar to the "spiral" movement on a football throw or a snap on a jumper. Of course pros don't think about that once they learn to shoot or throw spirals but I wouldn't call it "natural."

Jagman
12-26-2009, 05:59 AM
I suppose I should be upset. All those hours as a youth, passing a football, playing catch, and shooting hoops --- all without the benefit of being let in on the secret of pronation.

Funny how we did all the same drills over forty years ago without focusing on the activity of particular muscle groups with the same degree of detail that we do today. Obviously why I never made it past being a minor college player.

At least my children are being inculcated into the mysteries of taking muscles from a passive to an active state. That must be why lesson fees have gone up. I'll have to thank their pro.

Happy Holidays!

LeeD
12-26-2009, 07:05 AM
Seems the first flat serve pronation is not natural to me, a guy who played all the ball sports thru my younger (under 25) years.
I lost the pronation after '79, not getting it back until yesterday. Adds about 15 or so to my serve speeds.
THINK !!
To crack a whip to supersonic speeds, you cannot just attach it to a 600 mph airplane. You have to bring it BACKWARDS sometime to get the tip to hit 750mph ! :shock::shock:
Thus the "-5"........

5263
12-26-2009, 07:13 AM
Seems the first flat serve pronation is not natural to me, a guy who played all the ball sports thru my younger (under 25) years.
I lost the pronation after '79, not getting it back until yesterday. Adds about 15 or so to my serve speeds.
THINK !!
To crack a whip to supersonic speeds, you cannot just attach it to a 600 mph airplane. You have to bring it BACKWARDS sometime to get the tip to hit 750mph ! :shock::shock:
Thus the "-5"........

I think your point may be good, but not related to the -5%.

5263
12-26-2009, 07:18 AM
I suppose I should be upset. All those hours as a youth, passing a football, playing catch, and shooting hoops --- all without the benefit of being let in on the secret of pronation.

Funny how we did all the same drills over forty years ago without focusing on the activity of particular muscle groups with the same degree of detail that we do today. Obviously why I never made it past being a minor college player.

At least my children are being inculcated into the mysteries of taking muscles from a passive to an active state. That must be why lesson fees have gone up. I'll have to thank their pro.

Happy Holidays!

Happy Holidays to you as well!

Am I right that your point is that if the grip and shoulder rotation are proper, then the pronation will happen more naturally?
Not as Pete suggest with a frying pan grip, as that won't allow for pronation.

I think many have to practice that last segment with pronation due to not have played much other sports or like with girls and a lack of throwing in their youth. It would also show players where they need the end up in their swing, therefore helping them to correct flaws preceding this segment.

LeeD
12-26-2009, 07:22 AM
I think if most tennis players would just look at those three pics on this thread and try to hit exactly like that, natural, full pronation would result.
I totally forgot this for 30 odd years. Those pictures brought it right back.
That's why I always advocate shadow swinging indoors. You can find your fastest racket speeds by listening and watching your shadow. That's how I found it in the first place, along with some verbal reinforcments by some really fast serving pros.

gzhpcu
12-26-2009, 09:06 AM
To quote Jim McClellan:

Good servers have a loose whip like look and feel, where at the top of the swing the hand actually slows down while the racquet speeds up, said another way an inverted V at the top of the swing.

Jagman
12-26-2009, 06:58 PM
Hi 5263,

My point, such as there is one, is that I find the term "pronation", as it is used in the context of tennis instruction, to be confusing.

When I (and hopefully, most people) am concerned about something the hand is doing, I generally think about the hand. I understand that the forearm is involved, but when the hand needs to manipulate an object in a precise and determined fashion, it is the hand that garners my attention.

Pronation of the forearm, further constricted to its action during the service motion, is a tiny fraction of the overall process. Viewed as a process, what the hand and arm does in relation to the body is paramount IMO and the forearm does what it will do when the mind commands the arm to swing and the wrist to crack the whip. I don't see where unduly focusing on the forearm is helpful.

Obviously, it would seem that the term "pronation", within the lexicon of tennis, has taken on a broader scope and added meaning. It has grown far beyond the bounds of its anatomically precise definition. Whereas, in the past (decades here, not days) we turned our attention regarding the arm on serve to the direction of force, along with how the hand and particularly, wrist, were poised, this collection of similar, yet different, relationships have been subsumed today by the connotation of "pronation".

In spite of the new terminology, the serve is largely taught in the same, old way. Even the drills are unchanged, except they are now referred to as "pronation drills". Everything is retained but the clarity of purpose and meaning. I scratch my head over the change in emphasis; my boys puzzle over the meaning of a word that doesn't even appear in the vocabulary builders for the SAT/ACT; and the OP remains confused.

Were I overly cynical, I might wonder why the mainstream tennis instruction community has embraced the re-packaging of timeless lessons with a glitzy new name. And the p-word is truly a term of art now; I may bemoan the fact, but it is spilt milk, regardless.

Just put this down as the musings of a curmudgeon in development. I still cling to the notion that instruction should be helpful.:)

Cheers!

gzhpcu
12-27-2009, 12:11 AM
so in this account, supination is something that happens well after contact with the ball, correct? If so, it seems a bit trivial, although I think I understand your point about a proper loose pronation resulting in a wrist position that requires supination to get back to neutral.

What about supinating during the early phase of the serve to "prime" the wrist so that it can unload with a full range of pronation (+ stretch reflex).
Seems to me that supination at the bottom of the racket drop combined with the normal pronation gives the racket head a greater range for acceleration.

gzhpcu
12-27-2009, 12:14 AM
There is no secret to pronation. It has been talked about and taught for years without all the trappings of anatomically-correct language. While we understand much more of the "why" today, I still maintain this added knowledge is most useful for the coach or trainer. I must admit, however, that the value of being "taught to properly pronate" is ultimately decided by the user/player and is therefore, highly subjective.

I never did like the "need to know" principle. I find that a player who seriously wants to improve needs this information, not just the coach or trainer. I find it very useful when you take a video of yourself serving to check whether you are serving properly.

gzhpcu
12-27-2009, 02:33 AM
Obviously, it would seem that the term "pronation", within the lexicon of tennis, has taken on a broader scope and added meaning. It has grown far beyond the bounds of its anatomically precise definition. Whereas, in the past (decades here, not days) we turned our attention regarding the arm on serve to the direction of force, along with how the hand and particularly, wrist, were poised, this collection of similar, yet different, relationships have been subsumed today by the connotation of "pronation".

In spite of the new terminology, the serve is largely taught in the same, old way. Even the drills are unchanged, except they are now referred to as "pronation drills". Everything is retained but the clarity of purpose and meaning. I scratch my head over the change in emphasis; my boys puzzle over the meaning of a word that doesn't even appear in the vocabulary builders for the SAT/ACT; and the OP remains confused.

I have a lot of old tennis instruction books, and rarely found any good advice on the serve in them. What I really find helpful are videos, for example, like the FuzzyYellowBalls site.

LeeD
12-27-2009, 07:19 AM
OK guys, think the BULLWHIP!
You know, that supersonic cracking sound a whip makes when you do it right.
I mentioned you can attach the handle to a 600 mph jet plane, and you cannot make the tip go supersonic.
BUT, when you attach the handle to a trained 80mph hand, and that hand moves forwards at 80mph, and slows down at the correct time to some slower or almost stopped speeds, the resulting WHIP effect makes the tip of the whip go over 750 mph.
Same as the tennis first flat serve. You have to slow the hand motion sometime before the actual ballstrike, to allow the faster moving head of the racket to accelerate. Not to supersonic speeds, but maybe to faster speeds than you could create with a continous forward arm motion.

Steady Eddy
12-28-2009, 08:25 PM
I have trouble understanding the difference between pronate and supinate. But no one else gets it either. Just ask a group of people. Everybody has their own idea.

gzhpcu
12-28-2009, 09:33 PM
I have trouble understanding the difference between pronate and supinate. But no one else gets it either. Just ask a group of people. Everybody has their own idea.
Where is the problem? With pronation, the rotation is counterclockwise, with supination the rotation is clockwise.

LeeD
12-30-2009, 08:52 AM
Pronate your arm inwards to get the angle of the held racket to accelerate for you.
Slow down your forward hand speed just before contact to ACCELERATE the speed of the rackethead.
Two very different things to create a fast first serve.

gzhpcu
12-30-2009, 12:21 PM
Pronate your arm inwards to get the angle of the held racket to accelerate for you.
Slow down your forward hand speed just before contact to ACCELERATE the speed of the rackethead.
Two very different things to create a fast first serve.
Slowing down the hand prior to impact, results in a whipping action, speeding up the rackethead. This is probably what was referred to "wrist snap" in the old days.

LeeD
12-30-2009, 12:35 PM
"Wrist snap" doesn't necessarily include slowing down the hand so the racket can catch up. You'd think Ws is a muscle initiated action, like "snapping the wrists".
I'd like to think the only similie is snapping a bull whip.
Continous forward motion just doesn't make for a fast serve.
They say..." whip it, whip it good"....

gzhpcu
12-30-2009, 12:41 PM
"Wrist snap" doesn't necessarily include slowing down the hand so the racket can catch up. You'd think Ws is a muscle initiated action, like "snapping the wrists".
I'd like to think the only similie is snapping a bull whip.
Continous forward motion just doesn't make for a fast serve.
They say..." whip it, whip it good"....
Right, but the wrist action is evident, and seems to me as if it might have been the grounds for confusion...

Steady Eddy
12-30-2009, 09:27 PM
Where is the problem? With pronation, the rotation is counterclockwise, with supination the rotation is clockwise.So if I stand with my thumb up, pronation by my right hand means my palm faces down, but pronation on my left hand means my palm faces up?

I don't think we can use the words clockwise or counter clockwise unless we specify which hand. See how tricky it gets? :)

gzhpcu
12-30-2009, 10:04 PM
So if I stand with my thumb up, pronation by my right hand means my palm faces down, but pronation on my left hand means my palm faces up?

I don't think we can use the words clockwise or counter clockwise unless we specify which hand. See how tricky it gets? :)
Why make it tricky? You stretch your arm out and look at the rotational axis of your forearm: rotating clockwise is supination, counterclockwise is pronation.

brucehughw
01-06-2010, 07:50 AM
Earlier Jaggman (sp?) mentioned Vic Braden's suggestion to put a couple balls in the leg of panty hose, tie the end, hold the waist (I suppose), and keep the leg tight while going through the service motion. I've tried this (plastic shopping bags work ok, too) and it really seems to encourage the correct sequence and timing of motions. Has anyone else tried this? Did it lead to an improved serve?

Thanks, Bruce

PS I could find no other reference to this apparatus. Wonder where Vic came up with it.

LeeD
01-06-2010, 07:59 AM
Vic's suggestion is just one of the many mental tools you would use to teach the "whip" effect. I suppose it works.
What works for me is the mental imagery of those 3 pictures that were provide earlier on this post. If you can keep your elbow as high as your head, while the rackethead has hit and followed thru straight down, you have achieved good service pronation and motion. What happens later after the pics is the entire arm/racket unit dropping further, but that part is not as important as what you do to ACHIEVE this position.

precision2b
01-06-2010, 10:46 AM
I have trouble understanding the difference between pronate and supinate. But no one else gets it either. Just ask a group of people. Everybody has their own idea.

It's like the deference between push and pull... push to pronate and pull to supinate...

charliefedererer
01-06-2010, 11:37 AM
This is the best demonstration video on how to develop the pronation service, with the pronation part of the video and choked up practice swing, beginning at about 1 1/2 minutes into the video: http://www.fuzzyyellowballs.com/video-tennis-lessons/serve/serve-fundamentals/pronating-on-your-serve/

Will's aforementioned video on pronation is good http://www.fuzzyyellowballs.com/video-tennis-lessons/serve/advanced-serve-technique/how-the-arm-moves-from-the-racket-drop-to-contact/, but it doesn't contain the hint about learning the pronation with a choked up grip to demonstrate how you will be whacking yourself in the arm with the racquet handle if you are not pronating.

Another great video that probes the subtlties of pronation is the following split screen comparisom of a player with a really nice serve and pronation compared with the true master, Pete Sampras, starting about 5 minutes into the video. (Granted few of us have the flexability/ability of Sampras, but it gives hints on how we can best approach his serve.)
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jDHDS9G9sKw&feature=player_embedded