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Ammo
05-16-2006, 01:06 PM
I think it's quite obvioust that the serve and pitching motion are very similar. So does that mean pitching could improve ur serve? I think the main gain would be power. anyone try this out?

sureshs
05-16-2006, 01:21 PM
Vic Braden studied the pitch early on to gather some tips for tennis. I attended one of his clinics - he says the pitching motion (like Roddick) produces more power than the conventional full rigid arm rotation. I am not explaining this well but hope you get the picture.

Midlife crisis
05-16-2006, 01:31 PM
I think it's quite obvioust that the serve and pitching motion are very similar. So does that mean pitching could improve ur serve? I think the main gain would be power. anyone try this out?

I don't think it's a good idea to use pitching to help your serving. You'd be much better off by practicing serving to help your serving.

There are a few problems with pitching (and I have experience with this as my son pitched in little league for several years and is now transitioning to tennis). One, the leg and lower body mechanics are different. He's having problems learning to serve properly without taking a step forward, like you would do when pitching.

These second thing is that the arm slot is different. There are very few pitchers who throw directly overhand, and the usual pitching arm slot is from 90 degrees to about 120 degrees, whereas when you serve your arm is as directly upright (at 180 degrees) as you can possibly be.

Last, there's just the difference in kinetics because you're not holding a 27/28 inch long, 12 ounce lever and instead are holding a five ounce ball.

I would recommend throwing only if you are inexperienced at serving and can't achieve the proper motion of leading with your elbow. In this case, throwing either a baseball or football would help teach that motion, and then you can progress to serving with a racquet.

Woodstock_Tennis
05-16-2006, 01:34 PM
I played baseball from little league to my sophmore year of college, the one stroke that came most natural was the serve, just a little input.

kevhen
05-16-2006, 02:16 PM
I am playing senior league baseball and the throwing definitely helps to keep the arm strong and may help with accuracy too since your need to throw straight. The motion is similar and has helped me in thinking more like a pitcher when I serve in mixing up pace, spins, and location. I have three serving pitches that resemble a fastball (flat), curveball (heavy topspin kick), and slider (slice).

golden chicken
05-16-2006, 04:07 PM
midlife crisis,

the arm slot is a biomechanically advantageous position whether you're throwing a ball or swinging a racket. while serving, you must also get that magic degree, but combine it with a torso bend so that your shoulders tilt and your arm, while still "in the slot" relative to your shoulders, IS upwards.

Midlife crisis
05-16-2006, 06:13 PM
midlife crisis,

the arm slot is a biomechanically advantageous position whether you're throwing a ball or swinging a racket. while serving, you must also get that magic degree, but combine it with a torso bend so that your shoulders tilt and your arm, while still "in the slot" relative to your shoulders, IS upwards.

The upper arm slot for a pitch, as taught by current pitching instructors, is somewhere between 30-50 degrees lower than it is for a serving motion, even accounting for the shoulder tilt. That's because without the lever that is the tennis racquet, the acceleration needs to be more directly forward than upward, and so the pitching hand, at the furthest point of its takeback, is extended almost straight back from the shoulder while the front arm is extended almost directly forward and again even with the shoulder.

As the shoulder rotation initates the throwing motion, the arm supinates and comes forward, elbow first, with the upper arm about parallel to the shoulder. It basically stays in this plane as the lower arm pronates to the release point, which occurs above the plane of the upper arm. In all this time, the upper arm basically stays in the same slot, about parallel to the ground, with the shoulders also parallel to the ground.

If not, then I've wasted many sessions of $60 an hour on pitching instruction for my kid!

Ammo
05-16-2006, 06:19 PM
I'm quite sure that it can definetly increase the power tho since the same muscles r used. the only problem that can arise is a couple of bad habits. I'm gonna give this a try. :p

Midlife crisis
05-17-2006, 07:53 AM
I'm quite sure that it can definetly increase the power tho since the same muscles r used. the only problem that can arise is a couple of bad habits. I'm gonna give this a try. :p

Just remember that research shows the importance of specificity. For the most benefit, it has to not only be the same muscles, but at the same velocities and joint angles. It's just like that you can't get good at running by walking, and you can't get a good backhand by throwing a frisbee. You get grooved by practicing the specific activity.

golden chicken
05-17-2006, 08:25 AM
or, let's put it this way:

regardless of the biomechanical differences

which is going to make you stronger? throwing a 5 oz ball or swinging a 12 oz racket? doesn't lifting a heavier weight make you stronger?

thanks, midlife crisis for enlightening me!

Bungalo Bill
05-17-2006, 08:53 AM
or, let's put it this way:

regardless of the biomechanical differences

which is going to make you stronger? throwing a 5 oz ball or swinging a 12 oz racket? doesn't lifting a heavier weight make you stronger?

thanks, midlife crisis for enlightening me!

A heavier racquet will make you stronger. Most players who weight their racquets are simply looking for ways to reduce racquet twist, increase ball control, and be able to penetrate tightly spun or "heavy" balls.

It is simply the Volkswagon bug meeting a Mack truck head on theory.

However, there is a point where the racquet is too heavy based on the strength and ability of the player. In this case, they should gradually add weight until they reach their desired weighting.

fbone
05-17-2006, 11:25 AM
Cool topic!

I love baseball/softball and have played it most of my life...but, as a kid, I threw out my arm so much, I'm sure I have rotator cuff damage or something of the sort.

Most kids have to come in the house from playing when Mom screams down the block , "It's time to come in now!" I knew it was time when my left arm was a foot longer than my right!

When I play even after a long layoff, the more and more I throw, the more and more the pain increases.

Serving in Tennis? I have absolutely NO PAIN what-so-ever from serving. I am so glad I do not have any pain from the service motion, I would give up the game if I could not serve the way I do now. So, without getting technical, (my head would explode w/some of the things you guys are talking about! - :-) ) There has to be some slight differences in the motions or else I'd be in some major pain.

Like Woodstock_Tennis states, the serve was the one stroke that came the most natural to me too. I'm positive pitching helped me serve better. I'm just so glad it doesn't hurt.

chess9
05-17-2006, 11:42 AM
Baseball (pitcher, 3rd base) had been my principle sport for about 7-8 years before I started playing tennis. I noticed almost immediately that I could serve very fast. Was it the years of baseball, or something else? :) I think the motions are similar enough, or were when I played 50 years ago, that baseball is the reason I can still serve fairly strongly even today.

-Robert

Midlife crisis
05-17-2006, 01:22 PM
Baseball (pitcher, 3rd base) had been my principle sport for about 7-8 years before I started playing tennis. I noticed almost immediately that I could serve very fast. Was it the years of baseball, or something else? :) I think the motions are similar enough, or were when I played 50 years ago, that baseball is the reason I can still serve fairly strongly even today.

-Robert

I think it's primarily because you've learned to lead with your elbow. People that come to tennis with no other sporting background that involves throwing seemingly swing with their entire arm as one unit piece, so their elbow never or barely gets in front of their hand, and so their serves don't have pace and/or spin.

I'm not saying there's no crossover, just that if the OP wanted to make his serve better, he'd be better served by serving!

ramseszerg
05-17-2006, 02:25 PM
There are certain differences in the motion like the step forward and the elbow angle (agreeing with Midlife Crisis). But power could benefit because pitching will develop your muscles, the same ones required for serving, to a whole new level since you dont have to help of a racquet and you are throwing a heavier ball.

Joe Average
05-17-2006, 02:45 PM
I grew up playing baseball -- playing every day as a kid in the summer -- and I developed a pretty powerful throwing motion (in the fall, we threw footballs for hours at at time). I took up tennis pretty late in life. At the start, I took private lessons. My first instructor, some kid who played for the Occidental College tennis team, asked, during our very first lesson, to see my serve. Of course, I didn't have one. I've never served in my life, and he didn't even bother to show me how it was done. I hit one. He shook his head, smiled, pointed at the ball stuck in the chain link fence and asked, "Have you ever been clocked?" Duh. I've never even served. So ... yeah ... I'm pretty sure a throwing motion translates pretty well to a tennis serve.

Midlife crisis
05-17-2006, 03:53 PM
I grew up playing baseball -- playing every day as a kid in the summer -- and I developed a pretty powerful throwing motion (in the fall, we threw footballs for hours at at time). I took up tennis pretty late in life. At the start, I took private lessons. My first instructor, some kid who played for the Occidental College tennis team, asked, during our very first lesson, to see my serve. Of course, I didn't have one. I've never served in my life, and he didn't even bother to show me how it was done. I hit one. He shook his head, smiled, pointed at the ball stuck in the chain link fence and asked, "Have you ever been clocked?" Duh. I've never even served. So ... yeah ... I'm pretty sure a throwing motion translates pretty well to a tennis serve.

A football throw translates better because the arm slot is different than throwing a baseball, and is closer to the arm slot used in tennis. And in any event, most people can hit their fastest serve if they serve three-quarters rather than directly overhead, similar to the arm slot used in throwing a football. I've clocked near 120 MPH with my normal serve, but by lowering my arm and slapping at it more, I've gotten readings into the middle 120's. Of course, I have no control over it swinging that way and it would never go in, but there's no way I could get the ball any faster serving correctly.

str33t
05-17-2006, 03:55 PM
vollyball helps more .. you get more arm strength .. the spike and serve motion is like tennis as well ... and i have a vball game today :D

Rickson
05-17-2006, 08:21 PM
I think it's quite obvioust that the serve and pitching motion are very similar. So does that mean pitching could improve ur serve? I think the main gain would be power. anyone try this out?
I've said it before and I'll say it again; throwing a baseball and serving are very different motions. Serving is much closer to throwing like a little girl than a major leaguer's pitch. A little girl is more likely to bring her arm to a backscratch position than a pitcher. A little girl is also more likely to pronate more than a pitcher. Throwing a baseball properly and serving are extremely different unless you consider throwing like a little girl a proper throwing motion.

Ammo
05-17-2006, 08:27 PM
I've said it before and I'll say it again; throwing a baseball and serving are very different motions. Serving is much closer to throwing like a little girl than a major leaguer's pitch. A little girl is more likely to bring her arm to a backscratch position than a pitcher. A little girl is also more likely to pronate more than a pitcher. Throwing a baseball properly and serving are extremely different unless you consider throwing like a little girl a proper throwing motion.

hehe, that's why i think it's time to take out the good old football, I realize (thanx to the contributions of other posters :mrgreen: ) that the serve is closer to throwing a football.

Roddick The Beast
05-17-2006, 08:31 PM
I've said it before and I'll say it again; throwing a baseball and serving are very different motions. Serving is much closer to throwing like a little girl than a major leaguer's pitch. A little girl is more likely to bring her arm to a backscratch position than a pitcher. A little girl is also more likely to pronate more than a pitcher. Throwing a baseball properly and serving are extremely different unless you consider throwing like a little girl a proper throwing motion.[translation]: Ammo, you consider throwing a baseball like serving. Serving is like throwing a baseball, but throwing it like a girl, therefore you are being called a girl. [end of translation]

Rickson
05-17-2006, 08:52 PM
[translation]: Ammo, you consider throwing a baseball like serving. Serving is like throwing a baseball, but throwing it like a girl, therefore you are being called a girl. [end of translation]
Maybe ammo is a girl or maybe ammo throws like a girl. If either is true, then maybe ammo isn't so far off the mark.

TennisAsAlways
05-17-2006, 09:55 PM
hehe, that's why i think it's time to take out the good old football, I realize (thanx to the contributions of other posters :mrgreen: ) that the serve is closer to throwing a football.Yeah, serving is definitely more like throwing a football.

travlerajm
05-17-2006, 10:07 PM
I grew up playing baseball -- playing every day as a kid in the summer -- and I developed a pretty powerful throwing motion (in the fall, we threw footballs for hours at at time). I took up tennis pretty late in life. At the start, I took private lessons. My first instructor, some kid who played for the Occidental College tennis team, asked, during our very first lesson, to see my serve. Of course, I didn't have one. I've never served in my life, and he didn't even bother to show me how it was done. I hit one. He shook his head, smiled, pointed at the ball stuck in the chain link fence and asked, "Have you ever been clocked?" Duh. I've never even served. So ... yeah ... I'm pretty sure a throwing motion translates pretty well to a tennis serve.

I agree with this. If you can pitch well, then serving is easy. But if you can serve well, then pitching isn't necessarily easy. I've been clocked at 120mph on a serve, but I can't throw a baseball more than 67.

Rickson
05-17-2006, 10:21 PM
Yeah, serving is definitely more like throwing a football.
It's because no real baseball player throws with a direct overhead throw. A football pass has more of an overhead motion and pronation.

chess9
05-18-2006, 05:09 AM
I think it's primarily because you've learned to lead with your elbow. People that come to tennis with no other sporting background that involves throwing seemingly swing with their entire arm as one unit piece, so their elbow never or barely gets in front of their hand, and so their serves don't have pace and/or spin.

I'm not saying there's no crossover, just that if the OP wanted to make his serve better, he'd be better served by serving!

Yes, I agree. I also agree with BB. I have a leaded up Jack Kramer woody that is about 16 oz and I use that for about 15 minutes a couple of days a week. Makes a 12+ oz. racquet easy to swing.

-Robert

kevhen
05-18-2006, 06:40 AM
I throw a baseball directly overhead and could throw about 80mph in high school. Throwing overhead is better if you are an outfielder and want the ball to fly and bounce straight ahead. Baseball pitchers do take the ball to the backscratch position with their front arm extended forward just like a tennis server. Football is the same way. The motions are slightly different but still similar.

Rickson, do you throw a baseball sidearm or maybe underhanded (like a girl)?

Rickson
05-18-2006, 07:50 AM
Rickson, do you throw a baseball sidearm or maybe underhanded (like a girl)?
3/4, the way a man throws. Throwing directly over your head from a backscratch position is a little girl's motion so I suggest you check your form, Kev.

kevhen
05-18-2006, 08:02 AM
Well if you want to take one like a man, I can throw one at you with my little girl's motion. I clocked out last summer at 71mph (age 35) but I agree my technique is far from perfect but you can throw over the top without throwing like a girl, you just don't know how. Throwing over the top always helped me both with power and with accuracy when throwing from the outfield, but a pitcher can probably generate more power using a 3/4 arm release. Pitcher's also take their arm way back to generate maximum power. My flat serve is very similar to this. I only use the backscratch when hitting topspin serves otherwise it's more like a pitcher's motion.

travlerajm
05-18-2006, 08:27 AM
In both pitching and serving, a lot of power is lost if there is anything remotely close to a pause in the backscratch position. Roddick gets a lot of his power by yanking his racquet head down as fast as he can so that his muscles work as a spring to aid in accelerating the racquet back up. And by yanking down fast, his racquet head reaches a much lower low-point than most people, so that he can accelerate upward over a longer distance before meeting the ball. In fact, a curious trainer discovered that Roddick's shoulder flexibility (the distance that he can extend his arm down behind his back) is like 1-in-a-million, making him a freak of nature. Anyway, the whipping motion that allows most good pitchers to generate high velocities is similar to the yank-and-rip whipping motion that Roddick uses.

bkc
05-18-2006, 09:18 AM
I think it's quite obvioust that the serve and pitching motion are very similar. So does that mean pitching could improve ur serve? I think the main gain would be power. anyone try this out?
Lately, I've been thinking of serving (and groundstrokes) as basically throwing or pitching the racquet (except for the letting go part). Really it is just as simple as that. You can talk about all the details of the mechanics of the swing, but most people could pick up a racquet and throw it about 50 yards without too much trouble or without thinking about it too much.

Now the way most peoply are serving nowdays is not like throwing the racquet in front of you, but is throwing it up in the air about 45 degrees, and throwing it about halfway to the right side if you are RH. I think Roscoe Tanner would have thrown the racquet more strainght ahead instead of up in the air, which I like, because this business of looking way up at the sky takes your concentration way the hell away from the tennis court.

To practice maybe we should take old tennis racquets and practice throwing them hard in the direction we want our service motion to be in. Another thing you can do is not let go of the racquet, but don't use a ball, and just do shadow serving. Pitching a ball is good, but I think it better to use a racquet.

Bungalo Bill
05-18-2006, 09:43 AM
Lately, I've been thinking of serving (and groundstrokes) as basically throwing or pitching the racquet (except for the letting go part). Really it is just as simple as that. You can talk about all the details of the mechanics of the swing, but most people could pick up a racquet and throw it about 50 yards without too much trouble or without thinking about it too much.

Now the way most peoply are serving nowdays is not like throwing the racquet in front of you, but is throwing it up in the air about 45 degrees, and throwing it about halfway to the right side if you are RH. I think Roscoe Tanner would have thrown the racquet more strainght ahead instead of up in the air, which I like, because this business of looking way up at the sky takes your concentration way the hell away from the tennis court.

To practice maybe we should take old tennis racquets and practice throwing them hard in the direction we want our service motion to be in. Another thing you can do is not let go of the racquet, but don't use a ball, and just do shadow serving. Pitching a ball is good, but I think it better to use a racquet.

Attaching a ball to a loose string or rope will really help a player get the full motion, looseness, and flexibility in the arm for the serve motion in the shoulder and arm area. Swing the ball around and around will loosen the shoulder and help take out any hitches in the motion.

The "throwing the ball" analogy is a good one and can be used to help a player learn how to develop the kinetic chain of motion to properly hit a serve.

Keeping the head up is essential in a good service motion. A lot of people don't think they have enough time to "recover" but in actuality they do. All you need to do is keep the head still and looking up until you see the blue of the arm go by which is usually at contact. Keeping the head still in this way helps ensure you are not pulling the arm down and altering the swing which increases the chance of faulting and mishits.

duffman
05-18-2006, 11:03 AM
Baseball was my primary sport and went as far as Div 1 until I hung it up. I just started playing tennis last year at age 28 and went from never having played the game of tennis and a self rate of 3.0 to winning at the 4.5 level this year. While most of my improvement was based on athletic ability and having a good mentor that taught me the fundamentals, the stroke that came the easiest was the serve. The motions of pitching and serving while not identical, are similar enough that it makes picking up the serving motion a bit easier than someone who hasn't had a baseball background.

However, one thing i have not seen mentioned as an advantage is the experience of pitching and setting up hitters carries directly over to serving in a match. The ability to mix up your serves by changing location, speed, and even spin is extremely important in keeping the return man off balance just as a pitcher tries to keep a hitter off balance by mixing up pitches. I was able to get away with bombing serves down the T at the lower levels but know at 4.5 I really need to mix things up more to still have a dominant service game and I think my pitching background has helped me learn that quicker than I might have learned otherwise.

travlerajm
05-18-2006, 11:11 AM
Baseball was my primary sport and went as far as Div 1 until I hung it up. I just started playing tennis last year at age 28 and went from never having played the game of tennis and a self rate of 3.0 to winning at the 4.5 level this year. While most of my improvement was based on athletic ability and having a good mentor that taught me the fundamentals, the stroke that came the easiest was the serve. The motions of pitching and serving while not identical, are similar enough that it makes picking up the serving motion a bit easier than someone who hasn't had a baseball background.

However, one thing i have not seen mentioned as an advantage is the experience of pitching and setting up hitters carries directly over to serving in a match. The ability to mix up your serves by changing location, speed, and even spin is extremely important in keeping the return man off balance just as a pitcher tries to keep a hitter off balance by mixing up pitches. I was able to get away with bombing serves down the T at the lower levels but know at 4.5 I really need to mix things up more to still have a dominant service game and I think my pitching background has helped me learn that quicker than I might have learned otherwise.

Yes, this is good analogy. I like to think of flat serves, kick serves, and slice serves as fastballs, breaking balls, and sliders respectively. The difference is that the strike zone in tennis is on the ground instead of in the vertical plane. So that means that in tennis the breaking ball is the easiest to throw for a strike, while the fastball is the high risk pitch.

Midlife crisis
05-18-2006, 11:40 AM
I agree with this. If you can pitch well, then serving is easy. But if you can serve well, then pitching isn't necessarily easy. I've been clocked at 120mph on a serve, but I can't throw a baseball more than 67.

That's interesting, because among ten or so people that I know that play both sports and have actually been measured by radar devices, the ratio for each one is between 1.4 to 1.5 to 1 as far as serve speed and throwing speed. I can throw a baseball about 80 MPH, and can serve just under 120. My son can throw low 60's and can serve low 90's.

There might be some sort of self-preservation response going on when you throw a baseball. Many people don't seem to be able to really let it all hang loose throwing a ball until they convince themselves, both consciously and subconsciously, that they won't destroy their arm or shoulder.

travlerajm
05-18-2006, 09:34 PM
That's interesting, because among ten or so people that I know that play both sports and have actually been measured by radar devices, the ratio for each one is between 1.4 to 1.5 to 1 as far as serve speed and throwing speed. I can throw a baseball about 80 MPH, and can serve just under 120. My son can throw low 60's and can serve low 90's.

There might be some sort of self-preservation response going on when you throw a baseball. Many people don't seem to be able to really let it all hang loose throwing a ball until they convince themselves, both consciously and subconsciously, that they won't destroy their arm or shoulder.

Maybe it's because they don't give me any warm-up throws when I throw at the speed gun at the carnival.

kevhen
05-19-2006, 07:17 AM
Yeah in high school I would throw in the low 70's at carnivals with no warmup and balls without seams. Add 5-10 mph to carnival speeds. I throw low 70's now with a proper speed gun and adequate warmup but my arm sucks compared to 18 years ago.

shindemac
05-19-2006, 08:08 AM
I'm gonna try the pitching/throwing motion and see how it goes today. I was shadow serving, and I feel like my serves would have been much, much faster. It felt a lot more natural and explosive. I could tell the power from my legs were contributing a lot compared to usual. The problem is being able to control this, getting clean contact, and getting the ball in.

shindemac
05-19-2006, 08:02 PM
Ughh, I failed miserably. I had maybe one powerful serve. I think my bad habits are too ingrained.

Roddick The Beast
05-19-2006, 08:33 PM
^ Take lessons from a pro brother.

Bungalo Bill
05-20-2006, 12:46 AM
Yeah in high school I would throw in the low 70's at carnivals with no warmup and balls without seams. Add 5-10 mph to carnival speeds. I throw low 70's now with a proper speed gun and adequate warmup but my arm sucks compared to 18 years ago.

At carnivals? What are you a clown? Are you serious? You actually measure yourself based on your clown acts at a carnival? LOL

"ITHROW IN THE LOW 70's", man this is bull. You probably can't throw under hand. LOL

Roddick The Beast
05-20-2006, 03:37 PM
At carnivals? What are you a clown? Are you serious? You actually measure yourself based on your clown acts at a carnival? LOL

"ITHROW IN THE LOW 70's", man this is bull. You probably can't throw under hand. LOLWow, you never new that he was a clown? After all of this time, NOW you are STARTING to get the hint??? Hmmmmmmm..........