Palm position in serve takeback.

Discussion in 'Tennis Tips/Instruction' started by J011yroger, Dec 24, 2007.

  1. J011yroger

    J011yroger G.O.A.T.

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    Very interested in the advantages and disadvantages and results of different palm positions on service takeback.

    Firstly the palm curled in as taught by our own Dave Smith/Tennismastery. And shown by Tommy Haas in this video.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kRczSAvD73E

    As opposed to the palm down as taught by Rick Macci and shown by Andy Roddick in this video.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=muKDqiVer0k

    Experimenting on my own I find the palm curled in best for day in day out bread and butter hard slice/hybrid serves and for nastier topspin/kickers. And the palm down best for A1 flat ball pure MPH serves.

    Really hoping to hear from guys like Tennismastery and Tricky. Have not seen this discussed very much, and I think it is pretty important.

    J
     
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  2. Kevo

    Kevo Hall of Fame

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    I have tried to figure out how this would make a difference and I just can't seem to put my finger on it. I've experimented with both and things in between and it seems to me once the motion starts the wrist position on take back has no effect at all.

    I've been telling some of the kids I work with to simply forget about the take back entirely and concentrate on the motion up to contact. I've said once they get the contact part down and can serve reliably they can use whatever take back they want. It just doesn't seem to matter much at all as far as I can tell.

    Jolly, in the videos you've sited, it seems that both Roddick and Haas have similar contact and finishes even though they started differently. The Haas video doesn't quite show everything through the contact, but you can see how the arm and wrist turn in the follow through.
     
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  3. J011yroger

    J011yroger G.O.A.T.

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    seems to me as if the palm down works better when going straight at the ball and rolled in beter when spinning it. If you watch the vids they are indeed quite different in takeback and followthrough.

    J
     
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  4. WildVolley

    WildVolley Legend

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    What do you think the palm position does? I can think of two potential things.

    One, it might change the motion of the swing by activating certain muscles, or two, it might cause a specific stretch-shortening cycle in some muscles which make the pronation more vigorous (as pronation with good servers seems to clearly be a reflex), or perhaps both.

    Well, that certainly clarified things.:confused: I'd also be interested in hearing the responses of those more knowledgeable than I.
     
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  5. J011yroger

    J011yroger G.O.A.T.

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    ^^^ If I knew I wouldn't have asked :)

    Hoping Yandell, JCO, and some of the other top coaches can shed some light.

    J
     
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  6. J011yroger

    J011yroger G.O.A.T.

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    Just thinking guys that lay down lightning bolts, seem to favor palm down, and spinners prefer the other. Which mirrors my personal observations.

    J
     
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  7. Tennismastery

    Tennismastery Professional

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    J011yroger,

    You have made some good observations regarding the position of the palm (or, relationship of the hand to the forearm) and how subtle positions can augment or embellish service effects.

    I have long stated that the majority of pros simply adjust this aspect of their hand position as opposed to making specific grip adjustments. (There are examples of both subtle grip changes as well as turning the hand in or out more.) Players should experiment with different position of the palm (curled in more for spin or turned out for flatter serves as you have correctly reported), as this is where players can discover aspects of the serve that contribute to more effective serving abilities.

    Thanks for bringing this important point up. It is a good one.

    P.S. With all the holidays, I've been doing the 'family things' of late. Hope to visit more often!
     
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  8. firefox

    firefox Semi-Pro

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    Try throwing a baseball with palm open vs. turned in. With palm open, you will get a lot more whip action from your elbow to your palm, in turn gives you more acceleration, IMHO.

    Example of two types of wrist position:

    Palm face down = Sampras, Becker
    Palm curled in = Edberg
     
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  9. WildVolley

    WildVolley Legend

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    How would you categorize the starting hand position of someone like Goran and his closest imitator Ljubicic who have that odd starting position where the wrist seems to be more heavily in adduction (the pinky toward the outside of the forearm) at the start of the swing?
     
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  10. NoBadMojo

    NoBadMojo G.O.A.T.

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    I dont involve my lessons with stuff like this as it is a personal preference sort of thing <unless they ask>. It often serves to unecesssarily complicate and confuse. I am concerned about what's going on when everything gets into the slot..there are multiple proper means to that end. the precursor stuff really isnt so important provided what they are doing is relaxed and rhythmic and comfortable for them.
     
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  11. J011yroger

    J011yroger G.O.A.T.

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    ^^^ Understood, and yes they both produce effective, yet different results. I am just looking to see what some of our more technical coaches have to say on the matter so that I can see which I prefer as my personal preferance. I really like both ways, but I know that in order to really groove my motion I am going to have to choose one or the other.

    Now that my shoulder is 100%, and I have figured out how I want to play, I just need to become a machine, and I would consider it foolish on my part if I did not look into the issue before deciding.

    J
     
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  12. NoBadMojo

    NoBadMojo G.O.A.T.

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    you will be part of the Borg Collective. If you are changing your serve because of your shoulder, you may wish to look to the abbreviated motion. Some of the older pros are doing that and are getting lots of work on the ball that way. Dont know if they are doing it more for their back or more for their shoulder. The palm down thing might encourage that abbreviated type of motion more. I tend to think more in terms of feet and large muscle groups and only discuss things like wrists and palms when absolutely necessary
    good luck with the palm thing.... i wouldnt want to change something like that...you could change it and never get it going back to as good as it was before, let alone improve
     
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  13. Noveson

    Noveson Hall of Fame

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    I always thought this was related to the type of serve? Maybe I'm wrong here, but I've always curled my palm in for kickers/slices, while I leave it out whenever I go for a flat serve. Maybe we should find a video of both roddick/hass serves, see if their palm position changes from serve to serve?
     
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  14. J011yroger

    J011yroger G.O.A.T.

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    ^^^ Ya but I don't want to telegraph my intent, unless I started out the same way and rolled it in or out early in the takeback. If I started out differently it would be extremely easy to tell what was comming, and while my flat ball has enough hurt on it to be extremely effective if you know it is comming, it is about unreturnable if you don't.

    J
     
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  15. J011yroger

    J011yroger G.O.A.T.

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    Some more, Querrey down, Safin in.

    J
     
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  16. boojay

    boojay Hall of Fame

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    I definitely find it easier to hit flat with palm down and hitting with spin when the palm is curled. For fear of playing against observant, higher level players who are capable of reading my serve, I've opted to stick with a curled palm and gradually find a way to hit flatter because I think it's significantly easier to make that adjustment than to keep a palm down approach and doing the opposite.
     
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  17. Kevo

    Kevo Hall of Fame

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    I think what is causing me difficulty in understanding this wrist thing is that it seems no matter what I do at the beginning my wrist position during the upward swing is going to be totally dependent on my intended contact.

    If I am hitting a slice serve my wrist must be positioned a certain way to allow the racquet face to slice the ball more toward the right hand side (for righty server) than if I am going to hit flat where the wrist is going to be in a slightly different position.

    In my personal experimentation the things that have mattered are grip and swingpath. The wrist for me is pretty much along for the ride. I have gotten some nice boost from working with adding more supination before pronation, but I think that's not really related to this discussion. I'd be interested to hear others theories on how the wrist position at the start could effect the larger forces later in the swing.
     
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  18. tennisace432

    tennisace432 Banned

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    deleted.................
     
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  19. quicken

    quicken Professional

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    Sorry but can anyone explain to me what palm up and palm curl is? Thanks in advance.
     
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  20. Noveson

    Noveson Hall of Fame

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    It's the different positions when you are taking your racquet back on the serve. Take your racquet hand and try to bring your palm to your wrist, that's the palm curl if you have your racquet. Palm up is when your hand follows the line of your arm.
     
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  21. fuzz nation

    fuzz nation Legend

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    C'mon guys... now I've got to go and video my serve to see what's going on!

    Hey, cool thread. I'm going to look at these two serves along with some others and think over what's happening. What I notice now is that Tommy takes his racquet arm back on a lower line at the outset of his windup while Andy's takeback begins up near shoulder height. Even though their palms are facing a little differently at this outset of their serves, the relative position of their palms to their arms seems to be rather similar. They start back on a much different plane though.

    I'm trying to figure out how this affects the way that they arrive at their release points where they're ready to pull the trigger and fire through the ball (I'm not a big fan of that term "trophy position"). Looks as though Andy is hitting less of a spinner than Tommy (yeah, what's new), but the contrasting progression of these set ups is pretty funky.

    News at eleven!
     
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  22. waves2ya

    waves2ya Rookie

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    Is an interesting thread...

    JC's Hi-Tech site does a great job of breaking down the 'big' serve (including new focus on wrist/butt of racquet in follow thru) - but at what expense to the shoulder; can someone post a good example of the 'abbreviated motion' technique that actually gets the job done (enough pace/placement)...?
     
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  23. quicken

    quicken Professional

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    Wouldnt it cause your hand to be at a 90 degree angle with your wrist?
    ...
    Sorry im really slow lol
     
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  24. wihamilton

    wihamilton Hall of Fame

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    IMO, I don't think it really matters how your palm is positioned, how exactly you take the racket back, etc. The pros do what they find comfortable (e.g. their motions aren't all the same) and you should do the same. The key the any preparation is to get to the racket drop correctly. If you're doing that then it doesn't really matter what's going on beforehand.
     
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  25. NoBadMojo

    NoBadMojo G.O.A.T.

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    check out Todd Martins new serve which is of the abbreviated motion ilk.
     
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  26. J011yroger

    J011yroger G.O.A.T.

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    Just wanted to report, and maybe hear some more from our esteemed top coaches.

    I revisited the palm down serve today (why not experiment since evidently someone had stolen my serve when I wasn't looking, and left in trade some stellar volleying ability).

    And found that it works much better with a further into the court toss on both the flat and kicker, whereas the palm curled in liked the toss back more towards the baseline. Had a touch of trouble locating the hard slider (Or Hybrid serve as Dave likes to refer to it) but that was 100% me and nothing that couldn't be cured in 20 mins. I was hitting a very high quality ball, and it was doing the right stuff off the bounce, I just couldn't hit the T on the ad side (My favorite use).

    J
     
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  27. Mike Cottrill

    Mike Cottrill Hall of Fame

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    #27
  28. JoeU

    JoeU New User

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    The Todd Martin's is a great video of the abbreviated serve motion!

    I've noticed that Nadal also has a somewhat abbreviated motion.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XK479hCJCsg&NR=1

    I think the abbreviated motion is a great way to keep things simple.

    Joe
     
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  29. TENNIS_99

    TENNIS_99 Semi-Pro

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    This is why I use palm-down approach. Toss has been my problem, I don't know why, tossing sounds the easiest part in serve motions, but I had habits tossing too much to the body. I still can get good power but I had hard time to control the placement. Ensure I toss inside the court helps me a lot, both flat bomb and kicker. Slice is a littlie bit different, I need to switch a little bit more to the western grip to get a good slicer.
     
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  30. DrewRafter8

    DrewRafter8 Professional

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    Does anybody do both? I have used in my playing the palm down on my first and then the palm up on the second. I use the palm up on my kick 2nd and it has worked well. Only problem is that opponents can pick up and read me. Seems when I go palm up I increase the spin capability of my serve.
     
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  31. J011yroger

    J011yroger G.O.A.T.

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    ^^^ Right on the observation, but no one I know does both. Two reasons, firstly, you want to groove a single motion, secondly you don't want to obviously telegraph your intent.

    J
     
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  32. DrpShot!

    DrpShot! Semi-Pro

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    I've been going through this recently while rebuilding my serve so resurrecting this thread.

    I'd like to settle on one method, palm curled in or palm down/neutral. I find palm curled in does make the motion more circular, the racket hand comes closer to my head during the drop, I can hit kick more easily, but its hard to flatten the serve out. With palm down/neutral the racket hand stays further away from my head and sort of naturally drops/flops backward, its a less circular motion overall, easier to hit flat serves, but harder to generate kick.

    Sampras and Murray keep the wrist down/neutral, Fed seems to exaggerate palm down to the point its twisted backward, while Raonic keeps his very curled in.

    Fed:
    http://youtu.be/L9EBU3wCFS0
    Murray:
    http://youtu.be/eiH-tOZsZoM
    Raonic:
    http://youtu.be/zkgZOvm7ySA
    Sampras:
    http://youtu.be/4DpptgXq5j4

    What have you guys found to work best?
     
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  33. charliefedererer

    charliefedererer Legend

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    Not gripping your racquet too tight has been a universal recommendation for the serve - and indeed all strokes.

    So starting out with a loose neutral grip and maintaining just enough tension to keep the racquet from flying away is my preference.

    I've got to agree with the post above by Will Hamilton that the important thing is to get into a good balanced trophy pose position - and having a fairly loose grip in this position will soon be important in letting the racquet swing out well to the right of the body at the point of the maximum racquet drop.
    (Tightness in the forearm muscles will not let the racquet swing to the right fully as you go into your full racquet drop - actually swinging into a position of supination. That supination and the racquet being well out to the right of the body will allow a full and powerful pronation movement.)

    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Sep 28, 2012
    #33
  34. LeeD

    LeeD Bionic Poster

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    Don't Roddick and Milos do the opposite of each other, and both serve OK?
    Maybe it's personal, whatever works for the server based on experience.
     
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  35. TennisCJC

    TennisCJC Legend

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    I don't overthink it but use more curl for spin - I actually think more closed racket face instead of curled wrist. I think it results in more slice or top with more brushing motion.
     
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  36. OHBH

    OHBH Semi-Pro

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    I think it has to do with the way in which you generate power from the lower body and transferring that power to the arm.

    Servers with the palm curled up use more hip and shoulder rotation to come around the ball and the curled wrist helps make contact easier because the rotational serve has more deviation in the horizontal/axial plane.

    Wrist down servers utilize more of the upward thrust from the legs causing deviation in the vertical plane, wrist down lets the wrist snap down more easily as to minimize deviation in the vertical plane.

    Simplest solution for the most variety of serve would be to assume a wrist position in between these two types
     
    Last edited: Sep 30, 2012
    #36
  37. Thepowerofchoice

    Thepowerofchoice Semi-Pro

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    #37
  38. OHBH

    OHBH Semi-Pro

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    I would say Stosur in that video has the palm curled up but pretty close to neutral. If you look at the video at 00:14 seconds you can see how the racket face is pointing slightly up towards the sky indicating a curled palm but close to level.

    Compare this with Andy Roddick where at 00:07 seconds in this video http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=91IxRV4RDt8 the racket face is pointing straight down at the ground.

    Roger Federe is pretty close to a neutral wrist position in this video http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vcjZ5r_YHV0 at 00:07 seconds where his racket face is pointed only slighty down to the ground but is predominantly pointed to the deuce court where he is aiming.
     
    Last edited: Oct 1, 2012
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  39. Thepowerofchoice

    Thepowerofchoice Semi-Pro

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    I have been playing around with Stosur service motion and really like it (except I'm using platform stance). I used to really have my palm curled up but I feel natural palm position gives me better timing. Just my 2 cents.
     
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  40. Bobby Jr

    Bobby Jr Legend

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    Man, that new Todd Martin service looks like he's been watching Richard Gasquet too much.
     
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