Sampras serve arm motion, side windshield wiping motion

Discussion in 'Tennis Tips/Instruction' started by 1171, Jun 21, 2005.

  1. 1171

    1171 Rookie

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    I looked at the video of Sampras serve motion over and over again in slow motion from different angles.

    What strikes me about his arm motion was that after hitting the ball at the highest point, his arm breaks down with his elbow, not his shoulder.

    I can't help notice it looks like a "windshield wiper" motion, where his elbow is the center of the windshield wiper.

    It looks like a windshield wiper moving from back to front, with his elbow as the center. The windshield wiper ends on the right side of his body. Start on the right, ends on the right side.

    Now, my question is, can we hold the right arm up, and practice doing this windshield wiper motion with elbow as the center, windshield wiping back and forth, back and forth, until it is engrained in muscle memory.

    What do you think about this as a serving arm exercise?
     
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  2. TennsDog

    TennsDog Hall of Fame

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    I'm not quite sure what you are seeing different about Sampras's serving arm versus other's. The idea of serving is to lower the serving shoulder, bring the racket back, lead with the elbow, whip the racket head through, extending the shoulder and elbow, then follow through. At the end of the service motion, the arm and racket still have energy and inertia that they need to dissipate, but the shoulder is already extended forward, so the elbow bends, allowing the forearm and racket to continue rotating to complete the follow through. Sampras does this, yes, but so does pretty much every other decent server. You need to lead with your elbow to get the rest of the arm to do what it is supposed to do. I suppose doing a slow motion copy of that movement might help get used to the feeling. However, I have found that the serve feels much different in slow motion than at real speed. You can look at yourself when you do it slowly and feel each muscle, but when you do it fast it just happens -- you don't get a chance to see and feel and correct. Video of yourself is the best way to improve pretty much anything about your game, I think. That way you get to not only compare what you look like to what you are trying to look like (i.e. Sampras serve), but also what you feel like vs. what you actually look like.
     
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  3. 1171

    1171 Rookie

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    Very well said. Lead with the elbow, whip the racket head through.

    That is exactly what I observed. I describe it as a side way windshield wiper. But your description is much more poetic and accurate.

    Lead with the elbow, whip the racket head through. Very well said.
     
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  4. thejackal

    thejackal Hall of Fame

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    He used a pretty heavy racket too, so maybe a 11oz stick wouldn't "sink" so fast after contact.
     
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