Serve Warmup

Discussion in 'Health & Fitness' started by pokefan, May 31, 2008.

  1. pokefan

    pokefan New User

    Joined:
    May 2, 2004
    Messages:
    47
    I periodically have arm pain that I have assumed is tennis elbow. I don't always have a problem, but it generally flares up after I go out and practice serves. My thought is that either I am not warming up/stretching enough before I start serving or I am just over doing it. I was using a poly hybrid and since I have switched away from poly it seems to have helped.

    Generally on the first few serves I fell pain/tightness on the inside of my elbow (if the forearm was on a table face up). I little rubbing and this generally loosens up and is okay. But, pain will start to develop just above and below my elbow. If I give it a couple of days rest it will be okay again for a while.

    Again, if I go out and play (without having done any serve practice within a couple of days) I generally don't have a problem. I am hoping that I am just not getting a proper warm up or stretching my arm properly before I begin serving.

    Do you have any suggestions?
     
    #1
  2. SystemicAnomaly

    SystemicAnomaly G.O.A.T.

    Joined:
    Feb 25, 2006
    Messages:
    10,933
    Location:
    Stuck in the Matrix somewhere in Santa Clara CA
    Inside of the elbow meaning the medial side rather than top part of your forearm near the elbow (with your arm on the table). If your arm is hanging by your side with the palm facing forward, the pain is still on the inside rather than the front, correct?

    If I understand the location correctly then this sound like golfer's elbow rather than TE. Gripping the racket too tightly can result in GE. Do your static stretches 20-30 minutes before you get to the courts. At the courts perform your warmup incorporating dynamic stretches rather than static ones. Before hitting any balls perform the service motion (and g'stroke motions) as part of a dynamic warmup. Be sure to grip the racket fairly loose most of the time -- just let it tighten up naturally (but not too much) as the racket is accelerated upward (serves) or forward (g'strokes).
     
    #2
  3. pokefan

    pokefan New User

    Joined:
    May 2, 2004
    Messages:
    47
    Yes, the initial pain is on the inside of the elbow if my arm is hanging to the side with the palm facing forward. After a little while, this generally loosens up and the pain goes away. Then, sometimes (generally when I am practicing serves or am playing the day after practicing serve), I will have pain on the front of my arm (if the palm is facing backward) just below the elbow (forearm muscle) and just above the elbow (at the bottom part of my bicep). Since this pain usually coincides with serve practice, I am wondering if there is more I should do to warm up before practicing serve.

    What static stretches do you recommend? Pulling hand up and down (at wrist) with the arm extended? Any specific dynamic stretches that work well other than shadow strokes, which I assume should still be done with the racket?
     
    #3
  4. SystemicAnomaly

    SystemicAnomaly G.O.A.T.

    Joined:
    Feb 25, 2006
    Messages:
    10,933
    Location:
    Stuck in the Matrix somewhere in Santa Clara CA
    The initial pain you described does, indeed, sound like GE. However the 2nd one sounds like it could be TE. You say the pain is on front of your forearm (just below the elbow) with your arm down down and the palm facing backward. If the palm is facing forward, then that pain would be on the outside (side away from the body) rather than the inside, correct? If so, then this may very well be TE. However, I'm not sure why a service action would cause TE. The 3rd pain may be a biceps tendon -- not sure what would cause this either.

    As I mentioned before, GE can be caused by excessive squeezing of the grip with your fingers. Keep your grip on the racket relaxed most of the time -- it should automatically tighten (but only about half grip strength) as the racket is accelerated upward on the serve. As you finish your follow-thru, your grip should, again, be loose.

    It could be that the grip size of your racket is much too small (or too large) for your hand. A racket weight that is too light (or excessively heavy) can be a factor. A stringbed tension that is too tight or a racket strung with polyester strings could also contribute to your elbow problems.

    Excessive, repetitive wrist flexion on your serve might be the major factor contributing to your elbow problems. (When you bend your arm, you are flexing your bicep. When you curl the wrist, this is known as wrist flexion). Some servers, even some fairly good servers, have a tendency to let their wrist excessively flex on the follow-thru. In looking at the service motion of Sampras, Roddick and other elite servers, I see that the wrist is neutral at contact. As they follow-thru, the forearm continues to pronote, but the wrist does not appear to flex past the neutral position (or the flexion is very slight).
     
    #4
  5. pokefan

    pokefan New User

    Joined:
    May 2, 2004
    Messages:
    47
    Thanks for the help. I do think I helped start this. I was snapping my wrist to try to get the serve from going long before I realized that this was a BAD idea. That is when I started having problems. I have also recently switched from polyester strings, which has helped.
     
    #5

Share This Page