Throwing a football...

Discussion in 'Junior League & Tournament Talk' started by ndtennisfan, Sep 10, 2012.

  1. ndtennisfan

    ndtennisfan New User

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    Happened to catch some of Serena's quarterfinal match the other day, and Chris Evert was commenting on how critical it is for parents of daughters to teach them how to throw "correctly", and that the hours that Serena spent learning how to throw a tight spiral is a key component of her fluid service motion. I thought that was actually pretty good advice, just curious if any other parents have had success with that?

    I also happened to see on another recent thread that folks were talking about starting weight-training with their 8 & 9 year olds. That just seems way, way too early to me. Seems like if these girls spend time being active and playing multiple sports, that the balance and coordination will be learned ... which would be more important than trying to build up muscle on such tiny frames.
     
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  2. Soianka

    Soianka Hall of Fame

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    I recall years ago reading that Serena and Venus spent a lot of time practicing their serves by throwing old racquets.
     
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  3. ndtennisfan

    ndtennisfan New User

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    I'd be afraid to suggest that to my daughter. She could do some damage (but it would be quite a sight on court for other players) :)
     
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  4. arche3

    arche3 Banned

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    My son has spent last few years practicing his football throw. He can throw a mean tight spiral. He finally now can hit a wicked fast serve as well. The throwing motion is near identical.

    (11 years old. 5"5. 140lbs. Plays defensive end and left guard on his team. Being groomed to be a full back by his football coaches for the high school team. He can't be a ball carrier till high school when the weight restrictions come off. )
     
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  5. ndtennisfan

    ndtennisfan New User

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    Is it because of the flick of the wrist necessary to generate the spiral? Same principal holds true in golf ... if you want to generate massive clubhead speed, it's all about waiting until the last moment to 'pull the trigger' and break your wrist to bring the clubhead through. Watching Serena's serve in slo-mo, the wrist snap is ridiculous.
     
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  6. 10ismom

    10ismom Semi-Pro

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    My girls' coaches advocate playing other sports before age 10.....never recommend early specialization for tennis. Throwing football was encouraged for girls. In fact, it was often done during lessons when they were younger. It helped serves and overhead motion for both of my kids.
    Strength and condition were part of the training at their academy. For only the serious, more committed, group of 9-10 year old, there is some simple weight train like push-up, rubber arm band maybe once a week. The coaches advocate strength training more to prevent injury than to outpower an opponent in a tennis match.

    I am not sure about lifting weight in a young teenage girl. Saw a few 14 year old girls with bulging muscles...talking about 1/3 of Sam Stosur or incredible Hulk here. My 13 year old does not want to look like that.
     
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  7. TCF

    TCF Hall of Fame

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    Yes OP, this advice has been around for a long time among top coaches. Rick Macci mentioned it in a video 20 years ago. Girls do not throw as much in general terms.

    Sharapova has tossed the football for a long time. Williams sisters have too. I have had my girl toss rocks into lakes, little balls, etc. since she could walk. Years ago I found these little yellow football shaped
    things called 'tennis footballs'. Forget where we got them.

    Throwing helps the service motion....well more like, is the motion.
     
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  8. widmerpool

    widmerpool Rookie

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    The USTA Quick Start manual recommends throwing a Nerf football.
     
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  9. tacoben

    tacoben Semi-Pro

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    Throwing footballs is something my daughter's coach incorporates in her sessions with him. Not only does it simulate the service motion, it helps her to feel the load in her shoulder blades just below her neck. It also helps with the wrist snap that you need in a good serve. A good spiral is comes from a good wrist snap. Throwing footballs also helps in tracking balls from a static position then exploding to reach/catch the ball by either backpeddling, cross over stepping, with sudden change in direction...all of which is part of tennis.
     
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  10. ndtennisfan

    ndtennisfan New User

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    Well this is obviously not news to you guys ... so I'll take it as a "tried and true" approach and start playing more catch as opposed to just hitting balls (conveniently aligns with college football season).

    And per the post a few up about specialization, I tend to agree. My daughter plays once a week, sometimes twice - for an hour or so (she's 8). I'd like her to run cross country and play basketball next year. Quite a few of her friends are *only* playing tennis, which would have to get painfully boring for them. Love the posts though, thanks for the info.
     
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  11. Power Player

    Power Player G.O.A.T.

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    I made a thread about this practice a year or so ago. I agree. But what has really clicked in for me about throwing the football is how the elbow determines so much. Throwing a football is like a flat serve, so your elbow should be coming at the ball when you serve flat. The football throw really helps with this and of course the wrist as well.

    I was really struggling with serve for a while..took me so long to get it back from when I was younger. But now that I am consistent again, I can go for flats and this knowledge of the elbow's role really helps.
     
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  12. arche3

    arche3 Banned

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    If you watch instruction on how to throw a football you will see forearm pronation. But they don't call it that. The follow through after pronation (wrist snap) is to the left hip. For a righty. The motion almost mimics exactly the flat serve with forearm pronation on the right of the body and the follow through to the left of the body. The snap. Whippy arm. It's all there.
     
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  13. onehandbh

    onehandbh Hall of Fame

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    Also, it's good to practice throwing a football at about a 45 degree angle
    (this also happens to maximize the distance of the throw), since the
    serve is hit "up." I used to play football when I was little and I think this
    helped my serve. When I was 5'3" and 120lbs, my coach radared my serve
    and it was 10x mph. Pretty sure it would have been weaker without football.
    At the time, I think I could throw a football about 45 yards. There was another
    guy on the tennis team that could throw 70+, but his serve wasn't super hard
    b/c he roided up too much over the summer and got too 'uge.
     
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  14. strike1

    strike1 New User

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    My son and his friends often bring a football to tournaments and will throw it around between matches. They say it loosens up their arm but it also seems to keep them loose mentally while waiting for their match to be called!
     
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  15. spacediver

    spacediver Hall of Fame

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    I've never understood how pronation of the forearm can be applied to throwing a football (not saying it's not crucial, just that i'm having a conceptual stumbling block).

    If you hold a football, the tip of the football is pointing ahead of you. If you pronate your forearm, the tip of the football now faces to your right.

    Don't you want the tip of the football to be pointing in the direction of your target when you throw it?

    If so, how can you pronate your forearm while keeping the tip facing the target?
     
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  16. Power Player

    Power Player G.O.A.T.

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    Can you throw a football properly? I ask because if you watch someone (NFL QB) do it properly it will all make sense.

    Also, a lot of people can not properly do it.
     
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  17. TCF

    TCF Hall of Fame

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    Think about that and visualize the NFL, if you watched any yesterday. How could a QB throw a 30 yard pass if the tip of the football was pointing towards his receiver as he threw it? It needs arch.

    A football's tip could point towards the target if he was throwing 10 feet. But not if a ball is thrown a longer distance. Now think about how far a serve has to travel after it leaves a racquet.

    As far as pronation, if he held the ball, yes, it would be facing to the right. But what if he pronates through the release?

    This site explains it more.

    http://www.coachbones.com/doug-flutie-throwing-mechanics

    "The key word: PRONATE. Flutie was adamant about pronating your throwing hand through release. (Peyton Manning calls this “flicking boogers.”) He didn’t say it would be nice if you did. He didn’t say that it would probably happen if you extended your hand at the target. He said flat out: you NEED to make the effort to pronate your throwing hand through your release."
     
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  18. arche3

    arche3 Banned

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    It's the hollow through. The last thing the hand feels is the index finger leaving the ball. As the finger leaves the ball the forearm is pronating at the same time.
     
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  19. spacediver

    spacediver Hall of Fame

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    thanks, i figured it was something along these lines. No I don't have much experience with throwing a football, but want to practice some time. I've tried a few times and gotten some really nice throws with tight spirals, but haven't paid too much attention to the mechanics.

    Hard to find slow motion footage of a football throw where it clearly shows how the pronation is implemented.
     
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  20. Power Player

    Power Player G.O.A.T.

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    Look for peyton manning on youtube and see if you can find it hat way. You will see the pronation on the follow through.
     
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  21. widmerpool

    widmerpool Rookie

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  22. Power Player

    Power Player G.O.A.T.

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    Perfect video..shows it exactly.

    Also shows why I struggled with pronation so much for a while. I threw curveballs for years as I played shortstop in baseball and had to make a lot of sidearm throws. That curveball finish allowed me to gun the ball hard to first base and it would drop right into proper spot.
     
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  23. spacediver

    spacediver Hall of Fame

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    thanks for the video, but it just shows what you're supposed to do. Is there any close up, slow motion footage of the pronation actually being implemented so that we can see how the ball leaves the fingers?

    Also, am I correct in gathering that pronation will only work if you hold the ball towards its back? That way, the surface angle of the ball that is in contact with the index finger is less than 90 degrees (as the ball leaves the finger) (if it's 90 degrees or more your finger can't push against the surface).
     
    Last edited: Sep 13, 2012
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  24. widmerpool

    widmerpool Rookie

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  25. LeeD

    LeeD Bionic Poster

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    Notice 1hbh says his bud throws 70 yards, but nobody bothers to doubt him.
    I say I could throw just over 70, and all you guys say I"m nuts....or better..:)
    Unfortunately, didn't have a chance to throw a tennis ball over to the adjoining court today, but did play with/against a former 5.5 player who says my serve is the best he's seen for a 4.0 ever. Well, it WAS warm out, maybe 65 degrees, warmer than usual for our courts.
     
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  26. Power Player

    Power Player G.O.A.T.

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    Leed, your friend needs to meet my friend BobFl. His serve is far better. No offense.
     
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  27. LeeD

    LeeD Bionic Poster

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    Lots of guys have stronger/faster serves than me. Just not too many 4.0's. And none with a gimpy ankle and swelling knee, nor 63 years old.
     
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  28. Power Player

    Power Player G.O.A.T.

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    Well if you lower the bar that much you are probably closer to correct..lol.
     
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  29. LeeD

    LeeD Bionic Poster

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    Some possible good news.
    After taking cod liver oil for 3 days, my ankle doesn't hurt anymore (placebo or luck). Today, was hitting all my first flats really hard, the aces going waist high on the backboard, and some topspin first serves (got conservative on tighter games) bouncing higher on the backboard.
    Had to switch to the unweighted 10 oz racket, because I hurt my shoulder during warmups.
    It ain't logical, but then again, I'm all helter skelter all my life.
     
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  30. LeeD

    LeeD Bionic Poster

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    It's amazing the tennis strokes I can have without the ankle's hobbling pain.
    I can today push off my back foot on serves and forehands, step onto my left foot on topspin backhands, and make it to the service line on my first serves (as the return is arriving).
    I'm still gimpy about coordination of course, since it's been 4 years since I've run more than a couple of steps.
     
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  31. Fusker

    Fusker Rookie

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    Funny - I played shortstop for years too and always had a natural curve from left to right on long throws. Sounds like we had opposite spins if yours was right to left (assuming you're a righty since you played SS). Mine certainly came from pronating and probably why I had a live arm in baseball and on my serves. Definitely not something I practiced, it just seemed to happen naturally. That infielder quick cocking of the arm also lent itself really well to a more abbreviated service motion. Had a coach teach that to me back in '95, and I remember seeing Roddick a few years later and thinking, "hey that's the first service motion (not results obviously) that resembles mine."
     
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