Why pronate???

Discussion in 'Tennis Tips/Instruction' started by callen3615, Oct 8, 2009.

  1. callen3615

    callen3615 Professional

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    Ive been playing for about 4 months seriously. I used to hit a pancake serve with an eastern grip. I got pretty consistent with it. Being able to hit in the 90s and get probably half in. I started playing with better players that told me I needed to hit with a continental grip and "pronate". I started doing this about 2 months ago and Im confused. I struggle to hit flat serves. Most have side spin and kick out wide. Almost like a slice. I have figured out that my racquet fails to get flat when I am serving. It hits the ball like you would want to hit a slice serve. I dont know how to correct this, Im practicing alot and Im not improving. I have lost alot of power on my first serve and its hurting me alot in matches. Any advice? Part of me wants to go back to pancaking serves again but Ive put so much time into this pronation BS that I want to get it right.
     
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  2. fuzz nation

    fuzz nation Legend

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    Pronation BS indeed!

    Pronation is something that naturally happens when other things in a tennis shot are done right. For the serve, this includes the right grip, setup, and swing path, but there are other details, too.

    You don't need to worry about actively doing it by itself. Yeah, it's discussed here a lot, but I strongly encourage you to dismiss it.
     
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  3. ubermeyer

    ubermeyer Hall of Fame

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    pronation is natural

    when you hit hard with a proper grip it will come
     
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  4. callen3615

    callen3615 Professional

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    Are you serious? So is there something I can change in my setup or something to make me pronate correctly? All I think about is what my wrist is doing.
     
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  5. callen3615

    callen3615 Professional

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    Im using continental. My swing path is the same as my topspin swing. Is that wrong?
     
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  6. VGP

    VGP Legend

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    Go get some instruction from a qualified teaching professional.
     
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  7. user92626

    user92626 Legend

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    callen,
    Although I never started out with the pancake grip, I understand your problem completely because I also had gone thru trying to make sense of flat serve/contact.

    It's very hard to change grip and then maintain the flat serving style. I recommend that you stay with the slicey for a while. Soon you'll be familiar with the new posture and slicing enough that you know how to decrease it, thus flatter out .

    Also, the way I got to flat serve was...do a reverse. :) Hold in conti grip -- figure out how you would smack the ball (relatively) powerfully and flatly from 2 ft from contact point -- then reverse the motion to the backscratch position using the body. That's it.
     
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  8. SFrazeur

    SFrazeur Legend

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  9. jmjmkim

    jmjmkim Semi-Pro

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    FYB is great.
     
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  10. crystal_clear

    crystal_clear Professional

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    For me pronation is unnatural. I have to consciously remind myself to "pronate (twist my arm)" just before the contact point. I will hit spin serves for sure if I don't pronate.

    My serves get more pace now after I pronate.
     
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  11. rich s

    rich s Hall of Fame

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    pronating on the serve increases racquet head speed and increases the pace of the ball........
     
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  12. NickH87

    NickH87 Semi-Pro

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    I used pancakes and had amazing results my first 5 months of tennis. People kept telling me to serve properly so I dropped and and have been trying to learn for the past month. I struggle to the point where I dont even try during matches because I cant get them in so I have to 2nd serve all my serves and its tough to win. I wanted to go back to pancake and now I cant so I have nothing.
     
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  13. Lsmkenpo

    Lsmkenpo Hall of Fame

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    Try simplifying your motion to get the correct feel of contacting the ball cleanly using the continental grip and pronation. Here is how:

    Try practicing some serves with your racquet already in the back scratch position and on edge,with your elbow pointing up
    [​IMG]

    Now just swing up with the racquet on edge, last 1/4 of the motion square the face of the racquet to the ball to make contact(pronation). You should be able to hit a good serve starting right out of this exaggerated back scratch position.


    Once you get a feel for this, you can go back and use a full service motion, make sure you don't lose the basic principals, elbow is pointed up, racquet is on edge towards the ball, square the racquet face to the ball (pronate) right before impact. Stay relaxed, relaxed muscles move and react faster, that is what gives your serve speed and power.
     
    Last edited: Oct 8, 2009
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  14. Djokovicfan4life

    Djokovicfan4life Legend

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    Trust me, you will regret it if you go back to your frying pan serve. It took me awhile to get used to it as well, but it's worth the time and effort, for sure.

    Even if you can hit a passable pancake first serve, your spin will always be very limited, making it impossible to develop a strong and reliable second serve.

    If you're hitting too much spin you can play around with your toss a bit and see if that helps. I would suggest tossing a little further into the court around the 12 o'clock position.

    Try to visualize your racquet coming more straight towards the court into the ball rather than from the side of the ball like it would for a slice serve.

    Don't give up on the continental grip. Believe me, you'll be happier in the long run.

    Hope this helps,

    Matt
     
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  15. SuperDuy

    SuperDuy Hall of Fame

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    what does pronate mean?
     
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  16. wyutani

    wyutani Hall of Fame

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    smething about bending of the wrist. explaining in sciece would sound painful but its perfectly natural.
     
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  17. Djokovicfan4life

    Djokovicfan4life Legend

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    Pronation means that your wrist/forearm rotate counterclockwise (for righties). It is not a snap of the wrist as some people think.

    Pronation
     
    Last edited: Oct 8, 2009
    #17
  18. NickH87

    NickH87 Semi-Pro

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    I dont pancake my second serve, I hold it almost like an eastern forehand grip and it works very well, its a good top spin serve.
     
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  19. NickH87

    NickH87 Semi-Pro

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    I dont have money to throw around for a pro or coach to teach me so I figure I will go with what works than try to be a superstar and do everything the "right" way.
     
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  20. SFrazeur

    SFrazeur Legend

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  21. callen3615

    callen3615 Professional

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  22. Lsmkenpo

    Lsmkenpo Hall of Fame

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    That is why I gave you instructions to simplify the motion so you get the timing and correct swing path to the ball down easier, before you try a full service motion.
     
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  23. NickH87

    NickH87 Semi-Pro

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    Good video, helps me understand it better so hopefully if it doesnt rain tomorrow I can keep that in mind.
     
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  24. HunterST

    HunterST Hall of Fame

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    How has no one called this guy out on saying he can serve above 90 mph with only 4 months of experience, and with an eastern grip no less?

    Trust me, no way after 4 months and a frying pan grip that you're serving in the 90s. Probably more like high 50s or 60s.
     
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  25. ubermeyer

    ubermeyer Hall of Fame

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    I thought you hit eastern... Anyway, if your swing path is the same as your topspin swing, they are going to be topspin serves of course. I advise you to learn flat serves first, it is easiest to pronate. In fact, you may already be pronating without realizing, which is good. If other people think you aren't, they might be wrong.

    btw I agree with the guy above, there's no way you've been playing for 4 months and serve in the 90s relatively consistently with an eastern grip...
     
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  26. xFullCourtTenniSx

    xFullCourtTenniSx Hall of Fame

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    Pronation gets the racket moving through the ball as quickly as possible. It is how you generate maximum racket head speed.

    Also, note that to win matches in the long run, you must lose matches now for the sake of long term improvement. One handers generally lose a lot of matches at the junior level, yet one handers on the tour are very successful and quite large in numbers. It just takes longer and is harder to develop a good one hander.
     
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  27. callen3615

    callen3615 Professional

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    Ive been playing on and off for about 10 years, never seriously. Now im taking it serious. My dad has played his whole life and he told me how fast I was serving. I really dont know how fast it is.
     
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  28. NickH87

    NickH87 Semi-Pro

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    Its really not that hard to hit 80-90's with a pancake serve. Of course the % that it stays in and hits that MPH is very low. When I started I would put everything into it and if it went in it was a bomb, if it missed it was bad. But with practice I started getting it in more but I stopped because it hurt my shoulder.
     
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  29. samalo0

    samalo0 New User

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    Pronation

    They are right about pronation. It's not something you need to think about. If you get on FYB and follow the steps of a serve, in the last part where you are getting ready to swing up at the ball, just make sure that you arm is very loose and that you feel the racquet in your hand like you are balancing it there; like you are holding a stick of butter my coach has told me. As you swing up at the ball with a loose arm, wrist, and hand (but be sure not to throw the racquet), you arm naturally turns over and you will pronate. If you try and force pronation, it will mess up your timing and you will be thinking about it all the time.

    I find feeling the racquet balance (almost like you put the butt cap in your palm and are balancing the racquet like a baton or something) makes it much easier to racquet drop and swing through the ball without tensing my arm and body, which stops you from pronating.

    Two things you can do to imagine this as well - think of throwing a baseball or a spear. You don't think about pronating, but you will do it. It's just forearm rotation.

    Here is an interesting article/picture:

    http://www.**************.com/serve-technique.html

    The truth is - you can go back to your frying pan serve. You just won't be able to get out of around 3.5 NTRP. So depending on what you want to do in tennis, it is really up to you. I play some 3.0-3.5's that frying pan it and they do fine, but at higher levels, service becomes very important, and someone without a decent serve can't compete.

    Steve
     
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  30. samalo0

    samalo0 New User

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    Sorry - put t e n n i s m i n d g a m e where the *'s are. Not sure why TW would block that website, I don't know if he sells anything.
     
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  31. xFullCourtTenniSx

    xFullCourtTenniSx Hall of Fame

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    You sir, do not know how easy it is to serve with a live arm, a good toss, and reasonable form, all achievable in 4 months.

    Though yeah... He probably hit around 70s unless he was a good baseball pitcher. They can do it no problem if you teach them how to serve, because they have live arms! Supposedly so did I in the opinion of some... Kinda of doubt it though. :(
     
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  32. NickH87

    NickH87 Semi-Pro

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    I played baseball for 15 years, short stop, pitcher, and center field. That probably translated into have a good right arm, but poor form hurt it so thats why I am trying to learn proper technique even though I suck at it lol.
     
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  33. HunterST

    HunterST Hall of Fame

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    A good toss, good form, and a live arm are things that take a long time to develop. Otherwise, everyone would be serving 100mph. Also, if he's using an eastern grip on the serve, chances are his form isn't impeccable.

    I've heard the baseball player thing but I'm not sure I buy it. I think serves close to 100mph are much rarer than people think.
     
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  34. SFrazeur

    SFrazeur Legend

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  35. LeeD

    LeeD Bionic Poster

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    Read DJ's post again....
    You twist from the shoulder, elbow, and some loose wrist, allowing the racketface to close onto the ball for a solid FLAT no spin serve. The racket is held out at an angle to your forearm, so the rotating, the pronation, just adds extra speed to the rackethead.
    Since only about 99% of the top players 4.0 and above use this on their serves, you might consider figuring it out too.....or maybe not, if you need to reinvent the wheel for yourself and not learn from history.
     
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  36. crystal_clear

    crystal_clear Professional

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  37. Nellie

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    Do not confuse pronation (rotation of the wrist, relative to your arm) with wrist extension (flexing of the wrist forward).

    With a continental grip, you need the pronation because you are leading with the edge of the racquet and will hit the ball with the frame if your dont twist the racquet at the last second to open the face and point the strings to the ball. It is very natural motion, especially if you finish low, to the backhand side.
     
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  38. crystal_clear

    crystal_clear Professional

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    You are right.

    I can pronate to serve wide at ad.court but I have problem to serve to the center(flat) at ad. court. Any tips?
     
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  39. wyutani

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    the ball wont come down w/o pronation.
     
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  40. Counter

    Counter New User

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    Hi, a question:

    At which point in the forward swing (i.e., the movement up and forward starting from the back scratch position and ending at contact) should you start pronating? Right after you've left the back scratch? Or only just before contact? Or somewhere in between?

    Thanks!
     
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  41. Nellie

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    If you move the toss slightly forward (a few cm's will make a difference), you may have better luck serving to your left (if you are a righty).

    I find it is better to control placement with the toss instead of doing too much with the motion (too much change will kill your consistency)

    Also, this is very good for disguising your shots because the movement of the toss front and back is hard to pick up as the receive
     
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  42. Nellie

    Nellie Hall of Fame

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    Delay as much as possible, until the racquet is over your shoulder. This helps build energy at contact to give you more velocity on the serve.
     
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  43. SystemicAnomaly

    SystemicAnomaly G.O.A.T.

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    It does not happen right after the back scratch, but some time later as the arm extends up toward the ball. The exact timing and degree of pronation will depend on the type of serve being implemented. The most pronounced (and abrupt?) pronation is seen on flatter serves. Take a look at the slow motion video that previous users have provided.
     
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  44. meticulous

    meticulous New User

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    Does pronation necessary for SECOND SERVE?
     
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  45. SystemicAnomaly

    SystemicAnomaly G.O.A.T.

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    Yes, it should be employed for all serves. However, there is less pronation on spin serves.
     
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  46. topher.juan

    topher.juan Rookie

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    You can't hit a pancake serve with an eastern backhand grip, you HAVE to pronate to pancake it. The only way you can pancake it without pronating is with a western grip.
     
    Last edited: Oct 20, 2009
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  47. Djokovicfan4life

    Djokovicfan4life Legend

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    I think he meant he used to pancake it with an eastern forehand grip.
     
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  48. robby c

    robby c Semi-Pro

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    Important key in Nick's discussion and to this thread:
    Hit up on the serve. Practice serving from well behind the baseline. At first aim for other fence, then bring it slowly into the court, and finally into the service box.
    I never try to pronate, I just hit up on the ball.
    If you can throw a ball you are pronating.
    Make sure you aren't tossing the ball to the left or too much in front. Start the toss to the side and then foward.
    A good teaching pro can show you how in one lesson.
    Money well spent.
    Robby C
     
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  49. ryangoring

    ryangoring Professional

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  50. sinnetklat

    sinnetklat New User

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    Few years ago, I was playing with a friend from whom I heard about pronation for the first time. Then, I thought it was sth totally new. I asked him to learn his advice on applying pronation.
    He said when I served naturally, it was already done.
     
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