Wrist snap question

Discussion in 'Tennis Tips/Instruction' started by bkpr, Nov 30, 2012.

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  1. bkpr

    bkpr Rookie

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    Hello.

    I've recently begun hitting with a guy who's a level or so better than me. He hits with a fair bit of heat and when I ask him about it he says he snaps his wrist. When I pushed further he told me he sort of 'pushes' his wrist forward, i.e., he literally snaps his own wrist in conjunction with his kinetic chain, rather than let the natural path and speed of the racquet snap it.

    Does this seem right?

    Whenever I've tried to get more wrist snap action I've always used my body + arm to fling it around while my wrist is pretty limp, if you know what I mean. When reading about snapping the wrist I always assumed this was the way to do it. I've never physically tried to get my wrist snapping using my own muscles. Doing it the limp way results in very inconsistent placement and increased framings because for me, I'm not guiding my hand with my wrist muscles.

    Thanks in advance for any thoughts.
     
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  2. LeeD

    LeeD Bionic Poster

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    He is a better tennis player than you, just like DJ is.
    He doesn't know what he's talking about, just like DJ.
    Both advocate snapping the wrist.
    Photos and vids prove their both wrong.
    They are good/great players. They are poor analyists of their technique.
     
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  3. charliefedererer

    charliefedererer Legend

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    LeeD is right ... as usual.

    Trying to snap your wrist will lead to wrist and arm problems.

    It sounds like you are already doing the right thing.

    Pat Dougherty, the Bollettieri Academy "Serve Doctor" shows the whole arm is turning, but the wrist is kept comfortably in the same position throughout the stroke.
    (You don't need the Leverage Belt to do this, so don't buy it.)
    Leverage http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J74XpkGKyuc
     
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  4. bkpr

    bkpr Rookie

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    Obviously it's just me, but I have absolutely no idea what LeeD is talking about :confused: Who id DJ?

    Thanks for the link. In the video there is essentially no wrist 'snapping' happening at all, it's more of a side movement or rotation, which after doing a few shadow strokes, feels quite natural. Trying to snap the wrist as I described tires out the top of my hand quickly. I guess I don't snap the wrist the way I thought I did, and maybe my partner thinks he's snapping when he's really rotating.

    I'll keep that video in mind when I'm hitting next.
    Thanks for your advice.
     
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  5. LeeD

    LeeD Bionic Poster

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    "who is DJ".....
    I love it. Who is the arguably #1 player on the ATP tour? Who also has interview/instruction vids of him saying he flicks his wrists on almost every shot.
    BorisBecker, I hope you remember the name, says the same thing in his vids.
    Vids of both players show they don't flick their wrists at all. The use the wrist as a hinge, they twist their arms with their shoulder muscles, but they don't actively use their forearm muscles to bend their wrists.
     
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  6. bkpr

    bkpr Rookie

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    I originally thought it was Djokovic, but the 'initials' threw me off :)
    I have seen Djoker talk about his wrist snapping, heh.
     
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  7. sureshs

    sureshs Bionic Poster

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    He is losing his mind and mixing up threads
     
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  8. LeeD

    LeeD Bionic Poster

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    Yet still, the idea get's across correctly and in time. Isn't that wierd?
    See post #6.
    I cannot possibly lose something I never had in the first place.
    As for mixing threads, you bet! The computer does that for me.
     
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  9. boramiNYC

    boramiNYC Hall of Fame

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    when a better coordinated person says he snaps the wrist. a worse coordinated person tries to snap the wrist. these two are completely different wrist snapping. that's all I'm gonna say.
     
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  10. LeeD

    LeeD Bionic Poster

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    DJ and Becker came from the same tennis learning school.
     
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  11. dominikk1985

    dominikk1985 Legend

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    Good post. many pro athletes don't really know about technique and act instinctively. they do have strong believes of course and not just play somehow (anyone would say I bend my knees and turn my shoulders) but they usually don't know much about the details. I'm pretty sure federer doesn't know a lot pronation, stretch shortening cycle or the kinematic chain.

    the same is true for baseball players. any coach till recently teaches to swing down and get extended. however slow motion of high level players showed that they actually slightly uppercut and hit the ball with bent arms.

    but if you ask A-rod, pujols or bonds what they do anyone of them says he swings down. a few years ago they showed bonds a video and he was really surprised he swung up because he had a strong belief that he would swing down.

    you don't need to understand the swing when you have the correct FEEL but as a coach some physics understanding certainly is not a bad idea.
     
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  12. charliefedererer

    charliefedererer Legend

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    I'm glad you liked the video and seem to have a good idea what the motion actually is.

    I like you came up with your own terminology - "side movement", "rotation".


    Interestingly Jim McLennan calls this movement "forearm rotation" when speaking about it in the serve.
    The Pete Sampras Snap http://www.essentialtennisinstruction.com/the-pete-sampras-snap/


    Probably the most common term you will hear for this term is "pronation".

    Bruce Elliot and Brian Gordon, Ph.D. did the pioneering work to show that internal rotation at the shoulder is responsible for the whole arm rotating - it is not just the wrist or forearm - and the main forces that cause that whole arm rotation come from the shoulder area.

    Obviously as the whole arm rotates, the forearm and wrist does so as well.
    This probably explains why some emphasize the feeling that it is the wrist that is "snapping" around, while others feel the forearm rotation is dominant - but the whole arm is rotating.
     
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  13. rk_sports

    rk_sports Hall of Fame

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    very interesting!!! this will make you re-think whenever great players [NOT trained COACHES] talk technique :confused:
     
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  14. tenniswhisperer

    tenniswhisperer New User

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  15. JohnB

    JohnB Rookie

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  16. kiteboard

    kiteboard Hall of Fame

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    Listen to this guy.
     
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  17. SystemicAnomaly

    SystemicAnomaly G.O.A.T.

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    Ah, my work here is done! I've been preaching about the evils of the term, wrist snap, for a couple of decades now. It's great to see that the gospel has been heard by so many.

    Now if I can only get more badminton players to abandon the terminology, I could die a happy man.
     
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  18. boramiNYC

    boramiNYC Hall of Fame

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    but badminton players really snap their wrist sometimes, no?
     
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  19. SystemicAnomaly

    SystemicAnomaly G.O.A.T.

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    No, it is a myth there as well. I played a considerable amount of competitive badminton in the 1980s. Some wrist actions are employed (like tennis) to be sure, but the term, wrist snap, is very misleading. Power is developed primarily in the shoulder, forearm, fingers and, to some extent, in earlier links of the kinetic chain. The role of the wrist is secondary for power production. It is used for changing angles and is used for transferring power from previous links to the hand/racket.

    Some 20 years ago, I recall reading a graduate paper by Dr James Poole (one of the last US badminton champions in the 50 and 60s) that was written back in the 1960s. Way back then he was talking about how the role of the wrist in badminton was grossly exaggerated. He was the 1st one that I heard talking about the concept of forearm pronation in racquet sports.
     
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  20. sureshs

    sureshs Bionic Poster

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    What about table tennis?
     
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  21. user92626

    user92626 Legend

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    Unlike you guys, I think Djokovic knows what he's talking about. It's just that others might be too stupid to understand. :) Kinda like if a Zen master told you a truth, would you know? The gap is like that between DJ and us mortals.

    As to why I think Djo is correct about wrist snapping. The action is correct as long as you don't injure yourself and it adds power. If you train everyday to reach your best potentials, wouldn't you want to extract every ounce of power out of your mechanics? The wrist is one of the moving joints so it sure can help with acceleration.
     
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  22. toly

    toly Hall of Fame

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    I absolutely agree with you. IMO all of these players use snap of the wrist deliberately, intensively, and very successfully.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Dec 1, 2012
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  23. LeeD

    LeeD Bionic Poster

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    OR, all those guys allow the wrist to pivot while the forearm pronates making the rackethead accelerate thru the swing, which YOU think means he snaps his wrist with his inside forearm muscles, which he doesn't.
     
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  24. toly

    toly Hall of Fame

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    In case of semiwestern/western grip, the pronation (which creates topspin) decelerates horizontal component of the racquet head velocity. That’s why flat shot is the most powerful FH and we have to hit it without pronation. :confused:
     
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  25. LeeD

    LeeD Bionic Poster

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    Good for you, Toly. You've managed to confuse everyone, including yourself.
    And yes, the flat shot is the most powerful (highest ball speed) with the least amount of effort.
     
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  26. sureshs

    sureshs Bionic Poster

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    The angle between the wrist and forearm decreases as the moment of impact approaches. The wrist starts laid back wrt the forearm and then is almost in line with the forearm at impact. This shows that its position wrt to the forearm is not constant.

    It could well be a natural consequence of the pronation of the forearm. It is unnatural to pronate without bringing the wrist from laid back to neutral or slightly supinated at impact.
     
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  27. toly

    toly Hall of Fame

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    Djokovic hits pure flat FH without pronation. He is next to the net and can afford hitting the ball with no pronation at all. :shock:

    [​IMG]

    Here is original video http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3M2JvLXGiWU&feature=plcp
     
    Last edited: Dec 1, 2012
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  28. LeeD

    LeeD Bionic Poster

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    Pure flat groundies are normally hit with very little pronation, I thought we agreed on that.
    Rally balls need pronation for the topspin it adds, to keep the ball IN as often as possible.
     
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  29. user92626

    user92626 Legend

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    You guys can see in Djo's photos that toly posts that the wrist angle between photo4 and the last photo changes significantly, as suresh points out.


    It cannot be the effect of pronation.To me pronation would be like turning a car's steering wheel. You can do that without changing the wrist angle. Clearly these top guys manipulate their wrist joints. Their wrist angle wrt the forearm segment don't stay fixed through the stroke.
     
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  30. LeeD

    LeeD Bionic Poster

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    Post 22 forehands are vastly different than post 27 forehand. The latter is a somewhat flat winner ball.
     
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  31. JohnYandell

    JohnYandell Hall of Fame

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    This debate will never settled because players of all levels will always have anecdotal opinions.

    And even understanding the video is difficult. There is no doubt you can see forward flex on many, many forehands.

    But huge numbers of them when you study at high frame rates flex very little around the contact, ie the wrist is laid back the same amount before during and after.

    And you can actually find many examples where the contact actually pushes the wrist back.

    Brian Gordon studies offer an explanation of the contradictions. The forward flex can contribute to racket speed, but the way the muscles work on a good forehand, this occurs through the forces generated by the larger muscles.

    You can call it snap if you wish, but it is a consequence of other movements. And this is actually true on the serve as well.

    Now on the forehand what confuses things even more is that the entire hitting arm and racket are also rotating from the shoulder joint. This causes the wrist along with everything else to turn over greater or less amounts depending on the windshiled wiper.

    So everyone can claim to be right. If a player feels his wrist move and describes that as "snap" it's hard to argue with that. But players have proved notoriously inaccurate in giving biomechanical descriptions about how the body actually works--why would they care to when hitting the ball is essentially a matter of developing the right feel?

    For me the bottom line is what are the positions? Understand it or not. Explain it accurately or not. Call it anything you like, believe you get there anyway you like, get there anyway you like--if the swing shapes are corresponding to the positions of great forehands hit from similar positions with similar intentions, that'll be good for your forehand.

    The challenge is what approach helps players without world class natural gifts actually do this.
     
    Last edited: Dec 1, 2012
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  32. ace_pace

    ace_pace Rookie

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    Isnt it more like rolling the wrist? I don't really know how to describe it.
     
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  33. LeeD

    LeeD Bionic Poster

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    Guess that was the last word on this subject, well done.
     
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  34. LeeD

    LeeD Bionic Poster

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    You don't roll the wrist, you turn the elbow.
     
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  35. JohnYandell

    JohnYandell Hall of Fame

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    LD,


    Oh this argument will be back! It's never be settled in all the years I've been posting here. But thanks!
     
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  36. LeeD

    LeeD Bionic Poster

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    As usual, you're right. It's back.
     
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  37. toly

    toly Hall of Fame

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    If you use pronation and wrist snap forcefully, you will produce rolling the wrist effect automatically, but most of it must happen after impact. :)

    This is example of Hantuchova extreme wrist ulnar deviation and pronation actions.

    [​IMG]

    This is very difficult shot because the timing becomes the main issue, but you can get both, very high ball’s speed and ball’s spin!!!
     
    Last edited: Dec 1, 2012
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  38. Cheetah

    Cheetah Hall of Fame

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    I have to disagree with everyone who says the top players are snapping their wrists intentionally. I think it is a consequence of the swing mechanics.

    You can't prove intention or not with still pictures as Toly has provided however cool they look. The wrist does flex yes but pictures cannot tell you if it was intentional or not.

    The wrist can be made to flex from many factors: slowing the rotation of the core or shoulders, slowing the arm, shifting your weight at the precise moment, changing the angle of arc of attack, pulling back with your body or some body part (same as weight shift I suppose), altering the intended contact point during the swing, changing tension in the grip or forearm, putting your wrist a specific location and angle during the setup in the takeback also determines when/if the wrist will snap.

    When I play I make my wrist / grip as loose as possible. When I hold my racquet during the unit turn and takeback I only put pressure on 2 or 3 of my fingers only to enforce this looseness, kind of like how you hold a pencil that you are twirling. It's that loose.
    Then I set my racquet and wrist/arm angles at the end of the takeback depending on how much wrist snap and pronation i want to come out naturally. If I want a lot of snap i put my wrist and arm like so... if I want more pronation w/ less snap I put it like this.... then I just push off and rotate and depending on my setup the racquet and wrist will do what I intended (during setup phase) and will snap and pronate according to my preset plan. I don't have to manipulate during the swing at all. sometimes I will when i miscalc or i get an unexpected hop or i change my mind etc but the setup will determine everything. I believe the pros are doing the same.

    Thats my opinion anyway.
     
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  39. LeeD

    LeeD Bionic Poster

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    We like Daniela's forehand.
    I see the arm turning over, pronation, but no wrist snap whatsoever.
    OTOH, I"m enamored with Daniela and MariaK. I also see a strong SW grip.
     
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  40. JohnYandell

    JohnYandell Hall of Fame

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    LD,

    At least no one on either side has the political or military power to force conformity...sometimes I think there are those who would enjoy it however!
     
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  41. sureshs

    sureshs Bionic Poster

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    The car wheel is the support. Before my previous post, I tried to pronate the lower arm while not changing the wrist angle from the laid back position, and it was very awkward. The pronation naturally induces the pivoting action of the wrist as LeeD says.
     
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  42. sureshs

    sureshs Bionic Poster

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    I don't think we are discussing "next to net" situations.
     
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  43. bkpr

    bkpr Rookie

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    Exactly. My original question was not about whether the wrist moves at all in relation to the forearm, but whether it's supposed to be a conscious movement and forced by the player.

    I had a hit tonight for an hour or so and I can't hit any groundie without my wrist ending up in a different position after contact than before (I play with a slightly west-shifted eastern — knuckle on the ridge, between eastern and semi-western bevels). But it sure feels wrong to deliberately move my wrist trying to add a little more racquet head speed. After a few shots I went back to hitting with the most comfortable feel. (Incidentally I won 6-3 against a guy I've never beaten :) )

    This thread has expanded more than I expected (see Mum, I have friends!) but I'm learning things so it's good.
     
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  44. LeeD

    LeeD Bionic Poster

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    Wrist moves because forearm is somewhat relaxed, and you just hit a tennis ball, now rolling over your followthru, and gravity/inertia takes effect.
    You allow the wrist to move, you do not force it.
     
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  45. Cheetah

    Cheetah Hall of Fame

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    Hit the ball with your body, not with your arm. Think of it that way. Most recs hit with their arm therefore they intentionally snap the wrist because they can get more power that way. If you hit with the body then it's a different story altogether. Table tennis is another story.
     
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  46. SystemicAnomaly

    SystemicAnomaly G.O.A.T.

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    I disagree. Novak is not a coach and he certainly is not an expert in biomechanics. He is parroting what many of his coaches told him 15-20 years ago. We are not denying that that wrist actions occur on the serve and can occur on other strokes. The question is, "does this constitute wrist snap?".

    Novak may be a Jedi or Zen master when it comes to execution of strokes but this does not mean that his explanation of his own strokes is totally accurate.
     
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  47. bkpr

    bkpr Rookie

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    Yoda-like :)
     
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  48. ace_pace

    ace_pace Rookie

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    Well I never said they rolled their wrist manually, I was more or less describing the motion :). Really you should not be manually using the wrist at all, it happens as a result of actions.
     
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  49. SystemicAnomaly

    SystemicAnomaly G.O.A.T.

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    toly, your images show us that there can be wrist actions involved in strokes other than the serve. We are not denying that. However, your images do not prove that the terminology, wrist snap, is an accurate description of the actions involved. The primary problem with the terminology is that it is often misleading.

    Have you done any actual coaching? While some players have produced the desired result when a coach tells them to snap the wrist, many others perform wrist actions that are counterproductive, stressful or even dangerous to the wrist. If one uses this questionable terminology, great care should be taken to demonstrate the desired actions. Further care should be taken to make certain that exaggerated wrist flexions (well past neutral) occur that can harm the stroke or the wrist.

    The real problem here is that a student of the game may perform correct actions when told to snap the wrist but then they turn around and tell others to snap the wrist without proper demonstration and correction.
     
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  50. boramiNYC

    boramiNYC Hall of Fame

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    I understand the possibility of misunderstanding by using the term, wrist snap, but there is concern for possibility of tensing up the wrist when students hear, do not use your wrist wrist must be passive and so forth. this has been the case for very long time in teaching E fh where students are told to have firm wrist, which had been fine for old time when topspin wasn't as important as come in and volley off. for SW fh instruction wrist manipulation is a minor issue but to teach a high level E fh, fine wrist control ability is critical in being able to handle todays topspin game. we need better way to teach students E fh effectively and clearly if we are going to teach it at all. talking about wrist movements and control shouldn't be a taboo. that's my take.
     
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