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-   -   Is there a viable alternative to the overhand serve? (http://tt.tennis-warehouse.com/showthread.php?t=450497)

Major 01-10-2013 02:56 PM

Is there a viable alternative to the overhand serve?
 
Hi everyone,

I, like many, have shoulder pain with the overhand serve. It's been a long term problem, and I've rested it before, but overhand serving just hurts, even if I haven't hit on it for months. No other aspect of the game is painful, and I'm wondering if there is some alternative to the overhand serve (without an underhand serve).

I suppose the only possible alternative to this is a type of sidearm serve. Has anyone seen this used?

Thanks!

LeeD 01-10-2013 03:00 PM

Guys with shoulder problems just toss the ball off more to the side, and hit the ball around top of the head heights, like a sidearm slicing swing.
You can hit a high forehand too.
And using an underhand serve, you can explore the inner depths of the opponent's service court, bouncing it twice before the ball get's to the service line, or drawing your opponent completely wide of the doubles court with a short slow slice serve.....or backspin serve drop shot.

Major 01-10-2013 03:03 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by LeeD (Post 7110794)
Guys with shoulder problems just toss the ball off more to the side, and hit the ball around top of the head heights, like a sidearm slicing swing.
You can hit a high forehand too.
And using an underhand serve, you can explore the inner depths of the opponent's service court, bouncing it twice before the ball get's to the service line, or drawing your opponent completely wide of the doubles court with a short slow slice serve.....or backspin serve drop shot.

Thanks Lee! I found some similar stuff in an old thread: http://tt.tennis-warehouse.com/showt...=sidearm+serve

Now how do I fight the embarrassment of serving so strangely...(not a legitimate concern, I know)

LeeD 01-10-2013 03:05 PM

First off, TELL your opponent's you cannot serve overhand, so tell them to expect weak, slow, short serves.
That will clue them in to lob you a bit too.

jakeytennis 01-10-2013 03:18 PM

what' wrong with an underhand serve?
like LeeD said, an underhand serve can be effective
you can use a lot of underspin
or use topspin and focus on placement since theyre not powerful.

LeeD 01-10-2013 03:21 PM

or use your other hand, especially if you're a southpaw.
Righties generally take more time to use their left hands.
Lefties generally can adapt quickly to using their right hand.

Major 01-11-2013 10:33 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by LeeD (Post 7110794)
Guys with shoulder problems just toss the ball off more to the side, and hit the ball around top of the head heights, like a sidearm slicing swing.

I went out and this seems to work fairly well. I can't match the power of my true overhead serve, unfortunately, but it's better than feeding in a forehand. The sidespin/slice makes the ball bounce very low, but an opponent is sure to figure that out. I guess the key is placement.

Anyway, I've never had problems with my elbow, but hitting the ball off a toss front and to the side makes me feel it a bit more there. I hope I'm not trading one problem for another. C'est la vie.

Major 01-11-2013 10:34 PM

I'm hoping that such a toss/serve is just using muscle groups in the elbow that I hadn't previously used, though.

dominikk1985 01-12-2013 12:55 AM

in match play I would say no.

If you are just a rec player and your opponent agrees why not just play baseline points?

SystemicAnomaly 01-12-2013 01:46 AM

You could develop a variety of underhand serves -- both topspin and underspin serves. You can use the latter to throw in an occasional drop shot serve that bounces close to the net and does not travel forward much after the bounce. You can also play with sidespin (vertical axis) and spiral spin (aka gyrospin or corkscrew spin) to give your backspin serves more variety. With enough spiralspin (in conjucntion with sidespin & backspin), you can get some serve to bounce wildly off to the side.

With topspin serves you can develop some deep lob serves that bounce high -- a bit like a topspin kick serve. You can vary height and the amount of spin to add variety to these topspin serves. Vary the placement as well. You are not going to get much pace on these serves but the variety could help to keep your opponent a bit off guard.

Not a bad idea to develop overhead serves with your non-dominant arm. It is a great brain development exercise. I have managed to develop some decent serves with my other arm. Start by developing your throwing motion. Perform the throwing motion starting in a trophy position. Throw some balls (with your non-dom arm) upward at a 45 degree angle over the net. After performing a number of these, throw the ball upward at a 75 degree angle. This steeper angle should better simulate the upward swing path of the racket on an actual serve. It should also help you to eventually develop a decent racket head drop (from the trophy position).

Take an an old racket out to the park. Use this as a throwing racket. Throwing a racket feels different than throwing a ball. Start with the racket on your shoulder and/or start with the trophy position. Again, perform some 45 degree throws and some 75 degree throws. Hopefully, you will get a good racket head drop when you start from the trophy position and throw upward at the steeper angle.

Try some hatchet throws -- throw the racket on edge as if throwing an ax or tomahawk. The racket should spin head over tail. After a number of these, start your throws with the racket on edge moving up to the "big L". As the racket head comes up from the "big L", add pronation to re-orient the racket face before you release it. With maximum pronation, try to simulate a flat serve (squaring the racket face to the imaginary ball). Next, employ different swing paths and amount of pronation to simulate spin serves -- slice serves, topspin serves and topspin-slice serves.

One of the challenges of learning to serve with your non-dom arm is developing a decent/reliable toss with the impaired shoulder of your dominant arm. Hopefully, this will not be an insurmountable problem.


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