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Postpre 02-12-2013 06:49 AM

The Junior Serve Discussion
 
Is is too much to ask a young player (age 7-10) to be as technically sound as a pro with their serve? Does their lack of strength in the shoulders, core, and legs prevent them from reaching certain reference points on the serve?

I've found it difficult to help my 8 year old son avoid the Waiters Tray error (palm and racket face facing up) on his serve. At first, he tended to bypass the "Trophy" pose and immediately hold the Waiters Tray position. Now, after an adequate Trophy pose, he's dropping the racket to the Waiters Tray position at the beginning of his racket drop, or sometime after the racket drop.

He's holding a continental grip; but he's obviously not successfully holding the racket "edge on" until the last split second (it seems he's pronating too soon). Is this a technical issue that young kids can master, or is it still somewhat a strength issue?

Any tips out there on what one should be "feeling" when going from Trophy pose to the racket drop? I've heard that you want the uncoiling of the body and the powering up of your legs to happen first, and then the racket drop will happen rather naturally. But, will this altogether prevent the Waiters Tray error?

Thanks for any thoughts and suggestions.

coaching32yrs 02-12-2013 07:59 AM

He's in the wrong grip. Cannot achieve the "waiters tray" with the continental grip. Needs to rotate grip 1 bevel counterclockwise. It's going to fell weird to him and he will complain. I would not be too concerned with the lower body yet. The grip, pronating and the swing is important.

Bash and Crash 02-12-2013 08:31 AM

Have him start in a position like a big "L", with his hitting arm being the bend and toss arm the long part of L. Basically just before trophy pose, make sure racket is on edge, and have him toss and drop into the racket drop (back scratch, whatever) and get the feeling of the position. he can toss, drop in, and hit, do two or three practice tosses for each attempted hit. As he gets it, start to do full service motion incorporating the new transition. I could get more technical, just trying to keep it simple, I'm sure you will get more feedback.

tennisfan69 02-12-2013 08:54 AM

Work one thing at a time. forget knee bend, forget lowerbody, forget hip rotation, i would not even give the ball to him initially. just hold it in trophy position, swing up and stop. the racquet face while dropping, you can tell him should be parallel to the his head/back. this way he CANNOT get a waiters tray position. break down each of the milestone positions. work on it and slowly build on each one. i would say for a smooth flow of basic full service it should take 1-2 years. this is just basic. then as he grows and gains strenght then add on more pro stuff.....

Also the key is to give him a 25inch racquet to begin with if not 23 inch.

Rina 02-12-2013 04:10 PM

I recommend you let him watch a video or show him how to serve instead of talking about it. It might be too much info to process for and adult(I know it is for me) and very difficult for a child. Have him watch the video right on the court and then tell him to imitate it. You are probably showing it to him as well, but if you find a player he wants to emulate that might be more productive. I read this in a book and then tried it with my son(forehand) and for the next 10 minutes his forehand was whipping and making winners like crazy. After that he forgot about it, so it needs to be a repeat process.

nightfire700 02-12-2013 07:25 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Rina (Post 7210081)
I recommend you let him watch a video or show him how to serve instead of talking about it. It might be too much info to process for and adult(I know it is for me) and very difficult for a child. Have him watch the video right on the court and then tell him to imitate it. You are probably showing it to him as well, but if you find a player he wants to emulate that might be more productive. I read this in a book and then tried it with my son(forehand) and for the next 10 minutes his forehand was whipping and making winners like crazy. After that he forgot about it, so it needs to be a repeat process.

This I totally recommend. The most my kid learns from is watching videos. Infact even in videos he learns most from watching recorded matches of his heros, using pause and slow motion whenever he sees something he would love to hit himself. The video instructions with loads of jargon also bores him. Youtube has tons of match highlight videos of 15-30 minute duration. Each one is worth it if your kid learns visually.

Mitch Bridge 02-13-2013 02:39 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Postpre (Post 7208691)
Is is too much to ask a young player (age 7-10) to be as technically sound as a pro with their serve? Does their lack of strength in the shoulders, core, and legs prevent them from reaching certain reference points on the serve?

I've found it difficult to help my 8 year old son avoid the Waiters Tray error (palm and racket face facing up) on his serve. At first, he tended to bypass the "Trophy" pose and immediately hold the Waiters Tray position. Now, after an adequate Trophy pose, he's dropping the racket to the Waiters Tray position at the beginning of his racket drop, or sometime after the racket drop.

He's holding a continental grip; but he's obviously not successfully holding the racket "edge on" until the last split second (it seems he's pronating too soon). Is this a technical issue that young kids can master, or is it still somewhat a strength issue?

Any tips out there on what one should be "feeling" when going from Trophy pose to the racket drop? I've heard that you want the uncoiling of the body and the powering up of your legs to happen first, and then the racket drop will happen rather naturally. But, will this altogether prevent the Waiters Tray error?

Thanks for any thoughts and suggestions.

I would keep it as simple as possible. Throw a nerf football regularly as a warm-up to perfect the throwing motion. Practice swinging with 2 racquets in his hand or a weighted racquet head to make the swing fluid and full to give him the feel of his ideal motion. Keep the leg bend out of it for now.

Postpre 02-13-2013 06:19 PM

Thanks for the suggestions thus far.

When going from the Trophy Pose to the racket drop, is it good advice to feel gravity taking your racquet down (implying loose grip and loose arm)?

Further, it is well established that pro's keep their racket "edge on" until just before making contact with the ball (pronating at the very last "second"). Are young kids able to replicate this? Is it ever OK for them to pronate a little bit sooner?

Thanks.

Postpre 02-17-2013 06:21 PM

Would still love any insights that pertain to my last post.

Bash and Crash 02-17-2013 06:48 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Postpre (Post 7221322)
Would still love any insights that pertain to my last post.

Postpre, I've always felt that the pronating action takes care of itself if everything is done correctly. Have him drop a ball and try to hit the right side spinning it, like bounce down but with tons of spin, as he gets more spin and control hitting it down, then have him toss up and do it with a serve motion. Ball may shoot left(rightie) at first, but make adjustments, then try to have him brush more 7-2 across the back, if he gets a hang of it you will see the pronating happen on its own.


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