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-   -   Weight transfer serving same as throwing upwards? (http://tt.tennis-warehouse.com/showthread.php?t=461956)

HughJars 04-28-2013 06:23 AM

Weight transfer serving same as throwing upwards?
 
Im having real trouble incorperating the throwing action right in my serving. Ive played a lot of ball sports all my life so throwing is second nature, and am wondering to what extent does throwing a ball upwards at an angle of about 50 degrees mimic the serve in terms of weight transfer. Should I be taking this throwing mentality into my serving? At the moment the two have been pretty much mutually exclusive.

I asked about this in another thread, but wanted to create a specific one so I can get as much exposure for feedback and advice as possible.

Cheers

LeeD 04-28-2013 11:48 AM

Think, throwing for distance, not like a pitcher or SS, but like a javelin thrower.
Toss direction for best practice is around 35 degrees upwards from horizontal, so you finish your serve/throwing motion before 12 o'clock above your shoulder.

TennisCJC 04-28-2013 12:23 PM

I think serving is very, very much like pitching a baseball. See Nick B's sonic serve video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ajoZ0f7hw-A

This video is a better example too: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6EFWB18kPWY

I had a left partner for a number of years who pitched collegiately D1 and he developed a good serve.

Next time you practice serving, put down your racket and put a tennis ball in your racket hand. Go thru your service motion and throw the tennis ball smoothly up through the contact point. The ball should go high and forward. Repeat 5 or 6 times. Then shadow stroke serve with racket in hand and think of throwing the racket head up through contact.

Then practice serving and continue to think throw the racket head up and into contact.

Get your racket hand outside of the ball at contact and think throw up and through the ball on an 8 to 2 o'clock racket path and you should have the making of a good top/slice serve.

Disclaimner: I am not a coach so if I screw your game up it's your own fault for listening to me. But, I think this is pretty solid advice.

Lukhas 04-28-2013 03:14 PM

Yes it is. Or so it worked for me. I used to throw the racquet forward, in the direction I want to serve. It makes sense, right? But the results were:
-Lots of power;
-Lower toss;
-****-poor net clearance;
-Lower angles that made the ball being long most of the time;
-Shoulder pain/cramping (but that may just be me).
And since I'm not tall, I couldn't sustain such a motion.

Then I decided to experiment, look at some videos, and throw upward. Much better net clearance, better angles so the ball doesn't go long as much, no pain, higher toss, automatic leg drive (don't even notice it).

So IMO yes it's like throwing your racquet to the ball instead of the direction where you wanna serve.

HunterST 04-28-2013 07:20 PM

I think the upward throw bit is overrated advice.

It's great for people who have a problem with making their serve to linear (not getting their chest pointed up, shoulders sloped, etc.) For people that have a decent trophy pose, though, the upward throw visualization doesn't help a ton.

If you pronated on the serve exactly like someone who was throwing upwards, your racket face would be open and contact and send the ball way long.

TennisCJC 04-29-2013 07:11 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by HunterST (Post 7374990)
I think the upward throw bit is overrated advice.

It's great for people who have a problem with making their serve to linear (not getting their chest pointed up, shoulders sloped, etc.) For people that have a decent trophy pose, though, the upward throw visualization doesn't help a ton.

If you pronated on the serve exactly like someone who was throwing upwards, your racket face would be open and contact and send the ball way long.

I disagree - you hit up brushing the ball up - you don't pronate to flaten your racket face so it points straight at the sky. But, it works for me and if it doesn't work for you, that's fine too. Too exaggerate the point, you can actually have a very slightly closed racket face at contact and still be hitting up - basically, the racket head is going up and the strings are pointing toward the target.

LeeD 04-29-2013 01:00 PM

It's possible HunterST missed the meaning of swinging or throwing upwards.
My explanation means to swing or throw the ball 35 degrees upwards, not straight up.
The reason.... All the posted vids of serving show the server uses about 1/3 of the swing before hitting the ball, and about 2/3 after hitting the ball.
Should be close to 50/50.
The followthru is too long, the pre hit swing is too short. The power is applied after the ball is hit.
That explains the high elbow, high hand finish of the top servers who point their rackets at the ground after contact, but their elbow and hand is above their head! This shortens the finish, and in effect, lengthens the pre hit.
If you intend to hit the ball just in front of your shoulders, you will be applying the power too late.

Nellie 04-29-2013 01:08 PM

I think the serve is **entirely** about maximizing speed/power up. What is tricky is that you are not really trying to hit up at the ball. Rather, you are throwing everything up but holding on to the racquet so that, at the top of your swing, you whip the racquet forward forward because your arm/shoulder can't go up any more.

HughJars 04-29-2013 04:48 PM

Last night I worked on my serves. Put my Extreme Pro 2.0 back in the bag and got my old racket old, cos man, the Pro has being giving me some major shoulder and elbow pain. Using my old racket felt like home again. Anyway, thats another story.

I did some ball throws really trying to incorperate the action into my serving. At first the serves were going AWOL, but eventually I managed to tame them well.

I made a commitment to myself that I wasn't going to hit any serves into the net, therefore eliminating half the problem with my consistency in the first place. Probably the most major aspect I took from the throwing mentality was focussing on brushing upwards. Up the mountain. Combining with other things Ive been focussing on including keeping my non hitting up arm up longer, and keeping my feet still and stable until after contact.

The result was I had a serving consistency of around 70%.

LeeD 04-29-2013 04:52 PM

Be aware, practicing serve percentage and match play percentage often conflict and contradict each other.
While you can certainly have decent serving percentage in practice, match play often brings it down about 2/3rds, giving you few first serves and a whole soul searching head game to counter.
Lots of good players practice first serves with just 2 balls, then jog over to the other side, retrieve, and serve again while still winded somewhat.

taurussable 09-21-2013 06:35 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by LeeD (Post 7376952)
Lots of good players practice first serves with just 2 balls, then jog over to the other side, retrieve, and serve again while still winded somewhat.

what's advantage practice serving with only 2 balls?

Lukhas 09-21-2013 07:04 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by taurussable (Post 7771702)
what's advantage practice serving with only 2 balls?

You're more focused on the two balls you have in your hand. Quality over quantity. Just because it's more bothersome to go search two other balls after a failure (double-fault) than after two good serve.

The other reason (and the most likely one) is that you have two balls like you have during match play. A first and a second serve. Good habit to take.

10nisne1 09-21-2013 07:07 AM

Mainly from letting you get into too much of a rhythm. You normally only get 2 serves per point unless you get a let.

I also use 2 - 3 balls so I don't blow out my arm when practicing serves. Gives me some time to rest the arm when walking over the other side to pick up the balls.

10

Quote:

Originally Posted by taurussable (Post 7771702)
what's advantage practice serving with only 2 balls?


SystemicAnomaly 09-21-2013 07:21 AM

Not sure where these 35 and 50 degree launch angles are coming from. Most of the upward swing is 60 degree or greater. Take a looks at the images below. When the racket head first comes out of the "scratch" loop it is going straight up (90 degrees). For a while the angle is about 75 degrees and then moves up at about 60 degrees for much of the upward swing (as seen in the Sampras serve). It is only just the last few milliseconds (perhaps centi-seconds) just immediately prior to contact that this angle decreases.



10nisne1 09-21-2013 07:27 AM

Going back to the OP's original topic. I think the main reason for the throwing the ball up motion is basically try and obtain leverage.

For example, if you were to look at someone from the side just throwing a baseball or a football, the release point of the ball will be between 10 to 11 o'clock position, where 12 o'clock is right above your head. The reason why you release between 10 to 11 o'clock is because your arm needs a little bit of momentum for the fastest throw. The main point is that your release point is past your head, not right over your head or behind your head.

Your arm also needs a little bit of momentum for a tennis serve. However, depending on how tall you are, for a tennis serve, you want to make contact with the ball between 11 to 12 o'clock position. By "bowing" or arching your your back and having your chest point up towards the ball as if trying to "throw the ball up", it allows you to make contact past the your head even if the contact point is at 12 o'clock from the side view. The arm has traveled to the 10 to 11 o'clock position relative to your head (your head being at the 12 o'clock position), but your contact points look to be at 12 o'clock if you were observing from the side.

I know this isn't probably the best explanation, but it's early for me for a weekend. :)

Good luck!

10

SystemicAnomaly 09-21-2013 08:48 AM

^ Some good points there. Note that the upper back arches somewhat to facilitate the upward drive the chest. However, we should not attempt too much arch, if any, of the lower back.

Take a look at where the contact point is for a serve. The racket must move upward at a steep angle for the required contact point. Being able to throw a ball (or racket) upward with the dominant hand should also facilitate a deep racket head drop for the serve. A low launch angle would not necessarily require a deep racket drop. This is sometimes seen with overheads at the net where the contact point is considerably further forward than it is for the serve.

boramiNYC 09-21-2013 09:08 AM

throwing upwards and serving are different. the initial upward travel of racquet makes it appear they are the same but the real important portion of the motion is the contact point. at CP force should be directed towards the target which is low in the service box. all the preceding upward motion serves to maximize the directed force at contact. simplifying serve motion further and further will reveal how different it is from throwing upward, which has no directed force downward nor near horizontal.

SystemicAnomaly 09-21-2013 09:26 AM

^ Yes, of course there are differences -- but it does help. I throw a ball better with my right arm than my left. However, my left-handed serves are better than my right-handed serves. Throwing (old) rackets upward (in the park) might be a bit more useful that throwing balls upward. I seem to be a lot better at throwing rackets upward left-handed than throwing balls lefty.

Note that most servers do not actually hit downward on the ball for the serve. Even if the racket face is slightly closed at contact, the racket (& hand) are usually still moving upward during the contact phase. Also, most of the upward swing is still at a steep upward angle. When we throw balls (or rackets) upward, we release it slightly early. If we release the ball (or racket) late, it will go down even tho' most of the throwing action was upward.
.

Chas Tennis 09-21-2013 10:14 AM

Both Baseball Pitch & Tennis Serve use the Same Final Drive Motion
 
Maybe this relates to the throwing & tennis serve connection -

The baseball pitch and the serve both use the same motion to develop the final high baseball speed and final high racket head speed.

Baseball pitch
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y2PBLcp9tWM

At 46, 58 and 1:10 you can clearly see Tim Lincecum's upper arm rotate and especially his biceps flop around violently right afterward. (2500 fps?)

Overhead view of baseball pitch. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p8s1KbK1eaI

Tennis Serve
https://vimeo.com/66720415

Look for the biceps of Raonic to flop around after impact in a similar manner to the Lincecum pitch.

Another
https://vimeo.com/66720474

This same motion can be clearly seen in most of the other pro serve videos.

https://vimeo.com/user6237669/videos

Chas Tennis 09-21-2013 10:40 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by HughJars (Post 7376944)
Last night I worked on my serves. Put my Extreme Pro 2.0 back in the bag and got my old racket old, cos man, the Pro has being giving me some major shoulder and elbow pain. Using my old racket felt like home again. Anyway, thats another story.

.................................................. ..

If you are experimenting be sure to be aware of the Jim McLennan & Todd Ellenbecker videos on the shoulder orientation to hold during serving.

Quote:

Originally Posted by Chas Tennis (Post 7243583)
I believe that serving with ISR is never forced and could cause injury if practiced incorrectly. Here are some known issues. With forceful and rapid ISR the small external shoulder rotator cuff muscles have to be conditioned to keep the ball of the humerus in place and to stop the arm rotation in the follow through. See recommended shoulder conditioning exercises. Easy, light exercises.

There are also the important safety issues related to technique such as the shoulder high orientation for the serve to minimize impingement risk. Just one very bad motion can cause injury.

1) Jim McLennan short video on the rotator cuff, impingement and serving
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lTRvxaBMh8s

2) Todd Ellenbecker video on shoulder anatomy, impingement, and serving. At about minute 8 he describes the same issue as McLennan but in more detail.
http://www.tennisresources.com/index...2&ATT=&reso=lo

If you are concerned because you are having pain, how can you determine that the technique that you use is OK? You have to study and know the proper technique and verify that you are doing it with high speed video or find a well qualified instructor. Keep in mind that the more rapid motions during the serve cannot be seen by eye or even 60 fps video so an instructor who uses HSV is a plus.



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