Thread: tossing arm
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Old 05-14-2012, 02:02 PM   #8
charliefedererer's Avatar
Join Date: Feb 2009
Posts: 5,639

Originally Posted by bhupaes View Post
All instructive and great points, SA and charliefederer. One thing I've noticed is that a slight rocking motion where the tossing hand loads up a little at the bottom of its path helps greatly with accuracy. Sure, one can also begin the toss with a completely "unloaded" arm, but I have found it to lack control. Not sure if this is just idiosyncratic, or is a general principle... could you comment on it? Thanks.
Part of a recent post by me:

"Tip #2: Don't "arm" your ball toss!


We've all been told not to "arm" our groundstrokes and serves.

Instead, the hitting arm motion should be preceded by a big body motion (coiling), to generate the initial energy in hitting the ball, with the arm swing following the reversal of the big body motion (coiling to uncoiling).

So too on the toss, a big body motion to initiate momemtum followed by a reverse of the big body movement, helps get the arm going up. But in the case of the toss, the motion is not coiling, but instead first leaning into the court, then leaning back, to helps get the arm going up!

Go back to that video of all the pros serve tosses. Note that all first lean into the court, then lean back.

Federer's lean in and lean back is more exagerated than most, but as usual, Fed is not wasting motion here:

When leaning in (pics 1,2 above), the tossing arm is going to going to be very low.

When leaning back, the tossing arm is going to start to rise as the shoulders and hips go from a downward slant (pic 1 above) to no slant of the shoulders/hips (pic 2) to an upward slant (pic 3).

This reversal of the shoulders/hip from a downward to upward slant provides the momentum to get your tossing arm moving upward.

The result is that you don't have to work hard on your toss if you let your big body movement help supply the energy.

[To those who have already noticed this "lean in" is actually "forming a bow shape" forwards, with the 'lean back" going all the way past vertical to forming the "bow shape in the opposite direction in the trophy pose - see tip #4 below - only to reverse again through the hitting motion.]

Watching the video helps to emphasize the "lean in" and "lean back", and how the toss is intrinsically interwoven with getting into the trophy position:
Roger Federer - Serve in Slow Motion

Tip #3: The tempo of how fast you lean back, from your initial lean in, determines how fast to elevate your tossing arm.

Every orchestra needs a conductor, and every conductor has a baton to set the tempo of the music.

Your tossing arm is should be going up at a constant speed, and your tossing arm acts as the baton to set the tempo to your serve.
Tennis Serve Tossing Motion Tempo

How fast your tossing arm movement should move comes from how fast you lean back (pic 1 to pic 2 above) in the initiation of the toss.

[Lean back too fast, and your tossing arm will move up too fast, and the ball will go too high.
Lean back too slow and your tossing arm will move up too slow, and ball will not be tossed high enough.
Lean back "just right" and your tossing arm will move up at "just the right" speed to get your toss to the right height.]"

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