Role of non dominant arm in serve

vin

Professional
At some point during the serve, the chest should be stretched from both sides so that the non dominant arm can initiate rotation, and the resulting rotation can initiate arm movement, right? This stretch on both sides is discussed in Sonic Serve and I think it makes sense.

Because of the ball toss, I don't think the activity of the non dominant arm is as intuitive and natural as it is in a baseball throw.

So my first question is if the activity of the non dominant arm should be given some focus during practice, or is it another one of those things that should just happen naturally?

Next, if it is true that the non dominant side of the chest should be stretched by the arm, at what point does this happen? Right after the toss? Or maybe it's not important? Roddick has some of the best shoulder rotation I've seen, but the position he puts his non dominant arm in after the toss would require him to move it quite a bit before creating a stretch.
 

TennsDog

Hall of Fame
The non-domninant arm movement and positioning on serve can be natural for some people, and others may need some practice and focus on getting it right. If you don't notice anything wrong and a pro or coach don't have anything to say about your non-dominant arm, then it is probably fine. As to the part about stretching the chest, I'm not sure that is entirely correct. When the tossing arm is just releasing the ball it should be just about straight up and the hitting arm should be up and c.ocked, ready to make contact. The hitting arm may be stretching the chest some, but the tossing arm should be rather relaxed and not stretching. It is kind of like a see-saw with your arms as the levers: they start out level, then the tossing arm goes up and the hitting arm goes down which causing your shoulders to slant down to the ground behind you. Then, as you initiate contact, the tossing arm starts to come down (allowing shoulder and trunk rotation) and your hitting arm comes up going to the ball. Right at contact, your arms (and shoulders) have switched places where your front shoulder is now down and pointing to the ground to your left. After the serve and follow through, the shoulders level off again and you stay balanced. Look at Pete's serve and you should be able to see a little more clearly what I am talking about.

http://www.jericho.bc.ca/tennis/The Sampras Serve_Racquet Path.htm
 

Bungalo Bill

G.O.A.T.
TennsDog said:
The non-domninant arm movement and positioning on serve can be natural for some people, and others may need some practice and focus on getting it right. If you don't notice anything wrong and a pro or coach don't have anything to say about your non-dominant arm, then it is probably fine. As to the part about stretching the chest, I'm not sure that is entirely correct. When the tossing arm is just releasing the ball it should be just about straight up and the hitting arm should be up and c.ocked, ready to make contact. The hitting arm may be stretching the chest some, but the tossing arm should be rather relaxed and not stretching. It is kind of like a see-saw with your arms as the levers: they start out level, then the tossing arm goes up and the hitting arm goes down which causing your shoulders to slant down to the ground behind you. Then, as you initiate contact, the tossing arm starts to come down (allowing shoulder and trunk rotation) and your hitting arm comes up going to the ball. Right at contact, your arms (and shoulders) have switched places where your front shoulder is now down and pointing to the ground to your left. After the serve and follow through, the shoulders level off again and you stay balanced. Look at Pete's serve and you should be able to see a little more clearly what I am talking about.

http://www.jericho.bc.ca/tennis/The Sampras Serve_Racquet Path.htm

Here goes tennsdog, opening his mouth again. Here is the first piece of bad advice:

If you don't notice anything wrong and a pro or coach don't have anything to say about your non-dominant arm, then it is probably fine.

Not so, not all coaches look at the non-dominant arm. With the serve being so complex, it is very difficult to see everything in a service motion at full speed. The arm needs to fold in to break the shoulders - PERIOD!

Here is the second piece of bad advice:

As to the part about stretching the chest, I'm not sure that is entirely correct.

Really? And you have extensive experience on the matter? Opening the shoulders allows the hitting shoulder to strech back a tad more. You dont need to exaggerate it (or maybe you do at first) just allow it to open more before you decide to bring it forward. Most people shorten or tighten the shoudler a tad too soon to go and hit the ball.

The hitting arm may be stretching the chest some, but the tossing arm should be rather relaxed and not stretching. It is kind of like a see-saw with your arms as the levers: they start out level, then the tossing arm goes up and the hitting arm goes down which causing your shoulders to slant down to the ground behind you. Then, as you initiate contact, the tossing arm starts to come down (allowing shoulder and trunk rotation) and your hitting arm comes up going to the ball. Right at contact, your arms (and shoulders) have switched places where your front shoulder is now down and pointing to the ground to your left. After the serve and follow through, the shoulders level off again and you stay balanced. Look at Pete's serve and you should be able to see a little more clearly what I am talking about.

Who knows what he is saying here, but we certainly can look at Petes serve! Let me get them for you and maybe you can enlighten us.
 

TennsDog

Hall of Fame
Sorry, Bill, for "opening my mouth" and giving "bad advice". All of my experience supports what I say. I suppose you are correct about not being able to see every aspect of the serve, but that is also why I added "probably."
Second part, I think we are saying the same thing: you need to open your shoulders, but the chest should not really be stretched from both sides like you would think of doing a stretch before or after a workout. So it's more opening than stretching. But the shoulders and chest should not be tightened or contracted at this point.
As to my see-saw analogy, that probably isn't the best way to describe the motion, but I'm sure you agree with what it is saying. That is that the tossing shoulder should go up as the hitting shoulder goes down then they switch positions as the racket goes to the ball.
 

Bungalo Bill

G.O.A.T.
TennsDog said:
Sorry, Bill, for "opening my mouth" and giving "bad advice". All of my experience supports what I say. I suppose you are correct about not being able to see every aspect of the serve, but that is also why I added "probably."
Second part, I think we are saying the same thing: you need to open your shoulders, but the chest should not really be stretched from both sides like you would think of doing a stretch before or after a workout. So it's more opening than stretching. But the shoulders and chest should not be tightened or contracted at this point.
As to my see-saw analogy, that probably isn't the best way to describe the motion, but I'm sure you agree with what it is saying. That is that the tossing shoulder should go up as the hitting shoulder goes down then they switch positions as the racket goes to the ball.

Yes, I agree with that but you didnt mention why the tossing shoulder angles upward. It is not because the upper body did anything, it is the mid section and the lower body that caused the shoulders to angle.

The tightening of the chest is not what I am talking about, it is the relaxing of the chest.

Try this: Pretend you are throwing a ball, just keep throwing the ball. Now, relax your shoulder more and keep throwing. Relax your arm and keep throwing. Now really really relax them without losing control.

The shoulder goes back more because your allowing the muscle in the front of the shoulders to stretch before letting the arm come forward. It goes back to what you were saying. There has got to be some tension in the muscles. Right? Remember saying that? Well, in order for the shoulder to get going forward you have to contract a little and then let go again once you transfer stored energy into kinetic energy.

Opening the shoulder simply means relaxing it further to let it go back a tad more. If you study Sampras, you will see how far back he can get that shoulder before his arm goes up for the ball. He is at his max when the so called "back scratch" position has been achieved.
 

TennsDog

Hall of Fame
I think the problem occured in terminology. When I think of stretching, I think of forcing the muscles to go more than they want to, whereas relaxing would be almost "letting go" to allow them to reach maximum...not sure the word here, but stretching seems less natural to me than relaxing and that is the key, I think, is to not force any movements on serve, they should be relaxed, controlled movements. And yes, it is the rest of the body that puts the shoulders in position: knee bend, hip foreward, and midsection.
 

vin

Professional
In this discussion, I don't mean stretch to be a challenge to the range of motion. I mean it to be going comfortably to the maximum of your range of motion so that any slack in that direction is eliminated.

So, the ball is tossed and you're ready to start your swing. If your non dominant elbow is in a position so that it can't move back any further, there will be no slack in that direction. This is what I'm referring to by the stretch.

Once that elbow starts to move, so will the shoulders, because the elbow can't move any further independently of the shoulder. Again, this is because there is no slack.

If the shoulder of the hitting arm is also open so that there is no slack, the shoulder rotation triggered by the non dominant elbow will now trigger movement in the hitting arm.

If both shoulders are not in a position of no slack, are not open, are not stretched, or whatever you want to call it, there will be inefficiency in the motion. Either extra movement will be necessary to trigger the chain of events, or the chain will have a broken link and the motion will not be optimal.

BB, does that sound right?
 

Rickson

G.O.A.T.
Tenns, I think Bill is asking for an explanation on every tip you give, he does it to all of us, it's nothing personal. If you give an unsatisfactory explanation, he will correct you. I've been corrected on numerous occasions by BB, and although I don't like it at times, I try out Bill's tips and compare them with mine, only to find that most times, Bill was correct. I wished in the beginning that I could challenge BB, but I just sit back and learn now. Bungalo Bill's not a bad guy who's out to get you, he's just a guy who doesn't like to see new players learn the wrong techniques.
 

TennsDog

Hall of Fame
Yes, well put. Taut muscles in both sides will create an efficient, effective chain reaction involving the whole body, or upper body anyway considering just the shoulder rotation.
 

Bungalo Bill

G.O.A.T.
ok, here is sampras! lets see if Tennsdog is studying the finer aspects of the serve. Notice how Sampras loops or arcs the ball into the court. Very similar to Roddicks and Roscoe Tanners toss. So is the toss straight up?

contact.gif
 

TennsDog

Hall of Fame
I had a link to the Sampras serve in my post. And is that part about the toss being straight up directed towards me? If so, just so we're on the same page (not to argue), I never said the toss was straight up...I said the tossing arm should be just about straight up as the racket is up just before it goes to backscratch position. I have already said to toss the ball into the court.
 

Bungalo Bill

G.O.A.T.
TennsDog said:
I had a link to the Sampras serve in my post. And is that part about the toss being straight up directed towards me? If so, just so we're on the same page (not to argue), I never said the toss was straight up...I said the tossing arm should be just about straight up as the racket is up just before it goes to backscratch position. I have already said to toss the ball into the court.

No it was not directed towards you, I was making a point about the toss comparing it ROddicks and Roscoes as mentioned in other articles. I apoligize if you thought it was directed to you.
 

vin

Professional
Unlike Roddick, it looks like Pete is almost opening both shoulders at the same time. The tossing shoulder opens almost immediately after releasing the ball and the hitting shoulder is fully open shortly after. Just another level of smoothness to his serve!

Another interesting thing about Pete's serve is that his tossing arm and racquet arm begin to fall back at about the same time.

It's a lot easier to catch these using frame by frame.

Not sure how important any of this is, but I thought it was at least interesting.
 

fastdunn

Legend
WARNING: my following post is to lighten things up, not to
offend anyone....

IMO, any type of hitting action with your dominant arm
naturally makes you pull your non-dominant arm in.
Tae-Kwon-do punch, Karate chop, tennis forehand and serve.

If you want to make a spin dance move, your push your
non-dominant arm the other way. If you want to run forward
and hug your girl-friend, you push your both arm forward.

The goal is to make a forward impact. It's not to spin your
entire body or hug your baby. IMHO, your non-dominant arm "helps" you put
an break on the upper body ratation and transfer its angular
momentum to the supposedly spagetti noodley hitting arm
for last mico second whipping action... (I have to say I'm
no expert here. It could be all wrong idea....)
 

Bungalo Bill

G.O.A.T.
vin said:
Unlike Roddick, it looks like Pete is almost opening both shoulders at the same time. The tossing shoulder opens almost immediately after releasing the ball and the hitting shoulder is fully open shortly after. Just another level of smoothness to his serve!

Another interesting thing about Pete's serve is that his tossing arm and racquet arm begin to fall back at about the same time.

It's a lot easier to catch these using frame by frame.

Not sure how important any of this is, but I thought it was at least interesting.

yes, good observation and it is usually the case with traditional serve motions vs. the abbreviated kind. That is why abbreviated servers (me included) need to make sure we open the shoulders. It feels a little weird at first (what doesnt). It is good to open both shoulders as I feel for some reason (unverified) that iu helps with the rotation.
 

Bungalo Bill

G.O.A.T.
fastdunn said:
WARNING: my following post is to lighten things up, not to
offend anyone....

IMO, any type of hitting action with your dominant arm
naturally makes you pull your non-dominant arm in.
Tae-Kwon-do punch, Karate chop, tennis forehand and serve.

If you want to make a spin dance move, your push your
non-dominant arm the other way. If you want to run forward
and hug your girl-friend, you push your both arm forward.

The goal is to make a forward impact. It's not to spin your
entire body or hug your baby. IMHO, your non-dominant arm "helps" you put
an break on the upper body ratation and transfer its angular
momentum to the supposedly spagetti noodley hitting arm
for last mico second whipping action... (I have to say I'm
no expert here. It could be all wrong idea....)

I think you are right. I dont necessarily buy into how natural it is. I often see dangling arms etc.

But since you brought it up. Does an iceskater rotate faster with their arms close to the body or away from the body? ;)
 

Power Game

Professional
Hey Bungalo Bill,
Quick question...
How important is it to have your non dominant arm wrap around your body? Is it ok to have it pointing forward and on your side? I wrap my hand but lateley I noticed some pros who don't.
Thanks
BTW: I got my videos of my strokes, just trying to figure out how to post them, would you look at them for me?
 

mario17

New User
Hey Bungalo Bill and all
It's 2024, also looking to answer why we need to wrap up left non dominant hand to the right chest. Sorry can you help to digest <to break the shoulder> concept.

<<The arm needs to fold in to break the shoulders - PERIOD! >> © BB 2004


This is nice video which has direct answer: <tucking left to the chest to stop right shoulder from overrotation>

THanks
Mario
 
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SystemicAnomaly

Bionic Poster
Hey Bungalo Bill and all
It's 2024, also looking to answer why we need to wrap up left non dominant hand to the right chest. Sorry can you help to digest <to break the shoulder> concept.

<<The arm needs to fold in to break the shoulders - PERIOD! >> © BB 2004


This is nice video which has direct answer: <tucking left to the chest to stop right shoulder from overrotation>

THanks
Mario
Rick Macci is correct about the tucking of the tossing arm and its effect. However, he shows that arm staying up too long. His demo implies that the arm does not start to drop until he has started his upper swing. The timing of his tuck is ok but the arm actually starts to drop during the racket drop
 

mario17

New User
Thanks so much SA for comment and video <Reactive Break> sold!!!!
So if you "stop" your R (dominant) shoulder with L palm this will allow R arm explode better and have faster forward speed ?
And good to note that there is NO actual contact /block of the L palm to R chest. Is working thru all joints links?

Like if you hit oak tree on the bike with 30 mph, you will be ejected forward and can use this speed ?

I'm sitting on the sofa , doing imitations and trying to get this feeling of tucking to stop my shoulder to feel difference vs having L arm back, kind of hard to digest it.

Best
M
 
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Serve Doc

Rookie
Not sure why the basic flow of extending leverage by way of incorporating the opposite side and the firing order of the kinetic chain remains so vexing. It's quite simple to understand and achieve but requires the chest aligned upward towards contact for the axis of rotation to fire up towards the ball while engaging all muscles groups located across the chest and pecs rather than the top of shoulders traps. It's a sequence of stretching beginning with the descent of the toss arm.
 

SystemicAnomaly

Bionic Poster
As i see this video the left arm is streched a bit backwards but is streched only backwards or a bit to the right or to the left?
Backwards? Not sure what you mean by that. During the trophy phase, the L arm is extended nearly vertical. During the racket drop phase, the L hand starts to drop and the arm starts to bend. During the upward swing, the L arm is pulled closer to the body so that during the contact phase the arm is tucked fairly close to the trunk (between the chest or gut).
 

toth

Hall of Fame
I try to make a photo of the mement i have seen a bit backwards
Maybe i am wrong
I will make the photo
 

SystemicAnomaly

Bionic Poster
As i see, at the trophy the left arm is a bit streched backwards
So this is what you were referring to when you said “backwards” earlier?

I wouldn’t obsess about this slight stretch past the vertical. Federer pretty much has his arm vertical. It looks like his hand pretty much stays in place but his body moves forward slightly. Since the hand doesn’t move forward with his body, the angle of his arm changes a little bit. Not a huge deal IMO
 

SystemicAnomaly

Bionic Poster
Thanks so much SA for comment and video <Reactive Break> sold!!!!
So if you "stop" your R (dominant) shoulder with L palm this will allow R arm explode better and have faster forward speed ?
And good to note that there is NO actual contact /block of the L palm to R chest. Is working thru all joints links?

Like if you hit oak tree on the bike with 30 mph, you will be ejected forward and can use this speed ?

I'm sitting on the sofa , doing imitations and trying to get this feeling of tucking to stop my shoulder to feel difference vs having L arm back, kind of hard to digest it.

Best
M
When Roger pulls his L arm down & starts to tuck it in, his L shoulder stops moving for the most part. But his R shoulder is still moving wrt the L shoulder. However, his R shoulder is slowing down as he gets to the contact phase. As a result, the R arm and racket have accelerated past the R shoulder.

We see something similar with the 1-handed Bh of Roger (& Richard Gasquet). For the prep, the body, especially the upper torso, is coiled quite a bit. The torso uncoils for the 1st part of the forward swing — dragging the R arm and racket along with it.

Part way thru the fwd swing, the torso stops moving. The L arm facilitates this — either by stopping or by extending back in the opposite direction. When the torso is stopped, the R arm and racket accelerates forward into the incoming ball.

If I’m not mistaken, this is a momentum thing. When the body / torso is uncoiling, along with the R arm and racket, a large mass is moving at a moderate speed. When the torso is stopped, the moving mass is substantially decreased — it’s now just the R arm & racket. As a result of this large reduction in (moving) mass, the velocity of the (remaining) moving mass increases significantly.
 

Serve Doc

Rookie
Yes the shoulders don't need to continue to over rotate but transfer the energy up the hitting arm. Parallel stance to the base line limit further rotation of upper body to over rotate as well because the torso can't go any further uncoiling at contact but unless you have well developed pitching mechanics already, I'm not a proponent of parallel.
 

Better_Call_Raul

Hall of Fame
When Roger pulls his L arm down & starts to tuck it in, his L shoulder stops moving for the most part. But his R shoulder is still moving wrt the L shoulder. However, his R shoulder is slowing down as he gets to the contact phase. As a result, the R arm and racket have accelerated past the R shoulder.

So this is what you were referring to when you said “backwards” earlier?

I wouldn’t obsess about this slight stretch past the vertical.

To my mind, the toss arm needs to get roughly vertical. Continue to raise the toss arm after toss is released.

The common club player error is not continuing to raise the toss arm; prematurely dropping the toss arm. Never even getting ~vertical.

Failing to get the toss arm roughly vertical will limit the shoulder-over-shoulder "cartwheel" contribution to power. Some players like Roddick will get well beyond vertical. Not clear how much difference beyond vertical makes and how physically difficult it is to incorporate. Best to experiment.

But roughly vertical should be achievable for average club player.


As for "over-rotating" the shoulders on first serves, Coach John Craig video explains it well. He says to coil and rotate shoulders away from the baseline about 45 degrees. Then uncoil. At contact, the belly button will roughly be facing the right net post.

He says that you do not want chest facing the net at contact but does not explain why. Will need to confirm but it appears some pros have chest facing net at contact.

Jim Mclennan emphasizes "staying sideways" as long as possible. Jim says that in some pics, Fed is "completely sideways" at contact.
But I think Jim is wrong on this. Fed will not be sideways at contact on first serve.

Screenshot-2024-05-12-171614.png

Screenshot-2024-05-12-171515.png



 

mario17

New User
Can anybody help to understand fundamental reason why he tucks L palm to R chest, what is the physics behind this ??
What is wrong if L arm goes back and we get more rotation ? what will break ?
I asked people in the park, nobody have a clear answer

Tx
Mario
 
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ChaelAZ

G.O.A.T.
For me it serves as counterbalance to as part of the force for rotation, though I am sure I could use it more for both.
 

nyta2

Hall of Fame
Can anybody help to understand fundamental reason why he tucks L palm to R chest, what is the physics behind this ??
What is wrong if L arm goes back and we get more rotation ? what will break ?
I asked people in the park, nobody have a clear answer

Tx
Mario
i doint' throw my arm back becaseu my movement is more "up and into contact" (towards the sky) not rotating around and through (toward the target)
i find folks (or me, back in the day) who try to "hit around the outside" on a slice will tend to have their left arm rotate around and back
 

ballmachineguy

Hall of Fame
Jim Mclennan emphasizes "staying sideways" as long as possible. Jim says that in some pics, Fed is "completely sideways" at contact.
But I think Jim is wrong on this. Fed will not be sideways at contact on first serve.

Screenshot-2024-05-12-171614.png

Screenshot-2024-05-12-171515.png



Never liked this “staying sideways” stuff. When throwing or serving your arm wants to move perpendicular to the line the two shoulders make. Your arm moves freely that way. So, if you try to stay sideways, you are either aiming your serve with your chest (where your arm can go is limited) or you are going to have to swing across the body, which seems to ask for injury.

I’ve always felt that the upper body will open the appropriate amount with where your arm goes to hit the ball where you want with the spin you are trying to achieve. Forcing your arm to fight your upper body isn’t a great idea.
 

toth

Hall of Fame
Schould the non dominant hand target the ball at the trophy pos?
My non dom hand point to the left, i see the ball a bit to the right in corralation to my left arm
(Exvuse me for my poor English)
 

SystemicAnomaly

Bionic Poster
Can anybody help to understand fundamental reason why he tucks L palm to R chest, what is the physics behind this ??
What is wrong if L arm goes back and we get more rotation ? what will break ?
I asked people in the park, nobody have a clear answer

Tx
Mario
You didn’t like the conservation of momentum idea that I suggested in post #31? With the L arm tucked in, the torso rotation stops (or slows down). Since the moving mass is reduced, the v (or angular v) of the smaller mass increases.

If the L arm is allowed to swing around & back instead of tucking in, the moving mass is greater. If the L arm is not tucked in, the torso is still moving (rotating). Or it’s moving more than it would otherwise. If the moving mass is greater, than v is somewhat less.

If the L arm & torso are still moving for the contact phase, then the transfer is not as complete
 
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SystemicAnomaly

Bionic Poster
Schould the non dominant hand target the ball at the trophy pos?
My non dom hand point to the left, i see the ball a bit to the right in corralation to my left arm
(Exvuse me for my poor English)
The L hand/arm should align, more or less, on an overhead smash — this should be a guide for where the body needs to move.

But this is not necessarily the case for the serve. The L arm, positioned upward (vertical) will provide a spatial reference to where the ball toss is located relative to the body. But it does not need to point directly at the ball for the serve.
 

ballmachineguy

Hall of Fame
If you think about it, if the upper body were allowed to freely rotate, the line/direction your serving arm and hand are sent on would constantly be changing. Like a semi-circle. Not good. And the arm would not be able to accelerate, as has been said.
 

Digital Atheist

Hall of Fame
I wouldn’t obsess about this slight stretch past the vertical.
The common club player error is not continuing to raise the toss arm; prematurely dropping the toss arm. Never even getting ~vertical.
I know he has some controversial ideas, but Intuitive Tennis covers this quite well imo.

Watch these closeups of Goran's tossing arm for further evidence that a major extension and a big front side lat stretch is not necessary before launching.

He has a low toss and really fast action, so there isn't really time to get it way up like Roddick. But from what I've read, he still keeps his non hitting shoulder up for some time and doesn't allow that to drop much at all, so there is no premature collapsing. That's why I don't think the tossing arm is actively pulled down into the chest as some posters maintain, but rather the arm coming down and folding in simply has to happen in order to allow the hitting arm to accelerate through the strike with blazing RHS.

Watch Zverev and Sinner (both pinpointers, so that might be relevant). The tossing arm is actually still staying up and going up slightly with the entire body for several frames after leg drive has begun.

I’ve always felt that the upper body will open the appropriate amount with where your arm goes to hit the ball where you want with the spin you are trying to achieve. Forcing your arm to fight your upper body isn’t a great idea.
No it's not, and although the "stay sideways/swing up/don't overotate" concepts are generally a good idea, they can sometimes backfire when implemented incorrectly, or if the toss is too far back and the swing itself has almost zero forward component. An example:
https://tt.tennis-warehouse.com/index.php?threads/serve-advice-request.767901/post-18079855

Even in the Opelka image above where the hitting shoulder is slightly behind the left shoulder, the back hip is imo visibly further back (as is the case with almost all ATP servers, although some pinpointers like Kyrgios don't do it as much), which allows for part of the torso to remain "somewhat" sideways. But that isn't happening because the entire upper body is trying not to rotate, since body rotation is a big power source when done correctly.
 

PKorda

Professional
Never liked this “staying sideways” stuff. When throwing or serving your arm wants to move perpendicular to the line the two shoulders make. Your arm moves freely that way. So, if you try to stay sideways, you are either aiming your serve with your chest (where your arm can go is limited) or you are going to have to swing across the body, which seems to ask for injury.

I’ve always felt that the upper body will open the appropriate amount with where your arm goes to hit the ball where you want with the spin you are trying to achieve. Forcing your arm to fight your upper body isn’t a great idea.
think the tip is try to stay sideways for longer, it's hard to hit while sideways but recreational players tend to over rotate. so it's more about the perception of staying sideways. this seems to help hit up and keep the head up.
 

Better_Call_Raul

Hall of Fame
Watch these closeups of Goran's tossing arm for further evidence that a major extension and a big front side lat stretch is not necessary before launching.

There are exceptions. Roscoe has a very shallow shoulder tilt. But I suspect that this type of motion stresses the arm. Or relies on a live arm.

But most pros seem to get toss arm roughly vertical to incorporate the power source of shouder-over-shoulder.
Kyrgios does not get vertical. My guess is that he compensates by hip rotation.


But from what I've read, he still keeps his non hitting shoulder up for some time and doesn't allow that to drop much at all, so there is no premature collapsing. That's why I don't think the tossing arm is actively pulled down into the chest as some posters maintain, but rather the arm coming down and folding in simply has to happen in order to allow the hitting arm to accelerate through the strike with blazing RHS.


Will have to think about this... not sure what "keeping the shoulder up" means. It would seem that dropping the toss arm would bring the shoulder down with it.

If I understand the SystemicAnomaly posts correctly, the toss arm must actively tuck in to decelerate the torso, so that hitting arm can properly accelerate into contact. If one does not actively tuck in the toss arm, you will lose power.

Screenshot-2024-05-14-134116.png
 

Digital Atheist

Hall of Fame
There are exceptions.
Did you watch the Intuitive tennis video? Vertical or close to vertical is obviously what you want. That is important and the tossing arm needs to continue to rise after ball release, all of which is covered in the IT video. I don't think anyone would disagree with that, would they?

Ivanisevic isn't really an exception, and he is close to Isner and Kyrgios (off the top of my head) who also have lower tosses. But their arm continues to rise and it ends up straight (just pointing slightly forward, which is fine). Roscoe IS the exception and he is something no one should copy, ever (imo). With a more regulation toss height (18" to 2' drop) I think it's easier to get the arm up vertical and extended without rushing. I have no evidence for that other than anecdotal observations of ATP pros.

Edit: Regarding the shoulder tilt mentioned, this is why I don't consider Goran any different to other great servers.
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And his tossing arm is quite acceptable. Taken from:

It appears obvious that he loves to use hip/shoulder separation to help generate power. Having said that, Salzenstein would question many aspects of his serve in regards to what he considers the "proper" biomechanical model, so it might be that this isn't a good approach for amateurs. I really don't know.
 
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Serve Doc

Rookie
Roddick had his arm across his body to accentuate shoulder rotation in take back but it doesn't really make much difference as long as the shoulder plane aligns with contact after toss release and is effectively driving quick shoulder rotation up to contact
 

Better_Call_Raul

Hall of Fame
Did you watch the Intuitive tennis video? Vertical or close to vertical is obviously what you want

Had watched it a long time ago. Will have to review it again.

The RaqFlex Coach below points out that Kyrgios does not raise the toss arm upwards as much as the average pro, such as Nadal.


Coach explains that one reason is that his toss is low and he has less time to extend the toss arm. That is probably true. But IMO, not the primary reason.

It is clear that Kyrgios (who is tall but only 3 inches taller than Nadal) makes contact much further into the court than Nadal.

IMO, this deep into the court contact is more conducive to a moderate shoulder tilt; not a steep shoulder tilt like Nadal, who will contact much closer to baseline.

Hence Kyrgios makes relatively less use of the shoulder-over-shoulder power source than the average pro server like Nadal . To be clear, Kyrgios is still employing shoulder over shoulder, but not as steep as Nadal.

As a result of this style and contact well into the court contact, Kyrgios likely employs more hip rotation and rotation along the long axis (spine) to compensate for the moderate shoulder tilt.
 
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Digital Atheist

Hall of Fame
So my first question is if the activity of the non dominant arm should be given some focus during practice, or is it another one of those things that should just happen naturally?
If it doesn't come naturally - and for the majority it does not - then just like the correct upper body mechanics, it has to be consciously practiced until you no longer need to think about it. Some will disagree, but imo this kind of change is unlikely to be achieved using your regular full motion, and a half serve of some kind might be a good starting point. That is only speculation however, since I haven't seen your serve.
 
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