should I rest a day after hitting serves?

Discussion in 'Health & Fitness' started by barnes1172, Feb 21, 2013.

  1. barnes1172

    barnes1172 New User

    Apr 16, 2009
    Portland, OR
    I thought about this in comparison to baseball: a starting pitcher will only throw hard once every five days, and rest his arm the other days.

    How is serving in tennis similar or different to this?
    Would I benefit from not hitting serves on consecutive days?
    How much rest does someone's arm need after hitting serves?

    I have noticed that my arm felt a little more lively when I had not hit serves, or played tennis in the previous days.
    What is your experience?
  2. comeback

    comeback Hall of Fame

    Oct 13, 2010
    Depending on your age, it might be good to take a day off. Serving baskets of balls is intense and much harder on your shoulder than serving in a match where there are lots of breaks in between.
  3. charliefedererer

    charliefedererer Legend

    Feb 13, 2009
    Great analogy to a pitcher.

    Although most would agree pitching a baseball is tougher on the arm, tennis players too often serve day after day, only to wonder why their arm is starting to get sore.

    Sometimes "less" really is more.

    Tennis players as well as pitchers walk a fine line between practicing enough to be tops at their craft and crossing the line into an overuse injury.

    Are you doing the Thrower's Ten exercises to lessen your chances of an arm injury?
  4. slowfox

    slowfox Professional

    Oct 3, 2011
    I feel like this was in another forum too.
  5. LeeD

    LeeD Bionic Poster

    Dec 28, 2008
    East side of San Francisco Bay
    Odds n Ends....
    If you're tired and dragging, take a day off.
    If you're bouncing off the walls and swinging your racket, go to the tennis court.
  6. Chas Tennis

    Chas Tennis Legend

    Feb 17, 2011
    Baltimore, MD
    People can practice serve for several reasons -

    1) to time and develop muscle memory for a sound technique
    2) to make small changes to a sound technique
    3) to make significant changes or to develop a new technique
    4) others

    For me, I tend to leave out several important things that I know are used in strong serves. For example, I often forget to get enough leg thrust, forget to have the handle of the racket point up toward the ball at the proper time, forget to have the racket edge toward the ball when starting the last acceleration to impact, and others. I need high speed video to observe these things. I have to get these things into my motion before practicing for timing.

    In addition, the odd quirk will get into our serves -
    See reply #184
    I believe that this wrist position caused me some minor pain last summer when I started to practice serving. I cut the practice down to nil because of worrying about the wrist stress & pain.

    See reply #14-

    See replies related to bend in elbow at impact, replies located before and after reply #55 with a picture.

    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

    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.

    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.
    Last edited: Feb 23, 2013
  7. Govnor

    Govnor Professional

    Aug 12, 2011
    There is nothing worse for my shoulder than serving a bucket of balls. I think I'm going to have to mix up my training this year.
  8. Chas Tennis

    Chas Tennis Legend

    Feb 17, 2011
    Baltimore, MD
    You probably have an injury or a serious technique issue.

    Be sure to look at the Ellenbecker video and make sure serving technique is OK and that your shoulders are oriented properly to avoid impingement.
  9. fuzz nation

    fuzz nation G.O.A.T.

    Oct 20, 2006
    It can be tricky to strike the right balance if your tennis schedule includes both playing and practice sessions. That feeling of being recharged after a day or two off is rather telling I think. Give your serving muscles at least that day or two for recovery between practice sessions and you probably won't be overdoing it.

    Generally I recommend serving one bucket of balls a week (maybe 65-70) to keep the serve well tuned to some degree. Less than that and I think that it can get rusty, even if we're getting a couple of matches a week under our belts. For getting more dialed in, I think that two or three of those buckets a week is okay, but that practice needs to be good and deliberate.

    Remember to also practice pre-serve rituals that you use on match day, along with planning the placement of a first or second serve. Hit a bucket or two day after day and it's easy to switch into auto-pilot where we're just unconsciously going through the motions. That's not productive.

    If a little rest keeps that shoulder more fresh and ready for prime time, I say (cue caveman speak)... rest good!
  10. max

    max Hall of Fame

    Jul 14, 2004
    Fuzz nation has it right. I do about that many balls at a time and really need time off from that for at least a day.

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