Throwing The Racquet Drill

#3
Well, some of us suggested this drill was not to emulate serve but to learn to efficiently accelerate racquet upwards.
Yes. A common error is opening up into Waiter's Tray or some variant of WT error as in the left pic. This throwing drill forces you to stay on edge.
When you go back to perform a real serve, it will be very similar, except that you pronate at the last instant to align the strings to the ball..

 
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#4
Yes. A common error is opening up into Waiter's Tray as in the left pic. This throwing drill forces you to stay on edge.
When you go back to perform a real serve, it will be very similar, except that you pronate at the last instant to align the strings to the ball..

I happened to see this clip earlier. The still photos above look more like a matter of gripping the racket correctly. Ie the photo on the right has a FH grip!

Another strange thing about this instructor is he teaches throwing the edge straight forward. Then, in practicing with the ball, the swing path and the pronation he does is completely different. 4:25. So what's the connection between throwing and the correct (completely different) serve?
 
#5
I happened to see this clip earlier. The still photos above look more like a matter of gripping the racket correctly. Ie the photo on the right has a FH grip!

Another strange thing about this instructor is he teaches throwing the edge straight forward. Then, in practicing with the ball, the swing path and the pronation he does is completely different. 4:25. So what's the connection between throwing and the correct (completely different) serve?
They show the progression as:
1) Throw the racquet edge over edge.
2) Toss and hit the ball with edge of racquet. Take this to mean very little ISR/pronation.
3) Finally, he hits a real serve.

I see the throw and serve as very similar from the drop to "Big L". In the throw, he releases at Big L, looks to be very little ISR?. Tomahawk throw?
In the real serve he must use ISR/Pronation soon after Big L position to bring the strings square.

 
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#6
Its' great that you've made two gif's.

Is this not clear to your eyes that the red shirt guy throws the racket right to left? From "away his body" to "inside his body"

But the yellow shirt guy throws/swing the racket from left to right? From "close to his body" to "away from the body".

The latter is correct. The former is questionable. So, I don't know how that is transferable to the serve.
 
#7
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According to the Todd Ellenbecker recommendations in the video "Rotator Cuff Injury", the upper arm is at an angle that is too high. There is some ISR.

How does the racket throw relate to the serve since there is little ISR? But for a progression you don't have to know but it would be nice to know.
 
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#8
I still don't understand the rationale for throwing a tennis racket as practice for the serve.

1) Is it supposed to simulate some part of the body & racket movements used for a serve? Train a part of the service movement?

2) Is the only reason that some instructors or students believe that it works. But a clear reason why can't be explained or found? Some things do work whether we understand them or not.

3) Other. ?

For reason #1 simulating part of the service motion, in cases where a demonstration video is provided that video can be analyzed. Here is one example that to me indicates that throwing a tennis racket does not accurately simulate any part of a tennis serve.

The idea of the video as I understand it was that the server has a weaker serve that appears to be a Waiter's Tray type technique. But she has better way to swing by throwing the racket and demonstrates it.

To understand this issue here are frames from the 'successful' demonstration of throwing the racket -

Frame #1. Elbow looks forward. Red line area difficult to interpret, fingers, hand? Frame #2. Looks as if racket face mostly up, somewhat like Waiter's Tray. WT was probably what the video referred to as a 'weaker serve". Lines at shoulder indicate a risky upper arm to shoulder orientation for a serve with ISR as discussed in the Ellenbecker video. (search)


Frame #3. For a high level serve the arm is tilted to the right and racket to the left. Camera angle could be better but both look wrong from this view. The thumb is to the side. Frame #4. Thumb still to the side = little rotation at the wrist. That's unlike a high level serve.


Frame #5. Thumb still to the right indicated by red line. Does not look like very much ISR.


I can't see how this simulates a high level service motion with internal shoulder rotation. It might simulate the swings in a Waiter's Tray serve.

I believe that the video originated in 2011 and may have since been updated. ?

What is the rationale for throwing a racket?

We have done a test on the Forum where a poster threw a racket with ISR. I believe that it did not appear like an end-over-end tomahawk throw. I would throw a racket end over end like a tomahawk.

...........?.....................

On the other hand, throwing a ball might use internal shoulder rotation and if verified can simulate ISR on the serve. The motions are different but the shoulder joint motion of ISR can be the same if the thrower performs their throw with ISR.
2016 thread on same subject.

The video in this old thread has the same Ellenbecker issue on how the upper arm is oriented to the shoulder joint. If ISR is performed with this orientation the Ellenbecker video warns that orientation increases the risk of shoulder impingement. I assume that the Ellenbecker video applies to the high level serving technique with ISR.

 
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#9
The hatchet/tomahawk racket throw has considerable merit even if no (or very little) hand rotation (pronation + ISR) is employed. Sure ISR is an important part of a tennis serve but it is not the only important element.

I started incorporating a racket throw progression a dozen years ago for developing the serve. Will Hamilton (FYB) suggested that a steep upward throw (more than 60 degrees) promotes a deeper racket head drop. I came up with the tomahawk throw, on my own, as a starting point of my racket throw progression. It promotes getting the racket head "on edge" and keeping it on edge for the Big L (and for a bit after the Big L).
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#10
The hatchet/tomahawk racket throw has considerable merit even if no (or very little) hand rotation (pronation + ISR) is employed. Sure ISR is an important part of a tennis serve but it is not the only important element.

I started incorporating a racket throw progression a dozen years ago for developing the serve. Will Hamilton (FYB) suggested that a steep upward throw (more than 60 degrees) promotes a deeper racket head drop. I came up with the tomahawk throw, on my own, as a starting point of my racket throw progression. It promotes getting the racket head "on edge" and keeping it on edge for the Big L (and for a bit after the Big L).
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The first throw is more upwards. Is the second throw more of a tomahawk throw with little ISR?
In any case, the racquet looks to be released at around Big L. On an actual serve, the ISR occurs mostly after Big L.
I see the throwing drill to be very similar to serve motion from drop to Big L.

 
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#11
The first throw is more upwards. Is the second throw more of a tomahawk throw with little ISR?
In any case, the racquet looks to be released at around Big L. On an actual serve, the ISR occurs mostly after Big L.
I see the throwing drill to be very similar to serve motion from drop to Big L.

I wasn't really making a distinction between an upward throw and a tomahawk throw. We execute tomahawk throws at various angles . Starting with a low angle toss at 30° and then going for distance at 45°. Then, more for height at 60 to 75°.
 
#12
I wasn't really making a distinction between an upward throw and a tomahawk throw. We execute tomahawk throws at various angles . Starting with a low angle toss at 30° and then going for distance at 45°. Then, more for height at 60 to 75°.
I am not clear on the difference between a tomahawk style throw upwards (little ISR) and an upwards throw (with ISR).

Chas mentioned that a tomahawk throw ~ straight ahead uses little ISR. I took this to mean that an upwards throw does incorporate ISR.

But it sounds like all your tomahawk throws, even upwards, do not incorporate ISR. You are not making the distinction as Chas does?
Is it even possible to throw steeply upwards with tomahawk style (no ISR)?

The poster that videoed releasing the racket while simulating a serve that had ISR, was pioneer JonC, now banned for some reason. He had posted some more of his videos. The only JonC video around is probably the one that I posted in this thread in post #31.

Here is the start of JonC's posts.
https://tt.tennis-warehouse.com/index.php?threads/hitting-up-on-serves.537039/page-2#post-9465296

He videoed his racket release with ISR. He had trouble releasing the racket to have it go up. This simple experiment should be repeated.
Compare to Raul_SJ's release of the racket.


No, a tomahawk throw uses no or little ISR.

Determine how much ISR and when it starts by placing tape markers on your upper arm just above the elbow. The blue painter's tape sticks but comes off clean.

If the racket is at about 90 d to the forearm, as at the Big L position, and you start ISR then where does the racket head go? Where does it appear in a video from behind? Does it appear to go straight up? Should an angle appear between the forearm and racket when viewed from behind looking along the ball's trajectory? Look at your Federer gif in post #50.

Very often I cannot see that angle on poster's serves. ?? Late ISR?
 
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#15
The hatchet/tomahawk racket throw has considerable merit even if no (or very little) hand rotation (pronation + ISR) is employed. Sure ISR is an important part of a tennis serve but it is not the only important element.

I started incorporating a racket throw progression a dozen years ago for developing the serve. Will Hamilton (FYB) suggested that a steep upward throw (more than 60 degrees) promotes a deeper racket head drop. I came up with the tomahawk throw, on my own, as a starting point of my racket throw progression. It promotes getting the racket head "on edge" and keeping it on edge for the Big L (and for a bit after the Big L).
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When progressions are presented in instructional videos the instructors usually do not say
1) whether the progression is intended to actually simulate a sub-motion of the stroke, or
2) if it has simply been found to be useful, reason unexplained.

Of course, those progression are assumed to be useful and I believe that many are. But I believe that many students believe that they are viewing a progression that actually simulates a sub-motion of the stroke, the same joint & muscle actions, etc. That mostly is not true. The instructor rarely says what the progression is supposed to do in relation to the stroke. Still, that is OK. Pointing out whether the progression simulates a sub-motion of the stroke or not is useful.

Videos Don't Show. I can't tell with high speed videos whether a progression has value for learning tennis strokes. That's for the instructor to say. I believe that some progressions have value and some don't.

Videos Show. But I can compare progressions to the serve and see similarities in the motions. It seems useful to point out the similarities of progressions to the real strokes for understanding. Progressions that are very similar to the sub-motions of the strokes seem more creditable on the face of it.

Many internet instructional videos on progressions do not seem creditable, especially those that show serving techniques that don't even follow Ellenbecker's safety recommendation on how to hold the upper arm. I do attack many progressions, don't know about most and believe in a few. I have looked at several internet progression videos and have only found one that seems to simulate the tennis serve is many ways, muscle and joint use etc - - the 'upward throw' in the Pat Dougherty video.

The tomahawk progression works for your students. You mention that it may well have value for coming out of the racket drop. The racket drop would be an interesting sub-motion to study for the tomahawk progression. The wrist joint contribution is ~30% of racket head speed at impact, second only to ISR (40-60%). Maybe the tomahawk technique could even be tweaked more to target the wrist joint motion on the serve.

Do you have a high speed camera?
 
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#17
I wasn't really making a distinction between an upward throw and a tomahawk throw. We execute tomahawk throws at various angles . Starting with a low angle toss at 30° and then going for distance at 45°. Then, more for height at 60 to 75°.
I assume everyone agrees a tomahawk throw uses little ISR.
Do you consider this an upwards tomahawk-style throw?
 
#19
@Chas Tennis
I am not clear on the difference between a tomahawk style throw upwards (little ISR) and an upwards throw (with ISR).

Chas mentioned that a tomahawk throw ~ straight ahead uses little ISR. I took this to mean that an upwards throw does incorporate ISR.

But it sounds like all your tomahawk throws, even upwards, do not incorporate ISR. You are not making the distinction as Chas does?
Is it even possible to throw steeply upwards with tomahawk style (no ISR)?
There is a bit of ISR involved in the tomahawk throws but not the pronounced ISR that comes later in the upward swing (primarily after the Big L). But I am not really concerned abt ISR with the tomahawk throws. That comes later.

After tomahawk throws at steep launch angles, my progression goes to other types of throws. We progress to throws where the hand is rotated after the Big L -- employing both pronation and ISR before the racket is released.

The last part of my throw progression employs a partial rotation of the hand with a brushing motion of the racket head to simulate slice and topspin serve actions.
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#20
Chas is correct in this instance about lack of explanation on the connection between throwing a racket and the actual serve.

Maybe throwing a racket works for some people. These people somehow can connect the dots on their own. I doubt many can.

Do a test about the effectiveness of this throwing practice. Give people at your courts an old racket to throw and have them throw it several times. Then, ask them to apply it to serving. See how close they get. I suspect no noticeable improvement.
 
#21
Chas is correct in this instance about lack of explanation on the connection between throwing a racket and the actual serve.

Maybe throwing a racket works for some people. These people somehow can connect the dots on their own. I doubt many can.

Do a test about the effectiveness of this throwing practice. Give people at your courts an old racket to throw and have them throw it several times. Then, ask them to apply it to serving. See how close they get. I suspect no noticeable improvement.
A number of explanations have been presented. For instance, the steep angle racket throw promotes a deeper/better racket head drop than a ball throw or a shallow angle racket throw.

However, if you are not seeing the connections in the attempted explanations, I suggest that you learn by doing rather than trying to parse these attempts. The descriptions and discussions get very wordy and the connections get lost in the translation.

Odd that people accept throwing tennis balls and footballs as useful serve drills but have difficulty in seeing the value of racket throwing. In reality, racket throwing is superior to ball throwing as a drill/learning tool.
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#22
Is this not clear to your eyes that the red shirt guy throws the racket right to left? From "away his body" to "inside his body"
But the yellow shirt guy throws/swing the racket from left to right? From "close to his body" to "away from the body".
The latter is correct. The former is questionable. So, I don't know how that is transferable to the serve.
The yellow server, for whatever reason, is using an abbreviated serve. And does not drop the front shoulder (shoulder impingement). Let's leave that aside.

Don't know what to make of the swing path differences of the red thrower vs yellow server or whether it is relevant. As long as one gets to a proper trophy position, does it matter? perhaps @SystemicAnomaly can comment on the right to left throwing path differences that you noted.

I am focusing on the movement from racquet drop up to Big L, which looks very similar. Not clear why you are not seeing the great similarity.



 
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#23
If we did a racket throwing contest would the fast serving guys always throw it the longer distance than the slower ones? If yes, one should really work only on their throwing to improve the serve, whether it be a stone, a ball or a racket. Just go out there and throw as far as possible.
 
#24
If we did a racket throwing contest would the fast serving guys always throw it the longer distance than the slower ones? If yes, one should really work only on their throwing to improve the serve, whether it be a stone, a ball or a racket. Just go out there and throw as far as possible.
Yeah, but do you even know how to generate power when you throw a ball? Cuz if you don’t, you will be practicing it doing it wrong and continuing to reinforce the wrong technique.
 
#25
If we did a racket throwing contest would the fast serving guys always throw it the longer distance than the slower ones? If yes, one should really work only on their throwing to improve the serve, whether it be a stone, a ball or a racket. Just go out there and throw as far as possible.
A bit of a flaw with this. Max distance would be achieved with a launch angle close to 45°. Basic physics. However, a proper racket throw would be at a much steeper angle. So you would get more height than distance if your launch angle is 60° or 75°.
 
#27
The yellow server, for whatever reason, is using an abbreviated serve. And does not drop the front shoulder (shoulder impingement). Let's leave that aside.

Don't know what to make of the swing path differences of the red thrower vs yellow server or whether it is relevant. As long as one gets to a proper trophy position, does it matter? perhaps @SystemicAnomaly can comment on the right to left throwing path differences that you noted.

I am focusing on the movement from racquet drop up to Big L, which looks very similar. Not clear why you are not seeing the great similarity.



What I am seeing here (red shirt) looks to be more like a football (American football) pass than an elite tennis serve throw. Only a slight tilt of the shoulders -- left shoulder is not dropped very much. Not getting the shoulder-over-shoulder (cartwheel) action.

Some benefit from this football pass throw (focusing on other parts of the KC and the serve motion) but, at some point, the shoulder tilt and cartwheel action should be incorporated.
 
#28
Doesn’t matter. One with a great horizontal distance will have a great vertical one also.
It does matter IMO. Some/many elements will be similar but some of the mechanics will change if a steeper launch angle is stressed. Shoulder tilt, torso rotation angle, racket drop depth, cartwheel action, etc will be significantly different.

See post #27 as well.
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#30
So are you saying that someone who can throw very well at 45 degree angle may throw poorly at 60 degrees?
Didn't say that. But I believe that we might not necessarily be stressing the right elements of the serve motion if we are launching at 30° to 45° or are throwing for distance rather than launching at a steep angle.

If you wanna make a couple of throws for distance, that's fine. Maybe even useful. But I don't think that it should be the primary focus of racket throwing drills.
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#31
If we did a racket throwing contest would the fast serving guys always throw it the longer distance than the slower ones? If yes, one should really work only on their throwing to improve the serve, whether it be a stone, a ball or a racket. Just go out there and throw as far as possible.
I've practiced throwing tennis balls. Increasing the throwing distance resulted in more serve speed...
As far as throwing racquet for distance, I am not sure where the "release" point is for throwing a racquet. The palm turns to the right side fence on a real serve, as a result of ISR+pronation. It may be that throwing racquet for distance may not be the drill that most closely simulates a serve.
 
#32
I've practiced throwing tennis balls. Increasing the throwing distance resulted in more serve speed...
As far as throwing racquet for distance, I am not sure where the "release" point is for throwing a racquet. The palm turns to the right side fence on a real serve, as a result of ISR+pronation. It may be that throwing racquet for distance may not be the drill that most closely simulates a serve.
The release point for a racket throw would be a bit earlier than a contact point would be. One could certainly change the launch angle by simply altering the release point a bit. But that is defeating part of the goal of a good racket throw progression.

Throws performed later in the progression should try to simulate actual (proper) serve mechanics as much as possible. Otherwise, you may not be deriving full benefit of the exercise. You won't be getting very much beyond what you would get from merely throwing a tennis ball or a football.
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#33
Didn't say that. But I believe that we might not necessarily be stressing the right elements of the serve motion if we are launching at 30° to 45° or are throwing for distance rather than launching at a steep angle.

If you wanna make a couple of throws for distance, that's fine. Maybe even useful. But I don't think that it should be the primary focus of racket throwing drills.
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Ok then throwing the racket as fast/far as possible at a steep angle like 60-70 degrees.
 
#34
I've practiced throwing tennis balls. Increasing the throwing distance resulted in more serve speed...
As far as throwing racquet for distance, I am not sure where the "release" point is for throwing a racquet. The palm turns to the right side fence on a real serve, as a result of ISR+pronation. It may be that throwing racquet for distance may not be the drill that most closely simulates a serve.
A normal racket throw may not involve pronation but you can add that to simulate a serve better.
 
#36
Ok then throwing the racket as fast/far as possible at a steep angle like 60-70 degrees.
How about throwing for speed & height rather than distance? One thing about throwing for distance (or height) with steeper launch angles is that your launch angles will probably vary from one throw to the next.Is it meaningful to compare a 60° throw to a 75° throw?

If you are throwing strictly for distance, your launch angle would be pretty close to 45° most of the time. Probably what a football QB does when throwing a long bomb (pass). But they employ lower launch angles for shorter passes so that the football spends less time in the air.

You could very well derive some bennies from your speed/distance throws. Maximizing RHS -- for flat serving but not so much for spin serving. But my emphasis would still be to focus on other aspects of the serve than just RHS.
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#37
The release point for a racket throw would be a bit earlier than a contact point would be. One could certainly change the launch angle by simply altering the release point a bit. But that is defeating part of the goal of a good racket throw progression.
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Yes, that is what it felt like when throwing the racquet; I was releasing earlier than an actual serve contact point.

A normal racket throw may not involve pronation but you can add that to simulate a serve better.
I believe the throwing drill has many benefits including improving racquet drop, approaching on edge, avoiding Waiterz Tray, etc. As SysA mentioned, these throwing
drills do not have to replicate actual serve ISR to be useful.

Now, as a progression, let us consider the case of a racquet throw drill that most closely simulates the serve ISR plus pronation.

That throw I am not clear about. It almost feels like the throw should be in a straight line, or even into the ground. :eek:
 
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