What can you do to add MPH to serve?

ProgressoR

Hall of Fame
Sometimes you want to hit it harder or faster, or you want to hit it as hard as you normally do but with "less" effort, so it is easier to repeat over many sets, less strain on the body, and of course promotes better technique. My serve is probably as fast as it was a year ago, but the technique is a fair bit better and it just feels a lot easier than before.

Have you tried pushing your left hip more into court, and leaning your upper body away from court a bit?
 

RetroSpin

Hall of Fame
Wrist snap is totally a myth, if by snap you mean wrist flexion. Show me one ATP pro utilizing it.

ChasTennis has some great videos showing Raoinic at contact. There is absolutely no flexion. Power comes from ISR and to a lesser extent, pronation.
 
Wrist snap is totally a myth, if by snap you mean wrist flexion. Show me one ATP pro utilizing it.

ChasTennis has some great videos showing Raoinic at contact. There is absolutely no flexion. Power comes from ISR and to a lesser extent, pronation.
Care to explain?

 

WildVolley

Legend
Care to explain?

This is a debatable topic, but showing a single photograph taken long after contact doesn't tell us much of anything.

If you have slow motion video, that would be much better.

I've seen coaches teaching pros to hit with wrist flexion, but from watching high speed video, I don't consider it a major factor.
 
This is a debatable topic, but showing a single photograph taken long after contact doesn't tell us much of anything.

If you have slow motion video, that would be much better.

I've seen coaches teaching pros to hit with wrist flexion, but from watching high speed video, I don't consider it a major factor.
I know; I'm not a fan of advocating for wrist snap either. I was simply replying to RetroSpin's request to show him one ATP pro using flexion. Anyway, the wrist does lay back in the drop and come forward to a neutral position at contact. Whether it flexes forward a little past neutral seems to be up to the server. Here's Dent's serve in slow-mo. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vKEgvCK38ss
 
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JackB1

G.O.A.T.
This is why I think the serve is taught all wrong - coaches will tell their students to 'snap' but what they really want is for students to tap into the power of ISR - which is something I believe you can do on command (Yes its a natural thing but you can absolutely vary the timing to some extent).
So how would you go about teaching someone how to tap into the ISR?
 

julian

Hall of Fame
flexion

I know; I'm not a fan of advocating for wrist snap either. I was simply replying to RetroSpin's request to show him one ATP pro using flexion. Anyway, the wrist does lay back in the drop and come forward to a neutral position at contact. Whether it flexes forward a little past neutral seems to be up to the server. Here's Dent's serve in slow-mo. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vKEgvCK38ss
I believe it was covered in
http://en.coaching.itftennis.com/media/114010/114010.pdf
page 15
 

JonC

Banned
The serve is a kinetic chain. The wrist flexion is one element of the chain. Keep your arm loose, and you'll maximize your racket speed and power. You want your wrist to move, but forcing a wrist snap won't get you very far.
Works for me. I can serve limp wrists or I can snap - more power if I conciously snap the wrist. I also use my wrist to get topsin - but it's not a snap, more ulnar deviation. Do you not focus on your wrist on the topspin serve at least?
 

JonC

Banned
This is a debatable topic, but showing a single photograph taken long after contact doesn't tell us much of anything.

If you have slow motion video, that would be much better.

I've seen coaches teaching pros to hit with wrist flexion, but from watching high speed video, I don't consider it a major factor.
Wrist flexion happens simultaneously with contact - it almost begins at contact. You can only see the results. Just like a forehand - I know, no wrist flexion on the forehand right?
 

GuyClinch

Legend
So how would you go about teaching someone how to tap into the ISR?
You already follow the go-to guy for that IMHO - the feel tennis guy.. But other pros do have similar 'pronation' drills.

By swinging across rather then straight at the ball and using ISR to add pace and bring the ball in you essentially 'teach' ISR.

I agree with Chas - pronation drills are often a misnomer - there is some pronation going on - but the bulk of the force comes from ISR..

This what I would suggest to teaching pros as a better 'first' serve to learn then how they teach the 'flat' serve which ends up being a waiter serve 9 out of 10 times.
 

LeeD

Bionic Poster
Flexed wrist does NOT mean it's a wrist snap. It's a result of loading the wrist with the ball as you start your forward throw, and after release, the wrist naturally unloads, you doing basically nothing to help snap the wrist.
 

Chas Tennis

G.O.A.T.
Care to explain?

That does not look like much wrist flexion well after the impact. My wrist flexes to about 70° at the end of its range of motion. (In that camera view, with the wrist flexed at 70°, you would see the top of my hand more full-on .)

The ulna deviation looks to be at the end of its range of motion. Try bending your hand to the pinkie side.

What is the wrist flexion rate at impact?

See Table 2 from Biomechanics and Tennis (2006) -
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2577481/

Elliott lists "hand - flexion (palm, ulnar)" as contributing 30% to racket head speed at impact. That may be racket head speed in the forward direction. For details, check the original publication.
 
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JonC

Banned
Flexed wrist does NOT mean it's a wrist snap. It's a result of loading the wrist with the ball as you start your forward throw, and after release, the wrist naturally unloads, you doing basically nothing to help snap the wrist.
You are flexing your wrist - if you don't want to call it a snap that's fine.
 

JonC

Banned
That does not look like much wrist flexion well after the impact. My wrist flexes to about 70° at the end of its range of motion. (In that camera view, you would see the top of my hand more full on with the wrist flexed at 70°.)

The ulna deviation looks to be at the end of its range of motion.

What is the wrist flexion rate at impact?

See Table 2 from Biomechanics and Tennis (2006) -
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2577481/

Elliott lists "hand - flexion (palm, ulnar)" as contributing 30% to racket head speed at impact.
Seems if you don't wrist snap you're loosing 30% of your power on a flat serve. You automatically internally rotate the shoulder when you make a throwing motion - it's the wrist snap that many players have to had in conciously.
 

JonC

Banned
Yes, there's ulnar flexion as well - you're coming at the ball with the edge of the racket so you will ulnar deviate (flex) and as racket turns into ball you will palmar flex.
 

JonC

Banned
Or, we can just ignore whether the wrist plays any role at all - analyzing what the shoulder and wrist are doing is probably the worst way to learn how to serve. How about this - the racket head must snap downward on the ball for a good flat serve? Everybody would agree with that. Now, do whatever you need to do make that happen - it's not a hard thing to do. You reach up high and hit up while at the same time snapping down (or out) with the racket head.
 

toly

Hall of Fame
Yes, there's ulnar flexion as well - you're coming at the ball with the edge of the racket so you will ulnar deviate (flex) and as racket turns into ball you will palmar flex.
What is palmar flex (Google doesn’t know this term)?
 

RetroSpin

Hall of Fame
Care to explain?

It's well after impact. I couldn't tell from the slo-mo what he was doing at impact.

My point is if you tell someone to snap their wrist, 9 out of 10 will use flexion to impact the ball, which is clearly a suboptimal motion.

I think the transistion from radial to ulnar deviation is where the wrist snap feel comes from.
 

WildVolley

Legend
James Jensen says to snap your wrist - says it's "critical" and that pronation happens naturally as part of the throwing motion.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EtuCIAA-RB0

at 30:50
I'm skeptical about the wrist snap. I believe it is more an instance of the demonstrated wrist 'snap' looking primarily like wrist flexion, but not being that obvious on slow motion videos of actual serves. I think it is OK to experiment with the concept.

It is an old staple of tennis instruction. Djokovic demonstrates it on his instructional video. I've seen a coach showing it to Raonic during serve practice. I just don't see the same thing when watching the high speed videos.

I prefer the mental image of cracking a whip using internal rotation. That means that the upper arm is actually slowing prior to ball impact and velocity is being transfered up to the hand and racket. I often see players with faulty acceleration patterns who accelerate too late and then yank the racket into their shins. Salzenstein's emphasis on the Sampras style high elbow can perhaps break this faulty acceleration pattern.
 

LeeD

Bionic Poster
Not wrist snap, but arm pronation to accelerate the racket head speed by TWISTING the arm inwards.
 

JonC

Banned
I'm skeptical about the wrist snap. I believe it is more an instance of the demonstrated wrist 'snap' looking primarily like wrist flexion, but not being that obvious on slow motion videos of actual serves. I think it is OK to experiment with the concept.

It is an old staple of tennis instruction. Djokovic demonstrates it on his instructional video. I've seen a coach showing it to Raonic during serve practice. I just don't see the same thing when watching the high speed videos.

I prefer the mental image of cracking a whip using internal rotation. That means that the upper arm is actually slowing prior to ball impact and velocity is being transfered up to the hand and racket. I often see players with faulty acceleration patterns who accelerate too late and then yank the racket into their shins. Salzenstein's emphasis on the Sampras style high elbow can perhaps break this faulty acceleration pattern.
Sure - there's a lot to other than wrist snap but without the snap you can't end up in the Sampras post-contact position with racket high and arm bent. The OP was trying to get more MPH so I mentioned the wrist snap since he was probably not doing it since most people think you're not supposed to do it.
 

JohnYandell

Hall of Fame
For 15 years this debate has been going on and it's not going to be resolved here. But here are some thoughts to ponder:

For starters what Brian Gordon says about the original myth of the wrist article: "Based on this quantitative data we can conclude that John Yandell pretty much had it right."

The biggest confusion about the wrist is the distinction between extension and flexion. No one is arguing or has argued that the wrist doesn't move in the upward swing. It goes from a laid back position at the drop to a neutral position at contact. That's extension. And yes! This contributes to racket head speed. Is it a conscious contraction? Or is it the result of the the other forces driving the upward swing?

I tend to agree with Rod Cross the Australian physicist who argues that the extension of the elbow and the internal rotation of the shoulder drive the wrist movement and that consciously trying to aid this will actually reduce racket speed. Brian calls this concept of one motion driving another a "dependent" torque.

But anyone who has looked at high speed video with an open mind will agree that the wrist doesn't break or flex or "snap" forward past neutral before, during, or immediately after contact.
The driving force is the rotation of the hitting arm. The "flex" forward comes from gravity well out in the followthrough light years after the ball is gone.

On many serves, like the one Toly posted you can also see ulnar deviation or the flex of the wrist to the right. That is a function of spin and ball direction however. If it was fundamental to the motion you would see it in all serves and in the majority the wrist arm and racket stay perfectly aligned, rotating as a unit.

As for the angle of the racket face at contact, this comes from the forward tilt of the hitting arm. Again the angle of the wrist remains unchanged.

You want your wrist loose when you serve. And your whole arm. You can feel the wrist move if you choose to pay attention to that. If this means "snap" to you then that can be a great cue. But trying to mechanically break the wrist forward will limit the mechanics of the serving motion and reduce racket head speed.
 
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arche3

Banned
So why does toly post a snap shot of a spin serve and try to deduce this is the correct wrist angle? Misinformation based on knowing just enough to Google search images and applying the wrong analysis does not help.
 

JackB1

G.O.A.T.
For 15 years this debate has been going on and it's not going to be resolved here. But here are some thoughts to ponder:

For starters what Brian Gordon says about the original myth of the wrist article: "Based on this quantitative data we can conclude that John Yandell pretty much had it right."

The biggest confusion about the wrist is the distinction between extension and flexion. No one is arguing or has argued that the wrist doesn't move in the upward swing. It goes from a laid back position at the drop to a neutral position at contact. That's extension. And yes! This contributes to racket head speed. Is it a conscious contraction? Or is it the result of the the other forces driving the upward swing?

I tend to agree with Rod Cross the Australian physicist who argues that the extension of the elbow and the internal rotation of the shoulder drive the wrist movement and that consciously trying to aid this will actually reduce racket speed. Brian calls this concept of one motion driving another a "dependent" torque.

But anyone who has looked at high speed video with an open mind will agree that the wrist doesn't break or flex or "snap" forward past neutral before, during, or immediately after contact.
The driving force is the rotation of the hitting arm. The "flex" forward comes from gravity well out in the followthrough light years after the ball is gone.

On many serves, like the one Toly posted you can also see ulnar deviation or the flex of the wrist to the right. That is a function of spin and ball direction however. If it was fundamental to the motion you would see it in all serves and in the majority the wrist arm and racket stay perfectly aligned, rotating as a unit.

As for the angle of the racket face at contact, this comes from the forward tilt of the hitting arm. Again the angle of the wrist remains unchanged.

You want your wrist loose when you serve. And your whole arm. You can feel the wrist move if you choose to pay attention to that. If this means "snap" to you then that can be a great cue. But trying to mechanically break the wrist forward will limit the mechanics of the serving motion and reduce racket head speed.
great post John. It's hard to disagree with anything said here.
 

JohnYandell

Hall of Fame
Jack thank u sir. The upward swing on the serve is the most complex move so itz the subject of the most debate and misunderstanding
 

Fxanimator1

Hall of Fame
Jack thank u sir. The upward swing on the serve is the most complex move so itz the subject of the most debate and misunderstanding
So the whole, "cocking your wrist awkwardly, sideways at contact" especially as you impinge your shoulder, is off the menu.

Thanks for posting John. Hopefully people will read what you wrote, if not, I predict many wrist and shoulder injuries in the future.
 

pkil

Banned
Best advice I have is hit a basket of serves every time you finish a match before you go home. Nobody practices enough serves. You will add mph to your serve and you wont even notice it.
 

RetroSpin

Hall of Fame
For 15 years this debate has been going on and it's not going to be resolved here. But here are some thoughts to ponder:

For starters what Brian Gordon says about the original myth of the wrist article: "Based on this quantitative data we can conclude that John Yandell pretty much had it right."

The biggest confusion about the wrist is the distinction between extension and flexion. No one is arguing or has argued that the wrist doesn't move in the upward swing. It goes from a laid back position at the drop to a neutral position at contact. That's extension. And yes! This contributes to racket head speed. Is it a conscious contraction? Or is it the result of the the other forces driving the upward swing?

I tend to agree with Rod Cross the Australian physicist who argues that the extension of the elbow and the internal rotation of the shoulder drive the wrist movement and that consciously trying to aid this will actually reduce racket speed. Brian calls this concept of one motion driving another a "dependent" torque.

But anyone who has looked at high speed video with an open mind will agree that the wrist doesn't break or flex or "snap" forward past neutral before, during, or immediately after contact.
The driving force is the rotation of the hitting arm. The "flex" forward comes from gravity well out in the followthrough light years after the ball is gone.

On many serves, like the one Toly posted you can also see ulnar deviation or the flex of the wrist to the right. That is a function of spin and ball direction however. If it was fundamental to the motion you would see it in all serves and in the majority the wrist arm and racket stay perfectly aligned, rotating as a unit.

As for the angle of the racket face at contact, this comes from the forward tilt of the hitting arm. Again the angle of the wrist remains unchanged.

You want your wrist loose when you serve. And your whole arm. You can feel the wrist move if you choose to pay attention to that. If this means "snap" to you then that can be a great cue. But trying to mechanically break the wrist forward will limit the mechanics of the serving motion and reduce racket head speed.
Very good summation. The lasy sentence is exactly what I was trying to say but perhaps I wasn't clear enough.
 

JohnYandell

Hall of Fame
Retro,

Thanks. There are still a lot of voices out there advocating that conscious forward wrist break. With the hand and arm rotation you have a glancing blow with the racket going in 3 directions. But mastering it is huge.
 

Nostradamus

Bionic Poster
Take a 5lb dumbbell and pretend to throw a baseball. Focus on core rotation and arm extension. Just don't try to actually throw a fastball or to throw it as fast as you can. It's about targeting the muscles involved the throwing motion.
This is really smart advice. but I am little afraid I might hurt my elbow or shoulder doing this. Is there a safe way to do this ?
 

LeeD

Bionic Poster
Simplistic answer is to get bigger, stronger, quicker, younger, taller.
However, those options aren't for every tennis player, or you'd see ATP pro looking like Hulk on steriods.
Look at Nishikori, Kohlshreiber, Meltzer, Hewitt, Ferrer, Ferrero, and notice there is an upper limit constrait due to physical HEIGHT. That upper limit is somewhere around the 130's.
Only taller guys can serve faster and expect to get some IN.
 
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