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Old 09-07-2009, 08:51 PM   #1
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Default How To Practice Serve Pronation?

Wondering how to work some pronation into my rather basic serve? (only been playing about two months but I used to play a bit in my teens, which was quite a while ago, early 30s now.)

I don't have a coach or the money for one at the moment and I don't know any other decent players to ask so I thought asking here might be worth a go.

I've been following the fuzzy yellow balls method on youtube, and have learned the form but the pronation aspect seems the most difficult thing to master.

If I keep my normal eastern grip and keep the racquet head flat (until the follow through)I can serve ok but don't think I'll be able to get much faster unless I do the 'racquet drop' thing behind my back and strike up at the ball with the racquet on edge (also I need to use a continental grip.)

I can get it all going without the ball, which isn't much good obviously, but I can feel how much faster the racquet head moves when I pronate properly (it feels like that's the way my arm wants to move most smoothly), but when I try and hit the ball it goes off at weird angles (so I revert to the more flat/pancake method in games.)

So I am wondering how to work it in to my service action?, how should I practice it?, stand with an open stance and just get the racquet drop and pronation going first? (that is what I have been trying so far with limited success.)

Or just continue with the full service action until I get more consistent with it?.

Sorry for long post, thanks in advance for any tips/info.
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Old 09-07-2009, 11:34 PM   #2
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Default Re: How To Practice Serve Pronation?

Why don´t you just do first the racquet drop and at the same time you do the pronation and serve?
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Old 09-08-2009, 10:34 AM   #3
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Default Re: How To Practice Serve Pronation?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ilovetheblues_86 View Post
Why don´t you just do first the racquet drop and at the same time you do the pronation and serve?
Thanks for the response. I can do the racquet drop and pronate my arm if I don't do a full service motion ('trophy pose' and knee bend etc.)

However, as soon as I try it all together I end up pancaking/flattening my backswing instead of dropping the racquet behind my back.

Just wondered what was the best drill/routine to get it all together and if there was an easier way etc.
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Old 09-09-2009, 10:16 AM   #4
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Default Re: How To Practice Serve Pronation?

Well back when I had my first private coach at around 12, to practice the serve, we stood at the service line, rather than the baseline and held our rackets a lot closer to the head so that we didn't have to worry about the handle/grip and just could concentrate on the contact point. You have to work backwards, and in this case, backwards means the contact. Always number one thing for the serve is to just relax as much as you can like you are hitting off the tee in golf. So in this handicapped position at the service line, just toss the ball a bit short, because remeber you are holding the racket closer to the head so you will be having less reach, and just watch the ball and focus on "popping" the ball your racket and making direct contact. To help with pronation, you can always start with the racket already up and behind your head so all you need to do is toss the ball and concentrate on the hitting part. You can think of it like making a slam dunk in basketball where the racket is just an extension of your hand and the tennis ball as the hoop. Obviously you don't want to hit it straight down, but you should get the gist of it. Little by little the more you feel comfortable with it, you will want every now and then step back away from the service line working your way back to the baseline and at the same time holding the racket more away from the head. Divide the service line to the baseline into quarters and your racket's handle into quarters as well so that you will have 4 "levels" of service.

The rest such as using your legs, shoulder turn and such, really come by feel and it is difficult to teach through words. Some key things to remember to help you with your serve in the long run-

-left hand should always be pointing straight up after the ball has been tossed; the left hand should start coming down when your right hand is coming up for the ball and not during the backswing.
-always be calm and slow with your toss; you don't see pros getting really panicky or fast with their toss, it is always a fluid and calm motion. The toss is the only part in the serve where you can take your time because it isn't affect by any variables. So with that being said, you will want to definately have an accurate toss and that requires a relaxed player.
-okay a couple of my coaches have never been able to agree with this but you should find your knack; when tossing the ball, you can either watch it go up with your toss or look up ahead of the toss and already be looking at where the contact point should be. The problem with solving this out is since the head is the most "heavy" as in unstable part of your body during many tennis strokes, it is risky to be moving the head much at all. However, sometimes for some players it is really tough to have their head and eyes already at the contact point especially if they don't have a good or too high of a toss and it will cause them to be unbalanced that way.
-you shouldn't worry about the stance of your feet. As long as they are balanced and won't get you "leg tied" you should be fine. Look at somebody like Fernando Gonzalez or Andre Agassi. Their feet don't do that much yet they get some decent speed on that serve. But keep in mind, their feet are relaxed and loose because if they are stiff, no power will come from the legs at all and will probably mess the server up. After you have gotten the mechanics of the serve, that is when you decide things such as stance and such. Like if you want to pull your feet together during the serve, keep them apart the entire time, start with both feet together or partially pull your feet together, etc.
-to use power in your legs or back for your serve, you have to think of it like a spring. Once the ball has left your tossing hand, you want to coil all the things that is included in your mechanics, and then once you start swinging, you want to transfer all that energy to that dominant hand of yours by uncoiling and snapping everything you had. Visualize it in your head that you are sending a bolt of lightning through your body to that arm. Again like I said earlier, this takes time, practice and feel.

Good luck.
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Last edited by HKz : 09-10-2009 at 12:39 AM.
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Old 09-09-2009, 12:12 PM   #5
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Default Re: How To Practice Serve Pronation?

Great stuff, thanks for that HKz, I'll try that basic serve idea working from the service line, slam dunk analogy seems a good one. I'll post my progress at some point soon (if I get anywhere with it.)
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