Announcement

Collapse
No announcement yet.

A New Teaching System: The Serve: Technical Elements

Collapse
X
 
  • Filter
  • Time
  • Show
Clear All
new posts

  • A New Teaching System: The Serve: Technical Elements

    Would love to get your thoughts on my latest article "A New Teaching System: The Serve: Technical Elements"

  • #2
    Translating the analylsis into teaching points

    Love the analysis. It's top drawer, as usual for Yandell. I wonder, though, how much of the analysis John would recommend teachers and coaches convey to students. For instance, with respect to the pro racquet drop, this doesn't even seem like a feature of the serve that should be consciously practiced. It results from the inertia of the racquet and the arm, the latter which externally rotates at the shoulder much as the arm externally rotates in pitchers as they move up the kinetic chain from a stride through pelvic rotation through upper torso rotation. Just as a pitcher's arm naturally externally rotates back relative to the shoulder at it moves forward, the server's arm bends and externally rotates -- naturally. Personally, I don't think this should ever be taught or consciously incorporated into a serve. Rather, I think it should be a consequence of learning to relax the arm and thus to allow it to flex and externally rotate as the pivot progresses. The drop is simply a natural consequence.

    I think would be informative to track the racquet head in Federer's serve. Yandell could do this well with his high speed analysis. If from that analysis it did not appear to move backwards relative to the ground, but only relative to the moving shoulder, we might infer that what is happening with the racquet is not so much an active drop as a passive "letting it drop."

    Comment


    • #3
      Good video John, though for us long-time members it is basically just a summary of your already very indepth series on the Federer serve.

      Was hoping there might be some insights into how to teach the serve, but it appears that will be coming next month. Looking forward to it.

      Comment


      • #4
        Originally posted by cms56 View Post
        ...For instance, with respect to the pro racquet drop, this doesn't even seem like a feature of the serve that should be consciously practiced. It results from the inertia of the racquet and the arm, the latter which externally rotates at the shoulder much as the arm externally rotates in pitchers as they move up the kinetic chain from a stride through pelvic rotation through upper torso rotation. Just as a pitcher's arm naturally externally rotates back relative to the shoulder at it moves forward, the server's arm bends and externally rotates -- naturally. Personally, I don't think this should ever be taught or consciously incorporated into a serve. Rather, I think it should be a consequence of learning to relax the arm and thus to allow it to flex and externally rotate as the pivot progresses. The drop is simply a natural consequence.

        I think would be informative to track the racquet head in Federer's serve. Yandell could do this well with his high speed analysis. If from that analysis it did not appear to move backwards relative to the ground, but only relative to the moving shoulder, we might infer that what is happening with the racquet is not so much an active drop as a passive "letting it drop."
        What seems like a relatively minor relaxed comment by cms56 here is actually a very deep comment about how the "pro power drop" position is achieved.

        don

        Comment


        • #5
          The higher the shoulder, the more this unselfconscious body countering and passive external rotation will take the racket head to the right, no? And right hip higher than left will get right shoulder higher, no?

          Comment


          • #6
            Thanks, Don.

            Originally posted by tennis_chiro View Post
            What seems like a relatively minor relaxed comment by cms56 here is actually a very deep comment about how the "pro power drop" position is achieved.

            don
            Not sure I'm doing this the right way, so if the thread goes awry, sorry.

            To me it's interesting how much of these hitting/throwing actions of accomplished athletes are analyzed and then used by teachers and coaches as if they could be (and should be) consciously emulated. Much of what takes place mechanically in such motions is effect, not cause, and what should be taught instead is a sequence of actions, wherein optimal mechanical efficiency is achieved by learning to transfer the angular momentum of the pivot to the hand and implement (if there is one). That's done by learning both the sequence itself and a system of differential relaxation, wherein muscles are recruited and used only when needed, not before and not after. In a move like the serve, in nearly all ways identical to baseball throwing, the arm is simply put into a position and effectively "whipped" into the forward throw/service motion with the pivot and torso turn. Yes, it has to be admitted that deep tissue electromyographic studies show active arm involvement, to a degree. But it ain't much until the end. Before that, the arm is really just going through positioning and stretching motions, both to put the arm in the proper alignment for directing the force, but also for orienting the stretch so as to take advantage of the stretch reflex, which dramatically increases the force of the contraction.

            Getting back to the racquet drop, I don't think there is really anything active in that motion. It's all just happening because the arm is essentially relaxed preparatory to being "flinged" into the forward motion by the leg/hip/torso turn and drive. The racquet, of course, does nothing and just wants to remain in place (it's inert), which it is more or less allowed to do as the shoulder allows the arm to externally rotate and the wrist allows it to "drop" back. The arm does come very actively into play as a last contributor to the chain, adding some acceleration through arm extension with the triceps and some adduction of the humerus through the anterior deltoid and pectorals. But when it comes to the drop, drop it. It just happens.

            Comment


            • #7
              The Myth of the Pitch

              Originally posted by johnyandell View Post
              Would love to get your thoughts on my latest article "A New Teaching System: The Serve: Technical Elements"
              Just went back over some older articles, in particular Yandell's The Myth of the Pitch, in the Myths and Realities in Pro Tennis in the Advanced Tennis section. Yandell's analysis is very interesting here, and I think dead wrong. Not because it fails to appreciate the differences between the pitching and serving, but because it fails to appreciate the samenesses. It's an oversimplification, to be sure, that serving is "just like" pitching, but generally speaking, the biomechanics of the motion are extremely closely related, not at all far apart, as the article would suggest. All one has to do to appreciate this is to analogize serving to pitching at a catcher in the air at the same angle as the tennis ball achieves at the point of contact in a serve. In other words, wind up and pitch up into the air. If your motions aren't nearly identical, then I don't know what you're doing.

              Which brings me once again back to the serve and the pro drop. Just as no one teaches intentional and active external rotation of the arm (I've not heard a single pitching coach ever teach it, and I've listened to a lot of them), I can't conceive that it would be the least helpful to teach a racquet drop. With that, I should leave off. But thanks for the air time.

              Comment


              • #8
                Exactly the right way!

                CMS56, you are doing this exactly the right way!

                The discussion is advanced and tossed about and points of view are put forward and supported or disputed.

                And we all learn.

                don

                Comment


                • #9
                  Guys,

                  These are interesting issues. I think whether to teach the drop or not is not the point. The point is whether the drop exists. I would agree that the more naturally and automatically this happens the better. To make that happen should be the goal of teaching. However what my experience shows in filming hundreds of players at all levels is how rare a great drop naturally is.

                  I had the chance to work with Paul Goldstein whose drop if you look at the article in your strokes was far off the pro model. By opening up the backswing he was able to increase this significantly. He was also able to immediately produce a big jump in ball velocity.

                  If it shouldn't be taught because it just happens what they should coaches do with people who don't have it? You only have to look at film at the majority of players who have tried abbreviated motions to see that the issue is one coaches have to be ready to address.

                  To say that the Myth of Pitch is dead wrong I think is a little strong. Okay way strong. Because again many people laboring under the conception that they are identical motions and they tend to have major technical problems that are equal to the lack of drop.

                  It is definitely true that the internal external rotation component is similar but other factors are very different. That is something that could have prefaced the myth article. But overall a good model for a serve is a good serve.

                  Anyway great discussion and those are my simply views.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    I have changed my thinking a little bit about the full circular backswing after reading Salzenstein's take. He believes in a somewhat of an abbreviated motion, like Sampras. After trying it myself, I believe it helps me get the elbow high enough, and does the same with my students. As a low elbow inhibits a proper racket drop, I believe the shorter backswing actually helps my racket drop.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Bman,

                      Glad that is working for you! If you or a student gets to the drop that is the goal. I happen to know from personal experience how flexible Jeff's shoulder is. My own experience is that abbreviation is often the kiss of death here. But again it's more about the position. The other abbreviation issue of course is rhythm and timing as you have to typically move through the motion faster. Yet another article is going to address all the technical variations...

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Abbreviate

                        John,

                        I have abbreviated serves of students in the past because their full swing has been fraught with problems. I don't like doing it but sometimes abbreviating a swing feels like the only solution. It amputates a lot of junk that encumbers poor servers ....just makes it simpler.

                        I take it this not a solution you have ever reached for?

                        Sometimes amputation seems like the only option.

                        I loved the video by the way. The comprehensive walk thru on Federer's serve was terrific. I was amazed to note the wrist was doing so little. I appreciate there is no wrist snap as was once perceived in serving, but for the wrist to be so neutral/adding so little to the event was a surprise.
                        Last edited by stotty; 03-08-2013, 02:00 PM.
                        Stotty

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          In theory, it just seems to me that when you straighten the arm out, you eventually bend it back to the position that you would eventually get to if you just abbreviated in the first place. What's the difference? Licensed Coach is right that sometimes the straight arm just complicates things. Then again, for some people, the straight arm seems more natural than the bent arm.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Stotty,

                            Thanks.

                            S and Bman,

                            I think the proof is always in the video. If the drop is really full and all the other technical elements are there, well who can argue with that?

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Pushing the Envelope

                              Okay, just to be something of a provocateur and to press my earlier point, thanks to Yandell for challenging my view. The Myth of the Pitch. I think the best way to experience the similarity is to do one of two things or both: (1) go through a simulated wind up and throwing motion as if home plate were in the air at the same angle up as the tennis ball is to a server, and note the similarities and differences; (2) go through a simulated pitch with a tennis racquet in hand as if the objective was to bash the ball on a beeline to a catcher behind home plate, and note the similarities and differences between the pitching and serving motions. My own observations is that the only differences, and there are few, derive from the fact that the circumstances (not the mechanical requirements, but the circumstances) of the serve require an extension of the arm upwardly, rather than only forwardly. It's in the angles, so to speak. But feel the motion. Better yet, do electromyographic studies and look at the sequence of muscle movements and the timing of the firing patterns. I'll place my bet on "vastly similar," not "much different." I'm sticking by my guns. Sorry, John.

                              Having said that, kudos still to Yandell et al. They're at an entirely different level of instruction from anything prior. It's a paradigm of where sports instruction should go across the board, but from what I can tell, they are as yet peerless. For instance, in golf instruction, only really esoteric and utterly inaccessible materials teach proper biomechanics. In sports like baseball and football, the level of discussion and the quality of analysis is still shockingly crude.

                              --cms56

                              Comment

                              Who's Online

                              Collapse

                              There are currently 180 users online. 13 members and 167 guests.

                              Most users ever online was 1,830 at 04:47 PM on 12-17-2019.

                              Working...
                              X