What is ISR?
Part 1: The Serve

John Yandell

What is ISR?

First let me say I dislike technical terminology and especially acronyms. I think tennis can be and should be explained in simple language any coach or player can understand.

But this term ISR has now worked its way into the discussion of tennis technique much the way the term pronation did over a period of years. So what is ISR? How does it work? And what value does understanding it have for players and coaches?

The most common use of the term is in understanding the serve motion. But in reality ISR is present to a greater or lesser extent in all the strokes: forehands, both types of backhands, and even volleys. So let's explore all that in this new series, starting with the serve.


ISR stands for internal shoulder rotation. But in tennis the term shoulder rotation can be very confusing because we think of shoulder rotation as the turning of the upper body backward in the preparation and forward in the swing phase of the strokes.

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John Yandell is widely acknowledged as one of the leading videographers and students of the modern game of professional tennis. His high speed filming for Advanced Tennis and Tennisplayer have provided new visual resources that have changed the way the game is studied and understood by both players and coaches. He has done personal video analysis for hundreds of high level competitive players, including Justine Henin-Hardenne, Taylor Dent and John McEnroe, among others.

In addition to his role as Editor of Tennisplayer he is the author of the critically acclaimed book Visual Tennis. The John Yandell Tennis School is located in San Francisco, California.

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