Internal Shoulder Rotation:
Key to Serving Power
After playing tennis for over 40 years, I made a sudden and unexpected discovery about the serve. In the 1980s, I had played league tennis at the 3.5 to 4.0 level and for two years had won the championship of a larger league at work.
I played serve and volley tennis and my serve was very effective at my level. I had worked frequently and seriously on improving my serve. But it never progressed to a higher level of pace. I read every tennis book available, but there were no new ideas and I basically gave up the idea of improving my serve further.
Then in 2011, I learned about research that showed the primary source of racket speed in the serve was created by something called "internal shoulder rotation". According to the Australian biomechanical researcher Bruce Elliott, internal shoulder rotation was responsible for 40% of forward racket head speed.
Internal shoulder rotation, the research also showed, was set up by something else called "external shoulder rotation." I had never heard these terms.