Ingrid Neel Serve
Analyzed by John Yandell
In the January issue of Tennisplayer, two of the world's top tennis scientists speculate on the importance of internal shoulder rotation in explaining the differences in serving speed between men and women. (Click Here.) It's a fascinating issue because many of the best women servers have far less of this hand and arm rotation than the men—one of the major technical divides between the two tours.
We saw this in the analysis I did of Maria Sharapova's serve (Click Here.) Compared to most male players, Maria has only half as much rotation from the racket drop to the followthrough. On many serves her racket face is pointing directly at the court instead of continuing to rotate counter clockwise and finishing on edge like the men. (For more on the shape of the upward swing and the hand and arm or internal shoulder rotation, Click Here.)
Bruce Elliott's research shows that the speed of this rotation of the arm in the upper shoulder by the women—again what I call hand and arm rotation--is not only shorter but it's about 20% slower than the men. This is about the same percentage difference as the difference in ball speed. But is this caused by physical differences in men and women or is it simply a technical factor?