In today’s fast paced game, the tennis serve is the primary asset to most professional tennis players. This is the shot that starts the point and should be the first area of focus for recreational players. However, for most club players, the tennis serve is actually among the weaker strokes.
What part of a tennis serve lesson can be beneficial in helping player’s improve their game?
And what can we learn from tennis serve biomechanics?
The Most Powerful Tennis Serve Lesson
The tennis serve is a complex motion that requires a player to link the various moving parts in the kinetic chain properly. If we watch the tennis serve of the pros in slow motion, there is a sync of movements that link together to produce a world class tennis serve. The tennis serve is more than just an arm motion, but instead a whole body movement. Players must possess proper timing on the serve, this timing of the kinetic chain is a crucial part of an elite serve.
What We Can Learn From a Tennis Serve Lesson
In today’s modern tennis game, the serve is the hallmark of all professional players. Professional players are generating incredible speed and spin, this velocity is often unmatched by club and recreational players. The difference being inside the tennis serve biomechanics. When discussing the biomechanics of a tennis serve, most players immediately think this is a science. That is what I thought too, until I realized that a world class tennis serve should actually be a natural stroke, rather than a rigid and forced stroke.
Commonalities of Creating a World Class Tennis Serve
The first of our tennis serve lesson is on the biomechanics. I studied tennis serve biomechanics in great depth, by spending hours researching scientific studies and reports on the tennis serve by pioneer tennis serve researchers. These guys are like the scientists of tennis. These tennis serve biomechanics reports included in-depth detail such as specific angles, joint rotators, body positions, muscle movements involved in a tennis serve motion and so on. But, I am a competitive tennis player, not a scientific researcher.
I realized I wanted to dissect these complicated reports from these tennis serve biomechanics experts to try to gain an edge over my competition. Still, all of the raw data was intriguing and very concerting, but I had a hard time understanding what all of this data on the biomechanics of a tennis serve meant.
This became my ultimate tennis serve lesson, as I tried to implement these unusual and highly scientific pieces of data into my own tennis serve. The result did not show up into several months into my own personal fascination with this complicated data on the tennis serve biomechanics.
Separating a Science from a Tennis Serve Lesson
While the various reports on the biomechanics of a tennis serve were both intriguing and fascinating, I soon found out that it had little practicality when it came to my own tennis serve development. Clearly, the tennis serve lesson was being taught to me indirectly. Since I did not tell anyone about my unique experience with making my tennis game a mad scientist experiment, I was left to experience the results on my own.
The result was the ultimate tennis serve lesson, that learning the serve technique had to be a natural learning process, with the only emphasis being on learning the key body positions of tennis technique. Clearly, trying to mimic certain angles during specific phases of the tennis serve was not only detrimental, it was causing my tennis serve to be too mechanical.
Tennis serve lesson on the commonalities of a world class serve
A few years later, when I reflect on my whole experience as a player trying to dissect these intricate pieces of data, believing there was a magic pill behind the tennis serve did little to help my tennis serve. In fact, the most beneficial tennis serve lesson was likely my personal study of these tennis serve biomechanics.
Through researching slow motion video and collaborating with a few former professional tennis players and USTA High Performance Coaches, I learned that developing the tennis serve was not pure science, but rather it is an art.
While science was not a part of any of their tennis serve lessons, they agreed that the pros possess certain key body positions in their technique that allows them to produce better results. They also explained that there are commonalities in every world class tennis serve on tour, which explains why the pros are able to hit 100 MPH serves on a consistent basis time and time again.
They key is to emulate these “key body positions” of tennis serve technique, while letting the player also develop his or her own unique tennis serve motion. Since, no two players on tour have the same exact tennis serve motion. What they did share in common is certain similar key phases of the tennis serve motion.
Biomechanics of the tennis serve and it’s application
For tennis players at the club level, perhaps the tennis serve is just one part of their game that requires improvement. Any tennis serve lesson designed for this group should be focused on the fundamentals of sound serving technique, rather than on advanced tennis serve biomechanics.
Likely, it is the natural learning process that enables professional players to develop sublime technique that allows them to maximize the power, spin and depth they generate. But certainly, any tennis serve lesson that they did receive was a conscious learning effort.
Tennis Serve Lesson offers more commonalities
Perhaps the reason why key body positions hold the secrets behind serving technique is the similarities between a serve and a baseball pitch. Watch closely as you’ll notice that both the tennis serve and the baseball pitch are similar.
There must be a reason why professional players choose certain body positions which produce powerful results. If technique did not matter, then world class servers who serve over 100 MPH would not share commonalities between elite professional baseball pitchers.
Somewhere, consciously or subconsciously, the serve technique that produces world class results was ingrained or tapped into by these players aspiring to be professionals. Whether they were coached on these key body positions, or they were naturally developed, somehow and somewhere they developed these body positions to produce a powerful and explosive result.
Tennis Serve Lesson on Improvement
This is the same principle for club players seeking to improve the tennis serve. It is generally understood that club players taking up the game of tennis at an older age will be less inclined to learn tennis concepts naturally. Therefore, it is essential to learn these key body positions of the tennis serve.
The notion of tennis being 100% a natural game is demystified. It may be a 100% natural game for players starting when they were young children, but it is certainly not the case of a club player who has been struggling with his or her technique for many years, or for someone who has stayed at the same level for a long period of time.
Many tennis coaches downplay the importance of tennis serve technique. For many players at the club level, the coaches do not include much technique in their tennis serve lesson. The reason being is that most coaches know that learning key body positions in technique is a difficult learning process, and they would rather teach players how to start playing a friendly game of tennis than force the club players into a daunting learning process.
Instead, most coaches completely remove any part of the biomechanics of a tennis serve from their lessons and introduce strategy instead. However, the learning process should be a key part of any tennis serve lesson for players seeking to improve the tennis serve.
What we can learn from a tennis serve lesson
Clearly, the fundamentals of a tennis serve must be ingrained for tennis players, as a solid foundation is the first level of the pyramid to success. A gradual progression towards improving the tennis serve may involve learning the proper biomechanics of a tennis serve is a more simplified form by first learning the fundamentals and then by incorporating the key body positions of a world class tennis serve into your own technique.
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