Athletics and Recreation

Role Of The Wrist In Tennis – Part 4 – The Serve

Hi guys Nick here from intuitive tennis. This is the final video of the role of the wrist series and today I’m
going to talk about what happens to the wrist on the serve. The beginning stage on the serve all the
way up to the trophy position, it’s gonna remain the same regardless if it’s a
flat serve, kick serve, or a slice serve and so let’s talk about what happens to
the wrist in these first two stages. So some players will have different styles
when it comes to the beginning phase and some players will keep the
wrist straight, even some players will close the racquet a little bit even
though I’m not a big fan of having wrist extension in the beginning phase of the
serve. You see beginners especially if they have a forehand grip that will
have wrist extension in the beginning phase of the serve like this. So I like
actually having the strings open and having slight wrist flexion with the
racquet and this will make it easier to have the racquet remain on the hitting
side of the body as we take it into the trophy position like this. Once we reach the trophy position on the
serve with ideally the wrist slightly flexed downwards and now we’re
going to set in place a complex series of wrist movements. One thing we don’t
want to initiate is an extreme wrist extension, because this will create a
waiter serve. So we don’t want this, what we want indeed is a radial deviation
meaning the racket is going to drop. Our wrist is going to move to the left and
there’s also going to be slight wrist extension, because this is the
acceleration point of the serve and we don’t want the wrist to loose in a flexed
state, because we will not be able to accelerate it properly. It’s gonna be too
sloppy in other words. This is not what you want on the racket drop. You do want
to achieve a little bit of control and a little bit of firmness and not too tight
obviously, but there’s some degree of wrist extension, very minimal but yet
it’s there. The acceleration point on the serve is
when we drop the racquet and this is so powerful that it’s actually going to
bring our wrist in a slightly even more extended phase prior to the contact
point. So what happens on very powerful serves is that not only are we dropping
the racket down but you can see the racquet will often whip out this way.
You’re gonna see this in the slow-motion footage and this is even further wrist
extension on this side. I’m having a very difficult time recreating this,
because we as players are not aware that this is taking place. So you can take a
look at slow motion, but generally very powerful serves will have the racket
slightly over to this side, which indicates a slight further wrist
extension prior to the contact point. On our approach upwards towards the ball we’re going to maintain the slight wrist extension until this point and
now what’s going to happen is going to be true pronation, which is the inward
turning of the forearm. In my case, I’m right-handed, so it’s gonna be a leftward
turning of the forearm, which starts at this position when the tip of the
racquet is pointing straight towards the back fence. This is when the
pronation starts and the wrist is still in a slightly extended position. It’s not
completely straight like this. So again the pronation of the forearm is very
important starting from the tip of the racquet pointing towards the back fence
in an on edge position and now the pronation towards the contact point
starts the inward turning of the forearm. What happens next is the contact point
and we have to differentiate between the flat serve, the slice serve, and the kick
serve and let’s start with the flat serve. So on the flat serve we’re
going to have a slight ulner deviation on the contact point and this has to do
with the position of our torso. On the flat serve we’re going to have an
open position of the torso at contact point. So in this case we cannot have
the wrist straight, because that would put our racquet-head pointing towards
the left and we want the tip of the racquet to point towards the sky and you can
see that if my tip is pointing straight up, I have slight ulner deviation at the contact point and what happens next
whether we have continuing pronation or not, we maintain this ulner deviation
all the way into the finish and once we reach maybe the left pocket here, the
wrist can straighten back out. So it’s very important that on that flat serve
we maintain a solid wrist position. What many recreational players will do
here, they will actively snap the wrist down or flex the wrist down and to
achieve power and this is a very dangerous technique and it could
possibly be injury promoting to your wrist. On the slice serve we’re going to be in the
exact same contact point as we are on the flat serve. So basically it’s
going to be the chest positioned towards the net, parallel to the net and
the contact is gonna be with slight ulner deviation like this, and there’s
two different ways to slice. Both of these techniques will have the racquet
go towards the right, maybe the right net post and I have the racket come back
around. One way to slice is without continuing pronation. In this case there
might be a little bit more wrist action on the serve, where the racquet will go
continue going this way and then back around like this. Another technique is a
slice serve with the same swing path with continuing pronation. In this
case there’s going to be less wrist action with the racquet will go to the
right, but we’re going to pronate this way and then come back around like this. The kick serve will have a different
contact point and our upper body is going to be in a more
sideways position, therefore our wrist is going to be more straight and not in the
ulnar deviation that we have on both the flat and the slice serve and it looks
something like this. We’re going to maintain the sideways position and
therefore as we make contact with the tip of the racket pointing slightly
towards the left you can see that the wrist is more in a straight position and
now our swing path is going to be going this way and the tip of the racket is
going to go up and then towards the right and so this will involve a slight
ulner deviation in the wrist. As the racquet goes like this and our arm goes
down and there’s a slight wrist action here and this is true for both the
kick serve with continuing pronation and the kick serve that has a slight flexion of
the wrist. In my opinion the kick serve with the bending of the wrist, the
flexion of the wrist after contact might be a problem for some players, if
this player is not as flexible and therefore might experience some wrist
pain. So I’m a bigger fan of instead of doing this it usually involves a bend
of the arm. You could try to continue to pronate while bending the arm and now
the wrist is in a more natural position this protects the wrist more. So instead
of bending the wrist down and the arm like this after contact, you could try to
maintain a straight wrist while pronating and then going into a bend
with the arm like this. The most protective technique when it comes to
the wrist is the Roger Federer kick serve technique, where he keeps the arm
completely straight and then he continues to pronate and it looks
something like this. He will go to the right and then pronate this way while the
arm is completely straight and I find this technique the most protective when
it comes to the wrist. This concludes the role of the wrist
video series. If you have any questions feel free to comment in the section
below I will be happy to respond. Hit that like button and subscribe if you
haven’t already. I’ll see you next time.

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