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Player to Player: Adjusting Your Serve

May 16, 2013 02:14 PM
Have a question? Receive advice from your fellow players!
Real Tennis Players - Like You! - Asking For and Offering Advice on the Sport They Love 
Player to Player is USTA.com’s regular feature in which everyday tennis players are given a forum to ask advice on the sport they love – and their fellow players will dish out advice. We’ll post a number of the best responses we receive to our question.
This week's question from David, who asks: Has anyone found a way to enjoy tennis without aggravating a lower-back disc problem? I know I should not serve, but could I do an abbreviated serve motion, or should I just not play tennis at all? What gym machines are safe to use? Only the stationary bike and treadmill? Is jogging OK? Would love to get some advice from others who have had this problem.
Do you have any advice for Jim or a question of your own? Please share your thoughts by e-mailing Player@usta.com, and include your name and hometown for a chance to receive advice from your fellow players!
Last question from Jim: What serve best takes stress off of the elbow? I'm currently nursing a tennis/golfer's elbow chronic injury and looking for relief. Any advice would be appreciated.

From Dave W.: A few times in the past when serving hurt my elbow, it turned out that tossing the ball too low was the culprit. Not giving yourself time for a comfortable,fluid swing introduces all sorts of jerks and hitches in your motion that fight against the natural momentum of the racquet. Each one of those puts undue stress on your arm and can lead to chronic pain. Your racquet and strings can also make a big difference. Assuming you don't want to try a more forgiving racquet, try switching to a softer string like natural gut or multifiliment nylon, and/or try stringing at a lower tension.
From John P.: I have given this advice to several of my students when they come back looking for a quick cure for a chronic pain. It's no shame to put down the racquet and first let the body rest. Then review the stoke from the beginning looking for any hitch in your stroke.
From Kelly G.: Try a flat serve or one with a higher toss. I start to have tendinitis issues when trying to slice the serve too much. Not a lot of players have a good serving technique. I know mine diminishes with fatigue because it's quite tiresome to have a long match and maintain hard service/proper technique throughout.
From Robert W.: A smooth, flat serve without a lot of stress, tension and force. Just let it flow. Also, check the size of your grip. A grip bigger than what you should have will cause problems.
From Leslie C.: I would say wear a brace and do an underarm serve.

*Please note that any advice given out in this forum should in no way be confused with actual medical advice. Before starting any new exercise regimen or altering your existing one, we strongly urge you to consult with your regular physician.


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