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Player to Player: Wrist Control while Serving

December 10, 2012 08:03 AM
Have a question? Receive advice from your fellow tennis 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 of the week.
Player to Player:
This week's question from John:
Please explain the proper technique for hitting a forehand, with the sequence of legs, hips, shoulders, arms, etc. The idea seems to be that young pros are facing the net with their hips and shoulders before they hit the ball, like in the YouTube video of Novak Djokovic hitting a forehand in slow motion. Thanks.
Please share your thoughts by e-mailing Player@usta.com, and include your name and hometown.

Got a question of your own? Send that along, too!
Last week's question from A'Kiva:
(Please note: There is no need to send additional responses to this question.)
I've only been playing tennis since this year. I'm ambidextrous, and although I am able to use both hands easily while playing, I cannot serve with my right hand, as I am a natural lefty. The only thing is that I can't serve from the right side of the court without it being out. Any tips for wrist control?

Player Responses:

Coach Leonard, Walnut Creek, Calif.

I find that focusing on form works much better than power. Learn to steer at slower speeds rather than pedal to the metal. Without actually seeing your serve, I can perceive a few reasons why you are serving long. One reason could be due to dropping the shoulder of your racquet arm while doing the service toss. Another cause may be a result of stray service tosses. Making contact with a toss that is farther back will open the racquet face upon contact.

Try starting your service stance with your racquet arm extended. Now toss the ball and work on serving by flicking your forearm. This will give you a sense of serving with a "square" shoulder rather than a "dropped" one. This also provides a great visual of where the toss should go.

The next step will be tossing and extending the service arm at the same time. Practice the motion a few times to get comfortable. Again, start your serving at a moderate speed. It's all about being relaxed and being consistent. The power will come. If this method seems too complex, I totally understand since this is your first year in tennis. My alternative solution may be the answer.

For the players I coach who have service issues, I often use my "mental target" approach. Sometimes making multiple adjustments can be complicated and confusing. Here is my "mental target" solution.

Rather than changing various parts of your serve, change only one -- your "mental target." If everything feels fine, except that the serve is consistently long, shift your target. If you're long every time, you aim for the service box, then aim for the top of the net. If that doesn't work, go for the bottom of the net. I've had players even go for the service line on their side. Likewise for short servers, I've had them even aim for the top of the back fence. When the target changes, the body can often alter for the task.
I just want to finish by congratulating my Walnut Creek 3.5 senior ladies (captained by Myrl Kan) for finishing second at the USTA Nationals this year. 
Happy Holidays!
*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.
Click here for USTA.com's Player to Player Archive.


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