May 9, 2013
The tennis serve is one of the most scrutinized athletic motions in all of sports. It is extremely complex and involves many parts that must move in synchronization in order to execute a proper serve. The mechanics of the serve need to be solid because there is a very slim margin for error. When done effectively a serve will have good placement and power to start the point where the server is in an offensive position and can control the rally. The beauty of the serve is that even though everyone tries to teach it in a technical way, no two players will serve exactly the same. How a person serves is influenced by several factors such as height, strength, and coordination. Taller players can hit the ball with a more downward trajectory and with a lot more power than shorter players who have to use a flatter trajectory and more spin. Less coordinated players tend to try and use fewer muscle groups so that they have less moving parts to worry about and by doing this they limit their serving abilities. There is a lot of variation so for the purpose of this paper I focused on the flat serve which generates the most velocity and power of all the service motions. Phase Descriptions:
Preliminary Phase: In the starting position of the serve the foot of the non-serving should be parallel with the baseline and the non-serving shoulder should be aimed at the target. The first movement is to bend at the knees and hips to load the weight of the body onto the balls of the feet. While the knees and hips bend, the non-dominant arm tosses the ball straight up and the dominant serving arm is cocked back into position.
Act: The legs explode off the ground in a forward jumping motion up towards the ball. Simultaneously the non-dominant arm and shoulder drop which starts the forward rotation of the cocked shoulder. The serving arm extends up and out to contact the ball.
Follow-Through: After contact...
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