Article  SV302                                                                                                                                                                                                                 
             

Down together, Up together.

This has long been a conventional method of teaching the serve, but hold on a minute,                     
the best servers in the modern game do something quite different.

If we want to hit the ball with more power, then we need to look at the service motion of
some of the top players.

Just taking two of the recent great players ‘ Steffi Graf and Pete Sampras, we will find they
use a staggered arm timing. On the right are pictures of Pete and Todd Marten to show the
modern serve.

What do they do specifically.

1/. As the players throwing arm rises, the hitting arm drops back and down.

The old up together, down together technique which appears more synchronised really works
against creating the maximum power for some players, the reason for this is it makes the
hitting arm pause at the top of the backswing, thus negating the build up of momentum to that
point. This is especially so, with players who have a high ball throw.

With the staggered timing there is a slow rhythmic start and then a quick acceleration of the
arm and racquet head to co-ordinate with the ball placement, and improvement in service power.     


 

This has long been a conventional method of teaching the serve, but hold on a minute,                     
the best servers in the modern game do something quite different.

If we want to hit the ball with more power, then we need to look at the service motion of
some of the top players.

Just taking two of the recent great players ‘ Steffi Graf and Pete Sampras, we will find they
use a staggered arm timing. On the right are pictures of Pete and Todd Marten to show the
modern serve.

What do they do specifically.

1/. As the players throwing arm rises, the hitting arm drops back and down.

The old up together, down together technique which appears more synchronised really works
against creating the maximum power for some players, the reason for this is it makes the
hitting arm pause at the top of the backswing, thus negating the build up of momentum to that
point. This is especially so, with players who have a high ball throw.

With the staggered timing there is a slow rhythmic start and then a quick acceleration of the
arm and racquet head to co-ordinate with the ball placement, and improvement in service power.      


2/.  With the idea of one arm up and one arm down this brings a tilting of the shoulders on the
serve, this contributes to power and control. From this position the hitting shoulder accelerates
up to the ball and therefore a contact at the top of the swing and therefore maximum racquet
head speed.

3/. A most important aspect of  this method is to keep the palm of the hitting hand facing down
to the ground at the time the ball is released. This is necessary in order to achieve the correct
swing pattern of a good serve. The racquet is quickly raised above the head, from this position,
and circled down around the back before snapping up to hit the ball.

I see many club players, especially beginners, who open their hands up, so that the palm is facing
the sky and this inhibits the momentum available with the correct technique.

Say to yourself ‘Front arm up, back arm down’ as you release the ball – you could find your serve
is more powerful

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