Saturday, August 25, 2012

THE SERVE: TO SNAP OR PRONATE, WHICH IS BEST?


To Snap or Pronate, Which is Best?


There are two theories on how to hit a serve.  There are people who believe that “Snapping” the wrist is the best way and others who believe that “Pronating” is the best method of serving. The difference between the two options is difficult to detect visually.

When you Snap the wrist to execute the serve the racquet-head tends to finish with the tip leading and the right and left edges going through contact almost symmetrically.

When you Pronate to hit the serve the left edge (in the case of a right-hander) tends to lead the racquet through the ball.

For me, both styles do the same thing when executed correctly. Both Snapping and Pronating, when done correctly, promote a wrist that dominates the arm during the serve. Whenever the arm dominates the wrist during the serve the result will be a serve lacking feel for your target and reduced racquet-head speed.

A dominant wrist that Snaps or Pronates will give the serve the timing, accuracy and “pop” all players seek. Here are some ideas to help the wrist dominate the arm.

1.  Sitting on the Chair Drill
Sit in a chair facing the court and throw from the sitting position. In order to mimic the exact chain reaction used when serving, align your arm with your chest and make sure your under-arm is parallel with the ground.

Try to throw the ball as far as you can without a follow-through.  Throw only from the wrist.  Soon, the chain reaction from your forearm, through the wrist and into the hand will improve and this will translate into a more intelligent wrist when serving.

2.  Baseline/ Net Band/ Service box Drill

Stand in the centre of the baseline and try to hit the baseline by using a “late” wrist. A late wrist will create an open racquet-face on contact with the ball, sending it long. 

Hit another ball into the service-box on your side of the net. Again, do this by timing the wrist, this time the wrist will need to be “early” on contact with the ball.

The last target is the white net-band.  By gaining experience of a late and early wrist you should now be able to time the contact correctly to hit the white net-band.

Be sure to make changes of depth through the wrist only.  By isolating the wrist to perform this drill you are educating the wrist to not only be more accurate but also dominate the arm during the motion.

3.  Sideline/ Centre Line/ Sideline Drill

Stand in the centre of the baseline and try to hit the singles sideline on the left side, the centre service-line and lastly the singles service-line on the right side.

As you do this exercise don’t make changes with your body position, but simply change the wrist direction.  By isolating the wrist to perform this drill you are again educating the wrist to not only be more accurate but also dominate the arm during the motion.