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I watched a video that said for good wrist pronation think about waiting until the ball is by the end of the racket face. But Allen Fox says that pronation happens automatically, so there's no reason to think about it. The action comes from the loop just after trophy position, a relaxed forearm enhances the amount of pronation, a relaxed shoulder allows the ball joint to twist into the impact zone. Pronation is what occurs, however when playing thinking about an action in the middle of a strokes can cause the mind to slow the swing down or to make the motion choppy. Now in practice to get that feeling of pronation it is good to practice serves emphasising the pronation from the service line with an abbreviated motion and even choking up on the racquet and gently pronate the ball over.
Study what internal shoulder rotation is -a rotation of the upper arm bone, humerus, at the shoulder joint. When the elbow is straight both pronation and ISR produce the same rotation of the wrist - this is the source of the entrenched confusion. The muscles that drive ISR do so mostly because they were stretched earlier in the service motion by the leg thrust, and some trunk motions.
ISR causes the racket to go from edge to the ball to face on to the ball by rotating the entire straight arm.
This ISR motion for the tennis serve was not widely understood by tennis researchers until after about 1995 starting with publications by Elliott et al. I played a lot of sports with the throwing action as part of it (cricket, badminton etc) and once I took up tennis and found out what pronation is, I realise I do naturally. Internal shoulder rotation from stretched muscles occurs over about 25-30 milliseconds before impact. If pronation was natural and everyone did it naturally you wouldn't have so many little kids and beginners serving with an eastern forehand grip. Do beginners serve with eastern forehand pancake because they don't know pronation, or do they serve with eastern forehand because it's the grip they use of their forehand groundies? And if a player uses almost an eForehand, slight twist to conti, is he a beginner or is he named BorisBecker? If they used a continental grip they'd be slicing everything into the side fence until they learned to square up properly at contact with that grip.
If they had, and they spend 5 minutes looking at the way a racket is held in conti grip, they'd see the V between forearm and racket, and notice there is some kinda motion, NOT forehand, that presents a flatter face to the ball at contact. Actually, in 1974, I'd done 3 trips for surfing the NorthShore, so was a Pipe regular by then, most guys, recognizing me from days out on bigger swells. For many beginners that do employ pronation, it happens way too early -- this will often result in the waiter's tray error.
Once you have learned a proper service motion and it has become a habit, you no longer need to think about pronation, ISR or most other actions of the serve. Elliott's separation of joint motions for the serve contributing to racket head speed usually lists pronation as 5% of racket head speed and internal shoulder rotation as 40% of racket head speed. I am not saying that pronation, supination and other joint motions are not occurring especially at other times during the motion but just parroting what Elliott's research has shown regarding the contribution of each joint motion to racket head speed at impact. This week we will begin the first part in a multi-post series that will break down the serve into its most crucial components.
Federer’s pre-serve ritual involves bouncing the ball, leaning forward with his back toe pointed, and then pausing. Finally, during this tossing phase of the serve you will want to bend your knees to prepare for the explosive release of energy that will follow.
Next, use the following key to help orient yourself when looking at the diagrams for each grip.
The Continental Grip:  this grip should be used for serves, volleys, overheads and two-handed backhands (dominant hand).
Eastern Backhand Grip:  this grip is similar to the semiwestern forehand grip in that it allows you to roll the ball for topspin or hit through it for a penetrating drive.
When your partner is returning serve, you will want to position yourself just in front of the service line.
If the your partner hits a floating return, the opposing net player will likely try to end the point with an aggressive volley.
Although I know this may seem like a lot to think about in a split second, it will become second nature the more you do it.
The swinging forehand volley is a great way to hit a volley with nearly the same aggression as an overhead. As the swing gets going and your body starts rotating, your non-dominant hand will lower to the side of your body. As The Strand heads outside to the Har-Tru, it’s the perfect time for us to focus on a critical component of clay court movement: sliding.


In order to effectively slide, you need to plant your outside foot before you reach the ball. Sliding will allow you to push off of your outside foot and transfer your energy into the shot. For most tennis players, there is no greater pleasure than the feeling of hitting an outright winner. As you can see, the bottom line is that the vast majority of points end with an error rather than a winner. Malvai Washington’s father, William, taught his son tennis from childhood and continued coaching for most of Mal’s professional career. William started teaching tennis while employed as the Assistant Dean at the State University of New York (SUNY) in New York City. Many professional athletes would agree, especially a teenager who plays on the junior circuit and competes in the USTA national junior championships against future world-class players like Pete Sampras, Andre Agassi, Jim Courier, and Todd Martin.
That senior year led him to the University of Michigan for two years where Washington was the top ranked college player in the United States at the end of his sophomore season. Maybe that senior season gave Mal the spring board of confidence to make him into the player he became. We may not be able to be Mal Washington, but maybe we can learn the way he did as a senior at Carman – Ainsworth High School. Using the whole two hours seems obvious, but it’s a great point of which to keep aware. Mal said he would groove strokes for the hour over and over again, making quick corrections and moving on, not spending too much time thinking about the stroke. Tossed balls on the same side of the net average about a hit every two seconds, while a fed ball across the net averages about a hit every five seconds.
Spend most of the hour on groundstrokes (say 45 minutes) since 80-90 percent of the balls hit are groundstrokes. Have the tosser move the ball around all over the baseline and try to hit your best stroke as much as you can. This is when Mal was focused on learning how to construct a point and the patterns for playing his best.
When serving, realize where you place the ball in the box dictates where the returns will go. Below are common serves and your opponent’s response- 90% of the balls will come back this way. Realize that it you miss your target by a foot, the return will be different than above; here are the returns.
If you can be aware of these tendencies, you can move earlier and be in the right place to be more offensive with the next shot. Be specific and clear in your two hours a week and you will maximize the learning and hit more balls well than you would ever imagine.
Ideally, your opponent will not be able to return your down-the-line forehand or will give you a short ball that you can more easily put away. When hitting an approach shot, should you completely stop and then hit the ball, or should you simply run through it in order to get to the net quickly?
In order to properly execute the front-foot hop, you have to approach the ball with a neutral stance as opposed to an open stance.
As the swing transitions into the follow-through, you will naturally push off of the front foot and lift into the air.
This week we are going to move from the aggressive forehand return of serve we discussed last week to the neutralizing backhand slice return.
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The spanish teaching system has emphasised for years isolating and teaching ISR and pronation as one of the first progressions.
Conscious competence--I'm learning how to pronate, and I have to remind myself to do it properly. Not to twist your forearm and shoulder as far as it can go so your finish looks like Sampras's. I guess that is fortunate, if I had to learn how to do it intentionally for serving, I am sure I would fail miserably. The racket face moves upward with the strings facing the ball instead of moving upward on edge (and then pronating just prior to contact). Topspin: Topspin gives the ball an arched trajectory as it travels to the opposite side of the court. Shot Height: As discussed above, aiming higher over the net inevitably means you will miss fewer shots in the net.


Hit Away From the Lines: Players often think that they need to hit the ball right next to the line to make it a good shot. Run your opponent side-to-side: When applying this principle keep in mind that you still want to hit away from the lines as discussed above. Vary depth: Generally, hitting deep will prevent your opponent from attacking and will lead to more errors as it is more difficult to return a deep ball as opposed to a ball that lands in the middle of the court. Vary pace: It is fairly easy to imagine how hitting the ball harder can lead to more errors from your opponent.
Court positioning: Standing closer to the baseline when returning serve can often elicit errors from your opponent as it puts her under increased pressure.
William noticed the school’s new tennis courts and decided it would be a good idea to use them to hold a tennis clinic for poor city kids. He has incorporated that belief at The MaliVai Washington Kids Foundation, which promotes academic achievement and positive life skills in Jacksonville youth through the game of tennis.
There, at Carman – Ainsworth High School in Flint Township, Washington was coached by former ATP touring pro, Victor Amaya.
So we asked Mal to think about his senior season and that, if he was just starting to play and had only two hours a week to practice, what would he do. Have someone toss you balls from the same side of the court; you will hit many more balls than if they are fed or you tried to rally with someone. Hoppers are cheap and there are always tennis clubs that don’t know what to do with their extra balls. This doesn’t seem like much of difference, but average that out over an hour and you got 1,800 hits to 720. Thinking about how many steps you need to take or which foot to lead with will just put you in your head and in tennis that is never a good recipe for success. When hitting crosscourt, you are hitting over the lowest part of the net, which is three feet in the middle and six inches higher at the doubles sideline. You can start to set up your best stroke before the return bounces on your side of the court. When hitting crosscourt, the net is lower and the court is longer, which makes this a more high percentage play. Ideally, you should hit down the line on a ball that is inside the court and bounces high enough that you can drive the ball over the net with sufficient topspin. Keep your feet on the ground as you swing and let the force of your uncoiling torso and swing lift you as opposed to your feet. With that said, remember that your opponent will likely attempt to return your down-the-line forehand crosscourt. Because of that the supposedly natural occurrence of pronation can appear more widespread that it actually is. When he couldn’t find anyone to coach the clinic, he taught himself how to play tennis.
In his two-year college career, he compiled a 48-10 singles record and won two of the three major college tennis tournaments. When you’re learning and you try to rally with someone you spend most of the time getting the balls out of the net or from the back fence. Sons or daughters are good for this, especially if they want to eat dinner or have any allowance. It can bail you out of bad situations and end points quickly so you don’t have to worry about opponents exposing your weakness.
Doing this will cause your weight to transfer to your inside leg as you follow through, which in turn will make it easier to recover for the next shot.
As discussed in our post on the modern forehand, your wrist should be laid back such that the butt cap of your racquet is pointing toward your target.
You might even want to recover a bit to the backhand side, so that you can hit an inside-out forehand on the next shot, if needed. Watch very carefully the straight arm and the bone shadows at his elbows - they show the ISR.
When we shake hands with someone we don’t look down to see where our feet are, they just fall into the right place.
Also, make sure that you turn your shoulders sufficiently and that the ball is well out in front of you.
Again, make sure you make contact out in front of your body and extend fully through the shot.



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