Role Of The Wrist In Tennis – Part 4 – The Serve
Role Of The Wrist In Tennis – Part 4 – The Serve


Hi guys Nick here from intuitive tennis. This is the final video of the role of the wrist series and today I’m
going to talk about what happens to the wrist on the serve. The beginning stage on the serve all the
way up to the trophy position, it’s gonna remain the same regardless if it’s a
flat serve, kick serve, or a slice serve and so let’s talk about what happens to
the wrist in these first two stages. So some players will have different styles
when it comes to the beginning phase and some players will keep the
wrist straight, even some players will close the racquet a little bit even
though I’m not a big fan of having wrist extension in the beginning phase of the
serve. You see beginners especially if they have a forehand grip that will
have wrist extension in the beginning phase of the serve like this. So I like
actually having the strings open and having slight wrist flexion with the
racquet and this will make it easier to have the racquet remain on the hitting
side of the body as we take it into the trophy position like this. Once we reach the trophy position on the
serve with ideally the wrist slightly flexed downwards and now we’re
going to set in place a complex series of wrist movements. One thing we don’t
want to initiate is an extreme wrist extension, because this will create a
waiter serve. So we don’t want this, what we want indeed is a radial deviation
meaning the racket is going to drop. Our wrist is going to move to the left and
there’s also going to be slight wrist extension, because this is the
acceleration point of the serve and we don’t want the wrist to loose in a flexed
state, because we will not be able to accelerate it properly. It’s gonna be too
sloppy in other words. This is not what you want on the racket drop. You do want
to achieve a little bit of control and a little bit of firmness and not too tight
obviously, but there’s some degree of wrist extension, very minimal but yet
it’s there. The acceleration point on the serve is
when we drop the racquet and this is so powerful that it’s actually going to
bring our wrist in a slightly even more extended phase prior to the contact
point. So what happens on very powerful serves is that not only are we dropping
the racket down but you can see the racquet will often whip out this way.
You’re gonna see this in the slow-motion footage and this is even further wrist
extension on this side. I’m having a very difficult time recreating this,
because we as players are not aware that this is taking place. So you can take a
look at slow motion, but generally very powerful serves will have the racket
slightly over to this side, which indicates a slight further wrist
extension prior to the contact point. On our approach upwards towards the ball we’re going to maintain the slight wrist extension until this point and
now what’s going to happen is going to be true pronation, which is the inward
turning of the forearm. In my case, I’m right-handed, so it’s gonna be a leftward
turning of the forearm, which starts at this position when the tip of the
racquet is pointing straight towards the back fence. This is when the
pronation starts and the wrist is still in a slightly extended position. It’s not
completely straight like this. So again the pronation of the forearm is very
important starting from the tip of the racquet pointing towards the back fence
in an on edge position and now the pronation towards the contact point
starts the inward turning of the forearm. What happens next is the contact point
and we have to differentiate between the flat serve, the slice serve, and the kick
serve and let’s start with the flat serve. So on the flat serve we’re
going to have a slight ulner deviation on the contact point and this has to do
with the position of our torso. On the flat serve we’re going to have an
open position of the torso at contact point. So in this case we cannot have
the wrist straight, because that would put our racquet-head pointing towards
the left and we want the tip of the racquet to point towards the sky and you can
see that if my tip is pointing straight up, I have slight ulner deviation at the contact point and what happens next
whether we have continuing pronation or not, we maintain this ulner deviation
all the way into the finish and once we reach maybe the left pocket here, the
wrist can straighten back out. So it’s very important that on that flat serve
we maintain a solid wrist position. What many recreational players will do
here, they will actively snap the wrist down or flex the wrist down and to
achieve power and this is a very dangerous technique and it could
possibly be injury promoting to your wrist. On the slice serve we’re going to be in the
exact same contact point as we are on the flat serve. So basically it’s
going to be the chest positioned towards the net, parallel to the net and
the contact is gonna be with slight ulner deviation like this, and there’s
two different ways to slice. Both of these techniques will have the racquet
go towards the right, maybe the right net post and I have the racket come back
around. One way to slice is without continuing pronation. In this case there
might be a little bit more wrist action on the serve, where the racquet will go
continue going this way and then back around like this. Another technique is a
slice serve with the same swing path with continuing pronation. In this
case there’s going to be less wrist action with the racquet will go to the
right, but we’re going to pronate this way and then come back around like this. The kick serve will have a different
contact point and our upper body is going to be in a more
sideways position, therefore our wrist is going to be more straight and not in the
ulnar deviation that we have on both the flat and the slice serve and it looks
something like this. We’re going to maintain the sideways position and
therefore as we make contact with the tip of the racket pointing slightly
towards the left you can see that the wrist is more in a straight position and
now our swing path is going to be going this way and the tip of the racket is
going to go up and then towards the right and so this will involve a slight
ulner deviation in the wrist. As the racquet goes like this and our arm goes
down and there’s a slight wrist action here and this is true for both the
kick serve with continuing pronation and the kick serve that has a slight flexion of
the wrist. In my opinion the kick serve with the bending of the wrist, the
flexion of the wrist after contact might be a problem for some players, if
this player is not as flexible and therefore might experience some wrist
pain. So I’m a bigger fan of instead of doing this it usually involves a bend
of the arm. You could try to continue to pronate while bending the arm and now
the wrist is in a more natural position this protects the wrist more. So instead
of bending the wrist down and the arm like this after contact, you could try to
maintain a straight wrist while pronating and then going into a bend
with the arm like this. The most protective technique when it comes to
the wrist is the Roger Federer kick serve technique, where he keeps the arm
completely straight and then he continues to pronate and it looks
something like this. He will go to the right and then pronate this way while the
arm is completely straight and I find this technique the most protective when
it comes to the wrist. This concludes the role of the wrist
video series. If you have any questions feel free to comment in the section
below I will be happy to respond. Hit that like button and subscribe if you
haven’t already. I’ll see you next time.

18 thoughts on “Role Of The Wrist In Tennis – Part 4 – The Serve”

  1. David Yasui says:

    This was very informative, thank you. Two things: when you discuss the slice serve, was the demonstration sequence (continuing pronation/non-continuing pronation) opposite to the narrative? Do both types of slice serve produce the same degree of spin and movement on the ball? I find the non-continuing pronation more effective in both instances. Secondly, when you hit the kick serve, does the racquet face on the forward swing come up on edge exactly the same as in the flat serve or is the face a little bit flatter because the wrist is straighter?

  2. Michael Troyano says:

    Best serve tutorial I have ever seen. Thank you for answering my questions and avoiding bad wrist techniques.

  3. quinby123 says:

    Great tips Nick. Love your tennis courts; must be in FL somewhere?

  4. LaBambaC says:

    excellent! subtle but key wrist movements. really helps visualizing the serve sequence and motion.
    any tennis player working to improve their serve should watch this video.. many times :). hopefully, my serve can be more consistent and solid with the concepts here.
    thank you!

  5. Joel Hamm R.Ac. says:

    Spot on.

    I’d love to hear your thoughts on knee bending at some point. Perhaps using Fognini as an example. I have always loved watching him move and strike, especially on the backhand. He certainly looks unconventional the way he stands tall on almost all of his strokes. When he beat Nadal last week the stats show he averaged only one revolution less than Nadal on the forehand and exceeded him in topspin revolutions on the backhand with very little knee bend.

    I love busting myths! 😉

  6. Alen X says:

    Good video, tho its worth noting that pronation on the serve is not only forearm rotation but also alot of shoulder rotation aswell.

  7. Robin Woodward says:

    Hello this is the best point of the serve that like you mentioned the players don't see. I think when the knees bend it sends the drop of racket, at that I just love the way you show the wrist is poisioned. If the elbow is back and tilled if you don't move the shoulder up and over the arm is going to be stressed. Thank you for the chance to get this down.

  8. The Beeeast says:

    what is the unlar deviation??

  9. Intuitive Tennis says:

    Learn The Croatian Serve 🇭🇷 (FREE COURSE)
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  10. Naga Sai says:

    As always fantastic ! These videos give more knowledge than many other paid courses which are total crap.
    Coming to my question, Can you please help me why I tend to have more power and less control when I continue to pronate on my kick serve ? Id I don't pronate, I have control but very less power. I would like to know if there is a way or a tip that helps to have control and spin even if I continue to pronate on my second serve.

  11. ron greco says:

    Hi Nikola, my serve is improving. Thanks to your tips. I am getting weight on back foot, having racquet face open, and using the lag. Will keep working on it. Is there anyone of your guys in Florida? Thanks again.

  12. DeceitfulDestiny says:

    Absolutely great series, enjoyed every part of it! Love the detail and when you acknowledge that things aren't always a conscious part of the motion.

  13. Gustavo Sousa says:

    Great video, Nick! I was realy struggling with my serve and I've realized that I twisted my wrist at the racquet drop, flexing it and losing control over the serve. Your video came to clarify everything. Thank you very much!

  14. Air Guitar says:

    Do you have any drills for stopping my wrist from flexing on the racquet drop/and going up to the ball? I use a continental grip so the “waiters tray” aspect of the serve is coming purely from wrist flexion. All of this is stopping me from pronating properly and allowing me from getting greater racquet head speed.

  15. Munzir Purba says:

    Hi..great tutorial. If I powered up my kick serve I usually shanked it. Whats the thing I did wrong?

  16. Hal P says:

    Hi thanks a lot for this excellent video. I have a question about the raquet drop: When you say ulnar deviation with "slight extension", does this happen because you are relaxing your wrist from flexed position? In other words, up to the trophy pose you "intentionally" had your wrist flexed and when the racquet starts to drop you relax your wrist and therefore the wrist goes to more natural position of slight extension? (full extension which you call waiters tray would happen if you intentionally extend the wrist no?) Also, what is the rationale behind flexing the wrist up to the trophy pose if eventually you are going to relax your wrist?

  17. อารีย์ วิเชียรฉาย says:

    Good teaching and easy to understanding.

  18. อารีย์ วิเชียรฉาย says:

    Please analyze Fognini style on forehand.

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