Summer is here and that means Major League Baseball season is in full swing! The Great American Pastime will be one of the most popular destinations all across the country from now until the World Series in October. One of the most exciting plays in baseball is the dramatic outfield throw to home plate to save a run. These throws reach up 400 feet, and can have jaw dropping accuracy. Tennis players would be wise to take a close look at those throws. I've yet to meet a tennis student who doesn't want a more powerful serve. The baseball outfielder's throw can serve as a valuable practice tool to helps tennis players of all levels develop a more powerful serve motion.
There are 4 major technique points to notice in this motion:
- Throwing palm is facing down at the start of the throw
- Weight is loaded on the back heel
- Throwing elbow rotates forward and faces towards the sky before ball is released
- Upper body rotates completely through the throw
Now onto the tennis court for a slow motion video clip of ATP #2 Novak Djokvic serving:
The exact same 4 technique points mentioned above for the outfielder's throw exist with Novak's serve.
Touring Pros like Djokavic don't spend time throwing baseballs. They spend hours weekly on court hitting thousands of serves, and have been doing so since a very young age. The average recreational tennis player spends far more time practicing their groundstrokes then their serve. If every recreational player wants a more powerful serve, how can this be? That's because there are some real obstacles to serve practice. They include:
- No hopper of balls to hit serves with
- it's expensive to rent a court just to hit serves
- lack of transportation to the courts (for the juniors)
- No understanding of how to practice serves without repeating the same mistakes
Then there's the biggest obstacle of all: serving practice can be boring! For players who truly want their serve to reach it's greatest potential, all of the above obstacles have to be overcome, and consistent serve practice has to happen. However, when faced with any of those obstacles, finding someone to throw a baseball around in the backyard is a great solution. The object of the practice is to throw high and deep like an outfielder, so be sure to stand as far away from your throwing partner as your arm can handle. This exercise is equally useful for juniors who are developing their serving motion and adult players who want to improve their service motion. So get out there and play ball...and then go hit some aces!