Tennis Serve Motion Analysis

Lindsea Vaudt
Laura Ruskamp
Ball over the net and inside the service box
Difficult return or no return
High ball velocity
Ball spin
Fluid rhythm
Energy storage
• Types of Serves:
• Flat: minimum spin, low, straight
• Most common
• Highest velocity
• Kick: heavy spin (top spin), more net clearance, direction change on
• Greatest force and torque
• Highest injury potential
• Slice: side spin, curves toward or away from receiver
• Lowest force and torque
1. S. Groth (Australia): 163.4 mph (2012)
1. V. Williams (USA): 129 mph (2007)
2. I. Karlovic (Croatia): 156 mph (2011)
2. S. Williams (USA): 128 mph (2010)
3. M. Raonic (Canada): 155.3 mph (2012) 3. J. Georges (Germany): 126.1 mph
4. A. Roddick (USA): 155 mph (2004)
4. B. Schultz-McCarthy (Netherlands):
126 mph (2007)
• Phase 1:
• Starting Position
• Preparatory Movements
• Phase 2:
• Coil
• Wind-Up
• Backswing
• Phase 3:
• Un-Coil
• Force Producing Movements
• Acceleration
• Phase 4:
• Follow-Through
• Recovery
*movements occur in all planes of motion
• Begins at “ready position” and ends with ball release from the
non-dominant hand
• Knee flexion/extension, hip flexion/extension, shoulder rotation,
back flexion/extension
• Initiates the storage of potential energy in the upper limb
• Low injury risk
• Muscles used:
• Rotator Cuff muscles, Quadriceps, Hamstrings, Gastrocnemius
• From ball release to point of maximal external rotation of
dominant shoulder
• Body twists away from net, knees and hips flex, back extends
and rotates away from net
• Helps to store even more potential energy in the shoulder
• Leads to a higher swing velocity
• Injury Risk:
• Higher risk
• Shoulder bears 40% of body weight
• Impingement, anterior labral injuries, musculotendinous injuries
• Muscles used:
• Abdominal muscles, rotator cuff muscles, pectoralis major is most active
• Power
• Flexibility
• Range of motion in the shoulder and back
• Racquet drop, “scratching the back”
• Racquet parallel to the right side of the body
• Rotation of the trunk and arm (shoulder over shoulder)
• Shifts the angular momentum forward
• Whip
• hips, torso, shoulder, arm, elbow, forearm, wrist and racquet movements
• Shoulders parallel to the net prior to impact
• Need to use both upper and lower body
• Skills following contact with the ball
• Racquet arm follows across the body to the center line
• Angular momentum into linear momentum
• Body and arm rotation
• Rotation of hips and shoulders
• Hip and trunk rotation to get the right leg whipped around
• End low and prepared for the return
• 2-20 injuries per 1000 hours played
• “Violent maneuver which requires power and acceleration”
• High internal forces and repetitive mechanics are source of
• Limit serve number, proper physical preparation, proper
• Tennis Elbow (lateral epicondylitis):
• Most common injury
• Shoulder injuries also common
• Focus:
• Back and shoulder strength
• Ex: resistance bands, light dumbbell exercises
• External rotator strength
• Stress experienced because of imbalance compared to internal
• Pronation and supination of wrist
• Abdominal muscles and core strength
• Lower limbs
• Flexibility - stretching
• Serve one of most important moments in tennis
• Small changes have large effect on biomechanics of the serve
and injury potential
• Initial phases store potential energy
• High potential for injury
• Proper technique is key
• Caused by high internal forces
• Abrams, G. D., Sheets, A. L., Andriacchi, T. P., & Safran, M. R. (2011). Review of
tennis serve motion analysis and the biomechanics of three serve types with
implications for injury. Sports Biomechanics, 10(4), 378-390.
• Elliot, B. (2006). Biomechanics and tennis. British Journal of Sports Medicine, 40,
392-396. doi: 10.1136/bjsm.2005.023150
• Eygendaal, D., Rahussen, F. T. G., & Diercks, R. L. (2007). Biomechanics of the
elbow joint in tennis players and relation to pathology. British Journal of Sports
Medicine, 41, 820-823. doi: 10.1136/bjsm.2007.038307
• Goktepe, A., Ak, E., Sogut, M., Karabork, H., & Korkusuz, F. (2009). Joint angles
during successful and unsuccessful tennis serves; kinematics of tennis serve. Joint
Diseases and Related Surgery, 20(3), 156-160.
• Pro Tennis Internet Network. (2012, September 12). Serve speed leaders. Retrieved
from, G. D., Sheets, A. L., Andriacchi, T. P., &
Safran, M. R. (2011). Review of tennis serve motion analysis and the
biomechanics of three serve types with implications for injury. Sports
Biomechanics,10(4), 378-390.
• Reid, M., Whiteside, D., & Elliot, B. (2011). Serving to different locations: Set up,
toss, and racket kinematics of the professional tennis serve. Sports
Biomechanics, 10(4), 407-414.

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