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Friday, April 21, 2017

Serving with Power

Power creates problems for opponents...

There remains at least one more step in the development of my serve - power. While my new service motion allows for harder, lower, and deeper serves, I have yet to try to generate the power created by top players. The reality is that I may never get to the next step, but it never hurts to learn about it.

Yet again, Mark Renneson has done the analysis and created a video he calls Pickleball Pro Serving Technique from which the following images were taken. Mark's analysis is that top players generate power with 2 techniques the rest of us fail to use.

Most players use only the dominant side of their body when serving. The "bowling" technique uses the right arm exclusively to generate power. By comparison, top players use their entire body to create power. The next series of images shows Morgan Evans opening his body from the beginning and then finishing with the paddle over his opposite shoulder.

Morgan rotates his body using his hips and core to add power to his serve.

Most players also lock their wrists when hitting their serve. The paddle remains a straight-line extension of their arm. By comparison, top players cock their wrists at nearly 90 degrees before snapping it through the serve. Several examples are shown below.

The whipping action of this serve generates far more power than it appears. For those baseball fans among us, it is comparable to Hank Aaron's wrist snap. Hank was the greatest home run hitter in history despite being small compared to today's players. He was famous for his wrist strength and timing.

Below is Mark's video showing his complete analysis.

It is the timing factor that causes me to pause when thinking about making this step. Adding a lot of body turn with a wrist snap requires perfect timing or the ball will be either long or in the net. I have no doubt I could ultimately succeed because the technique is similar to golf, a sport I played in my past life. The question is whether the time to practice this technique is better spent on other aspects of my game.

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