Monthly Archives: August 2015

Sam Stosur Slice Serve – 1000fps

This clip was shot at 1000fps. Sam Stosur’s serve actually has quite a bit in common with her forehand. Watch how she coils her upper body and extends her left arm straight up in the air to hold in the coil – just like she does with her forehand. Then the legs push up and the shoulders rotate – just like in the forehand.

And finally, the butt cap of the racket leads the pull upward followed be a very similar torque applied from wrist, hand, and forearm, generating heavy slice on the ball.

In this serve, Stosur is hitting a slice serve, and one of the misconceptions about a slice serve is that you “carve around” the ball – like peeling around an orange. But here you can see Stosur’s hand and racket actually prontate outward so that the strings face the right side line in the follow through after contact.

The slice comes from the angle of the racket face on contact combined with the twisting motion outward.

Sam Stosur Forehand

Sam Stosur is known for having a huge forehand. And many have noted that her straight arm configuration is more commonly found on the ATP tour.

I was sitting right next to Sam as she was practicing, and it really felt (and sounded) like she was ripping the cover off the ball.

In this clip, notice how her wrist stretches backwards as she starts to pull forwards. This is the “stretch shortening cycle” that creates a rubber band effect on the wrist tendons. If you focus on the butt cap of her racket you can see how it dramatically changes direction, first in a neutral position pointing at her body when her arm is back and then, as she pulls forward, the wrist stretches backwards, pointing at the right net post. On contact, her arm is straight. And on her finish she is “checking the time” on her watch – a result of the pronation and torque from the hand and forearm.

Finally notice how she initiates the pull of the racket. First she coils her upper body (left hand pointing straight across her body) and sinks down with her legs. Then she uncoils her torso and lifts upwards from her legs to initiate the stroke – with the arm lagging behind and getting pulled forward. (click here for more on the uncoil/lift motion)

Play the clip below and your can hear how “heavy” this forehand is. The sound the ball makes coming off the strings is tremendous.