Do you get your kids practising overarm throwing to develop the serve? If you do, then you’ll know that there is a problem!
Read on for Coaching Tips to get players vertically throwing to develop the serve and an activity that parents can do.
Replicating the player’s serve action
A lot of throwing (including for sports like baseball and cricket) is done horizontally. Whilst throwing horizontally is good for coordination and practising an overhead release, it doesn’t replicate the action that players need for their serve.
Once children master the fluid overarm action with good rhythm and technique, it’s important to learn to throw on a more vertical arc to tilt the shoulders and the push out the lead hip. That’s because the serve is an ‘up and out’ action where vertical drive becomes as important and linear or forward momentum.
Next time you work on throwing, throw for height first and distance second.
Activities for Coaches: vertically throwing to develop the serve
Ask your players to throw for height rather than distance. Have the players work in pairs for these activities.
INDOOR coaching sessions
- When your courts have dividing curtains – ask the players to stand with one either side of the curtain, about 1-2 meters back) and throw the ball over the curtain to each other.
- For courts where there are no curtains – ask players to throw the ball to each other along the arc of the roof without hitting it.
OUTDOOR coaching sessions
- Stand players either side of a high fence and get them to throw the ball over the fence to each other.
- Place one player at the baseline with their front foot on a bench or chair to tilt their hips and gives a more vertical arc. This player then throws to the second player whose job is to collect the balls and return them to the basket so that the players can exchange places.
Activities for Parents: vertically throwing to develop the serve
You want your child to throw for height rather than distance!
Throwing to develop the serve: INDOOR practise ideas
- On an indoor tennis court with dividing curtains – ask your child up to stand close to the side of the curtain and throw the ball over it.
- If there are no curtains, have your child throw the ball along the arc of the roof without hitting it.
Throwing to develop the serve: OUTDOOR practise ideas
- Stand your child close to the side of a high fence and get them to throw the ball over the fence (you will need several balls or you will need to throw the ball back for each throw).
- Ask your child to stand at the baseline with their front foot on a bench or chair – and throw from this position. This tilts the hips and gives a more vertical arc.
Developmental stages of the throw
The pictures below show the developmental stages of the throw. I’d love to tell you where I got them from, and I’d like to give the author credit, but I honestly can’t remember. If anyone knows – please let me know.
More articles on developing the serve at 10U
Originally published on: Jan 19, 2017
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