Early Racquet Drop
Mon Feb 6, 2023 by RacquetFit
Early Racquet Drop refers to the sequencing of the athlete's lower body compared to the racquet in the serve.
If the racquet head drops down below the athlete's head, towards the opposite side of the athlete's body, before their legs begin to drive up and forward, it is called Early Racquet Drop.
Look at the two athletes below. Watch the relationship between the hips and the racquet. Notice that the athlete on the left drops their racquet BEFORE driving up with their legs.
If the leg drive doesn't lead the racquet, it can reduce speed, power and accuracy in the serve.
What's important to remember is that Early Racquet Drop could be the product of a physical limitation, not just a technical misunderstanding. Common physical parameters related to Early Racquet Drop include:
- Limited Spine Disassociation: This refers to the ability to separate movements of the lower body from the upper body. Failing to do this does not allow the lower body to lead the loading phase of the tennis serve.
- Limited Core Stability: If the core cannot help maintain posture and thorax stability, loss of posture can force the torso and arms to fire first in order to help reposition the body for rotation.
- Limited Lower Body Power: Good lower body power is paramount for proper weight shift and loading. Limited weight shift toward the front leg can reduce the lower body's contribution to power generation during the serve. Therefore, athletes will try to produce excessive power in their upper body by throwing the racquet early.
Early Racquet Drop is one of the 13 most common serving characteristics. The best way to know if the body is holding the athlete back is to take them through a RacquetFit screen. Don't guess when you can assess.
If interested in learning how to screen tennis players for physical limitations that may be affecting their serve efficiency or power, check out our online Certification course and upcoming (optional) Certification webinar.