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The Tennis Business Discussion Forum Archive

[tennisbiz2] Re: Serving Problem

From: Paul Fein <>
Date: Mon 21 Aug 2006 15:10:02 +0000


     The August 18 issue of USA TODAY ran a story title "How much is too much
for adolescent arms?" which was subtitled "Injuries induce review of rules
on pitching limits." I suggest you study it.

     Nowadays Major League Baseball starting pitchers typically have pitch
limits ranging from 80 to 120 pitches per game. Pitchers also typically pitch
once every five days.

     In a 6-4, 7-5 tennis match, a singles player may serve 60 first serves and
40 second serves for 100 total serves.

     Sometimes a sectional player plays two singles matches in one day in
tournaments. He may also play a doubles match that same day. He may
play three or four days in a row. In some matches he may serve 150 or
more times. And this does not even include overheads. Nor does it
include, to a lesser degree, the tremendous general arm usage -- albeit
not overhand motion -- required for hundreds and thousands of forehands
and backhands and the wear and tear that causes.

     In my opinion, a tennis serve is quite similar in terms of arm wear and
tear to a baseball pitch.

     Therefore, it behooves tennis parents and coaches to keep in mind that --
just like the arms of Little League baseball players -- the tender and
still-growing arms of young tennis players should definitely not be

     It is quite possible that a kick serve can cause shoulders problems at
any age, although I am not a physician. It is quite possible that a slice
serve can cause other kinds of wrist, elbow or shoulder problems. The
more straightforward flat or flatter first serve, in theory to me, should cause
fewer potential problems. But, again, I'm not an expert on this. Also,
defective technique, in any stroke, can cause injuries or exacerbate
existing injuries.

     So, a topnotch teaching pro and a topnotch physician, who treats sports
injuries, may be two of the keys to monitoring the health of young tennis
players. Also, the young player should always frankly and immediately let
parents and coaches know whenever they feel pain or even mild discomfort.

     I await the views and analyses of others on this important topic.

Paul Fein

Received on Mon Aug 21 2006 - 22:53:42 CDT

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