Unscrew the Light Bulb (on the serve)

I learned this method from Don Kerr, former Tulane tennis coach, but interestingly a badminton coach who brought his material to the tennis world.
He and I developed the Whistler, a biomechanical teaching aide, which led me to a Masters program at the University of West Florida where I studied motor learning as applied to teaching the tennis serve.
Don described the last two elements of the serve as
  • Throwing a dart in the ceiling – in order to swing up rather than forward
  • Unscrew the light bulb – meaning all the forearm rotation occurs at the top of the swing
Far too often players think and swing “forward” in their service motions.  But in another method the action is not forward but up – and the unscrewing or forearm rotation is what drives the ball forward.
The sequence below shows the hitting action for a badminton clear – which is the precise “up and out” snapping action.
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