Anatomical Analysis of Tennis Serve

Anatomical Analysis of Tennis Serve
Anatomical Analysis of Tennis Serve

Anatomical Analysis of Tennis Serve

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Paper instruction : Tennis serve
Descrition of the Motor skill : Beginning Phase, Middle Phase, Final Phase( Anatomical analysis:Muscle participation and form of contractions. )
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Anatomical Analysis of Tennis Serve

The Beginning Phase

The stage involves player’s preparation for the serve. Different muscle activities take place in four phases. At the initial phase, there is minimal involvement of the shoulder and scapular muscles (Kovacs & Ellenbecker, 2011, Pg. 506). The player proceeds to the release phase where there is little activation of the left erector spinae but increasing participation of the right erector spinae muscles. Trunk stabilization is crucial at the stage and lower trunk muscles are activated to stabilize the lumbar spine. Muscles activated include rectus abdominis and internal and external oblique muscles. In the third phase, the player generates potential energy by properly positioning the feet. The foot-up and foot-back techniques are the commonest techniques, and they involve knee joint extensor muscles to a significant extent. In the foot-up technique, the posterior compartment of lower limb muscles offers upward and forward drive for the player. On the other hand, the anterior compartment offers stability for rotational momentum (Kovacs & Ellenbecker, 2011, Pg. 506). The same events occur in the foot-back technique, but there is more contraction of the knee joint extensors than in the foot-up technique. The third phase also involves a lateral rear tilt of the pelvis and the shoulder. The activity generates angular momentum for lateral flexion of the trunk. For right-handed servers, the ipsilateral erector spinae muscle activation is higher than that of contralateral erector spinae (Kovacs & Ellenbecker, 2011, Pg. 506). The left lateral erector spinae plays significantly in lateral flexion of the trunk during the third phase. Iliocostalis and longisimus dorsi are also active during the phase. They contract unilaterally to flex the lumbar vertebral laterally. The fourth phase begins with the activation of serratus anterior (Kibler, Chandler, Shapilo, & Conuel, 2010, Pg. 747). The upper trapezius muscle is then activated resulting in acromion elevation and stabilization of the scapular. The activation of the lower trapezius later enhances scapular stabilization and elevation of the acromion (Kibler et al., 2010, Pg. 747). The deltoid and supraspinatus are also activated to depress the head of the humerus and control external rotation.

The Middle Phase

The phase involves acceleration, and muscle activity exceeds the one in the beginning phase (Kibler et al., 2010, Pg. 747). For the internal humeral rotation, activated muscles include the serratus anterior, latissimus dorsi, subscapularis, and pectoralis major (Kovacs & Ellenbecker, 2011, Pg. 507). The first phase of the middle phase ends with the activation of the gastrocnemius, vastus medialis, and vastus lateralis. Both the trunk and legs coordinate to generate the greatest kinetic energy for the middle phase. The last stage of the middle phase involves minimal extension of the knee, wrist, and elbow joints. Rectus abdominis participates actively during this phase (Chow, Park, & Tillman, 2009). The phase also involves increased activation of rectus abdominis and external oblique muscles that are mostly involved in trunk flexion. Internal oblique is mostly activated during twisting of the trunk.

The Final Phase

The stage involves deceleration and follow-through. The infraspinatus is activated, and it contributes as an assistive muscle for humeral deceleration and distraction of the shoulder joint (Kibler et al., 2010, Pg. 747). The posterior rotator cuff is also activated together with biceps brachii, serratus anterior, latissimus dorsi and deltoid. The right erector spinae is also more active than the left erector spinae during deceleration. Deactivation of the anterior deltoid precedes that of other muscles. During the final phase, internal rotation and horizontal adduction are not needed. The serratus anterior and upper trapezius muscles are the next on the trend and their deactivation occurs as the acromial elevation decreases (Kibler et al., 2010, Pg. 747). The deactivation of infraspinatus occurs as humeral rotation decreases. Complete restoration of posture results following the activity of the lower trapezius for the scapular, supraspinatus and teres minor for the humeral head, and posterior deltoid for the upper arm (Kibler et al., 2010, Pg. 747).


Chow, J. W., Park, S.-A., & Tillman, M. D. (2009). Lower trunk kinematics and muscle activity during different types of tennis serves. Sports Medicine, Arthroscopy, Rehabilitation, Therapy, and Technology : SMARTT, 1, 24.

Kibler, W. B., Chandler, T. J., Shapilo, R., & Conuel, M. (2010). Muscle activation in coupled scapulohumeral motions in the high performance tennis serve. British Journal of Sports Medicine, 41(7), 745-749.

Kovacs, M., & Ellenbecker, T. (2011). An 8-Stage Model for Evaluating the Tennis Serve: Implications for Performance Enhancement and Injury Prevention. Sports Health, 3(6), 504–513.

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