View Full Version : Serving - Make the ball hit the fence on ONE bounce

09-04-2004, 04:11 PM
I really don't know what I'm doing wrong, but it's starting to really aggravate me. You know how when pros serve, it almost always (at least on first serve) goes into the service box and then directly to the back fence on one bounce. It also goes pretty high up the back fence, like 4-6 feet. I also heard that this is a good indication to see if you are serving well/correctly.

Does anyone know what the problem could be? Usually it takes about 1-2 additional bounces to get to the fence. Please let me know if you have any suggestions. Thanks in advance.

09-04-2004, 04:31 PM
Really how high the ball bounces on the fence has no bearing on how fast you hit it. If you put kick on your serve then it is goin to bounce higher on the fence then a ball that you hit flat.

09-04-2004, 05:24 PM
Most everyone I play can hit the fence on the first bounce. Are you playing on a clay court or hard court? Are you hitting topspin, slice, or flat?

09-04-2004, 05:37 PM
It really depends..

If you're doing a flat serve, than it should bounce once and hit the fence because of the speed of the ball.. If it doesnt do this, than you're basically hitting it too soft or its not landing deep enough..

For a kick serve, you want the same result: bounce once and then hit the fense.. To acheive this with a kick serve, you need to get enough spin with forward momentum. On a good kick serve, the recieve will see the ball coming as an egg or oval. Once it bounces in the service box, you'll see the ball kick up (it almost looks like the ball is fighting gravity as its being pushed back up)

Some fences aren't that far from the baseline and some are real far.. Not all fences are at the same distance because there's no standard.. I can do the one bounce hit in the courts on my apartment, but the courts at the local university are too far.

09-04-2004, 06:49 PM
I just mean on a first serve - flat serve. I'm not really sure what I'm doing wrong. I even pound at the ball and it goes into the service box, but it still takes 2-3 total bounces to hit the fence.

Any ideas on what the problem could be?

James Brown
09-04-2004, 07:21 PM
also, the lower you hit the ball, obviously it might not hit the back fence after a single bounce. i know on some of the outdoor courts near me, theres dead spots and the courts are built on an angle (for rain filtration) so that contributes

09-05-2004, 05:08 AM

I wouldn't worry about it at all. I can serve a bit over 100 mph and on some courts, my serve hits the fence 3-4 feet up. On other courts, it doesn't even hit on the first bounce. It depends on the surface (even hard courts can vary) and the distance of the back fence from the baseline. Height of contact and spin also play a role.

If you really want an objective measurement of how powerful your serve is, get a hold of a radar gun and have someone sit on the court behind the other side of the net and hold it just above the net.

Be careful not to get too caught up with power though. It can ruin your technique and cause injury. Any gains you make in power should come while maintaining a loose and controlled motion. It's too easy to go in the opposite direction when trying to hit hard.

Good luck.

09-05-2004, 06:49 AM
I can hit the fence in only about 1 in 3 attempts, but I'm getting better. Check your form and see if you're getting all the components right for your one bounce serve. Are you bringing the racquet down to your back or are you stopping in the middle of your neck? Are you bending your back enough? Are you standing on the balls of your feet or are you flat footed? Do you have the proper followthrough? Is your swing fast enough? Ask yourself these questions and correct anything you may be doing wrong.

Brent Pederson
09-05-2004, 02:13 PM
Find a smaller court...

Seriously, all courts are different in terms of how far back the fence is. Maybe the fence is a long way back on the court you're using. Pace it out, then find another court and see.

Also, although it's impossible to see what you're doing on your serve without a video, I would be less concerned with trying to hit hard and be more concerned about trying to hit smoothly, with a relaxed motion, and a loose, spaghetti arm. Make sure the power is coming from your legs and body, and your arm is just going along for the ride. The speed will come naturally that way.

If you try to muscle the ball with your arm, you'll actually serve less fast.

09-05-2004, 06:56 PM
You can analyze it in a few different ways....

It just that the court you are plaing on has too much room between fence and baseline. This case, don't worry about it.

It could be that your serve tecnique is a bit off. Your arm and grip should be really relaxed and loose. And you really have to go up for the ball. Often people comparing serve to pitch, but it's wrong. It should be more like throwing upwards (not directly above.)

It could be that you just don't have the swing speed yet. As you get better and practice your serve, your swing speed will increase as well. Whenever I think "well pros can do this and that", I think of how much practice time they have put in. They have been playing at least 2 hrs a day, 4~5 days a week since they were 5, 6 or even 3 years old. On top of that, they are the talented ones.

If you feel something is wrong with your serve. go and take a few lessons.

Golden Retriever
09-05-2004, 10:04 PM
Best way would be to choose a court where the back fence is nearest from the baseline. Honestly, your serve probably needs a major overhaul if it can't reach the back fence on one bounce when you serve down the line. Watch old Sampras tapes if you have them. I did and my serve improved a lot from watching Sampras.

09-06-2004, 12:01 PM
The tennis courts that I goto, I think I should be able to do it. People playing next to me can often do it on their serves, and it just kind of ****es me off that I'm not.

When you mean loose arm, how loose should it be? Basically, when you're serving, your entire arm and wrist are totally loose? I know the wrist should be loose to whip the wracket to the ball, but as far as the arm? Thanks...

09-06-2004, 03:42 PM
Unless you can get your serves IN, DEEP and have relatively good BALL PLACEMENT, I wouldn't worry very much about how many bounces it takes for the ball to reach the fence/net.

I have played quite a bit with a guy in his early twenties who just wants to bang the ball as hard as he can. He has absolutely no idea where the ball is going and I have seen him hit the fence without the ball even touching the surface. He's a good player but seems more hung-up on how fast the serve (and at times other shots) goes - crazy because he just beats himself. Although I have gotten him to slow down at times its just a matter of time before he's blasting away again. At doubles, he's a hazard to his partner (which I have been a few times) to say nothing about losing points.

The other thing that several have already mentioned is that the distance between the baseline varies quite a bit from court to court and the surface is a big factor also.

What percentage of your first/second serves are you getting in and how is your placement? Can you vary your serves with good success?

Power Game
09-06-2004, 04:59 PM
I like to use the back fence as a guide of my serves. 1st serves hit the back fence on 1 bounce, kick serves usually hit the ground just before the fence. Keep working on it, try to hit them down the line as see how you do

09-06-2004, 06:04 PM
How high can you get them up on the back fence?

Power Game
09-09-2004, 03:52 PM
Flat serves about 3-4 feet up, If I hit a huge kick serve in practice I can get it about 4ft up, but most times my 2nds (good ones) hit the bottom of the fence.

09-09-2004, 04:59 PM
An ace doesn't feel like an ace unless it hits that fence. The reason I only get in 1 of 3 serves to the fence during practice is because I usually hit the ball long which definitely hits the fence in 1 bounce. I start drawing back the serve to the edge of the service line and can still reach the fence from there. When I hit right in the middle of the box, I don't quite reach the fence so my advice to you, hit the ball close to the line and work on your power.

09-10-2004, 06:24 AM
A ball that lands high on the fence is a ball that indicates three positive things.

1) A high contact point. The higher your contact point, the greater your net clearance.

2) Speed. A fast serve is almost always a good thing.

3) Spin. When spin is combined with a high contact point it creates greater margin for error, allowing for greater speed.

In my opinion, a serve that lands high on the fence is a healthy serve. It takes speed, spin, and a high contact point for the ball to land way up on the fence, and those are are very desirable traits in a serve.

09-10-2004, 08:59 AM
To get the feel of a loose arm try just getting the serve in. Take away all thought of power and just relax and try to hit the serve as consistently as you can into the center area of the service box. Think about letting your racket do the maximum amount of work, let the weight of the racket propel the ball, your arm is basically just guiding it. Think "soft", but not soft in a way that you're purposely trying to hit the ball slow. Its more like just letting the racket do its thing without you purposely trying to add extra power. Let the racket just fly naturally.

Another way to think of it is to flex your arm muscles as if you're a bodybuilder or your showing someone your biceps muscle. Now imagine serving, and think about whether or not you're flexing like that when you serve. If you are then you're probably getting less power than you should.

Once you get the feel for it you'll probably be surprised at how hard you can hit the serve without really putting much effort. I can swing as hard as I can, really straining my arm and body, and it will hit the back fence but it hardly ever seems like its worth the effort. Then I try it with correct technique, a loose arm, and its just as hard or better and it feels almost effortless.

09-11-2004, 10:03 PM
You are not using your body efficiently in your serve. Serve power comes from your thighs and hips Even in my present physical condition where I can only hold my arm over my head and essentially bunt the ball (using no arm at all - also I can barely bend my left knee) I can still hit it around 100mph and about 4 ft up the fence. Brent and Jun are correct. For a good serve your arm should be loose and relaxed. Try swinging (carefully) with a kids baseball bat - you should be able to comfortably swing the bat in your service motion with no strain on your arm. After you learn that, learn to use the power to produce spin and accuracy. Even a very hard flat serve is much easier to return than a serve with a lot of spin.
(BTW, many years ago I could hit the number at the top of the fence - to do that you need tons of topspin - too bad the rest of my game wasn't so good)

09-13-2004, 11:41 AM
Are those flat balls you are serving with? With new balls I hit about 3 feet up with a flat serve pretty consistently as they often get stuck in the fence and my serve is 100-110mph. If you can't hit the back fence your serve is probably under 90mph. Try new balls instead of hitting practice ones. The surface you play on may be gritty, sandy, and slowing the ball down too much as well.

09-13-2004, 05:32 PM
Actually, Kuznetsova hits regularly at over 100, but she misses the wall often. Sometimes a fast serve that bounces low will not quite reach that fence or wall in the pros' case. Don't worry too much about that fence, it doesn't mean as much as you think.