View Full Version : High bounce on flat serve

01-13-2009, 12:41 PM
When I watch videos of people serving flat, the ball bounces up like 4 feet after the first bounce. Whenever I serve flat, it only bounces like 2 feet and barely touches the back fence. Is this because my serve lacks pace?

01-13-2009, 12:43 PM
No. Unless it's moving slower.

Actually, a lower flat serve usually means the ball has lost less speed and will actually be much harder to return.

I was watching the 2K8 Wimbledon final and it showed how Federer's serve maintained more speed when it went lower, even when hit at the same speed.

01-13-2009, 12:45 PM
Well obviously your serve is either inferior in terms of pace or amount of spin... or their fences are closer to the baseline. But hey, a low skidding flat serve is a serious weapon. It's really hard to attack those, ya dig?

01-13-2009, 12:50 PM
Grow, problem solved :D

01-13-2009, 12:58 PM
you should serve and volley with that serve :) . not many guys can pass you if the ball is 2 ft high.

put some slice on it and it may get as low as 1 ft off the ground. Even agassi or nadal will have trouble returning that against a net rusher :)

01-13-2009, 01:24 PM
The reason is that you are not REALLY hitting flat. If you have a strangely heavy inward pronation or use an odd grip (something Eastern...) on a flat serve, odds are that you are actually hitting with quite bit of slice, sidespin, or even underspin (depending on where you toss i.e. 12, 2, 3...).

I do this regularly when going for big first serves or when I'm s&v-ing. The key is to toss to your right, out in front, and then swing almost over the ball either straight out or a bit to the right. The same idea can be achieved by swinging heavily inward (much more natural, probably better accuracy and pace), the only difference is the spin you'll get, though, it will work much the same way.

Trust me, these are VERY worth having in your arsenal regardless of what style you play.

If you really want to hit as flat as possible, try this:
Hit several first serves in a row, but watch very closely to what motion you go through. Pay attention to how your arm naturally moves within the serve and where it causes the racquet head to be during the contact. When you toss, aim for that contact point and you'll probably get a much flatter shot.

As for your question about pace, NO. If the bounce is a result of spin, definitely not. That kind of spin takes some solid pace.:)

01-13-2009, 04:43 PM
I didn't know many different tennis courts had different lengths behind the baseline. Out here in California, I'd say 98% are regulation, except maybe for net height.
Yes, a low skidding first serve can be effective, unless it's the only bounce you can hit. Opponent soon learns to hold the racket lower on prep and crush it back.
I agree you hit the serve with some spin, either forehand grip, backspin, or some amount of slice.
That high bouncing flat serve is easier for taller players, hitting flat with continental type grips.
Shorties like me need some spin to get the first fast one in, so I turn it slightly towards eastern backhand.
Should bounce about waist to chest high behind the baseline....good balls, of course, not dead ones.

01-13-2009, 04:54 PM
Ya, you like have a lot of flat and little slice.

01-13-2009, 04:58 PM
You're agreeing???
Thanks, I thought everything I said should go into a cab and take a hike.

01-14-2009, 08:29 AM
The material the court is made of also influences the bite of the ball. I love to play on oil painted court surfaces. and as a flat ball striker, the ball stays nice and low and hard flat serves skids off the surface. A good indicator of how rough your court surface is how often do you open a new can of hardcourt heavy duty balls.

01-14-2009, 08:43 AM
When I watch videos of people serving flat, the ball bounces up like 4 feet after the first bounce. Whenever I serve flat, it only bounces like 2 feet and barely touches the back fence. Is this because my serve lacks pace?

It is a combination of both pace and spin. My first serves are not flat (no ball rotation), they have a lot of spin, so when they hit the ground they bounce higher.

01-14-2009, 02:25 PM
Good question. When you see what you think are "flat" balls that jump 4 feet they in fact have slight topspin. Serve topspin is what makes the ball "jump" higher. A truly flat serve will never seem to "pop up" or "jump". Instead it will make a lower angle with the court after it bounces as compared to its angle when it first hits the service box. Also, a truly flat serve should not touch the back fence unless that fence is close to the baseline. On recreational/public courts the back court tends to have less depth than on "professional or country club" court because real estate and concrete are expensive.

01-14-2009, 03:20 PM
Didn't know there was that much variance in the space behind the baseline.....
At our local GoldenGatePark courts, there used to be a 6'3" GilHoward who hit deadball first serves up around 130mph which bounced higher than the 5' railing behind the top courts. His serve really accentuated the down and hop up bounce.
My practice partner, only a B player, hit a topspin/flatish first serve which bounced HIGHER, but his was only timed around 115 mph.
Playing both, Gil's serve was faster, but easier to block return.

01-14-2009, 03:24 PM
They're not flat serves, they have some topspin on it. I really like the topspin slice serve, and I'm starting to use that more than my 100mph flat. It goes in at a much higher percentage and the spin kicks the ball up pretty high. I'm loosing probably a good 10-15mph by doing this, but my serving percentage went from 55% to around 65-70% and the spin is causing all sorts of trouble for my opponents. If you dont know how to hit this serve already, I strongly suggest practicing it

01-14-2009, 03:36 PM
You want your first to go in 70% of the time, regardless of how fast it's going...

01-14-2009, 03:47 PM
Wow, 70% is a really high percentage.
I try to play matches with maybe 45%.
Then when I practice, that 45 goes to maybe 60. No pressure.
At 60, I need to start hitting out more, going for more placement and pace, so for practice serving, maybe 30 % is just fine as I'm trying to step it up.:confused::confused: