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flightlessbird
02-01-2009, 05:30 PM
Like the title says, I was wondering how I could get more power on my serve. I don't think its about muscles too much because Murray can get 140 mph and he's a stick. Any advice would be appreciated. thanks.

oneguy21
02-01-2009, 05:43 PM
You're being too general. It would help if you could tell us what level you play at and what specifically you want to improve.

-First off, you should have good leg drive. Bend your knees into the court and make sure your calves are parallel to each other. Then use those bent knees as a spring to explode into your shot.

-Make sure to drop the racquet head all the way. A good way to achieve this racquet drop is to pretend as if you're going to throw your racquet straight up vertically.

-Have a loose arm/body. This will help you generate maximum racquet head speed.

-As you swing your racquet, pronate your wrist as you come into contact with the ball.

-Toss that ball between 12 and 1 o'clock and in front of you.

If you practice all these and incorporate them into your serve, your serve should be more powerful. You should also notice that you land a lot more inside the baseline after your serve.

flightlessbird
02-01-2009, 05:51 PM
I'm a high school player but I'd say I'm about 4.5-5.0. I really want to work on my flat serve which is lacking the most of all my serves. I'm a lefty so my slice off the court is really effective and for me its pretty strong. If I could mix that up with a flat serve down the t I'd be set.

oneguy21
02-01-2009, 05:54 PM
I'm a high school player but I'd say I'm about 4.5-5.0. I really want to work on my flat serve which is lacking the most of all my serves. I'm a lefty so my slice off the court is really effective and for me its pretty strong. If I could mix that up with a flat serve down the t I'd be set.

Like many players our age, I think you probably overrated yourself.

But anyway, do you have a kick serve? You need that serve to have a consistent second serve.

Don't tell me you just tap your second serve over.

flightlessbird
02-01-2009, 06:08 PM
haha of course I do. But I was talking about my first serve there. I've played tournaments as 4.5 and matches and I've won some and lost some. So I think thats fair. Maybe a little high but definitely 4.5. Anyways, I think I'll try to get my legs into it more.

Slicendicer
02-01-2009, 06:11 PM
Stretching the shoulder, such as yoga, will improve ROM, which will increase serve speed.

oneguy21
02-01-2009, 06:13 PM
haha of course I do. But I was talking about my first serve there. I've played tournaments as 4.5 and matches and I've won some and lost some. So I think thats fair. Maybe a little high but definitely 4.5. Anyways, I think I'll try to get my legs into it more.

Juniors can't play in NTRP tournaments.

Djokovicfan4life
02-01-2009, 06:15 PM
You're being too general. It would help if you could tell us what level you play at and what specifically you want to improve.

-First off, you should have good leg drive. Bend your knees into the court and make sure your calves are parallel to each other. Then use those bent knees as a spring to explode into your shot.

Yes, excellent stuff here. Your point about the calves being parallel to the court was what really helped my serve tremendously over the last two months or so. The legs are a huge factor in the serve. What really took my power to the next level was to just ditch my wide platform stance once and for all and take up a hybrid pinpoint stance where my right foot slides up at least 3 inches within the front foot. I'm still undecided whether I should slide it all the way up to it or not, since balance is a mild issue for me when I do, but I do know that it's taking my serve to the next level.

-Make sure to drop the racquet head all the way.

A good way to achieve this racquet drop is to pretend as if you're going to throw your racquet straight up vertically.

Yes, great advice! This really helps me as well to put all the "pronate into contact" garbage out of my mind and just smack the darned thing. OP, make sure you're using the continental grip, or else this advice is all moot.

-Have a loose arm/body. This will help you generate maximum racquet head speed.

Again, excellent advice here. What really helps me to stay loose on the serve is to make sure that my palm of my hitting hand is facing the ground as I begin my back swing. This ensures that I maintain a loose wrist from the very start of the serve.

-As you swing your racquet, pronate your wrist as you come into contact with the ball.

You would be wise to tread carefully with all of this pronation stuff. I still remember my days of "pronating into the ball". What a joke that was. Extreme slice with no pace, let alone control.

-Toss that ball between 12 and 1 o'clock and in front of you.

I've found that my toss has been too far to the right of my body lately. Not that I'm hitting the classic Dementieva slider or anything like that, but I can definitely feel a little awkwardness sometimes as a result of reaching for the ball at times. I'm looking to develop a Sampras/Djokovic style toss that is placed directly above my head for the perfect blend of power and disguise

If you practice all these and incorporate them into your serve, your serve should be more powerful. You should also notice that you land a lot more inside the baseline after your serve.
Great post.

Also, you need to find a technique that really gets you into a good rhythm on your serve. Without this you will always have timing issues of some sort. Find a pre-service routine that feels natural and stick with it. Practice over and over to develop the same rhythm on every single serve.

You should never forget the most important element of the serve, actually practicing it. Most players have it in their minds that the serve should only be hit in matches, yet they wonder why it continues to be a liability for them time and again. Set aside a certain amount of time per week that you will devote to just serving and stick with it. 2 or 3 times per week for around an hour or so will do. Remember to stay loose and stop if you feel something beginning to hurt you. The key is to just do it, as the saying goes.

Don't prescribe to the "I'm going to try really hard for three hours, then get burned out and just rally for the rest of my practices" club. Discipline is THE biggest key to success in tennis, or pretty much anything in life, for that matter. There is no excuse for not having a good serve. Without it you will be starting every point on your opponents terms anyway, so what good are your strokes when they already have a distinct advantage against you every time? Get out there and practice it.

Best of luck to you.

Matt

flightlessbird
02-01-2009, 06:16 PM
ok thanks. Djokovic's serve is so good because he's so flexible right? Not that his is amazing but its good. I was thinking about yoga for that too.

flightlessbird
02-01-2009, 06:19 PM
Juniors can't play in NTRP tournaments.

club championships

Djokovicfan4life
02-01-2009, 06:35 PM
ok thanks. Djokovic's serve is so good because he's so flexible right? Not that his is amazing but its good. I was thinking about yoga for that too.
It's a part of it, yes, but most of it is just solid fundamentals.

http://z.about.com/d/tennis/1/5/N/E/05.jpg

http://z.about.com/d/tennis/1/5/O/E/06.jpg

http://lh4.ggpht.com/_j9Mivew1Qq4/Rv7jR2ha2DI/AAAAAAAABoQ/hIi1F-rcnjk/Djokovic+service+motion+3+7.2.07.jpg

P.S. Don't serve with a ball in your hand though. :)

Slicendicer
02-01-2009, 06:36 PM
How can your calves NOT be parallel to each other?

flightlessbird
02-01-2009, 06:38 PM
Great post.

Also, you need to find a technique that really gets you into a good rhythm on your serve. Without this you will always have timing issues of some sort. Find a pre-service routine that feels natural and stick with it. Practice over and over to develop the same rhythm on every single serve.

You should never forget the most important element of the serve, actually practicing it. Most players have it in their minds that the serve should only be hit in matches, yet they wonder why it continues to be a liability for them time and again. Set aside a certain amount of time per week that you will devote to just serving and stick with it. 2 or 3 times per week for around an hour or so will do. Remember to stay loose and stop if you feel something beginning to hurt you. The key is to just do it, as the saying goes.

Don't prescribe to the "I'm going to try really hard for three hours, then get burned out and just rally for the rest of my practices" club. Discipline is THE biggest key to success in tennis, or pretty much anything in life, for that matter. There is no excuse for not having a good serve. Without it you will be starting every point on your opponents terms anyway, so what good are your strokes when they already have a distinct advantage against you every time? Get out there and practice it.

Best of luck to you.

Matt

thanks a lot for the advice. If I do add a deep knee bend won't that throw off my whole motion though? So that I'll have to re-adjust everything?

Slicendicer
02-01-2009, 06:38 PM
Pronating the wrist is a result of the service motion, not something you are aiming to do.

Djokovicfan4life
02-01-2009, 06:40 PM
thanks a lot for the advice. If I do add a deep knee bend won't that throw off my whole motion though? So that I'll have to re-adjust everything?

Where did we say that you had to have a deep knee bend? The key, as you just said, is the timing of the knee bend, not the extremity of it. Michael Stich got plenty of pop on his serve without a deep knee bend, so I'd say that you'll be just fine as well. Begin your forward swing as your knees begin to straighten out.

Djokovicfan4life
02-01-2009, 06:42 PM
How can your calves NOT be parallel to each other?

If you use a wide stance it's very possible. It was a huge problem for me until I saw it on video for the first time. It was a real eye opener for me to see how much I really sucked for the first time.

Slicendicer
02-01-2009, 06:43 PM
If you use a wide stance it's very possible. It was a huge problem for me until I saw it on video for the first time. It was a real eye opener for me to see how much I really sucked for the first time.

you do know what parallel means, right?

Djokovicfan4life
02-01-2009, 06:46 PM
you do know what parallel means, right?

Ummmmmmmmm, yes? I guess I'll have to break this down for you.

When I used a wide stance, my back foot was way back as I began my service motion. This meant that the back leg was capable of bending to where my calf was almost parallel to the court, while this was obviously impossible with my front leg. Correct me if I'm wrong, but I'm pretty sure that's NOT parallel.

Comprende senior?

Slicendicer
02-01-2009, 07:00 PM
Ummmmmmmmm, yes? I guess I'll have to break this down for you.

When I used a wide stance, my back foot was way back as I began my service motion. This meant that the back leg was capable of bending to where my calf was almost parallel to the court, while this was obviously impossible with my front leg. Correct me if I'm wrong, but I'm pretty sure that's NOT parallel.

Comprende senior?

No way you're calf could possibly come close to > 45 degrees OR parallel to the court with both feet on the ground. Not being a wiseacre, just giving you the facts.

Djokovicfan4life
02-01-2009, 07:13 PM
No way you're calf could possibly come close to > 45 degrees OR parallel to the court with both feet on the ground. Not being a wiseacre, just giving you the facts.

Djokovic's calf is about 45 degrees perpendicular to the court in one of the pictures I provided, and my old stance was wider than his, with my back foot way behind the front foot, McEnroe style, so it most certainly IS possible, especially since I've seen it clearly on video, which very rarely lies, if I'm not mistaken. They're are your facts for you.

Djokovicfan4life
02-01-2009, 07:15 PM
http://farm3.static.flickr.com/2404/2055361768_9627200c85.jpg

http://lh4.ggpht.com/_2JUh06fnDV0/Rt3IQ8yfKPI/AAAAAAAAAr8/O6LVDbURxIk/DSCN2231.JPG

Slicendicer
02-01-2009, 07:38 PM
Djokovic's calf is about 45 degrees perpendicular to the court in one of the pictures I provided, and my old stance was wider than his, with my back foot way behind the front foot, McEnroe style, so it most certainly IS possible, especially since I've seen it clearly on video, which very rarely lies, if I'm not mistaken. They're are your facts for you.

Do you mean to say shin? No way a calf is ever going to be 45 degrees or less to the court.

Perpendicular is a 90 degree angle.

Djokovicfan4life
02-01-2009, 07:44 PM
Do you mean to say shin? No way a calf is ever going to be 45 degrees or less to the court.

Perpendicular is a 90 degree angle.

Thank you for that definition of what perpendicular means. I guess that's why I got a B in my college algebra class, LOL!!!!!!!!

All right, at this point I have no idea what you are talking about, so I'll just say my lower leg to be safe. Do you approve of this?

Slicendicer
02-01-2009, 07:51 PM
Thank you for that definition of what perpendicular means. I guess that's why I got a B in my college algebra class, LOL!!!!!!!!

All right, at this point I have no idea what you are talking about, so I'll just say my lower leg to be safe. Do you approve of this?

Nope. The calf is the posterior (back) of the lower leg and the shin is anterior (front). To be clear you said to serve the calf should be parallel, then explained that parallel meant 45 degrees, I'm paraphrasing. I just wouldn't want to confuse anyone learning serving tips from you as I think you have alot of good advice to offer.

Djokovicfan4life
02-01-2009, 08:01 PM
Nope. The calf is the posterior (back) of the lower leg and the shin is anterior (front). To be clear you said to serve the calf should be parallel, then explained that parallel meant 45 degrees, I'm paraphrasing. I just wouldn't want to confuse anyone learning serving tips from you as I think you have alot of good advice to offer.
All right, fair enough. I'm not very knowledgeable about such things, I admit. But I'm not focused on that anyway. This thread is about how to develop a powerful serve, not a mere technicality. Glad we can come to a compromise on this one and go back to the task at hand.

Matt

junbumkim
02-01-2009, 09:31 PM
First we would have to look at your serve.

There are a lot of elements involved in generating a powerful serve.

Once you can hit a consistent serve, you should focus on putting more weight into your shot and increasing your swing speed.

At least from my expeirence, and a few other seems to agree, hip stretch is more important for generating more power than a deep knee bend.
In fact, unnecessarily deep knee bend can hurt your balance..

flightlessbird
02-01-2009, 10:10 PM
First we would have to look at your serve.

There are a lot of elements involved in generating a powerful serve.

Once you can hit a consistent serve, you should focus on putting more weight into your shot and increasing your swing speed.

At least from my expeirence, and a few other seems to agree, hip stretch is more important for generating more power than a deep knee bend.
In fact, unnecessarily deep knee bend can hurt your balance..

what's hip stretch?

I can hit a consistent serve as of now, and I would like to put more weight into it. I figure I can do that by using my legs to put my body into it.

Also, does getting up on your toes help?

bpp
02-02-2009, 06:43 PM
what's hip stretch?

I can hit a consistent serve as of now, and I would like to put more weight into it. I figure I can do that by using my legs to put my body into it.

Also, does getting up on your toes help?

I have been able to bump up my serve probably by about 10-20 MPH over the last couple months. The biggest change for me was that I really loosened up on the grip of my racket. I don't know if it applies to you but it was a real eye opener for me (surprising also how loose I could hold the grip without the racket slipping). I think perhaps its not just the grip but also making sure to keep a loose wrist/forearm.

For most people, I believe that the wrist pronation, knee bend, trunk rotation, etc. come naturally with an effective motion and you should not be actively trying to do them (at least not that much). If you have proper mechanics these come naturally and you should not be actively seeking to do them. I would work on have a good fluid motion with both the swing motion along with transfer of weight forward and trunk rotation.

That being said, I think the biggest problem for most people is they hold the wrong grip and horrible mechanics. If you are 4.5 then it probably doesnt apply to you but there are lots of good players with very poor mechanics on their serves and it really holds them back. I think a video would be helpful if possible...

LeeD
02-03-2009, 08:28 AM
Sure, with proper mechanics, a loose grip, whippy elbow, body moving towards the target, some rotation, and a long swing can get speeds up over 110 even for old farts.
Consider..... If you have 20' of distance behind your baseline, a good first serve one bounces around hip to sternum heights. That's a flat serve, in of course.
A normal second topspin serve doesn't normally get quite there, but bounces higher at the baseline.
A hard topspin first serve usually lands around the same spot as a flat first serve, because it's got the downward movement and a higher net clearance than most flat serves.
That's a good starting point for figuring your speed on serves.

Djokovicfan4life
02-03-2009, 08:36 AM
Sure, with proper mechanics, a loose grip, whippy elbow, body moving towards the target, some rotation, and a long swing can get speeds up over 110 even for old farts.
Consider..... If you have 20' of distance behind your baseline, a good first serve one bounces around hip to sternum heights. That's a flat serve, in of course.
A normal second topspin serve doesn't normally get quite there, but bounces higher at the baseline.
A hard topspin first serve usually lands around the same spot as a flat first serve, because it's got the downward movement and a higher net clearance than most flat serves.
That's a good starting point for figuring your speed on serves.

From what I've seen from the OSU players, the second serves bounce MUCH higher than their first serves, which are typically cannons, mind you. Spin makes a huge difference and the whole using the backstop thing to determine serve speed is misleading because it doesn't take into account the trajectory and spin of the serve. For example Karlovic's flat serve should bounce considerably higher than Olivier Rochus' kick serve, no?

Djokovicfan4life
02-03-2009, 08:40 AM
what's hip stretch?

I can hit a consistent serve as of now, and I would like to put more weight into it. I figure I can do that by using my legs to put my body into it.

Also, does getting up on your toes help?

I think by hip stretch he is referring to this (http://www.fuzzyyellowballs.com/videos/index.php/view/958/251/Leading_with_the_Hip_on_your_Tennis_Serve)concept. And yes, it's great advice for players that are struggling with their weight transfer up and into the ball.

LeeD
02-03-2009, 08:43 AM
A normal second serves bounces higher AT THE BASELINE than the first serve. Usually easily chin to eye heights.
A first serve bounces higher when it gets to the backdrop. The backdrop is 20' behind the baseline! At the baseline, most first serves are much lower!
I suspect you are confused because I'm using TWO different locations to record the bounce height.
One.... the baseline where the player is standing.
Two.... the backdrop that is 20' behind the baseline.
Dis ole fart.... first serve flat, at the backdrop, the ball bounces ONCE in the service court, then hit the backdrop around chest high.
Dis old fart ... second serve top, the ball IN the service court, bounces about head height at the baseline, but looses forward momentum due to top and lower speeds, sometimes hits the backdrop, sometimes needs a second bounce to get 20' behind the baseline....
Note... backdrop is 20' behind the baseline.

circusmouse
02-03-2009, 06:27 PM
I can't believe no one has pointed out that Murray is not a stick. Murray is quite muscular, and his serve has gotten better as he's put on the muscle. You can certainly hit a good serve without a lot of noticeable muscle, but a bit of muscle certainly helps.

Slicendicer
02-03-2009, 06:42 PM
I'm having a hard time believing your average recreational player can serve at speeds + 110 MPH... I'm not buying it. The majority of tennis players will never break or serve near 100 MPH with a flat first serve, inside the service box. The radar guns used at the pro events are not accurate.

Djokovicfan4life
02-03-2009, 06:46 PM
A normal second serves bounces higher AT THE BASELINE than the first serve. Usually easily chin to eye heights.
A first serve bounces higher when it gets to the backdrop. The backdrop is 20' behind the baseline! At the baseline, most first serves are much lower!
I suspect you are confused because I'm using TWO different locations to record the bounce height.
One.... the baseline where the player is standing.
Two.... the backdrop that is 20' behind the baseline.
Dis ole fart.... first serve flat, at the backdrop, the ball bounces ONCE in the service court, then hit the backdrop around chest high.
Dis old fart ... second serve top, the ball IN the service court, bounces about head height at the baseline, but looses forward momentum due to top and lower speeds, sometimes hits the backdrop, sometimes needs a second bounce to get 20' behind the baseline....
Note... backdrop is 20' behind the baseline.
I know how far the back stop is behind the baseline. If your second serve bounces lower than your first then you need to work on getting more topspin and/or pop on your second serve.

tennisdad65
02-03-2009, 06:50 PM
I'm having a hard time believing your average recreational player can serve at speeds + 110 MPH... I'm not buying it. The majority of tennis players will never break or serve near 100 MPH with a flat first serve, inside the service box. The radar guns used at the pro events are not accurate.

Actually, I have seen lots of club level players who can serve it flat at ~110+. Problem is they get it in about 20-30% of the time because they do not put any topspin on it. The pro's hit it at 110+ with topspin.. Nadal hits it at 110-115 with significant topspin and hence his first serve % is 60%.

Djokovicfan4life
02-03-2009, 06:56 PM
I'm having a hard time believing your average recreational player can serve at speeds + 110 MPH... I'm not buying it. The majority of tennis players will never break or serve near 100 MPH with a flat first serve, inside the service box. The radar guns used at the pro events are not accurate.
A hard first serve in itself says nothing. There's a player in the league that I play in with an absolute cannon of a first. But it hard to really dominate with it if he's just serving 10% in, no? Not to mention the double faulting issues. He never wins and would probably be considered a 3.0 at best. Just saying.