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SmAsH999
02-14-2009, 05:53 PM
Hey, everyone.
Well, tonight i played with one of my hitting partners after returning to tennis last week after a month off due to tendinitis. Last time I played him, which was in November, I won a set 6-4, and a tiebreaker 7-4. However, he's been working with his coach on his first serve and has amped it up to around 115 mph with a moderate amount of various spins. It was not so much that his serve was good, but mine was bad. He could hold so easily against me, while my first was only about 65 mph. Because of this, he double bageled me. I was happy with my ground game, but I need to amp up my first serve to match him. I'm about 5 foot 5, and I'm aiming for 100 in the next 2 months. What to do?

sonicboi21
02-14-2009, 06:14 PM
first of all, make sure your technique is right. if it isnt, then fix it. itll add some mph t oyour serve. second, build muscle. not like a muscle builder, but enough muscle

Djokovicfan4life
02-14-2009, 06:17 PM
The use of the legs is crucial to a great serve. Watch these great servers for reference points.

Hybrid pinpoint: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FmmSMJhIUqU

Platform: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N6E3vPigzxI

*Don't copy his stance unless you're a real beast though, hahaha! This guy (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UwdwQ29Qae0) comes pretty close to his motion though. Looks like someone had a role model*

Pinpoint: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T__9ZuSID4w

The TIMING of the knee bend and how you use it is critical to a good serve. It's one thing to bend your knees and sort of jump up with a little arm action thrown in. It's another to explode up and into the court with an effortless swing that's based around good fundamentals, starting from the ground up.

As always, a video would speak wonders here.

Matt

Nellie
02-14-2009, 07:15 PM
This may sound condensending, but I mean it in good faith - if you want to hit the ball hard, you need to swing hard. 1) your need to develope the shoulder/arm muscles to swing fast - there is a reason why beginning minor league baseball pitchers start at 75 mph and within a year are throwing at 90 - they are building up arm strenght. 2) if you are trying to swing hard in practice, you will notice little difference between different serve techniques that you can use to help your power output

Most people are too worried about double faulting/missing to swing as hard as you can.

Djokovicfan4life
02-14-2009, 07:33 PM
This may sound condensending, but I mean it in good faith - if you want to hit the ball hard, you need to swing hard. 1) your need to develope the shoulder/arm muscles to swing fast - there is a reason why beginning minor league baseball pitchers start at 75 mph and within a year are throwing at 90 - they are building up arm strenght. 2) if you are trying to swing hard in practice, you will notice little difference between different serve techniques that you can use to help your power output

Most people are too worried about double faulting/missing to swing as hard as you can.

There are different ways to swing hard though, as you know. Some swing hard and serve in the 120s. Others swing hard and start threads in the Racquets section about elbow pain, hahahahaha!

SmAsH999
02-15-2009, 05:07 AM
There are different ways to swing hard though, as you know. Some swing hard and serve in the 120s. Others swing hard and start threads in the Racquets section about elbow pain, hahahahaha!
yeah, i think it's better to think fast, not hard. that may be key.

Frankauc
02-15-2009, 06:38 AM
at 5 ft 5. i dont think you can get to a 100mph serve that would be in more than 20% of the time. If i were you, i would try to develop a great slice wide serve and a good kick serve

fuzz nation
02-15-2009, 07:18 AM
I think that good serving requires more synchronization than the other shots in the game. If I offered you some sort of technical advice, especially without seeing a video or anything, I'd honestly be guessing. If you can find someone (yes, a teacher) who can be your serve guru for at least a couple of sessions, that ought to help you with the habits that you'll need build your motion in the right direction.

Someone here, maybe our resident guru Dave Smith/CoachingMastery, made an honest claim of being able to land hot serves, maybe in the neighborhood of 100 mph, from his knees. (Sorry if that wasn't you, Dave) The point being that you don't need to be especially tall or employ an explosive leg drive to hit a solid, fast serve.

Frankauc
02-15-2009, 07:56 AM
I think that good serving requires more synchronization than the other shots in the game. If I offered you some sort of technical advice, especially without seeing a video or anything, I'd honestly be guessing. If you can find someone (yes, a teacher) who can be your serve guru for at least a couple of sessions, that ought to help you with the habits that you'll need build your motion in the right direction.

Someone here, maybe our resident guru Dave Smith/CoachingMastery, made an honest claim of being able to land hot serves, maybe in the neighborhood of 100 mph, from his knees. (Sorry if that wasn't you, Dave) The point being that you don't need to be especially tall or employ an explosive leg drive to hit a solid, fast serve.

let me laught.

im sorry but height is definitly one of the most important factors to be able to land consistently fast 1st serves. It's just basic physics. At 5ft5, one is really disadvantage on serves.

fps
02-15-2009, 08:38 AM
there's dumb thing i used to do on my serve where the bottom bit of my hand was off the racquet. i make sure i've got a firm hold with none of my hand off the racquet and i hit the ball 30% harder without even trying- it's clearly a little point on the checklist that makes a lot of other stuff go right with my action.

tennisdad65
02-15-2009, 09:04 AM
I'm about 5 foot 5, and I'm aiming for 100 in the next 2 months. What to do?

At 5-5 you have to hit a spin serve to get a decent percentage. I would not recommend a slice or even a topspin-slice at 5-5.. so that leaves you with a topspin or a twist kick.

Learn a pure topspin serve .. Do not waste your time on a twist kicker that everyone on these boards is infatuated with. you are not gonna reach 100 with a twist kicker. Only sampras, rafter etc have reached that number with a twist kicker. reaching 100 mph with a pure topspin is possible with great mechanics (alicia molik)

Look at videos of Justin Henin or Alicia Molik topspin serves. Inch for inch or pound for pound the greatest topspin serves :)

SmAsH999
02-15-2009, 09:06 AM
well, my coach is good, but he doesn't tell me anything except to swing fast and toss in front of me, and he's a family friend so my parents won't let me do lessons with anyone else.

Nellie
02-15-2009, 01:55 PM
There are different ways to swing hard though, as you know. Some swing hard and serve in the 120s. Others swing hard and start threads in the Racquets section about elbow pain, hahahahaha!

I know - but if OP wants to know how to hit faster without, for example, offering a video for comment, my only answer is to swing harder because I cannot really offer any other advice.

Seriously though- there are many 5'5" women professional players who can really bring the serve 100MPH+ that are built around a good kenetic chain.

dherring
02-15-2009, 02:02 PM
Personally, what really helped add more pace on my serve is bending meh knees more, i saw an immediate increase in speed, simple as that. also having a relaxed arm and wrist help

Tennis Dunce
02-15-2009, 04:31 PM
LEGS
LEGS
LEGS

Bend those knees and explode UPWARD towards a well placed toss and hit at full extension.

Skppr05
02-15-2009, 05:52 PM
Don't forget the wrist snap downwards also. All the power in the world won't help if it isn't going down where you need it too.

Kevo
02-15-2009, 06:08 PM
Go search on the internet and look at the upper body aspects of the serve. There's plenty of slow motion clips of Roddick's serve. Most of the power on the serve is from the swing. Legs can add a bit, but if the shoulders and arm aren't doing what they're supposed to, the legs aren't likely to do much for you.

The kid that hits the hardest serve on the local high school team is one of the smallest kids. He probably isn't any taller than 5'5". It's mostly in the swing and pronation.

BobFL
02-15-2009, 07:26 PM
Hey, everyone.
Well, tonight i played with one of my hitting partners after returning to tennis last week after a month off due to tendinitis. Last time I played him, which was in November, I won a set 6-4, and a tiebreaker 7-4. However, he's been working with his coach on his first serve and has amped it up to around 115 mph with a moderate amount of various spins. It was not so much that his serve was good, but mine was bad. He could hold so easily against me, while my first was only about 65 mph. Because of this, he double bageled me. I was happy with my ground game, but I need to amp up my first serve to match him. I'm about 5 foot 5, and I'm aiming for 100 in the next 2 months. What to do?

Work with his coach. He does not have exclusive contract, right?

SmAsH999
02-16-2009, 04:58 AM
Work with his coach. He does not have exclusive contract, right?

yeah, i might try that. good idea!

jules2
02-16-2009, 05:10 AM
I find I serve far faster when I stay loose with a good, deep racquet drop. Feels effortless when I'm on the jazz.

jefferson
02-16-2009, 05:12 AM
A video here is really needed to give you sound advice that is directed to you and your serve. We all can go over the basics of a good serve but without seeing yours and what you do well and what you dont do well, there is very little that we can truly speak to. Please if you can post a quick video of your serve. Then we can work on something specific to your service motion.

mikeler
02-16-2009, 07:12 AM
The two hardest servers I've ever played against were 6'-4" and 5'-5". I played a 6'-4" lefty that could just smoke the ball in. He was a D3 player and I asked him if his serve had ever been clocked. He told me he got clocked in the low 130s. I had no trouble believing it either.

The 5'-5" player could hit almost as hard. He tricked me in the warm-up by serving soft kick serves. The first serve of the match, he knocked the racket out of my hand. I wondered how a guy this size could get so much power. It was impressive to say the least.

LeeD
02-16-2009, 10:02 AM
It's not that a 5'5" can't hit the ball really hard. They CAN. They can hit almost as fast as most really tall guys.
Just they don't get it IN when it counts. Their flat serve percentage goes waaay down on critical points.
But at 5.5", you should strive for 115 first flat serves, mainly for surprise, when you are feeling confident, loose, empty minded, and not on the critical point.
Need vid if you can't.
You cannot do it if you're under 16. Most 16 year olds are only 70% strong, but waaaay less trained.
Lotsa 5'7" players can hit 120 first flat serves. Speed of ball is NOT the problem, it's consistency into the court with direction and placement.

mikeler
02-16-2009, 10:41 AM
It's not that a 5'5" can't hit the ball really hard. They CAN. They can hit almost as fast as most really tall guys.
Just they don't get it IN when it counts. Their flat serve percentage goes waaay down on critical points.
But at 5.5", you should strive for 115 first flat serves, mainly for surprise, when you are feeling confident, loose, empty minded, and not on the critical point.
Need vid if you can't.
You cannot do it if you're under 16. Most 16 year olds are only 70% strong, but waaaay less trained.
Lotsa 5'7" players can hit 120 first flat serves. Speed of ball is NOT the problem, it's consistency into the court with direction and placement.


This guy was hitting over 50% first serves in. I play another guy semi-regularly at about that height and he actually has one of the better serves I play against including a half decent kick serve. I think you have to evaluate this situation on a player by player basis.

Your point is a good one though. At 5'-5", geometry is working against you. Not only are you short, but your arms are also short. It's a double negative. In most cases, the topspin serve with a little more net clearance is going to be the wiser choice.

LeeD
02-16-2009, 11:01 AM
Was the 5'5" player mixing in lots of topspin first serves, in addition to some flatter ones? That angle/leverage thing gets very real when players start to get shorter than say... 5'8" or so.
And good short players always have wheels, exceptional hand eye, great overheads, besides consistent groundies. Comes with the territory. If you can't ace them, you better be able to play longer than them.:cry:

Djokovicfan4life
02-16-2009, 11:27 AM
The margin for error DOES decrease considerably for shorter players, but it's still no excuse for not developing a strong serve. Henin served huge for her size and was rarely punished on second serves. Olivier Rochus can crank it as well.

mikeler
02-16-2009, 11:49 AM
Was the 5'5" player mixing in lots of topspin first serves, in addition to some flatter ones? That angle/leverage thing gets very real when players start to get shorter than say... 5'8" or so.
And good short players always have wheels, exceptional hand eye, great overheads, besides consistent groundies. Comes with the territory. If you can't ace them, you better be able to play longer than them.:cry:


The guy I mentioned that hits the crap out of the ball could hit any serve in the book. He chose the heater on the first serve and the kicker on the 2nd serve. The other guy I play mixes in flat serves with spin serves for his 1st serve.

LeeD
02-16-2009, 11:57 AM
Nice you get to play with better players.
I haven't played a good 5'5" guy since MikeGee like in '79, when he was #1 highschool player in SanFrancisco. He hit mostly topspin serves, could twist out to my forehand (me goof), but backed it up with great anticipation, lotsa footspeed, and super consistent strokes. 30 odd year later, he's still ranked in the 45's or so.

mikeler
02-16-2009, 12:05 PM
I compete against 5.0 level players so most of the guys I play have a halfway decent serve. The ones who don't make up for it in other areas of their game. The two players I talked about earlier were all serves. I just had to get one break in 3 of the 4 sets to beat them and one tiebreaker. The big lefty figured out that if he didn't ace me, that I could just block his hard serve back and he would miss soon. Then he started mixing in heavy kickers which were next to impossible to return. I am 5'-8" so I'm always jealous of the tall guys :)

dcjaybutchdc
02-16-2009, 12:06 PM
Platform: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N6E3vPigzxI

*Don't copy his stance unless you're a real beast though, hahaha! This guy (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UwdwQ29Qae0) comes pretty close to his motion though. Looks like someone had a role model*



i think federer's serve is closest to sampras, but thats just me :)
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=npxP6Jej9iE

LeeD
02-16-2009, 12:17 PM
Short guys, high serves, you gotta consider employing extreme Western grips to add pace to your return. Otherwise, the soft, slow moving ball can be a sitter to the big server.
Or, you can stand inside the baseline when you think a kick/twist is coming, move forward and volley the return low but either crosscourt or down the line, but not indecisive.
If the volley is not working, then a high volley, like sidespun as well as sliced, with forward body and tight kinetics.
Even moderately decent players with good serves can kick it about 6' high at the baseline, so I see those high bouncers all the time.

mikeler
02-16-2009, 01:37 PM
Short guys, high serves, you gotta consider employing extreme Western grips to add pace to your return. Otherwise, the soft, slow moving ball can be a sitter to the big server.
Or, you can stand inside the baseline when you think a kick/twist is coming, move forward and volley the return low but either crosscourt or down the line, but not indecisive.
If the volley is not working, then a high volley, like sidespun as well as sliced, with forward body and tight kinetics.
Even moderately decent players with good serves can kick it about 6' high at the baseline, so I see those high bouncers all the time.


I should have clarified, this lefty was hitting twist serves to my forehand. My 1 handed backhand got picked on all the time throughout my junior tournament career so eventually I learned how to hit topspin backhand returns off kick serves. I still don't like to hit high returns on forehands though and I've never played a lefty that could kick the ball this high and with so much action. I tried everything and eventually backed up to the back fence and just hit defensive lobs to force him to at least hit 1 ground stroke.

LeeD
02-16-2009, 01:43 PM
Yeah, I'm lefty and you righties can twist out wide and top of the head high to my forehand....I'm 5'11".
Mostly using SW grip slice, for more pace and less swing, allowing me to concentrate on moving in while stroking thru the ball.
I used to use conti volley grip till I played former #1 CalPoly, who was 6'6" tall, 230, and really athletic with a rightie twist, ball hit audible whiz and oval after his spin. That forced me to get firmer on my returns high to the forehand. I can't topspin top of the head, and will soon work on flat SW grip shot for a slower moving ball.
Since he can hit into my head anytime, staying inside the baseline is not even a close option. Same for me. I serve into the body if anyone stands inside the baseline. I've hit MANY players with lefty combo of fast flats, topspins, kicks, and slices into the body.

Fay
02-16-2009, 03:05 PM
well, my coach is good, but he doesn't tell me anything except to swing fast and toss in front of me, and he's a family friend so my parents won't let me do lessons with anyone else.

My coach was careful to never load me up with a lot of words and let my body figure it out. That is pretty much what he said to me. "Toss the ball a little farther out in front ... can you put just a little more pace on the ball. Oh ya, that's better .... "

Honestly it is a lot of chronological hours of hitting balls. When I first started playing I never thought I would learn a "correct" serve (I am not talking about what I see some recreational players do... but correct motion) and after spending hundreds of hours practicing it gradually got better ... and it got faster without feeling harder.

I beat my hubby today 6-3, 6-0 (and he has played more years than I, but I have had more lessons and I practice more... in his defense he plays for fun, I learn to play well so I can have fun by winning) ... and I asked him how I beat him and he said "Your serve is getting so much faster." I didn't try to make it faster, I just practiced it a lot.

The motion is so very complicated, to get the path of both arms right, which is timely differently, along with the weight transference and "going up to the ball" timed correctly, takes a lot of repetitions.


Look at videos of Justin Henin or Alicia Molik topspin serves. Inch for inch or pound for pound the greatest topspin serves :)

Ya, just tell Justin Henin that she can't do anything because she is a short woman. I agree. Justine has made the most of every pound she has.

And she said in an interview that she thought her coach had her too bulked up and that she would prefer to be thinner and was looking forward to losing some mass during retirement.

Whoever said "hit faster not harder" is spot on. Racquet acceleration.
The time I watch the ball fly across the net and wonder what happened is when it feels the easiest and most effortless.

LeeD
02-16-2009, 03:17 PM
Most props and kudos to AmandaCoetzer, a SouthAfrican who was ranked consistently in the top 20 Womens, at 5' 1" tall, and that one inch is a huge stretch.
Her normal topspin serve was mostly 90 mph, second around 65, but she made money, travelled the world, and I hope still living the good life.
I'd think being 5'5" is not bad playing against the women.
But playing against college level men, it's a real handicap.

Djokovicfan4life
02-16-2009, 04:32 PM
i think federer's serve is closest to sampras, but thats just me :)
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=npxP6Jej9iE

Djokovic's stance is wider and he has a really deep racquet drop, similar to Sampras's. That's why I used him.

SmAsH999
02-21-2009, 08:49 AM
Djokovic's stance is wider and he has a really deep racquet drop, similar to Sampras's. That's why I used him.

well, i don't copy my serve after any pros. I just go with what feels right. I use a pinpoint stance and a deep knee bend. My coach and I will be working on my power and spin for the next month or two. Then I'll be entering a sectional tourney...if I stay injury free... :-)