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View Full Version : How to increase 1st serve speed?


ubermeyer
07-19-2009, 04:21 PM
I have been playing for about 2.5 years now and I would like to increase my 1st serve speed. I hit a flat 1st serve with continental grip. I have tried jumping but it really doesn't feel natural for me, and my serve usually doesn't even go faster, and I look like a fool. I do a pretty standard motion, rock forward, then back, high toss in front of me, knee bend, then rising up and hitting the ball with a pretty standard flat serve swing. However, when I increase racket speed, I hit wild serves all over the place, rarely in. My 1st serve is extremely consistent, but slow and attackable, and I don't know how to increase racket speed, because even though I practice this a lot, it is still inconsistent.

help me serve faster please.

ubermeyer
07-19-2009, 06:04 PM
does anybody want to help me serve faster? :confused:

Fedace
07-19-2009, 06:12 PM
try the delayed racket motion. and also go buy the video from nick Bolletieri on Sonic Serve. that will help.

GuyClinch
07-19-2009, 07:01 PM
well maybe a pro has better advice but I have taken lessons and seen some videos.

There are three form things I think about..

One is making sure you have your toss shoulder much higher then your swing shoulder in the trophy pose. My pro explained this would give your racquet a longer distance to travel till you reach the ball and more potential power.

Another thing is you can try to feel a hip stretch. If you think of your body like a bow you can kind of stretch your hip when you sink down to serve.

The final one is getting more rotational energy - that is how much you turn your entire body before you make the hit. So your shoulders see saw as well as turning around (like on a forehand). Johnny Macs serves really show this aspect..

Also I think that if you increase your athletic foundation so to speak you can get yourself a better serve. That is increase your leg strength/core/posture muscles (usually the back as most people overemphasize the chest muscles pulling everything out of alignment).. This can pay some dividends as well.

Finally serve hard. This sounds trite but if you want a big serve you need to try to hit big serves - often.



Pete

SethIMcClaine
07-19-2009, 08:03 PM
Biggest key is finding that sweet spot on the racquet, that can make or break a fast serve

SethIMcClaine
07-19-2009, 08:09 PM
I have tried jumping but it really doesn't feel natural for me, and my serve usually doesn't even go faster, and I look like a fool.
Jumping isn't really something you attempt to do. When you start to unwide harder you start to come off your feet (its more like unweighting than jumping, and it comes from releasing the bend in your knees). Jumping doesnt cause you to serve faster, jumping is the result of a harder, more fluid serve.

Go to fuzzyYellowBalls.com and check out your serving tutorials

coyfish
07-19-2009, 08:14 PM
Too hard to tell you exactly what you need to do without seeing your serve. Everyone here has good advice but I would practice your big first serve more. Develop a good 2nd serve so you can play with your 1st.

Kevo
07-19-2009, 08:34 PM
Pronation is the single biggest difference maker for most people who have a decent swing. Typically people don't pronate as much as they could, or their timing is off. Many people can break 100mph with practically no knee bend whatsoever.

There are of course a lot of moving parts in a good serve, that's why it's a difficult shot to master, but study some slow motion videos of Pete or Roddick, or any big server and you will see a more than 180 degree rotation of the arm on the serve.

It's similar to the way the windshield wiper forehand works. The arm is swinging and rotating at the same time.

charliefedererer
07-19-2009, 09:01 PM
well maybe a pro has better advice but I have taken lessons and seen some videos.

There are three form things I think about..

One is making sure you have your toss shoulder much higher then your swing shoulder in the trophy pose. My pro explained this would give your racquet a longer distance to travel till you reach the ball and more potential power.

Another thing is you can try to feel a hip stretch. If you think of your body like a bow you can kind of stretch your hip when you sink down to serve.

The final one is getting more rotational energy - that is how much you turn your entire body before you make the hit. So your shoulders see saw as well as turning around (like on a forehand). Johnny Macs serves really show this aspect..

Also I think that if you increase your athletic foundation so to speak you can get yourself a better serve. That is increase your leg strength/core/posture muscles (usually the back as most people overemphasize the chest muscles pulling everything out of alignment).. This can pay some dividends as well.

Finally serve hard. This sounds trite but if you want a big serve you need to try to hit big serves - often.



Pete

Guy clinch you are giving really good advice here.
To get a faster serve, most players need a bigger windup.
And that means rotating the core back as you do a deeper knee bend. It's a twist down right after the toss, followed by a rapid twist up for an explosive serve.
And of course the front shoulder has to be much higher than the back shoulder, with your back arched, chest up and hip forward just before you start your swing forward.
And you have to start your forward swing with your racquet vertically pointed down, with the tip only 3 feet from the ground to have that really big windup to hit the hard serve.
So the serve is not a forward and back pendulum motion, but a complex three dimentional unleashing of the kinetic chain from the legs, through the core, and finally into the arm.
http://www.fuzzyyellowballs.com/video-tennis-lessons/serve/
Of course you have to be in good shape with great flexibility to do this.
http://www.playerdevelopment.usta.com/news/fullstory.sps?inewsid=249182

[d]ragon
07-19-2009, 11:20 PM
http://www.tennisthoughts.com/2007/08/10/top-10-tennis-tips-to-increase-the-speed-of-your-serve/

I've tried the trying to serve the ball at the fence, didn't seem to work. The thinking fast, not hard helps though (on all strokes)

Fedace
07-19-2009, 11:32 PM
I make sure my arm and hand is nice and Loose and RELAXED. when my arm is tense and i am griping the handle too tight, i lose alot of speed on the serve. Relax your arm as you are preparing to serve.

trenzterra
07-20-2009, 12:00 AM
where is your ball toss?

Fedace
07-20-2009, 06:55 AM
where is your ball toss?

Where should the ball toss be to gain the most optimal power ??:confused:

GuyClinch
07-20-2009, 07:25 AM
Where should the ball toss be to gain the most optimal power ??

It should be pretty far into the court for optimal power, no? The old rule of placing a racket at a like an angle from your left foot (on the ground) and aiming your toss onto the racquet isn't bad..

I tend to toss way to low and to close to me. Unfortunately if I try to toss higher I tend to throw it behind my head.. <g> My toss is like my biggest serve problem right now..

Fedace
07-20-2009, 07:51 AM
It should be pretty far into the court for optimal power, no? The old rule of placing a racket at a like an angle from your left foot (on the ground) and aiming your toss onto the racquet isn't bad..

I tend to toss way to low and to close to me. Unfortunately if I try to toss higher I tend to throw it behind my head.. <g> My toss is like my biggest serve problem right now..

If you toss the ball too far into the court, you would fall flat on your side of your head.

goran_ace
07-20-2009, 08:10 AM
Great tips guys. Two more things I would like to add:

- in addition to working on technique, get physically stronger. work on your legs and your core. do a lot of calf raises, squats, lunges, crunches.

- work on mixing up your serves in terms of speed, spin, and placement. keep your opponent guessing and throw off his timing so he can't key in on your serve. if you have a slice serve that you can senc deep in the corner that has a lot of side movement you can affect the returner's stance and timing.

StringingIrvine
07-20-2009, 09:34 AM
Are you throwing your racquet up at the ball? Are you pronating your wrists.

I'd check out fuzzyyellowballs video on throwing your racquet up at the ball on your serve. Also pronation of the wrist increases racquet head speed, with the pronation you also don't have to swing as hard since the RHS will increase simply by pronating.

For example (all hypothetical stats)
say you use 100% of your strength (w/o pronation) to serve and it goes 100 mph, but with low accuracy

and if you use 75% of your strength (w/o pronation) to serve and it goes 75 mph, but with high accuracy

if you only use 75% of your strength (WITH pronation) to serve it goes 90 mph, but still with high accuracy because you are using a controlled motion.

Try and tweak little things at a time, don't do everything at once, if you do you won't figure out what works and what doesnt

ubermeyer
07-20-2009, 09:58 AM
thanks all for the great advice, can't wait to try it out during practice today!

akthe47
07-21-2009, 12:29 PM
I think doing a lot of lunges and core conditioning can help with your serve speed (along with technique, of course). Forearm and hand strength are also considered to contribute a lot of power to the serve.

I don't know how accurate this article is on Roddick's serve, but you may find it of interest:

http://www.popularmechanics.com/outdoors/sports/4221210.html

RoddickRook
07-21-2009, 12:36 PM
Try to supinate the wrist before you begin to pronate into contact and after contact. This is a common method shared with lots of the top servers. It might feel a little unnatural at first (because, well...it really is) but if you get used to it, it'll help for sure.

In D Zone
07-22-2009, 09:18 AM
All of the above are true! But the most important thing is to not to think about it - especially during a match.
You should do the thinking when you are practicing. You should learn it to the point that it become automatic. Once you get it to your head and started to think about it - you'll either tanked or hit a weaker serve.

GuyClinch
07-22-2009, 09:52 AM
Yeah that Roddick breakdown makes me wonder if I should add some kind of forearm conditioning routine to my regimen. But I never have seen any workouts where the pros are doing this so I don't really know.

KonTrol
07-22-2009, 12:51 PM
push with your legs