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View Full Version : The one bounce serve - what is the speed?

martini1
12-12-2009, 06:14 PM
I am practicing my first serve and I have no idea how fast the ball is. So my usual reference is try to have the ball bounce once inside the box and then it should hit the fence behind.

Anybody can guesstimate a minimal speed for that to happen? The ball should at least hit the fence with some speed, perhaps enough to make it "stick" on the fence itself.

The size of the court is just a regular public kind, may be 15-20 ft between the base line and the fence?

HunterST
12-12-2009, 06:41 PM
I am practicing my first serve and I have no idea how fast the ball is. So my usual reference is try to have the ball bounce once inside the box and then it should hit the fence behind.

Anybody can guesstimate a minimal speed for that to happen? The ball should at least hit the fence with some speed, perhaps enough to make it "stick" on the fence itself.

The size of the court is just a regular public kind, may be 15-20 ft between the base line and the fence?

I'm not 100% confident with this, but I've heard the serve needs to be around 70mph to hit the back fence off the first bounce.

P.S. prepare for every comment to say something to the effect of: "Don't worry about speed...variety,placement,spin are more important..." It's true of course, but everybody wants to know how fast their serves are!

Rambler124
12-12-2009, 06:44 PM
I think its a bit more than 70 mph - I've basically heard a one bouncer is aroud 90+ all my life. Never tested the theory with a radar gun though.

HunterST
12-12-2009, 06:46 PM
I think its a bit more than 70 mph - I've basically heard a one bouncer is aroud 90+ all my life. Never tested the theory with a radar gun though.

ahhh I'd have to disagree. There's a guy I know who has an average serve speed in the 90s and his serves hit midway up the fence. So the minimum, which could hit a lot lower on the fence, would have to be less than 90.

Blake0
12-12-2009, 06:50 PM
Kinda hard to be accurate using the fence as a reference..if you're taller you can hit down on the ball more and it'll jump higher and it might hit the fence on the drop.

But, hitting the fence should be around 70ish..90 is way to high..70 to maybe 80 would be the minimum speed for most people, i'm guessing though.

5263
12-12-2009, 07:22 PM
I think its a bit more than 70 mph - I've basically heard a one bouncer is aroud 90+ all my life. Never tested the theory with a radar gun though.

Rambler, the problem here is that many get on here and post serve speed info without understanding about the acceleration of a tennis ball, radar intercept angle, and how it slows prior to radar acquisition. So they take a speed chek reading from the net or opp baseline and will argue for 2 pages about serve speeds.

mtommer
12-12-2009, 08:48 PM
I am practicing my first serve and I have no idea how fast the ball is. So my usual reference is try to have the ball bounce once inside the box and then it should hit the fence behind.

Anybody can guesstimate a minimal speed for that to happen? The ball should at least hit the fence with some speed, perhaps enough to make it "stick" on the fence itself.

The size of the court is just a regular public kind, may be 15-20 ft between the base line and the fence?

Honestly, minimum speed, and speed in general, is just very hard to put a finger on.

Look at the first two balls in one of my own serving videos (fences are around 27 ft back). http://www.vimeo.com/6125506

Both balls register the same speed and one is way out but because it didn't hit the court until later it should be carrying more speed to the fence and also a higher bounce....theoretically (both balls were pretty close along the same ball path linearly). However, I probably put more spin on the second shot which let it hit a little higher than the first ball despite landing shorter. Keep in mind that when I hit my first serves I try to impart spin. Any spin on the ball just comes about unintentionally on my part.

5263
12-12-2009, 08:56 PM
Honestly, minimum speed, and speed in general, is just very hard to put a finger on.

Look at the first two balls in one of my own serving videos (fences are around 27 ft back). http://www.vimeo.com/6125506

Both balls register the same speed and one is way out but because it didn't hit the court until later it should be carrying more speed to the fence and also a higher bounce....theoretically (both balls were pretty close along the same ball path linearly). However, I probably put more spin on the second shot which let it hit a little higher than the first ball despite landing shorter. Keep in mind that when I hit my first serves I try to impart spin. Any spin on the ball just comes about unintentionally on my part.
You have to realize the rule of thumb is dependent on the serve being in the box. Many things change when the serve is way long.

JerrYMeeE
12-12-2009, 09:03 PM
You also have to put height and the height of contact into account, as well as the trajectory of the ball.

Carlito
12-12-2009, 09:15 PM
Don't forget about spin. I can get it higher up the fence with a 90mph kicker than a 100mph flat serve.

martini1
12-12-2009, 10:42 PM
That's true. If you got a monster kick serve it will be more likely to hit the fence because it will bounce real high and be able to reach the fence easier.

So for the purpose I am saying flat serve, hard court, and height of player is around 6ft.

martini1
12-12-2009, 10:59 PM
Rambler, the problem here is that many get on here and post serve speed info without understanding about the acceleration of a tennis ball, radar intercept angle, and how it slows prior to radar acquisition. So they take a speed chek reading from the net or opp baseline and will argue for 2 pages about serve speeds.

I totally agree. There will be a huge difference in speed before and after the ball bounce. If anybody knows how the majors measure serve speed that should put an end to the argument. Personally I think they measure speed as it cross the net. That's why people on tv talk about the down the T serves are faster because they are at 90 degrees off the net compare to serves going wide. Measuring speed after the bounce is very inconsistent because of the spin factors in. Fed can do a very fast kick serve coming in but when it bounces the ball breaks and jumps without going full force forward.

gzhpcu
12-13-2009, 03:04 AM
Try this if you have a video of your serve:
http://www.donthireddy.us/tennis/speed.html

HunterST
12-13-2009, 09:05 AM
I totally agree. There will be a huge difference in speed before and after the ball bounce. If anybody knows how the majors measure serve speed that should put an end to the argument. Personally I think they measure speed as it cross the net. That's why people on tv talk about the down the T serves are faster because they are at 90 degrees off the net compare to serves going wide. Measuring speed after the bounce is very inconsistent because of the spin factors in. Fed can do a very fast kick serve coming in but when it bounces the ball breaks and jumps without going full force forward.

Yeah, I definitely think they measure it as it goes over the net. For one it's the most logical place to measure the speed. Also, I was watching an old Mcenroe vs. Borg match on TV and the announcers were explaining this "new" radar gun device and they said that it quote "measures the speed of the ball as it goes over the net." Of course that was a long time ago, but I imagine they wouldn't have changed it.

WildVolley
12-13-2009, 10:16 AM
Yeah, I definitely think they measure it as it goes over the net. For one it's the most logical place to measure the speed. Also, I was watching an old Mcenroe vs. Borg match on TV and the announcers were explaining this "new" radar gun device and they said that it quote "measures the speed of the ball as it goes over the net." Of course that was a long time ago, but I imagine they wouldn't have changed it.

The modern radar take peak speeds, which is the speed off of the racket face. I don't know of any tournament that is reading speed at the net.

Even my low-end radar gun (Sports Radar) looks for the peak speed. When the conditions are right, it will pick up the peak speed off the racket even if you are standing on the other side of the court.

5263
12-13-2009, 10:23 AM
The modern radar take peak speeds, which is the speed off of the racket face. I don't know of any tournament that is reading speed at the net.

Even my low-end radar gun (Sports Radar) looks for the peak speed. When the conditions are right, it will pick up the peak speed off the racket even if you are standing on the other side of the court.

The first part of this post is right on!

As to the second part,
that may be the company ads claim,
but I have not seen anything close to that good with the low end models. Doesn't mean it isn't out there though.

fruitytennis1
12-13-2009, 10:59 AM
A nice solid 60 mph topspin that hits anywhere from midbox up can hit the bottom-middle of the fence.

sureshs
12-13-2009, 11:27 AM
I am practicing my first serve and I have no idea how fast the ball is. So my usual reference is try to have the ball bounce once inside the box and then it should hit the fence behind.

Anybody can guesstimate a minimal speed for that to happen? The ball should at least hit the fence with some speed, perhaps enough to make it "stick" on the fence itself.

The size of the court is just a regular public kind, may be 15-20 ft between the base line and the fence?

The standard fence is 21 feet behind. The pro tourney fence is 26 feet behind. Many private courts are much smaller, like 10 feet behind.

sureshs
12-13-2009, 11:28 AM
For the standard fence, 80 mph is a good rule of thumb for the lower end of speeds for a correct serve to hit the fence.

Xenakis
12-13-2009, 11:47 AM
While I think being able to hit the back fence off one bounce is a good measure of serve speed in a very general way whether you are on a basic public court or a pro one, as discussed here there are too many factors to consider for it to be anything accurate (size of court, amount of spin, type of ball, type of court surface, altitude, weather, wind, and so on.)

If you don't have a radar gun, easier to video your serve and count the frames.

martini1
12-13-2009, 08:52 PM
The modern radar take peak speeds, which is the speed off of the racket face. I don't know of any tournament that is reading speed at the net.

Even my low-end radar gun (Sports Radar) looks for the peak speed. When the conditions are right, it will pick up the peak speed off the racket even if you are standing on the other side of the court.

That would be kind of odd cuz it won't explain why on TV they mentioned down the T serves are read faster than those going wide. Off the racket speed sure should be faster but since the ball flight path hasn't shown yet they should have the same speed regardless of the angle if struck in the same manner.

xFullCourtTenniSx
12-13-2009, 11:32 PM
ZPTennis measured his serve at 70 minimum to hit the back fence, IF the ball has one MASSIVE hop (namely a kick serve).

So for a flat serve, it's gotta be somewhere in the 80s-90s. This is assuming of course, that the serve has very little bounce to it (hovers around hip height at highest).