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View Full Version : Prince Exo3 tour100: Serve Specifics


mxmx
01-11-2012, 11:33 PM
I think i have seen more than enough people having problems with the flat serve of the Prince exo3 tour 100. So much so, that i think it may be worth discussing the only probable true weakness of this racket in order to find solutions.

1) Should one try to adjust ones technique for the flat serve compared to most frames?

2) Should one ad lead?

3) Should one resort to alternatives such as making spin serves, the main serves for this frame?

On a personal note: I probably serve more aces with spin serves, than with flat ones. Especially on the 2nd serve up the T from the duece side or the wide one sliced to the forehand on the 1st.

Orion3
01-11-2012, 11:46 PM
I think i have seen more than enough people having problems with the flat serve of the Prince exo3 tour 100. So much so, that i think it may be worth discussing the only probable true weakness of this racket in order to find solutions.

1) Should one try to adjust ones technique for the flat serve compared to most frames?

2) Should one ad lead?

3) Should one resort to alternatives such as making spin serves, the main serves for this frame?

On a personal note: I probably serve more aces with spin serves, than with flat ones. Especially on the 2nd serve up the T from the duece side or the wide one sliced to the forehand on the 1st.

Like a lot of people I had this problem when I first started playing with the 100 tour. At the time I was playing a full bed of poly. however, since switching the gut/poly hybrid I can hit flat, slice or kick serves as well (or better) than with any stick I ever owned.

Lead DOES make a difference. I've moved mine all to 12 and polarised the set up - toying with the idea of adding a small amount to the grip with my latest incarnation, but will give it another week or so before changing.

I have not had to change my techinque to hit flat serves and have a good deal of success hitting aces with slices out wide in the deuce court. The majority of my aces however, come from flat wide serves in the ad court.

mxmx
01-12-2012, 12:03 AM
Are you rather tall? I can never ace at that angle without adding a little spin except with my speedport black, the only racket i could ace flat with at all directions.

I have tried 6g total lead at 3 & 9 + 3g in the handle...but it compromises racket speed for me and i almost get tired a little more with the lead setup. I do seem to hit deeper and longer with the lead on the groundstrokes, but spin is easier to generate without the lead. I am still deciding if im going to keep the lead, or keep it stock, or maybe have both on two different frames for different scenarios.

With or without lead, i still kinda have the same problem on the flat serve.
Has anyone else had to adjust their game on the serve?

rlau
01-12-2012, 12:08 AM
With or without lead, i still kinda have the same problem on the flat serve.
Has anyone else had to adjust their game on the serve?

How many hours have you played with this frame? I think it just takes time to get dialled in. Once you have your confidence in your serve back, the pace on flat serves will come too.

Orion3
01-12-2012, 12:28 AM
Are you rather tall? I can never ace at that angle without adding a little spin except with my speedport black, the only racket i could ace flat with at all directions.

I have tried 6g total lead at 3 & 9 + 3g in the handle...but it compromises racket speed for me and i almost get tired a little more with the lead setup. I do seem to hit deeper and longer with the lead on the groundstrokes, but spin is easier to generate without the lead. I am still deciding if im going to keep the lead, or keep it stock, or maybe have both on two different frames for different scenarios.

With or without lead, i still kinda have the same problem on the flat serve.
Has anyone else had to adjust their game on the serve?

Tall?? I wish! I'm 5'7" :) Always had a big serve though - timing and mechanics. 45 next month and still hit 115mph on the radar gun at last years Wimbledon.

The gut mains and the lead have made the noticable difference to my servce pace with this racquet.

I think you are finding spin easier to generate without lead because you had the lead at 3&9 not at 12. This makes a big difference.

I've now found my 'golden' string set up and am nearly there with the lead. I'm hoping I can re-find my kicker this weekend with the increased lead at 12 as I'd love to keep this setup because of the groundies I am now hitting. If I can, I will be very happy with the access to power and spin it gives 'as and when' I want it.

Few questions:

1) When you are trying to hit flat serves (and failing) what type of ball are you actually hitting?
2) What grip do you use when serving?
3) Do you pronate/forearm twist when you serve?

mxmx
01-12-2012, 12:40 AM
I'm roughly estimating a total of 20-30 hours over a period of 3-4 weeks, most of which was at the coast. I seem to fare better at the coast even though I mostly play at high altitude.

mxmx
01-12-2012, 12:57 AM
Tall?? I wish! I'm 5'7" :) Always had a big serve though - timing and mechanics. 45 next month and still hit 115mph on the radar gun at last years Wimbledon.

The gut mains and the lead have made the noticable difference to my servce pace with this racquet.

I think you are finding spin easier to generate without lead because you had the lead at 3&9 not at 12. This makes a big difference.

I've now found my 'golden' string set up and am nearly there with the lead. I'm hoping I can re-find my kicker this weekend with the increased lead at 12 as I'd love to keep this setup because of the groundies I am now hitting. If I can, I will be very happy with the access to power and spin it gives 'as and when' I want it.

Few questions:

1) When you are trying to hit flat serves (and failing) what type of ball are you actually hitting?
2) What grip do you use when serving?
3) Do you pronate/forearm twist when you serve?

You seem to be quite experienced when i look at some of the things you say.

1) I vary my serve a lot to keep my opponents guessing. I normally attack with flatter serves, and defend using kick serves. Chances are that i would go for the ace more on the duece side, than on the advantage side. I can afford to risk more with my first serve because my second kick serve is my most consistent stroke of my game. When i go for an ace on the first serve, it is most likely up the T on either side....or a flattish wide to the forehand on the duece side. I hardly ever try to ace flat to the ad side due to net clearance.
When do my flat serves fail? They either go long, or hit the net. Direction is something im better at than depth.

2) I use the continental grip with flat serves, even though i can also use a backhand grip to do the same. I can serve kick serves with either continental or backhand grip or alternations inbetween to create variations. To serve the Federer type first serve, I use a continental grip. For defencive or attacking kick serves, i use a backhand grip. When there is no risk, i sometimes use a continental grip for a more skidlike kickserve for the 2nd serve instead of my normal backhand grip.

3) I pronate yes. I try to contact the ball at the highest point, pronating only after contact. I have noted that having a leading edge with the frame in a L shape, sometimes helps a bit more. I also try and land on my left leg, which is sometimes a bit harder due to a weaker knee than my right one. I also try and have the racket end its follow trough to my side, instead of to my front.

Orion3
01-12-2012, 01:32 AM
You seem to be quite experienced when i look at some of the things you say.

1) I vary my serve a lot to keep my opponents guessing. I normally attack with flatter serves, and defend using kick serves. Chances are that i would go for the ace more on the duece side, than on the advantage side. I can afford to risk more with my first serve because my second kick serve is my most consistent stroke of my game. When i go for an ace on the first serve, it is most likely up the T on either side....or a flattish wide to the forehand on the duece side. I hardly ever try to ace flat to the ad side due to net clearance.

2) I use the continental grip with flat serves, even though i can also use a backhand grip to do the same. I can serve kick serves with either continental or backhand grip or alternations inbetween to create variations. To serve the Federer type first serve, I use a continental grip. For defencive or attacking kick serves, i use a backhand grip. When there is no risk, i sometimes use a continental grip for a more skidlike kickserve for the 2nd serve instead of my normal backhand grip.

3) I pronate yes. I try to contact the ball at the highest point, pronating only after contact. I have noted that having a leading edge with the frame in a L shape, sometimes helps a bit more. I also try and land on my left leg, which is sometimes a bit harder due to a weaker knee than my right one. I also try and have the racket end its follow trough to my side, instead of to my front.

Experienced!! Old more like :) feel that way today! 30 years ago I was a very good player, nowdays I just play for fun, fittness and a little bit of competition.

From your answers, it sounds like you have everything pretty much in order with your serve...except hitting the flat ball :-?

I am guessing now - but my assumption is you are ending up hitting sliced serves when you go for a big flat one. It may be that you are pronating at little late (as you would for a kick serve) this means the racquet face is slightly open when you contact the ball instead of dead flat - consequence would be that you impart spin instead of hitting a flat serve.

Every serve has some spin (to a varying degree) and the more angled the face at impact, the more spin is imparted. If you pronate too early you will end up firing wide or shanking the ball, get it right - powerful flat serve or if you are late you will slice it.

It could be any number of things - but again I'm assuming that you don't have the same issue with other racquets. Serve mechanics etc all contribute, but ultimately it is down the the swing path and the racquet face at impact. With the greatest motion in the world, if the strings are facing the wrong way when they contact the ball, you are never going to get the result you are hoping for!


What I would say is that the tour 100 is very spinny! the ports allow the strings to really move and snap back and if you have a 16x18, the open string pattern increases this even more so. Some lead at 12 will polarise the racquet and allow it to twist more - this will give you access to more spin but may also allow you to pronate earlier. It will make the racquet feel heavier (more so than at 3&9) make it more unstable and more prone to twisting - but I personally like this.

Hope this helps

mxmx
01-12-2012, 02:00 AM
Sorry, but i must have explained myself a little unclear. I am basically completely certain that i do hit flat when i aim to hit flat (excusing minute spin of course - as youve mentioned that all serves have some spin)

My problem is that i struggle to clear the net when i want power....and when i do go for power, it goes long. It almost feels like pure chance that when i clear the net by the slightest of margins, that my serves are very deep to long.

My toss up is slightly in front...trying to lead with the hip...i try to jump semi upward to forward...but yesterday on some serves, ive noticed that a higher toss up helps "at times" for the flat serves to fall in. But this will be a total giveaway on disguise on my serves....as one ideally would like to have the general same toss up for disguise. Also, a lower toss up seems to give the returner less time to react to.

My feeling is that my problem lies with the height i contact the ball at, in relation to my upward to jump motion.

Also, I don't know wether this is worth mentioning:
With my high paced flat serves that actually fall in, they really seem to skid low with this racket, and extremely low at the coast. My serves seem to be similar pace to some other people ive seen on video and real life, except that some of theirs tend to hit the fence higher. Even if i serve faster than some at my club, they seem to skid through more, and theirs seem to hit the fence higher. Is this due to me being shorter than them? Or could it be that I am not contacting the ball high enough?

Orion3
01-12-2012, 02:22 AM
My problem is that i struggle to clear the net when i want power....and when i do go for power, it goes long. It almost feels like pure chance that when i clear the net by the slightest of margins, that my serves are very deep to long.

My toss up is slightly in front...trying to lead with the hip...i try to jump semi upward to forward...but yesterday on some serves, ive noticed that a higher toss up helps "at times" for the flat serves to fall in. But this will be a total giveaway on disguise on my serves....as one ideally would like to have the general same toss up for disguise. Also, a lower toss up seems to give the returner less time to react to.

My feeling is that my problem lies with the height i contact the ball at, in relation to my upward to jump motion.

Also, I don't know wether this is worth mentioning:
With my high paced flat serves that actually fall in, they really seem to skid low with this racket, and extremely low at the coast. My serves seem to be similar pace to some other people ive seen on video and real life, except that some of theirs tend to hit the fence higher. Even if i serve faster than some at my club, they seem to skid through more, and theirs seem to hit the fence higher. Is this due to me being shorter than them? Or could it be that I am not contacting the ball high enough?

What you describe, sounds to me less of a racquet question.

Think you may have hit the nail on the head. Hitting underspin/skidding - you may be tossing the ball too far forward and contacting it too low.
Low contact changes the angle of attack and hitting into the net/or long is a direct consequence.

Hitting the fence at different heights is a factor of speed, spin and angle - the later is mainly down to impact height.. altitude will make a difference too! Not a lot short people like me can do about this but on a flat first serve (speed being equal) a lower ball can give your opponent less time to react.

Hit different serves with the same ball toss - a higher toss in itself will not make you lose disguise, its location will do. The only solution to this one is practice. Just a thought, but with a high toss (if you are impacting at the same height) you may be inadvertantly imparting some topspin onto the serve which will help drag 'otherwise' long serves into play.

Hope this helps

mxmx
01-12-2012, 02:41 AM
Thanks...i think some of the things are making more sense now. I now have some options to try at least...and the contact point is starting to sound like my problem. I just wonder now why i did not have the same problem with the speedport black. Maybe the tour is causing me to overcompensate without realising...

Orion3
01-12-2012, 02:56 AM
The tour is more headlight than the Speedport so you may be swinging faster and this may have caused you to lose your old rhythm.

The tour is also lower powered than the black, so you may be unconsciously trying to hit harder to make up for the drop.

Suggest you look again at your ball toss and position and try and moderate the speed of your swing until you get it grooved. As rlau (above) says, most people need time to gel with this frame, but once you do…

If you are after more power without wanting to swing harder, suggest you look at your strings and maybe some lead (again).

mxmx
01-12-2012, 04:13 AM
yes....i agree...i think working on timing will be more benificial than lead would be for me....I also may incorporate the Federer type serve more into my game. (if you know what i mean by that...ie, not really slice, but moderate kick with pace, using continental instead of the backhand grip).
This kind of serve was really an exception in my game, yet effective. The flat serve should however still be part of my game...

Orion3
01-12-2012, 05:35 AM
yes....i agree...i think working on timing will be more benificial than lead would be for me....I also may incorporate the Federer type serve more into my game. (if you know what i mean by that...ie, not really slice, but moderate kick with pace, using continental instead of the backhand grip).
This kind of serve was really an exception in my game, yet effective. The flat serve should however still be part of my game...

Just a thought - but what strings/setup are you currently using?

I was playing full poly but even at very low tensions my elbow eventually said 'no'. I've since switched to a gut main/poly cross hybrid. The additional pace I gained on flat serves was really pleasing; no extra effort and very controllable. It took a couple of weeks to get used to but now I don't think I'd change back, even if my elbow would allow it.

tennismonkey
01-12-2012, 05:49 AM
serve technique issues aside. i struggled to find pop on flat serves too. lead at 3 and 9 (2 grams at each spot) really helped stabilize on groundies. but i still lacked pop on serves. 2 grams at 12 made all the difference for me. YMMV.

mxmx
01-12-2012, 05:52 AM
Just a thought - but what strings/setup are you currently using?

I was playing full poly but even at very low tensions my elbow eventually said 'no'. I've since switched to a gut main/poly cross hybrid. The additional pace I gained on flat serves was really pleasing; no extra effort and very controllable. It took a couple of weeks to get used to but now I don't think I'd change back, even if my elbow would allow it.

Currently and normally, i play full poly with pro blend tour, which i consider to be quite a responsive and durable poly. Strung at 55...and sometimes up to 60 in the past. When my strings wear a lot, i use wilson string savers.

Why exactly is gut main/poly cross hybrid more powerful in theory?
And when you speak of gut, im guessing synthetic gut?

Whats your take on pro blend like strings? Like Ashaway?

ps. Thanks for all your interest and feedback :)

mxmx
01-12-2012, 06:01 AM
serve technique issues aside. i struggled to find pop on flat serves too. lead at 3 and 9 (2 grams at each spot) really helped stabilize on groundies. but i still lacked pop on serves. 2 grams at 12 made all the difference for me. YMMV.

Maybe i should consider taking off the lead at 3 & 9, as it feels too heavy for me anyways. And just try 3g at 12...I don't have a problem with groundstrokes as much on leaded or unleaded setups...even though they feel quite different than stock does. For some strange reason, i kind of like the instability of this racket. But speaking of groundstrokes, i find it very hard to decide wether i like it with or without lead. With lead, it has more depth and solidness....but without lead, i definately almost have more control because my swing path is easier to achieve and i can generate spin more to create control in such a way.

Arrghhhh....this racket is like a good looking woman. Great advantages, but difficult.

Rabbit
01-12-2012, 07:44 AM
i'm using the tour team. Coming off a heavier racquet, I have rediscovered the perks of swinging at the ball! Since then, and with some practice, I am once again clocking the ball on serves. I also changed my string setup from poly/multi to gut/poly. That seems to be adding some extra oomph.

tennismonkey
01-12-2012, 07:55 AM
i tried just lead at 12 too. from 1 to 3 grams total. it makes flat serves better but on groundies - i still experienced that flutter and twisting on groundies. for me i needed that combination of lead at 3,9 and 12. i haven't tried lead at 10 and 2 yet. and i think one poster said his best setup is one long lead strip from 10 all the way to 2.

i got more pop on serves with full multi's like maxim touch and genesis explosiv. quite a bit more pace actually. but on groundies both of these were rocket launchers with not enough spin to keep it in the green.

mxmx
01-12-2012, 09:49 PM
Somehow, i don't mind the twisting of the frame on the groundies. I think its possible that the twist on serve, which i can feel is there, kind of absorbs the energy. So as one would have more control on the groundies due to absorbtion (which allows full strokes), the same could be said for the serve. One could imagine though, that as one has some power loss on the groundies, the same would happen on the serve.

Now only imagine a racket with flex on groundies, and firmness on serve and vice versa :P

Orion3
01-13-2012, 01:27 AM
Currently and normally, i play full poly with pro blend tour, which i consider to be quite a responsive and durable poly. Strung at 55...and sometimes up to 60 in the past. When my strings wear a lot, i use wilson string savers.

Why exactly is gut main/poly cross hybrid more powerful in theory?
And when you speak of gut, im guessing synthetic gut?

Whats your take on pro blend like strings? Like Ashaway?

ps. Thanks for all your interest and feedback :)

Assuming you want to stay with a fully bed of poly, have you thought about dropping the tensions? It will increase the power (but not by much). Fo a while I was playing a full bed of BHBR at 38lb. Great control and not overly powerful compared to 50lb+

Me - play VS gut mains and currently playing MSV Co-focus as a cross. The natural gut gives the power boost and the poly crosses seem to give excellent contol. Fantastic combination for me.

Gut is expensive, but I've been using of babolat elastocross stringsavers (all around the sweetspot. Averaging 20+ hours from the gut mains and cutting out/changing the poly crosses every 5-7hours.

Highly recommend that you only use babolat elastocrosses - the wilson ones are awful. They DO save the string but don't let the main strings slide (the elastocrosses have groves). Probably a bit more expensive, but the difference in playability is very noticable AND it saves a huge amount of /$ on gut.

I haven't played with synth gut for a while; don't think I ever will again. The Gut/poly hybrid is simply the best setup I've ever played with. I do miss the extra spin from poly but the around setup gives me very good access to spin, power and control.

tennismonkey
01-13-2012, 05:23 AM
orion - you're the second person in a week who tells me he only cuts out either the mains or crosses while keeping the other one in there.

does anyone know if this is safe? recommended? pros and cons?

Orion3
01-13-2012, 10:06 AM
As long as the racquet head is clamped when the crosses are cut out. Wouldn't recommend cutting out the mains though. When you string a racquet it is always mains first.