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View Full Version : I do everything right on my serve, but where is the power?


Classic
03-01-2004, 03:23 PM
I am a 13 year old using:

Wilson Tour 90
3 grams of lead in the throat
Babolat Pro Hurricane String-Switching to a softer one when they brake
Strung at 53-To get used to weight and low power

I am seriously not too muscular(exept my legs) and weigh at 130 lbs.
My height is about 5 foot 3 inches

On my serve I use a platform stance and a good knee bend. I throw my body weight into the serve and end up about a foot or two away from the baseline after I jump into it. I put some spin on my first and a bunch on my second, but for some reason my power from my serve seems kinda low to me. What can I do to add more power to it?

Stitch626
03-01-2004, 04:41 PM
I think it may be the racket. It is very heavy and maybe you aren't gettin enough head speed. Another thing is maybe you aren't hitting the sweetspot consistantly. It's headsize after all is only 90.

Bungalo Bill
03-01-2004, 05:08 PM
This is really hard to tell since we cant see you hit a serve. Your shoulder rotation could be poor. A knee bend without understanding what the purposes of a knee bend is for can actually diminish your power on the serve. So can jumping. there is a huge difference between jumpng and getting pulled off the ground from good technique.

The knee bend comes from the hips. It is an extension of a good hip stretch which allows the upper body to coil the shoulders. When your body is ready to uncoil, the hip stretch acts as sort of a pole vaulters pole. Ready to send the energy up to your racquet head.

Here is how it sort of works, the hips stretch forcing a natural knee bend, the upper body coils around the the hips forcing the muscles of the stomach to tighten or store energy. The hips and stomach release sending your energy upward as the shoulders rotate to make impact as the arm straightens. You arm is loose and sort of "whips" up at the ball, the weight of the racquet at impact forces the loose wrist down (or you can add a little force to this depending on what feels right on this).

One thing must happen to accelerate the arm. You must curl or move the non-hitting arm within your body and not dangle it away from your body. You can see many many photos on this from the pros, notice where the non-dominant arm is, this is huge.

There are things that can go wrong. You can have a good hip stretch, knee bend, loose elbow and wrist but if you tighten the shoulder thinking your going to accelerate the arm you will short circuit the energy. Keep loose throughout the entire motion. It will feel weird at first.

The other thing is making a consistant toss so you can make a consistant hit on the sweetspot of the racquet with an outstretched arm.

Japanese Maple
03-02-2004, 05:50 AM
Classic-for your age,height, and weight and your claim that your not real strong yet which is understandable since your still growing,I definitely feel part of the problem is the heavy tour 90
racquet-who recommended this racquet to you? The weight of the average males pro racquet is 360-365 grams(approx. 13oz.)
and I believe the tour 90 is 12.7 oz. You may be better served going to a lighter racquet not only for your serve but all your strokes. Overall, Bungalo Bills comment are excellent and could serve you well. The only thing I disagree with is as you learn to
coil your upper body,core, and shoulders, if done properly you will feel noticable tension/stretch in not only your abs but also throughout your back,chest, and shoulders. Remember, if you do
not feel tension in these areas you are not utilizing the body part
as part of the loading/coiling phase during the serve. For further
in-depth analysis of improving your serve read the comments in the old message board under tennis tips-Serve video,tear it apart.
Good Luck!

Bungalo Bill
03-02-2004, 09:45 AM
If I were you classic, i would start out with feeling the stretch in the stomach area first. Then as you get used to a new motion/sensation move on to the next. Also, get good information that you can see and analyze yourself. This board is a limited medium for analysis. Get the video Sonic Serve and study that. Pat Dougherty did some excellent work on that video.

Most good intentioned tennis tips are taken from the position that we are all on tour and should be hitting like a tour player. This can lead to injuries and also frustration. Developing a good serve takes time. It starts first by retraining your muscles to fire at different times.

Practice what I said above, I guarantee you will find the other things by staying loose and fluid throughout the motion. Dont overload the brain with trying to figure out which muscles are stretching and which ones arent. When you think to much about how tight or stretched certain muscles should be and when, you will lose focus on your purpose and that is to make clean contact with the ball while generating your motion upward.

Too much information can paralyze your performance.

Japanese Maple
03-02-2004, 08:55 PM
Classic-don't be intimidated by too much information about the serve. I am a big advocate about being exposed to as much information as possible and trying everthing to see what clicks for you. Most tennis teachers are used to only giving you a few bits of information and drilling you to death while they keep you coming back every week paying big bucks! I believe its better to be exposed to everything and see what works for you naturally-areas
that you have more difficulty with you can always go back and work further with a tennis pro. Whatever tennis information is being disseminated to the pros I definitely want access to and try to incorporate the techniques and knowlege to my game-I would never sell yourself short as to what you can accomplish as a tennis player-Good Luck!

Mush Mouth
03-03-2004, 01:32 PM
I dont think BB was saying that at all. Japanese you take things way to personal always out of context and it looks like you have it out for BB. Over the years, BB has provided a ton of tennis information. Never once did he ask to be paid. Plus, I dont think he was saying that you shouldnt get information about a stroke as he has always recommended books, and videos for futher study as he did above. I agree with BB that when you are actually performing the stroke you should focus on some key things and not too much and as you progress you can begin incorporating other aspects. You are really a negative contributor on this board, you are not supportive and the only thing you have brought to this board is indifference and lack of teamwork based on your personal views. Sounds like maybe Pittsburgh tennis pros kinda burned you on lessons. Or maybe your just not a good student and always complained. By the way, are you a teaching pro? I hope not because you would fail miserably. If your not, why dont you just be quiet with your personal gripes and put your two cents in. Your not worth listening to.

Bungalo Bill
03-03-2004, 01:37 PM
Hey thanks Mush,

Yeah i get the feeling Japanese is doing the same thing. No worries.

jun
03-03-2004, 05:16 PM
Sometimes too much info can be overwhelming.
You've got to stand up before you walk. You gotta walk before you run... You gotta run before you fly....I mean...

Anyways, it's not good to give tennis player too much info at once.

You have to add one thing after another. You can teach serve by saying, "Ok, you bring the racket back up, bend your knees, keep your tossing arm up as well as your head, go up for the ball, pronate, and swing through the ball. Oh remember to stay loose" That's too much info right there. Whether it's strategically or technically.

vin
03-04-2004, 08:15 AM
Classic,

Being the author of the serve thread referenced by Japanese, I second the recommendation for the Sonic Serve video. I received a lot of great advice on that thread, but this video really simplified everything for me and I took from it 3 main things that I consider most important for me to practice.

1. Executing a proper hip stretch and maintaining it. It's easy to get into the hip stretch position, but maintaining it to the point where the forward weight of your hips are pulling your upper body through the swing can be a different story. This is it's purpose and where it is most important.

2. Tossing arm and chest stretched. It's not enough to keep your tossing arm up in the air, it has to be in a position that results in your chest being stretched. When you initiate your shoulder rotation with your tossing arm from this position, it is most efficient because there is no slack for your arm to move without causing your shoulders to rotate. If you're a baseball player, go through your throwing motion and you'll probably notice yourself doing this.

3. Hitting the ball at the end of the power curve. This means taking a swing that goes up and behind the ball rather than right at it so that you are hitting the ball at the point of highest racquet speed. This is fairly common knowledge, but I find it easy to fall out of the habit of doing it. Natural instinct tells you to swing right at the ball.

These three things may not sound so simple now, but I bet they will after watching the video. There's more to the video than this, but these are the things that I found most helpful in my search for more power. $30 very well spent.

Good luck!

Vin

Japanese Maple
03-04-2004, 09:17 AM
Classic,

Just to clarify a few points from my eariler message so there is no
confusion about improving your serve/game. I am a huge advocate
of an avid tennis player who wants to improve to spend the money and take lessons from a quality tennis teacher if you want to reach
your full potential and get maximum enjoyment from the game.
Depending on your present skill level, athlectism, and how easily
you pick new ideas and concepts up should dictate how you
approach your lessons and growth as a tennis player. I do believe
that if your ability allows you to progress more quickly than others
it can be advantageous to be exposed to more information sooner
to see what you pick-up and learn easily. However, you should
only focus on 1-3 things at a time to develop the muscle memory
and feel to make it your own. You must also be comfortable
being uncomfortable while you go through this learning process
on a new stroke or concept that you wish to add to your game.
When you make changes, your game at first will temporarily get
worse before it improves and you must be comfortable with this
reality knowing your game could greatly improve once the new
technique is learned. Most people do not have the courage and
faith to take two steps back and play temporarily worse to take
five steps forward and this is why they never improve. It takes
guts, courage, and faith to make changes and a good teaching
pro can accelerate this process one step at a time. Good Luck!

vinouspleasure
03-06-2004, 03:14 PM
I've been working on velocity too. The hardest thing for me is that I have to relax more to hit harder. This is almost a zen thing. In practice I can zip it but It's particularly hard to relax during match play.