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scotus
09-03-2006, 12:57 PM
Benjamin Becker is about the same height as Agassi, but his serve had much more juice on it. So how does he do it?

Well, rather than saying it's technique or racquet head speed, it would help me if you get into the specifics. For example, what could Agassi change in his technique in order to get his serve up to the speed of Becker's serve?

drakulie
09-03-2006, 12:58 PM
Swing faster. It really is that simple.

scotus
09-03-2006, 01:29 PM
Swing faster. It really is that simple.

Okay, that was very helpful. Next please.

kchau
09-03-2006, 01:30 PM
he wasnt in pain..

grizzly4life
09-03-2006, 01:34 PM
i don't think agassi is going for max velocity on his serve. i think he spins it alot more..

becker seemed to have a very relaxed, fluid way about him.. that will help with service speed.

Verbal_Kint
09-03-2006, 01:36 PM
Less spin = more heat. Andre used his serve to set up points, Becker to win points.

tennis-all-year
09-03-2006, 02:05 PM
One word explains his fast serve: rhythm.
Detail: Rhythm enables him to generate more power from ground and up (upward thrust and rotational power). That power enables high racquet speed.
(see my blog.)

thebosher
09-03-2006, 03:26 PM
He uses his legs to get all that power he builds up his calfs and thighs, it comes all from his legs, same with Rodicks power

Hondasteve
09-03-2006, 05:18 PM
Some guys can just spank it. I don't think it is something that you can necesarily teach or learn, rather it is a more intangibe thing that is commonly referred to as the kinetic chain.

I believe this is what thebosher is referring to above. Getting your whole body from feet to racquet tip in to the stroke in a way that fafcilitates maximum racquet velocity.

I hope that the epiphany will hit me soon during one of my practice sessions so my serves will catpult into the 120+ category.:D

stormholloway
09-03-2006, 05:40 PM
He uses his legs to get all that power he builds up his calfs and thighs, it comes all from his legs, same with Rodicks power

I completely disagree. There was an article in Tennis Magazine about the myth that the legs generate the power on serve. It's minimal. The racquet travels quickly from shoulder rotation and wrist snap. This is where the power comes from.

jimiforpres
09-03-2006, 07:11 PM
Quote:
Originally Posted by thebosher
He uses his legs to get all that power he builds up his calfs and thighs, it comes all from his legs, same with Rodicks power

I completely disagree. There was an article in Tennis Magazine about the myth that the legs generate the power on serve. It's minimal. The racquet travels quickly from shoulder rotation and wrist snap. This is where the power comes from.

This sounds right. Most of the power is generated from the arm on the serve. There are guys in wheelchairs that can serve 110 mph and they only use arm AND have a serious height disadvantage.

ATXtennisaddict
09-03-2006, 07:15 PM
This sounds right. Most of the power is generated from the arm on the serve. There are guys in wheelchairs that can serve 110 mph and they only use arm AND have a serious height disadvantage.

did u just make that figure up? :rolleyes:

MasterTS
09-03-2006, 07:29 PM
Agassi isnt a big serve, simple as that.. Just because you have two guys the same height doesn't mean they should serve the same.. its about technique and what they're doing, how flexible they are, how fast their arms rotate etc.

Becker simply has a faster swing and service motion. Besides Grosjean is shorter then Agassi and can pop the ball with a lot more pace. Same with Bracialli.

scotus
09-03-2006, 08:17 PM
i don't think agassi is going for max velocity on his serve. i think he spins it alot more..

becker seemed to have a very relaxed, fluid way about him.. that will help with service speed.

Well, even if Agassi goes for maximum speed, Becker can out serve him by around 15 mph.

But you are right about Becker looking more relaxed and fluid. How one can achieve that motion and speed is what I would like to know.

supersmash
09-03-2006, 09:23 PM
I guess some people are naturally big servers.

oray777
09-03-2006, 10:11 PM
Why have a big serve if it can be returned like Agassi did? I think better ball placement and slice is better.

BreakPoint
09-03-2006, 10:38 PM
Benjamin Becker is about the same height as Agassi, but his serve had much more juice on it. So how does he do it?

Well, rather than saying it's technique or racquet head speed, it would help me if you get into the specifics. For example, what could Agassi change in his technique in order to get his serve up to the speed of Becker's serve?

Actually, Ben Becker is an inch shorter than Agassi at only 5'10".

Power in the serve comes from your motion, where you toss the ball, the weight, balance, length, and power of your racquet, and your strings and tension.

maverick1
09-04-2006, 03:01 AM
This sounds right. Most of the power is generated from the arm on the serve. There are guys in wheelchairs that can serve 110 mph and they only use arm AND have a serious height disadvantage.

Is this figure of 110 mph authentic?
I would also like to see the article stormholloway is referring to.

Legs are acknowledged to be the main source of power in the serve as well as hitting/pitching/throwing a baseball, shooting a basketball from more than 20 feet...

My first thought about the OP's question was that Becker must have stronger, bigger legs than Agassi.

mona999
09-04-2006, 06:21 AM
Hmmmm... I really dont think it can be the legs. Look at the size of the Williams sisters legs, and the thunder thighs that tons of other female athletes have. Most have quads that are bigger than a lot of male tennis players, and yet they cant serve nearly as hard. Even though their legs are not AS lean as the male players and have a bit of fat mixed in, some do pack on a lot of muscle - enough to create a solid base and provide a lot of power...but this is not sufficient to generate a huge serve.

alan-n
09-04-2006, 06:33 AM
Some things people can do that others will never be able to.

You can talk about his knee bend, his swing and toss all you want, among pros its just your typical solid motion.

Some pros hit through the contact point cleaner ( = taking the racquet face along a single plane for a greater distance). At a faster swing speed than others.

a few MPH of extra swing speed makes a big difference in MPH of serve speed assuming you hit the ball as cleanly as you can.

fx101
09-04-2006, 06:35 AM
The legs serve to help the arms transfer power to the racquet and the ball, they themselves only serve to transfer power not create it.

jasonbourne
09-04-2006, 11:59 AM
The legs serve to help the arms transfer power to the racquet and the ball, they themselves only serve to transfer power not create it.

In addition to the snap of the wrist, this is exactly what John McEnroe said in comparing Roddick's and Becker's serve just a minute ago. Power is generated from the legs mainly.

stormholloway
09-04-2006, 12:05 PM
The legs serve to help the arms transfer power to the racquet and the ball, they themselves only serve to transfer power not create it.

I agree completely here. It's not so black or white. I heard what Mac just said as well and think it's really a half-truth. The legs help set the arm and wrist in motion, but the arm and wrist can be set in motion quite easily without the legs. There's a player on tour, though I forgot his name, who barely bends his legs at all and he still hit a good serve. He was criticized for not bending his knees but it didn't seem to make that big of a difference. It looks funny that's all.

The legs simply make it easier to generate arm and wrist rotation, but are not responsible for the power.

jasonbourne
09-04-2006, 12:05 PM
Hmmmm... I really dont think it can be the legs. Look at the size of the Williams sisters legs, and the thunder thighs that tons of other female athletes have. Most have quads that are bigger than a lot of male tennis players, and yet they cant serve nearly as hard. Even though their legs are not AS lean as the male players and have a bit of fat mixed in, some do pack on a lot of muscle - enough to create a solid base and provide a lot of power...but this is not sufficient to generate a huge serve.

The legs of the women in WTA you're referring to is more like a NFL linebacker (ie William Perry). Whereas the men in ATP have legs more like an NBA guard (ie Michael Jordan). Different type of power.

jasonbourne
09-04-2006, 12:09 PM
I agree completely here. It's not so black or white. I heard what Mac just said as well and think it's really a half-truth. The legs help set the arm and wrist in motion, but the arm and wrist can be set in motion quite easily without the legs. There's a player on tour, though I forgot his name, who barely bends his legs at all and he still hit a good serve. He was criticized for not bending his knees but it didn't seem to make that big of a difference. It looks funny that's all.

The legs simply make it easier to generate arm and wrist rotation, but are not responsible for the power.

I think I know of the (tall european) tour player you're referring to. McEnroe also commented about that player during a match he was in. McEnroe mentioned the player's serve would have been more powerful, effective and consistent over the course of the match.

maverick1
09-04-2006, 12:30 PM
Hmmmm... I really dont think it can be the legs. Look at the size of the Williams sisters legs, and the thunder thighs that tons of other female athletes have. Most have quads that are bigger than a lot of male tennis players, and yet they cant serve nearly as hard. Even though their legs are not AS lean as the male players and have a bit of fat mixed in, some do pack on a lot of muscle - enough to create a solid base and provide a lot of power...but this is not sufficient to generate a huge serve.

I think the women's serve speed support the argument that the power mostly comes from the legs. I believe the record for WTA is about 135mph and I have seen Venus serve 126mph. A lot of ATP players would be satisfied with those numbers.

It is well known that women's upper body strength is a lot lower than men's but their leg strength is comparable to that of men.

Muscle size is not that good a predictor of strength. There are fast twitch and slow twitch muscle fibres, whose ratio is genetically determined. The former are responsible for strength and explosive movements. The slow twitch muscles enable endurance.
Michael Jordan had skinny legs and yet they could launch his 210 lb(95 kg) body about 4 feet in the air. There are guys with leg muscles twice the size of his who can't elevate 2 feet.

stormholloway
09-04-2006, 12:40 PM
It is well known that women's upper body strength is a lot lower than men's but their leg strength is comparable to that of men.

Muscle size is not that good a predictor of strength. There are fast twitch and slow twitch muscle fibres, whose ratio is genetically determined. The former are responsible for strength and explosive movements. The slow twitch muscles enable endurance.

I say it's the arm and wrist that create power but muscle size and even strength are less responsible than rhythm and timing. The wrist snap must be timed properly to accomodate the shoulder rotation. I think timing is more important than strength.

Also, don't forget the core's role in generating power. I feel the core is more important than the legs. I think people say it's the legs because they are the first to get involved once the ball is in the air.

TennsDog
09-04-2006, 12:44 PM
While legs do not directly translate into power, they do allow the rest of the body to do what helps get power. You won't see anyone hitting powerful serves who don't have good use of legs. No knee bend = no weight shift, no upward thrust (which leads to the whip-like action), and no natural rhythm (which helps in consistency).

I don't know how many people here are bowlers, but I have a bowling analogy. When bowlers release at the end of the approach, they are only moving at about 4-5 mph and throw the ball upwards of 25 mph. When they do trick shots and only take a one step approach, they are moving at about 2-3 mph, but they struggle to get the ball moving 20 mph. This loss of ball speed does not come from the loss of speed on the approach, but not having that proper set up does lead to less ball speed. It's the same kind of thing with the knee bend in serving.

I also disagree that height really has anything to do with serve speed. The only thing height changes is how much spin is needed for a serve of a certain speed to go in. Anyone can hit a flat serve, anyone can hit a topspin serve, and anyone can hit a serve 130 if they have the right mechanics and strength. Height is not a factor in shear service speed.

So to answer the OP, why does Becker serve faster than Agassi. The answer really is because he swings the racket faster, but before that, you get to the fact that he has faster racket head acceleration. Agassi has a longer backswing and has a smoother, less violent forward acceleration. This produces a slower racket head speed going into contact. Becker has a short motion that forces him to more quickly accelerate the racket head, thus producing a faster serve. Hope this helps.

mona999
09-04-2006, 01:34 PM
Here is a cool little video on hitting a faster serve:

http://www.thetennischannel.com/instruction/serve.aspx#

drakulie
09-04-2006, 01:56 PM
There's a player on tour, though I forgot his name, who barely bends his legs at all and he still hit a good serve. He was criticized for not bending his knees but it didn't seem to make that big of a difference. It looks funny that's all.

The legs simply make it easier to generate arm and wrist rotation, but are not responsible for the power.

I think you are talking about Scehn Schalken (not sure if I spelled that correctly).

TylerWeekes
09-04-2006, 02:02 PM
I think this question should be answered by talking about fundamentals of the serve. Between 10-20 % of service power comes from the legs. Todd Ellenbecker did a helpful study showing that although legs are NOT the primary contributer to service speed, between 20 and 30 degrees of flexion from the knees can reduce the load on the shoulder greatly. Now external rotation and internal rotation coupled with upper body rotation, are the primary contributors to service speed ( Bruce Elliot ). Next you have forearm pronation which can supply tremendous power at the end of the serve.

Check out this link to see sceintific data on the working parts of the serve: http://coachesinfo.com/category/tennis/202/

sureshs
09-04-2006, 02:25 PM
I completely disagree. There was an article in Tennis Magazine about the myth that the legs generate the power on serve. It's minimal. The racquet travels quickly from shoulder rotation and wrist snap. This is where the power comes from.

I read that article too. And today JMac says on TV that most of Becker's power came from his legs. Don't know who to believe.

TylerWeekes
09-04-2006, 02:51 PM
I read that article too. And today JMac says on TV that most of Becker's power came from his legs. Don't know who to believe.

But the question is where is the proof for Jmac's statement? He never provides proof for what he comments on in the field of biomechanics. The link shows i provided proof.

Trust me I love Johnny Mac, I just need to have some proof, all the proof points toward external to internal rotational principles, as well as forearm pronation being the biggest contributers.

-Tyler:D

skuludo
09-04-2006, 02:53 PM
ZPTennis walks through his serve and can generate this much power. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M5gLYogcZIE

I've also seen some one just stand straight up and hit their serve which is faster than ZPTennis. The ball looks like it is warping in the air.

TennsDog
09-04-2006, 02:59 PM
ZPTennis walks through his serve and can generate this much power. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M5gLYogcZIE

I've also seen some one just stand straight up and hit their serve which is faster than ZPTennis.The ball looks like it is warping in the air.
That's because a heavy shot (i.e. lots of pace and spin) does deform the ball into more of an ovular, egg kind of shape.

BreakPoint
09-04-2006, 03:12 PM
I also disagree that height really has anything to do with serve speed. The only thing height changes is how much spin is needed for a serve of a certain speed to go in. Anyone can hit a flat serve, anyone can hit a topspin serve, and anyone can hit a serve 130 if they have the right mechanics and strength. Height is not a factor in shear service speed.


Of course, height makes a difference. Tall people can hit DOWN on the ball, whereas, short people cannot. It's simple geometry. If someone who is 5 feet tall tries to hit a 150mph flat serve, the angle he is forced to hit it at to clear the net would cause the ball to sail long at that high speed before gravity can take over and allow that ball to drop inside the service box. Sure, he can hit the serve at 150mph, but they won't be in since they would land closer to the baseline than the service line.

However, someone who is 7 feet tall can hit at an angle that more down into the service box which depends less on gravity to pull the ball down. Thus, they can hit a 150mph flat serve that actually lands inside the service box.

Think of triangles with length of one side being the height of the player and the court forming a right angle with the length of that side being the distance from the player to the service line and the hypotnuse being the trajectory of the ball. With the shorter player, he would have to serve slow enough to allow gravity to pull the ball down inside the box before it can go long. A really fast flat serve would travel nearly parallel to the court surface and sail past the service line since he's unable to hit at a more down angle to still clear the net and land inside the box.

Roforot
09-04-2006, 03:12 PM
But the question is where is the proof for Jmac's statement? He never provides proof for what he comments on in the field of biomechanics. The link shows i provided proof.

Trust me I love Johnny Mac, I just need to have some proof, all the proof points toward external to internal rotational principles, as well as forearm pronation being the biggest contributers.

-Tyler:D
You must have missed the ceremony where JMac got his honorary Doctorate in Biomechanics from Harvard along w/ Tom Cruise who received his degree in Psychology :) Boy that was a great commencement speech!

TylerWeekes
09-04-2006, 03:38 PM
Of course, height makes a difference. Tall people can hit DOWN on the ball, whereas, short people cannot. It's simple geometry. If someone who is 5 feet tall tries to hit a 150mph flat serve, the angle he is forced to hit it at to clear the net would cause the ball to sail long at that high speed before gravity can take over and allow that ball to drop inside the service box. Sure, he can hit the serve at 150mph, but they won't be in since they would land closer to the baseline than the service line.

However, someone who is 7 feet tall can hit at an angle that more down into the service box which depends less on gravity to pull the ball down. Thus, they can hit a 150mph flat serve that actually lands inside the service box.

Think of triangles with length of one side being the height of the player and the court forming a right angle with the length of that side being the distance from the player to the service line and the hypotnuse being the trajectory of the ball. With the shorter player, he would have to serve slow enough to allow gravity to pull the ball down inside the box before it can go long. A really fast flat serve would travel nearly parallel to the court surface and sail past the service line since he's unable to hit at a more down angle to still clear the net and land inside the box.

This is as very astute comment. But we must remember not to be deceived by the idea of hitting DOWN into the service box. Vic Baden did a very helpful study showing how at his height 5’5” that at a 100mph he had to have the racket face angled down 5.5 degrees to hit the ball in the service box, BUT the forward moment of the arm an hand had to be going upward. He also showed that Artis Gillmore ( I think that was his name) who was 7’7” could NOT hit downward with the arm and forearm at impact.

To quote from the book “Biomechanical Principles Of Tennis Technique” by Duane Knudson Ph.D. on page 64 it says: “Very skilled players that can hit flat serves over 120mph may be successful with initial trajectories 8 to 10 degrees below the horizontal. So most players should strive to achieve the feeling of hitting up on the flat serve so the initial ball trajectory is near horizontal. Only at more advanced levels can the ball be hit initially downward on a flat serve, and even then not sharply.”

This coupled with Vic’s studies shows that the racket angle can be downward for players of lots of different heights but the forearm should be moving forward and upward nearing impact, and then slightly upward, or forward, or SLIGHTLY downward (at high speeds), during impact.

-Tyler:D

TennsDog
09-04-2006, 03:48 PM
Of course, height makes a difference. Tall people can hit DOWN on the ball, whereas, short people cannot. It's simple geometry. If someone who is 5 feet tall tries to hit a 150mph flat serve, the angle he is forced to hit it at to clear the net would cause the ball to sail long at that high speed before gravity can take over and allow that ball to drop inside the service box. Sure, he can hit the serve at 150mph, but they won't be in since they would land closer to the baseline than the service line.

However, someone who is 7 feet tall can hit at an angle that more down into the service box which depends less on gravity to pull the ball down. Thus, they can hit a 150mph flat serve that actually lands inside the service box.

Think of triangles with length of one side being the height of the player and the court forming a right angle with the length of that side being the distance from the player to the service line and the hypotnuse being the trajectory of the ball. With the shorter player, he would have to serve slow enough to allow gravity to pull the ball down inside the box before it can go long. A really fast flat serve would travel nearly parallel to the court surface and sail past the service line since he's unable to hit at a more down angle to still clear the net and land inside the box.
Thanks for the geometry lesson. However, I'm well-schooled in such matters. I know what you're saying and I agree. When I say height doesn't matter, I'm talking a difference of 2 or 3 inches that you usually see in matches, not 2 feet. I have never seen a tennis player 5' tall, nor have I ever seen a tennis player 7' tall. I'm assuming we're all talking about people (men, here) between about 5'7" and 6'4", with only a couple inches usually separating opponents' heights.
Geometry of the sort you've discussed explains how physics allow them to serve that fast, not that their height gives them the ability. Height does not make you a good server any more than a lack of height makes you a bad server. I'm 5'9" in the morning (I'm sure some of you won't get that, but that's ok) and have one of the biggest serves I've come into. So height doesn't determine how fast you can serve, it determines how fast you're allowed to serve given a specific rate of rotation.
In my experience of non-professional tennis players, almost no one serves fast enough to challenge the physics of their own height.

TylerWeekes
09-04-2006, 03:55 PM
Thanks for the geometry lesson. However, I'm well-schooled in such matters. I know what you're saying and I agree. When I say height doesn't matter, I'm talking a difference of 2 or 3 inches that you usually see in matches, not 2 feet. I have never seen a tennis player 5' tall, nor have I ever seen a tennis player 7' tall. I'm assuming we're all talking about people (men, here) between about 5'7" and 6'4", with only a couple inches usually separating opponents' heights.
Geometry of the sort you've discussed explains how physics allow them to serve that fast, not that their height gives them the ability. Height does not make you a good server any more than a lack of height makes you a bad server. I'm 5'9" in the morning (I'm sure some of you won't get that, but that's ok) and have one of the biggest serves I've come into. So height doesn't determine how fast you can serve, it determines how fast you're allowed to serve given a specific rate of rotation.
In my experience of non-professional tennis players, almost no one serves fast enough to challenge the physics of their own height.

Great post:o

skuludo
09-04-2006, 09:58 PM
Those serves in the video are about 125MPH.

That guy can serve over 130MPH using that same technique in the video.

BreakPoint
09-04-2006, 10:29 PM
Thanks for the geometry lesson. However, I'm well-schooled in such matters. I know what you're saying and I agree. When I say height doesn't matter, I'm talking a difference of 2 or 3 inches that you usually see in matches, not 2 feet. I have never seen a tennis player 5' tall, nor have I ever seen a tennis player 7' tall. I'm assuming we're all talking about people (men, here) between about 5'7" and 6'4", with only a couple inches usually separating opponents' heights.
Geometry of the sort you've discussed explains how physics allow them to serve that fast, not that their height gives them the ability. Height does not make you a good server any more than a lack of height makes you a bad server. I'm 5'9" in the morning (I'm sure some of you won't get that, but that's ok) and have one of the biggest serves I've come into. So height doesn't determine how fast you can serve, it determines how fast you're allowed to serve given a specific rate of rotation.
In my experience of non-professional tennis players, almost no one serves fast enough to challenge the physics of their own height.

Of course, just being tall doesn't automatically give someone a big serve. You still need to have the proper technique and motion. But would you agree that given the exact same technique and motion, that being taller is more advantageous than being shorter in hitting big serves? Not just flat serves, but taller players can also hit with more angle out wide. It's not a coincidence that the best servers of all time on the pro tour have almost all been over 6 feet tall, e.g., Sampras, Roddick, Ivanisevic, Ljubicic, Philippoussis, Becker (Boris), Krajicek, Stich, Curren, Lendl, Tanner, etc. Also, in my own experience playing recreational tennis, it's much more likely for a tall player to have a big serve than it is for a short player to have a big serve.

BTW, Karlovic is almost 7 feet tall at 6' 10", and Rochus is almost 5 feet tall at 5' 4". BTW2, I had a feeling that you might be under 6 feet tall to be making this argument. ;)

thines
09-04-2006, 11:16 PM
I completely disagree. There was an article in Tennis Magazine about the myth that the legs generate the power on serve. It's minimal. The racquet travels quickly from shoulder rotation and wrist snap. This is where the power comes from.
actually, it helps push your shoulder rotation adding more motion/speed. it is like trowing a ball with feet on the ground compared to trowing a ball aboard a speeding vehicle.

skuludo
09-05-2006, 01:01 AM
Thines wouldn't your explaination mean that using the legs will give you a minimal increase in power then?

stormholloway disagreed on the legs as the main generator of power in the serve.

The dude named ZPTennis looks like he is walking through his serve and he can hit over 130MPH.

maverick1
09-05-2006, 04:04 AM
Thines wouldn't your explaination mean that using the legs will give you a minimal increase in power then?

stormholloway disagreed on the legs as the main generator of power in the serve.

The dude named ZPTennis looks like he is walking through his serve and he can hit over 130MPH.

By "walking through his serve", you seem to be referring to the fact that he is walking in his follow through?
He has a knee bend, may be less than Roddick, but more than Rusedski.
He IS pushing off his legs up and into the court. What he does after landing is irrelevant. He is walking because he is not playing a point. He is just slowing himself gradually. If accelerated towards the net instead of deccelerating, he would have looked like he is "running through his serve".

The best Physics explanation of why the legs are such a major contributor to serves and baseball throws involves "conservation of momentum". The legs may be moving slowly but they are quite massive, so their monemtum( Mass times velocity) is significant. A good part of the momentum generated in each link of the body gets transferred to to the next link up and ultimately to the ball, which has a tiny mass, so even a small amount of momentum means a large velocity.
A good analogy is the whip. When a whip cracks, the crack you hear is the sonic boom that is the result of the tip of the whip moving faster thean the speed of sound(761 mph) !! The hand moves the fat part of the whip at some small speed, but this momentum gets tranferred utilmately to the tiny tip.

Having said all this, I am not absolutely certain that legs are a major contributor to serve speed. I have been curious about serve and throw speeds for many years, and the whip argument above is the most convincing
explanation I have heard. Nothing I have read in this thread comes close to convincing me otherwise.

TennsDog
09-05-2006, 05:05 AM
Of course, just being tall doesn't automatically give someone a big serve. You still need to have the proper technique and motion. But would you agree that given the exact same technique and motion, that being taller is more advantageous than being shorter in hitting big serves? Not just flat serves, but taller players can also hit with more angle out wide. It's not a coincidence that the best servers of all time on the pro tour have almost all been over 6 feet tall, e.g., Sampras, Roddick, Ivanisevic, Ljubicic, Philippoussis, Becker (Boris), Krajicek, Stich, Curren, Lendl, Tanner, etc. Also, in my own experience playing recreational tennis, it's much more likely for a tall player to have a big serve than it is for a short player to have a big serve.

BTW, Karlovic is almost 7 feet tall at 6' 10", and Rochus is almost 5 feet tall at 5' 4". BTW2, I had a feeling that you might be under 6 feet tall to be making this argument. ;)
Yes, I would say that tall servers do have an advantage, but they still need to work to obtain that advantage. My only point is that being tall doesn't inherently give you any more power on serve, which seems to be the notion that a lot of people have. I think it comes from some tangent of leverage, and that a long lever arm provides more torque. If you view the body as a lever arm into the ball, then you would likely come to this conclusion. However, the body on serve works very differently than a lever arm, so this logic does not hold. If anything, by this line of reasoning, if you view the body as a lever arm and the feet as the pivot point, a taller person would have a harder time hitting faster because the ball is applying a force at a greater distance, thus applying more torque against the ball's motion.

So yeah, being tall as a server is a good thing. But take that good server over 6', cut 6" off of him and he'll still have a damn good serve. Just ask Justine.

Mike Cottrill
09-05-2006, 05:54 AM
Those serves in the video are about 125MPH.

That guy can serve over 130MPH using that same technique in the video.

How are you calculating that speed? Thanks
Mike

Mike Cottrill
09-05-2006, 05:56 AM
In my experience of non-professional tennis players, almost no one serves fast enough to challenge the physics of their own height.

Good point. However, how do you tell when that point is reached?
Thanks
Mike

pushing_wins
09-05-2006, 06:10 AM
when roddick tries to wack the ball out of the stadium after he wins the match.

how much legs is he using?

all wrist.

TennsDog
09-05-2006, 06:18 AM
when roddick tries to wack the ball out of the stadium after he wins the match.

how much legs is he using?

all wrist.
...And did he hit any out of the stadium? Lol.

Regarding your question, Mike, I use myself as a guide. As I said earlier, I have rarely faced someone with a bigger serve than myself. I am one of the shorter males you will see playing advanced tennis. If I can serve bigger than people taller than me, then obviously the laws of physics allow them to serve faster if they are so capable

Mike Cottrill
09-05-2006, 06:24 AM
...And did he hit any out of the stadium? Lol.

Regarding your question, Mike, I use myself as a guide. As I said earlier, I have rarely faced someone with a bigger serve than myself. I am one of the shorter males you will see playing advanced tennis. If I can serve bigger than people taller than me, then obviously the laws of physics allow them to serve faster if they are so capable
Thanks Dog,
I was looking for something tangible that one can use as a guide.
Mike

MasterTS
09-05-2006, 06:36 AM
Naturally taller players can produce more juice on the serve. The arm length allows them to accelerate the racquethead faster, simple as that. Their height allows them to get more fast serves in at a higher percentage. Lastly their height allows them to find angles a shorter person can't hit.

This is why ollie rochus can hit 110mph but he cant find jack angles.. and The 6'5 riser Sam Querrey can hit all corners.

Sure Grosjean who's really around 5'7 can hit 130mph but again he doesn't hit angles that great. Jociam Johansan was hitting like 30+ aces a match back then?

MasterTS
09-05-2006, 06:40 AM
For the same skill level and abiltiies, the same serve on a taller guy will be faster than the shorter guy...

TennsDog
09-05-2006, 07:47 AM
For the same skill level and abiltiies, the same serve on a taller guy will be faster than the shorter guy...
Depending on what you mean by "the same serve," this simply isn't true. There is no basis for it. The above comments about finding angles and higher percentage of fast serves are correct.

As for longer arms, we are talking a difference of about half an inch, maybe an inch. That much can easily be made up by where you contact the ball on the stringbed or an extended length racket. (This, of course, assumes everyone always hits the ball at the same exact location, which doesn't happen anyway, making the added length virtually moot.) So as far as I'm concerned, arm length doesn't factor into serve speed too much.

MasterTS
09-05-2006, 07:52 AM
Depending on what you mean by "the same serve," this simply isn't true. There is no basis for it. The above comments about finding angles and higher percentage of fast serves are correct.

As for longer arms, we are talking a difference of about half an inch, maybe an inch. That much can easily be made up by where you contact the ball on the stringbed or an extended length racket. (This, of course, assumes everyone always hits the ball at the same exact location, which doesn't happen anyway, making the added length virtually moot.) So as far as I'm concerned, arm length doesn't factor into serve speed too much.

I'm talking about someone 6'3 is going to have faster racquet acceleration then someone 5'8. Simple laws of physics.... This is why players such as coria use a 28" racquet.. for added acceleration since his arm span is shorter..

hiya
09-05-2006, 08:11 AM
Taller players have more angle advantage. They can hit it more flat since their angle of clearance over the net is higher. This gives them potential for a faster serve. Shorter players have to put more spin on their shot to have it land in the box since their clearance is at a lower angle.

TennsDog
09-05-2006, 08:19 AM
I'm talking about someone 6'3 is going to have faster racquet acceleration then someone 5'8. Simple laws of physics.... This is why players such as coria use a 28" racquet.. for added acceleration since his arm span is shorter..
I just think saying that taller people have longer arms trivializes the physics and mechanics of the serve. Technically, a longer arm will be able to produce more racket head speed. I don't believe, however, that that makes much difference in practical experience. This specific topic is nearly impossible to actually test and give hard numbers, so there really is no purpose to continue with it.

skuludo
09-05-2006, 10:21 AM
The guy in the video radared his serve. The person is just basing those numbers off his 131MPH that he scored.

BreakPoint
09-05-2006, 10:30 AM
As for longer arms, we are talking a difference of about half an inch, maybe an inch. That much can easily be made up by where you contact the ball on the stringbed or an extended length racket.

Actually, the difference in length of arms is much more than that. Just look at long sleeve dress shirts. Shorter people tend to buy shirts with sleeve lengths of 31", whereas, taller people buy shirts with sleeve lengths of 36". That's a whopping difference of 5", which is huge. They also measure the arm lengths of boxers to determine what their reach is since it varies so much, usually due to height.

Hitting higher on the stringbed is not really viable since most racquets are pretty dead in the upper hoop so you would lose a lot of power hitting up there. Even you mentioned before that one of the reasons why the PS 6.0 85 serves better than most 95 sq. in. frames is that the head (and thus the sweetspot) is about an inch higher on the 85 than a 95. Now imagine what an extra 5 inches would do for you.

And what you said earlier about longer arms generating more torque since the ball is hit at a greater distance is exactly right. But more torque equals more power. So it's not harder to hit the serve if you have longer arms but easier since it allows you to hit the ball harder due to the greater torque generated. This is why many people can serve better and harder with extended length racquets as it's like serving with a longer arm.

TennsDog
09-05-2006, 10:37 AM
I guess I should go out and take more measurements of arm lengths relative to body height...

MasterTS
09-05-2006, 10:47 AM
I guess I should go out and take more measurements of arm lengths relative to body height...

A general rule of thumb is that your wingspan is equal to your height, give or take a few inches. Obviously rule of thumb is off but you can see the two are directly proportional.

Google: "Human wingspan height"

http://i22.photobucket.com/albums/b323/TwistServe/wing.jpg

MasterTS
09-05-2006, 10:50 AM
This is why many people can serve better and harder with extended length racquets as it's like serving with a longer arm.

This is why I use the Flexpoint Prestige XL :p

whozon3rd
09-05-2006, 10:54 AM
Ok, let me add some more dirt to the water....
The knees don't add power to the serve directly but what they do accomplish is more force to drive the racquet down and stretch the arm muscles allowing more force to be generated with the arm from this pre-stretched position. If you look at the pictures of pro serves you'll notice the body is fully extended (straight) right before the arm swings up. In other words drive the racquet down with knee extension. Just one more part of the kinetic chain for us mere mortals to emulate. By the way I find this technique more common among the platform stances. BB?

habib
09-05-2006, 10:57 AM
This sounds right. Most of the power is generated from the arm on the serve. There are guys in wheelchairs that can serve 110 mph and they only use arm AND have a serious height disadvantage.

Sure, if the wheelchair was anchored down, and if he hit each serve as hard as he possibly could. He'd have almost no consistency, and he could hit maybe half a dozen such serves in a row before his arm fell off, but yes, I agree, a man in a wheel chair could hit a 110 MPH serve.

I completely disagree. There was an article in Tennis Magazine about the myth that the legs generate the power on serve. It's minimal. The racquet travels quickly from shoulder rotation and wrist snap. This is where the power comes from.

Neither of you, nor many of the other people in this thread claiming that the legs provide no power, are thinking logically. The legs, as pointed out by a number of people already, transfer momentum and allow your body to get into the right position, with the right energy, to hit a relaxed serve hard and accurately. You can hit a serve using your arm only, and you can probably hit it hard. But you will use and waste far more energy, and you won't come close to the accuracy and ease which you could achieve otherwise.

Think about it for a second. Stand up, pick up a rock, plant your feet, and, using the rest of your body as you would, throw it. Now get another one, load your back leg, push off and throw. Not only is it awkward to do something like this without using your legs, it's inefficient. People don't realize how important your legs are even when doing something with your hands and arms. Think it's easy to hit a serve using only body rotation and your arms? What do you think gets your body rotating and your arm catapulting forward in the first place? Magic it is not.

Kobble
02-24-2008, 02:38 PM
when roddick tries to wack the ball out of the stadium after he wins the match.

how much legs is he using?

all wrist.Lock your arm in a device that only allows your wrist to move and see how far you hit the ball. I'll bet you couldn't hit it past the bases of a little league baseball diamond on the fly.

BeHappy
02-24-2008, 04:08 PM
The legs are incredibly important.

10 to 20 percent is massive.

It's the difference betwen a 100mph serve, (which is your average 4.0-4.5 serve), and a 120mph, (which is your average 6.0-pro serve).


BTW: I read an interview with Ben Becker where he said his serve wasn't all that good at all until he got into weights in college, (he spent a looooong time in college BTW ;) )

NamRanger
02-24-2008, 04:20 PM
Is this figure of 110 mph authentic?
I would also like to see the article stormholloway is referring to.

Legs are acknowledged to be the main source of power in the serve as well as hitting/pitching/throwing a baseball, shooting a basketball from more than 20 feet...

My first thought about the OP's question was that Becker must have stronger, bigger legs than Agassi.


Actually wrong, legs help you position the force into the correct place. The legs move forward to get the weight moving forward, therefore delivering a bigger hit in boxing, same with pitching, throwing a baseball, shooting a basketball, and serving.



Becker has more flexibility in the shoulder, which allows him to drop the racquet head lower, allowing him more time to build up speed. That's why he can generate higher speeds.

BeHappy
02-24-2008, 04:29 PM
Actually wrong, legs help you position the force into the correct place. The legs move forward to get the weight moving forward, therefore delivering a bigger hit in boxing, same with pitching, throwing a baseball, shooting a basketball, and serving.



Becker has more flexibility in the shoulder, which allows him to drop the racquet head lower, allowing him more time to build up speed. That's why he can generate higher speeds.

Maybe becker's relaxed shoulder has a greater force pulling it down?

BTW, a common view expressed on these boards is that a greater racquet drop allows more time to build up speed.This is psuedo science and it's wrong.It's that more elastic/potential energy is being stored in the shoulder.

I still hate you BTW NamRanger.Don't think I've forgotten your recent antics...

JavierLW
02-24-2008, 04:33 PM
when roddick tries to wack the ball out of the stadium after he wins the match.

how much legs is he using?

all wrist.

Look again. He's transfering weight with his legs as well.

It would look unnatural if he just stood there locked into place and then hit the ball.

WildVolley
02-24-2008, 04:54 PM
Ok, let me add some more dirt to the water....
The knees don't add power to the serve directly but what they do accomplish is more force to drive the racquet down and stretch the arm muscles allowing more force to be generated with the arm from this pre-stretched position. If you look at the pictures of pro serves you'll notice the body is fully extended (straight) right before the arm swings up. In other words drive the racquet down with knee extension. Just one more part of the kinetic chain for us mere mortals to emulate. By the way I find this technique more common among the platform stances. BB?

Spot on. Good post. More leg drive does not mean more racquet head speed unless it is properly timed in the overall kinetic chain.

BeHappy
02-24-2008, 05:03 PM
Look again. He's transfering weight with his legs as well.

It would look unnatural if he just stood there locked into place and then hit the ball.

1)Roddick has quite deep knee bend

2)Unlike virtually everyone else Rodick is jumping off of BOTH feet.Maybe this is the source of his insaneracquet head speed?

Nellie
02-24-2008, 06:00 PM
I am sorry if you are looking for some secret to improve your own serve. Some people are simply freaks of nature and have faster arm speed - that is why some baseball pitchers like Billy Wanger at 5'10" can throw harder than others at 6'7". Obviously height helps but it is not the only factor. Someone like Thomas Johanson at 5'10" could hit 140, Davydenko at 5'11" (in lifts) can hit in the 130s, or even Henin at 5'5" can serve 110 mph. With coaching and video tape analysis these days, players can maximize their personal abilities.

Fedace
02-24-2008, 06:13 PM
NONO, it is that Rocket serve they teach at the Bolletieri's academy. They all use the pinpoint stance, it seem to give you more power. but this technique is more difficult to master.

1337Kira
02-24-2008, 07:40 PM
When I watch Agassi's serve, it looks like he doesn't have that much pronation.
And people of the same height often have a different level of serve...

Ross K
02-24-2008, 11:11 PM
1)Unlike virtually everyone else Rodick is jumping off of BOTH feet.Maybe this is the source of his insaneracquet head speed?

Just wondered what ppl think about this statement... I mean, he is indeed jumping off of both feet, isn't he?

adams_1
02-25-2008, 01:19 AM
You're all idiots. Clearly it's because of the name.

If you were named Becker, you'd be serving bombs all the time.

NamRanger
02-25-2008, 03:34 AM
Maybe becker's relaxed shoulder has a greater force pulling it down?

BTW, a common view expressed on these boards is that a greater racquet drop allows more time to build up speed.This is psuedo science and it's wrong.It's that more elastic/potential energy is being stored in the shoulder.

I still hate you BTW NamRanger.Don't think I've forgotten your recent antics...


Psuedo science like the concept of levers? Must I prove your ignorant self what physics really is?



Roddick and big servers have something in common, it's that they have excellent shoulder flexibility. Sampras although stands a little over 6 ft tall, could bomb serves up to the 130s with a very closed stance on his serve.


Do you agree or not that the farther the racquet the drop, the more distance it has to go to reach the ball? Would that not mean there would be more time for the racquet to accelerate, therefore it's maximum velocity would be greater when it reaches the ball? GJ there captain I have no idea what physics is.


And please don't try to argue about simple physics either, because last time you tried to say the arm wasn't a third class lever, from which every basic physics book says it is.

BeHappy
02-25-2008, 07:14 AM
Psuedo science like the concept of levers? Must I prove your ignorant self what physics really is?



Roddick and big servers have something in common, it's that they have excellent shoulder flexibility. Sampras although stands a little over 6 ft tall, could bomb serves up to the 130s with a very closed stance on his serve.


Do you agree or not that the farther the racquet the drop, the more distance it has to go to reach the ball? Would that not mean there would be more time for the racquet to accelerate, therefore it's maximum velocity would be greater when it reaches the ball? GJ there captain I have no idea what physics is.


And please don't try to argue about simple physics either, because last time you tried to say the arm wasn't a third class lever, from which every basic physics book says it is.

wtf?

1)First of all, when have I ever argued about levers?

2)Becker doesn't have a paticularly deep racquet drop, neither does Krajicek, Ivanisevic, Rusedski, Philipoussis, most of the great servers of all time...

3)'It has more time to get to the ball'?

please...

It's because a greater load has been put on the shoulder, that's all.The racquet drop is a reflection of that.

scotus
02-25-2008, 09:23 AM
OP here.

Thank you guys for resurrecting this thread. But let's calm down and get back to a civil and courteous discussion.

NamRanger
02-25-2008, 10:43 AM
wtf?

1)First of all, when have I ever argued about levers?

2)Becker doesn't have a paticularly deep racquet drop, neither does Krajicek, Ivanisevic, Rusedski, Philipoussis, most of the great servers of all time...

3)'It has more time to get to the ball'?

please...

It's because a greater load has been put on the shoulder, that's all.The racquet drop is a reflection of that.


Really funny, Becker's racquet drop goes down below his waist, as does Ivanisevic, Rusedski, and Philipoussis. Federer's serve however does not have an extreme drop, neither does Agassi. So your saying that has nothing to do with the amount of pace they get? Rediculous. I guess shoulder flexibility doesn't help the serve at all according to be BeHappy.


You argued about levers when you were on HappyChappy. That was you, because you use the same term "pseudo" science, and used the same mannerisms and vocabulary. If it wasn't you, he sure as heck did a great impression of you.


Here let me give you an exceprt.


davydenko has

1)very similar grip
2)very similar swingpath
3)very similar wiper action
4)very similar power

The double bend does not matter, the amount of bend you have in your arm does not matter, that psuedo physics concerning levers etc ignores the law of conservation of energy.

This was your response to my arguemnt about Federer's forehand and why it is different from Davydenko's, in which I completely owned you in. If that's not you, that is one heck of a good impression.


If you really knew so much about tennis BeHappy, you'd be a professional coach at a prestigious school, such as one of the schools in Spain, France, or Germany. However, you aren't. You tried to call Pat a fraud, you tried to make a mockery of BB. However, you really don't know that much about tennis technique, otherwise you'd be doing it for a living. Stop throwing ignorant knowledge around when you have absolutely no idea what you are talking about.

BeHappy
02-25-2008, 01:20 PM
That happychappy guy is not me, did he claim he was or something?


You have no idea who I am or where I work, so why would you try to discredit me that way?


Anyway, on to racquet drop, first here's the king of the incredible racquet drop himself: Pete Sampras:

http://i6.tinypic.com/6phel4y.jpg

And here's a bunch of guys who had faster serves,(although the racquet head speed was about the same), as Pete Sampras

here's rusedski:

http://i4.tinypic.com/6lsml9s.jpg

Here's Krajiceck:

http://w2.hidemyass.com/index.php?q=aHR0cDovL2k2LnRpbnlwaWMuY29tLzZucmp3Yn AuanBn

And Lubijic:
http://i18.tinypic.com/81ghb3r.jpg

BeHappy
02-25-2008, 01:21 PM
And here's Federer:
http://i28.tinypic.com/13z2why.jpg

And his racquet drop is about the same as theirs yet his serve is about 10-15mph slower.You can make your own conclusions.

Here's a relatively crappy server by tour standards with incredible racquet drop, on par with Sampras or Roddick:

http://i17.tinypic.com/6pyyl34.jpg




Pete Sampras and Roddick both have incredibly low racquet drops, but flexibility in the shoulder is only one of the areas in which power is stored, and consequently is only one of the areas which should be focused on when you are looking to maximise your serve.