Achieving 120mph+ serve?!?!?!

Discussion in 'Tennis Tips/Instruction' started by prolord89, Apr 6, 2014.

  1. prolord89

    prolord89 New User

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    Today I played against a guy who has 125 mph serve. He is like 6 ft tall, so duh it is possible for him to achieve such a speed. It was very frustrating, but I was actually having fun returning it and was happy because I'd such a chance standing and returning the pro's speed. I want to ask is it possible for a guy who is 5'4-5'5 tall to achieve the 120mph serve?!?!
     
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  2. Maximagq

    Maximagq Banned

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    Racket head speed and pronate.
     
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  3. ilovetennis212

    ilovetennis212 Professional

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    Hey Matt!
    How tall are you?
    And what was the maximum speed of your first serve?
    I'm 5'9 short. I never able to hit over 110mph.
    This is you right??
    http://youtu.be/t90qW1nGzZ8
     
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  4. Maximagq

    Maximagq Banned

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    I am 5"11 and the fastest I've ever recorded on a radar gun was 107 mph. More recently, I filmed a video on my iPad that recorded a serve at 113 mph, but I don't know if it is accurate.

    About the video, Oui c'est moi ("Yes that's me) :)
     
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  5. mikeler

    mikeler G.O.A.T.

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    I played a guy that tall about 10 years ago that I'm pretty sure was serving around 120.
     
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  6. goran_ace

    goran_ace Hall of Fame

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    Just because a player is tall you shouldn't assume he can hit a big serve just the same as you shouldn't assume a short player can't hit a big serve.
     
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  7. ilovetennis212

    ilovetennis212 Professional

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    Short arm has disadvantage.
    Short arm has less percentage of 1st first serve going in.
    I don't like my short arm.
    I'm 5'9 and my best was 106mph with new ball.
    This is video of me serving 96mph with used ball.
    http://youtu.be/F7vLoZNV6xw
     
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  8. GoudX

    GoudX Professional

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    I believe in theory, with sufficient commitment, any average tall young healthy male player can get close to 120mph on their serve. However it takes years of training to build the strength and technique - so it really is a big commitment. To crack the big figures you need to do three things:

    1) Practise A LOT, it seems silly to say but the best servers hit a lot of serves - you need play a lot of matches where you are going for your serve, and spend sessions where you only serve. Lots of players just practise rallys and hit wimpy serves in match play, and wonder why they can't bring the heat.

    2) Swing efficiently with a well optimised kinetic chain. If you are wasting movement you cannot maximise speed, so you need to have your various elements perfectly timed: leg drive, shoulder rotation (your rear shoulder needs to travel from behind you up to the contact point), natural pronation, racquet drop.

    3) Coil. If you want to get much faster than 100mph then you need enough space to accelerate so you'll need to have a deep trophy position, with a low rear shoulder and good knee bend. From these you can uncoil up towards the ball to generate a lot of pace.
     
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  9. WildVolley

    WildVolley Legend

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    My main advice is to 1) work on proper form (study greats with simple motions) and a related 2) protect your shoulder!

    Always warm-up. Don't ignore any shoulder pain and do exercises to strengthen the shoulder area and the rotator cuff system. Roddick did a consistent shoulder exercise routine to preserve his shoulder during his career. It is easy to over-develop the internal rotation muscles and cause rips in the rotator cuffs if you aren't doing off-court strengthening of the external rotators.
     
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  10. shindemac

    shindemac Hall of Fame

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    Yes, it's possible. But like anything, you'll need to work at it. I would set smaller goals to try and improve your serve 10-15 mph each year. After a few years, you'll reach your goal.

    GoudX wrote a really good explanation of what you need to do, so I'll come at it from a different perspective. When you practice a lot of serves, esp w a radar gun, let's say your avg serve is 100mph. You'll get numbers all over the place from maybe 80 to say up to 120. Once you see that high number, then you'll know you can do it. Then it's a matter of practice.
     
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  11. Lukhas

    Lukhas Legend

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    It's possible. It's just that at 5'9" short (my size), the margin for error will be stupidly small, and that's why you don't see it more often. It will require excellent technique, a good shoulder and overall fitness and aiming for the T more often. Which means affording a good gym or/and training tools, and a good coach too.
     
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  12. rufus_smith

    rufus_smith Professional

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    that 96 rated one one looked over 100 mph to me based on watching a lot of other videos ...maybe I'll do a FPS rating on it sometime
     
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  13. scotus

    scotus Legend

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    Watch Benjamin Becker, the short pro who can serve over 130 mph
     
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  14. psv255

    psv255 Professional

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    I would second that this one could be slightly over 100, and it might be that your best (106 with radar?) could be as high as 113 with pro radar.
    I hit 107 on the speedtrac a couple days ago without leg drive (I'm around 5 11), feet not really leaving the ground. I can't time leg drive so i thought I would go after one, threw it farther in front of me, and swung with a fast but not forced action. I think 110 avg (on flat serves) is reachable for you
     
    Last edited: Apr 7, 2014
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  15. TennisCJC

    TennisCJC Legend

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    Serena Williams is 5' 9" and in one of her Wimbledon 2013 matches she average 102 mph on 1st serves and had a fastest serve of 122 mph.

    David Ferrer is 5' 10" (probably a little less) and he averages around 110 with fastest 1st serves over 120 mph. Average 110 mph at his height is pretty tough serving.

    I think 5' 9" is tall enough to serve pretty big but your technique and conditioning have to be very good.

    But, I am a hair under 5' 10" and don't average anywhere near 102 mph on first serves. My average is probably closer to 82 mph with my fastest serves maybe in the mid 90s. On a good day with wind at my back, I break a 100 mph.
     
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  16. Out?

    Out? Rookie

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    i have a friend at 5'6 whos 17 and clocked 107 on a radar gun so im sure its possible with more practice
     
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  17. rufus_smith

    rufus_smith Professional

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    Quote:
    Originally Posted by ilovetennis212 View Post
    Short arm has disadvantage.
    Short arm has less percentage of 1st first serve going in.
    I don't like my short arm.
    I'm 5'9 and my best was 106mph with new ball.
    This is video of me serving 96mph with used ball.
    http://youtu.be/F7vLoZNV6xw
    I had some time and did an frame per sec (FPS) analysis on the serve. The video was clear so it was one of the easiest ones to do. For those who want to replicate the process, I used values of 59 feet and counted 13 frames. I calculated a serve speed of 109 mph instead of 96. I believe this is pretty reliable since in other cases the Speed Trax device has been known to underestimate serve speed by about 13%. The Speedtrax radar device may pick up the ball a little later than pro speed guns. I own one of these too. One theory is that the radar field of this device only goes up to a limited height of six feet or so since it was made for baseball pitching. So it doesn't pick up a served ball just as it is hit, but only after it drops in height a bit. The maufacturer has not been clear on this.

    Anyway your serve speed is probably be faster than you think.
     
    Last edited: Apr 7, 2014
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  18. Lukhas

    Lukhas Legend

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    Well, glad we agree. Possible, but the margin is low. You have to hit up more. I saw Williams relying a lot on her slice out wide for example, the spin makes it easier. I say well done to Roddick or Benjamin Becker to be able to serve very big despite not being that tall. I read the spin on Roddick's serve is pretty high though. An extended length racquet might help too.
     
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  19. tennis_ocd

    tennis_ocd Hall of Fame

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    Many rec players underestimate serve speeds and overall park playing ability.... it's the biggest hurdle to overcome and performing well on the atp tour.
     
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  20. LeeD

    LeeD Bionic Poster

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    No so tough for short guys to hit fast serves. A 5'7" Chang was reputed to serve 125 at the French, like 4 years after he won it serving in the 100's.
    Rochus had a fastest serve recorded in the mid 120's. What was he? 5'5" + some change?
    But hard for the short guys to consistently hit faster serves, because of the low strikepoint and the fact their fast serves just play into the sweetspot of most of the ATP guys.
    Most shorter guys win with legs, heart, lungs, and smarts. Why bother to try to hit big serves when your game is to run and tire out your opponent?
     
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  21. ilovetennis212

    ilovetennis212 Professional

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    Thanks for your input.
    I also measured with iPhone app "serve speed" and it came out as 109mph. Didn't believe it at first.
    But now I think I can try more and crack 120mph.. :)



    One question I want to ask is, added spin to serve increase speed or decrease speed?
    I know it adds percentage of going in. But I wonder it adds speed too??
    Please share if you know about spin and speed factor.
     
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  22. LeeD

    LeeD Bionic Poster

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    Spin always slow down the serve, from a flat serve.
    Like, IF my flat serves goes 100, my faster swinging 2nd serves with lots of top/slice go in around 75 mph.
     
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  23. Lukhas

    Lukhas Legend

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    All things being equal (especially the swingspeed), more spin lowers speed. But it's not exact maths either. Since spin allows better margin, it also allows you to hit much harder, knowing that the sin will bring the ball in.
     
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  24. LeeD

    LeeD Bionic Poster

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    Lots of good players swing faster on spin serves than they do for flat serves.
    Flats go faster.
     
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  25. prolord89

    prolord89 New User

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    Sorry for my late reply, guys! Here is the video of my serve I just took a few hours ago. Please give me any opinion, tip and advice about my serve because I really want to improve my serve, and please don't hesitate about it. Here is the link:
    https://www.youtube.com/watchv=KoiNQ4a7TfQ&feature=youtu.be
     
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  26. prolord89

    prolord89 New User

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  27. Nostradamus

    Nostradamus G.O.A.T.

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    Were you playing against John Morrissey ?
     
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  28. Maximagq

    Maximagq Banned

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    I love John Morrissey
     
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  29. BruceD

    BruceD Rookie

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    How to pronate vrs. slice to achieve more racquet head speed..BACK-SCRATCH!

    I'm teaching kids from the beginning the pronate serve using a simple, back-scratch starting with the LAST part of the serve motion FIRST.
    I the tell them they will need to reach comfortably high and toss the ball ABOVE the place the think the will make contact with it.
    I sit in front and lat them softly tap the adge of my racquet, guiding their hand a bit, chanting with each hit,"THIS..IS..HOW..IT..FELLS..TO..HIT... THE SERVE!"
    Also, get them to WATCH the contact, not ME..it's hard, because they think it's funny..it is I guess it is, too, and tell them to toss the ball a little higher than they think it needs to be, too. I get them to hit a little off to one side and 6-8" in front, too. The follow through ends up with their and, thumb down, unlike the reverse for the slice serve.
    After some practice tossing and letting the ball go un-hit, they are then PROGRAMMED to hit a pronated serve!
    Later, we add a change to the stance to get some hip-turn into the shot, and finally a bit of a jump into the court.
    A few weeks later, they are starting to hit like a pro!
    The slice then changes things...so the more natural motion of the pronate comes first.
    Try it, you'll like it!
     
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  30. shindemac

    shindemac Hall of Fame

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    Your serve is not bad. But there's a few things you can work on. Ball toss and balance. Your ball toss needs to be in the perfect spot when you hit it. You shouldn't be chasing your ball toss. Watch where you land compared to where you hit the ball. Those 2 vectors should line up, and you are crossing over and stepping to the right a little bit sometimes. That's wasted momentum, and a better ball toss will fix this.

    Balance. It's all over the place. A better ball toss will help this too. Watch the video shot from the side, and you'll see that you unload and shift your weight forward a little bit even before you pushed off from your legs. Also, look at your torso during the takeback. Your body sways back and forth several times as you are shifting your weight around from your front foot to the back foot. Nothing wrong with this if you are a pro and have excellent balance, but all this movement coupled with a pinpoint stance can leave you a bit off balance and wobbly. Having a wobbly and unstable trophy leads to less power. Look at the serve video posted by ilovetennis212 posted in this thread, and look how little movement his torso has. He has very little extra movements, and looks more comfortably balanced than you. He's balanced and loaded more on the trophy, and then he just explodes into the ball. Remember, everything starts from the ground. Once I fixed my balance and changed my stance a little, I was able to explode into the ball. Look at my serve journal if you want more details of the changes I made.
     
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  31. LeeD

    LeeD Bionic Poster

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    Yeah, pretty good lefty serve.
    Raise toss hand to vertical.
    Lower racket shoulder.
    Relax the swing from trophy position.
    You have nice drive into the court, but do it more.
     
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  32. Nostradamus

    Nostradamus G.O.A.T.

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    Have you met him ? being in UCLA, I understand you know the guy in the bruins squad but didn't know you knew John.
     
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  33. taurussable

    taurussable Professional

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    the grip shown after the follow through looks like a forehand grip? did you shift the grip after contact point?
     
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  34. ilovetennis212

    ilovetennis212 Professional

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    It's still extreme continental grip.
    Or you can say eastern backhand grip.
    It might looks like full western forehand grip.
    But I use eastern forehand with semi western forehand.
    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Apr 8, 2014
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  35. taurussable

    taurussable Professional

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    you got it. I looked at 0:03 in the video, you are already done at that moment:)
     
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  36. Maximagq

    Maximagq Banned

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    I met him at ojai briefly last year but he probably doesn't remember me. I love his style of play.
     
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  37. gplracer

    gplracer Professional

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    Joseph who is in this video was in the 50,000 Ball video
     
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  38. Maximagq

    Maximagq Banned

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    He's talking about the Asian kid who got his @ss kicked by Joey D.
     
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