Ball spin in the tennis serve: spin rate and axis of rotation

Discussion in 'Tennis Tips/Instruction' started by julian, Nov 29, 2012.

  1. julian

    julian Hall of Fame

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    Ball spin in the tennis serve: spin rate and axis of rotation
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    DOI:
    10.1080/14763141.2012.671355

    Shinji Sakuraia*, Machar Reidbc & Bruce Elliottb
    Received: 19 Sep 2011
    Accepted: 27 Feb 2012
    Version of record first published: 30 Apr 2012
    Article Views: 52
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    Abstract

    The purpose of this study was to describe three-dimensional ball kinematics including spin axis and spin rate for the flat, slice, and kick serves executed by elite male tennis players. Trajectories of three retro-reflective markers attached to the surface of the ball were measured using a Vicon MX motion analysis system. The local coordinate system of the ball enabled the ball's angular velocity vector to be determined. Mean ( ± SD) spin rates recorded were 127.4 ( ± 56.3), 232.1 ( ± 34.8), and 336.5 ( ± 51.5) rad/s for the flat, slice, and kick serves, respectively. The resultant horizontal velocities of the ball were 52.0 ( ± 2.9), 46.4 ( ± 3.4), and 40.8 ( ± 2.8) m/s, respectively, and a clear tradeoff existed between the development of ball spin rate and horizontal ball velocity, with resultant horizontal velocities of 52.0 ( ± 2.9), 46.4 ( ± 3.4), and 40.8 ( ± 2.8) m/s, respectively, being recorded. The spin axis and ball velocity vector were close to perpendicular regardless of serve type. Mean angles between the spin axis and the horizontal plane (elevation angles) were 65.6° ( ± 10.2°), 68.4° ( ± 6.9°), and 54.5° ( ± 8.4°) for the flat, slice, and kick serves, respectively.

    Author affiliations

    a School of Health and Sport Sciences, Chukyo University, Toyota, Japan
    b School of Sport Science, Exercise and Health, The University of Western Australia, Crawley, WA, Australia
    c Tennis Australia, Melbourne, Australia

    PS The stupid yellow smiley should be replaced by 9 (I think)
    The abstract has a piece repeated
     
    Last edited: Nov 29, 2012
    #1
  2. Bagumbawalla

    Bagumbawalla Hall of Fame

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    Yes, yes, now I see.
     
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  3. LeeD

    LeeD Bionic Poster

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    yes, various big servers can add a top of spin on their serves, what else is news and new ?
     
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  4. NLBwell

    NLBwell Legend

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    So, to put it in units that tennis uses:

    Flat serve - 110 to 123 mph w/average at 116 mph
    ................. 679 to 1754 rpm w/average of 1217 rpm

    Slice serve - 96 to 111 mph w/average at 104 mph
    .................1884 to 2548 rpm w/average of 2216 rpm

    Kick serve - 85 to 98 mph w/average at 91 mph
    .................2721 to 3705 rpm w/average of 3213 rpm
     
    Last edited: Nov 30, 2012
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  5. rufus_smith

    rufus_smith Professional

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    Since the elevation angles were similar, I wonder if the slice serves had about the same amount of "break" (sudden change direction) as the flat serves. In other words it seems like the flat serves had some slice on them.
     
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  6. LeeD

    LeeD Bionic Poster

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    Those did, as noted, but not all have as much and some have more.
     
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  7. charliefedererer

    charliefedererer Legend

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    Some still are surprised to learn that good first serve is not flat - you need side and top spin to have consistency.
    Although not listed above, arguably the top two servers of their recent eras, Sampras and Roddick, had the most spin on their first serves, compared to their contemporaries.


    On the second serve, the biggest challenge is to have big spin and placement on both a kick and slice serve - only having one will let your opponent get his timing down to crush your second serve.
     
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  8. LeeD

    LeeD Bionic Poster

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    Terimology problem here.
    Fastest serves ARE the flattest the guy can hit.
    Most EFFECTIVE serves usually have some spin component for wierdness of bounce and some arc to get the serve in.
    BOTH serves are needed by most big servers, although really big servers like Roddick and Sampras can choose to add spin on every serve because they already have adaquate ball speed.
     
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  9. sureshs

    sureshs Bionic Poster

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    Was there a diagram for this? Since there can be two perpendiculars to the velocity vector in 3D, I would like to know which of those two was the spin axis.
     
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  10. boramiNYC

    boramiNYC Hall of Fame

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    axis can rotate maintaining 90 deg to the V vector. think topspin and slice or american twist.
     
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  11. sureshs

    sureshs Bionic Poster

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    I am thinking that of the two possible perpendiculars to V, the spin axis is the one towards the left and down (rather than the more vertical one). Want confirmation on this.
     
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  12. dominikk1985

    dominikk1985 Legend

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    Julian: why are you not discussion your papers and translate it into players language so that we can participate instead of just throwing out links?
     
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  13. sureshs

    sureshs Bionic Poster

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    What about a diagram showing a sample velocity vector and a spin axis?
     
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  14. sureshs

    sureshs Bionic Poster

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    Sent email now to the first author asking him for a diagram
     
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  15. LeeD

    LeeD Bionic Poster

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    Do you really CARE how the spin thing works?
    Isn't knowing how it affects the ball through the air, and how to hit it, enough?
    Isn't tennis complicated enough as is.
    Yes, I might be a neanderthal, and artist, and too simple minded.
    Knowing the axxis and how it works...will that improve your tennis? Can an analytical scientist play better than a monkey who practices just as much?
     
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  16. sureshs

    sureshs Bionic Poster

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    Yes I am interested in it.
     
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  17. LeeD

    LeeD Bionic Poster

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    OK, I'll give you that.
    What are we talking. Spin rate. We all know faster spin is slower speed, and more arc....for the player's swing speed.
    Axis is something else? Is that like the axis of Earth's rotation is more or less North to South Pole?
    If so, what exactly IS the question. Slice serves would be around the equator. Twists around NorCal to mid Brazil.
    I think.
     
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  18. jmnk

    jmnk Professional

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    @julien - is there any way to get the text of this research paper?
     
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  19. julian

    julian Hall of Fame

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    I do NOT know

    I do NOT know
     
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  20. sureshs

    sureshs Bionic Poster

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    The database which has the paper is for members-only.
     
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  21. dlam

    dlam Rookie

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    This is likely why some balls feels "heavy"
    I suspect that a higher spin rate and fast ball speed makes is so
    Has anyone felt the Sampress or Roddick Serve?
    Does it feel as heavy as Nadal's heavy forehand ?
     
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