Having your serve clocked is depressing

Discussion in 'Tennis Tips/Instruction' started by HunterST, Mar 28, 2013.

  1. HunterST

    HunterST Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Jun 12, 2009
    Messages:
    3,412
    Got my radar out for a few serves. A few years ago I served in the 80s and I've improved a lot since then. was hoping for low 100s. Now, I have a pretty big serve. It forces errors and my opponents say consistently that it's tough.

    Fastest serve: 88 mph

    had several in upper 70s and a few in the lower 80s. I only hit about 5 serves, and I think I could have gotten a little higher number, but geeze. Even the WTA players who struggle with their serves serve harder than me.
     
    #1
  2. Overdrive

    Overdrive Legend

    Joined:
    Dec 28, 2012
    Messages:
    5,301
    Location:
    Garden of Gethsemane
    You are only a rec player. We all are.

    The most important thing is that your serve is a weapon.

    :)
     
    #2
  3. WildVolley

    WildVolley Legend

    Joined:
    Jun 22, 2007
    Messages:
    5,887
    If you aren't serving that 88mph with a fair amount of spin, then, yeah, you aren't hitting a very big serve.

    Good form and a small change in timing should allow you to push it up over 100mph assuming no physical injuries or old age.

    I think it is worthwhile to work on more pace as long as you warm-up first and keep the numbers hit reasonable. Also, do exercises to protect the shoulder. If things click an extra 15mph might not be too hard to find. Good luck.
     
    #3
  4. zapvor

    zapvor Legend

    Joined:
    Jul 27, 2006
    Messages:
    9,186
    Location:
    tennis courts
    haha last year i got clocked at 72? but it was in the serving cage at citi open
     
    #4
  5. Chas Tennis

    Chas Tennis Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Feb 17, 2011
    Messages:
    4,373
    Location:
    Baltimore, MD
    #5
  6. boojay

    boojay Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Jul 22, 2006
    Messages:
    2,026
    Location:
    The Pillars of Creation
    I bought a radar gun a few years ago and left it at my local club for the players to try out and people were consistently getting results lower than they expected.

    Of course nearly everyone thought they could serve at least 100 mph, but the reality was they were serving in the 70s to, at most, the 80s. Even my doubles partner who has a pretty decent serve was only getting in the 90s.

    The number of folks who managed to achieve three digits were countable on one hand, but they were the best players we had around at the time (except me, for some reason I managed to do it too).

    Moral of the story, most of us overestimate our abilities, it's human nature.
     
    #6
  7. TomT

    TomT Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Jun 20, 2012
    Messages:
    1,954
    Location:
    Fort Lauderdale, FL
    I bet if you were more warmed up, and hit a few more serves, then the numbers would be higher.

    What's your NTRP? If you're forcing errors and it's good enough to get comments from your opponents, then no worries. You must be doing something right.

    Anyway, serve speed measurements, especially non-professional ones, are very 'iffy'.

    I don't think that's true. I've seen some women's second serves clocked, in tournaments, in the low 60s. First serves, in the 70s. Which is significantly slower than even my average serve, first or second ... and I'm a 3.0 level player.

    I suspect that your serve is actually quite a good one. Post some videos.
     
    #7
  8. TomT

    TomT Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Jun 20, 2012
    Messages:
    1,954
    Location:
    Fort Lauderdale, FL
    #8
  9. NLBwell

    NLBwell Legend

    Joined:
    Jun 18, 2004
    Messages:
    7,174
    Interesting that the difference between first and second serves was similar no matter what the level of the player. One of the reasons my serve is so effective is the multiple speeds at which I hit. I pride myself on how slowly I can hit an effective serve - almost all the energy going into spin. Combining that with the flat heater and the many other types of serves I hit is very effective.
    Mixing up speeds can be as useful a tool as mixing up placement and spin.
     
    #9
  10. TomT

    TomT Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Jun 20, 2012
    Messages:
    1,954
    Location:
    Fort Lauderdale, FL
    Yes, for sure. Serving is like baseball pitching. Other than the freaks with inordinately fast serves (pitches), the most effective are those who vary speed and placement in such a way that it's a continual challenge for the receiver (batter) to anticipate what's coming and where it will be coming to.
     
    #10
  11. Govnor

    Govnor Professional

    Joined:
    Aug 12, 2011
    Messages:
    1,335
    I've given up any hope of having a big serve. I just don't have the body for it. If I could just get a nice consistent serve that was a weapon more than a liability at my level, I'd be happy enough.
     
    #11
  12. tennis_balla

    tennis_balla Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Mar 16, 2006
    Messages:
    3,667
    Location:
    Here and There
    #12
  13. luvforty

    luvforty Banned

    Joined:
    Dec 17, 2012
    Messages:
    1,294
    location is probably 70% of the serve, speed 30%
     
    #13
  14. psv255

    psv255 Professional

    Joined:
    Aug 31, 2011
    Messages:
    967
    Location:
    NY
    To be fair, receiving an 85+ mph serve, if placed within a foot or two of each line, is not easy to return for most 4.0- players.

    Is your radar the SpeedTrac? In that case, you can safely add another 5% to each serve clocked, as it measures the speed of the ball as it approaches the device rather than right at contact. Doesn't change much, but the difference gets larger as you serve faster.

    Speed will come from proper timing; personally, I instantly lose 20 mph on my flats if I lose my rhythm. Keep at it.
     
    #14
  15. dak95_00

    dak95_00 Professional

    Joined:
    Sep 9, 2007
    Messages:
    900
    Location:
    Columbus, OH
    I LOVE this thread! People always over estimate their greatness. I believe it's human nature.

    I used to work at a golf shop making custom clubs. Multiple times each day I'd have guys come in looking for a new driver. Before I'd have them measured on any sort of device or see them swing I'd ask the following:
    1) What are your average scores for 18?
    2) How far do you hit your drives now in the air w/o roll?
    3) What iron do you hit from 150 yards?

    Without fail, I'd get the same answers each time:
    1) 90-95
    2) 260-275 yards
    3) 8 or 9 iron.

    I'd just shake their hand and show them our where our putters and wedges wedges were located. They'd almost always change their tune and insist they could become more consistent.

    At the same time, I was working with a number of Ohio State golfers who'd go on to play on professional tours and had played many rounds of golf with them. They were hitting the ball in the range of the numbers the avg hackers were claiming to hit. This was the early 90s and all of these guys were claiming to be near professional player standards. It's simply not true!

    The same goes for tennis! Agassi had trouble serving at 80 mph and couldn't hit 90 when he came on tour as a teen. He was still awesome compared to nearly everyone. Sure, he didn't have a Becker, Sampras, or professional level serve but he still had plenty of game. I play against guys who hit it hard. They still aren't hitting it over 100. I bet I see only a couple of guys in a season who do. I seriously doubt there are many people at or near 50+ that can hit a 100 mph serve! I'd go double or nothing on any bets that you can't hit 100+ too!
     
    #15
  16. gmatheis

    gmatheis Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Aug 10, 2010
    Messages:
    1,582
    You all do realize that the way the pros measure serve speed and using a radar gun are usually very different.

    Pros serve speed is measured just after the ball leaves their racket

    Radar guns are usually set up to measure when the ball has almost traveled to the net.

    Now that 88mph serve, if it was measured closer to the net, was most likely high 90s the way the pros measure serve speed.
     
    #16
  17. luvforty

    luvforty Banned

    Joined:
    Dec 17, 2012
    Messages:
    1,294
    dak is spot on about the exaggeration factor - usually about 25-30%, between the golf drive distance and the tennis serve speed. (except coach Lee is probably on the high end of the spectrum with 50% exaggeration).

    this is no different from male animals open up their feathers to look bigger, to the female or the enemy.

    on the other hand, distance/speed is not even the most important factor.... I'd take 85mph hitting both corners or curving into the body, over 100mph but right into the receivers strike zone.... and I'd take 225 drive down the middle over the 275 in the trees.
     
    #17
  18. luvforty

    luvforty Banned

    Joined:
    Dec 17, 2012
    Messages:
    1,294
    now think about this - which situation do you prefer to be in -

    1) you are at net, guarding the entire width of the court, opp hits 85mph forehand passing shot;

    2) you are at baseline, guarding a box about 1/4 the size of the court, opp hits 105 serve;

    imo 2) is actually easier, you have a LOT of time..... speed is nothing without location.
     
    #18
  19. krz

    krz Professional

    Joined:
    May 23, 2007
    Messages:
    889
    Location:
    Concrete Jungle Where Dreams are Made
    This. Pro serve speeds are measured at nearly the point of contact, relative to pro speeds your serve would register much faster than 88MPH.

    Hope I made you feel better :)
     
    #19
  20. HunterST

    HunterST Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Jun 12, 2009
    Messages:
    3,412
    Thanks for the vote of confidence! I guess I don't pay too much attention to wta serve speeds, so I feel better if they're getting firsts in the 70s.

    Here's a video from 2 years ago when I was hitting in the 80s. Thought I had improved significantly, but the numbers are the same!

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=afIY9QeYnWM

    Thanks for the reply! Yeah, it's a speedtrac. I've heard that it gives a little lower reading, so that helps. Serves in the 90s don't sound as bad.

    I definitely agree with the timing thing. Sometimes with the radar I'm so focused on hitting hard I get tense and out of rhythm.
     
    #20
  21. WildVolley

    WildVolley Legend

    Joined:
    Jun 22, 2007
    Messages:
    5,887
    We had a discussion years ago about the various consumer radars as compared to the professional radars. It was generally thought that the consumer radars measure low as compared to the professional radar by people who've been clocked on both.

    SpeedMaster, the guy who writes the popular technique blog, claimed that the speedtrac wasn't very good (he was comparing it to an expensive Jugs radar). So it may be that you're already hitting in the 90s.

    Watching that video, you have good action on the ball, and a moderate swing speed. I see no reason why you won't be throwing down 100mph + flat serves when you want. You have basically sound form and a fairly shallow drop, so there's room to up the pace. Don't buy it if someone tells you that a young healthy guy with decent form can't hit 100mph +. There are a bunch of us lower level weekend warriors who can. Again, my only caution is to keep your shoulder healthy. Years ago I was throwing huge bombs into the court and ended up doing more than a year of shoulder rehab, because my form was slightly off and I had pulled or ripped some part of rotator cuff muscles.
     
    #21
  22. Chas Tennis

    Chas Tennis Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Feb 17, 2011
    Messages:
    4,373
    Location:
    Baltimore, MD
    #22
  23. TTMR

    TTMR Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Jul 24, 2009
    Messages:
    1,943
    I think you need to head west: to the famed tennis oasis known as NorCal. In San Francisco, the 3.5s, especially 64 year old immobile left-handers, can routinely hit 120 out wide on the deuce court and 115 down the tee on the ad. It's the only place in the world where pro women will stop to ask certain 3.5s to hit serves to them, so they can practice returning a hard serve, something they don't usually get to experience on the tour. While they cannot impart their genetically endowed athletic vigor onto you, you can no doubt learn by osmosis just being in their presence.

    Good luck.
     
    #23
  24. TomT

    TomT Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Jun 20, 2012
    Messages:
    1,954
    Location:
    Fort Lauderdale, FL
    Looks to me like you can put some real good pop on the ball. If you feel you've improved significantly from that vid, then you probably have. I wouldn't worry about the numbers. Very iffy, as indicated in several posts. What counts, as has also been mentioned, is the fact that your serve is a reliable weapon. Best of luck for continued improvement.

    Note: As for the WTA numbers. I don't really know, but do remember watching a YouTube video of some agonizingly slow serving (way slower than yours) by a woman in a fairly recent (last year, on a hardcourt as I recall) WTA tournament.
     
    Last edited: Mar 29, 2013
    #24
  25. slowfox

    slowfox Professional

    Joined:
    Oct 3, 2011
    Messages:
    1,110
    Go view the Delusion thread currently raging in the Tournament forum...

    Does their online presence count?
     
    #25
  26. sureshs

    sureshs Bionic Poster

    Joined:
    Oct 1, 2005
    Messages:
    35,727
    That is what I have seen club serves being clocked at. I was once clocked at 78 many years ago - I would like to think I am higher now. I have seen serve speeds in tournament tents and in preparations for that in the club.

    They range from 60 to a maximum of 90, and the higher speeds are not usually sustained by the same server. If you insist on no foot faults, the speeds will dramatically drop for some of the faster servers. That is why I have been calling BS on this matter for many years on this forum and the Adult Tournaments forum. There are many high-school girls who can serve faster than most adults. I have returned their serves, and so I know firsthand.
     
    #26
  27. sureshs

    sureshs Bionic Poster

    Joined:
    Oct 1, 2005
    Messages:
    35,727
    Some of those second serves bounce over 6 feet.

    One of these people will hopefully come down here to coach me. We are in negotiations.
     
    #27
  28. GRANITECHIEF

    GRANITECHIEF Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Oct 4, 2004
    Messages:
    3,757
    Location:
    Santa Barbara
    #28
  29. Wilander Fan

    Wilander Fan Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Jan 26, 2010
    Messages:
    1,559
    I realized the difference in serve speed when I heard a really big serve. There was a guy playing on the same courts and people would turn their heads after hearing the crack.
     
    #29
  30. mikeler

    mikeler G.O.A.T.

    Joined:
    Sep 26, 2008
    Messages:
    19,827
    Location:
    Central Florida
    #30
  31. GRANITECHIEF

    GRANITECHIEF Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Oct 4, 2004
    Messages:
    3,757
    Location:
    Santa Barbara
    HAHA painted 110. Wasn't warmed up.
     
    #31
  32. LeeD

    LeeD Bionic Poster

    Joined:
    Dec 28, 2008
    Messages:
    37,284
    Location:
    East side of San Francisco Bay
    GraniteChief can hit 125 when he's warm, as are conditions.
    He's a fricken tower. When he posted his vid couple years past, I said he hit some 3.5 shots (tentative and missing), and had a BIG serve, so could be 4.5. You guys all took that to mean I rated him 3.5 overall.
    HunterST, do you have the fastest serve in the courts you play at? I do, and that includes 5.5 winning players, but not the Cal team, which plays at HellmanCourts.
    TTMR, I claim 100 for the past 2 years.
    And CeciMartinez asked me to hit when I was playing tennis for TWO total years!
    Marcie's and Pea's MOM asked me to serve practice with her daughters during my third year of tennis.
     
    #32
  33. Power Player

    Power Player Talk Tennis Guru

    Joined:
    Sep 2, 2008
    Messages:
    20,195
    Location:
    On my iPhone
    Dude you can't just come into a thread and brag like this. It looks insane.

    But just for you :

    [​IMG]
     
    #33
  34. LeeD

    LeeD Bionic Poster

    Joined:
    Dec 28, 2008
    Messages:
    37,284
    Location:
    East side of San Francisco Bay
    Bragging....just what is bragging?
    Stating a certain person did something is not bragging, it's stating fact.
    Saying I serve at "100", then adding it's the fastest at our two courts (total of 9 courts) is not bragging. It only reinforces your notion that we don't serve fast out here in the WestCoast.
     
    #34
  35. Oz_Rocket

    Oz_Rocket Semi-Pro

    Joined:
    May 21, 2012
    Messages:
    666
    Location:
    The Land Down Under
    I'd never had my serve clocked on a radar until the Aus Open this year. Wilson had one of those batting cage arrangements with plastic flooring (so no bouncing the ball or sliding feet), dodgy racquets, etc. The radar is 15-20 feet from you so it gets the speed off the racquet.

    You get two serves and no real chance to warm up. I managed 158kmh on my first and 174kmh on my second. Given a decent warm up I probably could have cracked 190kmh.

    So certainly not the fastest around but for an out of shape bloke in his 40s who doesn't play comp I was happy. Plus my two boys who have just started tennis in the last few years are now determined to serve faster than dad.
     
    #35
  36. LeeD

    LeeD Bionic Poster

    Joined:
    Dec 28, 2008
    Messages:
    37,284
    Location:
    East side of San Francisco Bay
    So, do YOU have the fastest serves for your level, at your courts?
     
    #36
  37. mikeler

    mikeler G.O.A.T.

    Joined:
    Sep 26, 2008
    Messages:
    19,827
    Location:
    Central Florida
    I did one of those when I was 16 years old. No warm up and you only get two serves. My 2nd serve was a 98 MPH mishit. The guy I was at the tournament was trying to goad me into getting back in line saying "You'll never be able to hit over 100".
     
    #37
  38. HunterST

    HunterST Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Jun 12, 2009
    Messages:
    3,412
    I did realize I was also serving with old balls. Maybe a new can would have given me 5 mph more?
     
    #38
  39. LeeD

    LeeD Bionic Poster

    Joined:
    Dec 28, 2008
    Messages:
    37,284
    Location:
    East side of San Francisco Bay
    Court temps, what KIND of balls, new balls, where you warmed up for serving, was it your hardest serving racket?
     
    #39
  40. MomentumGT

    MomentumGT Semi-Pro

    Joined:
    Aug 4, 2007
    Messages:
    637
    Location:
    Riverside/Stockton CA
    I say the radar guns can be iffy lol. I'm no means a really big server, but at Indian Wells I tried their serving apparatus with no warm up and only 2 serves. I used a prestige mid+ and got my serve to 87mph, then switched to a microgel Rad and got the 2nd serve at 99mph but to me it felt the same coming off the racquet lol. The next kid behind me shanked his 1st serve and got a 116mph reading lol :shock:

    -Jon
     
    #40
  41. Nostradamus

    Nostradamus G.O.A.T.

    Joined:
    Nov 30, 2011
    Messages:
    13,243
    Location:
    In the future
    what kind of Radar ? ONe that sits at the NEt is NOT accurate. I heard it can be off by as much as 2-7 MPH. also depends on what level you are. 4.0's will serve in 80's for 1st serve. 4.5's will serve in the 90's for 1st serve. Sure you can get 1 or 2 up there around 100 MPH. but that is not your usual serve:)
     
    #41
  42. LeeD

    LeeD Bionic Poster

    Joined:
    Dec 28, 2008
    Messages:
    37,284
    Location:
    East side of San Francisco Bay
    When talking fast serves, it's important to take it into context of the real thing, on court with another player. Purely stating timed speeds is misleading.
    LowellBarnhardt, who WON the amateur division of fast serve in SF 1978, had by far the biggest and most consistent FAST first serves with a huge component of spin, and good direction control.
    The second place server, same speed but less average, served dead flat serves that normally did NOT go in consistently, and was easy for anyone to return if they could reach it.
     
    #42
  43. Nostradamus

    Nostradamus G.O.A.T.

    Joined:
    Nov 30, 2011
    Messages:
    13,243
    Location:
    In the future
    Agree, this Garbage is not worth the webpage it is posted on.

    http://www.afterschool.com/p/gamma-...877965&utm_content=pla&adtype=pla&cagpspn=pla

    If you want REAL speed, that gun at the US open stadium is the MOST accurate.
     
    #43
  44. HunterST

    HunterST Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Jun 12, 2009
    Messages:
    3,412
    I'm a 4.0, but my serve is much better than most competitors at my level. There's a video on the last page.

    I'm just wondering, do we have any strong evidence that the speedtracs read low? It makes me feel better, but I also wonder if it's just us rec players trying to assuage our discomfort with our low serve speeds.
     
    #44
  45. Nostradamus

    Nostradamus G.O.A.T.

    Joined:
    Nov 30, 2011
    Messages:
    13,243
    Location:
    In the future
    Speedtrac does NOT read the ball just as it comes off the string. It reads the speed as it approaches the net. That is big variance.
    I do know of 4.0 guy that serves the ball at 110 MPH or so(got 1 up to 123 MPH). but 1st serve was all he had. rest of his game wasn't very good. very hit or miss.
     
    #45
  46. Oz_Rocket

    Oz_Rocket Semi-Pro

    Joined:
    May 21, 2012
    Messages:
    666
    Location:
    The Land Down Under
    Yes I'd have close to the fastest of any level, when they go in :)

    Although these days I just play social with a mix of players from highest level local comp players to beginners. Some nights I can do no wrong and belt out 2-3 aces every service game and the next week those are 2-3 double faults.

    But my main aim is the just have fun and keep my eye in so my kids can't beat me. I'd have to drop a bit of weight and improve my muscle tone to get back to serving as fast as I did back in my 20s.
     
    #46
  47. HunterST

    HunterST Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Jun 12, 2009
    Messages:
    3,412
    I've never seen something saying that pro's serves are measured right off the racquet, though. I was watching an old match in which it was the first time they'd used radar, so the commentator was explaining it. He said it measured the speed as it went over the net. He could have just been assuming that, of course and it could have changed.
     
    #47
  48. Nostradamus

    Nostradamus G.O.A.T.

    Joined:
    Nov 30, 2011
    Messages:
    13,243
    Location:
    In the future
    Yes, at the US open, Radar gun measures the ball speed just as it comes off the racket at the top of the toss.
     
    #48
  49. WildVolley

    WildVolley Legend

    Joined:
    Jun 22, 2007
    Messages:
    5,887
    All the tournament measures are peak serve speeds which means just off the racket. Even inexpensive radar guns (like the one I have) will do this. They measure the ball speed and then pick the fastest during a period of time. My radar gun sometimes locks in on the racket before the ball is hit - that's very annoying.

    I believe the speedtrac X doesn't do this because it has limited range, so it isn't capable of reading the ball speed just off the racket unless you set it close to you. Of course, then you possibly have more of a cosine error unless it is lifted up on something which is more in line with the ball.

    I've measured 3.5s hit near 100mph with a semi-western grip and an aggressive pancake into the ball. So with enough racket head speed it is possible to hit 100mph with terrible form. However, most of the guys who did this mostly missed long.
     
    #49
  50. Nostradamus

    Nostradamus G.O.A.T.

    Joined:
    Nov 30, 2011
    Messages:
    13,243
    Location:
    In the future
    Great assessment

    AGREE. I seen this 4.0 guy in top gun serve speed tournament. they used the same radar gun that is used in the ATP tournaments. and this guy clocked 123 MPH I believe. that was his fastest. but didn't win the tournament. Another guy that was 4.5 level hit one at 126 MPH. LOL and he won the tournament.:)

    Now, don't get excited. This is ONE out of 20-30 serves, I believe.
     
    #50

Share This Page