How do I increase my racquet head speed?

Discussion in 'Tennis Tips/Instruction' started by Strategy, Sep 6, 2013.

  1. Strategy

    Strategy Semi-Pro

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    People tell me its just a product of my fast-twitch muscle fibres, but surely there is something else I can do about it ?
     
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  2. Shroud

    Shroud Hall of Fame

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    Swing with a racket cover as a warm up before stepping on the court.

    Make your frame head light.

    If you can do it get a lighter racket though to be clear I am NOT recommending that....
     
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  3. Gyswandir

    Gyswandir Rookie

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    In one video of one of the coaches that are often posted here, sorry don't remember the name, he recommends drilling for drive volleys as a means of improving rhs
     
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  4. tennis_balla

    tennis_balla Hall of Fame

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    Racket head speed lies in the hips and legs, not your arm. Watch how Rafa opens up his hips first, drives with the legs https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ed_c10cRV7o

    This isn't something you can learn on your own really, it can be complex, depends on your ability. Its a subtle movement, nothing big but thats where racket head speed lives.
     
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  5. Cheetah

    Cheetah Hall of Fame

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    Add maybe 10 -15 grams of lead to your racquet while keeping the same current balance. Add enough so that the racquet feels a little heavier than you can handle. Use that for a few weeks. It will force you to use the legs and torso to generate speed and power instead of the arm. If you are really committed you should even increase string tension maybe 4lbs which will give you less power to offset the increased power you will get from the added mass. Then to get near the same power that you had before you will have to learn to swing faster using the body. High RHS does not come from the arm.

    Don't get a lighter racquet. This is the wrong advice. All that will do is give you softer groundstrokes and an a worse swing using more arm which you will develop to compensate for your new toy racquet.

    Heavier is also safer for the arm.
    Try this. It works.
     
    Last edited: Sep 7, 2013
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  6. SystemicAnomaly

    SystemicAnomaly G.O.A.T.

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    ^ I agree with some of this but not quite all of it.

    Not sure exactly what Shroud is trying to say here but he/she might be referring to something like Overload-Underload Training. This is a training sequence that has been used for baseball and for some track and field events.

    Not sure if the racket cover is the best way to achieve the overload phase. For the overload phase of of the training, you want to swing a racket that is 10-15% "heavier" than your standard racket weight. Do not increase to 20% as this may alter your stroke mechanics too much.

    Actually, it might be best to increase the swingweight 10-15% rather than the static weight. (Or increase the static weight w/o altering the racket balance). One way to achieve a satisfactory increase is to jam a QST 60 ball into the throat of your regular racket. The QST 60 ball is one of those orange training balls for 10 & Under players. Note that a standard ball, at 2 oz (58 g), it a bit too heavy unless you are using a racket that is heavier than 13 oz or your swingweight is very high.

    The overload phase is supposed to the increase the strength of the muscles involved without altering your mechanics. You do not need to hit tennis balls with the overload racket. It is best to perform numerous shadow swings instead. The overload phase will actually cause you to swing a bit slower.

    Merely switching back to your standard weight will not necessarily increase your racket head speed (even tho' it might "feel" like it). This is where the underload phase comes in. For this phase you need a racket weight or swingweight that is 10-15% less than you standard. This can be approximated by using an unstrung frame that is the same as your strung frame. You should now be swinging faster with your underload racket.

    After the overload phase, followed by the underload phase, your swing timing might be a bit off (since both of these phases tend to affect your swing timing). The 3rd phase of the O-U training is to swing your regular racket to regain your timing. After some of these normal weight swings, start hitting some balls to make sure that you really do have your timing back.
     
    Last edited: Sep 7, 2013
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  7. SystemicAnomaly

    SystemicAnomaly G.O.A.T.

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  8. 10isfreak

    10isfreak Semi-Pro

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    Yes. You can improve your coordination, improve your footwork and posture, improve your preparation, etc. Basically, become a more skilled tennis player and your racket will move faster.

    I could be more specific about the how's, but we'd need to see how you hit tennis balls and to know which stroke(s) you wish to improve.
     
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  9. dknotty

    dknotty Semi-Pro

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    When aiming for increased power, where along the stroke do you really accelerate?

    Too early and you lose control & lose consistency, to late and you have no power. Is there a right answer?
     
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  10. PhrygianDominant

    PhrygianDominant Hall of Fame

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    In order of preferance

    Option #1
    Improve your technique. Most of the posts in this thread will probably fall into this category, and instructional videos aplenty can be found on youtube. If you already have high level technique, or alternatively are aware that your technique is somewhat oldschool but you don't want to change it, see the following.

    Option #2
    Get stronger. This is pretty self explanatory. Note I am not recommending strength as a replacement for technique. You can get all the RHS you need without being a body builder if you have sound modern mechanics.

    Option #3
    Get a more maneuverable racquet. Generally speaking headlight=maneuveralbe

    Option #4
    Get a lighter racquet. This is a bad idea, but if perchance your racquet is just too heavy for you, you can do this one. Only if you are swinging 13oz. plus is a lighter racquet reasonable. Heavy racquets are better in just about every regard.
     
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  11. Gyswandir

    Gyswandir Rookie

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    The first is the one I was referring to. The second makes sense and the third is sound fundamentals.

    As for the fourth, that is basic fitness for good rhs. Another way of achieving the same result that I've seen pro players do is to use a medicine ball (3-5kg according to ability), lie down then raise your back while keeping it straight AND raise your legs. Now put the ball on one side and pick it up then throw it to someone on the other side, all while maintaining posture. This is extremely difficult if you don't have good core muscles. However, by increasing the strength in those muscles, you enable faster trunk rotation
     
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  12. TomT

    TomT Hall of Fame

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    As others have suggested, it's all about your torso movement. Bringing the racquet back a bit farther, then turning your torso, explosively, relaxed arm and relatively loosely held racquet following that movement, will produce higher racquet head speed and thus higher paced, heavier shots.

    Just my two cents, but this is what seems to produce harder shots (vis higher racquet head speed) for me.
     
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  13. newpball

    newpball Legend

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    Show us a video of your strokes.
     
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  14. sureshs

    sureshs Bionic Poster

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    Swinging fast is useful only if you can control it. I find it fairly easy to swing faster on the (1 handed) backhand and control the shot, but the forehand seems to be far more susceptible to timing and swing path errors if the swing speed is increased.
     
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  15. SystemicAnomaly

    SystemicAnomaly G.O.A.T.

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    Perhaps 1 or more of the videos in post #7 will help with this question.
     
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  16. boramiNYC

    boramiNYC Hall of Fame

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    if you have a badminton racquet try swinging that especially overhead. you'll notice higher RHS. one of the reasons is your wrist and hand are allowed more movement than holding a tennis racquet. another is the weight. but this consideration should happen after you achieve reasonable satisfaction with your use of the legs and core.
     
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  17. fuzz nation

    fuzz nation Legend

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    I'd say that it's a progression of loading up and releasing the full swing through the ball. The earlier we can set up and get that full stroke going, the more consistently we can get a full and controlled rip. Rush the setup for a stroke with both an early shoulder turn and deliberate footwork and there's more time for a big smooth swing. Serves can sometimes improve with the idea of delaying the toss and getting more completely loaded up for a full, un-rushed drive over the top.

    Here's an image I like: Most of us are Corollas that typically accelerate to maybe 60 mph. If we decide to go (or in this case, swing) faster, we don't suddenly turn into Corvettes, right? Instead of trying to be a muscle car which we're not, be the Corolla and give yourself a little extra time to get up to 70 mph. With a little extra time to accelerate under control, we can get there just fine.
     
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  18. Gyswandir

    Gyswandir Rookie

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    TWU has done an analysis of hand and racket speed during the fh
    http://twu.tennis-warehouse.com/images/doublependulum/DPFig10.jpg

    You can read the whole article here http://twu.tennis-warehouse.com/learning_center/doublependulum.php

    A more relatable analysis (to me) is the one that compared the acceleration of different components of the kinetic chain between amateur and pro players
    http://www.jssm.org/vol9/n4/15/fig2.jpg (shows just the upper body parts, but there are other graphs for the other components)
    The whole study (technical) http://bmsi.ru/doc/171d89e9-5c89-4105-b0d1-ac41b5537502
    "The results indicate that the tendency towards higher horizontal shoulder and racquet velocities in the elite group were caused by significantly different timing patterns of maximum angular pelvis and trunk rotations."
     
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  19. dknotty

    dknotty Semi-Pro

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    Thanks for the replies.

    I've been working on a few things in my forehand to get the consistency up. These are shortening the backswing, swinging towards the ball slowly & accelerating into contact, preparing early for my forehand and working towards having a momentary pause before swinging to contact the ball.

    I guess the shorter swing means it's harder to increase speed until I get the body mechanics better, but for the sake of consistency that's a worthwhile stroke.
     
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