how is Serena able to serve so well?

Discussion in 'Tennis Tips/Instruction' started by barnes1172, May 15, 2014.

  1. barnes1172

    barnes1172 New User

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    She is 5'9, not that tall really.

    Is it all technique? What makes her technique so good?

    Her serves seems to have improved over the years. What has she done to improve it?
     
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  2. user92626

    user92626 Legend

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    She's also very strong and tenacious.

    Plenty of WTA players have great techniques but almost all of them are either not as strong or not as tenacious and consistent.
     
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  3. LeeD

    LeeD Bionic Poster

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    Actually, I've seen very few WTA players with good service technique.
    I've seen quite a few D-1 women with great serve technique.
    Seems WTA, lots of clay court matches, lots of emphasis on groundie play, little need for a real serve.
    Serena might be 5'9", but is easy 170 lbs., so very stable even on windy days.
    Her serve would be middlin good in men's 6.0 play.
     
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  4. damazing

    damazing Rookie

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    She has a slow and deliberate set up for her serve. Ball toss is consistent, in front of her, and she hits up to the ball when it is at the proper height for her (she usually leaves her feet to hit the ball). She has a nice torso twist when she does make contact.
     
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  5. LeeD

    LeeD Bionic Poster

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    And Serena is strong enough she can kick the heck out of us any time she wants.
     
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  6. tennisfreak

    tennisfreak Semi-Pro

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    Have you seen her core?
     
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  7. LeeD

    LeeD Bionic Poster

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    What? You want to tear off her skin and look inside?
     
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  8. President

    President Legend

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    Do you guys think strength is more important than height on the serve, for women at least? Stosur and Serena are both around 5'8/'9, and they serve much better than anyone else on tour. Azarenka, Sharapova, and many other 6'+ players can't serve worth a damn.
     
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  9. LeeD

    LeeD Bionic Poster

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    The taller giraffes seldom have the strength to control their own bodies, so players slightly shorter but wider seem to have more control of their body.
    Men are different. Men are stronger for their build, so even a skinny 5'10" guy can serve pretty well.
    Serving is a whiplash motion, not pure brutal strength, but snap whip kind of strength, as in fast twitch muscles.
    Longer levers don't need quite the quickness, since length of lever adds hand speed, which helps with RHS.
    Of course, higher strikepoint allows a player to hit faster more often, as the target is bigger and there is less need for precision.
    Graf had a pretty strong serve.
    Davenport/Stove had bigger serves, but all court awkwardness hurt their games.
     
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  10. rufus_smith

    rufus_smith Professional

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    I'm no expert but it could be her extreme tricep and forearm that seems way more than any other WTA player except possibly Stosur:

    [​IMG]
     
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  11. LeeD

    LeeD Bionic Poster

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    No doubt, Serena is much stronger than me, possibly you.
    And, strength with some tennis training, should equal to decent technique.
    She serves 125. I barely break 100, making her easily TWICE as strong for the motion of serving.
    Anyone can serve 75, except maybe Suresh.
     
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  12. heninfan99

    heninfan99 G.O.A.T.

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    She has a wonderfully simple motion, a lifetime of practice and incredible strength.
     
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  13. KineticChain

    KineticChain Hall of Fame

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    Just like Federer serves 140
     
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  14. GuyClinch

    GuyClinch Legend

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    I don't think strength is very important for serves - Serena has long arms and is fairly tall so she is going to have decent leverage.

    You have to think of serving like pitching - pitchers are not always very strong.. There is certainly a correlation between body weight and pitching but some little guys have been capable of hitting huge numbers.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Julia_Görges

    Wiki has her hitting one at 124 - she isn't stronger then the average man..

    Actually I read a shocking statistic that as far as upper body strength goes only 1 in 10000 women are stronger then average man - and a 70 year old man is still stronger then the average woman in their twenties.

    Of course I have little doubt that Serena is that one in 10,000 (although many feel she had significant chemical help)..

    Pedro was slightly built and 5-10" but could throw well north of 95 in his day.. So no you can't blame lack of serve power on lack of strength.

    I do think that you can put some blame on lack of height or length of arms but Justine Henin could hit serves pretty hard too.. She hit one 122 and she was only 5'5"..

    That being said Henin was probably the best overall female athlete to ever play pro tennis - even surpassing the Williams sisters IMHO.. Though that is of course debatable.
     
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  15. Mr.Lob

    Mr.Lob Hall of Fame

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    My kicker is better.
     
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  16. GuyClinch

    GuyClinch Legend

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    LeeD wannabe?
     
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  17. OTMPut

    OTMPut Hall of Fame

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    Come on, that was just one accidental serve.
     
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  18. kingcheetah

    kingcheetah Professional

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    Good toss and timing overall, and she has a great step-up so she uses all of her leg strength on her serve. A 12 oz 370 sw 104" racquet helps a bit too.
     
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  19. LeeD

    LeeD Bionic Poster

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    For skinny weaklings, especially the old, interned, and disabled, sometimes a lighter racket, like around 11 oz., can produce the fastest flat serves AND the spinniest spin serves, all in one racket.
    I have 12.8 oz rackets.
    I have 12.4 oz rackets.
    I have 9 11 oz rackets, 3 of which used to be 10.2 oz, 2 of which used to be 10.8oz.
     
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  20. ilovetennis212

    ilovetennis212 Professional

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    Watched Williams documentary (?) DVD.
    Their father tried to teach them how to serve strong with natural power when they are young.
    One of many exercise is throwing broken rackets.
    Throw it as far as you can.
    It helped me to serve over 110mph too.
     
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  21. LeeD

    LeeD Bionic Poster

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    Can we really attribute the William's serving to just ONE factor, throwing rackets?
    Maybe they practiced some ball sports?
    Maybe they looked at girl's tennis, noted few big servers, and WORKED on their serves?
    Maybe Serena has fast twitch muscles?
    Venus certainly doesn't, and uses her 6'1"+ frame and long arms to get RHSpeed, like the other tall girls.
    As stated, Justine had a really great serve for her size.
     
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  22. Postpre

    Postpre Rookie

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    Wait, Venus doesn't have fast twitch muscles? Sure, she's slowed down with age, but I think she's been equipped with a great deal of fast twitch fibers.
     
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  23. LeeD

    LeeD Bionic Poster

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    Lots of women do NOT have fast twitch muscles.
    Look at the way most non pro athletic women move. Slow and steady.
    Serena possibly didn't have fast twitch muscles at 16. Her serve was lightyears slower than it is now, and Venus was the alpha in the family in tennis.
    Serena WORKED on getting fast twitch, to hit men like serves and forehands.
    Lately, it seems lots of female tennis players HAVE fast twitch muscles, whether thru training or natural. The level of athlete is rising.
     
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  24. GuyClinch

    GuyClinch Legend

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    Everyone has fast twitch muscles - its a question of quantity for the most part.

    Women have less in the upper body (its the fast twitch muscles that 'bulk' up. As you can tell with Serena she has plenty of fast twitch muscles in the upper body..

    She just has better genetics then anyone left on the tour - outside of Venus.
     
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  25. LeeD

    LeeD Bionic Poster

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    Fast twitch muscles.
    Any guy who's decent at tennis, near 6'2" in height, can serve 125 with lots of topspin, or 15 faster flat.
    Venus tops at 128 flat.
     
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  26. Topspin Shot

    Topspin Shot Legend

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    Is there something in the San Francisco water?
     
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  27. LeeD

    LeeD Bionic Poster

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    You're not going to start the "average" speed thing again, are you?
    Talking top speed of serve, NOT including twists, slices, top/slices, pure tops, or underhand serves.
     
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  28. Topspin Shot

    Topspin Shot Legend

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    Even top speed. I know a lot of decent tennis players over six feet tall. 125 flat? Sure, if they're open level. 125 with "lots of topspin?" They're not pros.
     
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  29. GuyClinch

    GuyClinch Legend

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    Venus would likely serve bigger if she had any real competition. Her technique while excellent isn't upper there with Roddick...
     
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  30. LeeD

    LeeD Bionic Poster

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    Sampras, Fed, DJ, and Murray tend to hit their fastest first serves with a goodly amount of spin.
    Venus maxed out. History shows it, circumstancially. BettyStove was 6'2, MariaSharapova, LindsayDavenport, all the same, all top out around mid 120's.
    Serena is a different animal.
     
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  31. martini1

    martini1 Hall of Fame

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    She is a good server because of her technique, not her muscles. She is able to do ATP like serves in the WTA game and the worse part of all WTA returners are not aggressive enough to put pressure on the point. She is also very consistent. If Lisicki can be 70% as consistent as Serena I think she got a major in her bag already.
     
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  32. goran_ace

    goran_ace Hall of Fame

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  33. Harry_Wild

    Harry_Wild Hall of Fame

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    Serena had to play against the toughest young girl player in the world - her sister - Venus! I think the two taught one another and so Venus has a great serve and Serena had to develop a great serve too to compete against Venus when they played against one another when they were young teenagers. I mean both had great serves when the turned pro! It not like they improved their serves to make it as a tour player. It was already developed!
     
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  34. bullet1020

    bullet1020 New User

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    Simplicity in motion and good disguise
     
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