How to tell how fast my serve is?

Discussion in 'Tennis Tips/Instruction' started by da233, Sep 14, 2008.

  1. da233

    da233 New User

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    Probably a stupid question, but is there any way I can approximate the speed of my serve without having to go out and buy a speedometer (or whatever its called)?

    Perhaps by timing how long it takes to hit the back wall of the court or something? It doesn't have to be exact... just a very very bad approximation :)


    Or perhaps someone has a eye level video of them serving and knows how fast they're serving in that video, that I can use for a general comparison?
     
  2. Steady Eddy

    Steady Eddy Hall of Fame

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    In the 80's, when tennis was more popular, malls would announce that they would have a booth to time your serve. You'd bring your racquet and serve balls into a net, while the attendant would time it with a radar gun. They'd do it just to get more people to come to the mall.

    The bad news is, it doesn't look like that's going to be happening anytime soon, but the good news is that radar guns are much cheaper now. I got one for something like $120. Not thousands of dollars, like they used to be. There's a device so that coaches can measure the speed of little league pitchers. But that's about $50. It's basically a timer. You let go when the pitcher does, then click when it hits the catcher's glove. It will give you the speed. But that seems so unreliable that I think one should go the extra $s and get a cheap radar gun. (Get a used one).
     
  3. Nanshiki

    Nanshiki Hall of Fame

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    You can do it with a video... as long as you know the exact distance and can film in slow motion.
     
  4. WBF

    WBF Hall of Fame

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    Found it...

    http://tt.tennis-warehouse.com/showthread.php?t=99228

    http://www.donthireddy.us/tennis/speed.html

    Props to maverick1, Mike Cottrill and whomever else helped on that.
     
  5. da233

    da233 New User

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    Thanks for the link, though I have a question:

    It shows initial speed, final speed, and average speed there... which one should i be looking at? What speed do they show in pro matches?
     
  6. da233

    da233 New User

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    http://www.filedropper.com/p9140506_1

    That's a link to the video if anyone would be kind enough to confirm the numbers I got...

    Approximated around 59 feet traveled in the air and 13 frames from serve hit to ground contact.

    According to the calculator its a 105 mph serve but honestly I don't think I'm even strong enough to hit it that fast, plus it doesn't look that fast either if you just view the video normally. A second opinion would be nice
     
  7. onehandbh

    onehandbh Hall of Fame

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    I counted 15 frames. it also landed very shallow in the service box.
    Like maybe 5 feet from the service line. Subtract that distance.
     
  8. da233

    da233 New User

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    Thanks for taking the time to view it. Just one last question, when they show the mph of serves on tv tennis matches, they're showing us the initial speed (speed immediately after contact), right?
     
  9. Fedace

    Fedace Banned

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    what about how far up the back fence the ball ends up after you serve ?
     
  10. da233

    da233 New User

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    I don't really think you can use that as a way to measure, since ball rotation is another variable that effects how high the ball bounces
     
  11. Mike Cottrill

    Mike Cottrill Hall of Fame

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    Yes, Initial Speed is what you are looking for to compare to the speed you see on the screen at ATP events. Distance traveled from racquet contact to court contact is every important and can vary your results significantly.

    What you can do if you want to go through the trouble and do not have clay courts is put some baby powder on the court so the ball leaves a landing mark. Place long string on your racquet and hold it up to the height you made contact and have someone on the other end pull the string tight and mark the string were the ball made contact. Measure the length.

    Mike
     
  12. Murray_Maniac

    Murray_Maniac Banned

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    Just post a vid of your serve @ ground level. Ive hit w/ radar & have watched my hitting partners as well so I know and can give a close guestimation.
     
    Last edited: Sep 15, 2008
  13. baek57

    baek57 Professional

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    if all you are looking for is a "very very bad approximation" then you can just watch some pro tennis (wta preferably because they serve slower), find a serve that looks approximately like what you can do, and look at the speed of their serve thats posted in the corner.
     
  14. Djokovicfan4life

    Djokovicfan4life Legend

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    Nah, watching a serve on TV and watching one that you hit yourself are totally different things. It looks a lot faster to the person hitting the serve.
     
  15. da233

    da233 New User

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    Yeah, I've always found that watching it on TV looks slower than it really is, so it's really hard to approximate that way.

    Murray Maniac: Um, the video I posted IS from ground level. Or are you asking for a view that's right behind me and looking down the court? Either way, I had to borrow a friends camera for that crappy quality video I posted earlier and I probably won't be able to get it back anytime soon.

    Not sure if this would help, but the ball usually hits anywhere from 1-3 feet high on the back wall when I do my flat serve.
     
  16. raiden031

    raiden031 Legend

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    Well if a flat serve doesn't nail the back wall with alot of force at least waist height after bouncing in the service box, then its a slow serve. But apparently it could do that and still be below 80mph according to some.
     
  17. Murray_Maniac

    Murray_Maniac Banned

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    How do I watch it without having to download it? Do ya have a youtube account?
     
  18. tennisdad65

    tennisdad65 Hall of Fame

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    it depends on how far back behind the baseline the back wall is. Sometimes it is 20 feet, sometimes 30
     
  19. raiden031

    raiden031 Legend

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    whatever the standard length is.
     
  20. da233

    da233 New User

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    The file is only like... 4 megabytes. Should only take a couple of seconds to download on any broadband connection
     

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