Levers and The Tennis Serve

Discussion in 'Tennis Tips/Instruction' started by dlam, Dec 29, 2010.

  1. dlam

    dlam Rookie

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    Trying to get more speed on your serve?

    You maybe to trying hard and serving well for a few games then it becomes a real effort, muscles are sore.

    How do other guys look so smooth in their windup and look like they are not swinging so hard yet get such a fast serve in?

    Maybe you are approaching the serve all wrong. Think of it in a mechanically, the serve as a lever system. You want leverage and speed. The best way would be a class 3 type lever system.
    This gives minimal effort for the fastest speed.
    Remember you have to serve every other game and you need your serve to hold up.

    Every lever had a weight, fulcrum and force.
    Think about that.

    A pro serve is a class 3 lever. The fulcrum is at the legs and pelvis while the force is torso and arms, the weight is the tennis racket.

    For many amateur tennis players, the fulcrum is the wrist or elbows or shoulders and the force is the lower body and racket being the the weight.
    this is a class 1 type lever,effective for transfering the force to the racket but not racquet speed.

    If you dont understand the concept of mechanical levers then look it up at wikipedia.
     
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  2. LeeD

    LeeD Bionic Poster

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    A relaxed serve is the fastest you can hit.
    But you have to learn the mechanics first.
     
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  3. HunterST

    HunterST Hall of Fame

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    You'll need to explain how to use your body as a lever with the serve. I don't think anyone is going to read this and say "OH I have to be a class 3 lever!" and suddenly understand the serve.
     
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  4. LeeD

    LeeD Bionic Poster

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    I think he means the kinetic chain used "correctly" for your body build and preferences.
    He certainly didn't mean a longer racket, although that does add pure ball speed.
    Pure ball speed needs MORE accuracy, so sometimes, as in my case, being able to hit faster doesn't mean that I can get it in at all. And not getting the serve in means I don't have that serve ballspeed.
     
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  5. Ajtat411

    Ajtat411 Semi-Pro

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    What I've learned from my limited time practicing a real serve is that the mechanics are very similar to how a quarterback/pitcher tosses a football/baseball except a tennis player needs to project that power upwards and then forward more.

    Good qualities for baseball/football throw or tennis serve:

    -Balance foundation
    -Full and relaxed takeback (let gravity do it's work)
    -Relaxed motion toward trophy position
    -Keep racket/football/baseball in constant motion (to maximize potential energy/elasticity of muscles through body)
    -Keep shoulders level
    -Natural relaxed pronation to follow-thru
     
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  6. dlam

    dlam Rookie

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    I am into an efficient serve. One that can be effective at the last set of a match.
    Every mechanical system has a load, effort and fulcrum.

    Class 1 is simply where the fulcrum is somewhere in the middle.
    Class 3 is where the effort is in the middle and the fulcrum is at the end of the lever.
     
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  7. LeeD

    LeeD Bionic Poster

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    Call it what you want, the names don't matter.
    What matters is that you can hit a relaxed serve, one that is the same after 3 hours of singles, the same after 2 hours of hitting practice, one that is the same when you first start up.
    Relax every part of your body, they start the relaxed windup, adding tension as you approach the hitting zone.
     
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  8. Hardserve

    Hardserve Rookie

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    You not only need to be relaxed in the body when you do the motion but you also need to make sure you have a good weight transfer, get into the trophy position to load up. And its reliable. You won't double fault much or lose much power if you have good weight transfer and if you remember to put
    spin on the serve. (spin is very important)
     
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  9. CzechM8

    CzechM8 Rookie

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    LeeD: +1

    If know that if I break down my serve into a Physics class or a drawing, it would do exactly that - break down.

    I'd say the best recipe is to get a good coach, listen to what he/she has to say, and hit plenty of serves. Even if you stop playing with the coach regularly, hire them again for a couple of lessons every now and then. A lot of frustration can be saved and injuries prevented in this way (take this from some one who has had to learn the hard way ;))
     
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  10. salsainglesa

    salsainglesa Semi-Pro

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    Well, every articulation is a lever, your whole body isn't a lever it is a system of levers.
    Understanding how every lever in the articulations work seems like a lot of work and doesnt really help you do what you have to do to serve better.
    It can help you, but it is not a definitive fact that it will.
    If you are learning to serve, or any activity is better to study how the articulations work and not where the fulcrum is and that it is indeed a lever... just know that they are levers, and its much better to learn the ANATOMICAL MOVEMENTS to know how you achieve things and how they are put together. What every articulation is capable of.

    And then you practice how you should serve, how it feels and how you do it.

    Its different things.
     
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  11. charliefedererer

    charliefedererer Legend

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    ^^^ Great point.

    The multiple levers present at the wrist, elbow, shoulder, spine, hip, knee and ankle all contibute to the multiple stage catapult that comprises the kinetic chain.

    Knee bend, archer's bow, steep shoulder angle and deep racquet drop all maximize the distance the lever can act over.

    "Pronation" maximizes the lever actions of the arm/forearm/wrist.
     
    Last edited: Jan 10, 2011
    #11

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