Serve speed problem

Discussion in 'Tennis Tips/Instruction' started by Autumnleaf, Apr 6, 2008.

  1. Autumnleaf

    Autumnleaf New User

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    Hello everybody. I'm 21, about 6 feet tall, normally built. I have access to a gym and I play tennis once or twice a week. My problem is that although my groundies are pretty explosive my serve is just wort my grandpa's, especially in terms of speed. My coach says it's not a problem of motion and i think he's right since every coach I've had agrees. He says that it looks like I'm lifting and swinging a 20 lbs racquet. He also says it's strange cause my groundies are fast. I use a head lm prestige midsize but trying with a lighter racquet does not help much. I Don't think it's a raquet problem.
    I'm asking you if there's a muscular group to develop or any other kind of exercise that can help me develop swing speed specifically on my serve.
     
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  2. stav_babolat

    stav_babolat Rookie

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    maybe your arm is a bit too tense, maybe your hesitant, maybe your grip is wrong, maybe your prnation is too early or too late, maybe you need to practice more, maybe your brushing the ball too much, i used to do that and they would be like 5 mph, now i try and hit it very flat and they are hard. Dont be afriad to miss aswell if its your first serve, go for it!
     
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  3. Djokovicfan4life

    Djokovicfan4life Legend

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    Unless you can shoot a video I have a feeling you won't get much help here. It's kind of hard to tell what the problem is without actually seeing you serve.
     
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  4. Vision84

    Vision84 Hall of Fame

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    Only thing that I can think of if the coaches say your motion is correct is that you may be to tight. Relax and hold the racket very loosely, barely enough so the racket won't slip out of your hand and stay relaxed. If you are to tight then your muscles will be restricted and not very elastic like resulting in a significant loss of power.

    Acctually another thing you could be doing is stopping your acceleration and breaking the kinetic chain shortly before contact. Make sure the racket continues to accelerate through.

    Other than that try to get a video up here.
     
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  5. Autumnleaf

    Autumnleaf New User

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    pronation is alright and i don't brush the ball. My arm is actually slow... this is the problem. It's not explosive, the racquet head is slow. I was wondering if someone knew some exercises and especially what muscles can one train (in a gym) that are strictly necessary to a the service motion.
     
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  6. dave333

    dave333 Hall of Fame

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    Its probably due to technique, not about muscle. Some of the lankiest kids I know can serve huge bombs. Even I'm ok, I'm 15, 5' 9", 134 lbs, and can barely bench more than 90 and hit 88 once (albeit it was 1/7).

    I highly doubt it's because you aren't strong enough. If it was based on muscle, Nadal should have a huge serve compared to guys like Federer who don't have as much muscle.

    You need to make sure you are relaxed, get enough rotation, and transfer energy efficiently (a lot easier said than done).
     
    Last edited: Apr 6, 2008
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  7. spiritdragon

    spiritdragon Rookie

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    try shooting a video so we can actually see what ur doing. one possibility is that your arm is not relaxed and therefore cannot generate a lot of racket speed. don't try to muscle the ball.
     
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  8. Autumnleaf

    Autumnleaf New User

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    You are all pretty kind guys, but the problem is known and it is the little racquet head speed. For dave333, I can hit about 85 with ease, but I'd like to go beyond that...
     
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  9. Nellie

    Nellie Hall of Fame

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    If you are certain that your technique is sound, may be you need to practice more hard serves (a lot) to build up your arm strength. that's what they do to young baseball pitchers to add velocity (make them throw hard for a while, even if they are getting hammered)
     
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  10. Vision84

    Vision84 Hall of Fame

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    I can't remember where this story came from or which pro this is but I remember hearing a year ago about some guy/girl who asked his coach how to increase serve speed and the coach just told him/her to rpactice throwing medicine balls for a while.

    So just practice throwing something heavy over and over again. This should help increase your arm speed.
     
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  11. Bungalo Bill

    Bungalo Bill G.O.A.T.

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    If it is not your motion, it has to be in your relaxation and flexbility. What about your rotation in the shoulders? Do your coaches say it is good? What about the non-dominant arm, what is it doing? Toss is going out in the court?

    It has to be something. The racquet may help a little but I think it is something else. Like others have suggested, a video will help.
     
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  12. BeHappy

    BeHappy Hall of Fame

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    Please shoot a video, it's really impossible to help you otherwise.
     
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  13. 1337Kira

    1337Kira Rookie

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    My guess is that you aren't loose enough.
    Relax your arm before serving and see what happens?
    Can you throw/pitch a ball really fast?
    If so, try and imitate the whippiness of your arm.
     
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  14. Autumnleaf

    Autumnleaf New User

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    No. My coach once told me to try and throw a ball and... I suck. I throw balls horribly.
     
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  15. Nadal_Monfils

    Nadal_Monfils Semi-Pro

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    Try hitting a serve that bounces on the same side as the net as you and then hits the back fence. You have to swing really hard so it could help with your racquet head speed.
     
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  16. TNT16

    TNT16 Semi-Pro

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    OK I suspect there is the answer.

    Try spending ten minutes each time after you play throwing old tennis balls the length of the court (baseline to baseline and beyond) and work your way up to launching them over the fence behind the opposite baseline. You will get a feel for this over time and should be able to double or triple your throwing distance.

    This would probably help to unlock whatever it is that is stopping your arm (and thus racquet head) speed at contact.
     
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  17. BeHappy

    BeHappy Hall of Fame

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    Ok, this is definitely a technique issue, post a video ASAP!
     
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  18. Bungalo Bill

    Bungalo Bill G.O.A.T.

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    If you cant throw a ball, you most likely have issues in your serve. This is not a hard fast rule but it is a good indication of what you would do with your serve. Further, I am now wondering what exactly your coaches are seeing.

    As some people here have indicated, until you show us something, none of us will be able to help.
     
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  19. Essential Tennis

    Essential Tennis Rookie

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    I agree with this 100%. I've taught many 3.0 women how to serve properly by bringing a football out onto the court. If you can't serve, and you can't throw a ball, then your technique is not sound, period.

    Lots of good posts in this thread about relaxing and range of motion etc, all good advice, and I would tend to assume as well that it's probably the case. I agree with everybody above who asks for video, if you want help from the people here who are qualified you'll have to give some visual information to go on.

    If you don't mind me asking, what are the qualifications of your coach? I'm guessing you're a high school player?
     
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  20. chess9

    chess9 Hall of Fame

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    I tend to agree with BB, as it's likely tension is the culprit. At your age, flexibility shouldn't be a substantial issue.

    Serving is highly dependent on several key variables:

    1. RHYTHM. If you watch video of Sampras, Federer, Gonzales, or any of the better servers, you will observe a very smooth accumulation of energy right to the point at which the BOOM goes off and the ball is launched like a missile.

    2. TIMING. This is keyed to your RHYTHM, but while everyone's RHYTHM is slightly different, the timing of great serves is almost identical. By timing, I mean the point about .2 seconds before impact to impact. All the great servers have connected 4 major kinetic links into a sort of Non-Linear Particle Accelerator that fires a "beam" of power at the ball at the precisely TIMED moment.

    3. THE TOSS. I've never seen a great server who didn't have an elegant toss. From Tilden to Federer, non-dominant hand tossing is sublime. If you can't throw the ball up right, you will suffer. I suggest looking at video of Dementieva from early last year for an example of how a poor toss can almost destroy you. IMHO, a big difference among many pro serves is the ability to TOSS the ball up properly every time.

    4. POWER. Power is the summation of great RHYTHM, TIMING, TOSS, flexibility, and STRENGTH. Power = WORK/TIME. Young girls can serve very hard because they have 4 of the variables, but not STRENGTH. As they grow, and get stronger, you see them serving much harder because they have gotten STRONGER. Even a player like Nalbandian, who sometimes has looked like the King of Donuts, can summon huge reservoirs of power at the precise moment the serve is delivered. Essentially, the pros deliver a lot of work in about .2 of a second, or less. That's POWER. As a bit of an aside, I would say most recreational players have plenty of STRENGTH, but little power, because they have poor RHYTHM, TIMING, and TOSS.

    These are just my humble views from years of tennis at various levels of undress. I'm sure I'm wrong, but since you didn't pay $39.99 for my autographed DVD, the price is right. :)

    -Robert
     
    Last edited: Apr 7, 2008
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  21. Essential Tennis

    Essential Tennis Rookie

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    ^good post, well said

    sorry I forgot you posted you're 21, so please disregard my last question autumn
     
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  22. Bungalo Bill

    Bungalo Bill G.O.A.T.

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    hahaha, since when are you humble in your views? Didnt we go around and around on a recent topic? Good post, I liked it and it was well said. :)
     
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  23. chess9

    chess9 Hall of Fame

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    Thanks, BB. That's high praise, indeed, and very valued.

    -Robert
     
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  24. Rafael_Nadal_6257

    Rafael_Nadal_6257 Semi-Pro

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    Chess9, great summation of the most important points.

    If only improving high-school tennis players understood what you said...
     
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