Speed of serve estimation

Discussion in 'Tennis Tips/Instruction' started by jussumman, Nov 1, 2013.

  1. Avles

    Avles Hall of Fame

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    For that one I actually used the ServeSpeed app (it automatically stamps the date/speed on your video).

    The app also claims to be able to shoot video in 60 fps (which would increase the accuracy of this method by a lot) but I've never managed to make that happen.

    Anyway thanks for checking-- I think the difference in our estimates may have to do with the serve landing point (I probably had it covering less than 59 feet).
     
    #51
  2. KineticChain

    KineticChain Professional

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    I started counting with frame #270 (11 seconds and 6 frames) and ended counting with frame #281 (11 seconds and 17 frames).

    I count the contact frames because the time of contact is pretty much instantaneous relative to the frame rate. When you see the frame where it changes directions, that is the closest integer frame to the actual contact. But you point to some truth, the number of frames should be decreased by a fraction value. I'd say 11.5 frames of ball flight is a closer estimate than 12. With that, it comes out to 100.7 mph.
     
    #52
  3. Avles

    Avles Hall of Fame

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    My thinking is, if the point of measuring frames is to measure time in flight, a frame where the ball is contacting the racquet shouldn't be included the count, because the ball is still in the "starting blocks" during that frame.

    Admittedly the camera may not capture the precise moment of impact (because that moment lasts about 1/200 of a second), but it probably won't be that far off, especially in videos where racquet and ball are less blurry.

    It seems like including the frame where ball meets racquet in the count is going to inevitably add some of the time prior to ball-racquet contact into your total time estimate.

    Look at the example on the donthireddy website:
    http://www.donthireddy.us/tennis/RoddickExample.html

    He starts his count at frame 568 (racquet contact) and ends it at frame 629 (court contact). He then subtracts 568 from 629 to get a total of 61 frames. So he's not including frame 568 in his total frame count-- if he did, he'd have 62 frames. If he were counting frames rather than subtracting, he'd start his count at frame 569.
     
    Last edited: Nov 1, 2013
    #53
  4. KineticChain

    KineticChain Professional

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    I think the problem is we are thinking of contact point differently. I'll show you how I do it visually. I hope Ballinbob doesn't mind if I use his video for example.

    This is the frame before I started counting. I did not include it in the count. Frame #269.
    [​IMG]

    This is the first frame I used in the count. Notice how the ball is blurred indicating it has already been struck and is in flight. The actual contact point is in between this frame and the above frame, but at 24 FPS, the instant of contact is in neither. Frame #270.
    [​IMG]

    This is the frame right before the ball hits the ground. Frame #280.
    [​IMG]

    This is the last frame I included in my count. Notice how the ball is blurred at a different angle now, idicating it hit the ground and changed directions. Like before, the actual point of contact is in between frames. The actual contact with the ground is in between frame #280(image above) and frame #281(image below).
    [​IMG]

    To sum it all up, I started counting with the frame AFTER the actual contact with the racquet, and ended counting with the frame AFTER the actual contact with the ground. Because 24 FPS can't resolve the actual impact points, you have to either include the frames after each respective contact, or before each respective contact. Either way, that is 12 frames for this case.

    Also, it's worth mentioning that I have a radar gun that I occasionally use. I have 30 FPS footage of myself hitting serves with the radar gun and have used the frame counting method on that video. My frame counting is in close agreement with the radar readings (as close as you can get with that FPS).
     
    Last edited: Nov 1, 2013
    #54
  5. Avles

    Avles Hall of Fame

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    Ooh, thanks for the vidcaps-- it's important that we get this thing right, Ballinbob is counting on us! :)

    I disagree that contact occurs before frame 270, because if you look at the blur in that frame you can see part of the descending toss in it, and you can also see a lot of the pre-contact racquet path in it. So counting this frame as part of the serve flight time will add a lot of pre-serve time into your estimate, and slow it down. I would consider this frame to be the contact frame, and start my count with the next frame, or at the very least consider this to be 1/2 a frame.

    So based on these images I think you'd be better off cutting at least another .5 frames off your estimate and going with 11 frames-- I guess that would get you up close to 105 mph (Ballinbob's original estimate as it happens...). But I think it's also possible that 10.5 frames and 110ish MPH would be closer.
     
    Last edited: Nov 2, 2013
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  6. KineticChain

    KineticChain Professional

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    You're right!.. I forgot about shutter speed. The point of contact with racquet is indeed in frame 270.. so around half of that frame should be counted. Looking at it that way, that means the point of impact is also in the last frame I counted.. so you would need to count at least half of that one as well. 11 is a better estimate. I think 10.5 is too low.. it would be closer to 11. That would put it at least 105 mph.. possibly up to 108 mph.

    Good stuff
     
    Last edited: Nov 2, 2013
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  7. Ballinbob

    Ballinbob Hall of Fame

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    You guys settled this like gentlemen lol, thanks again.

    Those seem like fair estimates to me. Gives me hope that I can hit 120-125 mph once I get my technical flaws fixed
     
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  8. You wont be hitting 125 without some serious fixing of flaws. LeeD is delusional. Dont listen to him.
     
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  9. Ballinbob

    Ballinbob Hall of Fame

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    Well if the serves I posted are around 110 (three people have confirmed this), is it really that crazy to think I can increase my serve speed by 10mph by fixing my technical flaws like the high hitting elbow ect?

    It will take a lot of work for sure but surely this is an achievable goal and not out of reach?
     
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  10. LeeD

    LeeD Bionic Poster

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    BallinBob needs ONLY to flatten out his serves, so the sound is POW, the ball doesn't spin much, and it will go into the low 120's tomorrow.
    Remember Kiteboard? He was 6'1", maybe a bit more, 215 lbs., strong and agile. His top/slice first serves went in around 105, nice, nothing threatening, and he never figured out how to hit dead flat serves. If he did, with the same swing speed and motion, he would top 120.
    Sampras was credited pretty much with mid 130's. He hit with top/slice on all first serves. If he flattened it out, his flat serve speeds would rival those of Roddick's.
     
    #60
  11. Can you post your serve on this thread please? Get the guys to measure your speed aswell. You talk up your serve but I think we should really measure it so you can talk about it in facts that are clear rather than your or other peoples thoughts on the serve.
     
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  12. LeeD

    LeeD Bionic Poster

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    Have we seen yours?
    Mine has been posted, possibly even on this thread.
    Some guys measured mine, using that method of individual snapshots, at 95 mph, or so. Of particular note, my serves were hit wide, to the longest posssible service box location.
    Some guys on here, every one who's faced my serves, say it's faster than almost anything they've seen at their level, usually 4-4.5.
    Maybe they don't face 95 mph serves, I can't say, but the 3 guys who do post here don't knock my claims of service speeds. Neither will you, if you ever had to face them.
    In 1978, I was clocked at 129.4, and 4 out of my 7 tries went over 124.
    Even with a wooden ProStaffKramer, they went over 120.
    GoldenGatewayTennisClub, SanFrancisco.
    Amatuer winner was LowellBarnhardt, at 129.6.
    Pro winner was ColinDibley, at 149.
    Victor Amaya was second pro, at 144.
    Tanner did higher 130's.
    Stockton, Rameriz, and Gottfried made the mid 130's.
     
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  13. sureshs

    sureshs Bionic Poster

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    http://vimeo.com/21713707
     
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  14. Wow. :) The way he talks I thought he had a more powerful serve firstly. Secondly I thoguht he has massive spin on his serve. Crazy twist and big kick. Why do you tell people your serve is better than it is LeeD? It is a very nice serve for 3.5 level.
     
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  15. LeeD

    LeeD Bionic Poster

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    Good call there, shows how much your really know about tennis.
    But RobFL, a nationally ranked 4.5 player here, Shroud, a 4.0, and PapaMango, another hard hitting 4.0, would argue with you to the end.
    They have faced my serves in doubles.
    Maybe you should stand near center hash, serve some serves out wide, and see if YOUR serves bounce 24-34" high at the backwall.
    THEN, please feel free to come back and laugh at my piddling slow serves.
    Oh, notice the limp when I run? Can you serve your best limping like that?
     
    #65
  16. sureshs

    sureshs Bionic Poster

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    Yes definitely he has a very good 3.5-level serve, when they land in. Almost 4.0 level.
     
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  17. LeeD

    LeeD Bionic Poster

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    Good try, Suresh, but my serve is nothing like your puddings.
    Today, with no warmup, stepped into a set with 3 guys from SanPablo's 4.0League doubles team. One of them plays singles for SP, also. We can rate them high 3.5 to mid 4.0, I'd think.
    I served two games in each of the two sets.
    Maybe 5 total serves got returned and all were weak desperate slice returns, short and floaty.
    Needless to say, I won every one of my service games without facing two points lost.
    All 3 guys have played me before, and that's about average for their returning.
    Against the top 2 guys on that League 4.0 team, the return rate is well less than 50%. Those two played on an adjoining court.
    Is that about the same effectiveness as YOUR serves?
     
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  18. arche3

    arche3 Banned

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    I don't see those guys defending you to the end. ... lol.
     
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  19. LeeD

    LeeD Bionic Poster

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    MMI.
    You claim vast knowledge at tennis.
    My serves are rated at "95mph".
    Did you expect "massive spin" from that?
    Sounds like you have very little knowledge about tennis, but excellent skills at dissing other players while not posting vids of yourself.
    This of course, also applies to Suresh.
     
    #69
  20. sureshs

    sureshs Bionic Poster

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    I don't know man. The only thing I can see is the video.
     
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  21. LeeD

    LeeD Bionic Poster

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    Arche3, another guy who won't post HIS serving vids, but knocks those of mine.
    Arche3. I've posted I'm a strong 3.5, low level 4.0 player HOW MANY TIMES?
    So, in context with that, my serves go pretty fast.
    YOU are a 4.5, I surmise. YOU won't find my serves exceptional or particularly hard to return. Neither would Nadal, DJ, or Ferrer.
    But guess what? I won't ever play against N, D, or F, and probably not against very many real 4.5's.
    RobFL doesn't post a lot here, only on Travel sections.
    PapaMango also.
    Shroud, well you know, you read his critique of my serves.... "approaching 120's"....
     
    #71
  22. Look what is your problem dude. Your serve is damn good for, 3.5, 4.0 but it is not as good as you think. You got to remember you think your serve is legendary, like you saying your twist serve would seriously trouble WTA professionals.

    You have a nice fluid motion and are loose for somebody of your age it is a nice looking serve. I appreciate it for what it is.

    In fact a lot of people posting for help with their serve have a better serve than you which means you cant be serving that well.
     
    #72
  23. LeeD. You are 3.5. Pretty much any 4.5 with a pathetic serve has a better serve than you.
     
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  24. sureshs

    sureshs Bionic Poster

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    When it goes in, yes
     
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  25. LeeD

    LeeD Bionic Poster

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    Exposing more of your tennis knowledge again, MMI?
    I've played doubles lately with plenty of 4.5's, have hit with some Open level players (winner of OaklandCityOpen this year), and they all want to return my serves for practice. Of course, they CAN return it. And yes, they usually block it back or miss a lot of hard topspin returns.
    When I played some fun doubles with Aba, a No.2 singles for Harvard, he always wanted to play against me, to face my serve. It would be boring for him and I to play ANY 4.5 doubles team. The one set we did oppose each other in doubles, he would win most points against me, but on my serve, it was pretty even.
    I can include plenty of names, but there is some unwritten, and for me, not understood, code that we should not list specific names of players on here.
    Yes, I broke that code above, but if you chased down Aba in Europe this season, he will agree with me.
     
    #75
  26. The video shows us how good your serve is. From my extensive knowledge I know it is not a good serve.

    Why dont we get tennis_balla or Ash Smith, two who are regarded as very knowledgable on this forum to contribute on teh quality of LeeD's serve?
     
    #76
  27. LeeD

    LeeD Bionic Poster

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    I already agreed my serve is around 95 mph average.
    Whether that is good or not is subject to debate, of course.
    Add in lefty, add in 35 years of tennis, including 2 years at A/Open a couple of your lifetimes ago, add in being asked to serve to half a dozen A/Open or WTA women and close to that many NorCal ranked A/Open men, add in my practice partners and buds those years were top singles for D-2 and D-3 colleges, and maybe there is more to serving than pure MPH and what is shown in ONE isolated video taken just after a no tennis winter of at least 3 months.
     
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  28. WildVolley

    WildVolley Legend

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    Getting back to serve speed estimation, I suggest either finding someone with a radar gun, or getting a decent camera and then using the serve speed calculator by counting frames. The higher the frame count, the more accurate the estimate.

    Using the back fence isn't a good method of estimating serve speed.
     
    #78
  29. shindemac

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    Very interesting thread. A 90+ mph serve is nothing to scoff at. Very few will ever serve this fast, so he has to be doing something right, esp. at the 3.5/4.0 level. I've seen 4.0s with solid groundstrokes, but with totally pathetic 3.0 level serves.

    I self rate myself 3.5, but my serve has given 4.0 players lots of trouble and I've won points and games handily like this. I've never played any 4.5 players, so I don't know if they can handle my "fast" serve. Btw, my serve was never timed; it hits 2-3 feet high on the fence when going down the T. This is the best my serve has ever been, and I really didn't spend that much time practicing it this year. As long as my serve keeps improving each year, that's all that matters.

    Against better competition, I have to definitely step up my game. The first thing I notice, is that practice helps! Second, confidence is a huge factor and some of that comes from practicing and knowing you can do what you need to do. Finally, I paint the lines. I usually wouldn't do this against lesser players, but this is a must if I want to get any easy games off them. Of course, I practice this scenario too so I don't come unprepared.
     
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  30. Topspin Shot

    Topspin Shot Legend

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    There is a very big difference between a 90+ mph flat serve like you see in recreational tennis and a 90+ mph kick serve like you see on the tour. It isn't that hard to block back a flat serve hit at 90, but a 90 mph kick serve with the same racket speed as a 130 mph flat serve will eat you up.
     
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  31. shindemac

    shindemac Hall of Fame

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    That's why you make it hard for them to block it back.

    I still maintain it is a good serve for a recreational player because that is when they start to understand how to generate power and start to fix the technical issues in their serve.
     
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  32. Topspin Shot

    Topspin Shot Legend

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    I agree. 90 mph is respectable, and I'm not knocking rec players. My point, which is actually a bit off topic, is that rec players who think their 90 is the same as a pro's 90, maybe not placed as well, are deluding themselves. No one on this thread seems delusional though.
     
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  33. LeeD

    LeeD Bionic Poster

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    Not sure comparing effectiveness of rec 90 and pro 90 has any bearing on anything at all.
    Most top ATP guys hit over 130, so subtracting 40 for kick serves, maybe around 90 for the best.
    Most rec players barely break 100, so subtracting 40 for kick serves, that goes along with my assumption that my kick/twist serves "poke in at around 65mph", which I've started dozens of times.
    And anyone thinking we don't know the difference between 90 mph kick, and 90 mph flats, should just stay out of any discussions.
    D U H !!
     
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  34. Topspin Shot

    Topspin Shot Legend

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    You know. Some readers of this thread might not.
     
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  35. shindemac

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    90 mph kick = 130 flat!!!!!! Most of us aren't pros here.
     
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  36. Mrnoital

    Mrnoital Banned

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    I used to be a lab optician, I could cut you some new lenses for your glasses.:mrgreen:
     
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  37. jussumman

    jussumman Semi-Pro

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    With the indoors echo made with each serve sounds like shot gun blasts lol

    btw Ballinbob, you've got a interesting 2 step serving motion (bringing back the racquet into place first and toss later). Looks very effective and you've got some really nice solid serves. See you're from Colorado, big Broncos fan here :)
     
    Last edited: Nov 3, 2013
    #87
  38. jussumman

    jussumman Semi-Pro

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    Thanks, I'll try recording some time with a decent camera, if not this season than next. I got a bit excited about this only because my serve has always been tragically bad since playing and has kept me from playing in leagues and against better players, and then when you finally serve with some decent pace it just feels good and a relief from the doubts if I could ever do it. The pros and many regular tennis players make it look so easy, but it's not at all I've found.

    I don't want to focus on the serve, but lets be honest if you can't serve decently you're not going to win a lot of matches and playing is not nearly as fun. Looking forward to next season, now I feel confident enough to join a 4.0 league and work on many other shots in tennis.
     
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  39. jussumman

    jussumman Semi-Pro

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    I misread one of your posts that balls from your serve go up 30" or so inches high on the fence.. I though it read feet and you were exaggerating for some affect. Also if a tripod is anywhere within the court away from the fence than the ball is naturally going to hit (the camera/tripod) higher, makes a big difference the distance from baseline to back of fence. But anyway, I didn't know you were in your 60s, if you're hitting 100 plus now and play solid 4.0 against 4.5 guys you're doing really good we can hope to play at that level in our 60s. You mentioning you surfed and played in the 70s sounded like something made up! lol

    I also started pretty late, picked up first racquet around 2002 at age 25. After 10 years of just hitting around and playing doubles with anyone on the courts for 2 summer months only, this is my first year I joined a competitive league and at age 36. I also play some friends weekly (crush two of them and get crushed by one).

    It was a big pain going thru many racquets available to see what feels good. There are just so many factors in tennis with the racquets, strings, string tensions, balls, and weight/balance of racquet. It's kinda frustrating, so much trial and error. But now I have my racquet setup and can just go out and focus on playing matches and hitting strokes the best I can. Looking forward to next season vs 4.0 and 3.5 players now that I got some match play experience.
     
    Last edited: Nov 11, 2013
    #89
  40. LeeD

    LeeD Bionic Poster

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    "just made up"....
    If you get an earlier edition of SurfingCalifornia, the location bible book for surfing ...where?... you will see my name listed in the credits.
    Heck, if you get any edition of Windfinder, a location book for windsurfing in California, you will see my name in the list of credits.
    The credit thing. Everyone who knows surfing in NorCal, or windsurfing in NorCal, knows me. I must be able to surf and windsurf, ya dink?
    I'm named as one of the big wave rider's in the first Maverick's book, the big blue one.
    OK, so I can surf and windsurf.
    If you check AMA NorCal District 36 motocross, you will see, in 1982, a certain DomondLee listed in Expert class racing, # is 123A. Guess who that is?
    Oh, and the camera is less than 6" from the backfence, that is 21' behind the baseline, and notice the serves go out wide.
     
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  41. josofo

    josofo Semi-Pro

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    june of this year i was serving 115-120.

    in this video

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aETcVNR4QVY

    i was serving 108-112



    but i spent the rest of summer tweaking my motion to get better form and now i am not breaking 100.
     
    #91
  42. WildVolley

    WildVolley Legend

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    I definitely believe you. But sometimes you have to go backwards to go forwards.:)

    You didn't have the greatest form in that video, but you had a good jump and decent racket head speed. I'd be interested in seeing your more recent form.
     
    #92
  43. shindemac

    shindemac Hall of Fame

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    Your form is still a work in progress.

    What kind of changes and "improvements" have you made? Did you try to add legs into your serve this summer? Sometimes adding a new motion will cause you to mistime the different parts of your body, so you are no longer as efficient with the motion and the speed suffers. Your rhythm and timing needs to be spot on, but sometimes you are late one serve, and sometimes you are early for another, so the rest of the serve just falls apart and you can't adjust in time.
     
    #93
  44. Hollandtennis

    Hollandtennis New User

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    #94
  45. TimeSpiral

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    Tisk, tisk, tisk, LeeD ...

    [​IMG]

    That ball appears to be in, however; the framerate on youtube videos is not sufficient to judge the bounce phase of the ball. It's just not.

    Either way, the next frame shows that the ball has appeared to have left the court.

    Since Alves performed the serve, and judged it as in, and I graphically confirmed those results, I think we can say the ball was good.

    If you really want to know the speed of your serves, just buy a freaking radar gun. You play tennis. You're rich enough to own one. Just do it.
     
    #95
  46. Ballinbob

    Ballinbob Hall of Fame

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    Holland, have someone here calculate the serve speed for you, looks faster than low 70s

    I wonder what the average serve speeds are at the different levels (3.5-5.0). My guess would be the average is pretty low for all levels. At least less than what we think
     
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  47. sureshs

    sureshs Bionic Poster

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    http://www.wannasurf.com/spot/North....html?wdaction=lib.WDPageComment.show&page=29
    DOA - The Double Overhead Association could only be started by a loudmouth in your face charging surfer. That surfer was Domond Lee, one of Bob's early shapers when Wise still made their own boards, up to the early 70s. Domond started, and controlled, the board for years - it had to pass his scrutiny.
     
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  48. Chas Tennis

    Chas Tennis Hall of Fame

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    You seem like a high level server already with heavy pace. Are you measuring with radar?

    Your video, like 99% of those posted here, needs work.

    1) Video only in bright sunlight.
    2) Place the camera behind the server looking directly along the trajectory of the ball.
    3) Make the image of your body larger while always still covering from below the foot to above the racket.

    If you want to get an idea of the pace place the camera on the side perpendicular to the trajectory and video in bright sunlight as described earlier. 59" in 1/30 sec is 100 MPH.

    If you really want to see everything that you are doing on the serve here is a basic high speed video camera for under $190 complete with tripod, SD card, and a spare battery.
    http://www.kinovea.org/en/forum/viewtopic.php?pid=3059#p3059
     
    Last edited: Nov 13, 2013
    #98
  49. TimeSpiral

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    Dude ... your court has Pickleball boundaries on it! That's awesome. I would totally be playing Pickleball out there.

    Just get a radar gun. You can get a decent one for less than a $100. Then you will know the speed of your serve, and it will mean nothing to your opponent :twisted:
     
    #99
  50. Baxter

    Baxter Professional

    Joined:
    Jun 18, 2008
    Messages:
    1,309
    Location:
    Colorado
    LeeD, how far in does your opponent's serve have to be before you will call it in? Is that how you beat Peanut Louie in the white pants era?
     

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