The one bounce serve - what is the speed?

Discussion in 'Tennis Tips/Instruction' started by martini1, Dec 12, 2009.

  1. martini1

    martini1 Hall of Fame

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    I am practicing my first serve and I have no idea how fast the ball is. So my usual reference is try to have the ball bounce once inside the box and then it should hit the fence behind.

    Anybody can guesstimate a minimal speed for that to happen? The ball should at least hit the fence with some speed, perhaps enough to make it "stick" on the fence itself.

    The size of the court is just a regular public kind, may be 15-20 ft between the base line and the fence?
     
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  2. HunterST

    HunterST Hall of Fame

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    I'm not 100% confident with this, but I've heard the serve needs to be around 70mph to hit the back fence off the first bounce.

    P.S. prepare for every comment to say something to the effect of: "Don't worry about speed...variety,placement,spin are more important..." It's true of course, but everybody wants to know how fast their serves are!
     
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  3. Rambler124

    Rambler124 Rookie

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    I think its a bit more than 70 mph - I've basically heard a one bouncer is aroud 90+ all my life. Never tested the theory with a radar gun though.
     
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  4. HunterST

    HunterST Hall of Fame

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    ahhh I'd have to disagree. There's a guy I know who has an average serve speed in the 90s and his serves hit midway up the fence. So the minimum, which could hit a lot lower on the fence, would have to be less than 90.
     
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  5. Blake0

    Blake0 Hall of Fame

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    Kinda hard to be accurate using the fence as a reference..if you're taller you can hit down on the ball more and it'll jump higher and it might hit the fence on the drop.

    But, hitting the fence should be around 70ish..90 is way to high..70 to maybe 80 would be the minimum speed for most people, i'm guessing though.
     
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  6. 5263

    5263 G.O.A.T.

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    Rambler, the problem here is that many get on here and post serve speed info without understanding about the acceleration of a tennis ball, radar intercept angle, and how it slows prior to radar acquisition. So they take a speed chek reading from the net or opp baseline and will argue for 2 pages about serve speeds.
     
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  7. mtommer

    mtommer Hall of Fame

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    Honestly, minimum speed, and speed in general, is just very hard to put a finger on.

    Look at the first two balls in one of my own serving videos (fences are around 27 ft back). http://www.vimeo.com/6125506

    Both balls register the same speed and one is way out but because it didn't hit the court until later it should be carrying more speed to the fence and also a higher bounce....theoretically (both balls were pretty close along the same ball path linearly). However, I probably put more spin on the second shot which let it hit a little higher than the first ball despite landing shorter. Keep in mind that when I hit my first serves I try to impart spin. Any spin on the ball just comes about unintentionally on my part.
     
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  8. 5263

    5263 G.O.A.T.

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    Nice radar set up there!
    You have to realize the rule of thumb is dependent on the serve being in the box. Many things change when the serve is way long.
     
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  9. JerrYMeeE

    JerrYMeeE Rookie

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    You also have to put height and the height of contact into account, as well as the trajectory of the ball.
     
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  10. Carlito

    Carlito Semi-Pro

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    Don't forget about spin. I can get it higher up the fence with a 90mph kicker than a 100mph flat serve.
     
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  11. martini1

    martini1 Hall of Fame

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    That's true. If you got a monster kick serve it will be more likely to hit the fence because it will bounce real high and be able to reach the fence easier.

    So for the purpose I am saying flat serve, hard court, and height of player is around 6ft.
     
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  12. martini1

    martini1 Hall of Fame

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    I totally agree. There will be a huge difference in speed before and after the ball bounce. If anybody knows how the majors measure serve speed that should put an end to the argument. Personally I think they measure speed as it cross the net. That's why people on tv talk about the down the T serves are faster because they are at 90 degrees off the net compare to serves going wide. Measuring speed after the bounce is very inconsistent because of the spin factors in. Fed can do a very fast kick serve coming in but when it bounces the ball breaks and jumps without going full force forward.
     
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  13. gzhpcu

    gzhpcu Professional

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  14. HunterST

    HunterST Hall of Fame

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    Yeah, I definitely think they measure it as it goes over the net. For one it's the most logical place to measure the speed. Also, I was watching an old Mcenroe vs. Borg match on TV and the announcers were explaining this "new" radar gun device and they said that it quote "measures the speed of the ball as it goes over the net." Of course that was a long time ago, but I imagine they wouldn't have changed it.
     
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  15. WildVolley

    WildVolley Legend

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    The modern radar take peak speeds, which is the speed off of the racket face. I don't know of any tournament that is reading speed at the net.

    Even my low-end radar gun (Sports Radar) looks for the peak speed. When the conditions are right, it will pick up the peak speed off the racket even if you are standing on the other side of the court.
     
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  16. 5263

    5263 G.O.A.T.

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    The first part of this post is right on!

    As to the second part,
    that may be the company ads claim,
    but I have not seen anything close to that good with the low end models. Doesn't mean it isn't out there though.
     
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  17. fruitytennis1

    fruitytennis1 Professional

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    A nice solid 60 mph topspin that hits anywhere from midbox up can hit the bottom-middle of the fence.
     
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  18. sureshs

    sureshs Bionic Poster

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    The standard fence is 21 feet behind. The pro tourney fence is 26 feet behind. Many private courts are much smaller, like 10 feet behind.
     
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  19. sureshs

    sureshs Bionic Poster

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    For the standard fence, 80 mph is a good rule of thumb for the lower end of speeds for a correct serve to hit the fence.
     
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  20. Xenakis

    Xenakis Hall of Fame

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    While I think being able to hit the back fence off one bounce is a good measure of serve speed in a very general way whether you are on a basic public court or a pro one, as discussed here there are too many factors to consider for it to be anything accurate (size of court, amount of spin, type of ball, type of court surface, altitude, weather, wind, and so on.)

    If you don't have a radar gun, easier to video your serve and count the frames.
     
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  21. martini1

    martini1 Hall of Fame

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    That would be kind of odd cuz it won't explain why on TV they mentioned down the T serves are read faster than those going wide. Off the racket speed sure should be faster but since the ball flight path hasn't shown yet they should have the same speed regardless of the angle if struck in the same manner.
     
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  22. xFullCourtTenniSx

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    ZPTennis measured his serve at 70 minimum to hit the back fence, IF the ball has one MASSIVE hop (namely a kick serve).

    So for a flat serve, it's gotta be somewhere in the 80s-90s. This is assuming of course, that the serve has very little bounce to it (hovers around hip height at highest).
     
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  23. Anthon

    Anthon New User

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    I think that pro right handers hit harder serves Down the line on even Court compared to wide serves on even Court, slightly because they can pronate a bit more with the wrist Down the line, and because they add more spin on the wide serve to create a bette angle, and increase the chance to do damage/build on the first grund stroke after the serve.
     
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  24. Flatballs

    Flatballs Banned

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    Oh great, another circle-jerk thread
     
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  25. LeeD

    LeeD Bionic Poster

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    80 is good.
    In 60 degree weather, a bounce 2' high might be 90 mph.
    In 100 degree weather, a bounce 2' high might be 70 mph.
    On new abrasive courts, a bounce 3' high might be 75 mph.
    On old slick cement courts, a bounce 3' high is hit by a really tall player.
    Basically, 90+ mph is uncatchable with the bare hands by the returner.
    130, a lot of returners are ducking when the ball is hit into the body.
     
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  26. Radicalized

    Radicalized Semi-Pro

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    This is one that needs study and confirmation or just get it checked with proper radar. I think I'm a fairly practical poster and an amalgam of these estimations makes me one heck of a server, even this summer when I haven't played as much. ;) And this is the 10 ft. high fence, 21 ft. behind the baseline.o_O

    LeeD, what is the speed if the ball hits the fence on one bounce and then "rolls/spins" up the fence, rising a a few feet above it before succumbing to gravity and returning to earth?
     
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  27. mbm0912

    mbm0912 Professional

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    This guy....
     
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  28. LeeD

    LeeD Bionic Poster

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    Hitting an object or lots of spin can cause a high hop after the ball strikes the back fence. Nothing to do with ball speed.
    Most players, on flat first serves, can bounce it around mid thigh height on the backfence, which is situated 21' behind the baseline. Talking 4.0's with good serves.
    On new abrasive slow courts, a good server can bounce it around shoulder high, for 90 mph flat serves, especially if he's tall.
    So, things that affect bounce of ball after going IN..... air temps, ball temps, kind of ball, age of ball, court surface (slick or abrasive), contact height, spin on ball. Note...a very fast slice serve, hit in the 95mph range, will skid on the service court, and bounce much lower than expected at the backfence. A decent kick serve, around 80 mph, will bounce high and far after hitting the service court, and can hit 4-5" high on the backfence....yet it's only going 80 mph.
     
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  29. tennisdad65

    tennisdad65 Hall of Fame

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    fence ~20 ft behind baseline, Avg height (5-10) guy serving, ~80 mph topspin or ~90 mph flat gets it to the fence. Ofcourse, give or take 5 mph depending on wind, temperature, humidity, heavy or light duty ball etc..
     
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  30. PrestigeDave45

    PrestigeDave45 Rookie

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    U drink on ur own I take it? Cliffey from the TV programme "Cheers" comes to mind!!!
     
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  31. LeeD

    LeeD Bionic Poster

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    I"m impressed! ANOTHER dumb newbie poster. What, you newbies all come from dumbland?
     
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  32. 4-string

    4-string Rookie

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    Cliff Clavin - not a bad call.



    It's a little known fact that newbies are just as smart as the average veteran poster.
     
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  33. PrestigeDave45

    PrestigeDave45 Rookie

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    Oh man! Dumbland!! I take it you are not old enough to drink? However if u ask ur mammy she may be kind enough to buy you an atlas. Though that is somewhat debatable I imagine!
     
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  34. PrestigeDave45

    PrestigeDave45 Rookie

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    Lol vey good!!:)
     
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  35. Tight Lines

    Tight Lines Professional

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    This +1. 90 mph is my gauge if it hits the fence at all. At least I hope so :)

    Harry
     
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  36. LeeD

    LeeD Bionic Poster

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    Hitting the backfence or wall is not a big deal, but hitting it high up and with the all barely falling IS a big deal.
    Court surface and air temps affect this hugely. Slick courts, cold temps, a 100 mph serve barely get's to the backfence. New grippy courts, 95 degrees, a 70 mph serve hits 3' high on the backfence every time.
     
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  37. Tight Lines

    Tight Lines Professional

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    Umm.... NO WAY. Proof or it didn't happen.

    Harry
     
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  38. LeeD

    LeeD Bionic Poster

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    Your 775 posts shows how tennis dumb you are, Harry.
     
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  39. Tight Lines

    Tight Lines Professional

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    LeeD, it is really disappointing that you have resorted to name calling despite the fact that I was your biggest supporter here. I will not defend you any more.

    Harry
     
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  40. LeeD

    LeeD Bionic Poster

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    Thanks, but no thanks.
    I don't need defending. I"ve shown I can play at LOW 4.0, which is all I've ever claimed in the 6 years I've been here. Sure, doubles is different.
    Your post 37 is just another example of no brains. You gotta think. 95 degrees, the ball bounces like crazy. New abrasive court, the ball hops like no tomorrow. Combine the two, add a paltry 70 mph, and it hit's the backfence after the initial bounce IN the service court.
    Try the same in 62 degrees, old slick cement courts, and you'd need 90 mph to even get close to the backfence after it's initial bounce IN the service court. I play most of my tennis in sub 60 degree weather.
     
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  41. Attila_the_gorilla

    Attila_the_gorilla Professional

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    My serve is more likely to hit the back fence on fast low bouncing courts than on slow high bouncing courts.
     
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  42. LeeD

    LeeD Bionic Poster

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    Doesn't make sense, unless you're serving around 70 mph or less.
    Abrasive courts give a higher bounce, so no matter how slow you hit, the ball bounce higher, and higher goes farther, if there's any momentum to the ball.
    On new Golden Gate Park courts, I was bouncing first serves, FLAT, around shoulder high on the backfence, 21' behind the baseline. That last about a month. On the new HarTrue courts at Lake Merced, bounces would go almost chin high on flat first serves, against the backwall.
    At our beloved San Pablo Park courts, flat first serves would barely get up to 30" high, the ball noticeably skidding on the initial bounce.
     
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  43. Attila_the_gorilla

    Attila_the_gorilla Professional

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    I only play on 2 types of surface. 1 is synthetic grass with sand filling. It's pretty quick and bounces low. I consistently hit the fence around knee or waist height when my first serve goes in. The ball skids without losing too much speed.

    The other courts I play on are similar to clay. Crushed brick. Very slow and high bounce. My serve is less likely to hit the fence before the second bounce. It bounces steeper but travels much slower, loses too much pace as it hits the ground. My serve is a much lesser weapon on these courts.
     
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  44. LeeD

    LeeD Bionic Poster

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    Interesting!
    It seems you Aussies are counter to everyone else.
    Slowest highest bouncing courts I played were at the old TransAmerica ATP tourney. New carpet laid over a rubber base, over hard packed dirt. Not only were groundies bouncing up around our shoulders, but my serves would easily get shoulder high or higher on flat serves. I was warming up Raul Rameriz on one of the side courts, and even HIS serves would bounce up around my chin, top/slice maybe 100 mph max. Since my serves weren't nearly as accurate as his, he let a bunch of my wide serves go untouched, so I could see the bounce height. HIS serves were mostly in or close, so I volleyed them back as well as I could, and didn't see where they would have bounced behind me.
     
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  45. Attila_the_gorilla

    Attila_the_gorilla Professional

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    I don't see how my experience in counter to anywhere else. On the clay courts, serves bounce high. They reach their peak around the baseline and then start dropping quickly, due to a great loss of pace. On the fast courts, the ball bounces low but it loses much less pace on the bounce, so it travels more distance before the second bounce.
     
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  46. LeeD

    LeeD Bionic Poster

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    Perhaps it's still a function of serve speed.
    I have never played on red or gray clay.
    New carpet, super bouncy and slow, my serves get well above shoulder heights at the backfence.
    New HarTru, that green colored soft componsite, same thing, first flat serves well above upper chest heights. easily 4'9" or more.
    Newly painted cement courts, some bounces over a 5' railing at the backfence, as did the serve bounces of my opponent's and playing partners.
    Old slick cement courts, my first serves barely get 30" above the ground at the backfence, still 21' behind the baseline, because the bounce is a skid, which does keep speed, but doesn't bounce up.
    Once again, could it be a function of service speed? That oft posted vid of Verdasco serving on a hot day, Har Tru courts, points that a decent speed serve bounces REALLY high at the backfence on abrasive slow courts.
    When I served on grass courts on Oahu, Black Point area, I couldn't get my first flat serves to bounce any higher than lower thigh high, yet the air temps were in the mid '80's, new tennis balls, good racket.
     
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  47. Attila_the_gorilla

    Attila_the_gorilla Professional

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    I assume my serve speed is the same regardless the surface.

    I'm comparing my own serve on the two different surfaces.

    Maybe some hard courts you guys have are bouncy and fast at the same time. I don't play on that kind of surface.
     
    Last edited: Aug 7, 2015
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