Talk Tennis

Talk Tennis (http://tt.tennis-warehouse.com/index.php)
-   Tennis Tips/Instruction (http://tt.tennis-warehouse.com/forumdisplay.php?f=17)
-   -   Any Hope For Short Guys to get a decent Serve? (http://tt.tennis-warehouse.com/showthread.php?t=466463)

that_was_just_out 06-11-2013 06:36 AM

Any Hope For Short Guys to get a decent Serve?
 
Hey All,

Newbie here. Been playing for years, decent game, but it really bugs me that I can't get any pop on my serve. I'm 5'8", am I just doomed by my physique to never be able to generate the proper torque or length or whatever it is that gives you some pop on the serve? I've tried really getting my legs into it, tossing the ball into the court, etc but to no avail. Or is it all in the wrist snap? I think sometimes I don't quite snap at it hard enough because I'm afraid it'll just wildly hit the fence or the bottom of the net.

Any hints maybe from other shorter guys who have a decent pop on their serve would be appreciated.

Cheers

looseleftie 06-11-2013 07:00 AM

Hey mate, I'm 5'10" so only a bit shorter..

My first bit of advice is to grab a couple of lessons.. Seriously, do yourself a favour and get a pro to help u rather than struggling yourself and getting frustrated..

Remember the serve is about the rythm, everything has to work together and in unison. Which is no different to your ground strokes really..Look at your hitting arm, is it getting into trophy position, and then is it dropping right down the back to give a little scratch??? Are u gripping too tight??

Ferrer is only 5'7" by the way...There was a little Belgium guy a few years ago, he was 5'5" from memory.

No doubt, being taller than 6' signicantly helps with the angle into the box..

I am only 2 inches taller, and what I found is that when I really drive up with my legs, and drive forwards, my contact point is quite high, and hitting with feet many inches off the ground.. I think, extend, drive and hit for my swing..

Other posters will suggest some more to help, but getting a pro coach will help u along your way much quicker..

corners 06-11-2013 07:20 AM

Henin, at 5'6", occasionally got a serve in at 120 mph. So, yeah, short guys can serve.

TennisCJC 06-11-2013 07:24 AM

Serena Williams is 5' 9" and averages about 105 mph on her first serve and frequently hits serves at 120 mph. Her 2nd serve averages about 90+ mph and kicks up high and deep. So, yes, you can hit a good serve from 5' 8" tall.

Justin Henin was 5' 6" (maybe a bit shorter) and had an excellent serve. She served the vast majority of her serves down the center over the low part of the net - sometimes it was over 80% of her serves went down the center. But, you do need the ability to change it up and hit wide.

Try to learn to hit hard spin serves. A straight line serve for someone 5' 8" tall has about 3 inches of clearance window over the net and it will just land on the service line. Will Hamilton at fuzzyyellowballs.com has proven this. Meaning a ball that is hit so hard that it doesn't bend in the air (a straight line) must just barely clear the net and it will only just barely clip the service line. In other words, a hard flat serve has practically no margin of error if you are under 6' tall. So, learn to hit a hard spinner and the spin will bend it down toward the ground. If you can bend it 12" in the air, you now have a 12-14" window that you can hit over the net and thus have a better margin of error. Pete Sampras hit over 2,000 rpm on his 1st serve and 3,000 rpm on his 2nd serve. Pete also had a steeper topspin angle in that his ball rotated more toward the ground and less pure side spin but all spin serves have an element of side spin.

But, if you are under 6', you have to bend it with spin. Pete was over 6' and he knew this and bent his serve big time.

that_was_just_out 06-11-2013 07:54 AM

Thanks for the advice, folks! Appreciate that!

looseleftie, always thought about lessons, but the serve is so complex, I figure it'd take about 10 lessons to get something solid down, and at $50 a pop, that's not really an option for me, I'm just not that invested in tennis to make that much of a financial commitment, I can think of a lot of better things $500 will get me.

Tennis CJC, I have been trying to use a hard spin serve exclusively over the past 5 years, can't remember the last time I hit a flat serve, but there still isn't quite as much net clearance as I would like. Is that a function of not swinging hard enough and really snapping the wrist on contact? Or is it the toss? I usually try to toss straight above my head.

I've always found the whole coordination thing the toughest part of serving, always feels like the parts of my body are moving individually and out of sync, like I'm bending the legs too early/late, throwing the ball too early/late, starting my swing too early/late making contact too early/late etc.

Lukhas 06-11-2013 08:00 AM

BTW, Ferrer is actually 5'9". Like me.

I keep bringing on those links I admit, but to understand the serve, I like the idea of pitching the ball.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6EFWB18kPWY
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WlPVdppfYGs

Or when Roddick says "Down, and up":
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Wkah8U1GQ_k#t=1m

I like technical breakdowns for knowledge of what's actually happening, but it doesn't help me serving.

Cindysphinx 06-11-2013 08:20 AM

I do not agree that you would need 10 one-hour lessons at $50/each to improve your serve.

If budget is an issue, take one 30-minute serving lesson. Go practice diligently for 1-2 weeks. Then take another. Repeat.

If you have decent mechanics to begin with, I would think you would see good results for $100 or less.

[edit: I see now you call yourself a newbie. Better crank that budget up to $250, then. :)

Seriously, money spent learning to serve is money well spent. If you have a bad serve -- which I define as a guy who blasts a fault for the first serve and then pushes in the second like a far-sighted schoolgirl -- it will be hard to play any decent tennis. Go get some lessons, for sure.]

spaceman_spiff 06-11-2013 08:34 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Cindysphinx (Post 7499425)
I do not agree that you would need 10 one-hour lessons at $50/each to improve your serve.

If budget is an issue, take one 30-minute serving lesson. Go practice diligently for 1-2 weeks. Then take another. Repeat.

If you have decent mechanics to begin with, I would think you would see good results for $100 or less.

[edit: I see now you call yourself a newbie. Better crank that budget up to $250, then. :)

Seriously, money spent learning to serve is money well spent. If you have a bad serve -- which I define as a guy who blasts a fault for the first serve and then pushes in the second like a far-sighted schoolgirl -- it will be hard to play any decent tennis. Go get some lessons, for sure.]

Also, have your teaching pro take videos when teaching you to serve. Seeing what you're actually doing is much better than relying on what you think you're doing.

The Meat 06-11-2013 08:35 AM

I'm 5'8" and have a pretty decent serve. Use pinpoint stance, pronate with good shoulder rotation to get a good pop on the serve. I have a pretty low toss and it works.

spaceman_spiff 06-11-2013 09:02 AM

Oh, and keep in mind that, against decent returners, disguise and placement are much more effective than just flat-out power.

You might not ever be able to hit 130-mph serves. But, if you can consistently hit 100-mph serves that make your opponents stretch and keep them guessing, you'll have a solid overall serve game.

tennismonkey 06-11-2013 10:10 AM

check your grip too. been seeing an awful lot of 3.5 and 4.0 players in my area with frying pan service grips (overheads too). if you are serving with a semi-western forehand grip: you're doing it wrong.


WildVolley 06-11-2013 10:37 AM

It definitely helps to have long arms if you want to generate pace. However, with good technique, an athletic player can still hit 100mph without too much difficulty. I've seen 5'4" women hit over 100mph.

Using the proper movement pattern with a continental grip is going to be key. I'd work on a topspin slice serve as the basic serve.

LuckyR 06-11-2013 11:05 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by that_was_just_out (Post 7499161)
Hey All,

Newbie here. Been playing for years, decent game, but it really bugs me that I can't get any pop on my serve. I'm 5'8", am I just doomed by my physique to never be able to generate the proper torque or length or whatever it is that gives you some pop on the serve? I've tried really getting my legs into it, tossing the ball into the court, etc but to no avail. Or is it all in the wrist snap? I think sometimes I don't quite snap at it hard enough because I'm afraid it'll just wildly hit the fence or the bottom of the net.

Any hints maybe from other shorter guys who have a decent pop on their serve would be appreciated.

Cheers

At 5' 8" you should be getting at least 122 MPH on your first serves.

Justine could hit 122 mph at 5' 5 1/2" (and she's a... woman!! Keep it to yourself...)

that_was_just_out 06-11-2013 11:23 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by spaceman_spiff (Post 7499466)
Also, have your teaching pro take videos when teaching you to serve. Seeing what you're actually doing is much better than relying on what you think you're doing.

Thanks, I'm gonna book a video session with him today, see what he says. Maybe I can post some of the video here to get y'alls feedback as well. I think the video is a great idea, because you can keep going back to it rather than book further lessons if you feel like you're going back to your old bad habits.

Cheers

that_was_just_out 06-11-2013 11:25 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by LuckyR (Post 7499858)
At 5' 8" you should be getting at least 122 MPH on your first serves.

Justine could hit 122 mph at 5' 5 1/2" (and she's a... woman!! Keep it to yourself...)

I believe that's what the people that use the Internets refer to as trolling.

Lukhas 06-11-2013 11:46 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by that_was_just_out (Post 7499908)
I believe that's what the people that use the Internets refer to as joking.

Fixed that for you. Not many club players hit at 120mph, but it's doable.

LuckyR 06-11-2013 12:55 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by that_was_just_out (Post 7499908)
I believe that's what the people that use the Internets refer to as trolling.

Your OP implied that your height limited your serve speed. This is incorrect. There are limitations to serve speed especially at the rec level as many have posted, but being 5'8" is not one of them.

BTW, since you brought it up, if my post bothers you, you must be new to the Intraweb...

mikeler 06-11-2013 01:01 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by The Meat (Post 7499468)
I'm 5'8" and have a pretty decent serve. Use pinpoint stance, pronate with good shoulder rotation to get a good pop on the serve. I have a pretty low toss and it works.

I'm 5'-8" and also recommend the pinpoint stance since that will make you as tall as possible at the point of contact. Of the 3 biggest serves I've ever faced, two of the guys were around 6'-3" and the other guy was 5'-4". A live arm is more important than height, but yes I'd love to be 6'-3" and have the geometry more in my favor.

LeeD 06-11-2013 01:03 PM

Post a vid of YOU serving.
Camera 5' off the ground, directly behind you, with your target in the background.
I"m 5'11", have a decent serve for 64 years old (nobody faster out of at least 50 4.0 thru 5.0's, but a fast serve takes a lot out of my body, so my game sometimes reverts to slug and lose tennis.
Better to place it well, out wide, into the body, and play smart tennis, instead of slug tennis.
I"m often guilty of being a neantherdahl, a DUMB style of tennis, and a losing style, to be sure.

mikeler 06-11-2013 01:28 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by LeeD (Post 7500227)
Post a vid of YOU serving.
Camera 5' off the ground, directly behind you, with your target in the background.
I"m 5'11", have a decent serve for 64 years old (nobody faster out of at least 50 4.0 thru 5.0's, but a fast serve takes a lot out of my body, so my game sometimes reverts to slug and lose tennis.
Better to place it well, out wide, into the body, and play smart tennis, instead of slug tennis.
I"m often guilty of being a neantherdahl, a DUMB style of tennis, and a losing style, to be sure.


Classic LeeD.


All times are GMT -8. The time now is 07:08 PM.

Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.6.9
Copyright ©2000 - 2014, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.
© 2006 - Tennis Warehouse