first serve for 5'6 player?

F

FRV

Guest
Is your second serve consistent? If so, I would just hit flat and sometimes slice, like the pros do. Otherwise, maybe a lot more slice. I'm in a similar situation, and I'm just trying to get a consistent flat first serve and it's almost there. I'm a little taller than you, but I doubt it makes much of a difference.
 

pico

Professional
Is your second serve consistent? If so, I would just hit flat and sometimes slice, like the pros do. Otherwise, maybe a lot more slice. I'm in a similar situation, and I'm just trying to get a consistent flat first serve and it's almost there. I'm a little taller than you, but I doubt it makes much of a difference.
I find that slice does work better. I toss around 12 and just a few inches in front of me. I then brush across the ball. Topspin slice?
 

IowaGuy

Hall of Fame
Schwartzman has a good serve for his height, usually mixes in some top/slice on his 1st serve, or uses a very wide kick serve on the ad side (watch his recent match against Thiem for examples).

He also uses an extended racket which can give a little extra reach and spin.

 
F

FRV

Guest
I find that slice does work better. I toss around 12 and just a few inches in front of me. I then brush across the ball. Topspin slice?
I was thinking regular slice serve. But you should probably just listen to @IowaGuy haha.
 

S&V-not_dead_yet

Talk Tennis Guru
I am conflicted as to what to use for a first serve. I am 5'6. Suggestions?
Apart from recognizing that you're not Isner and can't hit down into the court [neither can the majority of players], I'm not so sure I'd be conflicted. Cibulkova is 5' 3" and her serve is not too shabby. By all means work on the kick and slice but don't ignore the flat serve altogether. You might find you have a talent for it.
 

TnsGuru

Professional
Oliver Rochus listed at 5 ft 5 in. highest rank #24. He and Roger Federer won the junior doubles at Wimbledon. For someone his height he packed some punch on the ball. Because he was undersized he would play his heart out all the time.

One handed backhand and played an all court game which goes against what style he should have played. If Tomic or Kyrgios had his heart they would be GS champions no doubt! His serve was pretty darn good for any height player!!
 

Pandora Mikado

Semi-Pro
I am conflicted as to what to use for a first serve. I am 5'6. Suggestions?
My first coach was about 5’2” and her tops at most would be in the 130-140 kph range but it kicked like a mule - so much action immediately after the bounce :eek::eek::eek::eek:

I saw many males couldn’t handle it, even upper level 4.5 NTRP couldn’t attack her serve :whistle::whistle::whistle:

Would trade kph any day for that kind of vicious kick and accuracy (y)(y)(y)
 

Dimcorner

Professional
I'm only 5'7" and my flat serve is not bad. I have a OK kick and I'm working on adding variety and better aim. At 3.5 USTA my serve is my strongest shot and not many can attack it yet.

What level are you in anyway? To be honest if you are playing 3.0 or 3.5 there isn't really going to be many people jumping all over a pancake serve.
 

Dan R

Professional
Even most flat serves have some topspin on them. I'm 5' 9" and I hit a "flat" serve with us as much internal shoulder rotation as I can to get top spin on it as well as pace. I don't try and hit it totally flat.
 

TagUrIt

Hall of Fame
Cibulkova is 5' 3" and her serve is not too shabby.
I’m glad you referenced her because I was going to do the same. I won’t pretend and say that height doesn’t have an impact on serves, because it does. That doesn’t mean that you can’t have an awesome first serve and go to second serve kicker. Work with what you have and perfect it (you might have to work a bit harder) but doesn’t meant it can’t be done.
 
D

Deleted member 23235

Guest
I'm only 5'7" and my flat serve is not bad. I have a OK kick and I'm working on adding variety and better aim. At 3.5 USTA my serve is my strongest shot and not many can attack it yet.

What level are you in anyway? To be honest if you are playing 3.0 or 3.5 there isn't really going to be many people jumping all over a pancake serve.
at 3.0-3.5, an underhand serve is all you need.
lol, i take that back... at the pro level, an underhand serve is all you need to be competitive :p
 

pico

Professional
I'm only 5'7" and my flat serve is not bad. I have a OK kick and I'm working on adding variety and better aim. At 3.5 USTA my serve is my strongest shot and not many can attack it yet.

What level are you in anyway? To be honest if you are playing 3.0 or 3.5 there isn't really going to be many people jumping all over a pancake serve.
I am about 3.5. My serve is holding me back I think from progressing.
 

J011yroger

Talk Tennis Guru
How far out do you guys toss on a top-slice serve?
For your height about a foot. If that's uncomfortable you can start 6-8" inside the court, but constantly challenge yourself. If you end up tossing a foot and a half inside the court you are doing quite well, it will depend on how much you are using your legs.

J
 

Wise one

Hall of Fame
I am conflicted as to what to use for a first serve. I am 5'6. Suggestions?

Huh? Just put it in! I am 5' 3" or so, and I use some spin, but so should anyone! I once hit about 24 first serves in a row in a match in 1997, using a wood racquet.
 

Hmgraphite1

Hall of Fame
at 3.0-3.5, an underhand serve is all you need.
lol, i take that back... at the pro level, an underhand serve is all you need to be competitive :p
I gotta work on that, last summer the sun was unbearable around 1pm. My opponent over summer through some in in another match, I kept thinking oh he's making an adjustment and didn't pay attention, by the third or fourth time I was up at the service line nailing a winner. They didn't have as much spin or pace as video.
 
D

Deleted member 23235

Guest
I gotta work on that, last summer the sun was unbearable around 1pm. My opponent over summer through some in in another match, I kept thinking oh he's making an adjustment and didn't pay attention, by the third or fourth time I was up at the service line nailing a winner. They didn't have as much spin or pace as video.
at a tourney last year, me and my opponent both had to serve underhand for 1 or 2 games each.


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
 

Dragy

Legend
I am about 3.5. My serve is holding me back I think from progressing.
That would be a bit of generalization, but for your case I'd suggest focusing on making your second serve as good as possible, so practicing a "uniform" serve, maxing out at mechanics => RHS and applying it within a range of top-slice to kick serves. For most of us unattackable, uncomfortable, disturbing second serve gives a lot. Once you're confident in your 2nd, you can do whatever feels right on the first: swing more through the ball, place it sharply, try to flatten it out on some points.
 

sansaephanh

Professional
Served 117. Sometimes shorter players can take a little more risk than you'd think.
Jeez I'd love to adopt that form. Thanks for the link. When you guys start going into your serve after you reach something like a trophy pose, which foot is your weight on? I tend to put alot of weight on the front foot. I kind of use it as a tipping point for me to "fall into" the court.

What is the normal school of thought on this subject? Keeping in mind I have a feet together serve.
 

zaph

Professional
I am your height, so I can understand your problem. There is nothing more annoying than playing some 6'5" guy with crap service technique who gets the ball in merely because he serving from a massively higher serving position.

The best advice I can give is forget all the complicated stuff. The most effective serve at req level is the serve that goes in. Consistency matters more than anything else. You put allot of pressure on your opponent by not missing the serve and forcing them to win the point.

Just concentrate on tossing consistently to the same place and grooving the serve. You would be amazed how many points you can win even if you serve it to basically the same place everytime, as long as you make them play. Once you have that you can play with changing the direction and using slice/side spin to throw off the timing.

Some people say develop power and then control; I think it is the other way round. Once you have the serve under control, then try for more power. Placement and control over spin matters more than pace at amateur level.
 
D

Deleted member 23235

Guest
Some people say develop power and then control; I think it is the other way round. Once you have the serve under control, then try for more power. Placement and control over spin matters more than pace at amateur level.
depends how you’re developing control. if you have control that relies on gravity alone (frying pan serve) - no bueno.

you want control via spin. spin requires racquet head speed (which folks sometimes describe as power inaccurately IMO)

once you’ve established a spin serve consistently, then you can start working on more pace by choosing to convert that rhs to pace (speed) vs spin.

if you’re only aspiring to 3.5 tennis, then sure, feel free to keep the frying pan serve.


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
 

Dimcorner

Professional
I'm your height and a 3.5 and I think you can certainly have a good serve. Height is not what would be holding you back. It certainly helps but it doesn't disqualify you from having a decent serve.

I definitely think you HAVE to work on getting a good 2nd serve first, then work on a 1st serve. I have played people that have good pop on 1st serve but only in about 40% of the time max. Then the second serve is a puff ball push with no spin that won't even make it to baseline on one bounce!

This is my last vid of 3.5 40+ match. I'm in all dark. It's long but my serves are on 2:26, 8:45 (I switched to platform serve), 13:12, and 23:08.


At 3.5 if you develop a reliable spinny serve you will hold your serve way more often than not.
 
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Wise one

Hall of Fame
why the decrease from 27 to 17?

These were singles matches. The first time, I was unaware that I had not missed a serve until maybe the second set. I was thinking about it more the next week. In 2009, I played a doubles match and hit one double fault, and lost just two points on my serve the entire match. My partner missed one volley, and I double-faulted once.
 

Tiaxx

Rookie
I am conflicted as to what to use for a first serve. I am 5'6. Suggestions?
I'm the exact same height as you, and i have a flat 1st serve. Sure it doesn't bounce like Isner 1st serve, but if you have the right technique, you can still make your 1st serve travel fast.
But it comes down to personal preference i think. For me i don't see myself hitting anything other than flat on my 1st serve. Wether that is the best scenario for you, you and you alone must answer that yourself...
 

zaph

Professional
depends how you’re developing control. if you have control that relies on gravity alone (frying pan serve) - no bueno.

you want control via spin. spin requires racquet head speed (which folks sometimes describe as power inaccurately IMO)

once you’ve established a spin serve consistently, then you can start working on more pace by choosing to convert that rhs to pace (speed) vs spin.

if you’re only aspiring to 3.5 tennis, then sure, feel free to keep the frying pan serve.


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
Oh dear, this reply sums up the problem. If you are not blasting the ball at a million miles an hour, you must be pushing it.

The player with the best serve I have played against, who can hit 120mph plus consistently and put huge kick on his second serve started out by serving with a shortened technique with his racket already dropped by behind his back before he tossed, before building up his serve. He recommended building the serve slowly, learning technique and then adding power.

Still if you think you can win by playing like a faulty ball machine set to a 100% power setting, go ahead. Sure you will hit the odd winner but you will blast far more balls out of play with your lack of control.
 

zaph

Professional
I'm the exact same height as you, and i have a flat 1st serve. Sure it doesn't bounce like Isner 1st serve, but if you have the right technique, you can still make your 1st serve travel fast.
But it comes down to personal preference i think. For me i don't see myself hitting anything other than flat on my 1st serve. Wether that is the best scenario for you, you and you alone must answer that yourself...
You're not hitting flat, you have to be well over 6 foot to hit a flat serve without spin and get it over. In reality your flat serve is a serve with spin, with a bit less spin on it.
 

ryukensfj

New User
I'm your height and a 3.5 and I think you can certainly have a good serve. Height is not what would be holding you back. It certainly helps but it doesn't disqualify you from having a decent serve.

I definitely think you HAVE to work on getting a good 2nd serve first, then work on a 1st serve. I have played people that have good pop on 1st serve but only in about 40% of the time max. Then the second serve is a puff ball push with no spin that won't even make it to baseline on one bounce!

This is my last vid of 3.5 40+ match. I'm in all dark. It's long but my serves are on 2:26, 8:45 (I switched to platform serve), 13:12, and 23:08.


At 3.5 if you develop a reliable spinny serve you will hold your serve way more often than not.
How are you a 3.5? You definitely seem more like a very solid 4.0 and can probably hang with some 4.5s. Where do you live? Maybe the ratings between sections are that different because you are easily a good 4.0 here in Arizona. What is your UTR rating?
 
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Tiaxx

Rookie
You're not hitting flat, you have to be well over 6 foot to hit a flat serve without spin and get it over. In reality your flat serve is a serve with spin, with a bit less spin on it.
I'm sorry to say, but you're dead wrong... I'm exactly 5'6 and as you can see, you can perfectly hit flat servers and not be "well over 6 foot"...

P.S- Serve at 30secs is not a flat serve. somehow got that one in there by mistake

P.S.2- One could argue that some of my out wide serves from the deuce side may contain some side spin. But i think it's clear in the video that one can hit flat serves at 5'6.


And if you look closely, you'll notice i'm not even taking my feet off the ground that much due to a recent calf injury. Without that injury and a proper "jump up" on the serve, i could hit the ball harder, flatter and with a trajectory more from high to low to make it bounce more...
 
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ubercat

Professional
Low fast slice for sure. So step more forward into the court. Then just get good at hittig your spots. I do the same thing with my service sometimes for variety. You are just going to have to learn to be very precise. Basically no point you practicing your serve much unless you've set out cones or whatever for targets. you need a lot of rotation to hit a serve like this you ll kill your shoulder if you try to arm it.
 

zaph

Professional
I'm sorry to say, but you're dead wrong... I'm exactly 5'6 and as you can see, you can perfectly hit flat servers and not be "well over 6 foot"...

P.S- Serve at 30secs is not a flat serve. somehow got that one in there by mistake

P.S.2- One could argue that some of my out wide serves from the deuce side may contain some side spin. But i think it's clear in the video that one can hit flat serves at 5'6.


And if you look closely, you'll notice i'm not even taking my feet off the ground that much due to a recent calf injury. Without that injury and a proper "jump up" on the serve, i could hit the ball harder, flatter and with a trajectory more from high to low to make it bounce more...
You're not hitting flat because your contact position is not high enough to achieve that. You are putting spin on the ball, only players with basket ball player like reach can fit a truly flat serve.
 

Tiaxx

Rookie
You're not hitting flat because your contact position is not high enough to achieve that. You are putting spin on the ball, only players with basket ball player like reach can fit a truly flat serve.
Are you seriously telling me that after watching that video you still think i don't hit flat serves?

Ok mate, whatever you say. Guess you and i have very different definitions of what flat is...
 

Hmgraphite1

Hall of Fame
Are you seriously telling me that after watching that video you still think i don't hit flat serves?

Ok mate, whatever you say. Guess you and i have very different definitions of what flat is...
They look like top/slice to me. I hit these a lot too. Your swing path looks slightly out also.
 

Tiaxx

Rookie
They look like top/slice to me. I hit these a lot too. Your swing path looks slightly out also.
Ok, very first serve on the video, 34secs in, 47 secs in, 50 secs in, 54 secs in and 1:01 mins in.
Tell me, where's the slice and/or the topspin in those serves...
 

Dimcorner

Professional
So you have to be 6ft to hit flat? An by flat I mean low RPM. I'm sure it's next to impossible to hit a 0 RPM ball.

I'm only 1" taller than OP but I have been told my serves are flat. Vid of serve is on this thread.
I'm not complaining, hell I would be thrilled if my serves would be as fast as they are and have noticeable spin! That means that there is room to do more things with serve!
 

Wise one

Hall of Fame
I'm sorry to say, but you're dead wrong... I'm exactly 5'6 and as you can see, you can perfectly hit flat servers and not be "well over 6 foot"...

P.S- Serve at 30secs is not a flat serve. somehow got that one in there by mistake

P.S.2- One could argue that some of my out wide serves from the deuce side may contain some side spin. But i think it's clear in the video that one can hit flat serves at 5'6.


And if you look closely, you'll notice i'm not even taking my feet off the ground that much due to a recent calf injury. Without that injury and a proper "jump up" on the serve, i could hit the ball harder, flatter and with a trajectory more from high to low to make it bounce more...
Not flat serves. Sorry.
 
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