How do I increase my racquet head speed?

Discussion in 'Tennis Tips/Instruction' started by Strategy, Sep 6, 2013.

  1. Strategy

    Strategy Semi-Pro

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    People tell me its just a product of my fast-twitch muscle fibres, but surely there is something else I can do about it ?
     
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  2. Shroud

    Shroud Legend

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    Swing with a racket cover as a warm up before stepping on the court.

    Make your frame head light.

    If you can do it get a lighter racket though to be clear I am NOT recommending that....
     
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  3. Gyswandir

    Gyswandir Semi-Pro

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    In one video of one of the coaches that are often posted here, sorry don't remember the name, he recommends drilling for drive volleys as a means of improving rhs
     
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  4. tennis_balla

    tennis_balla Hall of Fame

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    Racket head speed lies in the hips and legs, not your arm. Watch how Rafa opens up his hips first, drives with the legs https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ed_c10cRV7o

    This isn't something you can learn on your own really, it can be complex, depends on your ability. Its a subtle movement, nothing big but thats where racket head speed lives.
     
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  5. Cheetah

    Cheetah Hall of Fame

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    Add maybe 10 -15 grams of lead to your racquet while keeping the same current balance. Add enough so that the racquet feels a little heavier than you can handle. Use that for a few weeks. It will force you to use the legs and torso to generate speed and power instead of the arm. If you are really committed you should even increase string tension maybe 4lbs which will give you less power to offset the increased power you will get from the added mass. Then to get near the same power that you had before you will have to learn to swing faster using the body. High RHS does not come from the arm.

    Don't get a lighter racquet. This is the wrong advice. All that will do is give you softer groundstrokes and an a worse swing using more arm which you will develop to compensate for your new toy racquet.

    Heavier is also safer for the arm.
    Try this. It works.
     
    Last edited: Sep 7, 2013
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  6. SystemicAnomaly

    SystemicAnomaly G.O.A.T.

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    ^ I agree with some of this but not quite all of it.

    Not sure exactly what Shroud is trying to say here but he/she might be referring to something like Overload-Underload Training. This is a training sequence that has been used for baseball and for some track and field events.

    Not sure if the racket cover is the best way to achieve the overload phase. For the overload phase of of the training, you want to swing a racket that is 10-15% "heavier" than your standard racket weight. Do not increase to 20% as this may alter your stroke mechanics too much.

    Actually, it might be best to increase the swingweight 10-15% rather than the static weight. (Or increase the static weight w/o altering the racket balance). One way to achieve a satisfactory increase is to jam a QST 60 ball into the throat of your regular racket. The QST 60 ball is one of those orange training balls for 10 & Under players. Note that a standard ball, at 2 oz (58 g), it a bit too heavy unless you are using a racket that is heavier than 13 oz or your swingweight is very high.

    The overload phase is supposed to the increase the strength of the muscles involved without altering your mechanics. You do not need to hit tennis balls with the overload racket. It is best to perform numerous shadow swings instead. The overload phase will actually cause you to swing a bit slower.

    Merely switching back to your standard weight will not necessarily increase your racket head speed (even tho' it might "feel" like it). This is where the underload phase comes in. For this phase you need a racket weight or swingweight that is 10-15% less than you standard. This can be approximated by using an unstrung frame that is the same as your strung frame. You should now be swinging faster with your underload racket.

    After the overload phase, followed by the underload phase, your swing timing might be a bit off (since both of these phases tend to affect your swing timing). The 3rd phase of the O-U training is to swing your regular racket to regain your timing. After some of these normal weight swings, start hitting some balls to make sure that you really do have your timing back.
     
    Last edited: Sep 7, 2013
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  7. SystemicAnomaly

    SystemicAnomaly G.O.A.T.

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  8. 10isfreak

    10isfreak Semi-Pro

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    Yes. You can improve your coordination, improve your footwork and posture, improve your preparation, etc. Basically, become a more skilled tennis player and your racket will move faster.

    I could be more specific about the how's, but we'd need to see how you hit tennis balls and to know which stroke(s) you wish to improve.
     
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  9. dknotty

    dknotty Semi-Pro

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    When aiming for increased power, where along the stroke do you really accelerate?

    Too early and you lose control & lose consistency, to late and you have no power. Is there a right answer?
     
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  10. PhrygianDominant

    PhrygianDominant Hall of Fame

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    In order of preferance

    Option #1
    Improve your technique. Most of the posts in this thread will probably fall into this category, and instructional videos aplenty can be found on youtube. If you already have high level technique, or alternatively are aware that your technique is somewhat oldschool but you don't want to change it, see the following.

    Option #2
    Get stronger. This is pretty self explanatory. Note I am not recommending strength as a replacement for technique. You can get all the RHS you need without being a body builder if you have sound modern mechanics.

    Option #3
    Get a more maneuverable racquet. Generally speaking headlight=maneuveralbe

    Option #4
    Get a lighter racquet. This is a bad idea, but if perchance your racquet is just too heavy for you, you can do this one. Only if you are swinging 13oz. plus is a lighter racquet reasonable. Heavy racquets are better in just about every regard.
     
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  11. Gyswandir

    Gyswandir Semi-Pro

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    The first is the one I was referring to. The second makes sense and the third is sound fundamentals.

    As for the fourth, that is basic fitness for good rhs. Another way of achieving the same result that I've seen pro players do is to use a medicine ball (3-5kg according to ability), lie down then raise your back while keeping it straight AND raise your legs. Now put the ball on one side and pick it up then throw it to someone on the other side, all while maintaining posture. This is extremely difficult if you don't have good core muscles. However, by increasing the strength in those muscles, you enable faster trunk rotation
     
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  12. TomT

    TomT Hall of Fame

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    As others have suggested, it's all about your torso movement. Bringing the racquet back a bit farther, then turning your torso, explosively, relaxed arm and relatively loosely held racquet following that movement, will produce higher racquet head speed and thus higher paced, heavier shots.

    Just my two cents, but this is what seems to produce harder shots (vis higher racquet head speed) for me.
     
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  13. newpball

    newpball Legend

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    Show us a video of your strokes.
     
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  14. sureshs

    sureshs Bionic Poster

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    Swinging fast is useful only if you can control it. I find it fairly easy to swing faster on the (1 handed) backhand and control the shot, but the forehand seems to be far more susceptible to timing and swing path errors if the swing speed is increased.
     
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  15. SystemicAnomaly

    SystemicAnomaly G.O.A.T.

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    Perhaps 1 or more of the videos in post #7 will help with this question.
     
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  16. boramiNYC

    boramiNYC Hall of Fame

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    if you have a badminton racquet try swinging that especially overhead. you'll notice higher RHS. one of the reasons is your wrist and hand are allowed more movement than holding a tennis racquet. another is the weight. but this consideration should happen after you achieve reasonable satisfaction with your use of the legs and core.
     
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  17. fuzz nation

    fuzz nation Legend

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    I'd say that it's a progression of loading up and releasing the full swing through the ball. The earlier we can set up and get that full stroke going, the more consistently we can get a full and controlled rip. Rush the setup for a stroke with both an early shoulder turn and deliberate footwork and there's more time for a big smooth swing. Serves can sometimes improve with the idea of delaying the toss and getting more completely loaded up for a full, un-rushed drive over the top.

    Here's an image I like: Most of us are Corollas that typically accelerate to maybe 60 mph. If we decide to go (or in this case, swing) faster, we don't suddenly turn into Corvettes, right? Instead of trying to be a muscle car which we're not, be the Corolla and give yourself a little extra time to get up to 70 mph. With a little extra time to accelerate under control, we can get there just fine.
     
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  18. Gyswandir

    Gyswandir Semi-Pro

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    TWU has done an analysis of hand and racket speed during the fh
    http://twu.tennis-warehouse.com/images/doublependulum/DPFig10.jpg

    You can read the whole article here http://twu.tennis-warehouse.com/learning_center/doublependulum.php

    A more relatable analysis (to me) is the one that compared the acceleration of different components of the kinetic chain between amateur and pro players
    http://www.jssm.org/vol9/n4/15/fig2.jpg (shows just the upper body parts, but there are other graphs for the other components)
    The whole study (technical) http://bmsi.ru/doc/171d89e9-5c89-4105-b0d1-ac41b5537502
    "The results indicate that the tendency towards higher horizontal shoulder and racquet velocities in the elite group were caused by significantly different timing patterns of maximum angular pelvis and trunk rotations."
     
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  19. dknotty

    dknotty Semi-Pro

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    Thanks for the replies.

    I've been working on a few things in my forehand to get the consistency up. These are shortening the backswing, swinging towards the ball slowly & accelerating into contact, preparing early for my forehand and working towards having a momentary pause before swinging to contact the ball.

    I guess the shorter swing means it's harder to increase speed until I get the body mechanics better, but for the sake of consistency that's a worthwhile stroke.
     
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  20. tennisaddict03

    tennisaddict03 New User

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    I apologize for bringing up such an old post but the heavier racket training popped up in my head in terms of something different to try. Were people only applying lead tape to the head or everywhere on the racket. I was thinking of getting an extra racket and covering it in lead tape completely in the hopes of improving reaction timing but it seems this might be the wrong approach to take. I am still curious to try this out just to see what will happen over a short period of time. Would their be any benefit to making a racket heavier than 330g (C10 pro racket)?
     
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  21. SinjinCooper

    SinjinCooper Professional

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    They make racquets that light?
     
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  22. SinjinCooper

    SinjinCooper Professional

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    Anyway tennisaddict, I don't see much use in weighting up a specialized "training racquet." There are pluses and minuses to heavier racquets in general, but I don't like the concept of putting the joints under the stress of sport-specific, high-speed training movements with a different weight than the one you usually use.

    I think your time and energy is far better spent improving your use of the full body kinetic chain, and using that to generate racquet head speed. If you feel like you're already hitting pro-style strokes, but want to train your muscles to improve the power of those chains, I recommend reading up on functional training methodologies such as those put forward by Michael Boyle or Ken Black -- i.e., guys respected and acknowledged as authorities right up to the level of world class athletics.
     
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  23. Moveforwardalways

    Moveforwardalways Hall of Fame

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  24. SinjinCooper

    SinjinCooper Professional

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    One of those things that just makes life better. Like beer. Or a Nadal loss.
     
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  25. tennisaddict03

    tennisaddict03 New User

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    Haha gotta love the Kettlebells!
     
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  26. tennisaddict03

    tennisaddict03 New User

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    Thank you for the advice. I will definitely take a look into it and see what more I can learn. :)
     
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  27. Fintft

    Fintft Hall of Fame

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    Yes with a very relaxed arm, that lags :) You could just pull and throw the racquet at the ball (This was meant for the OP not for tennis_balla, of course)
     
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  28. Moveforwardalways

    Moveforwardalways Hall of Fame

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    You probably still have a WTA forehand. Time to step up to the men's game and learn an ATP forehand from the threads on this forum.

    Lol
     
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  29. user92626

    user92626 Legend

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    Hey OP, if you can't swing faster, you can get stronger and swing a heavier racket. The shot result will be the same.

    I'm doing push-ups every other days to get stronger.
     
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  30. nytennisaddict

    nytennisaddict Hall of Fame

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    big fan of the etchswing for overtraining
     
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  31. nytennisaddict

    nytennisaddict Hall of Fame

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    was thinking of getting the somax thing.. anyone have any experience?
     
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  32. atp2015

    atp2015 Semi-Pro

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    Jeff Salzensteinten (former top 100) coaches drive volleys as a drill to improve rhs.
     
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  33. THE MAN

    THE MAN Semi-Pro

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  34. mcs1970

    mcs1970 New User

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    (deleted...didn't read carefully that this thread was from 4 years ago. No point replying to the old post as I did. People's opinions change a lot during that time frame)
     
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  35. SystemicAnomaly

    SystemicAnomaly G.O.A.T.

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    That's about 11.6 oz. Plenty of racquets lighter than that. The strung weight of my Prince Hybrid Shark (MP) and Volkl V1 Classic are in the 310-320 gram range. Since my shoulder is no longer what is once was, I can't really handle anything heavier than this or anything with a swingweight (SW) greater than about 325. Yet both of these moderately-weighted racquets are extremely arm-friendly. Frame shock delivered to the hand/arm from impact is much lower than most other racquets (even lower than heavier racquets or racquets with a SW > 330).

    BTW, I believe that the unstrung weight of the C10 Pro is 330 grams. Strung weight is probably > 345 grams. But then the SW is only about 323 according to TW -- due, in part, to the fact that this frame is very HL.
     
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  36. SystemicAnomaly

    SystemicAnomaly G.O.A.T.

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    Not tried it but it does appear to have some merit. Don't believe quite everything that the say on their web site tho'. They seem to have gotten a few things wrong (theory-wise )but the underlying principles seem to very good for the most part.

    Do you also do any underload or speed training? Etchswing may be great for strength development. However, IF the resistance is high with the ES, it might be counterproductive to power/speed training rather than fostering it -- despite how it may seem or feel. Did your ever see the Sport Science video on ESPN on weighted practice swings? "Feel and real are not the same".

     
    Last edited: Feb 18, 2017
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  37. TenFanLA

    TenFanLA Hall of Fame

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    Copy this guy. He knows how to generate some serious racket speed:



     
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  38. SinjinCooper

    SinjinCooper Professional

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    That post was not sincere. I know 330 is just about top of the class in terms of unstrung heft these days. I just happen to prefer swinging a log. I have to custom order to get mine to come to spec. The upshot being, "Well, some people do find benefit in heavier racquets, yes!" But not necessarily for training purposes.
     
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  39. nytennisaddict

    nytennisaddict Hall of Fame

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    regarding underload training, yes, i'll sometimes follow up with swings with an unleaded unstrung racquet...

    that said, when i hear folks talk say they want more racquet head speed, without any context (ie i'm a 5.0 player, etc,...) i presume they are a lower level player whose technique is not perfect... and if this is the case, improving something like coordination of all their power sources into every shot, goes a long way into improving the quality of their ball (syncing the firing of power sources helps improve rhs as well).

    so doing overload training with something like the etchswing goes a long way toward that goal, imo.

    i used to be a guy with a western (hawaiian!!) grip fh, hitting off my back foot (weight moving backward), swiping across my body (exaggerated windshield wiper fh for more topspin),... and i used to think more rhs (with poor technique) was the key to improving.
     
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  40. newpball

    newpball Legend

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    Man that "dress" is made for Tchaikovsky's Nutcracker

    :D
     
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