I Want A 120 MPH Serve

heninfan99

Talk Tennis Guru
I was going to make a vid next month on the 1 year anniversary.
I don't have a 120 MPH serve. Its freaking hard. I've been making changes and had days where I was constantly over 100 but it wouldn't stick. I feel like I tried everything there is to try. If there's a YT video about then I tried it. Its easy to make a change but really owing that change is hard. I have to really focus on the new motion and everything else falls apart while I'm not watching.
I'll settle for 101mph, got that?
 

TheBoom

Hall of Fame
If you improve your wrist snap, you can add some MPH pretty quickly. Yours is kinda slow from what I could tell. Form looks good for the most part, you could use your legs more but I think the wrist snap is the quickest way to add MPH to your serve.
 

BlueB

Legend
If you improve your wrist snap, you can add some MPH pretty quickly. Yours is kinda slow from what I could tell. Form looks good for the most part, you could use your legs more but I think the wrist snap is the quickest way to add MPH to your serve.
If by "snap" you meant rapid and deliberate extension to flexion of the wrist, it would only be the quickest way to a snapped wrist. It is not what happens on quality serves.

Sent from my SM-G965W using Tapatalk
 

speedysteve

Legend
This thread reminds me of an old advert in the UK.. set in N.Y..

Old lady asks road worker "excuse me, how can I get to Carnegie hall?".

Roadworker - broad N.J. accent? "lady, you gotta practise!"

Same with your serve ;)

Sent from my Pixel XL using Tapatalk
 

timaku

New User
Don't get hung up on speed, it's just ego. 100mph is plenty. Placement, spin/kick, flat, and using all these with variety is the key. My son is a 6'5" junior who can consistently hit flat serves between 115 and 120 mph (confirmed by national tournament radar and playsight courts). It's nice to have but at a certain level, his opponents have no trouble with it if he uses it too much. Why? Because the faster the serve, the less variety you can use. When he uses the fast flat serve up the T, it's only effective because he mixes in a really good kicker, slice serve, and body serve to keep them guessing and off balance.

Think of it this way: What makes a MLB pitcher special? It isn't the fast ball...
What's better? Having a variety of spin serves + 100 mph flat or variety of spins + 120 mph? Of course MLB pitchers have other pitches, but they serve to accentuate and augment the fastball. There are no pitchers out there with an 80 mph fastball despite their pitch variety. Also improving a serve to 120 mph, also means you can spin a second serve more / faster with your 120 mph form.
 

BMC9670

Hall of Fame
What's better? Having a variety of spin serves + 100 mph flat or variety of spins + 120 mph? Of course MLB pitchers have other pitches, but they serve to accentuate and augment the fastball. There are no pitchers out there with an 80 mph fastball despite their pitch variety. Also improving a serve to 120 mph, also means you can spin a second serve more / faster with your 120 mph form.
I agree. My (admittedly poorly articulated) point was many players get obsessed and spend all of their time working on speed and don't develop the rest, when "the rest" will usually get them better results on the court.
 

5263

G.O.A.T.
I've radared several people at my club. Only one has broken 100 mph ( a talented Junior player hit 105). Most of the "fast" servers were in the 90's - including a couple of 6'5" monsters). There's one guy who hits bombs but haven't radared him yet. But would be surprised if he is at 120.

So 120 is extremely rare at the recreational level. My goal is to hit 100. I've come close (98) but no cigar yet
so why don't you share a bit about your radar technique? What radar gun? Placed where?
 

5263

G.O.A.T.
Hey Kevo

Pocket Radar Ball Coach radar standing behind the player - as per instructions.

LOL so true on the foot faults!!
ok, found this, so let me know when your try that method with a true 120 server and see how good it works....Even with the best radars at major events, the out wide numbers can be off by over 10%, so how well do you think your method compares.....As someone who has coached and worked with 130mph+ servers, I can attest how hard it is to get the radar set up to capture these big values even when you know for sure your server is hitting bombs....
 

Dragy

Hall of Fame
ok, found this, so let me know when your try that method with a true 120 server and see how good it works....Even with the best radars at major events, the out wide numbers can be off by over 10%, so how well do you think your method compares.....As someone who has coached and worked with 130mph+ servers, I can attest how hard it is to get the radar set up to capture these big values even when you know for sure your server is hitting bombs....
Simple framecount method would be ok to determine +/- 5mph serve speed, if the video is high quality. Also suitable to verify if self-installed radar measurement system is more or less reasonable.
 
1) The angle between the forearm and racket shaft at impact is too small for a kick serve. There is no upward movement of the racket head during impact. The video shows that.

2) The ball does not bounce up to the right as a kick serve should. I believe that requires that the racket face be closed by about 15 degrees at impact.

To understand why the ball bounces to the right for the Kick serve, imagine the court touching the bottom of the ball as shown in the picture below. Next imagine how the felt on the bottom of the ball is moving just before first touch. The bounce will be to the right (of the X axis (forward). The slice and flat serves will have the felt that first touches much closer to their spin axes, resulting in much less sideways bounce. Last, now imagine where you would contact the ball with the racket strings to give it the spin axes for kick, slice and flat serves as shown. Note, the actual contact spot and ball-string distortions should be determined by high speed videos because of impact distortions.

Measured spin axes for the Flat, Slice and Kick serves. The lengths of the arrows are proportional to spin rates. The Kick serve is spinning the fastest and has the largest spin axis tilt.


Your serve seems to be very good with a high bounce. The bounce has no side component. The winter 'bubble' backstop may have a shorter than normal back wall that makes the bounce appear higher than usual. ?

The motion blur is very good for indoor lighting. What camera/smartphone?
 
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Bender

G.O.A.T.
1) The angle between the forearm and racket shaft at impact is too small for a kick serve. There is no upward movement of the racket head during impact. The video shows that.

2) The ball does not bounce up to the right as a kick serve should. I believe that requires that the racket face be closed by about 15 degrees at impact.

To understand why the ball bounces to the right for the Kick serve, imagine the court touching the bottom of the ball as shown in the picture below. Next imagine how the felt on the bottom of the ball is moving just before first touch. The bounce will be to the right (of the X axis (forward). The slice and flat serves will have the felt that first touches much closer to their spin axes, resulting in much less sideways bounce. Last, now imagine where you would contact the ball with the racket strings to give it the spin axes for kick, slice and flat serves as shown. Note, the actual contact spot and ball-string distortions should be determined by high speed videos because of impact distortions.

Measured spin axes for the Flat, Slice and Kick serves. The lengths of the arrows are proportional to spin rates. The Kick serve is spinning the fastest and has the largest spin axis tilt.


Your serve seems to be very good with a high bounce. The bounce has no side component. The winter 'bubble' backstop may have a shorter than normal back wall that makes the bounce appear higher than usual. ?

The motion blur is very good for indoor lighting. What camera/smartphone?


Edit: mate sometimes I can’t tell if you’re a tennis enthusiast or a camera enthusiast
 
My work in the research lab often involved high speed imaging with film cameras. I learned to use them and enjoyed every minute. I also would use slow 30 fps video cameras and learned to squeeze every bit of information from the recordings. I know when to look out for things in videos that can easily be misinterpreted.

After I retired there was nothing for many years. Then Casio made these great high speed video cameras that had manual exposure control with shutter speeds as fast as 1/40,000 sec or 25 microseconds. Golfers bought many of these great cameras but much cheaper cameras also had high speed video at the same frame rates. The other cameras sold better but did not have the super fast shutter of certain Casio models - so Casio stopped making the better cameras about 10 years ago. Motion blur has been in most high speed videos ever since. Now some of the smartphone video cameras have fast shutters but they are not as good as manual control and don't have zoom lenses.

About 8 years ago, I recommended that forum readers interested in high speed video purchase Casio FH100s new for $179 as production was ending.

I just purchased 2 Casio FH100s and an F1 on e--y, used, for very reasonable prices. So if anyone is interested in clear high speed video with a zoom lens ..........
 
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J011yroger

Talk Tennis Guru
When are we going to be blessed with your 120 flat serve?
Sorry, I was on vacation for spring break and super busy now that outdoor season is starting and indoor season hasn't ended. I'll get you a video some time next week.

J
 

v-verb

Hall of Fame
ok, found this, so let me know when your try that method with a true 120 server and see how good it works....Even with the best radars at major events, the out wide numbers can be off by over 10%, so how well do you think your method compares.....As someone who has coached and worked with 130mph+ servers, I can attest how hard it is to get the radar set up to capture these big values even when you know for sure your server is hitting bombs....
I don't think there are any 120 mph servers at our club. There is a fireballer but I measured his serve with the Ball Coach https://www.pocketradar.com/products/ball-coach-radar standing behind him and he hit 106. Entirely possible I didn't radar his fastest serves.

And no I don't say how I'm measuring is the most accurate but I do the best with what I have

"Specifically designed to measure the fastest speed of a ball in flight. The Ball Coach Radar™ is a pro-level radar gun and speed training tool for smart player development through one-on-one coaching or self-guided drills, and hands-free operation keeps it simple. By making crucial results like hitting power, pitching speeds, throwing speeds, serving speeds and shot speeds instantly visible, the Ball Coach radar is the smart and easy way to get better faster. Measures from 25 mph to 130 mph and is accurate to within +/- 1 mph (+/- 2 kph), has 120 feet of range on a baseball and 25 deep memory."
 

JohnYandell

Hall of Fame
Ball Bag,
You are missing one of the keys to maximizing your velocity--internal arm rotation--so called pronation. Agree with someone above who noted 120mph is really really fast and likely unatainable--but a better motion will add mph--maybe up to 10.
 

BallBag

Semi-Pro
Ball Bag,
You are missing one of the keys to maximizing your velocity--internal arm rotation--so called pronation. Agree with someone above who noted 120mph is really really fast and likely unatainable--but a better motion will add mph--maybe up to 10.
I agree and I'm working on it. I don't think you can just decide to start pronating and it's there. Seams like it's a consequence of doing something else that I'm also not doing.
 

Cashman

Professional
A good serve is better than a fast serve. I would forget about speed gun numbers, and concentrate on working with a coach to correct the technical problems with your swing. This will give you better placement, spin, and better protection against injury.
 
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5263

G.O.A.T.
I don't think there are any 120 mph servers at our club. There is a fireballer but I measured his serve with the Ball Coach https://www.pocketradar.com/products/ball-coach-radar standing behind him and he hit 106. Entirely possible I didn't radar his fastest serves.

And no I don't say how I'm measuring is the most accurate but I do the best with what I have

"Specifically designed to measure the fastest speed of a ball in flight. The Ball Coach Radar™ is a pro-level radar gun and speed training tool for smart player development through one-on-one coaching or self-guided drills, and hands-free operation keeps it simple. By making crucial results like hitting power, pitching speeds, throwing speeds, serving speeds and shot speeds instantly visible, the Ball Coach radar is the smart and easy way to get better faster. Measures from 25 mph to 130 mph and is accurate to within +/- 1 mph (+/- 2 kph), has 120 feet of range on a baseball and 25 deep memory."
Well I think you pretty well make my point. You don't have the experience measuring 120+ serves. The quality of the radar gun is just one of serveral big variables.
 

5263

G.O.A.T.
Simple framecount method would be ok to determine +/- 5mph serve speed, if the video is high quality. Also suitable to verify if self-installed radar measurement system is more or less reasonable.
Imo, the frame count if done correctly is probably better to verify than the other way around. I guess you just have to experience it to understand how challenging it is to set up radar to accurately measure serve speeds. I guess it is useless to try and share this fact. It seems most are very happy to accept a number that can be 5-20% lower than what they would see with top equipment. I think playsight does a pretty good job, as their setup should and it seems players get some pretty stout times on their courts.
 

dgold44

G.O.A.T.
My working first serve is around 80 MPH (from PlaySight). I can hit my thirds with it and I get about 60% in on a good day. I can crank one out at 100 MPH but I don't have good placement and I feel like I'm straining to hit it that big. I'll go big in a 40-0, 0-40 or a "Jesus take the wheel" situation.

If I try to hit it harder than 100 MPH then I don't get a clean hit, my shoulder starts feeling weird and my timing is all off. All signs that I'm doing it wrong. I want to add 20 MPH so that I have a 100 MPH working serve and save the buck 20 heater for special occasions.


Don't mind the foot faults, I was in rapid fire mode. Also please don't tell me to switch to a platform stance. I tried it and it was horrible. I think I open up the hips too much for trophy but I don't know what else to work on. Any ideas where I can find that extra 20 MPH?
You have decent technique and size
I just don’t see enough arm speed and hip torque
 

pencilcheck

Semi-Pro
My working first serve is around 80 MPH (from PlaySight). I can hit my thirds with it and I get about 60% in on a good day. I can crank one out at 100 MPH but I don't have good placement and I feel like I'm straining to hit it that big. I'll go big in a 40-0, 0-40 or a "Jesus take the wheel" situation.

If I try to hit it harder than 100 MPH then I don't get a clean hit, my shoulder starts feeling weird and my timing is all off. All signs that I'm doing it wrong. I want to add 20 MPH so that I have a 100 MPH working serve and save the buck 20 heater for special occasions.


Don't mind the foot faults, I was in rapid fire mode. Also please don't tell me to switch to a platform stance. I tried it and it was horrible. I think I open up the hips too much for trophy but I don't know what else to work on. Any ideas where I can find that extra 20 MPH?
1. If you stop at timestamp 0:09, you didn't hit the ball clean (or use the , and . to slightly tweak the frames in between the seconds)
2. Your ball toss is too in front, you look like you are already leaning forward on contact
3. Your ball toss also is way too back, if you noticed your body is tilting left, this is a good position for a kick serve but not flat
4. Your swing path can be improved if you don't over-rotate, not only that you look like your pronating too much outward, try to make it feels a bit more like a slice but have the right amount of pronation right before contact.
5. At timestamp 0:08, when you toss you body is already facing the right of the court, that means you didn't coil enough when you toss, if you didn't coil enough, you can't accelerate faster, try position your legs better.


Let me know if this helps
 

heninfan99

Talk Tennis Guru
Was just watching Benwah Pear. Such easy power on his serve & such a simple motion. All he has is a serve, drop shot and backhand and makes banque.

I think ballbag should pop his collar and imitate the great Frenchman.
 
F

FRV

Guest
I agree and I'm working on it. I don't think you can just decide to start pronating and it's there. Seams like it's a consequence of doing something else that I'm also not doing.
If your mechanics are correct, the pronation should be natural. Try to actually hit the ball with the edge of your racket and it should be impossible (if you have good mechanics) due to natural pronation. If you are not already doing this, then there may be a major increase in your serve speed as soon as you start doing it.
 

BallBag

Semi-Pro
If your mechanics are correct, the pronation should be natural. Try to actually hit the ball with the edge of your racket and it should be impossible (if you have good mechanics) due to natural pronation. If you are not already doing this, then there may be a major increase in your serve speed as soon as you start doing it.
Like you said, you can't hit a serve with a continental grip without pronation. I know I'm going through the motion but I'm not doing it fast. It's almost like hitting pro level serves is really hard.
 
F

FRV

Guest
Like you said, you can't hit a serve with a continental grip without pronation. I know I'm going through the motion but I'm not doing it fast. It's almost like hitting pro level serves is really hard.
My advice isn't to pronate, it's to try to hit the ball with the edge of the racket so the pronation happens at the latest moment possible. And no, I don't think you'll ever reach 120. I'm just giving you a bit of advice I think may add more speed to your serve is all.
 

Kevo

Legend
Like you said, you can't hit a serve with a continental grip without pronation. I know I'm going through the motion but I'm not doing it fast. It's almost like hitting pro level serves is really hard.
I see quite a few people say that, but you really can hit a serve with a continental grip and inadequate pronation. There are pros that don't fully pronate. Of course they still hit big serves, and you can hit spin serves with a continental grip with no pronation, but it's not really a great idea or "proper" technique, but a lot of people do it. One of the drills I use for kids who don't seem to grasp the idea behind kick serves is to have them actually contact the ball with the edge of their frame. Pretty much every kid (can't think of a counterexample atm) that I've tried this with can quite quickly be hitting the ball with the edge of the frame.

You can train your "pronation" just doing shadow swings out in front of your body. I have students do this a lot. When they have it down pretty well I have them do it with a ball by slamming the ball into the ground using pronation.

Think of doing a thumbs up with your arm straight out in front of you. Now leave the elbow straight out in front of you and touch your hitting arm shoulder with the thumb. That's the starting position. Then you extend the arm back out straight and go to a thumbs down. If you do that with your racquet you would be planning to hit the ball out in front of your belly/chest so that the strings pass right through the ball. If you do this on the court with an actual ball the goal would be to hit the ball straight down into the court so it bounces straight back up again.
 

aaron_h27

Professional
Technique is very important but you need high SW to serve 100+ consistently. I recommend 330 or higher.

My motion has been the same for years but I started serving more aces when I bumped up my SW. I went from about 320 to 345
 

J011yroger

Talk Tennis Guru
Technique is very important but you need high SW to serve 100+ consistently. I recommend 330 or higher.

My motion has been the same for years but I started serving more aces when I bumped up my SW. I went from about 320 to 345
I can consistently serve 100+ with a wooden racquet and 50 year old string.

J
 

Cobaine

Semi-Pro
You only get a couple inches off the ground when you serve. I’m not saying height off the ground is the end all (Pancho Gonzales other old school pros used to drop bombs and they were prohibited from leaving the ground) but it definitely adds pace and can make up for other technical deficiencies you might have.

In fact, Roddick has said the secret to his serve was his leg drive, so it’s probably worth a try.
 
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FRV

Guest
Great, and i could walk to work every morning but why do that when I have a car?

Just sharing my experience.
I actually played a legitimate high school match with a wooden racket once hehehehehe. I lost, but took the first set to a tiebreaker. The same kid beat me in 3 sets the next match when I was using a modern racket. (Just a random fact your post reminds me of, your SW theory could be completely legitimate)


You only get a couple inches off the ground when you serve. I’m not saying height off the ground is the end all (Pancho Gonzales other old school pros used to drop bombs and they were prohibited from leaving the ground) but it definitely adds pace and can make up for other technical deficiencies you might have.

In fact, Roddick has said the secret to his serve was his leg drive, so it’s probably worth a try.
I also think this would help. There is a lack of explosion from his legs and hardly any knee bend. Perhaps 120 isn't out of reach if he learns to harness more power from his legs and hips.
 

Kevo

Legend
Technique is very important but you need high SW to serve 100+ consistently. I recommend 330 or higher.

My motion has been the same for years but I started serving more aces when I bumped up my SW. I went from about 320 to 345
I've been using racquets with low swing weight for quite some time for two main reasons. I have a one hander for the backhand and I like to go for big spin on that side, and I also like to get the frame moving as fast as possible on serve and a high swing weight really messes with that.

So I think this particular trait of swing weight is going to vary by player, but it's definitely not necessary to have a high swing weight to hit big serves.
 
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Chadalina

Guest
I actually played a legitimate high school match with a wooden racket once hehehehehe. I lost, but took the first set to a tiebreaker.
One of my friends/coaches liked to talk trash, i like it very much too (great guy, would buy me beer). He bet me $20 he could beat me 6-0 using a wood racket, i took him up on it and lost. I played tennis for 2yrs at that point and he was top5 in florida mens open (back when ppl played them).

I can consistently serve 100+ with a wooden racquet and 50 year old string.

J
Arent all wood rackets really head heavy?
 
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FRV

Guest
One of my friends/coaches liked to talk trash, i like it very much too (great guy, would buy me beer). He bet me $20 he could beat me 6-0 using a wood racket, i took him up on it and lost. I played tennis for 2yrs at that point and he was top5 in florida mens open (back when ppl played them).
Lol my coach was gone for the entirety of my match. He knew I was using the wooden racket but he was still mad when he got back and heard I lost. I was playing second singles at the time. The other team's first singles player asked me if I was actually going to use the wooden racket and just shook his head when I said yes. It probably would have been humiliating for the other guy if he ended up losing. I wouldn't make that same decision again.

Your case is not humiliating at all. That friend/coach was far more skilled and you'd be surprised at what you can still do with those wooden rackets.
 

J011yroger

Talk Tennis Guru
Lol my coach was gone for the entirety of my match. He knew I was using the wooden racket but he was still mad when he got back and heard I lost. I was playing second singles at the time. The other team's first singles player asked me if I was actually going to use the wooden racket and just shook his head when I said yes. It probably would have been humiliating for the other guy if he ended up losing. I wouldn't make that same decision again.

Your case is not humiliating at all. That friend/coach was far more skilled and you'd be surprised at what you can still do with those wooden rackets.
I beat the #1 4.5 in the Eastern Section with a wooden racquet.

J
 
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Chadalina

Guest
Whatever, I can serve 100+ with a 9.9oz racquet too.

J
How about with an aluminum jr racket? Some of those 9 oz granny rackets have huge power.

I agree'd with what the other guy was saying about having a heavier racket helps when you hit 100+. A light racket hurts my arm as well.
 
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