Service Speed by USTA Level?

I know it's going to be quite variable in each category, and there is a big difference between speed and quality of serve, but approximately what are the average 1st (flat) and 2nd service speeds at the main amateur levels, 3.0, 3.5, 4.0, 4.5? Men and Women separately if appropriate.
 

Moveforwardalways

Hall of Fame
We had a thread on this several years ago. Do you mean the speeds of serves that actually go in consistently? If not, then 3.5 men serve harder than 4.5 men. I know plenty of 3.5 men who claim to serve triple digits, and honestly they probably do as long as you are not looking at whether they go in consistently. If you mean serves that go in relatively consistently, that’s a different story. At 4.5 I would estimate that men serve about 80 mph on an average 1st serve with maybe 60-70 mph on 2nd serve. At 4.0 there are a lot of really weak 2nd serves and 1st serves that are below 60 mph. Consistency gets you to 4.0, not pace. Then you have the 3.5 men, who are a wild card. For some of them, just try not to get hit by the 120 mph bomb that comes at you off their frame.
 

Mongolmike

Hall of Fame
To the OP, sorry if this comes off harsh, but seriously....

Have you played?
Have you played a wide variety of opponents?
Have you watched/noticed other rec level people serve?
You do know most rec level people have never had their serves clocked, and thus have no idea how fast they or their opponents serve.
Why does it matter? Speed is only one aspect, and not even the most important.
Can the server consistently get their best serve in (60%+)?
How is their location?
How is their spin?
Again, why does it matter?
If you discovered that your serve speed is above average for your level....so what?
That knowledge won't help you win any points.
Even if you tell your opponent you serve above average speed....so what?
 
To the OP, sorry if this comes off harsh, but seriously....

Have you played? Yes, for 35 years.

Have you played a wide variety of opponents? From complete beginners to GB team members.

Have you watched/noticed other rec level people serve? I have a good idea of the range of speeds. My question was to get other people's point of view. Have you ever done that?

You do know most rec level people have never had their serves clocked, and thus have no idea how fast they or their opponents serve. Yes

Why does it matter? Speed is only one aspect, and not even the most important. As I said in my introduction.

Can the server consistently get their best serve in (60%+)? Ibid

How is their location? Ibid

How is their spin? Ibid

Again, why does it matter? See above

If you discovered that your serve speed is above average for your level....so what? I know my service speed. The question related to the avverage speeds in different classes. Just because you are clearly trying to prove yourself all the time, don't assume others need to.

That knowledge won't help you win any points. I never said it would.

Even if you tell your opponent you serve above average speed....so what? You really have read a lot into my open question, which shows a lot more about you.
 

SuzukiSS

New User
I have used radar to measure serve speed and only ever had two 4.0 ladies serve over 70 mph. Most serve around 60 at 4.0 and very few can control direction. The most effective serves are kept low with slice imo. There is a great book called “Beyond 3.5” which states only 12% of players actually serve with a continental grip If i remember correctly.
 

Cindysphinx

G.O.A.T.
I serve with a Continental grip. Always have. I was in a 2.5 clinic when I first started, and one of the pros moved me to Continental. He promised me if I would practice and stick with it for 2 weeks, I would never be sorry. He was right.

He also said anyone and everyone could and should hit volleys with 1H on both sides, in Continental. So he made me do that too. I am not sorry.
 

jmnk

Hall of Fame
Aren’t you missing the “Suresh multiplier”?

you need custom made speed gun to be able to properly measure that delivery....... Normal speed gun would be like: "what, there's some object moving? Where? Can't detect anything..."
 

S&V-not_dead_yet

Talk Tennis Guru
you need custom made speed gun to be able to properly measure that delivery....... Normal speed gun would be like: "what, there's some object moving? Where? Can't detect anything..."
That's also what the speed gun would think if the object moved too quickly for it to register.
 

ChaelAZ

G.O.A.T.
I would venture to guess in our 4.0 leagues we see 1st's on average of 80-90 mph and 2nd's 70-85 mph. Lots of variation in there though.
 

zaskar1

Semi-Pro
I know it's going to be quite variable in each category, and there is a big difference between speed and quality of serve, but approximately what are the average 1st (flat) and 2nd service speeds at the main amateur levels, 3.0, 3.5, 4.0, 4.5? Men and Women separately if appropriate.
There is zero chance that average serve speed at 4.0 level is 90mph.
i agree with jmnk
you see a 90 mph that goes in once in a blue moon, you see lots of faults at 90 mph
no way the average is 90, more like 75-80 mph
placement is much more important
z
 

OnTheLine

Hall of Fame
Having played a lot of mixed, I am going to say that as rare as it is, @ChaelAZ you are way off on this one.

Perhaps men slow down their serve when against a woman (I doubt it!) but would say that 65-75mph average is about right for serves that are in.

There are outliers of course, but even most men have learned that placement and spin does more damage than speed.
 

ChaelAZ

G.O.A.T.
I would venture to guess in our 4.0 leagues we see 1st's on average of 80-90 mph and 2nd's 70-85 mph. Lots of variation in there though.
There is zero chance that average serve speed at 4.0 level is 90mph.
Even more so, nor is there any chance any 2nd serves average 85 mph at that level.
No offense, but no way man. There are women on the WTA tour that don’t even average 90 mph on a 1st serve.
i agree with jmnk
you see a 90 mph that goes in once in a blue moon, you see lots of faults at 90 mph
no way the average is 90, more like 75-80 mph
placement is much more important
z
Having played a lot of mixed, I am going to say that as rare as it is, @ChaelAZ you are way off on this one.

Perhaps men slow down their serve when against a woman (I doubt it!) but would say that 65-75mph average is about right for serves that are in.

There are outliers of course, but even most men have learned that placement and spin does more damage than speed.
lol okay buddy

Points taken, and I may be well off. This last season, and even this weekends tournament I saw more higher MPH serves overall. This would be a good thing for me to test. I have a radar gun and haven't even used it for some time.
 

McLovin

Legend
Perhaps men slow down their serve when against a woman (I doubt it!) but would say that 65-75mph average is about right for serves that are in
The few times I’ve played mixed, I’ve slowed my serve down, but it’s not for the reason you might think: most women 4.0 and below have a much harder time with a kick serve than they do with a flat serve.

It’s not that they couldn’t handle a kick serve, it’s just that they don’t see one often enough to know how to handle it.

But, to be clear: at 5’ 9”, my 1st serve isn’t that hard to begin with.
 

DCNJ

New User
The few times I’ve played mixed, I’ve slowed my serve down, but it’s not for the reason you might think: most women 4.0 and below have a much harder time with a kick serve than they do with a flat serve.

It’s not that they couldn’t handle a kick serve, it’s just that they don’t see one often enough to know how to handle it.

But, to be clear: at 5’ 9”, my 1st serve isn’t that hard to begin with.
I'm the same--actually I find my flat serve, even though it's pretty fast (95 mph or so) unless I place it well will just be blocked back by most women--or at least there's a higher chance a flat serve comes back than a kick serve. And I need a bit more warm-up time to get the feel down for placement (and preventing injuries!) than I usually get in Mixed, since in my area mixed is indoors and we usually don't get on the court much before the official start time.

Men will typically try to swing at it and have much less success returning it.
 

OnTheLine

Hall of Fame
The few times I’ve played mixed, I’ve slowed my serve down, but it’s not for the reason you might think: most women 4.0 and below have a much harder time with a kick serve than they do with a flat serve.

It’s not that they couldn’t handle a kick serve, it’s just that they don’t see one often enough to know how to handle it.

But, to be clear: at 5’ 9”, my 1st serve isn’t that hard to begin with.
I'm the same--actually I find my flat serve, even though it's pretty fast (95 mph or so) unless I place it well will just be blocked back by most women--or at least there's a higher chance a flat serve comes back than a kick serve. And I need a bit more warm-up time to get the feel down for placement (and preventing injuries!) than I usually get in Mixed, since in my area mixed is indoors and we usually don't get on the court much before the official start time.

Men will typically try to swing at it and have much less success returning it.
Yup both of you are right. The flat fast serve is relatively easy to return and place with a good slice/block or a chip/lob.
The kick serve (a good one, not just one that sits up) to my BH is easier for me to return than one to my FH. Luckily most don't figure that out until late in the match.
What troubles me the most is a well executed slice to the body. Lordy I hate those ... luckily don't see those often!
 

Ft.S

Semi-Pro
I played up last night at 4.5. My serves were on, and I mean on! Well over 80 mph, and more importantly I could place them anywhere I wanted to them. I had less than a handful of DFs and my second serves were probably in the 60 mph range. Such serving is a rare occurrence for me. Also, I had the fastest serves on the court, the other three players were all 4.5s. Out of 5 serve games I had, we held only two of them and lost the match in straight sets :-D
 

denoted

Rookie
I think so much confusion on this issue results from the ATP/WTA measurements being everyone's reference standard. I remember watching a tournament in Dallas, indoors, where the radar was definitely not calibrated the same as that of the bigger tournaments. A 6'7 player booming flat serves that registered just over 100, for example. The radar the big tournaments use measures drop shots exceeding 30 mph. Think about that when you see swingvision or home radar estimates of serves going 40 mph. A 'hard' flat rec serve around 85 or 90 on the Indian Wells radar wouldn't surprise me at all.
 

OnTheLine

Hall of Fame
I think so much confusion on this issue results from the ATP/WTA measurements being everyone's reference standard. I remember watching a tournament in Dallas, indoors, where the radar was definitely not calibrated the same as that of the bigger tournaments. A 6'7 player booming flat serves that registered just over 100, for example. The radar the big tournaments use measures drop shots exceeding 30 mph. Think about that when you see swingvision or home radar estimates of serves going 40 mph. A 'hard' flat rec serve around 85 or 90 on the Indian Wells radar wouldn't surprise me at all.
So you are saying the egos of the pros need to be propped up?
 

denoted

Rookie
I think big numbers are good for spectators, so the radar is calibrated to catch the speed of the ball when it reaches its maximum velocity straight off the racquet. Obviously, pros serve harder than rec players; but it is unlikely that a spinny serve that registers at 70 mph on the stadium radar and looks very slow is travelling as fast as a 4.0 rec player's fastest flat serve. Similarly, the 80 mph groundstrokes that pros routinely hit are much faster shots than what rec players produce, but are they twice as fast as the hardest forehand a rec player can hit? Swingvision results would lead you to believe so.
 

jmnk

Hall of Fame
I would venture to guess in our 4.0 leagues we see 1st's on average of 80-90 mph and 2nd's 70-85 mph. Lots of variation in there though.
I'm the same--actually I find my flat serve, even though it's pretty fast (95 mph or so) unless I place it well will just be blocked back by most women--or at least there's a higher chance a flat serve comes back than a kick serve.
4.0 average serve is 90mph or recreational level women can easily just block back 95mph serve - can't decide which one is more improbable....
 

DCNJ

New User
4.0 average serve is 90mph or recreational level women can easily just block back 95mph serve - can't decide which one is more improbable....
Don't actually bother reading where I said there was a higher chance that the flat serve comes back than a kick serve. Which was the main point of the post, that I usually use a kick instead of a flat serve against the women in mixed. But again, don't bother trying to use some reading comprehension or logic.
 

Moon Shooter

Professional
I think big numbers are good for spectators, so the radar is calibrated to catch the speed of the ball when it reaches its maximum velocity straight off the racquet. Obviously, pros serve harder than rec players; but it is unlikely that a spinny serve that registers at 70 mph on the stadium radar and looks very slow is travelling as fast as a 4.0 rec player's fastest flat serve. Similarly, the 80 mph groundstrokes that pros routinely hit are much faster shots than what rec players produce, but are they twice as fast as the hardest forehand a rec player can hit? Swingvision results would lead you to believe so.
I think you agree they take different measurements. Swing vision takes the average speed and the radar gun takes the fastest speed. Now what I am not sure of is whether Swing vision tracks the ball traveling in 3 dimensions or just measures the spot where the ball is hit and then calculates the time it took to land at a spot where it bounces as if it is only traveling in 2 dimensions. If it is the latter then shots with higher arcs will appear to be much slower on swing vision.

Also with swing vision if you are just using one phone to record you shouldn't expect the best accuracy and some shots will be way off. I hit a loopy feed that it tracked at like 120 for some reason. On the whole I think swing vision's mph feature is good to generally tell if your speed is increasing from one match to another and generally if certain shots vary quite a bit in speed. When I play someone that I think was hitting the ball with a lot of pace compared to my other opponents swing vision does indicate that as well. Also shots that look faster tend to be show as faster on swing vision. So even with one phone its a good general indicator of relative speed but I wouldn't use it for absolute speed.
 

sureshs

Bionic Poster
This has been studied so many times. Club players serve between 60 to 90 mph in the first serve. The second serve is significantly lower and often just a dink.

Dinked second serves are even seen among 4.5 players.
 

S&V-not_dead_yet

Talk Tennis Guru
This has been studied so many times. Club players serve between 60 to 90 mph in the first serve. The second serve is significantly lower and often just a dink.

Dinked second serves are even seen among 4.5 players.
"Dink" is relative, though. Against one UTR 9+ opponent, my 2nd serve is a dink that can be easily attacked. Against someone closer to my level, not so much.
 
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