What can you do to add MPH to serve?

Bergboy123

Semi-Pro
I feel like I've tried everything, and it doesn't work. Lower knee bend, faster head whip, toss further in front, swing harder, working out, hundreds and hundreds of practice serves, and I feel like I'm not getting faster serve. And I want them aces. It would be a big help in competition as I try to break into the smaller open tournaments around here
 

shindemac

Hall of Fame
Post a video. All those things work - but if you are doing things right!

Questions to ask yourself.
1. Do you have a good ball toss?
2. Are you relaxed?

Better you ball toss, it'll be not only more consistent, but more powerful. If your not relaxed, your probably arming the ball so your body is not contributing to your serve.
 

WildVolley

Legend
As a general rule, most players will obtain more speed by cleaning up technique than by any other method.

Without proper technique it is very difficult to develop a lot of racket head speed thru the contact zone. Trophy position to contact is the most important part of the serve. The best way to study this is with high speed video, to see if you have the proper pattern to develop speed thru internal shoulder rotation and pronation.
 

LeeD

Bionic Poster
And of course, there IS a upper limit for everyone, and not at the same ball speed.
You can get speed benefits from a longer racket.
But if you have played tennis for more than 4 years, is fully grown from the start, then you probably have hit close to your upper limits in serve ball speed.
We can't grow another 7", get longer arms, so we have to work with what we already have.
 

GuyClinch

Legend
My serve seems fast enough for my level - so I don't work on that much.

But there are lots of technical tweaks you can apply to add power.

But one tip a coach told me was to feel a stretch in your right shoulder as you go into the power position..
Another tip I have heard is to try to keep your arm up longer and then try to pull it down as you hit the ball..
A third tip I have heard was to try to slide your front hip forward into the court before you hit the ball..

So do not worry there are lots of technical things you can do to improve serve speed..

Most people aren't really taking advantage of ISR - and don't understand how big a power source that is.. so just learning to use that will net most players are pretty good serve..

That's not really a tweak though - that's a 'serve in an entirely different way' kind of change.. That you may or may not need..

There are also 'power' drills you can try. One that I heard I think from the Brad Gilbert was a drill where you try to peg the fence in the back on a line with a serve. The idea here is that it teaches you to let loose and use your entire body to generate power..
 
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morandi

Rookie
The thing that is going to increase your MPH the most on serve, is to work on gripping the racquet as loosely as possible.
 

cjs

Professional
What Weight Lifting excercises should I do to increase MPH on serves ?
You'd be better off spending time improving your serving technique rather than pumping iron.

But if you were going to the gym I'd be focusing on legs and core.
 

UCSF2012

Hall of Fame
What Weight Lifting excercises should I do to increase MPH on serves ?
Take a 5lb dumbbell and pretend to throw a baseball. Focus on core rotation and arm extension. Just don't try to actually throw a fastball or to throw it as fast as you can. It's about targeting the muscles involved the throwing motion.
 

LeeD

Bionic Poster
While copying Suresh's strokes are sure to improve you serve speeds somewhat, might I suggest BergBoy just to hit his serves within 6" of the lines thru lots of practice, visualization, concentration?
Even in the Open level of tennis, 5.5+, a well placed serve can set you up for a winning service game each and every time.
 

Chas Tennis

G.O.A.T.
I dislocated my shoulder on a full stretch overhead 2 weeks ago.

I did this four years ago, but much worse (ER trip and in a brace for about 4 weeks + at least 4-8 more weeks before I could fully use again)

I'm wondering if this time since the dislocation was so much milder, if the recovery time is less. I've now waited two weeks; for the first week I kept arm completely immobilized, 2nd week have been doing small rehab exercises.

I'd love to get back on my tennis league team (intramural college sports) because we have a match a week, and we have a great chance of making playoffs. But at the same time, I do NOT want to ruin further chances for competitive tennis this summer.

How long should I wait before I can go 100% in competitive tennis again?
Be sure to study this Todd Ellenbecker video on the shoulder and serving. It explains things like shoulder stability on the tennis serve and, I believe, has some shoulder conditioning exercises. Ellenbecker also has a book on non-surgical shoulder injury rehabilitation aimed at tennis.

I believe that serving with ISR is never forced and could cause injury if practiced incorrectly. Here are some known issues. With forceful and rapid ISR the small external shoulder rotator cuff muscles have to be conditioned to keep the ball of the humerus in place and to stop the arm rotation in the follow through. See recommended shoulder conditioning exercises. Easy, light exercises.

There are also the important safety issues related to technique such as the shoulder high orientation for the serve to minimize impingement risk. Just one very bad motion can cause injury.

1) Jim McLennan short video on the rotator cuff, impingement and serving
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lTRvxaBMh8s

2) Todd Ellenbecker video on shoulder anatomy, impingement, and serving. At about minute 8 he describes the same issue as McLennan but in more detail.
http://www.tennisresources.com/index.cfm?area=video_detail&vidid=3712&ATT=&reso=lo

If you are concerned because you are having pain, how can you determine that the technique that you use is OK? You have to study and know the proper technique and verify that you are doing it with high speed video or find a well qualified instructor. Keep in mind that the more rapid motions during the serve cannot be seen by eye or even 60 fps video so an instructor who uses HSV is a plus.
Experimenting with the serve technique is risky if you have had shoulder injuries.

The quality of your serving technique will most likely show in high speed videos along with obvious variations or flaws seen in comparison to high level servers.

Low cost, high speed video camera capable of showing the fastest parts of your serve.
http://tt.tennis-warehouse.com/showthread.php?t=484212
 
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Dimcorner

Professional
Definitely take a video. I had a slight shoulder injury years ago and it take a LONG time to trust your shoulder the same way again.

How fast do you hit it now? Are we talking improving from 110 to 130mph or from 90 to 110?
 

anubis

Hall of Fame
I feel like I've tried everything, and it doesn't work. Lower knee bend, faster head whip, toss further in front, swing harder, working out, hundreds and hundreds of practice serves, and I feel like I'm not getting faster serve. And I want them aces. It would be a big help in competition as I try to break into the smaller open tournaments around here
Ball toss needs to be further out in front of you.
 

Mongolmike

Hall of Fame
Take a 5lb dumbbell and pretend to throw a baseball. Focus on core rotation and arm extension. Just don't try to actually throw a fastball or to throw it as fast as you can. It's about targeting the muscles involved the throwing motion.
I do this to warm-up before I leave the house. Just like he said... take a dumbbell, get in your serve position, and slowly practice serve motions. Speed up the motion as you loosen up. Don't know if it helps, but IMO it doesn't hurt and I feel looser in the shoulder.... unless I have an hour to drive to the match!
 
Turns out that a lot of people are able to hit the ball pretty hard, they just don't have a lot of control near their upper limit.

I would focus on hitting a really good kick or slice serve. Learn how to control it - left, right, short, deep. Work yourself up to a high percentage, then start swinging harder. Not only do you work your way up to a better/harder first serve with action on it, you have also developed a solid second serve.
 

WildVolley

Legend
I do this to warm-up before I leave the house. Just like he said... take a dumbbell, get in your serve position, and slowly practice serve motions. Speed up the motion as you loosen up. Don't know if it helps, but IMO it doesn't hurt and I feel looser in the shoulder.... unless I have an hour to drive to the match!
I'll admit to being skeptical about this sort of training. It may be good as a warmup, but it also may just be deceiving. Studies of baseball players warming up with an overweight on the bat showed a decrease in swing speed despite the player believing he was swinging faster.

If you want to develop fast twitch muscles, I think over-speed trainers, such as rackets without strings and slightly heavier rackets done at full speed can be useful. I think there's even something to things like the speed chain and throwing footballs as serve speed training. Throwing medicine balls off the wall can be used to develop hip and shoulder speed and explosion. These have an advantage over the weights as it isn't safe to throw weights around.

In terms of weight lifting, I believe that exercises which strengthen the back, rear shoulder muscles, traps, and the related rotator cuff system are the most important: especially the external rotators as almost all movements in tennis involve internal rotation and it is easy to cause an imbalance.
 

dknotty

Semi-Pro
And of course, there IS a upper limit for everyone, and not at the same ball speed.
You can get speed benefits from a longer racket.
But if you have played tennis for more than 4 years, is fully grown from the start, then you probably have hit close to your upper limits in serve ball speed.
We can't grow another 7", get longer arms, so we have to work with what we already have.
This is just rubbish. Incorrect technique can take a lot off pace wise. And one is never too old to change technique.
 

WildVolley

Legend
We need to see yours first, so that we can trust your input on the matter.
A video of LeeD serving has been around for years. Just do a search if you'd like to see it.

LeeD does have a point. The best advice will be tailored to the individual server. Someone who is hitting with a sw fh grip and no racket drop is going to get more benefit in terms of added speed by learning how to serve correctly than in doing weightlifting or other forms of training.
 

LeeD

Bionic Poster
And there IS a limit.
Say, you're 5'5" tall, 110 lbs., a GUY, and you want to hit the fastest serve possible. NO WAY you can approach 120's.
At that size, you're just too weak, and too short to get a fast serve into the court.
I know, I've been trying to speed up my serves since the late '70's, and all I do is slow down and tire out my arm since then.
 

PoisonSky

New User
And there IS a limit.
Say, you're 5'5" tall, 110 lbs., a GUY, and you want to hit the fastest serve possible. NO WAY you can approach 120's.
At that size, you're just too weak, and too short to get a fast serve into the court.
I know, I've been trying to speed up my serves since the late '70's, and all I do is slow down and tire out my arm since then.
So what do you estimate the maximum possible serve speed for a 5'10" 17yo Chinese man (not muscly) would be? :p
 

dknotty

Semi-Pro
Say, you're 5'5" tall, 110 lbs., a GUY, and you want to hit the fastest serve possible. NO WAY you can approach 120's.
At that size, you're just too weak, and too short to get a fast serve into the court.
I know, I've been trying to speed up my serves since the late '70's, and all I do is slow down and tire out my arm since then.
That's not what you said previously.
 

GuyClinch

Legend
LeeD does have a point. The best advice will be tailored to the individual server. Someone who is hitting with a sw fh grip and no racket drop is going to get more benefit in terms of added speed by learning how to serve correctly than in doing weightlifting or other forms of training.
Most people have big technical problems with their serve. Once you fix that you can make some headway with strength flexibility etc..

I personally think the serve is taught all wrong. They should teach everyone slice serves hit with ISR. But they try to teach everyone 'flat' serves first and people wanting to hit the ball flat turn their racquet early and never maximize their talent..

Also you really need to focus a lot on the toss and the correct arm action first.. Its true pros really use their legs well and they use hips shoulder turn - all that good stuff to maximize their power. But if don't have the hang of a basic spin serve trying to maxing leg power gets people all fouled up..
 
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LeeD

Bionic Poster
Why is it considered that EVERYONE has a flaw in their service motion?
5'10" Asian, why not use Nishikori as a guide? Paradorn was taller, could serve into the lowest 130's.
DKnotty, what part did I contradict myself?
 

RetroSpin

Hall of Fame
As a general rule, most players will obtain more speed by cleaning up technique than by any other method.

Without proper technique it is very difficult to develop a lot of racket head speed thru the contact zone. Trophy position to contact is the most important part of the serve. The best way to study this is with high speed video, to see if you have the proper pattern to develop speed thru internal shoulder rotation and pronation.
Totally. It's rare to see someone below 5.0 at least with proper technique.
 

LeeD

Bionic Poster
Wrist snap might help Novak DJ, but for everyone other than him, it's racket arm pronation that gives the speed.
Your wrist is too weak and your forearm muscles too small to add anything to your serves.
 

RetroSpin

Hall of Fame
Most people have big technical problems with their serve. Once you fix that you can make some headway with strength flexibility etc..

I personally think the serve is taught all wrong. They should teach everyone slice serves hit with ISR. But they try to teach everyone 'flat' serves first and people wanting to hit the ball flat turn their racquet early and never maximize their talent..

Also you really need to focus a lot on the toss and the correct arm action first.. Its true pros really use their legs well and they use hips shoulder turn - all that good stuff to maximize their power. But if don't have the hang of a basic spin serve trying to maxing leg power gets people all fouled up..
I agree with this as well.

I think one problem is a lot of people teaching tennis have only a vague idea of what should be happening from racquet drop through contact. They've played since they are 5 year sold and do it naturally without thinking.

Even if you know exactly what you are supposed to be doing, it's a tricky move to master.
 

WildVolley

Legend
Totally. It's rare to see someone below 5.0 at least with proper technique.
And more than that, we even see pros with technical errors. Djokovic cleaned up his previously low elbow position in trophy and has made his serve world class.

We can't say that the OP definitely has big technical errors, but that's the way I'd bet.
 

JackB1

G.O.A.T.
The OP hasn't even replied since his first post :shock:

Bottom line is, if he really wants help, he needs to post a video.
 

LeeD

Bionic Poster
True, Bergboy needs to post his serve vid again.
I don't remember how his serve went, but he had mentioned arm problems on his last vid.
Arm problems could lead to limited speed serves.
 

JackB1

G.O.A.T.
Didn't read anything about you improving your wrist snap - that's where the power comes from.
You don't actively "snap your wrist". The wrist remains loose, so it can
whip through contact freely and speed past the arm.
 

JackB1

G.O.A.T.
And there IS a limit.
Say, you're 5'5" tall, 110 lbs., a GUY, and you want to hit the fastest serve possible. NO WAY you can approach 120's.
At that size, you're just too weak, and too short to get a fast serve into the court.
I know, I've been trying to speed up my serves since the late '70's, and all I do is slow down and tire out my arm since then.
There you have it ladies & gentlemen! Lee can't do it, so nobody can :)

Of course everyone has limits...but physical strength is just one small part of it. I think athletic ability, balance and technique are WAY more important.
 

JonC

Banned
You don't actively "snap your wrist". The wrist remains loose, so it can
whip through contact freely and speed past the arm.
Many good servers would disagree. Let me ask you this - do you use the wrist actively in a topspin serve or do you let it remain loose?
 

JonC

Banned
Wrist snap might help Novak DJ, but for everyone other than him, it's racket arm pronation that gives the speed.
Your wrist is too weak and your forearm muscles too small to add anything to your serves.

I'm talking only about a flat serve. I don't pronate on a topspin serve until after contact btw - I get much of the spin with ulnar deviation of the wrist.

Maybe it's just semantics - would you say that a pitcher doesn't actively snap his wrist on a fast ball?
 

julian

Hall of Fame
You may consider watching the video

I'm talking only about a flat serve. I don't pronate on a topspin serve until after contact btw - I get much of the spin with ulnar deviation of the wrist.

Maybe it's just semantics - would you say that a pitcher doesn't actively snap his wrist on a fast ball?
You may consider watching the video
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CnMolTSCUqo
1.It is clear that Federer pronates on his first serve
2.Do you call HIS first serve flat?
3.Does Federer apply an ULNAR DEVIATION of a wrist ONLY?
 

cjs

Professional
And there IS a limit.
Say, you're 5'5" tall, 110 lbs., a GUY, and you want to hit the fastest serve possible. NO WAY you can approach 120's.
At that size, you're just too weak, and too short to get a fast serve into the court.
If this true please explain how Oliver Rochus overcame LeeD's laws of physics to have serves recorded over 130mph.
 

JonC

Banned
"I'm sure you figure you snap your wrist on the serve on purpose and that pros do as well. But you may be confused by either of two pundits and their followers who tell you you're not figuring things out correctly here. One, Vic Braden, claims you and pros aren't snapping the wrist but only pronate the arm and hand; the other, John Yandell, says wrist movements are "passive," "not a causative factor" in power and spin, and that the wrist moves merely because it is "along for the ride" due to the movement of larger muscle groups or body parts. Both groups call the wrist snap "a myth."

This point of view is nothing short of ridiculous. Revolutionary Tennis says you're the one figuring things out right. And now clear scientific evidence disproving these pundits exists and can not be ignored.



TENNIS IS SIMPLE TO UNDERSTAND
THOUGH ADMITTEDLY HARD TO DO

item6A former teaching pro-now-Ph.D. candidate Brian Gordon in a series of articles researching "power" on a serve has published on the question whether the wrist moves voluntarily/consciously as a result of a muscle contraction on a serve ("wrist snap"), or whether the wrist moves involuntary because it is "along for the ride". This series of scientific articles ironically are showcased on Yandell's prominent web site which screams "the "wrist snap" "is a myth" in his article, "The Myth of The Wrist: The Serve." I stumbled onto Gordon's "The Serve and Tennis Science" by an email blast from the USPTA, I never would have found it trolling the site.

Is wrist movement a conscious thing, known as a muscle-driven joint torque, or is it involuntary, known as a motion-dependent torque because other body parts are moving? Pundits only claim the one, but Brian Gordon found both: He also found wrist movements to be conscious. What pros call a wrist snap is causative, active, purposeful."

http://www.revolutionarytennis.com/evidencewristsnap.html

I agree that it's conscious but it may well be that the end goal of wrist snap is what causes the arm to pronate. Pronating without wrist snap will give no power. Further, you don't see wrist snap because it is happening almost simultaneously with contact - you will see the wrist "broken" after contact though.
 

julian

Hall of Fame
Just a clarification,please

Yes - he pronates on his first serve.
Yes, flat.
No ulnar deviation no his flat serve
JonC,
Just a clarification,please
"No ulnar deviation no his flat serve" probably meant to be:
"No ulnar deviation on his flat serve"
If yes on clarification the expert on the subject is John Yandell.
regards,
Julian
PS I just noticed your post #44
It will be very difficult to purse any sensible conversation without reading the article by John Yandell
Please see as well
http://tt.tennis-warehouse.com/archive/index.php/t-251543.html
One of posters gzhpcu is an active blogger here-you may ask some questions
Please see a post by gzhpcu
http://tt.tennis-warehouse.com/showthread.php?t=490937&page=21 post # 405
 
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JonC

Banned
JonC,
Just a clarification,please
"No ulnar deviation no his flat serve" probably meant to be:
"No ulnar deviation on his flat serve"
If yes on clarification the expert on the subject is John Yandell.
regards,
Julian
PS I just noticed your post #44
It will be very difficult to purse any sensible conversation without reading the article by John Yandell
Please see as well
http://tt.tennis-warehouse.com/archive/index.php/t-251543.html
One of posters gzhpcu is an active blogger here-you may ask some questions
Please see a post by gzhpcu
http://tt.tennis-warehouse.com/showthread.php?t=490937&page=21 post # 405
No ulnar deviation on his flat serve. What points are you trying to make?
 

julian

Hall of Fame
John Yandell

No ulnar deviation on his flat serve. What points are you trying to make?
The first point is that it would be good to bring John Yandell
into a conversation.
It is up to you.
Mr Yandell reads some threads.
His E-mail address is easy to find from the home page of www.tennisplayer.net

The second point is that your quotation from the revolutionary tennis
is "old" and one side of the story.
It is "old" because Brian Gordon is a Ph.D. now.

The third point is that you can bring the blogger gzhpcu into the conversation.

The fourth point is that you want to use an E-mail my address can be
easily found via my signature
Please let me know whether I can be of any assistance.
Thank you,
Julian W.Mielniczuk
 
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GuyClinch

Legend
Snap is more of a feel thing..

I have come full circle on this - and will admit I was wrong. :p

This is how it works - the 'snap' action is at the end of the kinetic chain. You feel like you are snapping - but the power is coming from ISR AND the angle of your racquet (an L shape - the hammer grip).

You can serve a really nice serve starting with a half motion (trophy pose like star) - very little body turn and swinging out like you are slicing the ball - then (assuming you have externally rotated your shoulder in your racquet drop) you internally rotate your shoulder - pronate a little on your upper arm and basically smash the ball into the court. You might be able to add some flexion but there isn't a lot there. My guesstimate is that you can hit it 70-80mph with this kind of serve..

Pros will call this entire arm-shoulder action 'snap' and I think it does feel like it..but if you look at high speed video its really a lot of ISR. Not sound exactly like Chas - but its a huge power source..

You don't have to do a lot else to get a pretty zippy serve..
If you were to just isolate your wrist muscles - you couldn't hit the ball nearly as hard.

Additionally adding in the other 'muscles' body rotation, leg drive etc - does add power but not as much as the ISR...and what I would call the 'arm motion'.. Though its probably abduction or something technical like that..

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mcwiAv_a7TQ

This is why I think the serve is taught all wrong - coaches will tell their students to 'snap' but what they really want is for students to tap into the power of ISR - which is something I believe you can do on command (Yes its a natural thing but you can absolutely vary the timing to some extent).
 
"I'm sure you figure you snap your wrist on the serve on purpose and that pros do as well. But you may be confused by either of two pundits and their followers who tell you you're not figuring things out correctly here. One, Vic Braden, claims you and pros aren't snapping the wrist but only pronate the arm and hand; the other, John Yandell, says wrist movements are "passive," "not a causative factor" in power and spin, and that the wrist moves merely because it is "along for the ride" due to the movement of larger muscle groups or body parts. Both groups call the wrist snap "a myth."

This point of view is nothing short of ridiculous. Revolutionary Tennis says you're the one figuring things out right. And now clear scientific evidence disproving these pundits exists and can not be ignored.



TENNIS IS SIMPLE TO UNDERSTAND
THOUGH ADMITTEDLY HARD TO DO

item6A former teaching pro-now-Ph.D. candidate Brian Gordon in a series of articles researching "power" on a serve has published on the question whether the wrist moves voluntarily/consciously as a result of a muscle contraction on a serve ("wrist snap"), or whether the wrist moves involuntary because it is "along for the ride". This series of scientific articles ironically are showcased on Yandell's prominent web site which screams "the "wrist snap" "is a myth" in his article, "The Myth of The Wrist: The Serve." I stumbled onto Gordon's "The Serve and Tennis Science" by an email blast from the USPTA, I never would have found it trolling the site.

Is wrist movement a conscious thing, known as a muscle-driven joint torque, or is it involuntary, known as a motion-dependent torque because other body parts are moving? Pundits only claim the one, but Brian Gordon found both: He also found wrist movements to be conscious. What pros call a wrist snap is causative, active, purposeful."

http://www.revolutionarytennis.com/evidencewristsnap.html

I agree that it's conscious but it may well be that the end goal of wrist snap is what causes the arm to pronate. Pronating without wrist snap will give no power. Further, you don't see wrist snap because it is happening almost simultaneously with contact - you will see the wrist "broken" after contact though.
The serve is a kinetic chain. The wrist flexion is one element of the chain. Keep your arm loose, and you'll maximize your racket speed and power. You want your wrist to move, but forcing a wrist snap won't get you very far.
 
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