You wanna serve fast?

Curious

Legend
I’m pretty sure I’ve found the formula while practicing/ mucking around with my serve today.
Low toss quick action type of serve that is. It’s all about the elbow. You stick your elbow out and back when you throw a ball, right? Secret to Kyrgios serve as well. Two more ingredients though: keep the racket in front of you until you start the swing and keep the wrist c0cked all the way up to trophy position. ( I haven’t perfected the last two yet ).
It felt blistering fast to me, like I never felt before. The video is from the last part of serving for 2 hours.


 
Ok. I ask again. Platform?
The serve you posted a couple days ago, where you had the racquet head at three o’clock at the time your back foot created the pinpoint stance, was keeping your elbow form going places it is now getting with this platform stance. Try the new things you credit with your power with the pin point stance and the same timing of that pinpoint stance and I bet it all goes to hell.
 

Curious

Legend
Ok. I ask again. Platform?
The serve you posted a couple days ago, where you had the racquet head at three o’clock at the time your back foot created the pinpoint stance, was keeping your elbow form going places it is now getting with this platform stance. Try the new things you credit with your power with the pin point stance and the same timing of that pinpoint stance and I bet it all goes to hell.
Yeah ok platform. You see this is a quick serve, no time for a rocking motion, step up pin point or any other extras. A low toss and the swing, that’s it. It all happens in the upper body and the arm. By the way Aussie grip is fantastic, it’s the real continental grip, I’d recommend everyone to try it.
 

nyta2

Rookie
i do like the continuous swing, but don't like the short toss like dolgo.
personally i've been trying to add height to my toss (like 8-12in above contact) because:
* gives me more time to load (including the "elbow the enemy" motion your doing - thx salzy)
* gives me some topspin from the falling ball
to allow for a continous swing, i'm doing a toss then start the swing type rhythm (prior i'd start both at the same time, requiring a slight pause in my swing)
 

5263

G.O.A.T.
Is Aussie grip part of it? Oh well why I even ask...
his toss is too far to the right, forcing the racket to be nearly vertical where he can't have the correct orientation for contact. This will result in some under-spin that tends to sit the ball instead of bringing it down into the box......so he can't serve too fast for his window will be too small for truly fast serves.
 

mnttlrg

Professional
I already serve incredibly fast. And then when I explain how I do it, somebody who serves incredibly slowly will come on here and tell me I'm wrong.
 

MaxTennis

Semi-Pro
I’m pretty sure I’ve found the formula while practicing/ mucking around with my serve today.
Low toss quick action type of serve that is. It’s all about the elbow. You stick your elbow out and back when you throw a ball, right? Secret to Kyrgios serve as well. Two more ingredients though: keep the racket in front of you until you start the swing and keep the wrist c0cked all the way up to trophy position. ( I haven’t perfected the last two yet ).
It felt blistering fast to me, like I never felt before. The video is from the last part of serving for 2 hours.


did you just copy Maxi's motion?
Nice serve @Curious

I do think the lightning bolt motion is the key to a fluid and powerful serve and that Kyrgios has one of the best service motions on tour. The other thing is it's very repeatable and less can go wrong versus a high toss with a hitch in the middle. I don't think I've had shoulder issues and I'm usually not swinging at full speed because the racket is constantly in motion versus a serve that builds up slowly and goes full blast at the end.
 

Fintft

Legend
Something like that, but with the toss adujsted a bit, as per 5263 :)

As it rained today (so no rallying on clay, etc), I'll go practice my serve as well, on a public hard court...
 

LeeD

Bionic Poster
Prolly best to look at pros our size, both height AND build.
So someone around 5'11", around 130 should be achievable, best to be young, fit, strong, good technique and use of the whole kinetic chain.
 

GuyClinch

Legend
Serve looks decent but you can hit fast serves with high or low toss. If the toss is quite high you might have to delay your hitting arm..
 

Curious

Legend
A fast serve is useless if you hit 3 out of 10 in
Correct. Here’s a thought though. This serve action is quick but with the low toss the ball is almost stationary at contact, which I believe/hope may make aiming more accurate. Especially if you can keep the head up and look at the ball until it’s hit. I can’t wait to practice my serve on the court. Hopefully tennis will be allowed again from next week. I’ll come back with a video of me hitting targets in the box.
 

18x20 ftw

Rookie
I tried the lightning bolt serve for a little while. It was effective but too much arm driven. The body naturally cannot be used as much.
 

Curious

Legend
I tried the lightning bolt serve for a little while. It was effective but too much arm driven. The body naturally cannot be used as much.
I may not be using the whole body yet as I was really focusing on the arm and elbow mostly but I doubt you can say the same thing for Kyrgios or Ivanisevic.
 

Curious

Legend
Serving against a wall?! I don't get it. You have no way to tell if your serve is long, in, or in the net.
Working on different mechanics of the serve, not worried about placement. Well, also because courts are all closed due to Covid.
 

AlexSV

Rookie
I’m pretty sure I’ve found the formula while practicing/ mucking around with my serve today.
Low toss quick action type of serve that is. It’s all about the elbow. You stick your elbow out and back when you throw a ball, right? Secret to Kyrgios serve as well. Two more ingredients though: keep the racket in front of you until you start the swing and keep the wrist c0cked all the way up to trophy position. ( I haven’t perfected the last two yet ).
It felt blistering fast to me, like I never felt before. The video is from the last part of serving for 2 hours.
I more interested in whether you painted lines and bullseyes for tennis on the side of your house?
 

WildVolley

Legend
All you need to do is this position right at the beginning of your throw. Timing is very crucial though, if you’re in that position before or after the throw starts it won’t be as effective.

Sort of a Roddick-like power position.

With this basic motion, it shouldn't be difficult for you to pop a serve at a little over 100mph without much effort. As 5263 mentioned, the big issue will be hitting long. A little more sidespin or topspin should help increase your serve percentage.
 
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zipplock

Hall of Fame
A fast serve is useless if you hit 3 out of 10 in
Played doubles recently with a guy that had a VERY fast flat serve. Played 3 sets. He got maybe 5 of his first FAST serves in through 3 sets, proceeded to dinky-dink the second serves. A fast serve that is out is useless!!!
 

Digital Atheist

Professional
All you need to do is this position right at the beginning of your throw. Timing is very crucial though, if you’re in that position before or after the throw starts it won’t be as effective.

That image has been termed the "American Style" by James R. Shaughnessy, as used by the likes of Roddick, Querry, and Fritz (and other non Americans like Tsonga and Kyrgios).


Page 57 is the article in question.

This has been discussed before. I think he makes some good points but classifies Djokovic as American style; that seems probable but debatable. Edit: it comes down to when you define the beginning of the cocking or launch phase - platform servers (Djokovic and Sampras anyway) seem to reach the deepest part of their knee bend quite early and then the body tends to begin shifting forward a little before they drive up, so there appears to be a small difference between maximum knee flexion and when observable leg drive begins (I think this happens in pinpointers like Isner also).

@Curious, It's good you've found a rhythm and motion that works for you.
 
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Digital Atheist

Professional
Question for the experts: How does one classify someone with a full takeback that builds speed and passes through the trophy without a pause, Serena Williams for instance? This is approximately one frame before deepest knee bend, but pretty close.



 

Curious

Legend
Question for the experts: How does one classify someone with a full takeback that builds speed and passes through the trophy without a pause, Serena Williams for instance? This is approximately one frame before deepest knee bend, but pretty close.



If you watch this video of her serve from behind in slow motion , would you agree that her throw starts when the racket is in the position shown in the first picture below? You could tell from when the legs start pushing.
What I’ve been trying to explain in this thread is that the racket should be in the position that you see in the second picture. In other words she’s starting the swing while the racket is already dropped a little. I reckon the elbow pull back looks very good but not the timing of the throwing.


 
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The important thing is that her racquet arrives at It’s deepest drop - handle 12:00, racquet head 6:00 - when the thrust from the legs is at its peak, which is when the toes leave the ground. From there, the arm is relaxed and not responsible for firing up at the ball through anything other than its elasticity. It is after the racquet starts up that you start to add some arm to help accelerate through contact and of course pronate. IMO, where the racquet is when the legs begin the push is irrelevant.
 

Rubens

Hall of Fame
@Curious Good serve, looks fast.
You mentioned the Sampras elbow up in another thread. Do you consider that to be a key ingredient in your current serve?
 

Curious

Legend
The important thing is that her racquet arrives at It’s deepest drop - handle 12:00, racquet head 6:00 - when the thrust from the legs is at its peak, which is when the toes leave the ground. From there, the arm is relaxed and not responsible for firing up at the ball through anything other than its elasticity. It is after the racquet starts up that you start to add some arm to help accelerate through contact and of course pronate. IMO, where the racquet is when the legs begin the push is irrelevant.
If what matters is how you swing from the bottom of the drop then do you think we can hit a fast serve starting from that position?
Why do you think Errani feels the need to bring the racket up before starting her swing? She might as well swing from that dropped position according to you. :D


 

Digital Atheist

Professional
What I’ve been trying to explain in this thread is that the racket should be in the position that you see in the second picture
Yes I understand your point and the throwing 2 image is identical to the picture of her that I posted. Anyone interested in her serve can download this video which could once be found on YouTube.

Serena Williams – G.O.A.T Episode 02 – The Serve (File is 220MB)

The important thing is that her racquet arrives at It’s deepest drop - handle 12:00, racquet head 6:00 - when the thrust from the legs is at its peak, which is when the toes leave the ground. [..]
That's a critical checkpoint for sure, and I have to think from some of the variation in "trophy positions" from huge servers - Ivanisevic and Ben Becker are more Curious's throwing point, Kyrgios and Fritz are throwing 2 - that this might just be the most important.

IMO, where the racquet is when the legs begin the push is irrelevant.
This is where Macci is in complete disagreement, and stresses racquet leakage is the number one problem, a big power killer, and must be fixed immediately. When learning the serve, I think his approach is good because it makes it easier to achieve the drop position you mention.

If what matters is how you swing from the bottom of the drop then do you think we can hit a fast serve starting from that position?
I don't think he is suggesting putting the racquet there statically (who can actually do that?). It is still the result of previous actions.

Edit: Irrelevant is imo too strong a word, but rather that there can be considerable variation around that point, and I think that's what he was saying. I could be wrong but we will see.
 
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If what matters is how you swing from the bottom of the drop then do you think we can hit a fast serve starting from that position?
Why do you think Errani feels the need to bring the racket up before starting her swing? She might as well swing from that dropped position according to you. :D


Wow. Maybe read my post again. You really missed the point. I didn’t say how you swing from the drop but when you get to the drop. It needs to be at the point you leave the ground. Watch pros serve all night on video and you will not find any deviation. Yet you will see all sorts of positions on when they start their push. Most are past vertical to some degree. Some start their push at vertical. Can Norrie goes a hair past vertical, heads back to where he came from an inch or two and then starts his push from vertical.
Starting from the drop would only be possible by USING arm muscles to get going. Exactly what I advise not to do.
 
Yes I understand your point and the throwing 2 image is identical to the picture of her that I posted. Anyone interested in her serve can download this video which could once be found on YouTube.

Serena Williams – G.O.A.T Episode 02 – The Serve (File is 220MB)


That's a critical checkpoint for sure, and I have to think from some of the variation in "trophy positions" from huge servers - Ivanisevic and Ben Becker are more Curious's throwing point, Kyrgios and Fritz are throwing 2 - that this might just be the most important.


This is where Macci is in complete disagreement, and stresses racquet leakage is the number one problem, a big power killer, and must be fixed immediately. When learning the serve, I think his approach is good because it makes it easier to achieve the drop position you mention.


I don't think he is suggesting putting the racquet there statically (who can actually do that?). It is still the result of previous actions.

Edit: Irrelevant is imo too strong a word, but rather that there can be considerable variation around that point, and I think that's what he was saying. I could be wrong but we will see.
I’m cool with considerable deviation. What is racquet “leakage”? Anywho, if there was a particular spot to have your racquet when you start your leg drive, your leg drive would have to be the same as everyone else’s. Can’t be quicker by tenths of a sec or slower. How does that make sense? In the end, you have to be at max drop when at max push, which is when the toes are leaving the ground.
 

Curious

Legend
Wow. Maybe read my post again. You really missed the point. I didn’t say how you swing from the drop but when you get to the drop. It needs to be at the point you leave the ground. Watch pros serve all night on video and you will not find any deviation. Yet you will see all sorts of positions on when they start their push. Most are past vertical to some degree. Some start their push at vertical. Can Norrie goes a hair past vertical, heads back to where he came from an inch or two and then starts his push from vertical.
Starting from the drop would only be possible by USING arm muscles to get going. Exactly what I advise not to do.
I’ve posted many times before about Macci’s view regarding the ideal position of the racket at the beginning of push from the legs as @Digital Atheist mentioned above. Although there’s variation between players I think it’s an important check point.
 

Curious

Legend
In the end, you have to be at max drop when at max push, which is when the toes are leaving the ground.
I believe it’s the exact opposite!:)
Max push is when you start the push not when you’re finishing it. And the racket should be at the apex at that moment not at the bottom of the drop.
 

Curious

Legend
I’m talking speed which is what throws the racquet to it lowest point
I don’t have a pause but you see these guys have an obvious pause especially jolly. Is where they pause a random thing? And would you agree that the real throw in their serves starts from that paused position?


 

Digital Atheist

Professional
I’m cool with considerable deviation. What is racquet “leakage”? Anywho, if there was a particular spot to have your racquet when you start your leg drive, your leg drive would have to be the same as everyone else’s. Can’t be quicker by tenths of a sec or slower. How does that make sense? In the end, you have to be at max drop when at max push, which is when the toes are leaving the ground.
Time stamp included (video should start at 5:25 but feel free to skip to 6:50 for the meat and potatoes)

 
Time stamp included (video should start at 5:25 but feel free to skip to 6:50 for the meat and potatoes)

Thanks for that! That is how I do it. That is how it should be taught. I just don’t think 70yr-old Margaret is capable of starting from there with her 1 degree of knee bend and just raising up on her toes. She’d push up and her racquet would still be dropping. I agree it is part of successful technique.
Just don’t tell Pliskova.
 
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I don’t have a pause but you see these guys have an obvious pause especially jolly. Is where they pause a random thing? And would you agree that the real throw in their serves starts from that paused position?


No and yes.
The guy in the dark shirt and white hat starts the “throw” from 2 o’clock. Has to rush. Screws up his serve.
 
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