Posts Tagged ‘tennis serve’
Last week I showed you a video of coach Mauro Marcos hitting forehands for accuracy. I decided to take the same kinds of drills to the service boxes.
I slowed everything way down and simply aimed at targets that would pull someone WAAAAAAAY off the court.
Yes, I’m sure we all love to see a 125 mph out wide serve, but truly I’ve been beaten terribly by a 60 mph serve that took me so far off the court I’d need a bicycle to get back.
Get yourself some cheap cones at Sports Authority or simply use tennis ball cans. Put them at 3 feet from the service line on the wide side line of the service box. Swinging nice and smooth try to hit the target area consistently.
When I slowed way down I was able to hit angles that would run the opponent into the next county. Like coach Mauro said, “Accurcy first, power later”. I’m going to hit really slow for about a month until I can at will hit those targets. Then I’ll add a tiny bit more power. If my accuracy suffers, I’ll go back to hitting slower.
I really believe this exercise will help you devastate your opponents with wide serves.
. . . for a day.
This weekend was hot in Virginia Beach. It was supposed to be in the low 80’s and it was actually in the low 90’s. 10 degrees makes a big difference. I was practicing my serve after my ball machine groundstroke practice and I pretty much sucked. I was hot, sweating like a pig and, as always on a hot day at the courts here, no one to complain to.
I thought to myself, “Self, you’re tossing all over the place. You’re burning up out here hitting balls that have no chance of going in. You’re teaching your muscles nothing except to be ready for chaos on each serve. . . this has to stop.”
So, I started going through my entire serve ritual and motion as if I was going to serve, but I didn’t hit the ball. I just started practicing my toss . . .maybe I did 50 of those before the heat got to me.
I went home that night and started reading everything I could get my hands on about the toss. Of course, there was some conflicting info from different coaches, but I didn’t let that deter me.
The best info I got was at John Yandell’s membership site Tennis Player.net I read indepth articles about the toss and tossing theory. I watched high speed video of about 50 pros to find one close enough to my serving motion to emulate. I practiced in the house that night.
The next day every couple hours I would go out side and do the same drill in my driveway as I was doing on the court the day before. Things were feeling pretty good.
I then went out on the court and tried things out and I had a big improvement over the previous day. I only had to make some small changes to get things back on track.
The point is that hot, miserable day made me stop and concentrate on one piece of this giant puzzle called a serve and improve it a little.
So, quit serving for a day (or more if you need to) and work on your toss. It will save you hundreds and hundreds of wasted practice serves in the future.
There’s a dumb title to a posting. Of course, you’ve got to get the serve in. What I’m talking about here is in your first service game.
Avoid the temptation to hit a big powerful serve to intimidate your opponent. The first game of the match is a time when you get the serve in and aim it at your opponent’s weaker side.
You absolutely don’t want the person to get a giant boost of confidence by watching you double fault the first game away to them.
Now don’t go injuring yourself trying to get fast serve speeds if you aren’t in shape for it. But this little radar gun can tell you where you are now and show your improvement over time.
Being a cheap device, it has its drawbacks.
1. It sits in the court, so there is a possibility you will hit it with the ball.
2. The display goes off very quickly after you get your reading.
3. It is extremely angle sensitive and will give a different reading for a serve down the T than from the same speed serve aimed at the corner.
The brand I have is called a “SpeedTracX”. On the box it says it will work for Tennis, Hockey, Soccer, Baseball, Snow Skiing, Racquetball, Street Hockey, Speed Skating and In Line Skating.
I was able to consistently keep my serve in the 70’s according to this device. What I don’t know is how this device compares to the devices used at a pro tournament. Obviously the quality isn’t as good, but what I’m wondering is what a pro radar device would read when this device reads 77 miles per hour.
This radar gun is positioned about the midway position of the service box. By the time sees the ball it is already 25 percent of the distance to it’s destination and the ball is already slowing down. I think (I’ll have to check this out) the pros are clocked as the ball leaves the racket. If that’s true, then my serve would probably be in the low 90s. Of course, I’m only guessing. If anyone wants to chime in here with some real info on radar guns, I’m all ears.
Oh, I forgot. The SpeedTracX will also clock your groundstrokes if you hit right over top of it. AND . . . .and this is a BIG “and”. The looser I would swing the faster the ball would go. Try to muscle it and the readings would plummet in the 50s.
Price: About $150.00
One way to improve the strength and speed of the muscles involved in the serve is to workout with a weighted fooball.
This is sometimes called a “medicine football” however you will find them faster on the Internet if you search for the term “weighted football”.
Most tennis videos will tell you that the serve motion in tennis is similar to the throwing motion of a baseball or football. By using a weighted football you can simulate this motion while working the muscles involved with the extra resistence of the weighted football.
Being a big guy I thought I should use the heaviest weighted football I could find which was in excess of 3 pounds. This was a mistake. Get a 2 pound or even use a regular football to start because the 3 pound football will tear your arm right out of the socket if you aren’t careful.