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Speeding up your Serve
By:  Scott Baker | Tennis4you  | Tennis Forum  | E-mail

Who doesn't want to speed up their first serve? I know I do, and I bet you that if most players could they would too. However, consistency and placement are far more important than the speed of your serve. If you can not get the serve in and within a reasonable distance in where you aimed, then the speed of the serve is almost worthless. I say "almost" because the speed of the serve does account for something and can sometimes win you some easy points. However, I feel you need consistency with your first serve before you read this section. (A good percentage for first serves is anything above 70%) Here are some ways to speed up your serve.

Tossing out front:
Tossing the ball out in front of your body helps you to move into the court when hitting the serve. By moving into the court when you serve you are bringing your body weight into the serve. If you are moving forward when hitting the serve this will increase the speed of your serve.

Good rotation:
Good rotation of the shoulders and the waist will give you added power to your serve. This allows your whole body to contribute to the power instead of just the brute force of your arm. The uncoiling is key, be sure to use your legs, shoulders, and waist.

Hit less spin:
Another way to juice up your serve would be to simply hit less spin. Hitting the ball flat creates a lot more pace because you hit the ball more solid. Hitting with spin puts more friction on the ball and does not allow you to swing straight through with all power.

Racquet Adjustments:
1. Get a longer racquet. Look what it did for Michael Chang! The longer the racquet the more power you will get out of your shots.

2. String your racquet with less tension which will give you more power.

3. Adding weight to your racquet head helps to produce more force when hitting. It's like driving a bike and hitting a wall, or driving a semi-truck and hitting a wall. The semi truck definitely has more momentum and more force to hit with because it is heavier. I am not saying the difference will be that great of a change, but it will increase the speed of your serve, and other strokes for that matter. You can add weight to your racquet by simply applying sticker like lead strips to the head of your racquet. Make sure you do this evenly on both side of the racquet. Not many of these strips are needed to notice a difference in weight of your racquet, so do not over do it. Just try a little at a time to see if it works for your game.

4. You can also get a heavier racquet. Both again, both of these options have downsides. Heavier racquets could hurt your arm and they are also harder to generate spin with since your racquet head speed will probably slightly slow down.

All four of the racquet adjustments come with downsides. Usually when you do something to your racquet to add more power you are decreasing the amount of control the racquet will give you. Adding weight can hurt your arm or shoulder and should be considered before making adjustments.

Quick Tip: Hitting the serve down the "T" (the down the middle of the court) will create a faster serve for two reasons. One reason is that it has less distance to travel and therefore encounters less air resistance to slow the ball down. The other reason is that the net is low, so it gives you more room for error to hit the big flat serve.

Good Luck on the Court!
Scott Baker