10 Tips for Faster Serves

Clocked at 155 mph, Andy Roddick has the fastest serve recorded in pro tennis. Photo: Al Bello/Getty
After you have learned the basic tennis serve technique and have become quite consistent, it's common to feel the urge to really whack the ball and send a rocket towards your opponent.

You try to hit the ball hard, use all the strength in your body and somehow the serve just doesn't seem to respond to your efforts.

In fact, it seems that it's going even slower now.

Here are 10 tips to help you serve faster:

1. Loosen up! Don't grip the racket so tight, loosen your whole body and swing freely at the ball.

2. Think "fast" instead of "hard." The tension of your body starts in your mind.

3. Exhale when you serve. That will help you release some of the tension.

4. Make a swooshing sound. Try a few serves without the ball and just listen to the sound. Remember the feel and hit the ball in the same way.

5. Don't aim! When you are learning how to serve fast, you need to let go. Don't try to serve fast and at the same time get every ball in.

6. Hit a few balls into the back fence across the whole court. There is an old program running on your brain that tells your arm how fast to move. When you change your target dramatically, you can set yourself free from that program.

7. Throw the racket. Take an old racket, go to a nice lawn and throw the racket as far as you can with a similar motion to serving or throwing a ball.

8. Rotate quickly with your body. The main energy source of your serve is body rotation. Try and consciously rotate your shoulders to increase the racket head speed.

9. Drive with your legs. Legs add only about 10 percent of the racket head speed, but that could mean more than 10 km/h if you take full advantage of the leg drive.

10. Keep a high racket head speed even AFTER the contact. Don't accelerate only to the ball, instead try and hit through the ball focusing on fast movement for a few inches after the contact.
Tomaz Menzinger is the tennis coach and mental training coach at the Tennis Academy of Asia. His video series on How to Play Tennis offers beginners a solid foundation in tennis fundamentals to start playing tennis correctly.

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