In order to gain a high speed tennis serve, you must have accurate technique and solid strength. Here are a few tips on how to achieve them and develop a strong serve.
Photo credit: Kieran Galvin/CameraSport
When it comes to playing tennis, serving the ball the right way and at a fast speed is essential. The ability to serve a high speed tennis ball has increased over the years and many players, since 2006, have had a first serve speed of around 200 km/hr. The fastest serve on the men’s tour was hit by Samuel Groth at the 2012 Busan Open Challenger Tennis at 263.4 km/hr, and the fastest serve on the women’s tour was hit by Venus Williams at the 2013 Tokyo Pan Pacific at 209.0 km/hr. In order to gain a high speed tennis serve, you must have accurate technique and solid strength.
Strength is vital in most sports; in tennis the muscles that are required to be the strongest are your arms for serving and hitting and your core muscles, which will increase your agility when playing. You can improve your strength with simple exercises that will work different areas of your body and ultimately improve your serve.
Front planks and push-ups are good for working your upper body and they will help focus the muscles that you need to play tennis. Although, tennis is not all about the arms, you need your legs in order to run to the ball if your opponent hits wide. Increasing your leg strength, as well as mixing it up with cardio, will improve your stamina to ensure your performance is strong throughout every match.
Your technique when playing tennis is just as important as the strength you put behind the serve. A weak technique could lead to waiting to hit the ball, which would affect your motion, or a lack of full extension on contact could also hinder the serve. A proper serving technique is key to improving your serving speed.
The ideal way to do a flat serve is to toss the ball forward and slightly off center, depending on what hand you are. For right-handed individuals the ball should be just off center to the right, and for left-handed individuals it should be slightly off center to the left. This can then be hit with full force and focus.
The balance between strength and technique is vital and it’s easy to see why. As serving speeds have already increased over time, it seems likely they will continue to increase in the future. Training at a higher level is becoming even more important and the right training is making the better players stand out.