(Pete Sampras: Fastest Serve 216 km/h 135 mph)
What would you say is the most key element in serve power? The forward toss? Strong wrist snap? Leg drive?
As a junior player I had the great fortune to be able to train at many leading tennis academies and receive coaching from some true legends of the game. My serve was always the cornerstone of my tennis game and I was always told that it was the only shot i had complete control of so i practiced it relentlessly. I was always a tall kid and had a strong shoulder so my serve was always on the bigger side, but it wasn’t until I moved to Queensland in Australia to train at the then “Cash-Hopper Tennis Academy” that i received the best piece of coaching advice I’d ever heard related to the serve.
I had heard all the basic fundamental advice (which was all spot on) like “increase your leg drive”, “Throw the ball further out in front”, “Snap your wrist at the peak of the toss” and all of these components are absolutely vital to a great serve, but none of these had the impact of what former Wimbledon Champion (1987) Pat Cash shared with me.
Pat brought out the video camera and filmed me hitting serves from the baseline angle. I thought my serve was quite impressive at the time so i assumed that i wouldn’t need to change a whole lot. I was very wrong! A couple of days later Pat came back with two pieces of paper with photographs on them. The first page was a sequence photo of my serve from the side angle, and the second page contained photos of the worlds biggest servers. All guys I admired and grew up emulating. Pete Sampras, Goran Ivanisevic, Mark Phillippoussis and Greg Rudeski. Pat had coached both Phillippousis and Rudeski on the ATP tour so I understood that he had intimate knowledge on what made both these guys serve absolute bombs.
(Andy Roddick: Fastest Serve 249 km/155mph)
The two words that changed my serve was “Hip Drive”. The page that contained the Pro’s serves all had one big thing in common that my serve was lacking, HIP DRIVE. What the hip drive allows a player to do is transfer the leg drive and trophy position into a snapping motion using the whole body! The result is a motion that facilities whole body power and transfers it upward and forward… the key to power!
(Sam Groth: Fastest Serve World Record 263 km/163 mph)
The result in my changed service motion added a huge amount of power to my first serve, and more importantly my second serve (kick serve) and a few years later when i reached my full height was able to clock first serves around the mid 140MPH mark.
(John Isner: Fastest Serve 241.2 km/149.9 mph)
There are many components to a great serve, but if you have good fundamentals and still need to add more power to your serve, you might want to have a look at your hip drive!
See you on the Courts!
USPTA Elite Professional
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