How to serve faster in tennis. I get that question asked of me all the time by my students. And I tell them that it takes a lot of practice, but the ingredients most important are the legs, the grip, and the racquet speed.
So one of the ingredients in learning how to serve harder is using your legs as springs. That gives you a tremendous amount of velocity on your racquet and thus, a harder or faster serve.
So, I'll let Kirk demonstrate. You'll see a lot of people when they don't serve hard, they don't bend their legs. They're legs are very stiff and they swing just from their upper body, so they don't generally have a strong serve. So demonstrate a serve without bending your knees. And they make that face too.
Anyway, so that serve is not going to be hard, but if you've learned to bend your knees after you toss the ball, you become a spring or a cat ready to pounce on its prey, then you're going to have a faster serve. Watch how Kirk bends, and now he's going to jump up and accelerate his racquet through the ball, driving with the legs.
Again, an analogy I use is baseball. In baseball, pitchers pitch at 95 miles an hour sometimes, but most of the power in pitching comes from the legs.
The other thing, you will never have a fast serve if you don't use a continental grip. You could probably hit it fast, but it's not going to go in very often. So you must remember that on any serve, to become a top tennis player, you must learn the continental grip. That's an absolute.
And the last thing I want to say about hitting a faster serve is that most people think of faster, so they think of stronger. So what they tend to do when they want to hit hard is they squeeze the grip. It's not about squeezing the grip. It's the opposite. It's about holding that grip very loose like a whip, so that you can snap it and then get a much faster serve.
Absolutely. I remember seeing footage of Pancho Gonzales serving. Great server. He had one point in the serve only had his thumb and his middle finger on the racquet, so he was able to get tremendous acceleration. He couldn't squeeze it if he wanted to. So the idea is, hold it looser than you think you're supposed to, and let that whip give you the final burst of speed. So remember, bend your knees, hold the racquet loose, and make sure you learn the continental grip.