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Increasing the speed or pace of a tennis ball can certainly give you an advantage over your opponent. A fast serve strategically placed can win you a quick point, and a fast passing shot might make your opponent think twice the next time he considers charging to the net. There are many parts to each tennis stroke, and with a few subtle changes in technique, it's possible to hit the ball with more power and pace. If your technique is solid, but you still can't get any pace on the ball, a few changes to your equipment might help.
If your forehand groundstroke has no pace, you may be letting the ball get too close to your body. According to tennis professional Vic Braden, this cramps your swing and reduces the length of your stroking radius, which reduces your potential power. To correct this, get your body into position early enough so that you can hit the ball away from your body, take a full swing, shift your body weight forward and transfer the power into the ball. Having a straight-back swing instead of a loop backswing makes it difficult to generate racket-head speed. The stroke's power is related to how fast the racket is moving when you contact the ball. With a loop backswing, the racket generates 11 mph as it drops to the bottom of the loop, according to Braden. With a straight-back swing, 0 mph is generated in the racket head at the same point. To hit the ball with more power and pace, change a straight-back swing to a loop swing.
Some players rely on just their hitting arm for power when hitting a backhand stroke. You can generate more ball speed by coiling and uncoiling your upper body during the stroke. On the backswing, coil your upper body by turning your shoulders away from the ball. Turn enough so that your opponent can see the back of your hitting shoulder. On the forward swing, rotate your hips and shoulders toward the ball to start the uncoiling action. Stop the forward rotation of your hitting shoulder just before impact. This allows your hitting arm and racket to accelerate and whip through the point of contact. The momentum and increase in the racket-head speed helps you hit the ball with more power. Learn to hit topspin backhands. A ball hit with topspin has a forward rotation that causes it to dip down into the court. This allows you to hit with power and still have the ball land within the boundaries of the court.
There are many parts to the serve, but it's possible to increase the speed of your serve with just a couple of changes in technique. First consider your toss. The toss should be in front and off to the right of your body if you are right-handed. The opposite is true for left-handed players. Without hitting the ball, practice tossing the ball and letting it land on the court. The ball should land 12 to 16 inches inside the baseline. As with groundstrokes, rotate you upper body away from the net as you take your racket back. This promotes the coiling and uncoiling action necessary to generate maximum speed in the racket's head. Keep your hitting arm relaxed throughout. This helps unleash the power generated by the swing into and through the ball.
String tension affects the power of your strokes and, therefore, the ball speed. In general, a lower string tension provides more power. Power is also related to the racket's head size. Tennis rackets are available in different head sizes, and rackets with a larger head provide more power while rackets with a smaller head provide more control. Unless you are a world-class player, consider lowering the string tension and playing with a midsize or larger head racket to increase ball speed.