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90% Of Your Serve Power Comes From This – Tennis Lesson

– Hey guys, Scott and Nate
from PlayYourCourt.com and today, Nate is going
to show you where 90% of the power on your serve comes from. (ball bouncing) All right guys. Today I’m
going to step off camera and let my main man Nate here show you where all of the power, well 90%, – A lot of it. – Of the power
– Not all of it. – On your serve comes from. – A lot of it.
– This video is for players of the PlayYourCourt
rating of 70 and up. If you’re not in the
PlayYourCourt community I guess you hate fun. I don’t know, I don’t
know what to say to you but if you’re not in the
community and you hate fun a PlayYourCourt rating
of 70 is the equivalent of about a USTA 4.0 so this video is for players with a rating of USTA 4.0 or PlayYourCourt 70 and up. Nate, my man, take it away. – All right. Okay guys, so today we’re talking about where major power comes from on the serve and let’s be clear, it’s
not every single bit but it is a huge part of it. I mean, 80 to 90%. And what we’re talking
about is a technique called shoulder over shoulder. And this is huge, this is
really, really important. Shoulder over shoulder
is simply a technique that getting through the serve we’re allowing our
hitting arm to get lower than our tossing arm. And it’s this plane, being
at this vertical plane it really allows us a massive ability to get that shoulder to raise up. It’s kinda like a really
aggressive cartwheel. So if I was to do a really
fast, I don’t wanna do like three cartwheels in a row, my left hand would go up,
the right hand would drop, and then I would aggressively
pull myself over. But this shoulder over shoulder form, this catapult is going to
allow us to get up to the ball with maximum extension
and maximum leverage. So we’re gonna demo this
and I’m gonna show you what we’re looking for. And I’m gonna show you some
of the things that happen that prevents us from getting here. And I know some of you
out there are going, I’m pretty sure I do this
but I don’t have the power that I’m looking for. I’m gonna identify what those
problems may be as well. We’ll jump into it now. So the first demo, I’m actually
going to take all of my legs out of the serve. There’s not gonna be any kind of jump. I’m just gonna focus on this
shoulder over shoulder method. Jumping really helps with trajectory. It’s like getting up to the
ball so you have the ability to hit down on a flat serve and just a little bit more net clearance but it really only adds maybe five, 10 miles per hour to the serve. A lot of what we’re finding
with the power on this serve is this rotational force in
this shoulder over shoulder. The two combine is where
true power comes from. So we’ll take a look at
just shoulder over shoulder, no legs, now. So there you can see without
really adding the legs. I’m bringing my right hip
around really just because the kinetic chain, that
force driving to it will bring the hip around. But I’m not really jumping, I’m not getting a big load with the legs. I’m really just focusing
on the axis of my shoulders and getting it tilted to where I’m getting this
shoulder over shoulder. So a lot of times what’s
happening is we’re serving and we start to become more
concerned with rotation. We’re getting too far back here but the shoulders are too even. We end up slicing the ball
or whatever else it may be. Or we’re just simply arming the ball. Where we’re throwing the ball up and we’re allowing the
racquet to drop back but we’re just trying to arm through it and not getting this plane
of shoulder over shoulder. I think really one of
the big culprits of this is not getting into a rhythm and understanding how to use the legs, specifically the knees, and the hip. So Sampras had this drill and if you think of Sampras’s
serve you can really, kinda envision when he started his serve there was this massive lag but he would really get this hip out. Like this hip would really come out. And so this little exercise
is feeling the front hip, for me as a righty my left hip, feeling this hip pointing out and what I want you to notice
here too, are my knees. So the knees are really
important the way they track because I could still
go out with my hip here and have my knees go apart. I know that looks super goofy, but that’s what we see occasionally. What we want to make
sure that we’re doing is as I push my hip out, my knees
together get on this plane. So I’m bringing them towards the baseline going into the court. And then as I go through this motion this is what’s gonna help
me enable this elbow drop, shoulder over shoulder. So we’re gonna take a look
at what that looks now. We’ll slow it down a little bit. Let you see the different
parts of the serve. And serves are unique. Everyone has their own style. I’m sure there’s parts of my serve that aren’t 100% correct but I know that the main
point that I focus on is this shoulder over
shoulder on all serves but definitely the flat serve. And as I’ve gotten older
I don’t need as much legs. I mean, constantly jumping. Take someone like Roddick who was getting several feet off the ground. That’s exhausting and might be the reason that he ended up having to
retire as early as he did whereas Fed, who’s more of in a plot form and not getting quite
up and off the ground, guy jumps, don’t get me wrong, but the shoulder over shoulder helps conserve energy as well. All right so let’s take a
look putting it all together, getting the hip out, the
proper knee bend here, and then the shoulder over shoulder and really take a look
at what that looks like. So guys if you’re out there
looking for more power in your serve whether it be
a flat, a kicker or a slider, really focus on this shoulder
over shoulder technique. And I’m fully aware, I
know that additional power comes from circular axis
with shoulder over shoulder but the big one, the big takeaway here is this shoulder over shoulder how much power you can
get with solid timing, without all the other moving parts that can kinda make the
rhythm of a serve difficult. In the last couple years
I’ve had a lot of problems with injuries including a knee, including a torn labrum in my hip and I just couldn’t
really figure out a rhythm ’cause I really didn’t have
the ability to do my old serve but obviously playing at a high level I was just getting chewed up with just hitting kickers and sliders. I needed to get the flat serve. I took a lot of time
just putting the emphasis on that shoulder over shoulder. And as you can see in
those I’m not jumping particularly high, if maybe at all but the serve’s still
coming off with a lot of pop because the shoulder over shoulder and then solid contact
with full extension. I really think if you put
some time into practicing this specific method, this technique, you’re gonna get huge power. – Nate, really good instruction. Guys as you know we just
wanna see you improve your tennis game at PlayYourCourt. The problem, and you’re
probably sick of hearing us say this, we don’t know you. We don’t know your skill level. This instruction is not
perfect for all skill levels. We’re gonna teach you
something slightly different if you’re a beginner and a division one college tennis player. Obviously the gap is different. So do us a favor. Click the button or the link below. Answer some questions for Nate and I about your specific skill level. We can get you inside the
PlayYourCourt community, send you some custom video instruction based on the things that
you need to work on. And not only that, we can even
pair you with other players on your local courts at
your same skill level so you can jump out there
and practice this stuff. Do us a favor, click
the button, link below. We’ll take care of the rest. And as always if you
liked this video, pre… I can’t say prease. Please
– P-p-p-please – P-p-p-please press like
if you wanna see more of us on a regular basis which we know you do. Press subscribe and if you have
anything that you wanna see drop it down in the comments below and we’ll do our best to
film something just for you. Especially if you’re a
PlayYourCourt member. Talk to you guys soon.

David Frank



  1. John Tirone Posted on May 20, 2019 at 3:50 pm

    I like the way you present instructional material in a concise and defined way and in a short period of time. I find this material helps my game especially today lesson with the shoulder turm setup. I would like to know or be shown the correct way to strike a serve on the ball is above your hear…. i.e. is the racket on a 45 degree angle when you try to hit a kicker or is it more horizontal when you strike the serve, lets say at 7 to 1…. and just what is the correct angle you would like to see on the serves. I can see both you players have some nice form to watch and learn from in your service games. Lastly, (I know alot of questions) I would like to see the angle and the face of the racket and how you think it should finish after the ball strike… i.e. on the right side or does it carry over to the left side depending on the type of serve you want to hit (flat, kicker etc). Thanks and keep up the great instructional video's.

  2. Wally Friend Posted on May 20, 2019 at 4:32 pm

    Although I heard this explained before, I thank you for reminding me how important this is. Nate, your explanation, as usual, is very succinct and well communicated. Well done.

  3. Lance Lee Posted on May 20, 2019 at 4:54 pm

    For Rec players, I would go further about the legs, and I say that using lots of legs, jumping, is counterproductive, it reduces effectiveness. While a leg drive can add power, for the vast majority of players I've seen lots of legs gets in the way, and actually subtracts from other, more important areas. Remove complication, concentrate on the part that generates almost all the power, and do that part well, is my motto. A motto that I sometimes fail with!

  4. PlayYourCourt.com Posted on May 20, 2019 at 5:01 pm

    Don't forget to check out the PlayYourCourt community to receive custom video coaching, find practice partners and improve your tennis game. Here's the link: http://bit.ly/2WeuHXs

  5. Ninja Mike Posted on May 20, 2019 at 5:22 pm

    Scott looks like Jack Sock😁

  6. Rick Posted on May 20, 2019 at 6:47 pm

    Hi Scott and Nate, what string and tension do you guys use?

  7. Tennisfreak54 Posted on May 20, 2019 at 7:56 pm

    Misleading title!!! I think you should change the percentage a lot!! Then you bring in rotation ok agree with that one , what about just stretching the arm , and then the pronation ??
    Just using my hand I can serve 80km/hr , stretching arm I go already 120km/hr, rotation stretching arm hand go 160km/hr
    Now with my shoulder over shoulder I go 200km/hr , so 90 % seems a little to much.
    If the rhythm is not done right in that action it will even break your power !!!
    The red lines are useful to show what we call the power position 👍👍
    And always talking about ratings !! Maybe you should be aware that also people from Europe are watching and they have about 20 different ratings !!!

  8. Glen Schneer Posted on May 20, 2019 at 8:48 pm

    Very good stuff Nate! Thanks!
    Do you think it would simplify this to focus on keeping the tossing arm up as long as possible? Do you agree that when you keep the arm up the shoulder over shoulder alignment will happen more or less automatically? The second part on the elbow, did you hear of "elbow the enemy?" If you think about keeping the tossing up and elbowing with your hitting arm an imaginary guy behind you it will give you a good shoulder alignment for power? I agree you have to add the knee bend in but that can come after you get the shoulder alignment.

  9. Fundamental Tennis Posted on May 21, 2019 at 2:19 am

    Hey all, I usually don’t comment on others YouTube videos however I felt i needed to as the information about throwing your hip out is dangerous as it can certainly lead to injury as it has for many in the WTA. It’s not that it doesn’t happen because there certainly are some good servers out there that have there hip a bit forward during load but this happens as a byproduct of loading back and down with hip twist rotation. If a player is told to throw there front hip forward they will not load properly and more importantly it can certainly cause injury. Also the 80-90% deal is extremely inaccurate. Can you post some studies that back that up? Sorry to be a “troll” but the videos inaccurate content bothered me. Please study Mark Kovacs stuff to learn about what I have discussed. U guys are good talkers. Much better then me 👍

  10. nbiscuitz Posted on May 21, 2019 at 5:53 am

    "from this"…here comes the click baits

  11. Omar Sultanov Posted on May 21, 2019 at 9:46 am

    Great tip! Very Thiem like. 👍👋😊

  12. Lee Alex Posted on May 21, 2019 at 10:48 am

    I'll save you 8minute. The answer is your heart. You have to believe in yourself and be one with the racket.

  13. MyBabybuddha Posted on May 21, 2019 at 12:28 pm

    How/where can i get that exact babolat t shirt?

  14. Christopher Fung Posted on May 21, 2019 at 4:08 pm

    absolutly Genius work!i succeed in improving my serve into 100mph!

  15. Charles Owens Posted on May 21, 2019 at 7:07 pm

    Confused. Is shoulder over shoulder used for every serve? Confused. So, from the load position, is the next move directly into the shoulder over shoulder or is there rotation then shoulder over shoulder?

  16. Dragic Magic Posted on May 21, 2019 at 10:23 pm

    90% of your views on this video come from the enticing question in the thumbnail.

  17. Martyn Collins Posted on May 22, 2019 at 2:20 am

    The comment regarding Roddick and Federer jumping I must say is total BS. You're just flapping your mouth bro. We're in the age of proof and evidence. Jumping did not cause Roddick's frozen shoulder. Stop asserting

  18. Kozlov Tennis Posted on May 22, 2019 at 6:58 pm

    It's good.after contakt vs ball were
    Left arm go?

  19. imateapot51 Posted on May 22, 2019 at 8:04 pm

    Shoulder over shoulder is important but it is not 90 percent.

  20. keiser sose Posted on May 23, 2019 at 1:23 am

    Why so many injuries?

  21. his1ojd Posted on May 23, 2019 at 8:53 am

    The tip you give about projecting the leading hip out is really useful. I've heard plenty of times about bending the knees and adopting a'trophy pose,' but they always felt unnatural. I tried your hip advice yesterday whilst practicing my serve and all of a sudden it came together. My shoulder dropped and my knees bent without me contriving to incorporate both these actions. I hit faster and more consistent flat serves than I have done before. Great piece of advice.

  22. h4rms Posted on May 23, 2019 at 10:20 am

    Great point Nat. I tried the hip thrust forward the other day and couldn't believe the extra power I created. Little tweaks can improve all players 👍

  23. Christian Brattström Posted on May 23, 2019 at 11:29 am

    Hi guys. If you look at sampras serve his elbow is way further out which creates a lot more power. I struggled many years with lack of power and lots of doublefaults, then i just noticed in a vid how close my elbow was to my back. Same with rafa. Great extension with elbow.

  24. Soaring Hawk Posted on May 23, 2019 at 12:47 pm

    Another key to power is extension, wrist snap and the ball being struck several inches in front of the body

  25. Soaring Hawk Posted on May 23, 2019 at 12:53 pm

    Power servers don't jump consciously, they leave the ground from a combination of leg thrust and swing momentum pulling them off the ground

  26. Nicholas Saephanh Posted on May 23, 2019 at 1:52 pm

    I'm extremely disappointed he said catapult instead of trebuchet. Everyone knows it's a far superior siege weapon. Other than that, decent video.

  27. michaelscoots Posted on May 23, 2019 at 2:21 pm

    Roddick is actually a perfect example of shoulder over shoulder – he typically did not jump any higher than Fed. I'm a huge RF fan – just stating what I saw when Roddick played. He had a massive serve and I believe retirement had more to do with using a very stiff and extended (in length) frame coupled with the wrong fuel. If 90% of power comes from shoulder over shoulder, then 90% of injuries come from dietary factors. Once I changed my diet looking at things like Omega3/6 ratios, macronutrients as well as micronutrients, the injuries vanished.

  28. hal alan Posted on May 23, 2019 at 3:33 pm

    Awesome video Nate! Another one-liner from Nick for the flat ball is "crack the egg"; think of it often when hitting for the center T. Thanks for your videos and their light-hearted and relaxed tone. Tennis is a game, for most of us, and should be and is fun!!!

  29. L. Gyger Posted on May 23, 2019 at 3:44 pm

    Just because you're not jumping doesn't mean you don't use your legs. You did get your feet off the ground and moved into the court by the way… You can clearly see quite a lot of knee bending action and leg extension every time you served there. That's where the power actually comes from. Try to keep your legs completely still and you'll realize that you'll have no power at all. The chain of motion starts in your feet and goes up to your wrist. Without any leg movement, you will have no power at all.

  30. Da CajunAsian Posted on May 23, 2019 at 11:10 pm

    No doubt the shoulder actions contribute but 90%, no, not even the majority… There's actually another component that's responsible for the most power in every hitting sport in the world.

    Anyone wanna guess? Let's see who knows their physiology…

  31. Ahmed Raza Posted on May 24, 2019 at 4:00 am

    Thanks guys

  32. Thomas Rebotier Posted on May 24, 2019 at 5:56 am

    Super useful, but the 80-90% seems very incorrect to me. The largest contributor to your serve power is the whipping effect at the wrist. Get a radar, and try serving with just forearm and writ movement, you will be surprised to reach 80% of your top speed.

  33. riccardo ragazzo Posted on May 24, 2019 at 7:56 pm

    Very good video, it will help!

  34. Robert Rivera Posted on May 24, 2019 at 8:38 pm

    Fun and very informative technical video! Subscribed 👍🏼

  35. Pheng Yang Posted on May 24, 2019 at 9:13 pm

    Great instructions! But keep in mind these techniques are used by players WHO are fit. If you do not have a fit body your hips and shoulders will be more prone to injuries from pulling those muscles into awkward positions even if it will yield more strength.

  36. EventHorizon Posted on May 25, 2019 at 5:22 pm

    One of the RAREST correct videos that explains the Serve Stroke Mechanics correctly, its main component: the shoulder-torso structure rotation, Coil-Uncoil, or Load-Unload universal tennis stroke phenomena. Here, author calls it "shoulder to shoulder". If a person knows the Forehand Stroke Mechanics, s/he will realise that Serve's shoulder-torso rotation is same as Forehand Stroke's shoulder-torso Coiling-Uncoiling (rotation). See the videos of Drum Man On a Stick: drum on a stick, with two strings (for arms) and two balls attached to the strings. This is the same "Drum Man on a Stick" phenomena but the Drum Man on a Stick is tilted 90 degrees. So, the shoulder-torso rotation is just like Forehand's shoulder-torso Coiling-Uncoiling phenomena, only entire upper body is tilted 90 degrees, like Forehand stoke when lying down in horizontal position, sort of. This realisation came to me only after watching THIS video, and I wathced hundreds of them trying to understand "Serve for Beginner". I have mastered the Killer Forehand recently, and I realized how rare and genious THIS video is. Just like during the Forehand Stroke Mechanics, if a person musters the shoulder-torso Coiling-Uncoiling rotation (Load-Unload), or "shoulder to shoulder", then s/he only has to implement another part of the stroke: right arm EXTENSION, just like in forehand stroke.
    Hint: to implement the "shoulder-to -shoulder" rotation, Uncoling of a loaded shoulder for Serve Stroke, the Non-Dominant arm plays 99% role, just like in Forehand stroke: your arm (hand) points up into the sky (to the ball), fully extended, then arm is moved down to "Grab your belly button" (just like during Forehand's "Catch the racket with left arm after the stroke). This non-dominant arm's move must be made first, so that shoulders start rotatng, dragging entire dominant "rubber arm" (which only LOOSELY holds the racket) with it. So, essentially, stroke is same as forehand, for shoulder-torso Coiling-Uncoiling and for Right Arm Extension, only entire body tilted 90 degrees.
    Video is brilliant. Genius.
    PS: by the way, in Forehand Stroke, this shoulder rotation (coliing-uncoiling, or loading-unloadin, or "shoulder-to-shoulder") also provides most of the "power" (Ball Speed, reallly), about 90"%. See the video of the Drum on a Stick man to understand how shoulder-torso structure rotation drives 90% of the "power" in Forehand Stroke. I am realising, thanks to this video, it is same for serve!

  37. Abi Dharmawan Posted on May 25, 2019 at 6:55 pm

    To much this talk

  38. William Wiseman Posted on May 26, 2019 at 7:16 am

    You were using legs in first demo.

  39. Julio Lagarini Posted on May 26, 2019 at 5:10 pm

    Great advice guys thanks

  40. Greg B Posted on May 27, 2019 at 2:00 pm

    A lot of people bagging on you for the percentage you threw out there. My doubles partner and I implemented this in our matches yesterday and we probably gained an effortless 10-20mph (I'll make up numbers too!) Point isn't the exact number, point is that this is the most easily digestible quick tip for improving serve power that I've ever seen. Thanks again guys!

  41. Viscious Hattermaid Posted on May 27, 2019 at 6:27 pm


  42. Viscious Hattermaid Posted on May 27, 2019 at 6:35 pm

    My friend had a sip of beer every time he said ‘shoulder over shoulder’ and now he’s drunk and has to Uber home

  43. Ay! Caramba Bamba Posted on May 27, 2019 at 6:43 pm

    aMZING TEACHING, BRO. TKNS A MILLION! Like your beards…hope you guys are doing Jihad except on the tennis ball….chuckle chuckle…

  44. HollywoodToronto Posted on May 28, 2019 at 7:09 am

    Excellent training.A+

  45. rugcutter284 Posted on May 28, 2019 at 11:06 am

    The other 10% is how you can sneak in a foot fault on every serve

  46. Pierre Daher Posted on May 29, 2019 at 10:15 pm

    Excellent just excellent!

  47. Raul Tennis Posted on May 30, 2019 at 10:08 am

    Yes, very important to keep that tilt… Often rec players will drop the front shoulder too early and never get that shoulder-over-shoulder benefit.

  48. aezazi Posted on June 2, 2019 at 4:28 pm

    I get a great shoulder tilt and I get my hip out. But I have a huge problem with a low elbow during the swing. Any tips/drills on how to fix this?

  49. Vernon Gibson Posted on June 2, 2019 at 11:50 pm

    Nate, good video. I've been studying a lot ot the pro's service motion and definitely see what you mean. The old school "down together up together" advice on the service is dead. The only guy out there that still does this I think is Stan Wawrinka. Everybody else I see gets the tossing arm up before the racquet starts moving up and that I believe enables you to get that shoulder tilt and SOS thing going. Stan still gets good pop on the serve but I wonder how much better it would be if he hit it like all the others do.

  50. Myekal Benham Posted on June 3, 2019 at 3:54 pm

    Watch this at 0.5 speed to make sure you get all the info.

  51. TemplarKG Posted on June 5, 2019 at 1:17 am

    is that you, Benoit Paire?

  52. James Z. Ji Posted on June 5, 2019 at 2:47 am

    very helpful for 3.5 – 4.5 player

  53. capricornmagic63 Posted on June 5, 2019 at 9:21 am

    Talk less. Demonstrate more!! You guys are in love with the sound of your voices far too much. Talk less. Demonstrate more.

  54. Antony Liberopoulos Posted on June 5, 2019 at 5:01 pm

    Thank you

  55. Jeff Lewis Posted on June 6, 2019 at 7:37 am

    I was under the impression that tilting your body upward was just to ensure that you were swinging forward and up on the ball. Isn’t the kinetic chain or uncoiling of the linkage system where all the power comes from? I might not be understanding the video properly 🤷🏻‍♂️.

  56. Mickey Sealtoe Posted on June 7, 2019 at 5:36 pm

    Nice. But you'll get dinged for the foot faults.

  57. Amit Garg Posted on June 8, 2019 at 7:06 am

    All 3 serves at 6:00 min are out!!! 😆

  58. Emanuel Rasberger Posted on June 9, 2019 at 4:28 pm

    Oh my man how wrong u r,this days everybody is a coach!the power comes from yours shoulder rotation ,uperbody rotation as with forhand and backand.why r u guys doing this giving bad advice to tennis players of all age .u shuld be ashamed.

  59. nicholo1 Posted on June 13, 2019 at 3:32 am

    Is shoulder over shoulder to say front shoulder higher than back shoulder? I don’t understand the use of the word “over”… wouldn’t that mean one is on top of the other ?

  60. Mickey Vidakovich Posted on June 15, 2019 at 8:33 pm

    You guys talk wayyyyy too much.

  61. Elijah Saxton Posted on June 17, 2019 at 4:48 am

    Great video, very informative, should help my serve a lot. Really appreciate these free coaching videos.

  62. ISAIAH JOHN Posted on June 18, 2019 at 11:42 pm

    Very good analysis. I agree with what you have said about Andy Roddick. I admired his short version compact hit of the ball, but Roddick's posture with butt outward was not the right way. Bending knees and shoulder to shoulder were excellent techniques.

  63. MoLetalis Posted on June 19, 2019 at 7:00 pm

    90% of serve power comes from the speed of the shoulder over shoulder movement.. which is basically the power of your serving shoulder. Summary: the power of your serve comes from the power of your arm and shoulder.

  64. saigonbond Posted on June 24, 2019 at 8:49 am

    Great explanation and analysis. Not so great demonstration such as your spinning and arcing ball toss, weird backward airplane wing left arm leaving you with poor balance (sometimes falling off to the left) instead of pulling that arm into your chest, etc. Also, if you're going to discuss serve power, you must include the importance of pronation in your lesson.

  65. KEV C Posted on June 28, 2019 at 6:20 pm


  66. Slavik Beloous Posted on June 30, 2019 at 3:03 am

    I think his power comes from his awesome hair

  67. Francis Davy Posted on July 2, 2019 at 8:03 pm

    really good. thanks

  68. Supernovasia Posted on August 13, 2019 at 6:36 am

    question: Do you lead or initiate the whole serving motion with your left shoulder and the knees ? Thanks

  69. Delcin Maria Posted on August 14, 2019 at 7:29 pm

    The continuous swing of the racket and the fluid circular motion is more important than this jerky motion. Law of inertia dictates that fluid motion means more power. You want to talk about the serve of Sampras look how fluid his motion is. The motion of the racket head is the 90% reason for power in all tennis shots.

  70. Mysteryboy0007 Posted on September 23, 2019 at 5:44 pm

    As a basketball player and a tennis player I can Def say you're concept of leg drive not being useful is wrong. I'm hitting 120mph serve and it's all coming from the legs jumping into the ball.