Tennis serve in slow motion

Last week, with just my iPhone and a camera tripod, I recorded myself hitting tennis balls launched by the ball machine and recording myself smacking a few serves.  The idea of recording myself was inspired from several articles that I had read from To elaborate, I wanted to objectively analyze my tennis strokes — see them through a different lens.  And after I recorded the clips, I uploaded them up to my computer and watched myself and was completely surprised to find a major disconnect between how I was perceiving to hit the ball and how I actually hit the ball.

For example, below are two slow motion clips of my serve. The first clip captures me hitting my serve as I have always hit my serve. And what shocked me the most was that I couldn’t believe how little I was elevating off of the court when jumping up and swinging upwards. I always thought I deeply bent my knees and launched upwards. But that’s not the case.  On top of that, my left foot barely moved past the service line, opposed to (pros) landing up to 1 foot within the baseline.

After watching myself, I decided to alter my serve, focusing on one change: a deep knee bed. That’s it. No other adjustments. Not swinging arm. No tweaks to the ball toss — just singularly focused on bending my knees and shifting my weight evenly to both planted fleet. The results were baffling. Not only did I rise higher off the ground, but I landed two to three times further into the baseline than my previous serve.