The Secret to Speeding Up Your Tennis Serve

July 16, 2015  /  02:15 PM

Lobbing a serve slowly over the net won't cut it in today's competitive tennis landscape. Moves done off the court could be the key to sending the ball sailing more swiftly, research shows.

For a recent study in the Journal of Sports Science and Medicine, young tennis players did an hour-long conditioning program with resistance bands and light weights (like TheraBand Soft Weights) three days per week. At the end of six weeks, their serve speed increased 5 percent with no sacrifice in accuracy. Plus, they gained shoulder flexibility, potentially reducing their risk of injury.

In another study, collegiate players boosted their balls’ peak speed by 6 percent and average speed by nearly 8 percent after a four-week program incorporating elastic bands.

Pro tennis players count elastic resistance bands like the Thera-Band CLX among their most valuable training tools. Add them to your gear bag for an edge over your opponents.

  • step 1
    Begin by placing your foot in the middle Easy Grip Loop of your CLX, then stand in a staggered stance with that foot in front.
  • step 2
    Wrap the last Easy Grip around the upper arm on the opposite site and grasp the other end in the same hand.
  • step 3

    Lift your hand upward and outward as if you were cocking your shoulder to throw a ball.

    <p>Lift your hand upward and outward as if you were cocking your shoulder to throw a ball.</p>
  • step 4
    Slowly allow your throwing arm to come down across your body as if you were throwing a ball, then repeat.

Dr. Phil Page


Phil Page PhD, PT, ATC, CSCS, FACSM, LAT is a licensed physical therapist, athletic trainer, and certified strength & conditioning specialist. He graduated from LSU in physical therapy and received his master’s degree in exercise physiology from Mississippi State University, as well as a doctorate in Kinesiology from LSU. He has been involved in rehabilitation and sports medicine for over 25 years. Dr. Page was recently named a Fellow of the American College of Sports Medicine. He is currently the Global Director of Clinical Education and Research for Performance Health, manufacturer of TheraBand, Biofreeze & Cramer products. His duties include maintaining the Thera-Band Academy website, directing the international educational programs and managing product research around the world. Dr. Page is also an instructor in the Athletic Training curriculum at Louisiana State University and a Clinical Instructor of Orthopedics for Tulane Medical School in New Orleans.


Dr. Page’s clinical and research interests include the role of muscle imbalance in musculoskeletal pain, and promoting physical activity for health-related physical fitness, particularly for chronic disease management. He is a member of educational committee for the “Exericse is Medicine” initiative for the ACSM. He is on the editorial board of the International Journal of Sports Physical Therapy and serves as a member of several national advisory boards. Dr. Page is on the scientific review committees for the APTA and ACSM. He regularly reviews grants and article submissions for several professional journals.


Dr. Page lectures extensively and provides workshops on a variety of topics around the world, including the Janda Approach to Muscle Imbalance. He was  awarded the Lifetime Excellence in Education Award by the Sports Physical Therapy Section of the APTA. He has presented over 100 international lectures and workshops on exercise and rehabilitation topics, and has over 50 publications including 3 books; most recently publishing Assessment and Treatment of Muscle Imbalance: The Janda Approach. He has worked with the athletic programs at LSU, Tulane, the New Orleans Saints and Seattle Seahawks, as well as the United States Olympic Track and Field Trials. He lives with his wife and 4 children in Baton Rouge, Louisiana.