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The Sampras Serve:
Racket Head Speed

By John Yandell

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How fast is Pete's racket really going when - and for how long?

"Racket head speed." Everyone one talks about it. TV commentators claim they can see it. Every player wants it, and every coach claims to know its secret.

But have you ever actually heard a commentator or a coach tell you how fast the racket is going at various moments in the various strokes? No. And there is a reason for that. They have no idea because they have no evidence or data to back up their claims.

Does that type of evidence even exist? The answer is yes. Over the years there have been academic studies, but little or none of this data has ever filtered down into coaching, teaching or commentating.

Now the work of Brian Gordon is changing all that. We've already published his groundbreaking series on the biomechanics of the serve. (Click Here.) Now he and I are collaborating on another amazing project - the first ever 3 dimensional analysis of the serve of Pete Sampras - filmed in live competitive play.

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John Yandell is widely acknowledged as one of the leading videographers and students of the modern game of professional tennis. His high speed filming for Advanced Tennis and Tennisplayer have provided new visual resources that have changed the way the game is studied and understood by both players and coaches. He has done personal video analysis for hundreds of high level competitive players, including Justine Henin-Hardenne, Taylor Dent and John McEnroe, among others.

In addition to his role as Editor of Tennisplayer he is the author of the critically acclaimed book Visual Tennis. The John Yandell Tennis School is located in San Francisco, California.