The tennis serve is the only shot where you have the ball in your hand, and all the options in the world are available to you. It is a chance to start your opponent off in the worst possible position! So, it can be highly destructive to the opponent if we can make good use of your tennis serve!
Here we will look at how to serve in tennis. There will be suggestions and guidance on how to make your serve in tennis MORE effective with LESS effort. For the tennis serve to be deadly it needs to have, different spins, disguise, consistency, and lastly it needs to be fast fast and fast!
The last point covered so much detail, that i decided it warranted its own page on tennis how to serve fast 🙂 If you improve these four points, of EQUAL importance, then you are well on your way to how to serve in tennis.
So, lets get straight to it!!
The Tennis Serve Spins
Your opponent is getting every tennis serve back? Maybe he or she has a weak forehand or backhand? Spin can work wonders for situations like these. There are 2 main types of spin.
The Slice Serve
To serve a good slice serve people find it easier to toss the ball further to the right. This however, causes a conflict with our disguise on the tennis serve. People will easily read your slice serve and be waiting for it with a smile.
Instead, the toss should be in exactly the same spot as your other first serve in tennis, (Half a foot in front of you and half a foot to the right of you). If you imagine a clock face then you should toss the ball in line with one o’clock. Next, sneakily adjust your grip. Twist it a fraction clockwise, from your usual chopper grip for the serve. This will help add more spin. When you strike the ball, aim to brush the right side of the ball.
The follow through is critical for a slice serve. Instead of the racquet finishing down by your left foot, the racquet will finnish higher up above your left elbow. This will help make that beautiful curl on the ball, it will also ensure the ball passes the net! 🙂
The Tennis Serve Kick
The kick serve is a shot that many players find hard to achieve. Nevertheless, it is even more of a mission to return well. Firstly, your toss will need to be slightly behind your head for the kick serve. If you imagine a clock-face, 11 p.m. is where you will want to make contact with the ball!
Why the toss there? Well, it enables us to do the second step!
Secondly, because the toss is slightly behind you, your back will be bent backwards putting stress on your core abdominal muscles, (this is why core abdominal muscles are so important for tennis players). From this position, you will brush up the back of the ball (your racquet will be close to horizontal to the ground at contact point) and continue to extend your arm up into the sky while using your abdominal muscles to snap you back to your original linear position.
Note: The arm extension is achieved by straightening out your arm from the elbow joint. It is a similar action to waving at some one in the far distance.
Thirdly and lastly, Your legs will play a Vital role. They need to be bent, then extended upwards to meet the ball at contact point. This is the difficult thing about hitting a good kick serve! It is all about synchronizing your legs exploding upwards with your abdominal muscles snapping forwards and your arm brushing up behind the ball!
It takes a lot of practice! One of the best drills you can do for your kick serve is to layout a towel on the floor, and get on your knees. Toss the ball behind you, and practice hitting kick serves like that. When you get back on your feet it will feel easier to generate kick.
Practice makes perfect with the kick serve, develop the kick of a donkey behind your serve and you will not be disappointed with its potential!
The tennis Serve in Disguise!
You only have about 1 second to return a serve in tennis. A player’s inner self subconsciously gets used to trends and patterns in the servers’ routine. That way he or she can anticipate where the ball is going to land. If you can gain a unreadable tennis serve the opponent can no longer anticipate it! John Mcenroe, Pete Sampras, Roger Federer are all famous tennis players serve in tennis that have mastered this how to serve in tennis art of disguise!
Firstly, as mentioned before, a closed stance is probably the most important factor in gaining disguise on the serve in tennis!
Look at the photo of Roger Federer or Marat Safin for a closed stance. Please note that some of these are VERY closed stances… You will most likely find it very difficult to close your stance that much.
Secondly, try holding shoulder position with your back almost facing the opponent. Then uncoil and rotate into your shot!
Finally, when you practice your tennis serve… this simple exercise will help you A LOT! toss up the ball and then, at the last second before you hit, have a friend shout out either: T, Middle, or Wide. You then have to try and hit the ball in the location he shouted out 🙂
A simple drill, but highly effective in making your tennis serve as clear as mud to read!
Tennis Serve Consistency problems?
Don’t worry, gaining consistency in the tennis serve is not that difficult! It is a combination of rhythm and practice. Or practicing your rhythm 🙂 As discussed previously, your rhythm, can help you gain power and consistency. Of course one element that can bring the tennis serve crashing down is a bad toss! So as a final note:
To toss the ball effectively hold the ball between your first four fingers. DO NOT hold or grab the ball. Then bring your arm up guiding the ball and release it when your arm is extended.
Ideally, the ball should not be spinning while in the air.