Been thinking about improving your tennis serve, but not sure where to start? Consistent and effective tennis serves is one way to win matches. But it takes lots of practice AND the proper techniques. It’s ideal to begin with proper serving techniques, but it’s never too late to learn.
How to Improve Your Tennis Serve
Your tennis serve can be one of your greatest assets or an annoying liability. A few quick tricks and tips aren’t going to get you where you want to be. It will take time to learn and master proper techniques. You’ll need to practice. And you’ll need to play tennis. Focus your practice on the following 5 parts of a proper tennis serve.
Your Serve Stance
Your serve stance is the foundation of your serve. In a proper serve stance for tennis, your front foot points to the net post of your serving arm. Your back foot should be parallel to the baseline. For stability in all directions, your toes on the back foot should also be more or less aligned with the heel of your front foot. This is your primary stance, which is modified according to the direction of your serve.
The way you grip your racket is another key element to your tennis serve. It pays a large part in determining the power, spin, and accuracy of your serve. The proper gripping technique for a serve is the continental grip. Grip the racquet handle like a hammer, holding it perpendicular to the ground. The racket handle forms an octagon, with 8 sides or bevels. The bevel facing you is 1, the one to the right is 2 and on around. Both the palm of your index knuckle and your heel pad should be on bevel 2. The space between your thumb and forefinger should form a V.
Don’t forget to practice your tennis serve toss. Stand using a proper serve stance and simply toss the ball as you would when you’re serving. Place the ball in the middle of your hand with your thumb gently on top. Toss with a straight arm (bend from your shoulder), releasing around your eye level. Let your arm follow the ball through. Practice it until you can do it perfectly. A perfect toss will land right in front of your body.
It’s one thing to toss a ball up in the air from a proper tennis stance. It’s another thing to do so while you’re executing your backswing for a serve. While your tossing arm remains stiff for accuracy, your serving arm needs to stay relaxed. Both arms will move up simultaneously. It will feel unnatural at first because most of the time you tighten or relax both of your arms together. But with practice, you won’t have to think about it. Bend your knees as you toss and swing back. Begin coiling your body before you toss the ball. Your racket should reach back diagonally behind your head as though you were scratching your back.
A proper stance gives you a solid foundation with support in all directions. Your grip helps you fine tune the power, spin, and accuracy of your shot. And the backswing gathers and concentrates your energy for impact. The moment of contact, however, determines how correct and clean your shot will be. The beginning of your swing will be at a 45-degree angle and it will end on a straight path forward. As you swing, keep your head pointed upward, eyes on the ball, until the last second after the point of contact. Execute your toss and backswing and then accelerate up into the ball at the top of the toss as your body uncoils. After contact, your body will relax and the inertia will drive the racket to the opposite side of your body. Don’t take your eyes off the ball until after the moment of contact.
Improve Your Game
Mastering your serve can have a tremendous impact on winning matches. It’s also not something that will happen overnight or by following quick and easy serving tips. You’ll need a lot of practice and you’ll need to practice the proper techniques every time. Get started with this guide on how to improve your tennis serve and let your serve be a weapon on the courts. Need more help? Contact Us to get connected with one of our tennis pros that can teach you proper serving techniques.