If you’re familiar with tennis, you know that a tennis serve kicks off the entire game. Lots of tennis players– recreational and professional– want to improve their serves, but don’t know where to start. We’ve put together this quick, super intuitive guide to improving your tennis serve through simple steps.
Five Factors to Consider to Improve Your Tennis Serve
You can’t serve a ball if you aren’t up and ready to hit it– so how does your stance actually affect your serve quality?
You might be surprised to find that the way you stand has a big impact on the way you serve. It’s widely accepted that there are two stances to choose from when you serve: a platform stance and a pinpoint stance.
- Platform stance: Easy to learn, minimal timing requirements, ideal for serving and volleying
- Pinpoint stance: More powerful, greater pace on the serve
If you’re trying to improve your tennis skills, we recommend spending lots of time practicing serving both ways. You’ll get more comfortable with your serve as time goes on– and the more choices you have when it comes to skills, the better!
- For the platform stance: Keep both feet apart, position the lead foot at a 45-degree angle to the baseline, jump into the air using the front foot.
- For the pinpoint stance: Start with feet apart, then bring them together so that they nearly touch and jump off of both feet.
The perfect stance won’t do anything for you if you don’t have the proper grip on your racquet. The proper serve technique dictates that players should hold a continental grip while they serve the ball.
- Continental grip tips: Hold the racquet like a hammer, place your left index finger in the gap between your thumb and index finger on your right hand; make sure your left index finger points to the top left edge of the racquet handle.
One of the best ways to assess your tennis serve (and find opportunities to improve it) is to ask for feedback. Asking your neighbor who’s never even watched tennis might not prove too useful– but if you can find a coach or another tennis player to watch you and give their input, you could be on your way to a better serve in no time.
Obviously, the more experienced someone is with tennis, the more beneficial their feedback will be. Ask them to give specific input about your strengths and weaknesses. Try to get direct feedback on certain aspects of the serve– like the height of your toss- if you want to make helpful changes.
Even though the toss has nothing to do with tennis objectively (it’s not like you’re using a racquet to toss), it’s arguably one of the most important parts of the game. A good toss is the key that unlocks the door to a good serve. Kids who play tennis are often told to do drills just for tossing.
Practice throwing the ball up and watching it fall. Ideally, you should have a spot where you’re looking for the ball to land (like right in front of your feet). There’s never any harm in going back to basics to improve your serve.
When you’re in the moment and playing a game, aim can feel a little bit like luck; but it’s not. There’s a lot of skill behind aiming properly in tennis. It takes practice to perfect your aim and, in turn, improve your serve.
We recommend drills– lots of them! Create a target somewhere on the tennis court and shoot for it every time you strike a ball. You might be surprised by how many times you miss at first, but practice makes perfect. Being able to send a ball anywhere you want on the court is extremely beneficial.
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