When discussing how to improve the tennis serve, we need to look at the factors that are involved in a world class tennis serve. Professional tennis servers regularly serve the ball inside the service box over 100 MPH.
What are the keys to improve the tennis serve for recreational and club players to improve their serve speed and achieve more tennis serve power are a few of the questions that we will address.
The keys to improve the tennis serve begins with the fundamental technique. Players must establish solid fundamentals on the tennis serve before they can incorporate elements of an advanced tennis serve into their swing.
Players will need to develop some degree of athleticism and explosiveness in their racket head speed to mimic the serves of the professional servers.
A world class tennis serve is comprised of an efficient and explosive tennis serve swing. Professional servers wind-up is like a feather, but moments before contact, the racket explodes into contact like the crack of a whip. This is a explosive tennis serve swing at work.
Basics of the Tennis Serve
Before we look into the tennis serve technique, the basic understanding of a tennis serve must be known. It includes the three tennis serves commonly used in advanced tennis players or even the professional tennis players. The three tennis serves included in this article are named as: basic or flat serve, the topspin serve and slice serve. In actual tennis matches, the serve plays a very important aspect of the match. The tempo of a tennis match is very much affected by how the players execute their serve.
In an actual game of tennis, each player has two chances to serve in every game. Technically, these two chances are termed as the first serve and the second serve. The first serve is characterized with its high speed. The first serve is very important for the server to dictate the tempo of the game and win a point. In case the server misses the first serve, he has his last chance in the second serve. This is characterized by a slower but more accurate serve.
Generally, it is hard for an opponent to break a service game if the player who is hitting the serve executes the serve perfectly and accurately. A skilled server will use a variety of different spins (flat, top spin or slice) for the existing situations. If you can hit a serve accurately with consistency, you are able to dictate the tempo of the game as well as execute specific baseline tactics to win points from your serve.
In many occasions, a match point or even a championship point was won by a single first or second serve. In contrast, many professional players have also been able to save a match or championship point because of a well executed serve.
The Basics of How to Improve the Tennis Flat Serve
The flat serve is one of the first key to improve the tennis serve. This serve must be mastered by beginners but at the same time, the flat serve is still used by many professional players. Examples of professional players who can execute an excellent flat tennis serve is Roger Federer, Pete Sampras and Pete Sampras.
Here are some tips to improve your tennis serve:
- Hold your racket with your left hand (if you are left handed) or with your right hand if you are right handed). Your hand should hold the base of the handle, not the middle.
- Hold the ball in your left hand. Again if you are left handed, you have to hold the ball with your right hand.
- Position your left (right for left-handed) shoulder towards the net. This is the first correct position when you are going to serve.
- Spread your feet at a distance where you are comfortable, but avoid positioning them too wide and too close to each other as this will affect your power when you hit the serve. Then position your right foot several inches behind your left foot. The distance should depend on how comfortable you are.
- Bend your body slightly towards you left leg, putting your weight on your left leg as you bounce the ball. Normally you can bounce the ball 2-3 times or more, but not too many. This will just help you to concentrate on your next move.
- Slightly lean back to your right side (this action shift your weight to you right leg) with your left leg stretched and your right leg slightly bent.
- Simultaneously begin the serve windup, with your racket and toss the ball in front of you. When you toss the ball, see to it that it is not to close or not too far away from you. The height of the toss can vary depending on your comfort zone. Some players toss the ball higher compared to other players. You can practice on this to discover which height you are comfortable with.
- When have tossed the ball, the next step is to move your right leg beside your left leg and then bend both knees in preparation for your upward swing to contact.
- Allow the upward movement of the body to propel the racket over your head in preparation to hit the ball.
- Land on your left foot and hit the ball (your left foot should land inside the court).
- After you hit the ball, you should immediately position yourself properly to return the ball.
How to Improve the Topspin Serve
A topspin tennis serve is also a very important key of the tennis serve. The topspin serve is commonly used by tennis players because of its several advantages. One advantage is it minimizes service faults because the topspin produced on the ball results in a high net clearance. Another advantage is that the serve is high and fast to the left side of the opponent (right side of the opponent if the server is left handed). Lastly, the topspin serve is an aggressive serve which can be used as a first serve or a second serve.
Tennis Serve Grip
The type of grip you apply when you hit the serve is very important to perfectly execute your topspin serve. Using the correct grip allows you to generate correct ball spin. The ideal racket grip to use to execute a topspin serve is the continental grip. The continental grip is also called the chopper grip.
The simplest way to explain this grip is to imagine as if you are chopping a wood using an axe. In the continental grip, you hold your racket in the same manner as you hold an axe. This is why it is also called the chopper grip.
Tennis Serve Toss
The way you toss the ball also matters a lot when you want to execute the tennis serve. This is very critical because the amount of spin that can be generated is severely affected by the point of contact between the racket head and the ball.
Tennis Serve Swing
Another key point to be able to execute the tennis serve is the racket swing. You have to swing your racket exactly at the same moment you toss the ball. The way you swing your racket when you hit the serve affects not only the speed and intensity of your serve, but it also affects how the ball hits the court.
To execute the topspin serve perfectly, you have to see to it that the racket brushes up the back of the ball. This means the important aspect to execute this serve is to have an upward energy swing. You have to push your legs straight in an upwards direction and then swing your racket forward. In this case, you will be able to produce a forwards motion in your swing.
How to Improve the Tennis Slice Serve
The tennis slice serve is done by hitting the ball with sidespin. This in return causes the ball to arc widely to the forehand of the opponent’s court. If you are able to place the slice serve accurately, the opponent will be forced further out wide and away from his recovery position after he returns the serve.
Another interesting aspect of the tennis slice serve is when you hit the ball into the backhand side of your opponent, resulting in a body serve. A slice serve to the body can effectively force your opponent to make errors. A body serve means the ball lands exactly in front of the opponent’s body.
Tennis Slice Serve Mechanics
The slice serve is done by tossing the ball to the right side of the front shoulder. This is followed by a turning of the right shoulder away from the court to facilitate the coiling needed for the serve. The player should remember to keep his elbow high when the racket head has reached the top of the wind-up. This is followed by a straightening of the knees effectively bringing the racket towards the contact point. The ball should be hit to the right side of the racket head.
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