Power Tennis Serve – Proper Serve Technique

The tennis serve is the start of a point in a tennis game. Thus, this tennis shot is vital to your match performance as a whole. To be able to master a power tennis serve will allow you to dominate your opponent. You have to have the strength and technical abilities to be able to execute an accurate and powerful serve. Proper execution from the stance, grip, toss hold, ball toss, swing, down to the end of follow-through certainly gives you the chance to serve as powerful as you want it to be.

Power Tennis Serve Stance

The best way to hit a power tennis serve is to execute your serve with a combination of topspin and slice. Adding topspin in your serve, does not only add power but it also gives net clearance avoiding let serve ( a serve that touches the net but still lands on the service box diagonal with the server.) or fault. The slice on one hand creates a curve motion of the ball while it is still in the air and after it bounces on the ground. The combination of the two creates the power.

A power tennis serve can be accomplished by hitting the ball from 3:00 o’clock position (imagine the ball as a clock) towards the 1:30 o’clock position. In other words, you have to brush the ball with your racket face in an upward motion. This type of tennis serve is the most popular tennis serve in professional tennis.

The first step you have to do to produce a powerful serve is observe the proper stance. First you have to stand either on the deuce or ad service side. Then your left foot (right foot for left-handed player) should point towards the right net post.

The Tennis Serve Grip

The appropriate tennis grip employed by many players to produce power and topspin on the serve is the continental grip.

Tennis Serve Ball Toss

The serve ball toss is also very important to look into to execute a power tennis serve. The player should hold the ball with his fingertips. The ball should be place near the tips of the finger. Avoid holding the ball in the middle of the palm as this would affect the toss execution. As the tossing process starts, racket is positioned behind your body.

The tossing motion for the serve

The ball toss is one of the most important aspects of the serve, because the way you open your fingers and the way you execute the ball toss will definitely affect your serve execution. It does not only decide if you hit your target point, it also determines the power or speed of your tennis serve.

To execute the tennis serve ball toss perfectly, you can imagine having a clock above you. The perfect ball toss should hit the 1:00 o’clock direction of the clock, if you are a right-handed player. For left-hander player, the direction should be at 11:00 o’clock. The way you toss the ball is not the only aspect in ball toss that you have to consider. You also have to have the perfect toss height that you are comfortable with.

Knee Bend and Body Coil

The next step to hit a powerful tennis serve is to slide your right foot (left foot for left-handed players) forward in such as way that it is positioned near your left foot. Then bend your knees appropriately so that your legs will be able to generate enough force as they drive upward. At this point, your racket is at the highest point of your wind-up execution. This means that your racket is pointing towards the sky with your shoulder lightly turned towards the back side of the court (back fence). The body coil is attained if your shoulder and your hip are not aligned. Thus, if you shoulder is pointing towards the back fence, your hip should be pointing more or less between the side fence and the back fence.

Elbow Up and Racket down: Start of the Strike

Rafael Nadal tennis serve

This is the fifth step to follow to hit a power tennis serve. From the bent position, the legs start to straighten; and begin to drive upward to lift upwards from the ground. Ideally, the body should uncoil and start facing towards the net. At the same time, the upper arm should almost be in a vertical position with the lower arm at an inverted L position, with the elbow bent at an angle of around 90 degrees.

During this instance, the wrist should be in a relaxed manner and loosely holding the racket that is positioned at an angle of 90 degrees with the forearm. The racket is dropped straight to the ground (end point of the racket pointing to the ground). This position should be perfectly performed because it is responsible for the creation of the optimum swing length for the upwards swing.

Upwards Swing

The way you execute your upwards swing also affects the power of your tennis serve. The upward swing starts when your forearm starts to rise and your elbow starts to straighten. At the same instance, the wrist should still be holding the racket at an angle of 90 degrees with the forearm. At this point, the body starts to lean forward towards the net, while the weight is transferred to the front foot (left foot for right-handed players.

Power in a tennis serve

Before Contact

This stage is very important for a perfect execution of the topspin-slice shot, thus the power tennis serve. With your elbow fully straightened, your forearm should be in a vertical position as well. The forces you to generate power from your body parts (legs, arms, shoulder, etc.) and cause your wrist to whip your racket in upward direction.

The racket should be ready to hit the ball from the center point of the ball (3:00 point), brushing upward to the 1:30 point. This swing angle is vital to produce a powerful serve. If the point of contact is not perfectly executed and only topspin is produced, net clearance is achieved but the serve will not be powerful.

After contact

Contact means the time when the ball touches the racket face or the racket string bed. If your execution before and during the point of contact affects the power of your serve, the after contact motions are of equal importance. The events second after the contact determines if you achieved your goal of a powerful serve or not.

Seconds after contact, your racket should be brushing in an upwards direction. Then your wrist has stretch farther forward with the racket face facing the same direction as the ball. Your body must lean clearly forward, with your back foot or right foot lifted from the ground.


Proper pronation is also important to develop a power tennis serve. Pronation is a very special form of arm movement that increases the racket speed as it is about to hit the ball. The higher your racket speed is, the more powerful your serve will be. Generally, pronation is perfectly done only by professional players. For many players, that pronation is difficult to perfect. However, pronation doesn’t have to be forced because it happens naturally as it is the result of the forces generated by the other parts of the body.

Follow-through on the Serve

The follow-through is crucial to have for a power tennis serve. It is the swing or racket movement after its initial contact with the ball. The follow-through is vital to any shots in tennis especially if you want to accomplish a power tennis serve. The power attained and the direction of the ball in tennis serve is dependent on the follow-through.

End of Follow-through

The follow-through of a powerful serve should result of the left to right direction of the racket swing. This is the last point to accomplish to hit a power tennis serve. Your racket should finish on your left side (right handed player). Your body leaning forward and your right foot should land inside the court.

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