Serve is one of the most important elements of the game in tennis. Without serve there is no game. Good tennis serve can immediately bring you a point or create the advantage for winning it. Inability to serve not only deprives tennis player of this advantage, but also allows the opponent to control the game.
Serve is the only stroke in tennis, which is fully controlled by the player and the opponent has no possibility to affect its hitting in any way.
Any tennis player is able to learn how to serve correctly and consistently. Before you begin to learn the technique directly we’ll remind you a few tennis serving instruction. Tennis serving mostly depends on:
- correct rhythm of motion, i.e. ability to coordinate movement of the arm with the racket and the ball toss. These movements you should perform reliably, without unnecessary muscular effort. The movements should be smooth, relaxed and dynamic;
- keep the balance throughout the tennis serve. Loss of balance leads to loss of ball control. This is particularly evident in the game of beginners, although instability of serve is often mistakenly attributed by them to incorrect technique;
- the ability to overcome the natural tendency to hit tennis fastest serve.
For adult beginners it’s better to start learning tennis serve from mastering technology of sliced serve. Initially, we recommend you to learn separately three main movements:
- moving the racket behind the back — swing,
- ball toss,
- moving the racket forward.
To start learning the basic techniques of lawn tennis serve is more reasonable when holding the racket with eastern grip.
So, you hold the racket with the eastern grip, standing with feet apart, evenly distributing weight on both feet. You can now begin the first movement – the tennis serve backswing (moving racket behind the back). It should be simple and economical. And do not pay too much attention to the trajectory along which the racket moves. The most important is to bring the racket into the right position by the easiest and most convenient way, and to think first of all about the racket is behind with the head down to stay and handle’s end up.
Ball toss is the most difficult element of the tennis serve. While other elements of the movement — tennis serve backswing, moving the hand forward, moving the body weight, etc. — can be learned, fixed and executed perfectly for years, to learn to toss the ball two consecutive times in the same point is almost impossible.
Usually the ball toss is performed at the same time with the swing, but as these movements are difficult to synchronize, at first it is better to work on tossing the ball separately. In order to accurately and consistently toss the ball, keep it in fingers, not palm. And that is very important — try to toss it smoothly, without jerks. It is believed that the most optimal point of the ball toss should be 10-15 cm above the center of the racket string surface, located at the stretched arm of the player.
Moving the racket forward. The finishing stage of tennis serving is the movement of the racket forward from the position of readiness. It’s begun with unbending the arm up without dropping the elbow.
When moving the racket up and forward during all its way until touching the ball, the racquet head is dropping behind the hand and only in the moment of hitting it comes ahead of the hand.
Try to perform the movement in relaxed way and keeping the balance. Most of tennis beginners are able to learn all these three movements together without too much difficulty. However, for some it may make a certain complexity. In this case, suggest you to spend more time training separately the racket motion, without the ball toss. And then as the subsidiary exercises can be offered the following ones:
- throwing the ball up from behind the head;
- throwing a stick or an old racquet from behind the head.
So, you know how to perform tennis kick serve in theory. Now it’s time to start the practical training. From the first steps make sure that your movements are dynamic and relaxed. Having mastered all three movements, you can proceed to performing the stroke, and afterwards to improve tennis serve little by little.
Tennis serving in the right service court (while it’s deuce in game). The description of tennis serve footwork is following: put feet shoulder-width apart. Put your left foot at a 10-40 cm distance to the right from the center line at an angle of 45-60 °; the right foot turn a bit (Fig. 1, A).
While serving in the left service court the following tennis serve footwork has to be done: put your left foot closer to the center line, with the toe toward the right net pole. The angle between the court baseline and the foot is already 15-30 ° (Fig. 1, B).
Body weight is evenly distributed on both feet. The ball is tossed up in such a way that its projection on the ground was in front of the left foot toe (Fig. 2).
At the same time with tossing the ball laid the arm with racket back — the right shoulder turns back and before moving forward the head is lowered, and the end of the handle is upwards. Mooving the racket forward begins with the turn of the shoulders. Do not lower the elbow and unbend your right hand up, not forward.
While performing the sliced tennis serve the direction of the hand’s movement in the moment of hitting resembles the movement while twisting in an electric bulb: from the bottom-up-right-forward-left (Fig. 3). And this tennis serve pronation is the main distinguishing feature of the sliced stroke.
Thus, while mastering the technique of sliced serve, do not forget about some tennis serve instruction:
- do not rush the serve hitting; prepare very carefully to each serve, beginning with the grip, starting position and ball toss, the more that the time for serving is not limited;
- tennis kick serve has to be performed in a relaxed manner, toss the ball smoothly, without jerks;
- start the tennis backswing with moving the elbow up, unbending the hand upward, not forward: while the racket head should significantly lag behind the hand;
- keep a balance throughout the flow;
- do not look away from the ball until the full completion of the stroke;
- hit the tennis serving by the movement from the bottom-up-right-forward, only a very tall tennis players can play the stroke from the top down.
As we believe, following all this rules will help your stable performing of tennis fastest serve.