View Full Version : can someone teach me to serve???!

Dec 22nd, 2002, 03:56 PM
I've been playing for about 4 years and my serve is still lame, my groundstrokes are pretty safe but because my serve is so bad, I find it hard to hold serve.

I do ace my opponents but I'm having trouble with transferring all my body weight into it, also my serve doesn't go very far back once it bounces, so can anyone help??????????????????????????

Dec 22nd, 2002, 05:54 PM
Sounds like my problem too...

Dec 22nd, 2002, 05:58 PM
I have the same problem :fiery:

Dec 22nd, 2002, 08:24 PM
i've used books and stuff.. but in the end I revert to the way my serve used to be. I haven't played in 3-4 months.. and my serve will prob be worse

Dec 22nd, 2002, 08:34 PM
i have the same problem
but i hope it will become better and better (like this season)

Dec 22nd, 2002, 08:40 PM
well, i tend to slice the ball alot, throwing the ball more towards the right, and then just tilting the head of the racket, and bending my legs....bending the legs is a very importnat part of the whole serve thing...Just have a safe serve,don't try and hit aces all the time..The main thing is to get the ball into court.......
What kind of shot do you use for your serve tyk101???a hard straight serve,slice,...etc???


Dec 22nd, 2002, 09:35 PM
try throwing the ball a bit in front of you and to the right (if you are a righty). transfer your weight forward as you go to swing the ball and try to get a lot of racket speed on it.

Pamela Shriver
Dec 22nd, 2002, 09:39 PM
Don't ask me. My last match at Wimbledon against Anke...that Ping pong serve is forever printed on my mind :o

Dec 22nd, 2002, 11:35 PM
The serve is comprised of 4 main parts:

1 - The toss.
Actually the term "toss" is a misnomer. You don't really want to TOSS anything, What you want to do is "place" the ball at a certain place, at a certain time, so that the racquet can connect with it when the headspeed is at its greatest, and while the angle is sufficient to get it over the net. IMNSHO the most important part of the serve. Where you toss it varies a little on serving style. For the most power, toss it so that at its contact point, it's a little ahead of you, and slightly to your right (assuming you're right handed.) At the same time, once your left hand is up in the air, KEEP IT THERE. Track the movement of the ball with your left hand. (KEEP LOOKING AT THE BALL!)

2 - Racquet up.
Bring the racquet up over your head, and slightly behind you. This occurs at the same time as the toss. Your arm should be in the shape of a reversed "L." To create impressive power, at the same time, bend your legs a little, and slightly push your left hip (if you're right handed) forward, towards the net. (KEEP LOOKING AT THE BALL!)

3 - The Backscratch.
This is the second most important part. Keeping your wrist firm, bring your elbow forward, while dropping the racquet head behind your back. MOST IMPORTANT PART OF THIS: Make sure the head drops down, below your shoulder, and that is it not parallel to the court. You can serve drinks with a racquet that is parallel, but not a ball. At the same time, start to push up with your legs, a little forward on onto the court. You will be in the air when you hit the ball, so don't worry about faulting. (KEEP LOOKING AT THE BALL!)

4 - The Strike.
So your elbow is forward, the racquet head is down and behind you, and you're in the air. Now bring your right arm up, again, keeping a slightly firm wrist (again, assuming a right-hander) drop your left arm down INTO THE BODY so that your left hand is covering your navel. Don't let it drift out in front of you, else you'll screw up your balance. Your racquet should contact the ball either at the very top of the toss, or after it has dropped some, depending on your style. (Mine drops about 18 inches.) After you hit the ball, let your wrist follow the racquet head over and to the left. This is called "pronation." Make sure the racquet path follows through to the left of your left leg. Step into the court with your LEFT foot, and the ball should be flying at a great pace. (KEEP LOOKING AT THE BALL!)

That's the fundamentals of a killer serve. I use a ProStaff 6.0, which is not a powerful racquet by any means, and I serve around 100-105 miles an hour. (My serve is the best part of my game. I'm only a 3.5 serve and volleyer, but I have a strong 4.5 serve.) Not bad for a short, old fart, eh? And the reason I CAN serve and volley is bacause of that serve.

Get yourself a ball hopper, and stock it with about 50-75 balls. Go out to the court and just continually practice this. I say this to myself when serving: "Toss, track, (the ball) drop, (the racquet head) HIT!" Don't worry about placement for a while. Concentrate on making the motion as fluid and second nature as you can. Once you're banging screamers with confidence, placement becomes rather easy. The reason the service motion is so pretty is because it HAS to be. That fluidity is what makes for a good serve.

I still practice my serve more than anything else. I hit 300 serves 3 times a week. (75 Deuce-75 Ad-75 Deuce-75 Ad.) My coach doesn't even bother with my serve. I've aced him enough times, that he looks at it about once a month to make sure I'm not picking up any bad habits, and then lets it go.

Hope that helps.


Dec 23rd, 2002, 01:25 AM
One of the things that helped me to improve my serve a lot is by observing a professional player as they go about their serve. or somebody you know who has a really good serve and preferably the same height and body type as you have ... though it isnt really a major factor.

If you analyze these people enough, you would be able to get really good tips on how to hit a better serve.

for example, the rituals before a serve. a lot think of these quirky little things (bouncing your ball a certain number of times, holding the ball up to the sun, etc) as non-useful. but remember, a big component of a good serve is consistency and a good ritual would be able to set you into a groove.

power ... again, look at the pro players when they serve. look where their feet are, the swing, the ball toss. looking at them long enough and experimenting from what you have learned from them and you are bound to improve.

again my tip to you... observe, observe, observe ...

Dec 23rd, 2002, 02:34 AM
very clever jacs... I'd give that tip myself also

Another one could be, besides from all the tecnical things there were mentioned to try and focus on a place of the serving square. And try, with lots of loads of repetitions to place it in the same place. With training it will become a usual thing and power can be added up later, but still with placement you can bother your opponent.


Dec 23rd, 2002, 04:47 AM
IMO, this has always been the hardest part in tennis...even professionals who train everyday could hit so many double faults in a single match alone.:rolleyes:

Mateo Mathieu
Dec 23rd, 2002, 04:52 AM
You can throwing a ball? If yes, then try with your racquet and hit a ball... it will help you!!

Dec 23rd, 2002, 05:36 AM
edited! lol..i read other people's posts who are more tennis 'oriented' and they describe it better ;)

Sam L
Dec 23rd, 2002, 07:20 AM
Originally posted by Pamela Shriver
Don't ask me. My last match at Wimbledon against Anke...that Ping pong serve is forever printed on my mind :o

Yeah don't ask Pam, that's the best advise I can give :p lol

Dec 23rd, 2002, 10:06 AM
thanks for the tips... at least I'm not the only one
I'm a lefty.. so I used to toss the ball to the left.. but now I just try to toss is in front and thats ok sometimes. I find it hard to bend my knees and then lift both feet up.. I tend to lift my left leg up and my right it stuck where it is.. I can;t seem to jump forward.. ?!
first serve: flat as possible.. I go for the corners especially in the deuce courts where I can get a few aces against righty's
second serve: my racket heard touches my back before I hit it.. so I think I use top spin to ensure the ball goes in.. but it's too short and the opponent will usually eat it up!

Dec 23rd, 2002, 10:12 AM
I've been tryin to copy.. Hewits serve by keeping both arms straight for most part of the serve.. but I feel it takes a lot of energy to do that all the time, I'm tryin to do Roddicks serve but it a bit difficult to imitate.

Dec 23rd, 2002, 04:09 PM
anymore tips?

Dec 23rd, 2002, 05:29 PM
tyk101....are you in reality a former top player with the initials MH??? I think we should be told.....

Dec 23rd, 2002, 05:57 PM
how did u guess?

Dec 23rd, 2002, 06:01 PM
tyk101.. must be MH.. at least she's asking for help from us

Mateo Mathieu
Dec 23rd, 2002, 06:23 PM
Nathalie Tauziat's serve motion is very basic... maybe you try same her serve motion.

Dec 23rd, 2002, 06:44 PM
You can go to sportsguru.com. They have lots of tips and many animations there on how to serve.

Dec 23rd, 2002, 09:04 PM
I've improved my serve by looking at the Argentine men. Theirs is a very simple swing. I've heard someone refer to it as serving in a telephone booth. The swing is simpler than the complicated loopy thing that most players utilise and has proved more effective for me. It's improved my power (or is it speed?) a lot. I'm 5'2' and I can ace the best of the peole I play with. Look at Chela or Squillari, you might learn something.

Dec 23rd, 2002, 10:46 PM
i'll look out for them nxt yr...

Dec 24th, 2002, 01:21 AM
I have the Capriati disease: I toss it waaay off to the side and don't bother to catch it. I get alot of aces, but double fault like two or more times per game:o !!

Dec 29th, 2002, 10:29 PM
anymore tips

Dec 29th, 2002, 10:35 PM
thanks Joe.. just read your post

I'm using a Wilson Triad 6.0.. the racket head is quite small... so would this change the serve in anyway? how can I ensure the middle of the racket contacts with the ball?

Dec 30th, 2002, 12:05 AM
Originally posted by tyk101
thanks Joe.. just read your post

I'm using a Wilson Triad 6.0.. the racket head is quite small... so would this change the serve in anyway? how can I ensure the middle of the racket contacts with the ball?

IIRC, the Triad has a 95 sq. inch head. I wouldn't call that small: I use a Wilson ProStaff 6.0, and that head is only 85 inches square.

But as to your question, no. It makes no difference. My service motion is exactly the same as when i was using the Head i.Radical, and that has a 107 sq. inch head.

How to ensure the middle of the racquet contacts with the ball? Use the most redundant part of my post: KEEP LOOKING AT THE BALL! That, and the part I wrote about using your left (for you, right) hand, when it's extended in the air, to track (point at) the ball. By doing this, along with "KEEP LOOKING AT THE BALL!" (God, I get repetitive, don't I?) and making sure your toss is high enough to get hit when you are at full extension, all help.

The other best thing is to break your service practices down to different parts of the serve. Take ten minutes and practice nothing but the toss, by starting your full service motion, and stopping as soon as the ball is in the air, and your right hand is pointing at it. (I adjusted that 'cause I read that you're a lefty.) See why it's not working and make the necessary adjustments. Then work for five minutes on just getting the toss up, and getting the racquet back consistently. Keep adding on parts. The hitting is the last thing, and if all the other are consistent and good, it kinda occurs naturally. (Not really, but when all the other parts are instinctive, it DOES get easier.)

Hope that helps.


Dec 30th, 2002, 06:53 AM
Hi, Martina !!! ;) I hope with this tips you will come back strong in 2003 and ready to reclaim your number 1 :D :p

Dec 30th, 2002, 09:34 AM
Originally posted by AlexSydney
Nathalie Tauziat's serve motion is very basic... maybe you try same her serve motion.

I agree with this observation. Very true indeed.:)

Dec 30th, 2002, 10:13 AM
1. try to hit the ball at its highest point - don't let it drop.
2. do not drop your left shoulder too soon

I struggle with my serves, mostly because I do not through the ball up high enough (so it is in fact always too low).

Dec 30th, 2002, 10:49 AM
Originally posted by butch
1. try to hit the ball at its highest point - don't let it drop.
2. do not drop your left shoulder too soon

I struggle with my serves, mostly because I do not through the ball up high enough (so it is in fact always too low).

a very high toss could be a disadvantage during windy conditions.:rolleyes:

Dec 30th, 2002, 06:24 PM
Originally posted by butch
1. try to hit the ball at its highest point - don't let it drop.
2. do not drop your left shoulder too soon

I struggle with my serves, mostly because I do not through the ball up high enough (so it is in fact always too low).

Not *necessarily* a good thing. Some would have to rush their service motion to get to it just as it hits the top of it's arc.

Though some do hit that way, and very effectively, (including some of the top pro's) it's all a matter of how one's motion fits into that. Mine never could because I throw it somewhat into the court, (1-2 feet) and I'd be chasing it too quickly to get a fluid motion (i.e. bend of the knee, the spring up, etc.) in my style of play. Though, I must say, I patterned my serve after Pete Sampras, so YMMV.

But the not dropping the left shoulder too soon IS a great tip.


Jan 14th, 2003, 08:04 PM
how do i do a kick serve?

Jan 14th, 2003, 08:29 PM
Me, provided you're a young, nice and rich girl.

Jan 14th, 2003, 08:35 PM
When serving:

Position your feet in the nessesary position behind the line.
Throw the ball up slightly to the right (if right handed) in front of you.
Bend knees as well as arching your back (see ATP logo) this is a must, when serving your main source of power is your legs as well as the snap of your wrist and racket head speed.
You must always also keep your head up and eye on the ball at all times.
In most common serves your racket hand and non used hand make a scissor like action.
You will always land inside the court if you have transferred your body weight succesfully...
I have served at 119mph but mostly round the 110mph mark...

This is just a basic description of a service motion...

If you want a kick serve (if right handed) throw the ball slightly above your left shoulder and come across the ball so the ball goes up and over and then reacts to the courts surface when contact is made.

Jan 14th, 2003, 08:50 PM
thanks henry2001. i'll try it out next time.

Tatiana Panova
Jan 14th, 2003, 08:59 PM
I would say do not get too caught up in the mechanics of it - ie you have to do this and that. That may be Ok for a pro who plays tennis everyday at the highest level, but as a club player you have to be a little more reductionistic in your approach ( well at least I do because I cannot be bothered thinking about little things)

What I do and what taught me to serve was throwing rackets. Its the perfect practise - go to the beach or a big field and throw rackets. You will eventually learn that the most fluid motion will throw the furthest - so start off real slow.

Other than that all I think about is hitting the ball right at the top of my reach and to move into the court. Also remember "slow - THEN FAST!".

Some people have said bending your knees is important - I think it is but far too may players get caught up in this without just developing fluidity. Too big a knee bend will kill power and timing!

Jan 14th, 2003, 09:20 PM
You can buy a speacially designed throwing object. It is like a egg shape and you throw it and makes a sound. This is for the technique of the racket swing and adds a fluid action that can be repeated easily everytime once adjusted...

Tatiana Panova
Jan 14th, 2003, 09:22 PM
Hey Henry where's that, I'd love to try it - sure would save me throwing old rackets!

Jan 14th, 2003, 09:26 PM
yea... wt is it called? how much? where can i get it from?

Jan 14th, 2003, 09:56 PM
I am playing tomorrow so I will ask my coach the name and how much and where you can buy them from! Ok? :)