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How to Perfect Your Tennis Serve

Updated on March 12, 2015
Getting your tennis serve right is essential to playing an effective game
Getting your tennis serve right is essential to playing an effective game | Source

Introduction

Getting your serve right in tennis is crucial to improving your overall game. There are several different areas that tennis players need to focus on when serving including the toss, the grip, foot position, striking the ball and more.

The tennis serve is your chance to set the pace of the game and puts you in control of where you want the ball to go. There are lots of techniques for perfecting your tennis service. This article explores the key areas that you can focus on to improve your service game. We'll explore:

  • Keeping calm and breathing
  • Getting your grip right
  • Making sure your feet are in the right position
  • Getting the toss right
  • Striking the ball correctly
  • Keeping your eye on the ball
  • Always moving
  • Practicing

Keep calm, breathe and focus

When you're playing your tennis service game, you can set the speed. This means that you can bounce the ball once or twice prior to serving to get any nerves under control.

Keeping a good rate of breathing through the game is also extremely helpful. Before you serve, take a couple of seconds to really focus on and think about what you are doing, so that you can get into the zone.

Get your grip on the tennis racquet right

Make sure that your grip on the tennis racquet handle is loose; this is so that you can give the racquet the correct movement with your wrist as it strikes the ball.

You should always keep your wrist, elbow and shoulder relaxed and loose. Depending on the type of serve you're making, you'll need to adjust your grip, but you need to give the handle of the racquet and your wrist room to move through the serve

The right grip on the serve will give you more confidence on the follow-through
The right grip on the serve will give you more confidence on the follow-through | Source

Make sure your feet are in the correct position

It's important to be able to stand correctly, both so you can get some power into the shot, but also because it will improve your accuracy and follow-through.

Having the right starting position for your feet means that you can move off from your service stance quickly, allowing you to return shots.

Tossing the ball correctly will make it easier to hit and place
Tossing the ball correctly will make it easier to hit and place | Source

Get the toss right

When you throw the ball up prior to hitting it, just use your thumb and forefinger, this will prevent the ball having spin before you hit it.

As you throw the ball up into the air, let both hands raise at the same time; likewise, as the ball begins to fall and just before you strike it, let both hands fall at the same speed. This will make it easier for you to keep your balance and line you up better for the shot.

Striking the ball

Make sure that you don't send the ball off of your racquet too early; instead, allow the momentum of your body and your racket to give some speed to the ball before it is released.

This means hitting 'through' the ball as much as possible. Snapping your wrist as you hit the ball, so that it goes 'up and out' is vital to perfecting your serving technique.

Keep you head up and your eye on the ball

You always need to keep your eye on where the tennis ball is, whether that's during your service, as you strike it into your opponent's court or on any returns.

This means always keeping your head up, focusing on the tennis ball and following it.

Always keep your eye on the ball
Always keep your eye on the ball | Source

Always be moving

After you've served, you always want to be moving. The more you practice changing direction and stay on the balls of your feet, the easier it will be to react to shots and hit them back.

Always follow where the ball is and adjust your weight, center of gravity and balance to give you the best chance of moving to the ball and returning it.

As with everything else in life, practice is essential
As with everything else in life, practice is essential | Source

Practice, practice, practice

You want to practice every aspect of your serve as much as possible. This includes the toss, the hit, positioning and being ready to move off as soon as the tennis ball is served.

How to serve in tennis

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In closing

Being able to serve well and consistently is vital to playing a good game of tennis and providing a challenge for your opponent.

A combination of focus, practice, understanding the various serving techniques and constructive feedback from a trainer or fellow tennis player will help you to perfect your service game.

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