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How to Perfect Your Tennis Serve
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
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
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.
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 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.
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
Which part of your game do you want to work on next?
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.