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Tennis Serving Tips for Beginners and Advanced Players

Tennis serving tips are very vital as it is the most complicated part of your game.

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The most common problems with tennis serve are:

1. Using an inappropriate serve relative to your ability or experience level.

2. Hitting a second serve as a direct shot.

3. Rushing to put the ball in play.

4. Relying too heavily on the serve.

5. Charging the net before the service motion is complete.

6. Serve-and-volleying on a weak serve.

7. Rushing the service motion.

8. Hitting down on the serve.

9. Serving with an incompletely extended hitting arm at impact.

10. Tossing the ball with a parabolic flight.

11. Tossing with two balls in hand.

12. Hitting an ascending toss.

13. Hitting a descending toss.

14. Foot faulting.

15. Forehand grip.

16. Trying too hard – putting too much power.

17. Hitting a lot into the net.

18. Looking down to the court before hitting the ball.

Let's see how you can address these problems from the technical and mental aspect.

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Tennis Serving Tips: Hitting a serve with a forehand grip

The question is why you play with a forehand grip when you probably know that it's the continental grip that works best for a good versatile serve?

You started with that grip, kept it and still enjoyed your game (or won matches). Unless you become really really motivated – especially with matches lost to good players - you probably won't change it.

It feels safe and you don't make mistakes, even though you're always on defense when your opponent returns the shot. You may be missing the big picture here. If you play for points – competitively – it doesn’t matter who makes less mistakes. It matters only who wins.

Example – you are very comfortable with a slightly sliced serve at your opponent’s forehand at the deuce side. He immediately puts pressure on you with a good crosscourt return. You lose most of the points. And you don't make a double fault.

Who cares? It would be much better to make an occasional double fault (before you improve enough) and serve to his backhand where you could take advantage of the short return and win some points.

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Tennis Serving Tips: Techniques Of Proper Toss

1. Decide on which service strategy to use. You have 20 seconds to put the ball in play; use it.

2. Emphasize the accuracy of the toss.

3. Develop a ritual to bring both your tossing arm and your hitting arm to a hanging, motionless service ready position.

4. Give attention to properly positioning your feet on each and every serve.

5. Toss with only one ball in hand.

6. Rotate the tossing arm open before you begin the toss.

7. Maintain a fully extended, open tossing arm throughout the entire toss.

8. Release the ball with your thumb as your tossing arm becomes parallel to the ground.

9. Move your eyes directly from your opponent, to the ball up high.

10. The toss should go only as high as your fully extended reach.

11. Complete the tossing motion by fully extending the tossing arm upward after the release.

Tennis Serving Tips: Techniques Of Proper Serving Motion

1. Emphasize the flight of the ball on all first serves.

2. Emphasize proper service form on all second serves.

3. The flight of the ball on all second serves resembles a parabola.

4. Begin the service motion from a motionless position.

5. The hitting arm always gets a head start over the tossing arm.

6. Raise the elbow of the hitting arm to shoulder height on the backswing motion.

7. Continue the service backswing to a motionless coiled position.

8. Accelerate smoothly using a two-step stroke.

9. Hit the ball as it reaches its highest point of the toss and becomes motionless.

10. Watch the ball hit your strings (watch impact).

11. Maintain a firm wrist at impact.

12. Hit UP (not down) on the ball at impact.

13. Hit the ball with an awareness of racket pitch at impact.

14. Impact occurs with your hitting arm fully extended upward.

15. Hit the serve from a balanced position.

16. Fold the tossing arm across your abdomen as the hitting arm begins the follow-through.

17. Follow-through completely with your elbow up.

18. Check your grip after each and every serve.

19. Recover quickly back to the ready position to await your opponent's return.

Tennis Serving Tips: Special Emphasis Techniques

Note: The special emphasis techniques for the serve employ both toss techniques and service motion techniques. The lists below simply refer to them as "T" and "SM" techniques respectively.

1. Tennis Serving Tips: First Serve... SM1, T2, SM9

SM1.. Emphasize the flight of the ball on all first serves.

T2... Emphasize the accuracy of the toss.

SM9.. Hit the ball as it reaches its highest point of the toss and becomes motionless.

2. Tennis Serving Tips: Second Serve... SM2, T2, SM12

SM2. . Emphasize proper service form on all second serves.

T2... Emphasize the accuracy of the toss.

SM12. Hit UP (not down) on the ball at impact.

3. Tennis Serving Tips: Serve Exercises

  • Ball toss exercise. Practice the toss by allowing the ball to hit the ground. That is, do not hit the ball with your racket; let the ball fall to the ground near your feet. As a general rule, a good toss should bounce approx. 18 inches directly in front of your foot closest to the baseline. The toss should go straight up and fall straight down. Avoid a parabolic flight on your toss. Remember, toss with only one ball in hand, rotate your arm open, keep it open and fully extended, and gently release the ball with your thumb. Practice this exercise extensively.
  • Serve down the alley. Using a bucket of balls, stand in the alley of your choice and practice serving down the middle of the alley. This exercise will help you learn to hit the ball straight. This is an excellent exercise for developing good racket pitch awareness skills on your serve.
  • Become familiar with the service court target points. Place a tennis ball can on each of the three service court target points in the deuce service court. Using a bucket of balls, practice serving at one can exclusively until you knock it down. Then aim for the next can. After you have knocked down all three cans, repeat the exercise in the ad service court.
  • The "Serve-Return" exercise. As a non-competitive exercise, one player serves for 30 minutes while the other player hits returns. If both players elect, play each point out. This is an excellent exercise for developing serve-and-volley skills.
  • The "Butterfly" serve. For absolute newcomers to the serve, the butterfly serve is an effective way to learn to coordinate the tossing arm with the hitting arm. In this exercise, both tossing arm and hitting arm begin moving together. Hold the ball next to the throat of the racket at waist high level. Drop both arms together and then raise them both together. On their way back up, the tossing arm tosses the ball, and the hitting arm prepares to hit the serve. The motions resemble a "W" (or a "butterfly" if you use your imagination).

4. Tennis Serving Tips: A Good Word of Advice

  • Learn to perfect your second serve before emphasizing first service technique. This simply means, learn to master ALL the techniques presented in this lesson before trying to apply ANY of them in an offensive first service situation. Read this often to make sure you understand the message... it's a very important one.

Watch This Excellent Video Showing Andy Roddick Serve a Ball at 155mph: The Fastest Serve Ever

Tennis Serving Tips: Tennis serve tip 1

Start practicing with a continental grip. Since your wrist and your arm are not used to this change you need to start SLOWLY. Hit your serves with 25% speed at first. Gently grip the racquet and focus on your feel. It will improve. Gradually increase speed.

Later serve your first serves with this grip and medium paced speed and use your SAFE serve for the second serve. Next of tennis serving tips is learning a top spin serve and gradually implement it in the game. Play your first serve as a top spin serve and your second serve with your old forehand grip. And of course you're not afraid of a double fault since you TRUST this old serve so much, right?

Tennis Serving Tips: Tennis serve tip 2

Serve a couple of your serves as normal. Notice the speed of the ball and how much you exert yourself. How much effort it takes to hit a ball with this speed.

Now stop and imagine that you want to hit with same speed but less effort. Just decide and hit a few. You may be surprised that you can still do it.

Now go further with this and decide that you want to hit faster with even less effort. Let your body figure this out. Just imagine the end result – fast ball, easy effortless serving and see what happens.

Tennis Serving Tips: Tennis serve tip 3

Hit above the net! Imagine your serve going above the net and into the court.

Serve PostureWhen you look down at your target you obviously lose sight of the ball. This means that you probably can't hit it in the middle of the racquet and that you are not focusing on the ball anymore. When your head moves during the stroke it pulls your arm too. This results in many mishits and mistakes.

The reason why you look down is that your mind goes into the future. When that happens you disrupt your mind-body connection. This is especially evident on the tennis serve since there is only a small window above the net where you must hit in order to keep the ball in the service box.

When you play from the baseline you have a much bigger target. You can make these mind-body disconnects and still keep the ball in play.

Tennis Serving Tips: Tennis serve tip 4

Stay with the ball until it disappears. The only part of the tennis serve that you can control is the point of impact. Focus on that and practice keeping your mind in the present moment– hitting the ball. That way your head will stay there too and you won't disrupt your serve.

Decide beforehand where you want to serve and then focus only on the ball and the clean contact with it. When that happens move on – with you mind and body.

You will take too much time at first – between the hit and moving on. You will shorten that period with practice to the bare minimum. That is an end of tennis serving tips.

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(Resources: professionaltennisinstruction.com, tennismindgame.com)

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