Jack Tallarida Lyons’s guide to improving your serve
Tennis is an easy sport to learn and fun to play. It is one of the oldest sports to exist dating back to the 12th century. The game has come a long way since the 12th century with rackets becoming lighter, more powerful, and comfortable. The serve is 50% of tennis: every point starts with the serve and it is the most important part of the game. Here is a simple five-step guide to help improve your serve and take your game to the next level
1. Stance and grip
Having a strong base with your legs while you serve is crucial to the outcome of your serve. The continental grip is the most common grip for serving and is the easiest way to create power.
- Make sure you are standing sideways to the net with both of your feet behind the baseline
- Your body needs to be facing the side fence, not facing toward the net
- Hold the tennis ball in your non-dominant hand and control the ball with the strings of the racket with your dominant hand
- Hold your tennis racket with a ”continental” grip like you would hold a hammer, as it allows you to generate more power on your serve.
2. Ball toss and racket take back
The ball toss is very important when you serve. If it is too high or too low it will ruin your rhythm and you will find it hard to make serves consistently.
- When you have relaxed your body, begin to throw the ball with your non-dominant hand aiming for approx. 1.5m of height on your ball toss.
- At the time you let go of the ball make sure your racket follows behind your body to hit the ball at its peak height, allowing you to get more angle, power, and consistency on your serve.
- Shift your body weight forward as you toss the ball
3. Trophy position
All the great servers end up in the ”trophy” position just before they contact the ball.
- The separation of the serving arm and body is key in allowing you to create more power and momentum as you strike the ball.
4. Jump and swing
Having a strong and explosive jump will help improve your serve, also making it more consistent.
- From the trophy position, you will push off the ground and swing your racket at the ball.
- Some players can step their back foot to join the front foot before contacting the ball, all depending on what is most comfortable for them.
- It may take some practice to feel confident with your serve, so be patient and allow yourself plenty of practice.
- Try to stay side on when you contact the ball and try pushing your body upwards and forwards as you jump.
5. Contacting the ball
All players have different ways they like to contact the ball depending on what type of serve they are trying to hit. Being fully extended with your arms is a key to having a greater serve.
- Hitting the ball fully extended is very important at all levels and should be a priority even for beginners, as well as those not comfortable jumping into the serve.
- The ball will travel wherever your strings are facing at the time of contact so make sure you’re holding your racket in the direction you are wanting the ball to go.
- Try to generate as much power as you can with your legs and wrist as you contact the ball
- Serving is a very hard part of tennis but it is also the most important.
- Keep practicing until you feel comfortable enough to serve without thinking about the step-by-step guide.
- Your brain will develop a muscle memory after time in which you will be comfortable serving all the time.
By following these five simple steps you will hopefully be able to improve your serve and take your tennis game to the next level leaving your opposition clueless on the court.