Bradford Athletics

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Bradford Tennis Tips - Serve

How to Fix Your Tennis Serve

An effective serve is the starting point for playing winning tennis. Many players work for years perfecting their serve but find they still need help. The following steps will give you the necessary tools to fix common problems and help develop a powerful, consistent serve.

  • STEP 1: Stand near the court baseline, about 1 foot (30 cm) behind the line. Don't stand too close to the line or you will be worried about stepping over it, which is a foul.
  • STEP 2: Hold a tennis ball with only the fingertips of your free hand. Turn your hand so that the ball is facing straight up. When practicing, hold only one ball in your hand.
  • STEP 3: Stand with your knees slightly bent. Lift your racquet arm so that your hand is slightly above and slightly behind your head, with the racquet tilted slightly behind you.
  • STEP 4: Smoothly toss the ball into the air in front of you by fully extending your arm. Don't throw the ball too high. It only needs to rise a short distance above the height of your upstretched hand, equal to the distance from your racquet grip to the middle of the strings. Understanding the importance of this initial toss is vital, because all other parts of the serve flow from it. Your goal is to make the throw identical every time.
  • STEP 5: As the ball nears the top of its rise, bring your racquet arm forward while extending your legs. Swing the racquet with your wrist as well as your arm. The racquet should be arcing slightly downward when it contacts the ball.
  • STEP 6: If you're having trouble establishing a rhythmic swing, put down your racquet for a minute and try the following exercise: Stand at the baseline and throw a few balls into the service box. This helps to establish a smooth arm motion. Pick up your racquet and start over.