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How To Serve In Tennis In 7 Steps

How To Serve In Tennis In 7 Steps

you hi Thomas from Phil Jenny’s the service the most complex stroke in tennis and that’s why it’s the most difficult one to master so if you want to build a proper advanced tennis serve meaning you’re using a continental grip and you’re able to hit the ball with topspin slice or hit it flat then you have to follow proper progressions in order to build technically correct advanced serve the following video is an overview of the fundamentals of a tennis serve and I will show you seven step-by-step progressions that I use almost daily with tennis players who come and see me to work on the tennis serve most of the times I don’t really have to go deep into the details of a serve but I just have to make sure that these fundamentals are in place first and then the serve will start to work the first step is a proper stance so for right handers position yourself in a way so that your left foot is pointing to the right net post and that your right foot is parallel to the baseline the feet are also aligned in a way so that the heel of the first foot is aligned with the toes of the back foot now this is the basic stance which you can then adjust a little bit depending on which direction you’re serving to and I also want to point out that I really recommend it when you start building your serve you do it in the direction of the Edward and I’ll explain in more detail why that’s necessary when we come to the heating part of the serve the second step is a proper grip and we have to use a continental grip if we want to hit the surf flat with topspin or with slice one way to find a continental grip is to position your hand on the racket in a way so that once you put your left index finger here in this little valley next to the bone or your thumb that this left index finger is pointing to the top left edge on the racket like this step three is the heating part and that’s the most important part of the serve and I actually like to work on these parts before I start working on the backswing because you will realize later that if you’re doing the heating part correctly the backswing will naturally align and help you achieve what you want to do here so that’s why the heating part is more important than doing the backswing first one of the most common mistakes that players make even when they hold the Continental grip and even if they have a proper stance is that once they begin their serve they start to orient very quickly towards the court and then they swing towards the target with their whole arm I know that’s the most natural for us but that’s not how an advanced serve works so their usual serve looks something like this so they turn towards the target they go very strongly from their shoulder and they usually finish on their left and so in order for me to correct these players I use a very simple system which teaches them that the serve has instead of one swing path towards the target it actually has two swing pass so the first swing path is roughly at a 45 degree angle and then the second one is perpendicular to the net and this is how we simulate the proper movement of the arm so when we toss the ball for the normal usual serve for the flat serve or maybe for this slice serve the ball is somewhere in front of us and a little bit to the right and so our first swing path towards the ball is with the edge so we’re swinging towards the ball with the edge at the 45 degree angle and then we can imagine that once the racket reaches the ball and the strings are pointing towards the target we switch our movements to this one and so it’s not just one continuous movement but we imagine that our arm moves this way at a roughly 45 degree angle and then we pronate towards the target at least we can simplify and make this movement of pronation it’s a little bit more complex movement but for now we’ll just call it the pronation so our service Swink towards the ball and then pronation and it looks something like this in this third part and so this is the main difference between a very simple serve towards the target and a more advanced serve where our arm makes to swing pass of course later we do it in a very smooth manner and these two swing paths seem to merge together but if you’re serving correctly or pretty aware that you are swinging like in two directions towards the ball because we are now breaking down the serve into smaller parts so that they are easier to learn we are unfortunately also breaking down the natural flow of the body and so as this is especially obvious in this part where we’re trying to learn the proper swing path towards the ball and one way we can solve this problem is that when we’re starting to serve from this position we don’t start from a static position but we do a little bounce as I like to call it so we you can bounce the racquet a little bit like this and then go from this bounce into swing path number one and then swing path number two so the whole exercise looks something like this I just want to loosen up a little bit and then I do one two on the ball here’s one more a little bit more advanced way of doing this exercise is to actually try and do the bounce one more bounce after you have tossed the ball so it looks something like this so I start with my racket a little bit higher so that I feel that I have some space to drop the racket or to bounce it off something so my hand my arm is very loose so I start from here I toss the ball first and after I toss the ball I release I let go of the racket I feel this bounce and then I’m doing one two you now this has shown to be very effective for learning the proper drop of the surf later when you’re going to put the whole surf together if you’ve done a few of these bosses it will just happen very naturally that you’re doing the proper drop in the surf step four is the backswing with the toss I won’t go into too many details about the toss so for now just this so place the ball right in the middle of your palm and then just hold it with your thumb and you’re leaving some space on the tips of your fingers where you’re going to place your racket so also know that you’re tossing with a straight arm so for those of you who would like to know more details about the toss you can take a look into my surf course here’s how we’re going to work on the backswing you’re going to swing both arms simultaneously like a pendulum and let them go up and down simultaneously and eventually you’re going to end up in this position which we’re going to call the trophy position I personally don’t like to teach the completely vertical racquet in the trophy position and that’s for two reasons number one oftentimes when players end up in this position and they’re about to initiate their serve the racket really likes to fall into this direction and open up the palm of the hand which we call the waiters tray serve and that’s really bad for the acceleration so it really doesn’t give you a good acceleration on the ball and it prevents good topspin and good slice so if you’re in this position many times the racket wants to go this way and the other reason is if I show from this angle when players toss the ball and they’re in this position like very vertical racket they feel they have a long way to go to complete their draw up their backswing and then coming up to the ball so what happens oftentimes is they shorten it they make it quite shallow and they serve like this so the drop is way too shallow because they feel they don’t have enough time so what I prefer to do is I prefer to teach this trophy position where the racquet is close to the head so one way you can check that is that you do your backswing and then you just tap the back of your head with the bottom edge of the racket so you’re hearing of course there must be some space between the racket and the head but in order for you to know whether in the right place you just move the racket this way and you check ok I’m in the right place then you move it back so this is the backs the backswing sequence you’re going to toss the ball and catch it back again and then check if your racket is in the right place now this exercise is also very good to work on your toes so you don’t need any specific exercises for the toss unless you’re having some really big problems because this exercise is automatically teaching you how to move your arm properly and where to toss the ball because the ball must fall right back into your hand so here’s the backswing sequence again you want to toss the ball and they’ll just check with your racket if you’re somewhere close to your head step 5 is putting everything together what you’ve learned so far so we’re going to put together the backswing and the hitting part and so we’re going to break down the serving into two parts the first part is doing the backswing and catching the ball finding your trophy position and then you’re going to remain in your trophy position you will initiate the toss again and then you’re going to do the 1 2 exercise so the bouncing want to exercise which you’ve already done before so the whole sequence looks like this we’re doing the back swing we’re catching the ball we’re checking if you’re in the right position then we’re going to toss again and do once to again so that’s why we can still leave the balls because they give us proper guidance of the to sweep paths so here’s one more example part 1 I’m in the right place I can feel and I start again and I’m doing 1 2 so hopefully you can see that this is starting to resemble the proper serve so here we go again the first part I check I do the bounce and one two now we’re almost ready to put the whole surf together but before we do that I’d like you to work on one exercise that actually produces the most power in the surf and for that you have to do two things simultaneously so what needs to happen is that when your racket is starting to drop your body must start to turn or in other words we initiate the rotation of the body to our hips and then continue with our shoulders so some words that you might hear that they relate to these are drive with your hip forward or rotate your hip or rotate your shoulders but it’s very important that this happens at the same time so your racket drop and your body rotation must happen in the same time I know we like to have things step by step or in sequence that are very clear but in this case we cannot separate the drop from the body rotation which is again one of very common mistakes that I see with players so they’re completing the drop they want to work in sequence in their mind they have a certain sequence so now I complete the drop okay now I’m doing the serve but in order for yourself to produce very effortless power you must simultaneously drop the racket and start driving your hip forward or start rotating so you’re actually doing this exercise separately and I’ll show from this angle and first you’re doing without the ball and you’re just trying to feel that as soon as you start dropping the racket you are start driving your hip forward so in this case you can exaggerate a little bit and rotate your body a little bit more then you will actually do when you’re serving but this gives you the right feel because when you do it right you will just feel that your racket naturally accelerate or you might feel that your arm is like thrown out from this position so again is the key is that as you’re starting your drop you’re loosening up your arm and you’re starting to turn your body so from this angle it looks something like this looks something like this and then you can continue or from this angle it looks something like this you and here’s the power move from the side angle so first without the ball you’re starting from your trophy position and you’re trying to feel okay as soon as I drop my racket I drive forward my hip and so you go like this and then you can just complete your serve so in this case because we want to really feel what’s going on we can exaggerate a little bit and you can turn really forward like facing the court but keep in mind that when you’re doing a proper serve we don’t face the court until we finish hitting the ball so when we’re hitting the ball we are at roughly 45 degree angle with the body we are not facing the court yet and only then after we have completed the contact with the ball and we’ve completed the swing path number two we can start turning towards the court but in this case because you really want to feel the effects of simultaneously dropping the racket and turning your body just feel free to really turn towards the court really drive your hip forward really rotate and then let the racket go so again without the ball it’s like this and then you can also hit some balls where you start trying to feel the effects of the power move step seven is of course putting everything together so what you can do first is you can do one serving two parts where you really feel it how the serve works and then just take a leap of faith and do the whole serve together and see how it feels so with some repetition and practice and I also recommend that you record yourself you’re going to start to see that your serve starts to look like a proper advance serve now one more thought about the follow-through I’ve been sticking with this follow through for quite a while because as I mentioned before one of the most common mistakes that players make is to use their arm a lot rather than this move to hit the ball and they oftentimes end up on the left side so yes we do end up on the left side so let me show from this angle so when we complete our serve we do end up on the left side but we can do it the wrong way and the right way the wrong way is that as we’re about to hit the ball we are forcefully moving the racket to the left side with our shoulder but that’s not how the racket gets to the left side it actually gets to the left side because we’re hitting the servant we’re swinging out towards the right side we’re pronating and then we’re allowing the body to uncoil or to unwind and our arm will naturally swing to the left so basically we’re swinging arm towards more to the right side and then we are coming back with the body towards the middle we’re loosening up and that’s how the arm comes to the left side so keep that in mind when you’re working on the serve when you’re completing the whole serve that you feel that the racket actually comes to the left side as you loosen up and not because you’re actually swinging very forcefully from your shoulder towards the left side so try to see this in my serve where I will stick for a while on the right side so I’ll complete the serve on the right side and I will just gently allow my body to come back to the straight position that my shoulders become more level and then you will see that the racket naturally swings to my left side so in my serve this is a little bit hidden when you see everything together but now that you know what you’re looking for you will understand how the racket comes to the left side of the body now there’s one more part that you have to work on as you’re improving your serve namely you have to work on the flow on the fluidity of the serve right now we have broken down the serve into many parts so that they’re easier to learn but in the process we have also broken down the natural movement of the body we have broken down the flow the fluidity and so we have to keep putting it back together and so one of the best tools you can use is the serve master by Lisa Dotson and you just simply swing it in a continuous motion like this so you can do follow-through on the left side but you can also do follow-through on the right side and if you go over to the total serve com you will find very detailed instructions on how you can start working with the serve master what are the right progressions but the key point is that you want to re-establish the fluidity of your body the fluidity of your motion because we have been breaking it down and especially when you work on yourself repeatedly and there are certain parts of your serve that are not really good perhaps the heating part so again you’ll be breaking down your serve into a smaller part and it might become very stiff very mechanical and so your final goal is to polish these little breaks in your serve so that everything is smoothly flowing and so one of the best ways is the total serve using the total serve you can of course use also the ball on the string that I’ve demonstrated one time before or the classical trick balls in the sock but you can also use your racket which you hold with three fingers and again you just make it go in a very similar manner so in a very continuous smooth motion that never stops so that means that you reestablish the flow because flow means that the racket never stops so while you’re doing this exercise you and also do a little technical thing here and that is you’re always swinging your racket on the edge so this is the edges exercise that I also demonstrated in one of my previous videos so as you’re doing this exercise you always lead with the edge so when I swing this way I lead with this edge and then I’m doing my back swing I’m coming from the trophy position into the drop I’m leading with this edge then I rotate my shoulders a little bit now I lead with this edge then I do this transition from this edge to this edge and then I go into the follow-through then I go out and I repeat the whole process again so see if you can notice now that all the time as I’m swinging except at the context point where my racquet points towards the camera or towards you all the time the racket is on the edge and so that’s a very good exercise to reinforce the proper technique the proper movement of the racket in the end I’d like to point out that I use these serving progressions these fundamentals almost daily when I work with tennis players on their serve so make sure that you can execute them properly that you’re doing them correctly before you start adding more advanced stuff like really coiling your body working on your kick serve jumping into the court or something like that thanks for watching and let me know how these seven steps to a proper advance serve work for you

100 thoughts on “How To Serve In Tennis In 7 Steps

  1. this is very unusual, I watched this video and it's completely different from my coaches instructions? I'm a beginner and it's confusing who should I listen to?

  2. I've been watching many youtube videos about tennis serve and try to practise it and whenever i practise serve and recorded it, my racket is still like a waiter serve. I'm been trying so hard but still the same. One more thing, its so hard to toss the ball and at the same time hit the ball, racket drop and hit it

  3. Could you explain the adjustments to be made from serving the Ad side and the deuce side? most of the serve videos are from the ad side.

  4. Every video of this master is brilliant and just perfect. Now I donunderstand the nature and logic of tennis. Thank you a lot

  5. I have a problem with not lifting my shoulder high enough, my coach had tried several methods to help but I can’t seem to get my mind to process it when I’m serving. Help please !?

  6. Thank you very much Thomas,
    I tried what you told and it worked well. I finally found a comfortable and effective way to serve even I may not be able to serve perfectly. Will share this video with them.

  7. I really think this is the best video I have ever seen about the learning serve tecnique. Thank you very much.

  8. Modern graphite racquets have quite strongly changed the manner in which many strokes and movements were performed, as well as their energy. Now the most interesting part is the abbraviated serve, but still they don’t see any coach to perform it on the web

  9. Agree, comprehensive, logical and the tip on « catch the toss » is simple and easy to visualize. Oit standing!

  10. I used to play tennis EVERY DAY from ages 14-20, I got pretty good, but then school/work/life got in the way and I completely quit playing. At almost 28, I finally picked my racket back up (and yes, the same racket and strings from 8 years ago), started watching your videos, and practicing every day. Within 2 weeks of very intentional drills, mentally going through all your videos, and having an open mind, I already feel like I'm better than I was 8 years ago. Your videos are truly phenomenal, you're an amazing teacher!

  11. Great vid. So many teaching pros just let people pancake the ball in so they can have undeserved success. This just leads to injury and frustration.

  12. Thanx for your time, it makes clear my vague undestanding from different Tennis instructors in the matter which i thought they had nothing in common except catching money.

  13. Have saved this video to see it repeatedly. thanks for explaining in such minute details.
    Will surely implement..

  14. The serve is the simplest stroke tennis…that is obvious. The serve is the only stroke where the ball is a completely constant and contrôlable variable.

  15. Thank you for the (in)valuable wisdom. I love your channel, and you. You make tennis available to anybody. I used to go to the court very confident that I could get better just by practicing. It’s very humbling to let another person just teach you. Even when I have thought of that person as knowing little, sometimes that person turns out to know a lot more. Different topic. I just like it when I watch one of your videos and then I go back to the court knowing something new, and practicing it. I will carry your teachings with me and my dream is to one day help others. God bless Thomas! Merci beaucoup!

  16. loved the details and instructions provided..sure to practice and get better at serves, thank you so much, Coach.

  17. The thing I am struggling with when practicing the ball toss and the backswing (trophy position) is that I am finding it difficult to coordinate the two movements. It feels like my mind isn't sure which to focus on, the ball toss, or the backswing, since they have to be done simultaneously. If I focus on the ball toss, my racquet arm isn't going high enough. If I focus on my racket arm, my ball toss is inaccurate. I'm also struggling with the ball toss in general. If I try to continue lifting my arm after I release the ball, the ball tends to be tossed behind me, thus altering the ball path. Also my ball keeps spinning in the air sometimes when I toss it. Can anyone provide some suggestions?

  18. Best instructional video about serve on YouTube. I used this video to teach my daughter (10) serve when she was transitioning from the 'waiter' serve to the 'hammer' grip. The results were instant. Now my 10 year old daughter has now reached 115 kmh (about 71 mph) from about 80 in 8 weeks or so. It's amazing. I must also mention that she is also using the serve master, nice tool. Thanks Tomaz, thanks FEEL TENNIS INSTRUCTIONS.

  19. REQUEST: This video is amazing. Basically taught me how to do a pronation serve with some good power… However, I dont know what to do with my feet. Can you please do a dedicated video on what to do with your feet to add power to the serve (my serve is actually much slower when I attempt to add footwork or a jump).

  20. Every time i practise my serve, when i toss the ball and my racket will not have the racket drop. Its like very hard to have the coordination between ball toss and hitting the ball with racket drop. Please help me

  21. Would you recommend adding a jump to the serve? Or is that for more advanced players?

  22. woow nice, what i was doing in the past i was thinking thats the right serve but it isn´t even close enough for perfect serve and than i saw this video, and than i start to learn to right serve and thank you so much that you explain so good and that i can find your videos for free and to fix my issues

  23. Tomaz:
    Finally a complete and comprehensive walk-throgh of needed steps to get the serve right!!! What an inspiration and help to take to the tennis court and practice. And finally after 20 years of playing tennis, i have now improved my serve considerably after implementing the 7 step in only 7 sessions. Thank you Tomaz….

  24. Thank you very much for your helpful video on serving..my 12 year old son is playing tennis and is taking lessons..I'm 56 and I really want to learn the fundamentals on serving and playing tennis!!
    Thanks Again..
    David in Boston

  25. The serve is the most difficult to master. It takes so much repetition to get the toss correct, never mind the swing

  26. thank you for your generosity. each time I watch one of your videos, I want to go to court and break that advice and info. put them into practice.

  27. I had a problem with my shoulder a couple months ago but when I watched this, tried the step 3, corrected my motion and contact to the ball, it didn't hurt anymore. Thanks a lot

  28. I’m left handed and I feel like serving is even more harder because like you gotta turn your party and everything …

  29. I've watched this video maybe three or eight times now, and I've been focusing on each step piece by piece in practice sessions with my coach, who is able to demonstrate the proper advanced serve, but can't explain it very well due to language barriers between us. This instruction has been invaluable and weened me from my "waiter's serve", allowing me to generate enough power to hit 3-4 unreturnable serves in a match, yet I was still very inconsistent without a second serve to rely on – until today. My trainer's English was good enough to give me the piece the puzzle that was missing, which was the most obvious tip I'd failed to perform – see the ball, watch the ball, all the way through contact point, don't worry about where it is going. I immediately jumped to about 60 percent of 1st serves in. I feel stupid for saying this, because it seems so apparent, and it's a tip I haven't seen in any serve videos out there on YT. Too focused on biomechanics, forgetting to watch the ball. If you're like me, playing under a year and still developing your serve, watch that ball all the way through contact (center of racket) and trust that the biomechanics demonstrated in this wonderful video will send your serve where you are aiming.

  30. I started learning serve today and has to say this is one of the best step by step video to learn serve. I improved my technique just by following steps here. Thanks for uploading.

  31. This video! Save my ass! Thank you so much, I had a lot of trouble with my serve, i have a personal training couch and he wasnt able to teach me the fundamentals of the serve well, then I watched this, and snap, a little pronation without effort and i was able to cross the ball well. Chers from Chile! 🇨🇱

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