5 simple tips on how to improve your serve

by Richard King

The serve is obviously a vital and important part of the game, it is the one shot in which your opponent has no physical effect over and therefore can be a great opportunity to get ahead in the rally and apply pressure immediately.

Follow this order and see if you can link steps 3-5 in one movement (Throw/step/follow through)

Stance

Firstly your stance really dictates the direction of the ball and your balance. Stand with an open stance with your left shoulder (opposite shoulder for left handed players) facing towards the area you want the ball to strike on the front wall.

Racket prep and open racket face

Once your stance is taken it is really important to start with your racket head lifted up and back in a ready position. The racket face also needs to be open so that the strings appear to be facing up towards the high area of the front wall. This is how the racket will create lift and height on the ball and enable you to connect with the back and bottom of the ball.

The throw

The throw of the ball is very important for a good serve, it should be thrown around head/shoulder height and inline with your centre, always make sure that the ball is only an arms length away from the body as well to give plenty of space to swing.

Step/lunge

Once you have thrown the ball you should then focus on transferring your weight from your back foot and onto your leading leg (the leg you have chosen to lunge with) in many cases it can be easier using the front leg i.e the one closest to the front wall.

Follow through

Now you have lunged or stepped to the ball your leading foot will have made contact with the floor, at this point you should release your racket preparation and swing once the ball is around chest height, follow the racket head with its open face all the way through the ball with the arm lengthening and pointing towards the target you have picked on the front wall.

Extra – Target focus

As a general rule to take away the volley option and to gauge a successful serve aim to hit the side wall just behind the back of the service box.

There are of course many variations on the serve and once the basics are mastered as written above play around with how you approach your serve by using more height/power angle. Experiment what angles create what difficulties to your opponent. Lob serves require more height and less power. body serves more power and a narrower angle in towards your opponent, the use of more power will require less height on the wall and so on.

Good luck and keep swinging 😉

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