4 Tips for Generating More Speed & Accuracy with Your Serve
In the modern era, few players can hope to succeed in professional tennis without a powerful and accurate serve. Even those who only play tennis for fun can benefit immensely from adding some zip to their serves. A fast and accurate serve allows you to get onto the front foot while ensuring your opponent is immediately on the defensive. Savvy players know that a powerful serve is more about technique than muscle power. We look at some quick tips to help you add a few miles per hour to your serves.
#1 The Ball Toss
For a fast and flat serve, the ball should be tossed slightly forward and towards your dominant side. For example, a right-handed player should toss the ball a small bit to his right. Tossing the ball too far forward or to one side means you need to chase the ball while failing to toss it far enough forward reduces your forward momentum and thus your speed. Experiment with the height of your toss: Too high and you are forced to wait for it to fall which stalls your motion, too low and you will not make contact with the ball at full extension.
#2 The Coil
The right stance is crucial when serving for power. Don’t turn your back too much or else you will be unable to uncoil properly which inhibits your ability to transfer your weight forward into the serve. You should only coil to the point where it becomes uncomfortable because bending your back any further only increases the likelihood of injury. Deep knee bend is also extremely helpful when getting ready to strike the ball as it enables you to push hard off the ground and get more power into the shot.
#3 Racket Positioning
This is yet another aspect of serving that requires experimentation as it is different for everyone. If you pull your racket back and have your elbow too low, it will result in a hitch in your motion. Allowing your elbow to remain high on the pull back helps you develop more speed but results in less accuracy. A fast and effective motion is likely to give you the best results as it can help generate explosive racket speed. This takes a lot of practice however!
#4 Follow Through & Conditioning
You also need to practice the follow through because this fosters greater speed and power. For a faster serve, extend forward initially and bring the racket head down on the opposite side of your body as you land. Most tennis instructors recommend 100+ serves every other day for best results. Finally, exercises for your shoulders and rotator cuff are recommended to strengthen your serve and you should also do core work such as crunches and back extensions. To get more power in your serve, you need to be in top physical condition with strength and flexibility of paramount importance.
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