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Thread: Serving

  1. #1
    sillimonki22 Guest


    How do you serve? I would go to a tennis club or get a trainer, except I live in the middle of no where and we don't have any tennis programs here except at the highschool. Please help me!!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2004
    I'm self taught and the serve is the only shot I can't really play very well. If I'm honest I do believe you need to be taught it. Look for some tutorials using google, that has helped me a bit.

  3. #3
    you should get tennis magazine, they'll often have tips on how to serve correctly, and also watch the pros and try to imitate them. that's how i started off serving; although to be honest i don't know if that's the best way to do it.

  4. #4
    raksutiikeri Guest


    Serve is the most difficult thing in tennis. Without lessons from a coach I have seen no-one who has learnt it by himself. I mean a good serve. But not all pros can teach that the way you unerstand. Some people just can't ever learn it well...

    One good thing is to watch pros play. Put the game on a video and watch it. But first you need some pointers what you should concentrate on. That is where a good coach is needed...

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Mar 2004
    a serve is similar to throwing a pitch in baseball. i'm gonna try to explain a right-handed serve. just reverse everything if ur left-handed...

    put ur right foot behind ur left foot so that ur standing sideways. some ppl like their right-foot more to the left, so that their back is kind of facing the target....but if u do that u really have to pay attention to hip rotation, so in my opinion it's just a hassle.

    ur weight should be on ur rear (right) foot. quickly toss the ball up so that it's over ur right shoulder, and a bit in front of u (so that as u go to hit in, u'll actually learn forward into the court).

    during ur toss motion, begin to shift ur weight to the front (left) foot.

    at the completion of ur toss, ur left hand should be extended up, towards the ball. ur right hand should be bent, a bit behind ur head, just like if u were going to throw a baseball. both of ur knees should be slightly bent and coiled, ready to explode up and forward. by now, all ur weight should be on ur front foot.

    there should be a tiny "pause" after ur toss, where the ball is in the air, and ur in the "pose" that i described above. this is more of a rhythm thing, it helps u collect ur body and prepare to hit. some ppl dont pause, but most pros do. it keeps ur toss and serve motion consistent.

    when u go to hit the ball, push off ur front leg and "throw" ur racket forward into the ball. ur motion should remind urself of a baseball pitcher throwing a pitch. with that in mind, u should have slight shoulder and hip rotation to bring ur arm out towards the ball

    and that's ur basic flat serve
    Last edited by alsipsclar; 03-26-2004 at 03:01 PM.

  6. #6
    Zylon360 Guest


    I firmly believe that the serve is something that you can learn after you have experience in returning serves with your basic forehand and backhand swings.

    I have worked with someone who is certified in teaching tennis and that is always how he handles beginners. Your serve is very important, but only half the time. You see, are not always playing defense. Now if you are playing with someone at your skill level, which I highly recommend until you get some matches under your belt, you can simply drop the ball and swing a forehand and you will be able to land a "blooper" into your oponents court with some practice. Then once you can do that, you can either look online for some quick videos that show the basic "form" in the overhead serve, or you can get a good book which is very picture oriented. However, the flat serve is something that I personally believe can be learned by simply watching others "on tv, or at a club" and mimicking. With that said, I do believe that without some Professional training, your serve will not "be all that it CAN be".

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Mar 2006
    Illinois (united states)


    I think if your going to learn it, somehow try to learn it the right way becuase i got shafted pretty badly and had to use an entirely different grip after 3 years of a wrong one.

  8. #8
    shaman0979 Guest

    Red face Like bowling...

    Like bowling, it has to be practiced continually. Here's what I've done for the past 30 years 4 - 7 times a week.

    1. Get basket of balls, even dead balls (they're actually better)
    2. Go to court and place targets in serving boxes - cans first, then caps, then nickels.
    3. Hit targets with serves from various serving points on the baseline, different grips,different spins, and different set-up stances (foot positions).Hit 200 serves.

    Advanced - Try hitting serves with with a weighted racquet. Try hitting with 10 lb. leg weights to improve your push off.

    Watch your accuracy improve. Try variations - 40 second serves in a row, 25 slices wide-out to the duece court, and 25 kicks to the ad side. Find a good percentage serve and use it in matches.

    4. Collect tournament prize money and applause from admiring fans.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
    Shaman congrats that is the funniest reply to the question! It's totally not what Sillimonki wanted to know! If you served this many serves during the last 30 years like you said, you would be having shoulder surgery monthly by now. Using different grips and stances is exactly what people SHOULD NOT do, because as all players know, tennis is about doing the same thing over and over.
    And then off course if you were so busy practising serves, collecting your prize money and returning fan mail you wouldn't have time to give us poor beginners "advice" here in the forum...

  10. #10
    shaman0979 Guest

    Practice makes perfect

    Thanks for the earnest feedback. Pancho Segura, who trained Jimmy Conners, once said, "An hour of practice is worth five hours of foot-dragging." I would consider reading about something rather than doing it to be the later.

    Quite honestly though, if "I live(d) in the middle of no where and we don't have any tennis programs here except at the highschool," that's exactly what I would do, and did. Had some surgery a few years back, but that was a knee thing from a motorcycle accident.

    Sure, instruction is helpful, and reading articles or watching videos is fine. But doing it consistently is a seperate discipline altogether. Practice, practice, practice. Its the only way to get a service motion that allows you to consistently direct your serve to almost any part of your opponent's service box...and with a little bang. And practice will help you meet the goal of hitting a serve that's not just rotating out there in space, but has a nice tight spin that helps solve both of your main problems, getting the ball safely up and over the net and then back down inside your opponent's service line

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
    Just remember that Sillimonki does not know at all how to serve according to his/her post...
    So practise practise practise will practise her serve into all the bad habits that will take a coach quite some time to correct.
    Even worse, practise practise practise the wrong way and sillimonki might get a shoulder injury or tennis elbow and not be able to play tennis for a while in the middle of nowhere...
    Sillimonki, go to a website like or and subscribe to those if you want serious instruction on HOW to hit a serve and to see what makes the pro's serves so amazing.
    Then video yourself and compare your serve to theirs to monitor your progress. If you are seriously in the middle of nowhere and have no one to teach you this, this is probably the only way to do this...
    PS. And once you have that tecnique nailed, remember to practise practise practise!!!!!

  12. #12
    Many people have had to learn tennis by watching others and reading books. That's not ideal, but it can be done. I'm pretty much self-taught that way, and you'd never know it from my form. Maria Bueno got it all from a book.

    I don't intend to correct descriptions above. They're good. But it might help if I simplify things to get you started. Then the details others mentioned you can add in as you get the feel.

    First, start with an Eastern Forehand grip. Not a Western grip (the grip you'd get if you just picked up the racket off the ground up by its handle).

    Next, the serving motion is the same as an overhand pitching motion. Overhand -- not side-arm. If you know how to pitch overhand, great. If not (as many girls don't), start by just learning to pitch balls overhand.

    You will get the feel of how your elbow raises and leads the overhand-throwing motion. It's a limp-arm kind of thing. When you have the feel, take your racket and imagine the ball is stuck to the racket face and you are going to pitch it into the service court across the net. Get the feel. Watch good servers. Visualize yourself doing it. Do it in slow motion before a mirror. Then with your eyes closed to get the feel.

    Once you have the feel, the toss is the bugaboo. It isn't easy to toss consistently in the right place. Lift the ball into the air rather that throw it up. Hold the ball in your fingertips, not the palm of your hand.

    Over at, Jeff Cooper has some good articles for beginners, usually with free videos.

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Mar 2006
    genovia 'ha just joking, canada.'
    Quote Originally Posted by raksutiikeri
    Serve is the most difficult thing in tennis. Without lessons from a coach I have seen no-one who has learnt it by himself. I mean a good serve. But not all pros can teach that the way you unerstand. Some people just can't ever learn it well...

    One good thing is to watch pros play. Put the game on a video and watch it. But first you need some pointers what you should concentrate on. That is where a good coach is needed...
    well i think you can learn a good serve without a pro or something, i first started playing badminton, but then i switched to tennis, and tennis serve is like badminton, so, i learned serving all by myself.
    HRH Princess Page Song of GENOVIA

  14. #14
    shaman0979 Guest

    If you're absolutely new at this....

    ....get a teacher....then practice. Community colleges may offer instruction, the YMCA, local Parks & Recreation Dept. and whoever maintains the courts that you play on too. Open up the phone book (yellow pages) and see if there's a USTPA teaching pro listed. Ask the high school Pys. Ed. instructors. If that doesn't work, put an ad in the newspaper. Somebody around you must play...or its going to be tough finding a match..

  15. #15
    Uh, not everyone's parents can or would fork over what a tennis pro costs. Hey, since I am one I'm not against getting one! I just know that not everybody can, either for financial reasons or just because there isn't a suitable one around.

    But the idea of a PE teacher or any trained and experienced player to go out there with you a few times and get you started with the right grip, stance, and basics is a good idea. I did have that much, in two weeks of free summer lessons. It does prevent the problem of, say, learning to serve with a western grip and then having to change it -- which is really hard.

    Besides, there's a blog called TennisTips by a guy who delivers this same message. He picked up the game a few years ago just by reading books and watching and getting tips from other players. He's winning tournaments now. So, it can be done. His blog also provides videos and tips. Looking at those videos, you'd never know he was self taught. That's the hard way to learn, but it can be done.

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