I’m going to share something you guy’s may find surprising
I play tennis. A LOT OF TENNIS.
After astronomy tennis is what consumes the majority of my time (and money!).
I’m no tennis pro, but I wrote this little guide to help people with an issue I struggled with. Improving my serve. Hope you find this quick guide helpful. If so let me know in the comments below!
Tennis Tips – Improving your serve
The key to becoming a better tennis player is developing a trusted first serve that you can use to keep your opponent off balance. What I’ve learned is that you don’t need to have a blazing, 100 mph serve – but you do need enough pace and accuracy that you can avoid having to rely on your second serve.
Based on advice that I’ve picked up from advanced tennis players, both at the club and in competitions, here are some of the best tennis tips for improving your serve:
TIP #1: Get the ball toss right
Too many players either toss the ball too low or too high, and as a result, they either hit too many balls into the net, or see the ball sail wide, way over the baseline. When gripping the ball, this is a secret that I picked up from watching some of the best players on television – they don’t grip the ball with their entire hand, they only grip with their fingertips. This enables you to have much finer muscle control over what happens to the ball.
TIP #2: Choose a higher release point
The best players choose a release point for the ball that is as high as possible – this prevents the common problem of letting the ball travel way off course. You want to time the release point so that it is as close to the contact point as possible, usually just 3-4 inches away. This means that you will feel your release arm move higher than you thought possible. But remember when you were a kid playing on the cement courts – there would always be someone who seemed to release the ball up from his or her waist, and that just led to a very long (and amusing) day on the court. The lower the release point, the harder it is to control the toss.
TIP #3: Remember that power comes from your legs
Hitting a 100 mph serve is not the result of lifting heavy weights in the gym and having bulging biceps. What I’ve found is that many of the thinnest players on the tour circuit often have the most devastating serves. The reason is simple – they’ve found a way to transfer all the energy and momentum from their legs to their core and then to their arms and rackets. Think of your legs as a tight coil that you can unleash to get more energy on your serves.
TIP #4: Make contact with full extension
You’re never going to have an effective serve if you’re hitting a serve with a bent elbow. At the same time, you don’t want to hit the ball with a perfectly straight arm and locked elbows. But you do want to get full extension on the racket, making sure that you hit the ball when it’s just starting to descend. If your whole body is extended, you will develop a consistent, smooth motion that will guarantee that your first serve becomes a weapon, not a liability.
I’ve found that there’s nothing like practice – and then more practice – to get a serve perfected. There’s nothing quite like taking a bucket of balls out to the court in the morning and just perfecting the serve by hitting one after another.