Components of the Serve

Ten areas of focus for your serve

  1. Ritual/preparation prior to start of serve. Develop a consistent ritual (routine) prior to the start of each and every serve to establish intensity and focus.
  2. Stance. The choices are to hit from a more open or closed stance (as defined by the line connecting the toes of your right and left feet). The stance should promote balance and stability and enable the body to transfer weight up and into the court.
  3. Grip. The preferred grip for spin, disguise, incorporation of all body components and racquet head speed is the Continental grip (which places the base of the knuckle and palm of the hand on the second bevel of the racquet).
  4. Footwork (positioning and movement of feet with start of service motion). The choices are to hit from a platform stance (where the back foot stays back in the set position) or a pinpoint stance (where the back foot comes together with the front foot in the set position).
  5. Arm action – Phase One (motion of the arm and racquet to the set position). The importance is to get the hitting arm and elbow up with the toss to a cocked and ready-to-hit set position. The path of the arm to the set position can take a down, back and up, down and then up, out and up or straight up path.
  6. Toss and coiling/sinking action in conjunction with tossing motion. The first goal with the toss is to get the ball into the ideal location for the point of contact. The second goal is to use the toss to sink and coil your body (by bending your knees and extending your hips and chest out and up).
  7. Arm action – Phase Two (motion of the arm to the power position). The tossing arm drops to a tuck position (with the elbow positioned at your rib cage) and the elbow of the hitting arm bends to allow the racquet head to drop and loop down to the power position.
  8. Arm Action – Phase Three (motion of the arm to the point of contact). The racquet (leading with the butt end of the racquet) and the hitting arm (with a pronation of the foreman) then extend in a continuous motion up and out to the point of contact. The goal is to develop racquet head speed (versus hand speed) by cart wheeling or snapping the racquet head up and out to the point of contact.  At the same time, the body uncoils and propels up and into the court.
  9. Follow-Through.  The racquet ideally first extends out and then down (leading with the tip) to create an inverted V with the arm and racquet. The racquet and hitting hand then continue down and across the body with the weight landing on the front foot (or transferring to the front foot if not elevated at the point of contact). Balance is maintained on the finish by kicking back with the back foot (or coming through with the back foot).
  10. Recovery. The goal is to quickly recover for the next shot by aligning the feet and repositioning for the next shot or sequence of shots.

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