Introduction: How to Serve a Tennis Ball (for Righties)
Serving a tennis ball can be tough but practicing these steps should help you serve with more accuracy and power.
Hold the tennis racket using a continental grip
- A continental grip is best described as holding the racket perpendicular to the ground and holding it with your pointer finger along the first bevel of the racket.
Point left foot towards opposite post of net (cross court post) while your right foot is parallel to the court.
Bounce the ball 2 to 4 times to get a feel for the ball and the court texture as court textures can vary (ex: clay, grass, etc)
Bring ball to flat racket face in preparation of the toss
Toss ball in the air from approximately the top of the head to the height of 3 meters. After the release of the ball, your hand can remain up for guidance and extra momentum.
Upon release of the ball, load the back knee by forcing most of your weight onto this leg and having your body at about a 20°. Both knees may bend but most weight should be concentrated on the right kneecap.
Bring the racket behind your back with your elbow bent. The elbow should be bent at a 70° acute angle with respect to the ground. The grip on the racket should be fairly loose as well.
Begin your swing motion towards the ball when the ball begins its decent. The ideal place of contact would be a full extension of the arm and tennis racket and the contact point should be in front of your body at around 110°. At this point your arm that you tossed the ball with may come down.
This action may seem insignificant but can greatly affect the speed of your serve. As you begin to move your racket towards the ball for contact, you begin to shift your weight forward. Upon contact with the ball, your weight should be leaning forward.
-A good way to imagine it is there is a string connecting the top of your racket to your back heel. As one begins to move the other must follow.
Moments after hitting the ball, perform what is called pronation. Pronating is the art of doing a slight wrist flair to give the ball a topspin. This action may seem unnatural at first and can be very difficult to master but will be very useful.
Follow through the ball by bringing your racket across your body and the end of the motion should finish beside your left knee. Be sure to keep your elbow locked at a full extension to ensure best result
While continuing your follow through, you may take steps onto the court. Your first step should be with your right foot in the direction of your serve. Using your full body momentum, position yourself on the court.
Using the momentum gathered from your first step, bring your left foot forward and on an even plane with the right foot. This should prepare you for a return shot or to move if necessary.
Shift grip back to preferred handling (ex: continental, western, semi-western, eastern) to prepare to return a shot. Return to ready position
Practice makes perfect so go out there and try it!