Hello! This guide will teach both beginner and advanced tennis players basic steps to developing a strong and consistent serve.
Step 1: Step 1: Gripping the Racket
For any serve the proper grip is very important. From the first picture you can see that most grips are roughly octagonal. Different grips are defined by which section you place the top of your palm, as outlined in the second picture, on. Gripping the racket by the section labeled 1 is a continental grip, and is generally reserved for higher level serves. Gripping by the section labeled 2 is an eastern grip, which is used for lighter serves or beginner players.
Step 2: Beginner Serve Step One:
Serving for beginners is all about consistency. You will need a racket that you are comfortable with.
Step 3: Beginner Serve Step Two: Hitting the Serve
Serving for beginners should be as simple as possible. Keep your toss moderately high and in front of you. Your hit should be light and should arc to the target. The goal is to keep the process comfortable and consistent.
Step 4: Advanced Serve Step 1: Positioning Your Feet
A correct stance is important when lining up to hit a serve. You can tweak this depending where you are planning to hit your shot, but in general your feet should form a line towards the right net post if you are right handed, or the left if you are left handed.
Step 5: Advanced Serve Step 2: Beginning the Serve Motion
To begin, keep your hands together and your shoulders up. Your hands should form a rough semicircle as you bring your racket hand back and your ball hand forward.
Step 6: Advanced Serve Step 3: the Toss
At this point your hands are coming up to shoulder level. Now there are two steps that happen in conjunction. your racket arm should bend and bring the racket behind your back, ready to swing. At the same time you will toss the ball with your other hand. Your toss should be high enough that you can make full extension as you swing. It should also be just in front of you. You should not need to reach for a toss that is too far forward or bend for a toss that is too far back. Remember that you have not started a point until you make contact with the ball. It is perfectly acceptable to catch your toss and make a new one. The toss is key to a consistent serve so make sure it is comfortable and repeatable.
Step 7: Advanced Serve Step 4: Swing, Contact and Follow Through
A proper swing is a result of proper setup. The arm should come up and arc out so that the racket meets the ball at the height of the toss. Your wrist should snap forward to get the greatest possible racket speed when you make contact with the ball. You should follow through so that your racket goes down to the opposite side of your body. Notice that in the example photos the swing momentum carried the server into the court. You can use this to start a motion into the net or set up the rest of your point. This shows how a proper serve can shape a point, not just start it.