The way you position your feet when you get ready to serve is called your stance. We teach the “party stance,” which is an easy-to-learn way of positioning your feet that lets you properly execute the rest of the mechanics necessary for a fundamentally sound serve. For more information on other serve stances, check out the Serve Advanced section of the website.
How to Toss the Tennis Ball
A properly placed, consistent toss is key to developing an effective serve. There’s a specific technique to use that will get you putting the tennis ball in the same spot every time, allowing you to both be more consistent and better disguise your serve.
The backswing gets your racket up above your shoulders in the L position, and puts your arm and the racket in position to swing up to the tennis ball correctly later in the motion. The key to this step is to raise the racket while keeping your palm facing the court as long as possible.
Knee Bend and Weight Transfer
The weight transfer and knee bend allows you to get your body’s momentum and legs into your serve. The weight transfer and knee bend happen simultaneously with the backswing and toss, but we have separated them into different videos to make each component easier to learn.
The Trophy Pose
When you toss the ball, complete your backswing, and bend your knees and begin transferring your weight forward, you will reach a position called the “trophy pose,” because this is the position you see embodied in nearly every tennis trophy. The trophy pose is the completion of your service preparation. From this position you are ready to begin your swing up to contact.
The Racket Drop
From the trophy pose, the racket drops down behind your back -before- it swings up to contact. The racket drop is a critical element of the serve, and every single pro gets to this position during their motions despite the fact that their preparations often look very different.
At the same time you drop the racket behind your back, you need to push up and off with your legs so that you are just barely coming off the court at the exact moment your racket is pointed straight down behind you.
Swing Up to Contact
From the racket drop position, you swing up -on edge- to the tennis ball and form an L-shape with your arm and racket. Pronation, which is part of this step, is explained in more detail in the following video.
How to Pronate on Your Serve
Pronation can be a tough thing to learn, but it is the key to unlocking power and spin on your serve. Not one single high-level tennis player frying-pans the tennis ball when they serve — they swing up with the tennis racket on edge to the ball, then pronate their wrist to open the racket face to the ball at the last second.
The follow through completes your service motion by smoothly decelerating the tennis racket and your body. Just as with all the other steps of the serve, there is a specific technique that will let you finish your motion and be on balance to prepare for your opponent’s return.