How to hit a tennis serve

The serve is the first stroke in tennis. It places the ball into play.

The server, standing behind the baseline, tosses the ball into the air and that’s it diagonally over the net into his opponent’s service court. If the ball falls into the net or falls outside the service box of the opponent, it is the fault.

The server may then serve another ball. If the second ball is also a fault, he loses the point to his opponent. This is called a double fault.

If a served ball touches the net but still falls into the opponents service box the ball doesn’t count. The server serves again (continued).

The service must be delivered from behind the baseline. The ball must hit before the server can put his foot over the baseline. Otherwise he is guilty of a foot fault, which counts against him the same way as a service fault. An effective service is invaluable to the tennis player.

It is an attack.

The placement of the service more important than the speed. Here again we discover that accuracy is more telling than force. For instance, by placing the service in the far corner, the opponent is pulled out of the court and often has difficulty in getting back into position in time for the next stroke.

It is the one stroke and tennis that can be developed by yourself. The efficiency of your serve depends entirely upon how much time and patience you’re willing to give to it. And imperfectly developed service is the greatest difficulty that an instructor encounters. It takes a long time to break down the players bad serve and replace it with a proper one.

In a subsequent chapter we will deal with the advanced serve. The advanced server can never be mastered unless the player first masters the beginners surf.

Therefore do not be impatient. Learn each step of the beginner serve carefully and painstakingly. In these first steps lie the foundation of the correct serve.

Put down your racquet for a moment. Take an ordinary hammer and a nail. Imagine that you’re going to drive a nail into the wall to hang a picture from.

Raise the nail about a foot over your head and then hammer it into the wall. Instinct will force you to keep your eye on the head of the nail; otherwise you will miss the nail into your fingers. The same truism in the same rule applied to the service in tennis.

Put down the hammer and take your racket as though it were a hammer.

In this beginner serve there is no backswing. You place your racket on your shoulder and, swinging from there, you strike the ball.

Hold a tennis ball in place of the nail. Just as you hammered the nail into the wall, hammer the ball, but, to begin with, do not strike the ball out of your hand. Iraqi local back over your shoulder, just as the Hammer did. You’ll keep your eyes on the ball. The face of the racket meets the ball squarely.

You have now learned beginner service stroke.

But the ball is not held in the left hand and struck as though it were a nail held in place. Drop down the left arm with the ball about 2 feet, tossed the ball to the point where you held the nail and hammer it over the net with your racket. The actual blow on the ball is straightahead. You’re driving it as you would drive a nail through a board.

The toss of the ball is as important as the stroke itself.

A proper toss is essential to a proper service. If the ball is tossed too high or not high enough or too far to one side or the other, it will pull you off balance when you strike it, resulting in a fault. Too much time can not be expended in practicing how to toss the ball.

The best way to learn how to toss is to make a mark on the ceiling of a room in toss the ball gently straight up to barely hit the mark and have the ball drop back into your hand. The toss has to be absolutely straight for it to fall back into your hand.

As the placement of the service vitally important, place a target in the opponent’s service court and learn to deliver your service into the exact area of the target.

Nothing is more useful in tennis. If an opponent has a weak backhand he will be troubled by a service placed to his backhand.

According to tennis rules, the service, as we said before, is delivered from behind the baseline.

Tennis serve videos

That, to begin with, stand at a point closer to the net, say at the service line, and gradually move back step-by-step until you are serving from the proper position behind the baseline.

If you’re a beginner learning how to serve in tennis, you’ll find a complete step-by-step video instruction sequence in the “How to Play Tennis” video course for tennis beginners.