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Tennis Serve Progression - Tennis Coaching

Rebuilding Your Tennis Serve

Article by Simon Harkin

Tennis Serve Progression Video

Player: Simon Harkin (Right Handed)
Coach: Stephen Nugent

The Goal:

Build a mechanically sound serve technique which will enable player to compete at a higher level. A powerful and reliable serve is the ultimate aim.

Tennis Serve Problem:

  • Poor serve technique which has led to rotator cuff injuries.
  • Simon has used the same poor serve technique for over 25 years.
  • Incorrect set up and inconsistent throw up with late ball release (behind the head) which sets in motion the players mechanical / biomechanical problems.

Tennis Serve Solution:

Tennis Serve Setup:

  • Body should be more side on – copy Roger Federer setup. Infact, copy his serve and your sorted 🙂
  • Right foot to remain behind Body – Right foot is NOT to slide up during serve as this compounds existing problems.
  • Left hand to rest beneath racket head and keep both low during setup.

Tennis Serve Throw-up:

  • Tennis ball to be held in fingers to avoid spin.
  • Early release on ball toss which encourages an “infront” contact point. Keep arms loose.
  • Ball toss infront of body and to the right of head. For a T serve the ball toss will be further to the left of body.
  • The left arm action will follow along a J path.

Tennis Serve Body Loading

  • Knee bend and trunk rotation.
  • Rotate shoulders to the right (think Pete Sampras). Remember the trophy position.
  • Important for Simon to keep right foot well back and not to slide forward during the drive to contact point.

Serve contact point – Driving to the impact position:

  • Legs are loaded so drive hard from this position up to the contact point.
  • Remember shoulder-over-shoulder rotation (think cartwheel).
  • Remember forward rotation (think somersault).
  • Focus on keeping tossing arm (left arm) up as long as possible and keep head up.
  • Impact ball just as its falling from peak height.

Serve Finish

  • Deceleration control to protect shoulder and arm – Keep doing your rotator cuff stretching and strengthening exercises.
  • Land on left foot, take a recover step into court and recover as quickly as possible.

Serve swing thoughts:

  • Think “loose” and be positive.
Tennis Serve Progression