What can you do to help a player with their serve?

What can you do to help a player with their serve?

What can you do to help a player with their serve, when they say they want to get more power on it?

Tennis CoachCoach
Tennis CoachCoach

First, check and make sure that they are doing a continental serve, then when they have the formation and all down then the power will start to come otherwise right now we want to focus on getting the ball in the correct box

Tennis CoachCoach

start three feet from the net...racket on edge by your shoulder...continental grip...slow modified swing...pronate..slowly..move back three more feet and so onn...

Tennis CoachCoach

start three feet from the net...racket on edge by your shoulder...continental grip...slow modified swing...pronate..slowly..move back three more feet and so onn...

Tennis CoachCoach

For most beginning to intermediate players, one of the easiest ways to increase the power of the serve is to relax the grip and keep the arm loose during the service motion. Power is generated by racquet head speed, and a tight grip and tense arm will slow it down. Also, be sure to continue your swing through the ball on in to the follow through position.

Tennis CoachCoach

One of the major factors in all tennis strokes including the serve, and which restricts the use of power, is holding the racquet too tight as mentioned above. A tip to change this problem is to remove the little (pinky) finger past the edge of the butt of the racquet so the racquet is being held by three fingers and the thumb. This will immediately release the tension. Remember this is only a learning tip, although one of my lady players likes it so much she uses it all of the time. coach john

Enos ChikukwaCoach, Zimbabwe

The serve is a throwing action n what we throw is the racquet,a smooth action with medium pace will boost the player's confidence trying to hit service line from say mid back court and gradually move back on every successful attempt,for more pace on the serve the racquet head has to be accerated prior to contact point going up n pronate through the contact zone - Enos Chikukwa (Zimbabwe)

Tennis CoachCoach

I coach many Ladies Midweek Interclub Teams. All want a faster serve. Enos is correct and best method is to throw many tennis balls as possible. Front arm up throw like a cricket ball throw. After about 20 throws move to service line and use this action to hit down into service box. This is normally hard for a Beginner/Intermediate as you now have to wrist snap to get ball down. After you master thisyou now use same wrist snap to hit up but from service line.(Only usr Continental Grip).

Tennis CoachCoach

Most serving errors into the net are a result of the head dropping as the eyes prematurely follow the ball. To develop the skill of keeping the head still, I have my students practice their serve without looking to see where the ball goes - rather focussing on the spot in the air where the ball was before the moment of impact with the racquet. This is more difficult than it sounds, as it has been instinctive since we first threw a rock at a rabbit for food. The dont-look-at-all drill for serving can progress to dont-look-for-the-ball until you see the racquet pass by your face and out of sight.

Tennis CoachCoach

Emily, the other posts have some great points but have not addressed some very important things regarding your question. Not sure what level of player you are dealing with but if they are at least an intermediate player here are some things you MUST get them to do to maximize power. You can read the power potential of a players serve by viewing their "trophy pose" just as the ball toss is at it's highest point. At that point, the toss arm needs to be AT LEAST straight up if not back. The reason doesn't have anything to do with the toss, it's the back bend. Watch Roger Federer and you will see what I mean. Then if the server is a "stepper" they need a big bowe in their hips bending into the court. A "non stepper" (Federer) won't get as much bowe so the back bend is crucial as well as knee bend. THEN and very important...the shoulders need to be at a STEEP angle, the raquet arm low to bring the hitting shoulder DOWN and the tossing arm shoulder UP. Study some trophy poses of the pros and you will get a perfect picture of power!!!

Tennis CoachCoach

Aloha Emily! They do bow yes but they also rotate their body to the right (if right handed and rotate left if left handed). body rotation adds 15 miles per hour to your serve. Pronation adds another 15 miles per hour to your serve. For big power visually picture a box 2 feet over the net and extend your racquet through the box. At first toss the ball 1 foot to the right 1 foot out front with a low toss. If you land deep, toss more out front. It's physics! Andy's Toss is 5 and half feet out front. I was never on tv but I served 131mph consistantly 20 years ago. To practice the motion pick up a ball and stand on the baseline. Put the ball on your shoulder with your elbow to the back fence, when you through the ball you want to lead with your elbow and rotate your forearm away from your body. Your palm should be facing away from your body as you've fully exctended. if you have any questions, feel free to ask! Good luck on your new serve.

Laurent Olivier AbesCoach, Brazil

I think there are many way to improve speed. Starting with loose arm, racquet head speed training, throwing training and knee action. You have to try and practice a lot these type of drills to improve serve speed. Remember! serve is throwing your racquet head to the ball. You have you train with global and partial drills to solve specific problems. Good luck!

Tennis CoachCoach

One way to help beginners with the serve is the back fence.  Have them setup as if the fence is the baseline, have them toss and catch the ball between their racquet and the fence, tell them to catch the ball as high as they can reach.  Once they can do this successfully 10 times take them to the baseline and see what happens, Also you can have they pracitise swing without the ball have them hit a mark on the fence (use chalk).

Sportplan edit:

View Contact Point exercise to see Debi's suggestion in practice.

Tennis CoachCoach

   Anybody can improve their serve, no matter what, by serving two or three baskets of balls three or four times per week.  
  • Each time a serve feels good, concentrate on getting the same "feel" on the next serve.  
  • One measure for speed, is how the ball reaches the far fence, ie. in one bounce and how high up the fence.  
  • Concentrate on increasing the "speed" of the racket head, which you should soon realize that you get the best speed with a loose wrist and a wrist snap that's  just like pitching a fast ball in baseball.
  • Concentrate also on bending your knees before the toss, and then leaping up and reaching high to the ball while you are in the air.  
  • You should be able to serve  four or five times per minute.  
  • Obviously, this may not be as good as coaching to get the right form... but this will definitly get improvement for you!


Most beginners make the mistake of facing the net before and throughout the serve.  

  • You want to position yourself semi-sideways
  • First dip from the knees.
  • Then move upward, releasing the ball into the air as you perform your "wind up"  rotating your shoulder away from the net while also moving your racket behind your back.
  • and then finally the "burst" rotating back into the ball with the shoulder moving first, creating a "whipping" reaction in the arm, wrist, and racket that hits the ball with explosive force!
  • Keep your head looking up at the ball and watch the strings make contact with the ball! 


Annabel DunnillCoach, England

Hi Emily,

Before a player wants to add power to their serve it is important to make sure that they have perfected their technique. Adding power before technique can lead to poor service form and an erratic service game. You should break down the serve into stages from the toss to the follow through.

Here's a new session plan we've created to work on serving with consistency. Hope this helps!


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