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Top 5 Serve Mistakes Our Coaches See

While you cannot control who your opponent is or what shots they’re sending over the net, you DO have complete control of your serve every single match. From the toss to the motion, the serve is the one shot in tennis not impacted by your opponent.


Nonetheless, it can be a tricky shot to master, and as with many shots in tennis, bad habits can often creep in. To give you a good starting point for quick checks you can conduct on your own serve, we sat down with Anya Egorova-Coerver to compile the top 5 serve mistakes our coaches see. Before coaching at Cliff Drysdale Tennis destinations across the country, Anya played Division I tennis at Wichita State University in Wichita, Kansas and was nationally ranked in doubles.


Inconsistency with the Ball Toss

Players often toss the ball too high or too low, too far in front, or too far behind. Some of the common reasons for the inconsistent ball toss are bending your elbow, flicking your wrist, or releasing the ball too soon or too late. One way you can fix your toss is by keeping your tossing arm straight and making the toss a smooth motion.

Dropping the Tossing Arm Too Early

Sometimes players drop their tossing arm as soon as they release the ball. Dropping the tossing arm too early makes the shoulder level drop, forcing your swing to go in a downward motion and missing the serve in the net. Try keeping your tossing arm up longer, until your racquet starts moving up to meet the ball.

Not Using a Correct Grip

Often players use their forehand grip (pancake grip) to serve, which causes an incorrect serving motion and an inability to pronate properly. The wrong grip also limits you on the variety of serves you can hit and consistency in placement. Learning to use the continental grip will allow you to create different angles on your serve, better placement, and more consistency with the trajectory of the ball. It will also allow you to have different spin serves like a baseball player has different types of spin pitches.

Going For Too Much on Your First Serve

Some players often try to swing too hard on their first serve in an attempt to ace their opponent every time. However, aiming for too much power on the first serve leads to inconsistency in serving and adds pressure on your second serve. As a result, this can give the returner more opportunities to be aggressive on the return. Try going for a solid well-placed serve instead by using a loose grip and fluid motion.

Only Using Your Arm and Not Using Your Legs

Sometimes players tend to use only their arm to hit a serve, and it causes them to overswing and lose their body’s natural power. Not to mention, using only your arm can put extra strain on your shoulder and can lead to injury. To maximize the lower body’s role in your service motion, think of your legs like a spring. Coil your hips as you toss the ball and uncoil as your motion starts going upwards.

1 Comment

5 days ago

In the part of not using the correct grip, perhaps mention how to hold the racket (i.e. using the last 3 fingers, a loose hand / hold,a loose wrist), for a good racket head drop and up on edge....

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