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  1. #1
    hartfan
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    Help with Tennis Serve

    Hi y'all, I'm new here and glad to be here. Hope everyone's enjoying the US Open.

    I basically taught myself tennis by practicing on the court, reading books and watching lots of tennis. Only been to a couple tennis clinics where there was a proper tennis coach. I think I probably picked up some bad habits which while do not prevent me from playing tennis, but may prevent me from improving my game.

    When I serve, I consciously try to use the continental grip, but somehow my hand would automatically twist my racket such that I'm using an eastern forehand grip by the time my racket makes contact with the ball. I've tried to grip it more tightly to prevent the grip from changing, but when that happens I'll usually hit the ball wide way left (I'm right-handed) or miss the ball totally, and my serve will feel totally out of rhythm. Is this a problem, especially considering I'm trying to improve accuracy, aim and power on my serves?

    This may be unrelated to the grip, but I'm trying to improve power to my serve. My usual service rhythm goes like this: toss, wait about a second, then knee bend, push off and contact the ball about two seconds after the toss. My serves usually bounce low, kinda slowly, and land on the service line or just inside it. Given that I've already incorporated a knee bend, I wonder if it's increasing power to my serve and if I can improve it further. I've also tried tossing the ball slightly inside the court, but when that happens I usually hit the ball into the net.

    Any help on this would be very much appreciated.

  2. #2
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    Re: Help with Tennis Serve

    Hi & welcome hartfan!

    short answer: I bet a lesson or clinic that focuses on your serve would really pay off in the long run.

    If the lessons address a significant change in your serve, it MIGHT be a case of one-step-back-before-two-steps-forward, so stay focused on the "I'm going to end up ahead of where I am now" part.

    It's a good thing it's your serve you want to work on: I've seen players practice a new serve as their first serve, leaving ol' reliable as their second serve. When you get comfortable & confident enough with the new one, it can become the foundation/mechanics of both your first & second serves.

    If you really hit your serve with a forehand grip, I can't imagine there's much spin on it. Spin will really help increase both your accuracy and pace; you can only hit a flat ball so hard and have it go in reliably.

    A continental grip really sounds like the right way to go. You're also smart to pay attention to the rhythm of your entire motion, and keeping that rhythm consistent each time you serve.

    You may already do this, but one of the best tips I ever received about serving was to make sure the racket head keeps moving throughout the entire swing. If it pauses/stops at some point, you're losing some racket head speed that will help with both power & spin. I believe players with a hitch in their serve are the ones most likely to have their mechanics break down under pressure.

    Hope this was of some help. It's not an easy thing to describe solely in words. I've seen some video tips/lessons about serve mechanics on sites like tennisone.com and FuzzyYellowBalls.com that you might find useful. Some of their stuff is free, some is only available by subscription/paying.

    Have fun!

  3. #3

    Re: Help with Tennis Serve

    Welcome aboard, hartfan!
    Boris Becker spent his entire career serving with an eastern forehand grip. Rafa went from an eastern backhand grip to close to an eastern forehand.
    As long as you can put spin on the ball for your kick and american twist serve, why change your grip? If you can only hit flat serves, do try the continental. But as long as you can hit UP and through the ball, don't go too crazy over the grip.
    If you keep your eastern grip, turning a bit more sideways to the net helps with the angle of impact, too.
    Missing winter...

  4. #4
    robspin
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    Re: Help with Tennis Serve

    I've found this video series to be helpful in a few ways: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=460AXj7qSAQ

    This is the first of 8 videos in total. Look at the suggestions on the right side for "Tennis Serve Step 2" etc. to view the full series.

    Hope this helps. Apart from that, the only thing I can add to the above two posters is practice, practice, practice. Do blind swings if/when you can. The point is to get your body to serve out of habit rather than thinking about stuff like how to twist your hand in the exact moment. You have to try to make it "automatic", if that makes sense.

  5. #5
    cosmin24
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    Re: Help with Tennis Serve

    hi hartfan,

    first, allow me to tell you that trying to grip the handle tightly to not change it is not a good idea - you lose power by being tense.
    second... i would like to share how one of my coaches (when i was a young junior) taught me to serve (contact) the ball with a continental:
    i was struggling too with changing the grip from continental to eastern forehand during the service motion. i would begin the swing with continental but just before the contact my hand would move right on the grip and contact would be made with a eastern forehand grip. so what my coach did was to have me begin the motion with an eastern backhand grip (from continental grip position move the hand one bevel to the left if you are a right handed player). that has worked great for me because i still switch the grip during the swing but it ends up in the continental at contact...
    practice becoming comfortable with the new grip then work on aim and power (power comes from: being loose, tossing the ball more in front, bending and pushing from the legs, and very important... having a good rhythm).
    hitting the ball into the net can be fixed if you keep the tossing hand up longer, keeping the chin up and visualizing your serve going at least a foot above the net.
    you might want to check out this article too - very useful: The Art of the Serve.

    have fun on the court!

    Cosmin

  6. #6

    Re: Help with Tennis Serve

    Yes, you can get online help to improve your serve as there are number of online Tennis video lessons are there which will help help you in your serve and other department of Tennis ..... you can get one series from tennisguru.com .....

  7. #7

    Re: Help with Tennis Serve

    As for tips from me, I would say 3 most important things that I concentrate on when I serve. The toss, the tossing arm, and the knee bent...the rest comes pretty natural to me. Make sure to have a consistent toss, and hold your tossing arm straight up until you bring your other arm around to hit up on the ball, and a good knee bent creates this kinetic energy that goes from your feet up to the point of contact.

    Tennis-House

  8. #8

    Re: Help with Tennis Serve

    May anyone help me plz. I am playing since 1 year. Can serve continuously without fault, but no speed int he serve. Very slowly gone. How to improve. What to focus ??

  9. #9

    Re: Help with Tennis Serve

    make everything consistent enough to serve powerfully, like a good toss and good form

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