A serve is the most important shot in tennis with match outcomes generally depending on serving statistics. A player who puts a lot of first serves and wins points generally has a good serving performance. Though this shot is hard to learn, it can be your trump card for the tennis career if you can master it.
In this post, we talk about the best drills, serving fundamentals, and techniques to help you improve your serve consistency.
Tennis Serve Consistency – A Complete Guide
The first thing that comes to mind when talking about serve consistency is drills. However, there are several factors you should consider before getting started with consistency drills. Small mistakes with your form and serving technique can be easily fixed in a few steps.
Prepare For The Serve
If a player cannot serve well, the game is highly affected. This generally makes the player pressurized and nervous.
Breathing in and out for some time and bouncing the ball can help calm down the nerves and help focus better on serving.
Make The Serve Repeatable
The most important thing is to make sure your service motion is repeatable. To make this possible, focus on your toss.
If you can manage to get ball toss consistency, it is easier to repeat the serve. If you can’t get the ball in the same place every time, you should consider practicing the toss.
Just like your decisions affect your gameplay, the ability to find how you are feeling affects your serve consistency.
Your serve percentages are largely dependent on your in-match decisions. Based on how you feel, you should select the serves that you are comfortable with.
Condition & Practice
To avoid losing stamina during the match, consider conditioning yourself every day and practice the serve multiple times to ensure you don’t get exhausted.
Lastly, keeping yourself positive during the serve is one of the most important things you should remember during a match. When you start doubting whether or not you will be making the serve, you start faulting.
Good Tennis Serve Technique
A tennis serve can be a good weapon only when the technique is right. The most effective approach is to divide the technique into smaller steps.
This should help beginners as well as advanced players understand their serves better and focus on areas they should improve.
The feet should be positioned in such a way that the front foot points towards the right net post and the back foot lies parallel to the baseline.
The back foot toes should be in line with the heel of the front foot to be able to remain stable in all directions as you execute your service motion.
One of the most daunting parts about learning the serve is holding the racquet. The continental grip is the most popular grip used by players of all levels.
The way you hold the racquet decides a lot about your final technique and its effectiveness, so it is important to get it right.
A good toss results in a powerful serve. If your toss is poor, the serve will not be effective even if you have strong legs, good technique, and a fast arm. The right technique helps focus on consistency when training the toss.
You begin by holding the ball between the thumb and the fingers and a little away from the palm. The arm should be aligned with the front leg. It is important to ensure that the toss happens simultaneously with the backswing.
This part of the serve varies the most between players. This step can be executed in various ways and the key is to look for something that works the best for you. As a general rule, the simpler is the better. You lift the arm holding the ball and release it when the arm reaches the level of your eye.
The arm holding the racquet is lifted until it reaches the trophy position. The bottom of the racquet should touch the back of your head and the two arms should get aligned.
Jump is a highly significant part of the serve. A right jump requires both the knees to be slightly bent and maximum of your weight on the front leg propelling you to jump forward.
The correct technique is to jump with both legs in a 45-degree direction and land on the front leg inside the court.
The shoulder rotation should happen as you jump. See that the steps synchronize well to avoid any energy wastage built throughout the movement. You should maintain a relaxed body through the step or you will not be able to hit as fast as possible.
The rotation should involve your hips, core, and shoulder. As you complete this step, the arm holding the racquet should make contact with the ball.
The final step is hitting the ball and it determines what kind of serve you hit. Snap the wrist as the racquet hits the ball and follow through with the arm.
Tennis Serve Consistency Drills
Drills are a great way to develop the right technique, build confidence, improve consistency and learn how to serve with focus. Let us look at some of the most useful serve consistency drills.
Serving In A Row
To practice this drill, divide the courts into two parts and the server serves one serve on each part from left to right. The player hits four serves and counts how many he needs to complete the sequence. When he needs two in a row in both halves, he serves eight if he serves all. And if he needs three in a row, it comes to twelve if he hit every time.
This drill works quite differently as compared to general practice as it involves serving under pressure. You need the least possible serves and start from zero if you miss the second or third serve. You are also much more focused on this drill.
This drill is quite similar to the above one but has the added pressure of playing against a partner. In this drill, two players serve against each other cross court. Player X serves first and then player Y. If X hits the court and Y misses, X wins a point. If X hits and Y also hits, neither wins a point. If X misses and Y hits, Y gets a point.
They serve three and then switch the order. The second server experiences more pressure. This drill can be played with first serves only, second serves only, or both.
This guide should help you understand how to get the serving technique right and what drills can help improve serve consistency. Implement these tips and you will start serving better than ever in no time.