Tennis Tips for a Winning Serve
The tennis serve is the most complicated stroke in the game. But that doesn’t mean that you’ll never get it. It means that there are many ways and traps of not doing the right thing.
The most common problems with tennis serve are:
– forehand grip – trying too hard – using too many muscles – hitting a lot into the net – looking down to the court before hitting the ball
Let’s see how you can address these problems from the technical and mental aspect.
1. Hitting a serve with a forehand grip
The question is why you play with a forehand grip when you probably know that it’s the continental grip that works best for a good versatile serve?
You started with that grip, kept it and still enjoyed your game (or won matches). Unless you become really really motivated – especially with matches lost to good players – you probably won’t change it.
It feels safe and you don’t make mistakes, even though you’re always on defense when your opponent returns the shot. You may be missing the big picture here. If you play for points – competitively – it doesn’t matter who makes less mistakes. It matters only who wins.
Tennis serve tip #1
Start practicing with a continental grip. Since your wrist and your arm are not used to this change you need to start slowly. Hit your serves with 25% speed at first. Gently grip the racquet and focus on your feel. It will improve. Gradually increase speed.
Later serve your first serves with this grip and medium paced speed and use your safe serve for the second serve. The next step is learning a top spin serve and gradually implementing it in the game.
Then gather all your courage and decide that from a certain day on you will never play your old serve again. Now you’re really on your way to good serving!
2. Trying too hard
If you watch really good servers, you’ll see that it looks quite effortless to hit a powerful serve. If you try hard to hit a fast serve you contract too many contradictory muscles which work against each other. You will not get a fast and effortless serve by trying hard! You are going in the wrong direction.
Tennis serve tip #2
Serve a couple of your serves as normal. Notice the speed of the ball and how much you exert yourself. How much effort it takes to hit a ball with this speed.
Now stop and imagine that you want to hit with same speed but less effort. Just decide and hit a few. You may be surprised that you can still do it.
Now go further with this and decide that you want to hit faster with even less effort. Let your body figure this out. Just imagine the end result – fast ball, easy effortless serving and see what happens.
Do not judge your results after 3 serves. Serve 20 or 30 balls and know the end result – fast serve with no effort. When you let go of your conscious control your serves will start flying!
3. Hitting a lot into the net
The reason for this lies in your imagination. When you imagine your tennis serve in a straight line, you connect your point of contact and the place where you want to hit your serve with a straight line. Unfortunately, if you’re not 6’5”, the net is in between. Many serves end up at the net.
Tennis serve tip #3
Hit above the net! Imagine your serve going above the net and into the court. More thorough explanation and tips on this common mistake are available only for my subscribers.
This is one of the best tips for improving your serve and I offer this tennis serve tip only to those who really want to improve their game – subscribers to the TennisMindGame Newsletter.
4. Looking down into the court before hitting
When you look down at your target you obviously lose sight of the ball. This means that you probably can’t hit it in the middle of the racquet and that you are not focusing on the ball anymore. When your head moves during the stroke it pulls your arm too. This results in many mishits and mistakes.
The reason why you look down is that your mind goes into the future. When that happens you disrupt your mind-body connection. This is especially evident on the tennis serve since there is only a small window above the net where you must hit in order to keep the ball in the service box.
When you play from the baseline you have a much bigger target. You can make these mind-body disconnects and still keep the ball in play.
The tennis serve is very sensitive to your mental activity. Every thought, fear, indecision or mind in the future (or past) affects your serve. And since the window above the net is so small you often miss it – either below in the net or above and over the service box.
Tennis serve tip #4
Stay with the ball until it disappears. The only part of the tennis serve that you can control is the point of impact. Focus on that and practice keeping your mind in the present moment- hitting the ball. That way your head will stay there too and you won’t disrupt your serve.
Decide beforehand where you want to serve and then focus only on the ball and the clean contact with it. When that happens move on – with you mind and body.
And one more tip – work on these serving tips until they work, don’t just try these ideas for a couple of minutes. Practice them for a couple of weeks and you’ll see a noticable improvement of your serve.
Tomaz Mencinger shows the players how to make their mind their best ally by teaching them expert tennis tips which you can get through his free newsletter. Find out how to play a winning tennis by visiting http://www.tennismindgame.com.