The Serve

Andy Roddick winds up for a serve.

The serve is arguably the most difficult shot in tennis to learn because there are so many moving parts of the body that must act together. The fundamentals section explains what every good player does when they hit a serve. The progressions series gives you a step-by-step method to follow to build your serve up from scratch. And the advanced section goes into detail about what the top pros on tour do to add extra oomph and spin to the shot.

Also, visit the kick serve and slice serve sections to learn how to hit these two types of serves. They are important weapons that any intermediate to advanced player must have in their arsenal.

Serve Fundamentals (START HERE)
The fundamentals are the things that every single pro tennis player does each time they serve. By contrast, club level players are inconsistent with their execution of the fundamentals. The nine videos in this section explain what those top-level players do when serving, one part at a time.

Serve Progressions
The serve progressions section provides a series of easy to follow, step-by-step lessons to build your serve from scratch. Even if you already have a service motion that you’re used to, break it down and build it back up here.

Advanced Serve Technique
This section focuses on some of the more advanced techniques that pro players use when serving.

Kick Serve
This link will take you to the kick serve section of the website.

Slice Serve
This link will take you to the slice serve section of the website.

  • Haniffa Bakar

    Fabulous! I’m 68 and enjoying your lessons

  • Anonymous

    guachin dame la plata o la yuta a mi me mata

  • Oldtoly

    This is my question.

    I’m standing in the middle of the baseline and serving into dues box. Then I want to serve to advantage box, and still in the middle of the baseline. Obviously, that between target directions there is around 45 degree difference. How should I readjust my body turn in second case?

    I think, I have to turn my body also 45 degree. But all tennis players do not turn their bodies. Is there something wrong?

    Thanks.

  • Sarang

    where are the videos ?

  • http://profiles.yahoo.com/u/S6QY7ZEMQAJHVLQ3YGDZZ7B6KE Sid Bagaria

    when u r serving to the ad side i think u shud toss a bit towards 1 o clock. Then turn ur shoulders to direct the ball.so if u turn ur shoulders more it will go wide (for a righty)

  • KD Guest

    —if you mean hit it flatter, bad idea. itll turn into a weak flat serve with no kick. if you mean more speed with the same high kick, just keep working on it, use your body better (core muscles), and itll come.—

  • KD Guest

    —hey will, these are great videos on tennis’ toughest stroke. however, it is TENNIS’ TOUGHEST STROKE. there need to be more. no one masters the serve; otherwise everyone would hit 90-95% 1st serves. describe body weight usage, delve deeper into the toss, progressions and advanced technique are awesome everywhere else on the site, but not enough here.—

  • KD Guest

    —im really sorry if this sounds a bit rude, ive just been having difficulty with consistency to the point that ive had to rebuild from scratch, even after watching these videos. really frustrated.—

  • kaitlyn

    im a junior player and our choaches are teaching us to serve with a backhand grip, i am finding this very difficult and my dad thinks i should be using a continental grip . i would apprieciate some feed back on which grip you recommend for me to be using. thank you

  • manas

    I would like to ask you a question that should a player bend its back when serving? Does bending back too much cause any sort of injury ? Bending could easily give more power and spin to the serve but makes it tougher to learn serve. I would be glad if you could answer to my question. Thanks!!

  • Chris

    use eastern backhand for kick serves, continental for flat serves

  • http://www.tomaschavez.com/ Tomas Chavez

    I’m not a professional player but I do play tennis.
    Bending the back when serving is fine – it gives more power to the serve.
    You have to learn simple serving first (no back bending). free satellite tv

  • Tomg375

    I have fairly good form on my flat and kick serves, good pace with little effort and very consistent. Unfortunately “consistent” means the flat serves consistently hit the tape and the kick serves are consistently 6-24 inches long. Apparently I fit Einstien’s definition of insanity: “Doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results.” Where should I make the change to better locate the serve? Move the toss? Hit different spot on the ball? Modify swing? Something else? This might be a good video topic. Thanks in advance.

  • Youascrub

    Hi will, I want to know why you think you are qualified to coach tennis when never had a junior national ranking, no NCAA ranking, and played on a crap college team?

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    good one…

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  • Callum_smellum

    a real good serve gives me a boner

  • tennis slayer

    I would like to ask you a question that should a player bend its back when serving? Does bending back too much cause any sort of injury ? Bending could easily give more power and spin to the serve but makes it tougher to learn serve. I would be glad if you could answer to my question. Thanks!!

  • tennis slayer

    i shred tennis up

  • jacob quiffy

    i’m gay

  • tommy

    tennis is ma bich

  • Jack P

    i love the dic in my mouth guys!

  • jacob quiffy

    i love balls in my mouth

    (TENNIS BALLS GUYS)

  • Jack P

    the other day i sat on a bullbar of a car and pulled it!

  • Crystal

    I cant ever get my first serve in and it drives me insane!! and it gets me so mad do you have any tips on it?

  • Cman5345

    you need to get your toss more out in front slow it down and hit it dont push it

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  • Tennis is a drug

    Tennis is a drug

  • Harley

    Watched your video lesson on the kick serve and thought it was the best explanation of the technique I had ever read, seen or heard. The visual of the hand and racquet position at the top was outstanding!

  • Roman Boroditsky

    Will, i bought the PR serve course and cannot log in. You haven’t answered my e-mails. Kinda embarassing, IMHO.

  • GTR

    I purchased the rafter serve course and have not recieved log in information. I tried to retun the email i recieved which was nothing more than sales junk. I am not the first to have this problem either issue a full refund or fix the problem and provide the log in information!

  • Wolf

    I bought the Rafter Serve system course and cannot log in.
    Had to do a refund. That worked though!
    Wolf

  • knob

    yes bich cow

  • Dracquet

    Big insight about serves: All the tips and work on technique are great–how you toss,where, how you stand,how you move,how you pronate or use a “dirty diaper” finish. Eventually you get a natural motion, and natural pronation. But that does not by itself make your serve go in,which is of course the point.

    Many players continue to work on technique long after they have very good technique.Extreme frustration sets in when others with less technique serve the ball in at good pace over and over.

    At some point we all must recognize that our technique is already good. We already know how to serve and hit the ball. What is still wrong?

    It is this:We overplan the serve we about to hit. On this serve,we might say, I am going to hit flat to the T. We know exactly how to hit that shot,what it feels like. Why won’t it go in?
    The answer is we are pretty good but not perfect.Neither is Nadal.

    What we are doing is trying to toss the ball to a preplanned swing path.That,of course,requires a perfect toss.No one can perfectly toss a ball to a predetermined swing path with high regularity, not even Nadal. Don’t tear out your hair. There is an answer and we all already know it.

    Once the ball leaves your hand in the serve, all planning is done. Then that particular ball hanging up there in the air becomes just like any other shot you hit. And none of them are exactly the same. You hit that ball just like any fh or bh. You hit that particular ball so it goes over the net where it must be.We miss because we are trying to force a certain type of serve from a toss that is ever so slightly imperfect.

    As BJ king said, champions adjust. Once the toss is in the air we must hit that ball, not the planned ball, where it must be hit to make it go in with pace even though it is not precisely the serve we had in mind beforehand. And we already know how to do that if we do not cling to trying to force the serve we planned off a toss that just isn’t quite right. Like any other shot, take what you are given,not what you planned or desire. Hit the shot you have not the one you desire.

    This might also account for at least part of the lower 1st serve probability,not how hard we hit. On the first serve we all tend to plan more. On the second serve we are more willing to hit the shot we must hit.

    It might also account for the adage to keep your eye on the ball. If you are going to hit a ball in predetermined spot with a predetermined swing path, you could do it with your eyes closed. The reason for watching the ball is to hit the shot you have rather than the one you planned.

    So remember, once the toss leaves your hand it is just like any other shot. You must hit that particular ball and no other, in the way you already know how to do, to make it go over the net with pace and into the service box. Whether it is exactly the shot you planned no longer matters.

    The only exception is that you may choose not to hit a toss. But that will never help if you are holding out for a perfect toss to match a preplanned swing path. So hit the shot you have: you already know how to do that.