Serve Fundamentals

Learn How to Serve

This section explains what every good player does when they hit a serve.

1 The Stance
The way you position you feet when you get ready to serve is called your stance. We teach the “party stance,” which is an easy-to-learn way of positioning your feet that lets you properly execute the rest of the mechanics necessary for a fundamentally sound serve. For more information on other serve stances, check out the Serve Advanced section of the website.

2 How to Toss the Tennis Ball
A properly placed, consistent toss is key to developing an effective serve. There’s a specific technique to use that will get you putting the tennis ball in the same spot every time, allowing you to both be more consistent and better disguise your serve.

3 The Backswing
The backswing gets your racket up above your shoulders in the L position, and puts your arm and the racket in position to swing up to the tennis ball correctly later in the motion. The key to this step is to raise the racket while keeping your palm facing the court as long as possible.

4 Knee Bend and Weight Transfer
The weight transfer and knee bend allows you to get your body’s momentum and legs into your serve. The weight transfer and knee bend happen simultaneously with the backswing and toss, but we have separated them into different videos to make each component easier to learn.

5 The Trophy Pose
When you toss the ball, complete your backswing, and bend your knees and begin transferring your weight forward, you will reach a position called the “trophy pose,” because this is the position you see embodied in nearly every tennis trophy. The trophy pose is the completion of your service preparation. From this position you are ready to begin your swing up to contact.

6 The Racket Drop
From the trophy pose, the racket drops down behind your back -before- it swings up to contact. The racket drop is a critical element of the serve, and every single pro gets to this position during their motions despite the fact that their preparations often look very different.

7 Leg Push
At the same time you drop the racket behind your back, you need to push up and off with your legs so that you are just barely coming off the court at the exact moment your racket is pointed straight down behind you.

8 Swing Up to Contact
From the racket drop position, you swing up -on edge- to the tennis ball and form an L-shape with your arm and racket. Pronation, which is part of this step, is explained in more detail in the following video.

9 How to Pronate on Your Serve
Pronation can be a tough thing to learn, but it is the key to unlocking power and spin on your serve. Not one single high-level tennis player frying-pans the tennis ball when they serve — they swing up with the tennis racket on edge to the ball, then pronate their wrist to open the racket face to the ball at the last second.

10 Follow Through
The follow through completes your service motion by smoothly decelerating the tennis racket and your body. Just as with all the other steps of the serve, there is a specific technique that will let you finish your motion and be on balance to prepare for your opponent’s return.

  • aravind.g

    this has been been an excellent site to go through.

  • Hdsjhf

    I didn’t get it

  • Pelagia Bizopoulou

    Thats a verry good thing!I meen the tennis!I play tennis 5years!I have win in tournamends verry times and i love to play tennis!I am 10years old now!

  • Tonyaquilina

    Cool information – very helpful – thanks !!!!

  • robby

    Someone mentioned a very important point about the serve grip. If you don’t get that right, the other 10 steps become anti-climactic.

  • jack barnett

    i do a flat serve because i cant do a spin serve. its beter for me because i do beter

  • jack barnett

    i do a flat serve because i cant do a spin serve. its beter for me because i do beter

  • catie

    i do a falt serve and that works a lot better for me. my tennis coach has showed me how to do all the new serves but i feel safe with my falt serve. there is so much that i can do with it… but i have switched my serve up a few times and it has worked just fine..but i have and still will try to do all the other serves

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  • Jackson Bowen

    This step by step guide is perfect if you want to serve like the pro’s. Are there easier ways to get the ball over the net in the service box? Of course there are, but this is by far the best way. It is difficult, but most good things take time to earn. Thanks for this guide.

  • Taylor

    I play Varsity Tennis at my high school, and these tips has helped me tremendously! Thank you!

  • chad Kastel

    Hey Vip, I have had many years training followed by even more years learning to teach under John Nogrady . Sometimes when we are achy it is because of an injury, but generally it is because we are using effort in a place that is does not belong. There is a simple way to tell if you are doing this. You should count out loud (so someone on the other side of the court can easily hear you) the numbers 1-10. Start counting with the beginning of your service motions. You need to count so that each number is said with the same decibel and the distance between each number is the same. If you are using effort in a place that does not belong one of two things will happen, Either the number will change in decibel or you will speed up or slow down the pace of what is said. If the count is clean you will not hear any changes in your voice and we can probably deduce you are not using phony effort. However if you hear changes you need to take the effort out of your serve. You might even have to change the motion so that it;s effortless. There is a reason that a guy like Roger Federer never gets injured and guys like Nadal or Del potro who look like physical phenoms do get injured and it is not luck. it is poor mechanics which allow effort to be used in the wrong places.