The fifth part of the serve is getting to the trophy pose. It’s the completion of your service preparation. The previous three videos focused on the toss, backswing, and knee bend. They are the three elements of the preparation you need to get to the trophy pose, which is the body position I am in to start the video. Starting from my stance at 27 seconds in the video, I do those three things all at the same time — and I complete them at the same time — to get to the trophy pose. To be clear:
1. My tossing arm is extended straight up into the air (completion of the toss)
2. My tennis racket and hitting arm are in the “L” position (completion of the backswing)
3. My knees are fully bent and the weight is equally distributed on the balls of each foot (completion of the knee bend)
It’s called the trophy pose because the body position I am in is similar to what many tennis tournament trophies looks like.
The key to this step of the serve is timing each element of the preparation — the toss, the backswing, the knee bend — so that they all complete at the same time. At 1:30 in the video I demonstrate how to time everything. Starting in my stance, my weight rocks forward onto my front foot. My arms are still together at this point — they aren’t moved yet. As my weight begins to rock back, my arms separate and they drop down together. Once my weight is all on my back foot and I begin to rock my weight back forward and bend my knees, my arms begin to rise. I time it so that my toss, backswing, and knee bend complete at the same time, getting me to the trophy pose.
At 2 minutes in the video we focus on how my arms move during the preparation. Coaches often refer to how the arms move as “down together, up together.” This, of course, is because the arms move down together as a piece and up together as a piece. Knowing this should help you time your preparation as you try and get to the trophy pose. To reiterate, as your weight rocks forward arms stay together. As your weight rocks back the arms separate and drop down together, and as your weight rocks back forward the arms move up together, getting you to the trophy pose.
From this position — the trophy pose — your service preparation is complete and you are ready to swing forward and hit the tennis ball.
There is one final piece of timing your trophy pose that relates to your toss. You want to be hitting your trophy pose at the same instant the toss reaches it’s highest point. At 2:45 in the video we watch how I do that. When the tennis ball gets to it’s highest point I’m in the trophy pose. Doing this should help with the rhythm and timing of your service motion. If you, for example, toss the tennis ball really high, you could end up waiting in your trophy pose for a little while. This could make things awkward. Timing things like we have suggested, by hitting the trophy pose at the same moment the toss reaches it’s highest point, should give your service motion a nice, repeatable rhythm.