Add the Toss
The third step of the serve progressions is to develop a consistent toss. In step #2 of the serve fundamentals section of the website we talked about several things all good players do when they toss the tennis ball. They hold the ball in their fingers (NOT in their palm). They keep their tossing arm relatively straight as their raise it. They release the tennis ball at about the top of their head by simply opening up their hand (this is the best way to get no spin on the ball). Finally, their tossing arm continues to rise after they’ve released the tennis ball.
Two other keys are that good players put the ball in a specific location above their heads and they toss it the same height each time.
We’re going to put aside the stuff we talked about in the previous videos for the moment. Your serve mechanics – how you swing the tennis racket – doesn’t matter much if you can’t put the toss in the same place every single time.
At 1:20 in the video we begin the lesson. I’m standing in the party stance. The tennis racket is point straight into the court and the handle right next to my front foot.
What I’m going to try and do is toss the ball so that it lands on my strings every single time. One of the keys to this drill is to make sure you leave your tossing arm extended above your head until the tennis ball bounces on your strings. This will help you learn to continue to raise your tossing arm after you release the ball.
You also need to be able to toss the ball the same height each time. At about 2:45 in the video I am standing next to the fence in the same position from earlier in the video. You’ll notice the fence has a windscreen on it. Now I’m going to practice the exact same drill, except I’m going to try and toss the ball to the top of the windscreen each time.
The combination of these two drills will teach me to control the location and height of my toss. Set a goal of approximately 7-8 out of 10 tosses bouncing on the strings.