Attn: Jake Nelson
August 10, 2002
By STAN…THE TENNISMAN– STAFF WRITER
Wow…do those pro tennis players hit
fast serves! How do they do it?
Get ready to use your elbow.
That’s right, your elbow! As you can see in these pictures when you are ready to strike the ball start the last body
link (your hitting arm) leading with the elbow. This creates the proper set up to move the racket very fast therefore the
ball goes fast.
Bring the racket to the ball
like a hatchet, ready to slice the ball in half. At the last moment rotate your forearm to actually hit the ball flat. Continue
flat, into the court, to the direction you want the ball to land.
Timing the serve, and tossing
the ball no higher than the extended racket are key elements to the power, pop, and speed you can get.
This technique should be
used for the flat first serve and your percentage of success should be about 50 to 60%. Try to hit with lots of pace and speed
but take some chances since you are going for a way to put the opponent on the defensive.
Also, learn a second serve
variation like a kick serve, or slice. Use these to gain consistency, accuracy, set up predicted patterns of play, and keep
your opponent guessing. Your accuracy rate should be around 70 to 100%.
Learn to hit these new shots
at will, to the intended location, with the intended spin and speed, without straining any part of your body, and you will
have a serve that is a weapon to gain an advantage for the point. Make sure you practice with the correct motions so the habit
you build up in the muscles will be correct. Getting rid of improper motions takes more work than learning to do it correct
in the first place. Your game will become distinguished. This will take time, be patient.
Tip of the month: Tell your
coach you want to master a flat first serve. He can show you the fundamentals of the technique, proper placement and then
your movement after you make the shot. Also practice by yourself hitting hundreds of balls to groove your muscles and learning
your timing perfection. After some time of concentrated effort, your serve will become automatic and you will be able to start
the points with an advantage. Along your path of improvement, take time to play a match with an opponent you do not mind losing
to. Use this chance to hit that new serve over and over in game play. Play several games hitting first serves only to take
away the fear of losing.
For further information call
Stan Carter, USPTA certified professional, at the Flint Canyon Tennis Club: 818-790-3355 or 213-321-8699. You are invited to please email questions and comments to Coach@StanTheTennisman.com.