Keys to Hitting a Hard Serve
(This article was originally posted at the Central NJ Tennis club.
Here are some things you can do to develop a hard serve.
1. You have to practice hitting the serve hard. When I was young one of my
first priorities was getting power on my serve. At first I could maybe get
in one hard serve out of ten. So I wasn't too consistent. But then again I
you always have a second serve to follow it up with. I always got first
serve practice by simply playing matches. I might have even one more of my
matches if I could have gotten my first serve in, but that was an
unconscious sacrifice I was willing to make.
2. Learn how to throw a ball very far. People who can throw a baseball very
far or very fast can eventually translate that into a powerful serve. It's
all in the technique. What I've found in giving tennis lessons is that most
people could serve much harder. They have the potential for much more power
but they have bad mechanics. Throwing is like a sling shot motion. And you
have to get your whole body involved. The elbow and wrist have to turn into
3. Toss the ball out in front of you. You should be actually falling forward
toward the service box on every serve. (If you are an intermediate player
and up.) This way you can add extra power by getting your weight into the
4. Hit through the ball. Some people tend to stop their racquets at impact.
I tell them to visualize hitting through the ball. I learned this from a
martial arts class I took. They told me to punch past the pad. To pretend I
was going to punch a hole through the pad. If you do it right you will have
a follow-through that could end up hitting your left or right shin.
(Warning: this is very painful) You have to learn to direct the
follow-through to your left side and away from your legs.
5. Use wrist pronation or snap. You don't actually snap your wrist, you
rotate it. We have three major joints in the arm. By moving all of them in
unison we can develop more power. The most important one
for power is the wrist. In fact that is why we have to be careful in using
the wrist while hitting ground strokes, because a pure wrist shot on a flat
stroke can be way too powerful and send the ball
sailing into or over the fence.
Here is an exercise I use to help people develop wrist power. Try to hit a
serve motion only with your wrist moving. Don't use any other part of your
arm. From the baseline I can easily hit the back fence or curtain using only
A similar technique to develop power is to try to hit the back fence or
curtain with your serve. Just to develop power of your serve. Many players
can not hit that target. If you can easily hit it then you probably already
have good power on you serve.
6. Make sure you hit the sweetspot on your racquet. You can only get maximal
power if you hit the serve on your sweetspot. That is the area on your
strings that give the most rebound. It varies in position and size from
racquet to racquet. It is usually in the middle of the racquet.
For more info on improving your serve visit
and read my "Power Serving
Tip." There are other tips and techniques there as well, even how to
a reliable second serve.
Good luck with it. If you have any other questions on the serve or other
shots maybe I can help. Just put up your question or please add any
techniques that you have found that work for you.