If you’re looking to add power to your serve in tennis, hit really fast balls and at the same time expend less effort, then this serving tip is the key drill you need to perform.
The secret to a powerful serve lies mostly in the transition from the backswing into the forward swing – or better said – into the upward swing.
If this transition doesn’t increase the speed of the racquet face and it doesn’t feel effortless, you’re doing something wrong.
In the video above, you can see a simple exercise that will help you feel the connection between the backswing and the upward swing and help you generate more force with less effort.
The “Real” Trophy Position
Steffi Graf trophy position (Image from tennisserver.com)
What is typically described as the trophy position is when the racquet points vertically to the sky in the backswing.
But most players do not accelerate the racquet from there.
In fact, only Steffi Graf actually had a vertical racquet in that phase of the serve and accelerated from there.
While the racquet might go through the vertical position during the wind-up, it doesn’t really accelerate from there but from a slightly lower position.
Most pros accelerate the racquet head from a lower position which is actually the position from which they would throw.
I found this video on youtube that talks about the “power position” which is what I mean when I talk about the position from which the racquet really starts to
So, in the following drills, start from the position that you feel is the beginning of your »throwing« motion.
How to Practice The Serve
Here’s a quick rundown of the exercises shown in the video:
1. Position yourself in your normal serving stance and place your racquet behind you in a horizontal position – or slightly higher. Then simply allow your racquet to drop – and pull it up again. Your arm and wrist must give in to the weight of the racquet.
2. After a few repetitions where you feel that you can really allow the racquet to drop, turn your shoulders as you’re starting the racquet drop. Repeat at least 20-30 times (or more if needed) and search for where you feel that the racquet accelerates.
DO NOT accelerate the racquet with your arm! Your arm is still loose, and it acts now as a whip. Your focus is only on the shoulder turn – and you’ll see that the racquet flies out by itself from behind your back.
3. If you’re really loose and do it well, the racquet will want to come out to the side with the backside pointing forward. In the third step, you don’t really allow that to happen, but you lead upwards with the edge.
4. In the last step, you complete the follow-through, leading with the opposite edge.
Repeat this sequence of movements for a few tennis sessions, and you’ll find the secret to good acceleration with little effort when serving in tennis.