- Drive Up With the Legs
- Adjust Your Ball Toss
- Work on Your Pronation
With the serve being such an important part of the game, it makes sense to want to improve it.
Improving your accuracy on the serve is one way to do it.
But besides this, the one area that everybody wants to improve on is the power they get on their serve.
Because powerful serves yield more free points, more aces, and the follow-up shot then BECOMES SIGNIFICANTLY EASIER after a powerful serve.
But interestingly, Roger Federer is in 3rd place, showing that serve placement can also GAIN PLENTY OF ACES.
However, working on where you can place your serve only comes with practice, whereas more power can be gained by adjusting certain mechanics.
The latter is what I shall be focusing on in this quick read, as proven by my top tips shared above.
And now, let me get a little more specific on each of the adjustments I have recommended earlier.
Specifics on My Top Three Tips
Just imagine what an EXTRA 5 or 10mph could lead to when serving!
I’ve never been a huge server, but then again, I’m not exactly tall for a tennis player.
However, I’ve often wondered how great the game must be for guys who can HAMMER DOWN serves at 130, 135, or even 140mph.
While I’m not promising you will get to those kinds of speeds, I can guarantee you that the following will help you to hit your serve with more pace.
i) Making Full Use of the Legs
In many shots in tennis, your legs are your best asset.
What I mean by this is that you need to get every ounce of energy and assistance that you can from them.
And for many shots, you must try to bend your knees, load up, and then spring through the ball to MAXIMISE THE PACE you can get.
This is no different when serving, as you need to use your legs to spring up from the ground and contact the ball.
Getting a little air time here is preferable, and the reason for this is that you want to get your contact point AS HIGH AS PHYSICALLY POSSIBLE.
When you think about it, the higher you hit the ball, the better angle you have to work with when applying power and aiming towards the service box.
That’s why tall guys are often such huge servers!
But perhaps the best (and smoothest) example I can think of here is Roger Federer.
Check out this video to see how well he uses his legs when serving:
ii) Adjusting the Ball Toss
The ball toss is one of the most important parts of the serve, yet it often gets overlooked or under practiced.
But in my experience, and from what I’ve learned about tennis over the years, if the ball toss isn’t right, everything GOES SOUTH.
That’s why it is so important that you work on it to maximize the power you can get.
Many intermediate players believe that the ball toss merely needs to be high enough, and slightly in front of the body.
But this isn’t the case.
If you were to toss the ball and let it bounce, it should be a good couple of feet inside the baseline.
There are some pretty specific reasons for this too.
(1) Firstly, the ball needs to be right out in front of you because it forces you to drive up to the ball – remember point one above?
When you have to spring to the ball to get to it, you will automatically engage the legs and do so.
(2) Secondly, by tossing the ball ahead of you, the way in which you can contact the ball is more efficient.
This is often referred to as a ‘SNAP MOTION’.
Basically, the more your racket is ahead of your wrist, the easier and more powerful it is to snap over the top of the ball.
iii) Perfecting the Pronation
My third tip is closely linked with the second point. You’ve probably noticed a pattern – all of these tips are intricately linked.
Now, in terms of perfecting the pronation, this is more of a technical element some might say.
However, by tossing the ball in front of you, you will automatically improve your pronation to the ball.
This is a little more complex than the first two tips, but let me explain.
For this one, let me refer you to the video below of one of my all-time favorite players, Pete Sampras:
Now, pronation describes the way in which you lead with your elbow and drive up to the ball before snapping it.
Pete Sampras does this to perfection!
The more that you lead with your elbow, ideally from a starting position further down your back, the better you will coil up the arm and then let rip on the ball.
If this still sounds a little confusing, I often like to compare the pronation on a serve to simply throwing a ball.
If you want to throw a ball as far as you can, you will really want to wind up the elbow and then release your arm.
The serve is no different, apart from the fact that you’ve then got a racket in your hand!
I sincerely hope that the information shown above lets you develop more pace on your serve.
The changes might be quick, or they might be rapid – it all depends on how much you actually practice on the court.
I know that nobody likes working on their serve, but believe me, your game and your results will thank you later down the line if you do.
Do you have anything else to add to improve power on a serve?
Have you used the tips above and seen any results? Let us know in the comments!