For an accurate serve, you need to nail the basics! After that, your coach can help you hone your technique! Let's go!
This is such a vast, complex topic that we could write a six-volume thesis on it. The precision of a serve depends on several factors. We've chosen to tackle this topic in 5 parts to be as comprehensive as possible, without being too complicated.
Why are your legs so important for an accurate serve?
Your legs are a bit like your serve's metronome.
You can't do a good serve without pushing forwards and upwards with your legs. This drive will determine not only your serve's power and spin quality, but also its precision!
Yep, it's not just your arm that dictates the precision of your serve. To be as accurate as possible, you'll need to drive up and forwards, in particular in the direction that you want the ball to go!
If you do a kick serve to the outside, your body and your drive need to follow through towards the outside.
How about your shoulders?
Like with the leg drive, your shoulder orientation is extremely important because it's how you aim!
It's therefore vital that your left shoulder (for right-handers, and the other way round for left-handers) is aligned with your right, pointing in the direction you want to aim.
Ideally, the line of your shoulders should remain pointing in the direction of your serve as you drive forwards and hit, but only for a very short period so that you've got time to reposition yourself for the return as quickly as possible.
What's the right contact point for an accurate serve?
The ball toss and contact point are closely linked.
If the contact point is too far above the player or too far back, the serve won't be as accurate as it could.
Your contact point should be slightly in front (this might actually mean it's slightly behind your head for a kick serve, a bit in front and to the right for a slice, or high and in front for a flat serve).
A contact point that's slightly forwards will allow you to swing your arm and wrist much more naturally and therefore make your serve even more precise.
That's right! If your contact point is good, you'll have the option of using your wrist to send the ball in any direction you want. (Pronation: flat, slice; supination: kick).
What's the right ball toss for maximum precision?
Your ball toss needs to be perfect for the most accurate serve.
To find out how to do a good ball toss, check out our article on “The different types of ball toss”.
Why are your feet so important for an accurate serve?
The orientation of your feet is obviously linked to that of your shoulders.
Good foot alignment on the baseline before serving can make your serve even more precise.
If you want to serve down the T, you'll need to orient your left foot (for right-handers) as much as possible towards the zone you're aiming for.
Of course, since it's a matter of mere centimetres, make sure your foot doesn't block your leg drive and your step forwards.
We've now examined all sorts of things that affect the accuracy of your serve. Of course, there's nothing more important than training and repetition to achieve accuracy.
And if you want to hit into the hardest zones, you'll need plenty of discipline.
Have a great match!