The underarm serve may seem benign but it's the starting point for all tennis players. It has even contributed to some famous players winning a Grand Slam! Here are our tips.
The underarm serve, also known as the underhand serve, is used to start a rally or a warm-up.
The underarm serve is one of the most important strokes in tennis, particularly when learning. It's essential that kids and beginners master this technical skill as it will enable them to set the "tone" of the rally.
A poor underarm serve, particularly if it's to your partner's weaker side and without enough speed or height, may mean that you struggle to your rally going.
Communication and analysis with your hitting partner are really important for setting up good rallies! Think about whether your partner is left-handed, at ease with backhand, at ease with forehand, short, tall, etc.
To hone your skills, you'll also need to use an appropriate ball with the right bounce quality for your partner's skill level in order to make rallies easier and to get you playing more, better quality shots.
And adults shouldn't be afraid of using beginner balls that make rallies easier.
From a technical point of view, you'll need to master your timing and preparation with the racket's head - an up-down-up motion and correct follow-through - if you're going to do a good underarm serve.
In competitions, the underarm serve is allowed but is rarely used as it's much less effective than the classic serve, which is more powerful and precise.
It's worth remembering that, if you want to play an underarm serve in a competition, there's no need for it to bounce before you hit it.
It's a valid way to start play and, when used wisely, can really catch your opponent off guard. Basically, it's something to try for fun… But remember to show your opponent some respect!