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The Tennis Serve

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The Tennis Serve
By: Brayden Bennell
Harloff 7/8

What do you need to do to make sure you have a successful tennis serve? Sure practice will help, but truly the secret lies in different muscles in your arms, abs, and most importantly legs. Legs? Why Legs? In this presentation I will show you why and how you can maximize your ability in your serve.
To begin with a successful serve, look for a racquet that has a grip that fits the size of your hand, this will maximize grip as well as momentum through the swing of your stroke. The serve is a full body motion, not just an upper body move, if one thing is off the whole serve will be different than expected. I suggest the Babolat Aero Drive tennis racquet for powerful serves, as being one of the heavier performance racquets on the market it will provide more power and control to your shots. You will be amazed with what 10.9 ounces can do for your game. To start I would lift small weights of 5-10 pounds daily in the swing of the serve, this will help strengthen all the muscles you actually use when you serve the ball. Believe it or not, the main muscles in your arm don’t take a part in what makes a powerful serve, it’s the muscles that are hidden and are significantly smaller than the bicep, and tricep. But enough about that, now that you know some tips lets move on to the knowledge and mental aspect of the serve.
Your mental game in tennis is more important than anything else, if you don’t believe and get down on yourself, you can basically walk off the court and commit to the loss. This game uses mental power more than most other sports and always have to think about the next shot or the next serve you need to take. There are 3 different types of serves, Flat, Kick, and Slice. Flat is the most powerful, Kick has the highest jump off the ground, and Slice has a heavy curve to the left or right. When you serve one type 2 or 3 times, switch it up to the next serve to throw your opponent off course. Follow that and you will always be a step ahead of your opponent.

The following picture will shoe the biomechanical principles involved in the serve and several steps to the performance of the serve.

The strengths and weaknesses of my serve vary, while the power of my serve is the strength I have as well as placement. But 1st serve reliability is quite low and I have to rely on a 2nd serve to start off the point. Occasionally I will double fault but over all my weaknesses my worst is ball toss, being out in front is the issue. I toss the ball too far back limiting form which causes my to change my serve in the process.

Here are 7 ways to improve your serve game. Use it in any order you like to improve your game as much as possible!

The Practice Plan 1. You need six targets and a large basket of balls in this exercise, so plan ahead of time. Any one-foot tall target should work: Tennis ball cans or small cones are perfect.

2. Place three targets in each service box, and spread them out near the back of the service line.

3. Jog back to the opposite baseline, and line up on the deuce court, to reuse the balls you jst served over there.

4. Pick a target and stick with it for 10 to 15 serves. Do NOT constantly switch targets. Work on a specific serve for a set amount of time, and track your progress.

5. Move along the baseline once you feel comfortable on a specific serve. You can aim for the same target or choose a new one if you’re ready to move on.

6. Continue hitting until you’ve taken 10 to 15 serves at each target. Rearrange the targets and keep serving if you have the time and energy to continue practicing. I would suggest not to practice more than 2 hours a day, it can strain your arm and body and make you miss shots without knowing why, if possibly practice 2 hours take a break for a day and then repeat the cycle!

7. If you have an iPhone you are in luck. Have a friend go with you and Download the app called Vstrator. It video tapes your stroke and lets you view it in any way you want to helping you see how you truly hit the ball!

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