How to Hit a Flat Serve in Tennis

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A quick summary of hitting a flat serve in the game of tennis.


  1. Hold your racquet with a continental grip. A Forehand Grip may also work for beginners (See Tennis Grips "How To" for a full list of grips.
  2. Your shoulders should line up in the direction you want to hit (dont make it too obvious, or else your opponent will know what to expect), such that your non-dominant side is closer to the net.
  3. Toss the ball into the court. If you let it drop and bounce, it should bounce about 18 inches in front of you. Your toss apex should be at the lowest limit of your reach. Keep your eyes on the ball the whole time. Do not hit it too early or too late, as this may cause the ball to go out.
  4. Bend your knees. As you prepare to approach the ball when it is in the air, push off (slightly) with your toes and hit the ball. Do NOT jump too high or too early, as this will result in the ball going into the net. The extra pop as you jump in the air gives you added height, allowing a serve to be hit harder.
  5. Bring your racquet forward and swing through the ball. Try to throw the ball very low and very in front of you. There is a natural tendency for the ball to curve right (for righties) or left (for lefties). You will need to pronate, meaning that your wrist will turn outwards from your body. Your racquet-face should be perpendicular to the direction you wish to hit.
  6. Follow through under on your non-dominant side.
  7. Tips You should try and hit down on the ball. Use your small jump with your toes to give you height so you can hit down on it.
  8. a good exercise is to stand in the box and hit DOWN into the opposite box. Never follow through.


  • Make sure your arm is straight at contact; this will give you more consistency and more power.
  • Keep in mind that a "flat" serve needs some spin to pull the ball into the service box.


  • Be careful NOT to follow through on the same side as your dominant hand. This will lead to shoulder and elbow injuries.

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