How to Serve a Tennis Ball

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Game, Set, Match. The serve is the most important skill in tennis. This is because the serve starts the tennis game and you only get two chances to get the ball into the correct side of the court. It is also the only shot you have complete control of, so make sure you do it well.


Hold your racquet pointing out toward the net with your dominant hand. It should be in the service grip, which is the Continental grip. To do this grip, hold your racket sideways as if you were holding a hammer. Some people serve using the Eastern grip, used for forehands, but it does not work as well.
Plant feet steady into the ground behind the baseline. The line farthest from the net. You should be positioned so that your shoulder lines up where you are aiming. Face sideways to the net, not forwards. Shoulders should be turned in parallel with your feet. Keep in mind that the ball should cross over to the opposite side of the court from where you are standing and can only go in the first box. The line that ends this box is called the service line.
Drop your racket and bring your racquet behind you in an arc like motion. At the same time, begin to toss the ball in front of you toward the court about 5 inches or so in front. When tossing, remember that you are not throwing the ball you should just let go of the ball when it is at the top. The ball should reach as high as you can reach with your racquet.
Drop your racquet behind your head in a motion almost like you are scratching your back. You can also bend your knees, it will give the ball more power.
Bring the racquet forward slowly and hit the ball with as much speed as you can while keeping control. Do not try to hit as hard as you can. Make sure you pronate your wrist so the ball is hit. Pronation is necessary in every type of serve, including flat, slice, topspin, twist, and topspin slice.
At the very end after contact snap your wrist downward making sure not to hit yourself to help the ball land in the court. The racquet should end near the bottom of your opposite foot.
Do not snap your wrist.
Make sure to move into the court a bit after your serve. Be prepared for the ball to come back.
Practice. Start adding power to the serve by swinging faster, as well as using your leg strength to attack the ball.


You can get shoes specifically developed to help you move more quickly and comfortably on a tennis court.
After aligning your feet you can bounce the ball if you like. Some players do to help develop a rhythm.
When in the backscratch motion, do not hold it there too long. Holding it will make you lose all momentum, and subsequently, most of your power.
One of the most important parts of the serve is the toss. It is often a good idea to try tossing just in front of you with your non dominant hand. Be able to catch your toss after releasing it without moving your hand.
It can be very helpful to try each part of the service motion individually, such as swinging without a ball or tossing without a racket.
Make sure you are watching your toss. If you have a bad toss you can catch it and try again.
If your toss is too low it will sail past the service line.
Do not toss very high, either. When the ball starts to drop, gravity makes the ball go faster downwards, making it harder to hit.
Toss the ball in front of you, if it is behind you it will most likely be out closer to the baseline
No manual can teach you everything you need to know, it is a good idea to seek instruction from a tennis professional.
Do not get discouraged if things do not work out instantly, do not give up and always try your best!
Always keep the ball that you serve over your front foot, that is where you are aiming to hit the ball.


Wear comfortable sneakers to protect your feet. Tying your hair back will keep it out of your face as well.
Make sure you have a good grip on your racquet otherwise it may slip out of your hand during the serve.

The directions here are very basic, but will certainly suffice for beginners. For more advanced players, see tutorials on Flat Serves, Slice Serves, Topspin Serves, and Kick Serves. A quick look at Tennis Grips is also useful.
Do not overpronate!!! If you do, it may lead to serious wrist injuries and possibly bone problems. Make sure you pronate enough, but only enough.

Things You Will Need

Tennis racquet
Tennis balls
Tennis shoes
Tennis court

Related wikiHows

How to Hit a Slice Serve in Tennis
How to Hit a Flat Serve in Tennis
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