Noted tennis coach Simon Konov explains how to craft the perfect set in five easy steps.
Step 1: Use the Continental grip
This is the same grip you use for backhand volleys, smashes and backhand slices. This grip allows you to properly pronate your arm, and also allows you to hit different types of serve (e.g. slice serve, kick serve, flat serve) without having to change your grip.
Step 2: Repeatedly toss the ball without going higher than 15cm above the ideal impact point
The higher you toss the ball in preparation for a serve, the faster it will descend, making it difficult to hit in the exact right spot. However, if you throw the ball at or slightly above the ideal impact point, it will pause for a split second before starting its decent, at which point you can immediately hit it, knowing you are doing so at the right point. Another important reason not to toss the ball too high is that the higher it goes, the more likely you are to lose control of it. It’s also much easier to consistently put the ball in the same spot if the toss is shorter.
Step 3: Find a good trophy position
A good trophy position is very similar to a good throwing position, with the main difference being a slight variation of the shoulder position. The characteristics of a good trophy position are as follows:
- The non-dominant arm should be pointing up toward the ball to help balance the body
- The dominant arm should create an angle of about 90 degrees, with the tip of the racket facing up towards the sky.
- If you can, you should bend your knees as well.
Step 4: Use pronation during impact
When using the continental grip, the forearm, arm and shoulder are in a supine position before impact. They start pronating during the impact phase, and complete pronate immediately after impact. This is the ideal way to increase the speed of the racket head during this important phase of the serve.
Step 5: Properly follow through
If you are a right-hander, your follow-through should take your racket close to the left side of your body. A good follow-through will help lessen the tension on your shoulder and elbow.