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Tennis Serve Lesson for Beginners – How To Hit a Serve


Are you just getting started in tennis and struggling with figuring out how to serve? Or maybe you’ve been playing tennis for a while and your serve has just always lagged behind and been a problem. So this video is for you and unfortunately the big problem is that most tennis players who have problems with their serve never learned how to throw effectively, and that’s really the foundational mechanics or movement behind a good serve. Well that problem gets solved right now I’m about to teach you how to throw effectively and then show you step by step how that translates into a great serve. First we’re going to begin with a [3-step] series of progressions on how to throw. All you need is a tennis ball and any open space. Preferably someplace with a wall where you can throw the ball against and you’re going to begin by [turning] to the side of the direction that you intend to throw in and start by taking your arm and your hand back now your set up position is going to be Sideways with your hand facing forwards or sideways to the direction where you intend to throw. And what’s going to happen here as you rotate forwards is your hand will rotate in towards you and Then it will rotate back out again. So what’s happening? Here is your hand is initially facing out then facing in and then facing out again, so out in out This is the mechanical foundation of a good Overhand Motion and it has to do with how you’re using your shoulder. How you’re using your forearm in your hand and Syncing that with the rotation of your body so we’ll begin by [doing] that in kind of a Segmented Fashion at first so that you can really see and feel those different positions as you move through them and then slowly and gradually You want to start making that a fluid smooth motion where your body is rotating forwards and your hand is facing out then in then out Out in out and you start to make that a Continuous fluid smooth motion then eventually you want to take a ball and as you go smoothly Slowly through that motion actually start to release the ball and throw it towards a wall now I highly recommend that you start off very slow and relaxed in fact being fluid and smooth and slow and relaxed at first is Essential so you can be aware [of] what your body [mechanics]? Are you get get a feel for those different positions? And you can really control what you’re doing and do it correctly then as you start to get comfortable You can start to accelerate a little more, but as soon as you feel like you start to lose those mechanics and those different positions Slow it [back] [down] again [gain] some awareness and make sure that you’re doing it correctly and smoothly without getting tight intense Now you have a [step-By-step] practice plan that you can use at home to learn how to throw Correctly and this is the foundation for a good serve and this will keep you away from those embarrassing looking throws and service motions that you’ve undoubtedly seen at your local courts that looked very weak and just basically pushing the ball over to the other side just Like a weak throw that you’ll see somebody execute who doesn’t know how to use their shoulder arm and body correctly so now that you know how to do the throw let’s put the racket in your hand and move in the direction of a Fundamentally sound service motion and that all begins with the grip [if] you don’t have the right grip then you’ll naturally Gravitate towards more of a pushing motion and the grip that you want to have is Continental and what you want to look for is the big knuckle on your dominant hand [your] index finger big knuckle to be on the second bevel of the grip starting from the top So if you put your racket straight up and down the bevel all the way on the very top is number one and then you Just want to go one angled section of your grip over to the right That’s where your big knuckle of your index finger [should] be with your hand spread out across the handle now that we have the same grip we’re going to go ahead and line [ourselves] up sideways to our intended Target and just Like we did with our throwing practice We’re going to start off by taking our arm and our hand back so that our hand if we were to open it is Facing away from us forwards in the same direction that we’re facing And sideways to our intended Target and just like with our throwing practice We’re going to start off [with] [our] hand facing outwards Then as we turn forwards our hand will rotate to face inwards towards us And then rotate back outwards again as our hand and shoulders straighten and go up towards full extension and Just like with the throw we’re going to begin by segmenting this so hand outwards hand inwards and hand outwards again Start off by segmenting it very closely and just one step at a time So [you] can really see and feel what you’re doing, and then just like with the throw Start to bring it together smoothly Again following those same three steps hand out hand in and hand out slowly increase your speed while maintaining a high [level] of relaxation and smoothness and Now you’re on your [way] to having a fundamentally sound motion with your shoulder arm hand and body Your next step is going to be that start to actually hit the ball Beginning from this abbreviated starting position with your body turned to the side your arm and your hand back your palm facing out away from you in the same direction that you’re facing I during your set up and As we get to this point the toss is very important What you want to avoid is hinging at the wrist and hinging at the elbow and flipping the ball up into the air? It’s the biggest mistake that Especially beginning players make but also experienced players make this mistake as well You want to keep your arms straight and lift smoothly at the shoulder and guide the ball up into the air Once you’ve got that down What you want to do is guide the ball up into the air and then move through those three phases of our overhand swing Palm facing out palm facing in and palm facing out again as you reach up and make contact with the ball Now if you feel yourself breaking any of those different parts of our motion then go back to just doing the racket again take out take the ball out of the equation and just Get a feel for it before [you] reintroduce the ball again This is critical because if you just throw the ball up and just do whatever comes natural to you You’ll probably go back to your old habits and you won’t actually retain any of the practice that we’ve just completed with our racket or with our throne as You start to get comfortable making contact from this abbreviated motion you can slowly start to Accelerate a little bit more but not much. I wouldn’t go really beyond [25%] of your max swing speed Instead keep it slow and smooth and just make sure that you’re very aware of what you’re doing with your body So you can get some really quality repetition repetition in. And make sure that you are going through all three of those checkpoints Correctly finally we’re going to put everything together and begin with our hands together in front of us turn sideways to our Target and now we’re going to take the racket back as we put our toss up into the air and All we’re doing here is just taking our Racket in our shoulder back and putting it in that same position that we’ve been practicing from in our Abbreviated motion and then flowing through the rest of the motion from there So you’ll draw the racket [backs] Smoothly bring it up to that hand out position Rotate forwards turn the hand in and then turn the hand out again as you reach up and extend with your arm and shoulder the Key here is Smoothness fluidity and you’ll notice that as you move through this motion You’ll feel several different circular paths taking place and that’s the rhythm that we’re looking for that the fluidity and the smoothness that we need as We move through this range of motion with [our] shoulder arm hand and body to be able to create High levels of acceleration eventually as you begin to get comfortable with this overall motion if you make your way Step-By-step through each of these steps in each of these progressions you start to be able to develop a Solid overhand motion with your throw and also a solid Serve base as well. There’s a lot more that goes into a high level serve But this is really at [the] core and without what we just talked about demonstrated and explains It’s not going to be possible [for] you to really reach your potential on the serve whether you’re a beginner, or Somebody who’s been playing for a long time that needs to kind of rebuild his or her motion, Start start here and really use this as your foundation and go from there. Thank you so much for watching I hope this has been a big help to you and I hope that as you go out and practice These different elements you start to really see some Exciting benefits as far as your throw and your server concerned if you enjoyed this lesson, do me a favor and click like Also be sure to subscribe Follow us on Social media as well So you don’t miss out [on] our future videos if you have any comments or questions leave those down below as well as it may Be any topics that you’d like to see us cover in future tutorials as well Thanks for watching take care and good luck with your tennis

David Frank

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100 COMMENTS

  1. Tammie Bean Posted on January 8, 2017 at 10:28 pm

    This is AWESOME…. thank you so much!!!!

    Reply
  2. Jacque deS Posted on January 13, 2017 at 2:11 am

    Wow – that was an excellent explanation of the serve. This is a very weak part to my game – doesn't help I never learned how to throw. Your eloquent explanation will certainly help me through the motion – I am goint to start practicing in my living room!

    Reply
  3. adamqly5 Posted on February 10, 2017 at 9:59 am

    hi there ian, can you help me correct my serve? thank you. https://youtu.be/9lq1lm0XZgI

    Reply
  4. Doug Maverick Posted on March 1, 2017 at 12:52 am

    Great info.
    I hit the ball pretty well with all the other strokes except the serve and overhead.
    Now I plan on starting from scratch and learning to hit a proper serve.
    Keep up the great videos.
    Most players don't use proper serving technique, but instead just "push" the serve in.
    Thanks

    Reply
  5. Mcenroe ng teow ee Posted on March 2, 2017 at 3:17 am

    u best! please upload more vids!

    Reply
  6. Edgar Collazo Posted on March 2, 2017 at 7:06 pm

    Best instruction videos thanks a lot.

    Reply
  7. Turing Mendoza Posted on March 11, 2017 at 6:08 am

    The 'in' and ' out' is really effective! thanks!

    Reply
  8. Black Coffee Posted on March 15, 2017 at 4:36 am

    When I played tennis for the first time I could never do a good serve like I either hit the racket too soon, too slow, or too high/low

    Reply
  9. Black Coffee Posted on March 15, 2017 at 4:46 am

    You make it look so easy

    Reply
  10. Dave Octo Posted on March 26, 2017 at 11:16 pm

    This video is so helpful thanks man

    Reply
  11. Gabby Gershom Bassey Posted on March 28, 2017 at 5:56 pm

    I have tennis trials tomorrow

    Reply
  12. Fabio Zapletal Posted on April 4, 2017 at 2:12 am

    That was a fantastic lesson!! Great job!! Congrats!! Keep it simple always!!!

    Reply
  13. Jaemoon Sang Posted on April 8, 2017 at 2:24 pm

    I should have watched this video earlier!! It is easy to practice and to get the point serve.

    Reply
  14. Matthew Dallas Gordon LLC Posted on April 10, 2017 at 5:58 pm

    Great video! Thank you!!

    Reply
  15. Guillermo Expósito Posted on April 12, 2017 at 2:07 am

    thanks! it's perfect.

    Reply
  16. Oscar Freitas Posted on April 17, 2017 at 6:24 pm

    This is the best video I found at internet about how serve properly!! Great video!! Thanks for your time helping us to improve our tennis!!

    Reply
  17. gopsln Posted on April 21, 2017 at 11:36 pm

    Very good information, thanks!

    Reply
  18. Danzel Philbert Posted on April 24, 2017 at 12:20 am

    thanks for your help

    Reply
  19. David Sirois Posted on May 3, 2017 at 10:02 am

    i've watched hundreds of tennis serve videos to gain tips for my students… this is by far my favorite

    Reply
  20. Calum Harris Posted on May 10, 2017 at 6:42 pm

    Excellent explanation! Thanks very much.

    Reply
  21. nicky balboa Posted on May 11, 2017 at 7:48 pm

    very good video thanks

    Reply
  22. Deepak Shivdutt Kandpal Posted on May 15, 2017 at 11:02 am

    an essential video

    Reply
  23. w BOYD Posted on May 17, 2017 at 5:00 am

    Hi, coach. This video help me a lot, especially the palm outside , inside and outside idea. Thanks.

    Reply
  24. bnwk5 Posted on May 19, 2017 at 3:49 am

    thank you so much for sharing this with us. your explanation is clear and precise.

    Reply
  25. Danny D'Angelo Posted on May 26, 2017 at 11:11 pm

    I practiced my serves at my work(school) with a foam paddle equivalent to a junior racquet and a plastic ball with holes and then a regular tennis ball. I felt confident and consistent.

    Reply
  26. Noah Galyen Posted on June 3, 2017 at 2:06 pm

    See this helped me a bit, but I am a left handed server so this got me confused and I can't reach my full potential with my serve

    Reply
  27. Bridget JV Posted on June 6, 2017 at 7:12 am

    Thanks this video. My serve is better than before I watched it.

    Reply
  28. thetruth Posted on June 7, 2017 at 1:08 pm

    Ian you guys on YouTube talk about the swing I don't see the swing is too hard I think the toss is. like where in relation to your stand should the ball be at because there's conflicts on looping it into the court and others saying should be above head and some say more right

    Reply
  29. thetruth Posted on June 7, 2017 at 1:26 pm

    I think you meant smaller margin of error

    Reply
  30. Eric Chiu Posted on June 13, 2017 at 10:19 pm

    I wish all tennis players, including the very best ones can see and appreciate this great concept/advice.
    You are the Man, Ian.

    Reply
  31. Eric Chiu Posted on June 13, 2017 at 10:20 pm

    P.S. This change my tennis life. 🙂 🙂 🙂

    Reply
  32. Dog days Traveler07 Posted on June 28, 2017 at 9:50 pm

    This video saved my serve!

    Reply
  33. Wasabi Kimchi Posted on June 29, 2017 at 11:28 am

    hot damn u lefty

    Reply
  34. Letsplayer101 Posted on July 10, 2017 at 5:34 pm

    Bro this helped me so much especially how the motion relates to throwing a ball thank you keep up the great work, Ian!

    Reply
  35. George Posted on July 18, 2017 at 2:55 am

    So, with the continental grip, the face won't be perfectly perpendicular to the ball, right? So will you have to adjust your aim for a curve?

    Reply
  36. Tom Ingram Posted on July 18, 2017 at 4:22 pm

    Hi.  Can I ask why is there the outside rotation at the end phase?  What benefit does that give?…tom

    Reply
  37. duzty122 Posted on July 20, 2017 at 5:56 pm

    what kind of a racket is that?

    Reply
  38. Mark F Posted on July 31, 2017 at 8:14 pm

    I like it, man. Thanks

    Reply
  39. Shiva entertainment Latest Bollywood movies Posted on August 17, 2017 at 7:55 am

    What is the age to play for international 🌏 computation. I'm Indian I'm 26 old I want play international computation.. Please tell me sir

    Reply
  40. peggy hui Posted on August 19, 2017 at 9:54 pm

    He is really good, makes things easy because he delivers great concepts in simplicity and effectiveness

    Reply
  41. Essential Tennis - Lessons and Instruction for Passionate Players Posted on August 25, 2017 at 3:02 pm

    Improve your serve today with our 4 Page Action Plan —> http://r.wickedreports.com/EssentialTennisLLC/4910
    We think you're going to like what you see when you begin to read through the incredibly effective step by step practice progressions we use with our private students to develop winning serves.

    Reply
  42. Sanjay Gupta Posted on August 25, 2017 at 5:38 pm

    pls reply with the link of the video in which u were instructing to stretch with rubber wire to improve the serve.

    Reply
  43. Self True Posted on September 3, 2017 at 8:33 pm

    Best service tutorial I have seen. Thanks much.

    Reply
  44. Sergio Luevano Posted on September 6, 2017 at 8:28 pm

    Ian this is a great video thanks for sharing your knowledge, I've watching other of your videos about pronation, and I got a question. How should the wrist work while pronating on a serve? I feel I am bending my wrist at contact point. Cheers from Mexico.

    Reply
  45. duzty122 Posted on September 12, 2017 at 8:11 pm

    what racquet is that?

    Reply
  46. Ann belsito Posted on October 5, 2017 at 3:23 am

    Ian, you rock! You're such a great instructor!!

    Reply
  47. Martin Petrov Posted on October 9, 2017 at 3:42 am

    Hi, could you comment, please, the exact direction of the throughing motion. Is it forward or upward to the ball?

    Reply
  48. Diane Hazlett Posted on October 23, 2017 at 11:20 pm

    Thank you. As a school tennis coach this was an excellent video to break the serve down.

    Reply
  49. Joakim Øster Posted on November 11, 2017 at 12:50 am

    Wow, there´s a lot of tennis serve videos out there, but this is second to none the best video on the basics of the serve i´ve seen! – Greetings from Denmark

    Reply
  50. 뉴원NewOne Posted on November 25, 2017 at 5:52 am

    I'm in south korea, and my couch don't know how to teach THE FUNDEMENTAL MECHANISM OF SERVE. My shoulder is sick and tired of wrong motion. I'm going to practice a lot and tell you how it works. Thanks a lot. I'm your new subscriber~

    Reply
  51. Miracle Sun Posted on December 5, 2017 at 3:48 pm

    Hi How to get a private clinic with you?

    Reply
  52. Allen Hoang Posted on December 6, 2017 at 6:14 pm

    I played baseball in hs, so I can throw very well. I can throw a golf ball 100+ yards, but I can't serve the way I want to. Throwing isn't exactly the same as serving. Serving requires more shoulder & elbow flexibility that diminished with age. You have a great video talking about increasing flexibility & range of motion, and that's what I have been doing.

    Reply
  53. New Life Chiropractic Posted on January 27, 2018 at 3:57 am

    Awesome, straight forward and easy to follow steps to hit a good consistent serve. Thank you!

    Reply
  54. jumpingbeans Posted on February 13, 2018 at 2:56 am

    Not helpful when you keep going from your left hand to your right hand

    Reply
  55. Christopher Cusack Posted on March 20, 2018 at 2:33 pm

    Ian I was curious if you had experience teaching this technique to kids who are in middle school, or around that age. If so has it been successful?

    Reply
  56. Matt Bray Posted on April 8, 2018 at 11:28 pm

    another great video. thanks ian!

    Reply
  57. beastmry Posted on April 12, 2018 at 5:12 am

    Fantastic video. And thank you for such a humble approach. Thoroughly enjoyed and subscribed

    Reply
  58. theeachuisge Posted on April 29, 2018 at 6:10 am

    Do you naturally release your racket to make it do the back drop, or do you push your arm?

    Reply
  59. BeaglesRFun Posted on May 5, 2018 at 3:58 am

    Great instruction with the breakdown into the basic elements of the serve! Love the reference of the palm direction (out-in-out) — so easy to remember! Thank you for this instruction.

    Reply
  60. T-swizzle Bizzle Posted on May 16, 2018 at 11:42 pm

    Nice video. Cool set up. I'm ready to take it to the court.

    Reply
  61. Ben Goetz Posted on May 18, 2018 at 5:15 pm

    this video SUX

    Reply
  62. Debbie Wilbur Posted on June 12, 2018 at 6:16 pm

    Thank you for this video! great info

    Reply
  63. Mandana tehranifar Posted on August 3, 2018 at 9:13 am

    Thanks so much for this useful lesson…Watching this 9 min video made a huge difference in my serves

    Reply
  64. Krishnaswamy G Posted on August 9, 2018 at 9:18 am

    One of the best lessons taught on service. I followed and you will not believe, I can serve with 100% confidence. I could achieve 10/10 clean serves this morning. I can share my video if there is a WhatsApp number at your end. Many thanks to you, Ian.

    Reply
  65. Mahmoud Hesham Posted on September 2, 2018 at 3:43 pm

    I've struggled for years with serving and after this it worked like a charm!

    Reply
  66. Emilio Rubione Posted on September 14, 2018 at 10:30 pm

    practising in my room and without thrwoing the ball already note the difference! thanks!!

    Reply
  67. writer684 Posted on November 4, 2018 at 10:05 am

    This is really the best basic video do this and you cant go wrong

    Reply
  68. Brooklyn Young Posted on November 7, 2018 at 3:44 pm

    can you make a video of rolling the ball with the rack.

    Reply
  69. ABC Tennis Posted on November 7, 2018 at 11:52 pm

    Love staring from the hair brush position. SO hard for beginners to get in that position. Gotta keep the palm down!

    Reply
  70. rjovanov13 Posted on December 8, 2018 at 1:25 am

    Brilliant, Ian!

    Reply
  71. Jinho Lee Posted on December 12, 2018 at 3:50 pm

    Amazing video. I really needed baby steps like this.

    Reply
  72. Todd Winebarger Posted on February 14, 2019 at 3:59 pm

    I like how you performed this right-handed (your non-dominant hand) to more closely simulate a beginner learning the throwing and serving motion. Yep, I noticed.

    Reply
  73. Bo Strömberg Posted on February 20, 2019 at 8:09 pm

    Great video. I like the stepwise approach and only focus on the essetials. Should have seen this 30 years ago

    Reply
  74. kallol mitra Posted on February 24, 2019 at 8:04 am

    superb lesson. liked it a lot

    Reply
  75. Blake Posted on March 2, 2019 at 6:25 pm

    Ian, I'm helping with coaching high school kids. Some have never played. Would you recommend teaching them like this right off the bat, or should I let them serve with an eastern grip at first?

    Reply
  76. Jake Calvert Posted on April 5, 2019 at 4:17 am

    I really needed this right now, I just started playing tennis for the first time ever about 2 weeks ago at school and my first match is on Monday, it’s Thursday. I subbed, thanks for the help!

    Reply
  77. Stephanie Gasmalla Posted on April 27, 2019 at 1:02 am

    The only video I watched so far that really helped me understand a basic serve. Thanks for the great teaching moment !

    Reply
  78. Plinio Buzato Posted on May 9, 2019 at 5:24 pm

    Unbelievable… I’ve been playing tennis for just 2/3 years but my friends never play matches, only rallies and my situation was exactly what he described in the beginning of the video. Every time I tried I failed miserably, so never had the motivation to learn. In fact, I was sure I was doomed to never have a serve. But after watching this video one night, I came to the courts to practice for a few days in a row and followed step by step of what he says and goddamn I actually have a pretty consistent serve now 😱

    Reply
  79. Ellen Jing Posted on May 23, 2019 at 11:50 pm

    Super good video, thank you!!

    Reply
  80. Anthony Ball Posted on May 29, 2019 at 10:18 am

    Very good instruction thank you. Off to practice.

    Reply
  81. twistedwired Posted on May 31, 2019 at 6:22 pm

    Very helpful, I found it awkward twisting on my forward leg, but on second look, you have your forward foot at angle, you didn't mention that. Also, how high to throw the ball? I find if I throw the ball to just above where I want to hit it, I have more time to make accurate contact because the ball is changing direction.

    Reply
  82. Nenad ИС XC Shuput Posted on June 4, 2019 at 4:51 am

    Why are all tennis player so skinny?

    Reply
  83. Kamal Parcha Posted on June 9, 2019 at 5:47 pm

    Thank u so much man

    Reply
  84. Nathan Olson Posted on June 11, 2019 at 9:56 pm

    Didnt really help me at first. However I realized it's all in the grip. MAKE SURE to keep your hand fanned along the grip

    Reply
  85. Anthony MG Posted on June 30, 2019 at 3:31 am

    Best tip ever. Simple but wonderfully helpful.

    Reply
  86. Rolando Cimafranca Posted on July 4, 2019 at 12:52 am

    Thanks for the very informative serving the tennis ball

    Reply
  87. Zachary Lore Posted on July 23, 2019 at 4:57 pm

    Thank you for the video! I never practiced the serve and mostly just rallied. I’ve tried these techniques twice and it’s going to take a lot of practice. I still struggle with the timing. The second time I made the mistake of going through the full motion when I should have started with the racket in the elevated position like you demonstrated. Hopefully I will get the hang of it soon. It’s so frustrating! The inconsistent ball makes the timing even more difficult. But I will keep at it. Thanks!

    Reply
  88. Night Hawk Posted on July 24, 2019 at 6:42 am

    Bruh, this channel helps me so much. Thanks coach 👍🏾🎾🎾🎾

    Reply
  89. Zachary Lore Posted on August 16, 2019 at 4:45 pm

    I’m starting to get it finally. It’s deceptively difficult to coordinate a good ball toss, a smooth circular swing path, and timing when to make contact with the ball. It feels great when they are all combined. I do notice that when I try to hit the ball harder it does work yet.

    Reply
  90. physics Insider Posted on August 17, 2019 at 2:08 am

    Is there anyway to put a spin on the serve.
    Great video btw!

    Reply
  91. Victor Hernandez Posted on August 19, 2019 at 8:44 pm

    Going to show my kids today this serve drill

    Reply
  92. Lucia Argueta Posted on September 7, 2019 at 12:09 pm

    I’m entering tennis team I hope I can be in the team even though I entered a bit late

    Reply
  93. John Matthes Posted on September 14, 2019 at 8:14 pm

    Good job,quite helpful….I'll know for sure after I practice what you have suggested.

    Reply
  94. Julian Cousins Posted on October 3, 2019 at 2:04 pm

    This is a great video. Easy to follow, logical and productive. Top job!

    Reply
  95. Kevin Jones Posted on October 18, 2019 at 1:42 am

    Nice Wilson Burn Racket! I have the same one

    Reply
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