So you want to learn how to improve consistency on the serve?
Well you’ve come to the right place. Because in this article, I’ve got some great tips to help you do just that. So without further ado, let’s get into the serve consistency secrets.
One of the most important things that goes into hitting a consistent serve is the tempo of your service motion. And the ideal speed of your service motion is largely dependent on you height. Tennis Evolution reader, James Elsworth, asks a great question which really illustrates this point.
“I am curious about some of your serve tempo comments. You criticize Dolgopolov’s serve tempo for being too fast, yet praise Goran’s serve even though he also had a very fast motion. They both have/had powerful serves – is there a difference?”
Thanks for the great question, James.
There are a couple different factors at play here. The first thing to keep in mind is that a player’s height makes a big difference in how effective they will serve. Goran Ivanisevic is a lot taller than Dolgopolov, which is why he can get away with the quick motion and still have a more consistent, effective serve.
The taller a player is, the easier it is for them to hit down on the ball. This makes a big difference when your talking about the serve motion. The faster the serve, the less topspin the serve will have. Big first serves, and sometimes even fast second serves, will have more slice and less topspin. As Goran is tall, he can hit down on the ball, hit a serve with more slice, and still have a better chance to serve a higher first serve percentage. It’s easy for him to clear the net with his tall frame.
On the other hand, players like Sampras, Federer, and even Roddick (who has a more abbreviated motion), aren’t as tall as Goran and chose to let the ball rise and drop a little so that they can hit up on the ball more. This produces more topspin and creates a more reliable first serve.
Another big key for players wondering how to improve consistency on the serve is topspin. To get great topspin, you need to toss the ball higher and make contact with the ball after it drops.
You can see the toss dropping from its apex with players like Federer, Sampras, and Roddick. All three players have perfect tosses…the ball rises to its peak, and as it drops a foot or two, they make contact with the ball. This upward motion of the racquet towards the descending ball creates the topspin that causes the ball to clear the net and still dive down into the service box.
If you have a fast serve motion, you simply can’t produce the topspin you desire. You instead should let the ball rise up slowly, and then attack it right when it starts to fall.
Topspin isn’t the only advantage that a nice, more deliberate service motion will give you. A slower tempo makes the serve more repeatable, more relaxed, and more rhythmic.
The better rhythm you have on your serve, the easier it will be to reproduce, time after time, increasing your serve percentage. Fast service motions can feel more rushed and break down under pressure. So remember to slow down your motion to gain more topspin, control, rhythm, and consistency.
I hope you’ve found these tips on how to improve consistency of the serve to be helpful. Implement these serve tips the next time you practice, and I’m certain you’ll be serving better than ever.