How to Serve in Tennis

Performing a failed tennis serve can be very embarrassing because you will ruin the tennis rally even before it begins. Tennis service is an important shot to be learned because it requires perfect timing and good body coordination.

After spending 24 hours researching, we have gathered the basic steps on how to do the tennis serve.

6 Steps On How To Serve in Tennis

1. Secure A Solid Stance

The first step towards a successful tennis serve is securing a solid and right stance. Since the ball is served diagonally, align your body in a straight line where you intended to direct your serve. 

Remember that in service, both feet must be behind the baseline. Set your feet apart and with one front foot forward parallel to the baseline to achieve a solid stance. You can use your left foot or your right foot when securing the stability of your body. 

2. Grip The Racquet Firmly

When serving in tennis, you have to grip your racquet to give an effective service firmly like Serena Williams. When in contact with the ball, the grip is one contributor to your control. Continental grip and Eastern Forehand grip are the two grips that are commonly used.  

The continental grip is widely used because it provides precision and maneuverability for the short and long game. On the other hand, the Eastern Forehand grip is more comfortable and natural.

3. Toss The Ball & Bring The Racquet Behind You

You don’t just toss the balls and when in contact, hit it with power. Timing is needed when tossing it, and precision is important to hit it.

The space between your legs is a good distance to start tossing because it is easier to hit it than the arms-length distance. 

Direct your toss depending on your dominant arm because this position will be convenient for you and develop good pronation.

After tossing the ball, bring the racquet head to your back to execute the next step.

Toss The Ball & Bring The Racquet Behind You

4. “Scratch Your Back” With Your Racquet

After bringing the racquet behind you, you will now start the serving motion. Bend your elbows upwards to swing the racquet back like you are reaching your back for a scratch to start the stroke.

Follow this position by straightening your arms and snapping your wrist. Remember to slightly bend your knees to generate enough force when you drive in an upward position.

5. Hit The Ball With The "Sweet Spot" At Its Highest Point

When you hit the ball, timing and position are very important.

Tall players may get a bigger chance to clear the net post, while shorter players need to ensure the contact point. Avoid uncontrolled swing because it is a fault if the ball hits the net or lands outside the correct box. 

Hit the ball on its apex with controlled power since your goal is to pass through the net post or cross court.

Upon the contact with the ball at the sweet spot of your racquet head, brush it upwards, then face it in the desired direction.

Hit The Ball With The "Sweet Spot" At Its Highest Point

6. Execute A Follow-through

After being in contact with the ball, you can execute a follow-through in different ways. Doing a relaxed follow-through is a good service motion.

For the underhand serve, let the racquet head stay below your shoulders through the swing the follow-through. 

When doing a flat serve, execute pronation to avoid too much spin when doing a follow-through. Your second serve is as important as your first serve, and a good follow-through may help you win a point over your opponent.

Serve Drills For Beginners

Serve Drills For Beginners

Throwing Drills

If you are a beginner, the first drill you should always practice is the throwing drill. In this drill, you will get to develop good muscle memory when serving. The exercise is all about adjusting the length where you will keep on hitting the ball. Throwing drills will be executed in different spots inside the service box and along the baseline. 

Figure-8 Drill

Figure-8 drills can be a good exercise for your arm to practice effortless serves like second serves and kick serves. Most coaches don’t teach beginners fluid motion, so developing it on your own will give you real progress. Keep the arm and the racquet moving in service motion like you are drawing a big figure 8. 

Continental Serve Grip

Since it is important to develop a firm grip, trying out the continental serve grip as a drill for beginners will help you level up your serve technique. Practicing continental grip can be a challenge because it will help you develop maneuverability and precision. Most advanced players use this grip, so our team highly suggests trying out this drill.

Serve Drills For Intermediate & Advanced Tennis Players

Serve Drills For Intermediate & Advanced Tennis Players

Medicine Ball Throws

The medicine ball throws are an excellent drill to help a player increase the serving power. If your arms have less power, toss a small medicine with one hand like a service-like motion. 

To develop a fast-paced serving, toss it five times, as fast as the player can, then serve it at maximum speed. Remember that when throwing, keep the correct stance by stepping one foot and with the toes of your back foot in line with the heels of your front foot. 

Disguise The Serve

Another challenging drill for immediate and advanced players can develop your serving motion. The drill will use the same toss while striking on different T, Body, and Wide service locations. The coach will stand at the player’s back, and as the players release the ball, the coach will yell the location.


To hit a perfect serve, you must consistently practice. A proper serve will only develop when you get into the court, do the drill and play with someone better than you. Observe the direction of the ball and develop your technique.

Yes, timing is very important when executing a service, especially when you toss the ball. You have to wait for the right timing before striking the sweet spot at the highest point as you throw the ball into the air.

The beginner should serve with proper grasp and right stance. There are basic drills for beginners that can help novice players, and there’s no need to rush on that. The secret is to be consistent in your tennis exercises and develop your technique.

When doing the first service, you must start from the right side of the service court. All first service happens on the right then on the left side [1]. It will be served diagonally from the service foot fault to the other side of the court, of the opponent in the opposite service box.

Learning How To Serve in Tennis

A tennis player must know how to serve to avoid a negative outcome of the game, such as losing a point or getting a double fault. Serving is a challenging stroke, especially the slice serve, kick serve, topspin serve, and flat serves. However, developing techniques and following the right steps will allow you to master the game like Serena Williams.  

A successful serving needs good body coordination. Follow the simplified steps and consistently do the drills to learn how to do a tennis serve. Every point starts with a service, and getting the upper hand can make a huge difference in a tennis rally.



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