Basic tennis serve (right hand, opposite for left)

The tennis serve is the shot selected to begin a point in tennis. The shot involves tossing the ball overhead and hitting it when the ball is about to drop down. The ball should cross the net and land in the diagonal service box, without hitting the net. The serve must be hit from behind the baseline.

Stage one

  • Stand in position on the balls of your feet, with slightly bent knees.
  • Face sideways with your left foot forward at a 45ᵒ angle to the baseline, right foot parallel to the baseline and left shoulder pointing towards the target.
  • Fully extend your right elbow downward, so the racket is pointing towards the floor but also toward the target.
  • Fully extend your left elbow downwards and hold the ball in the palm of your hand facing up, in line with the 'V' of your racket.

Stage two

  • Separate your arms in unison and bring them back up in different directions, by extending your right elbow backwards and your left elbow upwards.
  • Transfer your body weight from front to back foot, lifting the toe of your front foot.

Stage three

  • The racket continues going back and upwards.
  • The left elbow is extended and to throw the ball, released at the highest point, with fingers pointing upwards and arm straight.
  • The ball should be slightly in front of you, thrown about six inches above your outstretched racket.
  • Keep your eyes on the ball.

Stage four

  • Your right shoulder flexes to move the arm upwards into a throwing position.
  • When the ball reaches the highest point, accelerate the racket head at the ball in a throwing action led by the elbow.
  • Strike the ball as your elbow is fully extended and hit the ball downwards.
  • Transfer your weight from your back to your front foot and rotate the shoulders and hips to point towards the target.

Stage five

  • The racket head will follow through down to the left hand side of your body.