2

I have seen it being taught two different ways:

1) Lifting only left heel, but left foot stays on the ground.

2) Bending knees, and doing leg spring action, lifting your legs off the ground, propelling yourself up and into the ball.

I have seen pros and they seem to have feet in the air. Which way is correct? Have you seen anyone using #1?

Wondering if #1 is better suited for older players who don't want more strain on their lower legs/ankles.

2

This blog by a sports/leisure club gives some reasons for using a jump serve:

There are several benefits of jump-serving versus performing a basic standing serve. Some of the key benefits are:

  1. With a jump-serve, you're able to obtain a higher point of contact with the ball versus what you would get with a standing serve. This can often afford you a better angle on the ball. It can also produce greater downward momentum on the ball, as well as a stronger topspin.

  2. When performed from a pinpoint stance (i.e., both feet close together), jump-serving can produce more velocity on the ball, since the feet essentially act as a single unit. The pinpoint stance allows the feet to push against the ground with more force, but you will need to employ a significant amount of body control, as your center of gravity experiences a wider range of motion versus a platform stance (feet spread slightly farther apart). When executed correctly, jump-serving from a pinpoint stance puts a significant amount of momentum behind the ball.

  3. The extra range of motion that is produced from adding a small jump to your serve is enough to help you achieve a more complete follow-through. This will produce a fuller action on the ball and keep you from "punching" your serves over the net.

  4. Jump-serving increases the explosiveness of your serve. First you "load up" by bending your knees before jumping up, and then you "explode" as your legs thrust upward, which when done correctly should help you to power into the ball on the jump.

2

I would hesitate to deem any reasonable technique "correct" or "incorrect." The methods of serving you have described are both equally valid; what works best for a particular player depends on their skill, experience, athleticism, and ultimately personal preference.

You've noted, and I agree, that most professional players' motions can be best described by option two (thrusting upward and off the ground into making contact with the ball). As noted in the previous answer, they use this motion because it is the most effective. That said, this kind of service action is more complicated to achieve. It requires coordinating your jump with tossing and contacting the ball, which takes practice. I would call this a "traditional serve" rather than a "jump serve" for reasons below1.

The first option is simpler, and easier to learn, since there are fewer moving parts. You don't have to worry about timing an extra element (i.e. the jump). For this reason I have seen plenty of less experienced players using something similar to option one. I would recommend someone who was just learning to play to start with a simple motion (i.e. no jump) and then work their way towards a full-fledged professional-style service action once they feel comfortable timing the simpler serve.


1 Note that what comes to my mind when I hear "jump serve" is something more extreme like this -- yes this is actually the way one professional tennis player serves.

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