I observed players of different skills and I noticed that one repeating mistake is in the fact that it is hard to throw the ball straight up, I have the same mistake. When serving with the ball going straight up, serving becomes far more consistent (not hitting the net and not going over). I simplified the serving to the serve like in Pesäpallo (i.e. you go down in your feet while your hands are at the constant height, not to get the release of the ball in circular path so only trying to get vertical velocity). Now my couch said it does not look like tennis even though the shots became far more consistent. So:

How to throw the ball straight up in tennis's serving?

1 Answer 1


As you probably know - one of the most important things about your serve in tennis is a consistent toss. One that produces the ball following the same height and trajectory each time. You can even just practice your toss by itself, without actually hitting the ball (you might have done this). The goal should be that the ball lands between a foot or two inside the baseline if you let it drop.

Another thing to do in order to have a consistent toss is to pay attention to the position of your hand relative to your shoulder when you let go of the ball. You want to let go and toss the ball into the air when your hand is level with your shoulder.

If you let go of the ball before your hand is level with your shoulder, you are likely to have a toss that does not go high enough and that goes too far forward into the court. If you let go of the ball too late (when your hand is above your shoulder) you are likely to have the ball go too far back behind your head which will lead to you hitting the serve long.

If you pay attention to those things and practice your toss by itself, it should improve. Keep in mind that a good serve can take a lot (thousands) of serves. Whenever I try to work on mine I take a basket of balls to the court with me so I can practice the motion repeatedly and focus on my service motion without worrying about having to pick up balls very often.

  • Agree and love Djokovic tips about serving, I always try to have the ball as high as possible so I have more time during the serving. One thing I cannot notice in your answer is a solid stance (legs solidly apart from each other): a solid stance where you are not in a wobbling position.
    – hhh
    Commented Jun 5, 2014 at 9:49
  • 1
    Is the flight path a parabola (my first risky serve) or straight (my second less risky serve) in ideal serving? I can serve more solidly with the high straight serving but serving with a parabola path (ball going slightly in front of you, first serve) is far more errorsome for me. How are serves different between the first serving and second serving?
    – hhh
    Commented Jun 5, 2014 at 9:58
  • If you're just starting out (only been playing a year or two) I would recommend just keeping the same toss for both serves. If you develop a kick serve for your second serve then you would end up tossing the ball a little further back over your head but I wouldn't worry about that until you have solid technique for a normal serve.
    – jamauss
    Commented Jun 5, 2014 at 17:34
  • As far as your toss goes - a flight path like a parabola would not be recommended - I'd say you want to learn how to hit a toss that is straight up before anything else. If the ball going slightly in front of you is errorsome then try adjusting your timing and how far in front of you your toss ends up. If your toss has the ball landing more than about a foot (12 inches) inside the court, your problem might be that you're tossing it too far out.
    – jamauss
    Commented Jun 5, 2014 at 17:37

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