Analyzing the Pete Sampras Tennis Serve

Taking a closer look at Pete Sampras’s Tennis Serve.
by: Coach Eddie

The Sampras serve motion is arguably one of the best motions of all time. His motion was efficient, powerful and adaptable meeting all three criteria for a world class stroke.

The Secret Behind His Serve

Sampras’s serve followed a more classic approach. He utilized a more circular windup, taking the time to deliver himself the powerful bomb at contact. Throughout his motion, Sampras is completely relaxed. There is little to no tension as can be seen by the fluidity of his serve. His serve contains no hitches, no pauses and no extra motion often seen in lower level servers.

Notice how the motion appears “slow” and relaxed, and sampras takes time before starting his motion.

Loaded and coil like a spring

Sampras generated phenomenal racket head speed at contact. His serves included enourmous power and spin. One of the reasons for this is because he coiled his body like a spring before unleashing all the stored potential energy right at the moment of contact.

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Notice the torso angle and hip position of Pete. His upperbody is fully loaded, and his hips are turned towards the backfence, it’s as if he is nearly showing his torso to the backfence.

Pete’s lower body is fully coiled as well. Notice the deep bend in the knee in his stance. But all of this loading is done so he can get maximum loading or “coil” so when it comes time to swing he will have massive amounts of different torques working in his favor to generate his trademark serve.

Notice also how Pete’s shoulders and tossing arm is completely sideways. He does not prematurely drop his tossing arm until he is ready to launch upwards. Many lower level players make the mistake of not keeping their shoulders and left arm in the “loaded” position, which in turns robs some of the potential power on this motion.

Pete Sampras Serve – A Genius at work

Pete Sampras’s Serve is beauty at work. It requires a great deal of athleticism to pull off the serve motion that he has, and because of his extreme lower body coil, his more than evident knee bend and his excellent use of the kinetic chain to coil and uncoil, pete sampras’s serve is simply amazing when you consider every factor at work – and how pete sampras uses every available inch of his body to load his serve, this no doubt accounts for why Pete Sampras’s serve is one of the best tennis serve motions in history of tennis.

The Pete Sampras Tennis Serve – What you Should try at Home

Perhaps it’s too difficult to expect that you can model your serve exactly with Pete Sampras’s serve motion. What you can try at home, however; is the basic fundamentals in his serve.

Relaxed fluid wind-up

Pete Sampras’s serve begins with a very smooth ryhtmical wind-up. He takes his time to really drop down and trace a circular path with the racket. Essentially, Pete sampras is completely relaxed on his tennis serve delivery – just as a baseball pitcher would be as the initial wind-up begins.

Trophy position

Pete sampras reaches a pronounced position, a kin to what is often called the trophy position in tennis. Pete sampras’s smooth and almost delibrately slow takeback delivers him to this position, a key position that is present in all professional servers.

Hand and Arm pronation

Most of us who have followed Pete Sampras’s tennis serve remember him for his smooth delivery, and of course the pronation of his serve, where his racket and arm literally turn counter-clockwise on his followthrough of the serve. While this is something mostly a consequence of his world class tennis serve, it’s interesting to note that most of his pronation comes from the wind-up and serve motion leading up to contact.

Pete Sampras Tennis Serve Technique – Conclusion

So I’ve given a couple of things you can try at home with regards of trying to model your own tennis serve motion with that of Pete Sampras’s serve. While it may be difficult to incorporate some of Pete Sampras’s more extreme elements on his tennis serve, it’s still possible to focus on some of the basic fundamentals of Sampras’s tennis technique.


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