A player with a tennis topspin serve generally has an edge compared to a player that can only hit flat serves. With a topspin serve, your serve has a better chance of going in the service box.
In a tennis game, the higher your first and second serve accuracy is will correlate to the percentage of your chances in winning the match.
In modern tennis, the serve is clearly the most important shot. The second serve is slower and are easier to attack so it puts more pressure on the server. If the pressure is building up time after time because of continuous misses in your first serve, double faults are inevitable. So what is the best tactic to minimize first serve misses? It is the tennis topspin serve. With a topspin serve, you are able to control more of your ball and eventually improve you first serve percentage. The topspin tennis serve can be used in the second serve effectively as well.
Steps to on how to execute the tennis topspin serve perfectly
Topspin Serve Stance
The player has to stand with his or her right foot (left foot for left-handed player) in the baseline making sure it is positioned parallel to the baseline. The left foot (right foot for left-handed player) of the player points towards the right net post if the player is right handed or left net post if the player is left-handed.
The continental grip is normally used when the player wants to execute a topspin serve. The continental grip, chopper grip or hammer grip designates similar tennis grip types. The Continental grip is a type of tennis grip that is frequently called chopper or hammer grip because the manner the player grips or holds the racket handle is the same as when you hold a an axe to chop a wood or hammer a nail. The continental grip is used in a tennis volley but in modern tennis, it is commonly used to execute the tennis topspin serve.
The wind up for a topspin serve must be perfected in order to generate the proper rotation on the tennis ball. The player can choose to slide his right foot forward (left foot for left- handed player) to place it close to his left foot (right foot for left- handed player) or keep the feet back in a platform stance. A topspin serve requires a good knee bend in order to generate energy with a leg drive upwards with a strong force. The racket should be up high in a wind-up position. With the left hand (right hand for left-handed player) still up high after tossing the ball, the player should turn his left shoulder slightly so that his shoulder faces the back fence.
The swing to execute the topspin serve starts with the upward strike with the right elbow (left elbow for left-handed player) of the player in an upwards position but the racket is still down. Then the player’s legs straightened up exerting strong force so that the legs are lifted from the ground. Then the upper part of the player’s body uncoils and face the net.
At this instance, the upper arm should be almost vertical and the elbow should be bent at 90 degrees. The wrist of the hand holding the racket is loosely laid making sure that the racket is angled at 90 degrees with the forearm. Then from this position, the racket has to drop down in straight manner to create racket head speed when the racket face hits the ball upwards.
Roger Federer is a good example of a professional player that utilizes the kick serve. Notice how in Roger Federer’s second serve, his racket brushes behind the back of the ball with the racket frame leading rather than the strings leading. The angle of attack is sharply in an upwards direction. It is as if Federer was going to hit the tennis ball with the frame, but the result is the racket actually brushes behind the ball violently producing the heavy topspin serve.
The next stage in the upward swing consists of a loose wrist holding the racket that should be angled at 90 degrees with the forearm. At this time, the body should begin to adjust by slightly bending forwards.
The last stage is when the racket head is about to hit the ball. In this instance, the player straightens his right elbow (left elbow for left-handed players) resulting in a vertical forearm position.
Point of contact
Once the right forearm is about to hit the ball, the player should hit the ball with the racket face slightly below the player’s full arm reach. This technique will create brushing effect to the ball. The player should also hit the ball when the ball is positioned directly overhead.
To produce the topspin serve, the player should brush the ball perfectly to produce enough spin. One way to do this is to imagine you are hitting the ball from a 6:00 o’clock position and turning the ball into a 12:00 o’clock position. More topspin is also produced as you hit the ball at a lower height.
The follow through for the tennis topspin serve consists of the player continuing to move after he hits the ball using a follow-through with a movement to the left side of his body (right for left-handed). In the end, the racket finishes on the left side of the player. Then he has to lean forward and land in the court with his right leg inside the court.
Additional things to consider in making your topspin tennis serve more effective.
Put power on your topspin serve
There is no particular strategy as to how to increase power in serving, but the basic information to remember is that serve power and racket speed on the topspin tennis serve are directly proportional. In order to increase your racket speed, you have to rotate you right shoulder (right handed), so as to position it just slightly on the inner side of the ball toss. Once you strengthened up from this position, you generate power thus increasing your racket speed. When you are hitting a tennis topspin serve, do not bend forwards with your waist as you swing.
One question in the tennis topspin serve is how high should the ball toss be to generate the perfect topspin? The answer is the higher the better as long as the height is comfortable for you. Your body should be at full reach when you reach the contact point. The higher the contact (contact between the ball and the racket head) the higher is the impact.
Another consideration is your shoulders level, you should tilt your right shoulder (right handed) so that it is positioned at a lower angle than the left shoulder. This position will allow you to be able to generate the correct rotation by your two shoulders that originate from the trunk. This, in combination with a jump and leg drive will enable you to hit the ball at a higher distance providing you with a solid topspin serve.
Toss motion for the Topspin Tennis Serve
In the tennis topspin serve, the ball toss matters a lot. To execute the perfect ball toss, you have to avoid snapping the ball. You can simply toss the ball by releasing it from your open fingers after you have fully extended your left arm (right handed) above your head. You have to guide the ball toss rather than throw it. Make sure that you toss the ball at the perfect height that you are able to reach it with your racket comfortably.
What is pronation in relation to the topspin tennis serve? Pronation is a special kind of arm movement used by professional tennis players that enables them to increase their racket speed hence generating very powerful topspin in the ball.
In the topspin serve, the player simply uses his wrist to generate racket acceleration. Pronation will naturally come out once you grip your racket with any of the recommended grip such as continental grip and of course with the perfect ball placement.
Do not be conscious in trying to execute the pronation by rotating your forearm and wrist because it be make it harder for you and cause stress on your muscles. Again, do it as naturally as you can.
Topspin Serve Accuracy
To be able to hit and execute a topspin tennis serve is not enough. You have to execute it perfectly and accurately. This mean you have to be able to hit the exact mark you want to hit. This will allow you to place the topspin serve accurately and gives your opponent hard time to return your serve (if he can!). But you have the option to aim for the ace if you can. Winning a match with all aces can be impossible but winning points with less work and hassles with aces is very good.
Make sure to practice your second serve with the correct topspin serve technique. This will boost your confidence in case you miss the first serve. A more accurate and safe second serve is ideal but the ability to put more speed on it will keep your opponent from taking advantage of your second serve.
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