Having the right tennis serve technique can make the difference in adding 5, 10, or even 20 miles per hour to your serve speed.
In this video, I’ll show you how the left arm plays a serious role in this process.
So how does the left arm play a role in serve speed when it isn’t even touching the racket?
The serve is basically a throwing motion with the right arm. By loading the left arm and tilting the shoulders, we will be able to rock the shoulders forward even faster in the upward swing.
Without the teeter-totter action with the shoulders and torso, there’s no way to create high serve speeds.
Be sure to watch this video to incorporate this motion in your serve and start smashing more aces!
What's Covered: How to use the left arm throughout the serve.
Tennis Pros Featured:
Instructors Featured: Clay Ballard
Video Duration: 8:08
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Hi guys, and welcome back.
In today’s video we’re going to be talking about how to properly use your off arm.
So if you’re right-handed that would be your left arm. It’s going to help you to improve your toss consistency, and it’s really going to help you to boost up your speed if you use it correctly.
I see a lot of people who aren’t using their off arm correctly, and they’re burning a lot of speed by doing so.
So if you want to get a little bit more pop on your serves with less effort, this is going to be a great video for you.
Let’s go ahead and get started.
All right, so as I mentioned in your serve your off arm is extremely, extremely important, and let me go ahead and give you a couple examples of how we’re going to use this.
And I’m going to go all the way from the beginning of the serve all the way to the end of the serve, and talk about how to use this arm properly throughout.
So when we’re doing our tossing motion, let’s start with the toss first and then we’ll get to how we’re going to boost our speed.
But when we’re doing our tossing motion, as our arm is tossing up and forward, or as we’re tossing this tennis ball, we want the ball to land into the court.
So ideally with a flat serve I’m going to be landing about two to three feet into the court with my toss, if I was just to let the ball come down and hit the ground.
The toss would be two to three feet inside the baseline, and even with a kick serve, I’m going to be tossing into the court about a foot or so.
Even though the kick serve is going to be a little more behind my head, but I’m always going to be tossing into the court.
So to do this motion properly with the left arm, or our off arm, as we begin to do our toss, we want to make sure that our left arm starts inside of my lead leg.
So a lot of times what I’ll see, let me go ahead and grab a couple tennis balls here.
OK, so a lot of times what I’ll see is people starting with their arm in front of their lead leg.
Now as I start to toss up, because my shoulder if I start with my arm in front of my lead leg, because my shoulder is now on the back side of my arm, my arm is naturally going to arc backwards.
So as I’m doing this toss, if I go up with my shoulder with my arm starting in front, it’s naturally going to want to toss behind my body.
Now we mentioned we want the arm to toss in front of our body.
So what I want you to do, is as your starting your toss, now your arm is going to be on the inside of your lead leg. It’s now going to be behind your shoulder, so as you lift your arm up it’s naturally going to start to arc into the court.
So as I’m going my toss, this ball is naturally going to start to arc forward.
So that’s going to be the starting position from our off arm, as we’re starting the toss the lead arm needs to be inside of our lead leg.
So I’m going to start from here. Now here’s where we start to build some power.
As I toss up and go into my trophy pose, so we’ll go ahead and get rid of the tennis ball for now, I can even get rid of my racket for now.
As I toss the ball up and forward, and I have this natural forward arcing motion with my arm to get the ball to land in the court, I really want to make sure that I stretch out the entire left side of my body.
And as I do this, as I get into my trophy pose, and I’m really loading down into the ground, I’m stretching out the entire left side of my body.
I should feel all the way from my fingertips down the left side, my ribs should be stretched out here, the left side of my body should be stretched out, and what that’s going to allow me to do is to really fire forward even harder.
So you’ll notice that as I stretch out my left shoulder is now much higher than my right shoulder, you’re going to see this with all of your top pros, as they get to the trophy pose, the left shoulder is above the right shoulder.
Now as I start to go forward, because I’m stretched out I’m now going to be able to fire my shoulders a little bit harder.
So our arms are attached to our shoulders, so whatever our shoulders do is going to dictate what my arm can do.
As I stretch out the left side of my body, and I have my left shoulder higher, now as I begin to fire upward with my arms, my shoulders are going to change positions.
So as I’m contacting the ball for my serve, I’m now going to be leaning forward into the court and now my left shoulder is going to be significantly lower than my right shoulder as I’m coming up and hitting the ball.
So my shoulders are going from here in the trophy pose, to tilting forward as I’m hitting the ball, and that upward rocking motion, kind of imagine this as a teeter-totter, as that rocks forward, I can now throw my arm that much harder.
A lot of people have the idea that my shoulders are going to stay level the entire time, and you’re going to burn a lot of speed doing that.
Your arms simply can’t fire hard enough if we keep our shoulders level the whole time.
The left shoulder is higher in the trophy pose, the right shoulder is higher as we’re throwing the racket upward to get a lot of that speed, so that’s very, very critical.
Now the reason I want to stretch this out so much is because from the trophy pose to my contact position, I’m going to be making a yes motion with my left arm.
So you imagine you just did something really good, you’re excited, and you give kind of a fist pump, “Yes!” and you pull your elbow right to your side.
That’s the kind of motion we’re going to be having with this opposite arm, and that’s going to allow our shoulders to tilt forward that much quicker.
So as I’m stretched out here, what’s called a stretch-shortening cycle is happening all down my left side.
So I’m stretching out all the muscles in my left side, and now they’re going to be able to fire a lot faster as I go up with my racket.
I’m going to do that yes motion, my muscles are going to be able to fire that much harder in my left side, and I’m going to be able to throw the racket upward a lot faster.
So now let me go ahead and grab the racket and I’ll kind of show you in slow motion how this is going to happen.
I’m starting, let me go ahead and go through these checkpoints, and we’ll go ahead and do some drills here also.
So the first thing I want you to do, we’re going to go through the three checkpoints.
Checkpoint number one as I’m beginning my toss, my left arm is going to be inside my left leg.
Checkpoint number two, I’m getting stretched out, I’m in the trophy pose, and my left arm is fully extended, all my left side is really stretched out here.
Checkpoint number three, I’m going to go to contact, I’m going to be doing the yes motion as I’m starting up with my arm.
As I’m starting up with my body, and I’m going to pull back and I’m pulling this arm into my side which is going to allow me to hit upward much more aggressively with the right side of my body. So that’s the third position.
Position number one, left arm inside the left leg.
Number two, I’m pausing in my trophy pose really stretched out.
Position number three, letting those shoulders change directions, tucking this left arm in, and that’s going to allow me to hit up, and then I’m simply just going to follow on through.
I’m going to pause 100 repetitions in each one of those positions.
Really get the feeling of that stretch, really get the feeling of pulling my left arm down, and get the technique down first.
Once I’ve done that, now I can start to make that into a fluid motion, and what I’m really going to focus in on in this drill, as I make this a fluid motion, I’m going to be pulling my left arm down into my side as I’m accelerating with my right arm.
I don’t want to, again, you’ve probably heard maybe you’re opening up too soon.
What they mean is, you’re letting the left arm come down before the right arm is going up, and then you don’t have that acceleration that you’re going to have if you do this correctly.
So as I go into my fluid motions another 100 repetitions, now I want to concentrate on waiting until I’m starting up to let my left arm pull down in that yes motion, it’s going to look something like this.
There we go, and I can really get that snap, and you can see how my shoulders are going to change directions from left shoulder up to left shoulder down at contact.
Another 100 repetitions doing that, then you can go ahead, grab a tennis ball, and we’re going to go nice and smooth at first, and you can start to add the speed once you get the rhythm with this.
We’re going to go ahead and toss a couple balls up, and really work on that motion and counteracting that see-saw type action that’s happening with your shoulders.
Use your off arm to build your speed, and you’re going to be that much more powerful.
All right guys, so work on this drill, I know it’s going to help you with your serve speed, and really wait, stretch out that left side, and wait until you’re firing upward to start pulling that lead arm down.
Good luck to you guys, work hard on it, and I’ll see you all soon.