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Tennis Serve Lesson for Beginners – How To Hit a Serve

August 16, 2019

Are you just getting started in tennis and struggling with figuring out how to serve? Or maybe you’ve been playing tennis for a while and your serve has just always lagged behind and been a problem. So this video is for you and unfortunately the big problem is that most tennis players who have problems with their serve never learned how to throw effectively, and that’s really the foundational mechanics or movement behind a good serve. Well that problem gets solved right now I’m about to teach you how to throw effectively and then show you step by step how that translates into a great serve. First we’re going to begin with a [3-step] series of progressions on how to throw. All you need is a tennis ball and any open space. Preferably someplace with a wall where you can throw the ball against and you’re going to begin by [turning] to the side of the direction that you intend to throw in and start by taking your arm and your hand back now your set up position is going to be Sideways with your hand facing forwards or sideways to the direction where you intend to throw. And what’s going to happen here as you rotate forwards is your hand will rotate in towards you and Then it will rotate back out again. So what’s happening? Here is your hand is initially facing out then facing in and then facing out again, so out in out This is the mechanical foundation of a good Overhand Motion and it has to do with how you’re using your shoulder. How you’re using your forearm in your hand and Syncing that with the rotation of your body so we’ll begin by [doing] that in kind of a Segmented Fashion at first so that you can really see and feel those different positions as you move through them and then slowly and gradually You want to start making that a fluid smooth motion where your body is rotating forwards and your hand is facing out then in then out Out in out and you start to make that a Continuous fluid smooth motion then eventually you want to take a ball and as you go smoothly Slowly through that motion actually start to release the ball and throw it towards a wall now I highly recommend that you start off very slow and relaxed in fact being fluid and smooth and slow and relaxed at first is Essential so you can be aware [of] what your body [mechanics]? Are you get get a feel for those different positions? And you can really control what you’re doing and do it correctly then as you start to get comfortable You can start to accelerate a little more, but as soon as you feel like you start to lose those mechanics and those different positions Slow it [back] [down] again [gain] some awareness and make sure that you’re doing it correctly and smoothly without getting tight intense Now you have a [step-By-step] practice plan that you can use at home to learn how to throw Correctly and this is the foundation for a good serve and this will keep you away from those embarrassing looking throws and service motions that you’ve undoubtedly seen at your local courts that looked very weak and just basically pushing the ball over to the other side just Like a weak throw that you’ll see somebody execute who doesn’t know how to use their shoulder arm and body correctly so now that you know how to do the throw let’s put the racket in your hand and move in the direction of a Fundamentally sound service motion and that all begins with the grip [if] you don’t have the right grip then you’ll naturally Gravitate towards more of a pushing motion and the grip that you want to have is Continental and what you want to look for is the big knuckle on your dominant hand [your] index finger big knuckle to be on the second bevel of the grip starting from the top So if you put your racket straight up and down the bevel all the way on the very top is number one and then you Just want to go one angled section of your grip over to the right That’s where your big knuckle of your index finger [should] be with your hand spread out across the handle now that we have the same grip we’re going to go ahead and line [ourselves] up sideways to our intended Target and just Like we did with our throwing practice We’re going to start off by taking our arm and our hand back so that our hand if we were to open it is Facing away from us forwards in the same direction that we’re facing And sideways to our intended Target and just like with our throwing practice We’re going to start off [with] [our] hand facing outwards Then as we turn forwards our hand will rotate to face inwards towards us And then rotate back outwards again as our hand and shoulders straighten and go up towards full extension and Just like with the throw we’re going to begin by segmenting this so hand outwards hand inwards and hand outwards again Start off by segmenting it very closely and just one step at a time So [you] can really see and feel what you’re doing, and then just like with the throw Start to bring it together smoothly Again following those same three steps hand out hand in and hand out slowly increase your speed while maintaining a high [level] of relaxation and smoothness and Now you’re on your [way] to having a fundamentally sound motion with your shoulder arm hand and body Your next step is going to be that start to actually hit the ball Beginning from this abbreviated starting position with your body turned to the side your arm and your hand back your palm facing out away from you in the same direction that you’re facing I during your set up and As we get to this point the toss is very important What you want to avoid is hinging at the wrist and hinging at the elbow and flipping the ball up into the air? It’s the biggest mistake that Especially beginning players make but also experienced players make this mistake as well You want to keep your arms straight and lift smoothly at the shoulder and guide the ball up into the air Once you’ve got that down What you want to do is guide the ball up into the air and then move through those three phases of our overhand swing Palm facing out palm facing in and palm facing out again as you reach up and make contact with the ball Now if you feel yourself breaking any of those different parts of our motion then go back to just doing the racket again take out take the ball out of the equation and just Get a feel for it before [you] reintroduce the ball again This is critical because if you just throw the ball up and just do whatever comes natural to you You’ll probably go back to your old habits and you won’t actually retain any of the practice that we’ve just completed with our racket or with our throne as You start to get comfortable making contact from this abbreviated motion you can slowly start to Accelerate a little bit more but not much. I wouldn’t go really beyond [25%] of your max swing speed Instead keep it slow and smooth and just make sure that you’re very aware of what you’re doing with your body So you can get some really quality repetition repetition in. And make sure that you are going through all three of those checkpoints Correctly finally we’re going to put everything together and begin with our hands together in front of us turn sideways to our Target and now we’re going to take the racket back as we put our toss up into the air and All we’re doing here is just taking our Racket in our shoulder back and putting it in that same position that we’ve been practicing from in our Abbreviated motion and then flowing through the rest of the motion from there So you’ll draw the racket [backs] Smoothly bring it up to that hand out position Rotate forwards turn the hand in and then turn the hand out again as you reach up and extend with your arm and shoulder the Key here is Smoothness fluidity and you’ll notice that as you move through this motion You’ll feel several different circular paths taking place and that’s the rhythm that we’re looking for that the fluidity and the smoothness that we need as We move through this range of motion with [our] shoulder arm hand and body to be able to create High levels of acceleration eventually as you begin to get comfortable with this overall motion if you make your way Step-By-step through each of these steps in each of these progressions you start to be able to develop a Solid overhand motion with your throw and also a solid Serve base as well. There’s a lot more that goes into a high level serve But this is really at [the] core and without what we just talked about demonstrated and explains It’s not going to be possible [for] you to really reach your potential on the serve whether you’re a beginner, or Somebody who’s been playing for a long time that needs to kind of rebuild his or her motion, Start start here and really use this as your foundation and go from there. Thank you so much for watching I hope this has been a big help to you and I hope that as you go out and practice These different elements you start to really see some Exciting benefits as far as your throw and your server concerned if you enjoyed this lesson, do me a favor and click like Also be sure to subscribe Follow us on Social media as well So you don’t miss out [on] our future videos if you have any comments or questions leave those down below as well as it may Be any topics that you’d like to see us cover in future tutorials as well Thanks for watching take care and good luck with your tennis


  • Reply 自戀刑警 December 16, 2016 at 12:18 pm

    professional video!

  • Reply Patrick Zach December 16, 2016 at 1:05 pm

    THX IAN. I had the problem that my "serving arm" came up to early and the "how to through a ball" part solve my problem.

  • Reply ShuXiong Bao December 16, 2016 at 3:59 pm

    Awesome !!! Thanks Ian

  • Reply Samat Kozhobaev December 20, 2016 at 11:11 am

    you are a freaking guru! no wonder you got no dislikes on this video. probably the best video about serve in tennis.

  • Reply nighthawk82 December 21, 2016 at 7:09 pm

    it's a bit confusing that you explain the stuff as a lefty and execute it on court being a righty… hm xD

  • Reply Tammie Bean January 8, 2017 at 10:28 pm

    This is AWESOME…. thank you so much!!!!

  • Reply Jacque deS January 13, 2017 at 2:11 am

    Wow – that was an excellent explanation of the serve. This is a very weak part to my game – doesn't help I never learned how to throw. Your eloquent explanation will certainly help me through the motion – I am goint to start practicing in my living room!

  • Reply adamqly5 February 10, 2017 at 9:59 am

    hi there ian, can you help me correct my serve? thank you.

  • Reply Matt C. February 11, 2017 at 10:27 pm

    brilliant !!

  • Reply yueer chen February 19, 2017 at 4:04 pm


  • Reply Doug Maverick March 1, 2017 at 12:52 am

    Great info.
    I hit the ball pretty well with all the other strokes except the serve and overhead.
    Now I plan on starting from scratch and learning to hit a proper serve.
    Keep up the great videos.
    Most players don't use proper serving technique, but instead just "push" the serve in.

  • Reply Mcenroe ng teow ee March 2, 2017 at 3:17 am

    u best! please upload more vids!

  • Reply Edgar Collazo March 2, 2017 at 7:06 pm

    Best instruction videos thanks a lot.

  • Reply Turing Mendoza March 11, 2017 at 6:08 am

    The 'in' and ' out' is really effective! thanks!

  • Reply Black Coffee March 15, 2017 at 4:36 am

    When I played tennis for the first time I could never do a good serve like I either hit the racket too soon, too slow, or too high/low

  • Reply Black Coffee March 15, 2017 at 4:46 am

    You make it look so easy

  • Reply Dave Octo March 26, 2017 at 11:16 pm

    This video is so helpful thanks man

  • Reply Gabby Gershom Bassey March 28, 2017 at 5:56 pm

    I have tennis trials tomorrow

  • Reply Fabio Zapletal April 4, 2017 at 2:12 am

    That was a fantastic lesson!! Great job!! Congrats!! Keep it simple always!!!

  • Reply Jaemoon Sang April 8, 2017 at 2:24 pm

    I should have watched this video earlier!! It is easy to practice and to get the point serve.

  • Reply Matthew Dallas Gordon LLC April 10, 2017 at 5:58 pm

    Great video! Thank you!!

  • Reply Guillermo Expósito April 12, 2017 at 2:07 am

    thanks! it's perfect.

  • Reply Oscar Freitas April 17, 2017 at 6:24 pm

    This is the best video I found at internet about how serve properly!! Great video!! Thanks for your time helping us to improve our tennis!!

  • Reply gopsln April 21, 2017 at 11:36 pm

    Very good information, thanks!

  • Reply Danzel Philbert April 24, 2017 at 12:20 am

    thanks for your help

  • Reply David Sirois May 3, 2017 at 10:02 am

    i've watched hundreds of tennis serve videos to gain tips for my students… this is by far my favorite

  • Reply Calum Harris May 10, 2017 at 6:42 pm

    Excellent explanation! Thanks very much.

  • Reply nicky balboa May 11, 2017 at 7:48 pm

    very good video thanks

  • Reply Deepak Shivdutt Kandpal May 15, 2017 at 11:02 am

    an essential video

  • Reply w BOYD May 17, 2017 at 5:00 am

    Hi, coach. This video help me a lot, especially the palm outside , inside and outside idea. Thanks.

  • Reply bnwk5 May 19, 2017 at 3:49 am

    thank you so much for sharing this with us. your explanation is clear and precise.

  • Reply Danny D'Angelo May 26, 2017 at 11:11 pm

    I practiced my serves at my work(school) with a foam paddle equivalent to a junior racquet and a plastic ball with holes and then a regular tennis ball. I felt confident and consistent.

  • Reply Noah Galyen June 3, 2017 at 2:06 pm

    See this helped me a bit, but I am a left handed server so this got me confused and I can't reach my full potential with my serve

  • Reply Bridget JV June 6, 2017 at 7:12 am

    Thanks this video. My serve is better than before I watched it.

  • Reply thetruth June 7, 2017 at 1:08 pm

    Ian you guys on YouTube talk about the swing I don't see the swing is too hard I think the toss is. like where in relation to your stand should the ball be at because there's conflicts on looping it into the court and others saying should be above head and some say more right

  • Reply thetruth June 7, 2017 at 1:26 pm

    I think you meant smaller margin of error

  • Reply Eric Chiu June 13, 2017 at 10:19 pm

    I wish all tennis players, including the very best ones can see and appreciate this great concept/advice.
    You are the Man, Ian.

  • Reply Eric Chiu June 13, 2017 at 10:20 pm

    P.S. This change my tennis life. 🙂 🙂 🙂

  • Reply tokketto June 19, 2017 at 10:14 pm

    Great lesson!

  • Reply Dog days Traveler07 June 28, 2017 at 9:50 pm

    This video saved my serve!

  • Reply Wasabi Kimchi June 29, 2017 at 11:28 am

    hot damn u lefty

  • Reply Letsplayer101 July 10, 2017 at 5:34 pm

    Bro this helped me so much especially how the motion relates to throwing a ball thank you keep up the great work, Ian!

  • Reply George July 18, 2017 at 2:55 am

    So, with the continental grip, the face won't be perfectly perpendicular to the ball, right? So will you have to adjust your aim for a curve?

  • Reply Tom Ingram July 18, 2017 at 4:22 pm

    Hi.  Can I ask why is there the outside rotation at the end phase?  What benefit does that give?…tom

  • Reply duzty122 July 20, 2017 at 5:56 pm

    what kind of a racket is that?

  • Reply Mark F July 31, 2017 at 8:14 pm

    I like it, man. Thanks

  • Reply Shiva entertainment Latest Bollywood movies August 17, 2017 at 7:55 am

    What is the age to play for international ? computation. I'm Indian I'm 26 old I want play international computation.. Please tell me sir

  • Reply peggy hui August 19, 2017 at 9:54 pm

    He is really good, makes things easy because he delivers great concepts in simplicity and effectiveness

  • Reply Essential Tennis - Lessons and Instruction for Passionate Players August 25, 2017 at 3:02 pm

    Improve your serve today with our 4 Page Action Plan —>
    We think you're going to like what you see when you begin to read through the incredibly effective step by step practice progressions we use with our private students to develop winning serves.

  • Reply Sanjay Gupta August 25, 2017 at 5:38 pm

    pls reply with the link of the video in which u were instructing to stretch with rubber wire to improve the serve.

  • Reply Self True September 3, 2017 at 8:33 pm

    Best service tutorial I have seen. Thanks much.

  • Reply Sergio Luevano September 6, 2017 at 8:28 pm

    Ian this is a great video thanks for sharing your knowledge, I've watching other of your videos about pronation, and I got a question. How should the wrist work while pronating on a serve? I feel I am bending my wrist at contact point. Cheers from Mexico.

  • Reply duzty122 September 12, 2017 at 8:11 pm

    what racquet is that?

  • Reply kan KK September 16, 2017 at 2:13 pm

    OMG!! quality 2160

  • Reply Ann belsito October 5, 2017 at 3:23 am

    Ian, you rock! You're such a great instructor!!

  • Reply Martin Petrov October 9, 2017 at 3:42 am

    Hi, could you comment, please, the exact direction of the throughing motion. Is it forward or upward to the ball?

  • Reply Diane Hazlett October 23, 2017 at 11:20 pm

    Thank you. As a school tennis coach this was an excellent video to break the serve down.

  • Reply Joakim Øster November 11, 2017 at 12:50 am

    Wow, there´s a lot of tennis serve videos out there, but this is second to none the best video on the basics of the serve i´ve seen! – Greetings from Denmark

  • Reply 뉴원NewOne November 25, 2017 at 5:52 am

    I'm in south korea, and my couch don't know how to teach THE FUNDEMENTAL MECHANISM OF SERVE. My shoulder is sick and tired of wrong motion. I'm going to practice a lot and tell you how it works. Thanks a lot. I'm your new subscriber~

  • Reply Miracle Sun December 5, 2017 at 3:48 pm

    Hi How to get a private clinic with you?

  • Reply Allen Hoang December 6, 2017 at 6:14 pm

    I played baseball in hs, so I can throw very well. I can throw a golf ball 100+ yards, but I can't serve the way I want to. Throwing isn't exactly the same as serving. Serving requires more shoulder & elbow flexibility that diminished with age. You have a great video talking about increasing flexibility & range of motion, and that's what I have been doing.

  • Reply New Life Chiropractic January 27, 2018 at 3:57 am

    Awesome, straight forward and easy to follow steps to hit a good consistent serve. Thank you!

  • Reply jumpingbeans February 13, 2018 at 2:56 am

    Not helpful when you keep going from your left hand to your right hand

  • Reply Christopher Cusack March 20, 2018 at 2:33 pm

    Ian I was curious if you had experience teaching this technique to kids who are in middle school, or around that age. If so has it been successful?

  • Reply Roger April 8, 2018 at 9:48 am

    This is great stuff. I just bought a tennis racket and I have a feeling I'm going to be spending a lot of time on your channel.

  • Reply Matt Bray April 8, 2018 at 11:28 pm

    another great video. thanks ian!

  • Reply beastmry April 12, 2018 at 5:12 am

    Fantastic video. And thank you for such a humble approach. Thoroughly enjoyed and subscribed

  • Reply theeachuisge April 29, 2018 at 6:10 am

    Do you naturally release your racket to make it do the back drop, or do you push your arm?

  • Reply BeaglesRFun May 5, 2018 at 3:58 am

    Great instruction with the breakdown into the basic elements of the serve! Love the reference of the palm direction (out-in-out) — so easy to remember! Thank you for this instruction.

  • Reply T-swizzle Bizzle May 16, 2018 at 11:42 pm

    Nice video. Cool set up. I'm ready to take it to the court.

  • Reply Ben Goetz May 18, 2018 at 5:15 pm

    this video SUX

  • Reply Debbie Wilbur June 12, 2018 at 6:16 pm

    Thank you for this video! great info

  • Reply Mandana tehranifar August 3, 2018 at 9:13 am

    Thanks so much for this useful lesson…Watching this 9 min video made a huge difference in my serves

  • Reply Krishnaswamy G August 9, 2018 at 9:18 am

    One of the best lessons taught on service. I followed and you will not believe, I can serve with 100% confidence. I could achieve 10/10 clean serves this morning. I can share my video if there is a WhatsApp number at your end. Many thanks to you, Ian.

  • Reply Mahmoud Hesham September 2, 2018 at 3:43 pm

    I've struggled for years with serving and after this it worked like a charm!

  • Reply Emilio Rubione September 14, 2018 at 10:30 pm

    practising in my room and without thrwoing the ball already note the difference! thanks!!

  • Reply writer684 November 4, 2018 at 10:05 am

    This is really the best basic video do this and you cant go wrong

  • Reply Brooklyn Young November 7, 2018 at 3:44 pm

    can you make a video of rolling the ball with the rack.

  • Reply ABC Tennis November 7, 2018 at 11:52 pm

    Love staring from the hair brush position. SO hard for beginners to get in that position. Gotta keep the palm down!

  • Reply rjovanov13 December 8, 2018 at 1:25 am

    Brilliant, Ian!

  • Reply Jinho Lee December 12, 2018 at 3:50 pm

    Amazing video. I really needed baby steps like this.

  • Reply DT G December 21, 2018 at 5:46 am

    U are great

  • Reply Todd Winebarger February 14, 2019 at 3:59 pm

    I like how you performed this right-handed (your non-dominant hand) to more closely simulate a beginner learning the throwing and serving motion. Yep, I noticed.

  • Reply Bo Strömberg February 20, 2019 at 8:09 pm

    Great video. I like the stepwise approach and only focus on the essetials. Should have seen this 30 years ago

  • Reply kallol mitra February 24, 2019 at 8:04 am

    superb lesson. liked it a lot

  • Reply Blake March 2, 2019 at 6:25 pm

    Ian, I'm helping with coaching high school kids. Some have never played. Would you recommend teaching them like this right off the bat, or should I let them serve with an eastern grip at first?

  • Reply Jake Calvert April 5, 2019 at 4:17 am

    I really needed this right now, I just started playing tennis for the first time ever about 2 weeks ago at school and my first match is on Monday, it’s Thursday. I subbed, thanks for the help!

  • Reply Stephanie Gasmalla April 27, 2019 at 1:02 am

    The only video I watched so far that really helped me understand a basic serve. Thanks for the great teaching moment !

  • Reply Thomas Collins May 8, 2019 at 1:25 am

    Could you send me information on how I could come out and get my shots diagnosed and then corrected. I'm off in the summers, and I would really want to commit my time to becoming a 4.0 tennis player instead of continuing to always be a 3.5. I'm 47 years old and motivated. Thanks. Tom

  • Reply Plinio Buzato May 9, 2019 at 5:24 pm

    Unbelievable… I’ve been playing tennis for just 2/3 years but my friends never play matches, only rallies and my situation was exactly what he described in the beginning of the video. Every time I tried I failed miserably, so never had the motivation to learn. In fact, I was sure I was doomed to never have a serve. But after watching this video one night, I came to the courts to practice for a few days in a row and followed step by step of what he says and goddamn I actually have a pretty consistent serve now ?

  • Reply Ellen Jing May 23, 2019 at 11:50 pm

    Super good video, thank you!!

  • Reply Anthony Ball May 29, 2019 at 10:18 am

    Very good instruction thank you. Off to practice.

  • Reply twistedwired May 31, 2019 at 6:22 pm

    Very helpful, I found it awkward twisting on my forward leg, but on second look, you have your forward foot at angle, you didn't mention that. Also, how high to throw the ball? I find if I throw the ball to just above where I want to hit it, I have more time to make accurate contact because the ball is changing direction.

  • Reply Nenad ИС XC Shuput June 4, 2019 at 4:51 am

    Why are all tennis player so skinny?

  • Reply Kamal Parcha June 9, 2019 at 5:47 pm

    Thank u so much man

  • Reply Nathan Olson June 11, 2019 at 9:56 pm

    Didnt really help me at first. However I realized it's all in the grip. MAKE SURE to keep your hand fanned along the grip

  • Reply Anthony MG June 30, 2019 at 3:31 am

    Best tip ever. Simple but wonderfully helpful.

  • Reply Rolando Cimafranca July 4, 2019 at 12:52 am

    Thanks for the very informative serving the tennis ball

  • Reply Zachary Lore July 23, 2019 at 4:57 pm

    Thank you for the video! I never practiced the serve and mostly just rallied. I’ve tried these techniques twice and it’s going to take a lot of practice. I still struggle with the timing. The second time I made the mistake of going through the full motion when I should have started with the racket in the elevated position like you demonstrated. Hopefully I will get the hang of it soon. It’s so frustrating! The inconsistent ball makes the timing even more difficult. But I will keep at it. Thanks!

  • Reply Eric Jackson11 July 24, 2019 at 6:42 am

    Bruh, this channel helps me so much. Thanks coach ?????

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