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TENNIS SERVE TIP – Why Your “Off Hand” Is Critical To Your Tennis Serve

November 6, 2019

Hi! This is Jeff Salzentein. CEO of Tennis Evolution and USTA High Performance coach. I’ve got a powerful serve lesson today that is going to go over what you can do with your off-hand to help you stay up on your serve. So, let’s get to that lesson right now. So, before we talk about how you can improve your serve, improve staying up on your serve by focusing on your off-hand, I’ve got to show you the problem that I see with a lot of wrecked players. So, what ends up happening is when players are serving, when they’re serving, and they toss the ball, their fingers are all contorted like this. I see this all the time. Now, if you look at the best pros in the world: Federer Sampras, and others, you’re going to see the hand is extended the fingers are extended. So, when I see a wrecked player, or a junior player, or any player for that matter struggling with their off-hand when they toss the ball and this hand is all- kind of- fingers and the hands are kind of scrunched up and contorted and it looks like an alien, I try to get that player to focus on really spreading those fingers after they toss the ball. So, you can practice this by doing a shadow stroke, getting into trophy position, and just putting your tossing arm up like this. And notice how I’m spreading the fingers. Now, keep in mind that when you toss the ball and you actually hit the serve, you’re going to have a harder time doing this if you’re not used to it So, you’re really going to have to practice shadow strokes first, then you can you try to do it when you actually hit serves and you’re really going to have to commit to spreading those fingers. So, take a look at what it’s going to look like when I hit a serve, and I focus on spreading my fingers on my tossing hand. [Jeff Salzentein tennis serve] That one felt great. And again, I really focused on extending my tossing arm up, and really spreading those fingers. Let me show you that again. [Jeff Salzentein tennis serve slow motion] And that, just again, it allows me to stay up on the serve and to really explode because I’m taller when I do this. If I have my fingers all contorted, and my arms slightly bent, I’m not going to be able to extend up to the ball as much. So, that’s a great tip that you can focus on the next time you step on the court or you can actually focus on what your off-hand does when you’re serving to improve your serve. Now, if you got a lot of value out of this lesson, go ahead and click the Thumbs Up button. Feel free to subscribe if you want to get updated on all of the latest lessons that we release and of course, leave a comment down below, or a question and I look forward to seeing you at the next lesson. Thanks so much for your time today, and go take action on the courts. Go ahead and click the tennis ball or the link below in the description to get free tennis tips over at


  • Reply Tennis Evolution - Online Tennis Lessons December 23, 2016 at 6:05 pm

    I hope you enjoy this Tennis Serve Lesson. Please ask a question or comment below and I will be glad to help you. Happy Holidays.

  • Reply kaibamaddness December 24, 2016 at 1:50 am

    What do you think is THE most important part of the serve?

  • Reply Tennis Conditioning December 24, 2016 at 6:23 pm


  • Reply Richard Atherley January 6, 2017 at 1:35 am

    I love this tip! It makes it easy to get up to the ball for a great serve!

  • Reply Paddy Pits February 14, 2017 at 10:31 am

    I don't think this was a very good lesson. You should explain what does spreading your fingers do exactly to your serve

  • Reply Paddy Pits February 14, 2017 at 10:33 am

    this is not a powerful serve lesson as you mentioned

  • Reply Michael Perine February 16, 2017 at 8:31 am

    Did you notice that in your shadow serve the palm of your tossing arm was facing forward, but in the actual serve the palm was facing toward the back fence?  In the slow motion serves of Federer and Sampras I notice that they begin with the palm facing the fence but rotate the palm forward as they hit the ball.

  • Reply Ira Do June 17, 2017 at 6:23 pm

    Jeff – how do you build momentum on the toss without disturbing the rest of the service motion?  I'd like to try to get my toss higher to involve the legs but find myself accelerating the tossing arm too fast and having an inconsistent toss.

  • Reply Jonathan Beal July 14, 2017 at 7:02 pm

    Love this tip! Related to that, does the same hold true for your off hand during forehands? Thanks for the great vids!

  • Reply Cain Abel September 3, 2017 at 3:07 pm

    great tip!

  • Reply Radnally November 6, 2017 at 3:00 pm

    Leaving my toss arm extended as long as possible really helps keep my body mechanics to be correct. Keeping my eye on the ball at contact is also critical. These two rules for my serve have helped me to maintain power, accuracy and consistency more than anything.

  • Reply Michael S. April 10, 2018 at 8:34 pm

    Great lesson. I have trouble in that I always seem to drop my head.

  • Reply 2Kdrive June 22, 2018 at 11:18 am

    1:55 nice serv !

    Such a importen tip that control especially the first low-high racketarm moves. In a nother Salzenstien video such a great thing like to KEEP you racketarm low frozen with no swing at all just a couple of shot, and do the throw and then first start the serv.

    From such a smart theme, you can see that if you get rid of the throwarm to early you servarm will go to low and do a notch in rhythm, and if you ball-throwarm stay a bit longer you rhythm will change immediately.

    All those chain related things Salzenstein show in thise tips.

    And how to hand throw.

    That's years plus know how pratice in REAL LIFE !

    Bravo a pro coach !

  • Reply Tennis Evolution - Online Tennis Lessons July 6, 2018 at 1:38 pm

    Serve myths debunked: Former Top 100 ATP Pro, Jeff Salzenstein, is exposing 3 common myths that could be crippling your serve potential. Most players make at least 1 of these 3 mistakes… Do you?

  • Reply Nicholas Chivers September 26, 2018 at 5:59 pm

    Whoa – crooked pinkie or what?

  • Reply Mike Lin April 3, 2019 at 11:59 pm

    I like it

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