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The Swinging Up On The Serve Mystery Explained

November 7, 2019


  • Reply Angelo Lagusa June 29, 2015 at 9:09 pm

    Due to that Milos Raonic slow mo video, I am pleased that most players are tossing the ball almost inside the court but not on the right side of the baseline which some tutorials are showing, however all of the pro players are doing that "Elbow up" thing to have a power on that upward swing motion.

  • Reply David Kim June 30, 2015 at 12:49 am

    Tomaz, you have the most intelligent and creative tennis analysis on the internet. Always look forward to your stuff.

  • Reply hans hannes June 30, 2015 at 10:17 pm

    can you make a video for eg with that slow motion video on what phase of the swing what muscle activates. I heard that before the swing you are very loose and on contact your body is very hard so that the counterforce of the ball wont creep back into a joint.

  • Reply Theo Beulakker June 30, 2015 at 11:03 pm

    good explanation of the difficulties serving well. thanks again.

  • Reply Henry Pacquette July 1, 2015 at 1:50 am

    You have been a big help to my game

  • Reply Ghanshyam V July 1, 2015 at 11:17 am

    Superb video Tomas! This mystery does make sense now. Can you do one for the top second serve too please?

  • Reply Alex CHO July 2, 2015 at 1:11 pm

    Wow, this is really helpful, Thank you!!

  • Reply Potop C. July 4, 2015 at 1:19 pm

    hey Thomas! I love your videos! You are such a great coach! i wish one day we can work together. Can you please make a video on how to uncoil your body into the ball on the serve. I've been watching Federer doing this, and it seems he generates such a great speed by doing that. I would love you to share your thoughts on this! Big love from Romania

  • Reply lazidude999 July 4, 2015 at 8:37 pm

    I don't usually comment on videos by this is a very good analysis and makes a lot of sense. This has really opened up my eyes more on the serve. People usually tell me these things and I myself am trying to fix my serve to swing up, but the video makes more sense of this and really makes me trust it more. Thanks!

  • Reply Mohsin Khan July 6, 2015 at 12:05 am

    Thanks for another great video. I too am a recreational player and for years I've never known that this dynamic exists. My serve is the weakest point of my game. Mainly, I can't have a proper backswing on the serve. Meaning I toss the ball up and my elbow is bent and the racket goes up from in front of me, not behind me as its supposed to. I've been doing this for years so I can't seem to correct my service motion. Can you please guide me a bit how to do that and also apply your advice in this video?

  • Reply w6030 July 6, 2015 at 2:13 pm

    wow, best video, so far, that explains the phrase "hitting up".

  • Reply Kenneth Girouard July 6, 2015 at 4:17 pm

    Thanks for video

  • Reply TNToncourt July 8, 2015 at 1:31 pm

    This video is the answer to my prayers.Thank you.

  • Reply Osnosis July 8, 2015 at 5:56 pm

    The other part of hitting up is the face angle of the racquet at contact. If the head is laid back while swinging up the ball trajectory will be up (instead of down as on a flat or slice serve), but will come back down 'heavily' into the court due to topspin.

  • Reply Viper ACR July 9, 2015 at 8:56 pm

    excellent explanation.

  • Reply geeteego July 14, 2015 at 6:15 pm

    Tomaz, thank you so much for this. Sometimes explaining something like your audience is a five year old is what is necessary. I've had four different coaches try to explain serve mechanics to me and still my serve is horribly inconsistent. This places all of the essential information quite literally in reach. You made it click for me and I can't wait to use this! Thank you!!!


  • Reply dalius titovas July 14, 2015 at 8:04 pm

    Hello, Tomaz, once again you exposed a very interesting point and developed it through very interesting point of view. There are very few tennis coaches that makes audience watch the whole lesson, follow through all the material, understand everything (together making one very proud because of this understanding :)) and put a smile of amazement on the face. You always point out how much natural reason and logic there is around every tennis element. 

    In one of your future lessons maybe you could point out how to develop naturally let me call it "small jump" up trying to reach the ball as high as possible while serving. Thank you.

  • Reply Riccardo AtWork July 15, 2015 at 4:27 pm

    awesome video as always, but I think you are missing a little detail, which I find important: leaning is a vital factor, but when raonic (and every good server) hits the ball, the ball goes down also because even if the racket is pointing vertical, the racket is actually going down. And what makes the racket go down is pronation. When you hit the ball the racket still has not tilted, but has started going down,

  • Reply Henry Pacquette July 16, 2015 at 2:30 pm

    You are in the top 3 of all the coaches on youtube that knows what he is talking about when it comes to tennis.thus far you are 99% correct

  • Reply Keith Soifer July 16, 2015 at 10:47 pm

    Coach, long time viewer, first time commenter from SoFl, This is a difficult, counter intuitive concept.  The video is too much to take in in one bite, but it is very well-done.  I look forward to using it with my students, AND, myself as well.  Curious, how is this concept deployed by tall players. Curious as to what kind of adjustments are made. By virtue of a tall player's height, isn't /she/he hitting in a more downward swing path? Although for a tall player, the length of distance from baseline to beyond net still remains constant.  Thanks again for your excellent insight!!

  • Reply Cesar Lovera July 23, 2015 at 2:26 am

    Tomaz.I never heard the best explanation about serve. Congratulations and thank you for your excellent video.! I try your advices and my serve improved 100 x 100.

  • Reply dctrex July 29, 2015 at 4:10 pm

    Really appreciate you going into the minutiae of physics of a tennis serve. Excellent thing to have an understanding of the real mechanics.

  • Reply jean huz August 3, 2015 at 9:19 pm

    Thanks for this video. is it the same feeling with the smash ? raquet vertical and throwing upward ?

  • Reply HUNG NGUYEN August 3, 2015 at 11:54 pm

    I'm in Vietnam. This leson very good for me. Thanks !

  • Reply looonger August 10, 2015 at 2:25 am

    This video is exceptional! Thank you so very much for the explanation!

  • Reply Natalia Skorokhod August 10, 2015 at 2:40 pm

    Awesome video, thank you.

  • Reply xXAsianGuyXx August 12, 2015 at 4:35 pm

    No wonder my serves always go out, so you hit more strait-forward and upwards.

  • Reply Rajeev Prv August 13, 2015 at 5:33 pm

    Thnaks Tomaz, I have the same problem of controlling the ball with my arm rather than body. I have one question, what should be the angle b/w our arm and shoulder joint while we are hitting the ball and finishing with our pronation. The reason I am asking is pronation means fair amount twist in the shoulder, so the most comfortable way to do is by putting the arm fairly away from our body. But that doesn't give me direction and power. So can you please explain the right angle at which our arm has to be pronated keeping the camera behind you so that I can understand. Thanks much for your valuable video lessons.

  • Reply szachistaz August 19, 2015 at 1:04 pm

    Good explanation thanks! I thought exactly wrong way – as the typical club player!

  • Reply Mariam Hazeem August 26, 2015 at 7:37 pm

    thank you 😊❤

  • Reply David Yager August 28, 2015 at 5:34 pm

    Thank you! You explain good tennis better than anyone else I have ever heard, and I watch a lot of videos.

  • Reply ntnnot September 6, 2015 at 5:45 am

    If you look at Milos Raonic's racket head path though, at one point the racket head is going upwards, but it has leveled and is just on the border of a flat motion/going down at the contact point… regardless of the angle/position of the wrist and the racket. In that sense the initial swinging up is due to the overall motion/swing path of creating the most racket head speed, but at the contact point the racket head path is already beyond swinging up, flat/slightly downwards towards the court. Right?

  • Reply ilmelangolo September 9, 2015 at 1:05 pm


  • Reply Fariza Adnan September 17, 2015 at 2:51 am

    You explained it so well. Thank you.

  • Reply Harry Kaladjian September 20, 2015 at 4:47 pm

    So how do you train for this body mechanic?

  • Reply Harry Kaladjian September 25, 2015 at 2:21 am

    That's incredible. 35 years and NOW I learn this!

  • Reply DTCMéxico SEO September 25, 2015 at 1:53 pm

    is necessary see the ball in the moment of the contact?

  • Reply tennisdude October 7, 2015 at 3:05 pm

    Very good video !!

  • Reply FairwayJack October 8, 2015 at 3:41 pm

    you are a genius !!

  • Reply Sangmin Cho October 21, 2015 at 12:52 pm

    wow this is what i want. great video.

  • Reply Brad Smith October 24, 2015 at 3:27 pm

    Thank you. Thank you! Thank you!! This clears up why my aggressive serves have tons of spin but go into the middle or bottom of net. I'm trying to do too much with my arm and way, way too much with my hand. As soon as it stops raining here I'm heading out to give it a try. This explains why you were stating, in another serving video, to start practicing at the service line and get the feel of an unrestrained arm motion, and then trying to move backwards while keeping the same throwing action. I did notice the other day when everything felt right and my serve was dead-on with pace, power and spin. I now know what to adjust and can just leave my arm motion alone.

  • Reply TheJanicetunes October 26, 2015 at 4:51 pm

    Wow this is the best explanation I ever heard on the serve. I never really understood what was happening until now. You answered all the questions I had and now maybe I can serve the correct way. I will be trying this out today!! Thank you!!!!!

  • Reply Alex Doty November 3, 2015 at 4:59 pm

    Great information. Thank you so much

  • Reply Alexander Demyankov November 4, 2015 at 8:58 pm

    One of the Best explanation about hit-the-ball-up concept! I was struggling to comprehend that for month until now! Thanks a lot!

  • Reply Rachel Whelton November 14, 2015 at 1:19 pm

    You do a great service to tennis when you make this lesson available internationally and free on the internet. I can imagine that intelligent players and coaches all over the world can use this as part of their learning to make better players. You might not be able to know how many players you influence over time, especially when you reach to a coach who reaches to players. Thanks for going into to detail.

  • Reply Hyperphantom November 30, 2015 at 12:20 pm

    The best explanation about tennis serves I have ever seen! All the beginners should see this analysis on the first day of their practice so that they do not waste their time repeating wrong swings.

  • Reply Tennis_Dad January 27, 2016 at 4:08 am

    This kind of clarity is rare. Thank you so much.

  • Reply Tennis_Dad January 27, 2016 at 4:09 am

    Please share some clips on serve grip for good pronation.

  • Reply Long Hai Nguyen February 3, 2016 at 8:02 am

    excellent Tomaz!!!
    Hope you make some about tennis elbow!

  • Reply Ronald Aramaki February 18, 2016 at 4:03 pm

    Thank you for your incredibly concise explanation of hitting up to get the ball into the court, and the video demonstration with Milos Raonic. One of the biggest servers today is actually not hitting "over" the ball.
    Like your other segments on "feeling" the technique, you helped me understand how my arm, wrist, and racquet line up at contact. Before, I used to focus on how to get the follow through look of the pros.
    Your approach of progressively getting the feel of the contact/swing to master the technique best suits my way of learning. Thanks.

  • Reply luca haller March 26, 2016 at 5:31 pm

    extraordinary lesson .grazie

  • Reply Idle King April 9, 2016 at 4:29 am

    Your awesome video improved my serve tremendously. Thanks

  • Reply Uno Ayson April 16, 2016 at 4:39 pm

    I always hit the ball to outer space 🙁

  • Reply Farhad Sani August 24, 2016 at 12:42 am

    Great vid. It truly is a 'leap of faith' at first to really explode up and into the court.

  • Reply GolemBreath August 30, 2016 at 5:56 pm

    Thank you a lot for the tips and information very aprreciated 🙂

  • Reply Dusko V September 24, 2016 at 10:03 am

    Hi Tomaz, this the most engineering and most analytical serve related analysis I have ever come across.
    But you said "The reason why the ball then goes down is because HE IS TILTED" and that puzzles me which tilting you were talking about. It is absolutely fine that he (Raonic) is tilted between the arm and upper body, but wonder is the tilt between the upper and lower body necessary or the upper body and lower body should be in straight line at the contact point. In my view that tilt is bigger if the ball is tossed more into the court and it s causing the low contact point. Hence it is really tricky to find the right compromise there. Or that tilt is the natural consequence of swinging up – which I entirely agree is the essence? Hence do we simply have to accept downside of the tilting since swinging up positives outplay the tilting negatives? Please, is it possible to eliminate that tilt between the upper and lower body and still swing up? My impression is that Del Potro is one of only few servers who do that.

  • Reply Chuck Gregory September 25, 2016 at 7:37 pm

    One of the BEST tennis videos I have ever seen, and I say this as a tennis player and engineer.

  • Reply Luciano October 21, 2016 at 12:46 pm

    You didn't mention one important thing: If you want to serve over the net without hitting upwards, you have to be 2.06 m tall. Let's assume, you can jump another 10 cm while serving, you have to be at least 1.96 m tall if you want to serve right down over the net – which might be the size of Raonic, but certainly is taller than most of us. So, this alone should explain enough, why you have to hit up on the ball when you are serving.

  • Reply Michael Munro October 24, 2016 at 6:45 am

    8-10 weeks into tennis, mind blown. haha off to the court now to work on it

  • Reply Widmer09 October 24, 2016 at 7:25 am

    Thanks for the great tips. Thinking and feeling that I'm throwing the racket upward seems to help improve my racket drop significantly.

  • Reply henleaze tennis December 14, 2016 at 11:14 pm

    too coplicated – hit up and over the ball is not helpful and misleading (lot of coaches say that i feel this is often misunderstood instruction).
    also not possible not sure what speed racket head is moving but i think in the short time the ball stays on the strings it is not possible to hit up and down on the ball as is suggested.

  • Reply supinity December 26, 2016 at 4:19 pm

    Hi Tomaz- I'd love to pick your brain about this. I'm a former higher level player but I now have nerve damage that has caused my left leg to be essentially paralyzed below the knee and my left foot is completely paralyzed. I wear heavy braces, which is the only thing that keeps my ankle from turning when I step with that foot on the court, but I can no longer push off or land on that foot (I'm a righty so it's my front foot… you probably see the problem already).

    So I can't throw the ball into the court because if my body weight is over that front leg too much, I'll either turn the ankle on the push off or I'll turn it when I land on that foot. I used to have a 5.5-level serve and it was my best shot in my pre-disability days, but now it's terrible. Any suggestions? Thanks in advance for your time.

  • Reply FairwayJack December 28, 2016 at 9:20 am

    You just went up a notch in my book …now you're at notch 11

  • Reply Widmer09 March 28, 2017 at 4:31 am

    Wow! I didn't realize how much the pro's toss the ball into the court til I saw this Raonic's slow mo serve clip.

  • Reply Joan Bibiloni April 11, 2017 at 11:28 pm


  • Reply philly April 29, 2017 at 9:12 pm

    good video but he looks pretty tall, just saying, angles. rec players also don't trust the height of the toss, hard to judge ball against blue sky background.optical illusion, they think ball is too high and their swing wont hit it…

  • Reply Dennis May 7, 2017 at 5:50 am

    RIP, my serves are going into outer space

  • Reply Joseph G May 11, 2017 at 8:23 pm

    Finally I understand why it feels like I'm swinging up, yet the ball is always going into the net. I get that feeling of swinging up, so then I try to compensate by snapping my wrist down! One question: In this serve you are showing which is not a kick serve, can you still get topspin on it, by brushing the low to high with the wrist (as he pronates)? (It Doesn't look like Milos uses any wrist upward motion at contact during his pronation. It looks like it all the upward wrist motion happens before contact as if he is just trying to reach higher with wrist).

  • Reply Vignesh Dhakshinamoorthy May 26, 2017 at 4:09 am

    What an incredible video I thought, as I watched this. Really mind blowing analysis. I have lots of trouble tossing the ball such that I end up farther behind the court. How can I prepare to serve such that I land inside the court, that seems to be the key to nailing a great first serve

  • Reply Richard Jakubowski May 27, 2017 at 1:35 am

    Genuinely one of the best most helpful serve videos out there.

  • Reply Luba Luba June 2, 2017 at 4:51 pm

    Very interesting video but because Milos is in a rotation motion there is a sling shot reaction from the strings which literally forces the ball in a downward trajectory by sling shot effect and also causing topspin.

  • Reply PATRICK LALL August 2, 2017 at 10:03 pm

    I'm going to lose all my balls over the fence practicing this one!

  • Reply Luba Luba August 5, 2017 at 2:55 am

    like to add that there's arch that impacts the ball in a downward direction regardless

  • Reply Sandeep Chilukuri October 26, 2017 at 11:36 am

    Awesome Thomaz 👍 you are amazing at explaining bio mechanics and logic in all your videos. Your way of explanation always fascinates my thought process and helped me with to develop technique with consistency.
    Thank you very much 😀

  • Reply Nelson Luis Freire January 10, 2018 at 4:22 am

    Wow! Amazingly simple and yet I did not know that. This guy is a true teacher

  • Reply Ted Carron January 11, 2018 at 4:47 pm

    a 10.50 when Milos makes contact during the serve his hand is descending. That is why even with the racquet face open the ball is dragged down. Its not the angle of the raquet that brings the ball down it is the overall direction of travel of racquet

  • Reply imonecrazykid February 9, 2018 at 10:17 pm

    Thank you for this video. My flat serves are generally inconsistent. Yesterday, we did drills where each person serves a game. When I was serving, I thought about this video, and I went to 40-0 before my opponent was even able to return a serve into play, and I never had to take a second serve. Turns out all I had to do was throw the ball into the court more instead of straight up.

  • Reply BangPotential June 6, 2018 at 6:42 pm

    amazing video, as with most yours this is again digital gold!

  • Reply MAGNIFICENT MASK June 7, 2018 at 4:53 pm

    also not mentioned is watch the ball….it is quickly on its way down as milos hits it…NOT ON THE WAY UP!!!

  • Reply Stephanie Hughes June 12, 2018 at 2:49 pm

    My resident physicist tennis instructor. Always easily explains the bio mechanics of tennis as it should be. Great job again Tomaz!!!

  • Reply Brent Waterbury August 28, 2018 at 5:59 am

    I luv tech when it comes to tennis and this video is that!

  • Reply Roman Arellano August 30, 2018 at 11:11 pm

    This is the best serve training video! Do what he says and your serve improves exponentially

  • Reply theeachuisge October 20, 2018 at 10:16 pm

    Outer space ahaha.

  • Reply Dania Zhu November 5, 2018 at 3:46 pm

    One of the best video in analyse of the serve, for the curve up and swing curve down

  • Reply Luba Luba November 30, 2018 at 4:09 am

    But in your previous video 2012? you state that because your arm is attach to shoulder that the arm cannot go any higher so it starts to come down angle down and at that point you make contact with ball and that there is pronation in every serve. So this video sounds contradicting.

  • Reply Cherie M December 27, 2018 at 4:08 pm

    This video is truly crazy. That Tomaz could break the swing down to this degree so an amateur like me can understand how to learn the advanced serve. I always wondered why my serve was arching. It's because my toss is on the baseline and not slightly inside the court so I can lean into the serve. I get it now. I get it now!!!

  • Reply Cherie M December 27, 2018 at 4:09 pm

    Watch all of Tomaz's videos. If you really want to break down your game. *He did a fantastic video about footwork.*

  • Reply google January 30, 2019 at 7:54 pm

    Thanks for sharing your lessons. Wondering how to do second serve With power and consistency. Some coach’s talk about slice /spin serve. What’s it? How to do it. Can you please share your opinions? Thanks

  • Reply Pedja Manasijevic March 6, 2019 at 7:01 pm

    please write the name of the guy which videos in slow motion I could not understand the name

  • Reply David Mahery March 10, 2019 at 10:09 am

    OMG that was just eye opening 😲. Thank you so much

  • Reply David Mahery March 10, 2019 at 10:17 am

    OMG OMG really serve 101 😭

  • Reply David Mahery March 10, 2019 at 12:07 pm

    Watching it for the third time so it sinks in !
    "Take a leap of faith"
    "Swing up"
    "Toss inside the court"
    "Lean in"

    Thank you so so so so much !

  • Reply ldgnotebook March 13, 2019 at 7:23 am

    I once saw a VHS tape of the Williams practice “serving” with the picture of a heap of rackets or a dune of rackets thrown up by Venus in their home base in Florida. I practice throwing racket up when serving for years and your lesson confirms my theory but better in detail explanation.
    Thank you for your insight

  • Reply Kampu Put April 22, 2019 at 8:36 am

    good explanation. however, i think the thing that influences beginners in the worst way is to mention words like "up" or "around the ball". they dont understand this and will create a mental picture of it and then execute based on that mental picture. i think coaches should instead just focus on telling their students that the direction of the hit is forward. always have been and always will be. the limitation of the arm movement because of its attachment to the shoulder is what gives the illusion of upward and downward movement. imagine if you tell a beginner that he should focus on having his racket move forward. everything else would be easy to learn. at least for a beginner this should be the first lesson in my opinion. how do i know this? i have wasted 5 years of tennis life having a faulty serve because of these words that were fed to me as i was learning to play. i discovered on my own that serve is really just hitting the ball forward.

  • Reply NsteveA May 3, 2019 at 8:36 pm

    The master delivers THE WISDOM. I love these videos and only learned about hitting up recently and this addressed EVERY question I had.

  • Reply Keith Davis June 25, 2019 at 2:39 am


  • Reply Faruq Wadiwala August 11, 2019 at 12:10 am

    YOU ARE AMAZING, basically perfect, intricate, cohesive yet masterfully broken down and explained. Thank you so very much, God bless, Peace out ! 😀

  • Reply Vedat Nommaz September 10, 2019 at 10:07 am

    Brain-candy! Just love how each part feeds what the brain is already wanting to know and doing it so patiently and with great technical skill

  • Reply donell custodio September 11, 2019 at 6:09 pm

    awesome explanation. that super slomo really got me. thank u very much Tomas!

  • Reply Dann Dane October 22, 2019 at 10:20 am

    As soon as I think swing up on the ball before my serve, those serves are clearing the net, good advice coach.

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