Articles, Blog

Three Ways To Toss On The Serve

August 12, 2019

Hi guys Nick here from Intuitive Tennis.
Today I’m going to show you three different ways to toss the ball on the
serve. One way to bring the toss arm up into the release is the parallel toss
arm technique and this technique is used by Ivo Karlovic, Roger Federer and Pete
Sampras and basically what it is is if we bring both the racket arm and the
tossing arm back together and we end up somewhere around here.
Now as the toss arm goes up into the release it travels parallel to the
baseline and this is great for several reasons. Number one reason is disguise as
I throw this ball up parallel to the baseline the ball will arc in this the
case is right-to-left and usually is tossed in a way where it’s simply going
to drop in right around a 12 o’clock and maybe a little bit further towards 11
o’clock on kick serves but most good players have a way to hit all serves from
the 12 o’clock position. So as the ball is arcing into this slot right here it’s
a big disguise because there’s no difference between the slice serve, the
kick serve all the flat serve, because the ball always travels right-to-left
and therefore it’s impossible to read by the opponent. Another advantage of this
tossing action is as we bring the arm up parallel to the baseline we immediately
get a shoulder turn or a coil. See it’s very difficult to not turn as my arm
goes up into this direction. Naturally as we bring this arm up we already start
getting a little bit of a of a coil to make this toss possible in the first
place. So as we go up here we immediately get a shoulder turn like
this and this is a big advantage. I do not recommend this technique to
recreational players as it’s difficult to throw the ball inside the court what
needs to happen at the very end stage of the toss is that the arm has to go
slightly forward like this to be able to bring the ball inside the court the
recreational players will have a hard time getting the ball to go forward in
addition to that many recreational players we also simply throw the ball
too far to the left this way and they have to develop great feel to
be able to bring the ball to curve into the 12 o’clock position. I almost compare
it to shooting a a skyhook in basketball We don’t want this ball to continue
traveling all the way over to the left but we want to simply to curve and then
fall right down into the 12 o’clock position like this and this can
be a big challenge for recreational players. However on the advanced level if
you can perform this type of toss it can be a big advantage because of its
disguise and because of its immediate shoulder turn. Another way to toss the ball is the
diagonal tossing technique and this happens to be the most popular toss
technique worldwide. This is used by a Milos Raonic, Goran Ivanisevic,
Serena Williams, John Isner and many many others and it looks something like this.
The tossing arm would basically go along the front foot towards the right net
post on right-handers and it will go into the court this way.
That’s the diagonal toss technique. The advantage of this technique is it can
still provide you with some disguise as the arm is going to the side you can still
get some curve into your toss with relative ease and also if you prefer to
hit the serve a little bit more towards the right let’s say around one o’clock.
It’s very easy to get the ball to end up on the right side of the body. In
addition to that it’s also fairly easy to throw the ball in front because the
arm is going into the court right away and if we get let it go at the right
time it guarantees us to have the toss go inside the court. And the final way to toss the ball is
the straight forward tossing technique and this toss technique is used by some
of the greatest female servers of all time. Sabine Lisicki and Karolina Pliskova
both to use this technique and even some men such as Robin Soderling and Jérémy
Chardy use the straight forward toss technique and it looks something like
this basically the tossing arm will not go to the side it will go straight in
this way like this and this makes it almost impossible to throw the ball
backwards and the only way you can throw it backwards in this position if you end
up with a bent arm like this but if you keep the arm somewhat straight it makes
it almost impossible to throw it behind The one disadvantage of this tossing
technique is the poor disguise so if I throw the ball straight in like this
that is going to be absolutely no curvature on this toss it’s gonna be a
straight up-and-down toss and now if I wanted to change the direction of this
toss and let’s say I’m gonna throw it a little bit to the left on a kick serve.
It’s very easy to pick up because my arm will go towards the left. If I want to
throw it towards the right maybe for a slice and my arm is gonna go slightly
towards the right so the opponent can pick this up very easily, however I want
to add that on the professional level many of the players can perform all
serves from the same position so this might not be that much of a disadvantage
on a professional tour. Another disadvantage of this serve is that and if
you want to coil on your serve you have to do it in a later stage of the
serve and this might be tricky for some players. So if I throw a ball in here
it’s very difficult for me to turn this way okay so I will have to do that at a
later stage in the serve so I’d have to toss it and then coil later and this
might be a problem with timing there might not be enough
time for some players to turn and coil at a later stage. So it’s much easier for
the diagonal style and the parallel style because when we throw the ball
this way we immediately get a little bit of a shoulder turn we’re here we have to
keep the upper body the sideways and the coil I must come
later. Thank you guys for watching this video. I
hope you enjoyed it. Please hit that like button. Subscribe if you haven’t already
and leave a comment in the section below I’ll be happy to answer. I’ll see you
next time.


  • Reply g5gmoney August 24, 2018 at 12:51 pm

    I have been waiting a long time for a Toss Serve instructional tutorial that breaks down the pros and cons! Which would best fit If I wanted to toss to my right for a spin serve? Well done and thank you!

  • Reply Jo Dunkley August 24, 2018 at 12:56 pm

    Excellent explanations Nikola, after tweeking around with my toss for ages I find that the diagonal works best for me, although until I watched your video I would not have a clue it was called that. Very informative video Thank you.

  • Reply RacquetFlex August 24, 2018 at 1:55 pm

    Excellent video Nick! I love the insights you gave about this very underrated subject.

  • Reply Marcio Nogueira da Silva August 24, 2018 at 3:22 pm

    Thanks for the excellent video

  • Reply hrabmv August 24, 2018 at 7:59 pm

    very good , thanks!….. your parallel toss serve was like federers

  • Reply Tanya Robinson September 7, 2018 at 7:25 pm

    Great video. Most of the videos I see on serve toss focus exclusively on the parallel toss. The diagonal side toss looks like a great option to me! Thank you.

  • Reply Big Ballah October 26, 2018 at 10:47 pm

    My man hands down the best serve video on youtube!👍

  • Reply Julia Shulgin November 11, 2018 at 5:53 pm

    I am watching your second video on serve. I think these are the best videos I have watched so far on YouTube. Thank you. Makes everything very clear.

  • Reply leisurefarm November 16, 2018 at 2:18 pm

    brilliant stuff! thanks! (i can't imagine how two ppl could thumbs down this fantastic video.)

  • Reply Ira Do November 19, 2018 at 6:11 pm

    Great, clear explanations! The camera view for the parallel toss is very helpful – always wondered how a parallel toss to the baseline would be able to go forward into the court, now I know. Many thanks!

  • Reply r20jun November 22, 2018 at 5:00 pm

    for a long time i tried to find how to hit the spin serve. these days got the way to swing but not stable. my problem was toss. this video was extremly useful for me. you always let me know there are alternative options. i knew only one way would be correct at toss. i tried parellel toss and that was my final key point. thank you so much.

  • Reply Raul Tennis December 29, 2018 at 11:58 am

    I prefer to coil the shoulders before releasing the toss so the only options are "Diagonal" style and "Parallel" style. The challenge, as mentioned in the video, is to get the toss inside the court. I wish to try the "Parallel" style. Video mentions tossing arm moving forward at the top of the motion to get toss inside the court. But the J-toss is not mentioned (bringing the ball back between the legs in a little J loop). I am thinking the J-toss could be incorporated into either the Parallel or Diagonal style. Is this correct?

  • Reply The Chairman January 4, 2019 at 11:20 pm

    Great video.
    How would you describe Nick Kyrgios' serving style? Seems explosive and Straight Forward toss but how does he get the coil to serve so fast?

  • Reply Wilson Lam January 25, 2019 at 9:45 am

    so cool! thanks!

  • Reply King Trawal January 29, 2019 at 8:29 am

    Excellent stuff

  • Reply Barbara Paplinski February 2, 2019 at 9:25 pm

    Never realised that in the straight ahead toss you cannot turn the body until the ball is tossed so thanks for this. These`not so little tips` make a big difference in improvement(I hope).

  • Reply Taner Bulbul February 7, 2019 at 10:33 pm

    How much does the toss height matter for your serve. I have been watching a lot of videos about serves and I think I have a good foundation for my jump serve now. I am still a beginner so I am getting there, but I find that my swings are more consistent because the length of my arm and jump are about the same every time, so the ideal contact point doesn’t change. But to get the ball to go to that contact point correctly every time is hard for me I find. I already have my racket and ball touching and at my hip level when I start my swing. Any other tips for toss consistency?

  • Reply Omar Sultanov February 28, 2019 at 8:09 pm

    The best toss lesson ever… 👍👏😊

  • Reply Mooncat747 March 6, 2019 at 10:19 am

    Great video. However, I disagree with the straight arm toss comments. I use the straight arm and diagonal and never the parallel. with the straight arm toss you start to coil as you're tossing the ball not as you described, late. Also it's the angle of attack from the racket which dictates where the ball is going to go so it doesn't matter what style of toss you use. Even my kick serve I throw the ball in front of me and not over my shoulder, it's my angle of attack that sends the ball where I want it to, even though I can throw it at the 12 o clock position every time. Another example is when I serve to the ad side I will move over to the left a little where the opponent thinks I'm going to serve a kick serve to the corner and what I actually do is slice the ball in and serve it down the T, but being that I tossed the ball the same every time he doesn't know where the ball is going to go. one thing I might add is that the way I serve has taken me literally many years to perfect and get it down and it is not for your everyday club player. this is why when people ask me to teach them how to serve the same way I serve I tell them that there is no correct way the correct way is what is comfortable when works for you.

    would it be possible for you to do a video on height of the ball toss and timing because I think those are also things that are very important in people tend to overlook. keep up the good work I'm subscribing thank you.

  • Reply tennis 92 April 6, 2019 at 8:07 am

    Hi Nick. I have a question about the diagonal toss timing. Do you turn the shoulders after the ball is released from your hand? I find very uncomfortable to turn the shoulders while tossing at the same time. I think one should follow the other… possibly shoulders turn follows the toss. What are your thoughts on that?

  • Reply Intuitive Tennis May 17, 2019 at 7:01 pm

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  • Reply David Yasui May 21, 2019 at 2:47 pm

    Have you ever tried turning your wrist just after release so you're looking at the back of your hand instead of palm up? I find that this frees up shoulder movement and allows me to increase my racquet speed at point of impact. Del Potro does this.

  • Reply Henry Kwok May 25, 2019 at 12:19 pm

    The best explanation I have ever had, thanks

  • Reply zheng andre May 27, 2019 at 6:24 am

    Very fews talked about the various serve toss.. this video is very good..

  • Reply R H May 30, 2019 at 6:36 am

    Clear and precise. Very good.

  • Reply Strahinja Zizic May 30, 2019 at 2:13 pm


  • Reply Guillermo Expósito June 2, 2019 at 11:46 pm

    Awesome! I'm struggling a lot with the serve and your advice is helping me a lot. Thanks!

  • Reply R DS June 5, 2019 at 6:06 am

    thanks for the vids. I like how you list pros/examples for these techniques.

  • Reply Javier Martin Alonso June 28, 2019 at 11:26 pm


  • Reply ezzony July 10, 2019 at 1:44 am

    This is funny for me. I was testing these 3 exact positions for the last couple of months off my own initiative trying to figure out which was the 'one' correct way to do it. Turns out all 3 positions are valid! . I was getting frustrated cause all 3 worked for me at times and I couldn't figure which one was correct..A totally different feel for each. It's no wonder I wasn't improving when I was constantly swapping from one to the other. Now I can pick one angle and perfect it. I feel the second one feels more natural and the third one maybe was able to get more power into it. I will stick with position 2 and concentrate now on the toss more. Looking forward to my training session tomorrow 🙂

  • Reply ron greco July 14, 2019 at 12:51 am

    Again a very thorough analysis, love the slow motion shows how you leave the ground.

  • Reply Hussein Ali July 25, 2019 at 7:10 am

    Great coach 👍

  • Reply David Payumo July 26, 2019 at 3:49 am

    Good videos. Cover stuff other people miss.

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