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Advanced Service Training for Power

There are mixed reviews on what the most effective training methods for serving with power are.  This article already assumes you have an intermediate level of serving ability.

Three things determine an advanced service.

  1. The ability to place the ball.
  2. The ability to put spin on the ball.
  3. The ability to hit the ball hard.

All the above work together to produce power but specific swing techniques can really distinguish the advanced player.  The speed with which you can hit the ball down into the court, taking the height of the net and the distance away from it at the baseline into consideration, is determined by the height of the ball at contact.  It therefore reasons that someone who is taller (assuming they have good reach) should have the advantage.  You need to be well over 6’ however to get that advantage, most people are not that tall.

Therefore, you will have to take off some of the power to spin the ball into the court which means you never really get to wind up and just blast away.   But there are drills that will maximize what you have.

You really need to feel what it’s like to just hit the ball as hard as you can before you know what you’re capable of putting into a serve.

These drills will give you that feeling of hitting with unbridled power.

  1. From your baseline hit serves with enough power to reach the back fence.  Get a feel for the motion of the arm and what it has to do to generate that power.  Toss the balls a little further out in front so your weight is coming into the court, if you can’t hit the back fence.  One thing that really facilitates this motion is having good shoulder flexibility.  If this is an area of limitation then include shoulder-stretching drills into every practice.  Hit 25 or so balls into the back fence.
  1. When you can consistently hit to the back fence you’ll need to rein it in a little.  Now you will serve from your service line into the diagonally opposite service box. Because of the nearness to the net you will have the height advantage referred to previously.  Pick particular target spots in the service box and hit down into them for power.  This should be pretty easy to do without failure but keep at it long enough that you can consistently hit say 10 in a row.
  1. Now take one giant step back, this should put you about 4 feet behind that last service line position. Repeat the drill above and continue to do so until you can hit with power consistently 10 times in a row.
  1. Now take another giant step backward and repeat the above drill again until you can do this consistently with power 10 times in a row.
  1. Continue to do the above exercise taking a big step back each time until you reach your baseline.
  1. If you’ve been paying attention to your arm swing you will have likely noticed some slight alterations as you’ve moved back each time.  Those alterations are allowing you to hit with power consistently into the court.  Those alterations are variations in the placement of the toss and how much weight you drive forward into your swing. You are also likely now snapping your wrist a bit more over the top of the ball.  This imparts a bit of topspin or slice motion on the ball both of which angle the ball into the court a little better.

This drill should be used sparingly, you don’t want to get too good at hitting that back fence.  But any time you feel your power is either lacking or you’re hitting with too much power and faulting, this is a good drill to go back to.


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