Quick Serve Fix: Avoiding the Palms Up!


Here's a very easy, yet powerful serve tip that can make an immediate impact on any recreational player's serve, even tomorrow!  Serve starting positions and wind-ups involve a lot of personal style, and I let the players I coach develop their own style on both.  However, regardless of personal style, one thing effective servers on the ATP and WTA Tours do, is known as the palms down motion.  That is, throughout the serve, the serving hand palm points downwards until the point of contact.  Here's a quick example of what I mean:


Gael Monfils Australian Open Slow Motion Serve

Notice that Gael's right palm faces downwards the entire motion (until contact).  If you give me a group  of 10 recreational players of any level, I'll wager that at least 6 of them have the exact opposite: a palm's up motion.  Here's an easy way to fix it, in 2 parts.  Part 1: at the start of your serve, make sure the tip of your racquet is facing in the direction of the net (could be any angle).  Part 2: as the racquet moves from your front leg and to/past your back leg (depends on wind-up style), keep the butt of the racquet facing straight behind you.  If you watch these 3 ATP servers, all 3 of whom have completely different serving styles, you'll see both parts are true.


Rafael Nadal Slow Motion Serve - Back View

And now the 2016 Australian Open Champion:


Novak Djokovic Slow Motion Serve


Finally, a semi-abbreviated wind-up with a double pin-point foot stance, for ATP #6 David Ferrer:


David Ferrer Slow Motion Serve


These motions are all vastly different in style.  However, they are all consistent on the 2 main points:

  • the tip of their racquets is facing forward into the court at the beginning
  • the butt of their racquets points backwards as the racquet moves from the front leg to the back leg.


Try these 2 simple tips to your serve, and you'll be using your palms for high 5s after your next match!