Coaching Tip - December 2019

    The Ball Toss
    The Key to Serving well

    The Serve can be rated in one of three categories
    1. A weapon 2. A serve that just puts the ball in play
    3. A Serve that is a liability with double faults costing you point after point and game after game.
    The struggle for Serving consistency can result in nervousness, frustration, anger and the loss of matches. The serve is a complicated stroke that requires good hand-eye coordination and an outstanding sense of timing.
    Developing a Better Serve through a better Ball Toss
    The Ball toss is the key and the tips below hold the answers to putting it all together.
    Relaxation of the Tossing Arm and the Mind
    • The problems with the ball toss may be at least in a part a mental thing
    Try to establish a routine which relaxes the mind and your body before each serve.
    As you start the toss make sure that you are relaxed and focussed on the Serve at hand instead of thinking about the scoreboard, the sun or wind or what is happening on the next court
    The position of the Ball in your Hand
    • The ball should be held between the end of your thumb and the ends of 2 or 3 fingers not in your palm.
    When you release the ball from the ends of your fingertips (at the same time) you are just pushing the ball into the air
    Practice makes perfect
    Avoid bending the Tossing Arm
    • Keep your tossing arm straight with the elbow locked so that the ball goes straight up and the upward movement of the arm gets the ball up to a reasonable height
    Ensure the Ball Toss reaches the correct height
    • You should release the ball at eye level to prevent the ball from going too far forward or back behind your head. If the toss is too low push your tossing arm up higher and follow through higher to get the extra height
    Keep your head up as you Toss the ball in the air
    • It is important to watch the ball at all times
    Keeping your head up will ensure that the toss gets to the right height and in the correct position
    Stay relaxed and focussed on the task at hand getting the ball toss right.
    The Tossing Arm position
    • The recommended postion for your toss to go is slightly to the right of your tossing arm if you are a right handed player or viceversa so that the ball will be tossed in front and between your head and your hitting shoulder.
    You can practice this on court by placing a racquet on the ground on the right side adjacent to your left foot to see how accurate your tosses are.
    Ball Toss Height
    • It is recommended that the ideal height to toss the ball is just higher that you can reach with your legs and arm with the racquet in hand extended to the maximum
    • The Ball Toss Height may however vary depending on the conditions ie Sun or Wind
    Experimenting with Your ball Toss Height
    It is essential that you put in time on court to work out the Ball Toss Height that works for you when you put all the Serving components together before expose it to match conditions

    Steve James
    HEAD coach