USPTA Pro 1 instructor Lisa Dodson has a killer tennis tip for women struggling to improve their serve.
Lisa was one of the few female pros to speak at the USPTA Tennis World Conference in Monterey, Calif. this week. Formerly a world-ranked player in singles and doubles, Lisa has taught tennis for 35 years.
A good serve begins with a skill many women never learned as girls – throwing. “If you can’t throw, you won’t be able to have good, efficient serve form,” says Dodson.
Saying that someone “throws like a girl” is a well known insult. But women can throw, counters Lisa. It just takes a little know-how.
- The Grip: Use a V grip (the V is formed by the space between thumb and forefinger) to hold the ball. This enables the arm to go back with the bicep parallel to the ground and elbow pointing behind the body.
- The Stance: Stand at a 45-degree angle from the net—not facing the net nor at a 90-degree angle.
- The faster your non-dominant hand – the one that tosses the ball when serving – gets out of the way, the faster you can come through the motion with your throwing (or racquet) side.
Lisa notes that if your fingers are around the ball with your elbows out to the side and you are facing the net, you will “throw like a girl.” This position will make it impossible to generate power from your legs. With this net-facing stance, you will be forced to rely solely on the power of your arm. You won’t be able to get any speed or upward motion from your hip.
By using a V grip on the ball, angling yourself at 45 degrees from the net with the bicep parallel to the ground, you will get pronation when you throw. Pronation occurs when your wrist and hands go from an interior to an exterior position.
Lisa has created the Total Serve, a tennis tool to help everyone learn the proper serving technique. In the video, you can see how the motion of the Total Serve reinforces the keys Lisa has shared here about throwing.
To get a better serve, learn to throw. If your throwing gets better, you serve will improve.