SERVICE BALL TOSS
Serving can be magically or it can be a disaster. Sometimes people
choose to receive after winning toss because their serve is so inconsistent.
The toss is the single most important aspect of the serve. If you have a
consistent toss youâ€™ll probably have a consistent serve.
The proper toss begins the ball cradled on the finger tips of the tossing
hand. The ball is then lifted, not tossed, into service contact zone. The ball
toss, as itâ€™s commonly referred to, is not a toss at all but a placing of the
ball. The ball comes out of the fingers with very little effort because the
hand should bend back as the arm goes up. The arm should be straight
with the elbow almost locked in place.
The height of the ball lift should be within several inches of where contact
will take place. The ball slows as it reaches its apex, then stops and then
begins itâ€™s decent. This is the best time to hit the ball because it is
moving at its slowest speed during this time. This is why a very high toss is
hard to time because the ball picks up speed as it falls. Also a high toss is
more susceptible to the wind or errors in judgment. Remember the higher
your toss, the more can go wrong.
The body should be shifting its weight forward during this ball lift.
Advanced players will bend the legs at this same time so that everything
nearly stops as the ball reaches its apex. The legs stop bending, the weight
shift slows down and the toss arms stays up.
As you become more advanced in your skill level you will also notice that
the shoulders will tilt during this ball lift. The left shoulder (for right handers)
will go up with the arm to facilitate the lifting motion. Thus the right shoulder
(for right handers) must go down and the body tilts towards the back side.
So remember to toss with the whole arm locked and the hand bent back.
Bend the legs, lift with the shoulders and shift your weight forward. As you
see there is a lot going on within just the service toss motion.
Doug Hofer, USPTA www.hofertennis.com May 21, 2008