View Full Version : Serve: Arm not fully extended on contact

08-18-2004, 07:33 PM
I'm right handed. My buggy said my racquet arm is not fully extended on contact with the ball. As a result, I frequently hit the ball into the net or outside the box. What's the best way to overcome this problem? He said I should I just toss the ball higher and hit faster. Is he correct? I find hitting with a straight arm a bit uncomfortable and can't stay loose in the serve motion. Any suggestions?

08-18-2004, 08:49 PM
You should hit with the arm straight for more power. I must say that you not extending your arm may not be what is causing the misses. Usually one issue results in one problem. What I mean is that if you sometimes net the ball and others send it outside the box, chances are these are caused by different things than your arm. Usually (not always) netting = hitting the ball too forward and outside box = too backward (assuming its a flat serve).

No idea on the ball higher, Most folks I see that are hitting the ball not fully extended have more of a problem with letting the ball pass the contact point than not actually the ball reaching it. I have a very low ball toss, maybe one foot above my hitting point (if that) and I have no problems hitting fully extended. (I have a compact motion serve) Actually, throwing the ball higher will make it harder to hit the ball right as it has more time to fall and thus accerelate. No idea where, but I read somewhere that sending the ball two more feet in the air (than the usual one foot or so) reduces the time the ball stays at the ideal contact point from 1/4 second to 1/20 of a second. I think it was Tennis.com but I'm not sure so don't quote me on that.

This may sound silly, but everyday, practise 100 serves without a ball, focusing on having your arm relaxed but straight at the imaginary contact point. Since you don't really need to care about the ball or the game, you will be able to check yourself if it is straight or not. See the motions where you have and where you don't and see what leads to each. This helped me a lot on my serve motion.


Bungalo Bill
08-18-2004, 09:53 PM
YOu need to practice with a loose arm. When you go through your service motion, the arm should reach full extension.

08-19-2004, 04:53 AM
The angle of your shoulder plane in relation to the ground can have an impact on your ablity to extend your arm properly.

According to easitennis.com, your elbow shouldn't go above your shoulder plane, which means your shoulders need to be almost perpendicular to the ground to extend your arm for contact. You can verify this by looking at pictures of a pros serve at contact. With their arm fully extended at contact, you should be able to nearly draw a straight line from their hitting arm elbow to their non dominant shoulder. That's what I mean by the hitting elbow not passing the plane of the shoulders.

To further understand what I'm talking about, spread your arms apart horizontally as if you were going to measure your wing span. Without moving your arms, tilt your left shoulder towards the floor. Notice how your right arm is points up?

For this to help, if it's not happening in your serve already, I think it is a prerequisite that you are using a serving grip (between continental and eastern backhand) and that pronation is already happening in your motion.

Raising your elbow above the plane of your shoulders can cause shoulder impingment and according to easitennis is also dangerous for the rotator cuff.

08-19-2004, 10:38 PM
Is there any decent frame by frame shots of pro serve online?

08-19-2004, 11:34 PM


Because of sampras's toss his bodys kind of angled(probably cause he had all that kick)

08-20-2004, 04:08 AM
Is there any decent frame by frame shots of pro serve online?

If you don't mind paying the membership fee, tennisone.com has many clips of various pros and various shots including the serve.

08-20-2004, 05:57 PM
Go back and read BB's posts about serving - he knows more about this than anyone I know of. His advice is right on the money and easy to understand - print out some of his posts and stuff them into you bag, if you have too, and re-read them out on the court. Keeping the head (chin-up) and throwing arm still are two extremely important elements - to me anyway.

Your doing yourseld a disservice by not reviewing his posts - on everything.