View Full Version : My Toss Owns Me !!

09-09-2004, 10:58 AM
I am working hard to try and improve my serve these days, and I consider the worst aspect of my action to be one of the most important - the ball toss.

It is horribly inconsistent, and I often feel like it 'owns' my serve - the rest of my motion is a desperate attempt to adapt to the shoddy toss and get the ball in play at a decent pace.

I often catch the tosses which are just plain ridiculous, but even the ones I hit are errant and inconsistent.

So I ask: what are the characteristics of the ideal ball toss for a flat fast serve. I think I read BB post that it should be about 1.5 feet out in front of you. Should it be slightly to the right of your body as well? (righty serve). How about height?

Apologies as this is really basic, but I'd like to know definitively so I can go out tomorrow and toss balls until it's flawless and effortless and I can toss in my sleep.

(oh yeah - any particular methods/drills improving toss consistency would be appreciated also)


09-09-2004, 12:56 PM
well here is something we do in practise (which I sincerely hate). put the racquet handle touching the baseline at a 30-45 degree angle. now put the feet normally behind the baseline, front foot along the handle (foot should be sort of span half outside the handle half inside.

Toss, being the objective of the drill to hit the strings on the racquet with the ball.

You can then adjust the racquet depending on your ideal contact point is. For a flat, mine is actually more to the left than the average person, but thats jsut my service motion.

About height, I think its a preference, I like short compact serves, so usually I'm hitting the ball just at it's highest point without letting it fall, thats almost 7 feet (I think, around 2 meters or so). Most folks seem to go with a foot higher than your contact point. Its preference really.

Hope it helps

Tim Tennis
09-09-2004, 01:54 PM
the rest of my motion is a desperate attempt to adapt to the shoddy toss and get the ball in play at a decent pace.

You may have already solved your problem in this statement. The toss basically starts the loading process to hit your serve. Your arm/hand starts up, hopefully you are starting to turn your shoulders, hips turn, weight shift, hitting arm goes back, knees bend too some degree (depending on age and level of play). If you practice this in super slow motion without a ball you will see how all of the above seems to happen at the same time. Try it. Soon it will feel so natural. Now introduce the ball and all of a sudden it does not feel smooth. You have to get over that hurdle and think of it as starting the service motion, not starting the toss. If you focus on the toss too much you hinder the other processes in the loading process.

In my case the toss and loading for the serve are so tied in that even if I get a slightly errant toss I have unconsciously adjusted in how I prepared to hit my serve and if I do have to make a slight adjustment usually it is not severe.

Anyhow food for thought.

You got to love the game.

09-09-2004, 11:31 PM
for flat serve. the toss should land within the following area; 1.5~2 feet front and right of your left foot (assuming you are righty). I think it should at least be 1/2 foot to your right, and to your front. That's the minimum. Each player has variations...

As far as height is concerned, it really varies. But general guideline, I think, is don't let it drop more than a foot from it's apex. Best way to gauge your toss heigh would be to go in front of fence or wall, reach up with your dominant arm with racket in hand. And remember where the tip of the racket touches. The toss should AT LEAST be as high as where the tip of racket touches.

Try to really slow your tossing arm down. Think of placing that ball in the air instead of throwing it up there. What works for me is, I keep my head up and look at where I want my toss to be. Another thing is I try to relax my arm, and I simply think of raising my left arm from low to as high as I can.

You might have to tinker with different motions and see which motion allows you to have the most consistent toss.
I know a lot of people say simpler motion like Rafter's will help a lot. But it wasn't the case for me. Raising both arm at the same time didn't really allow me to concentrate on my tossing arm. So I sort of went to fuller motion that I can concentrate on my tossing first, then take a very very simple backswing.

09-10-2004, 12:08 AM
Thanks a lot guys, some very good points - I'll go put it in practice today.

09-10-2004, 01:49 AM
sounds like you know where to toss the ball, but not how to put it there consistently. this really helped me.


i was flicking and twisting my wrist on release and the ball was all over the shop.

there's a few other posts on here about using bigger more stable muscles (arm & shoulder) rather than smaller ones (wrist) to get more consistent placement. toss with your arm not your wrist ... (ooo errr missus!)