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Corsair
01-10-2009, 12:03 PM
Hi all,

I am 13 years old and had my first private lesson yesterday. I worked on serves for 30 minutes, and my instructor told me to hit a flat serve, so I did. Apparently my serve was actually a slice serve and I was hitting around the ball too much instead of driving straight through it. He taught me he flat serve, and I tried it again and again but instinctively hit through the ball every time. How can I develop my flat serve?

Thanks,

-Corsair

Headshotterer
01-10-2009, 12:19 PM
toss the ball higher and closer to your body
that will allow you to hit through it

Corsair
01-10-2009, 01:12 PM
Thanks! However, my coach said to toss the ball farther out? Which is right, closer to the body, or farther out?

WildVolley
01-10-2009, 01:26 PM
I wouldn't say that the toss is the key to the flat serve, but it should be in front of your body at contact with a flat serve. For a right- hander, most people teach the slice toss as being slightly to the right, the kick toss being over the head at contact and slightly to the left, and the flat serve being in front in a neutral position.

I suggest slowing down your motion and hitting through and stopping. If you hit flat, you'll have timed your pronation so there is less brushing past the ball as you do on the slice serve. The difference is mostly racket head path. Start slowly and then take a larger swing only when you are able to hit the ball flat with the proper grip.

Corsair
01-10-2009, 01:29 PM
Thanks so much! I just watched some slow mo videos of the flat serve, and I can see what you guys are talking about! Thanks everyone!

oneguy21
01-10-2009, 02:15 PM
Good luck on developing your flat serve. It used to be my first serve, but after getting used to a slice serve, I never found the need to hit a flat serve again!

After playing some tournaments, I've noticed that many junior players use their slice serve for almost every first serve. Why? I suppose because it's a higher percentage shot than a flat serve (slice has spin; spin is the code for control) and for players who don't have a lot of power or height, the slice serve is a way for making most of your serve.

Corsair
01-10-2009, 02:30 PM
I've noticed that too! I actually like it when I get a slice serve as a first serve, because I am able to return it easily with lots of pace and spin. I'm working on the motion for the flat serve now. How heavy should the wrist snap at the end of the motion be? By heavy I mean how exaggerated?

Thanks!
-Corsair

oneguy21
01-10-2009, 02:45 PM
I've noticed that too! I actually like it when I get a slice serve as a first serve, because I am able to return it easily with lots of pace and spin. I'm working on the motion for the flat serve now. How heavy should the wrist snap at the end of the motion be? By heavy I mean how exaggerated?

Thanks!
-Corsair

How heavy? Umm...you'll probably need people like Bungalo Bill to answer that question, but I always thought wrist pronation was an "all or nothing" thing.

So just remember to snap your wrist after contact with the ball. Wrist pronation helps bring down the ball into the box. If you see that your balls are going out by 3 feet or more, your probably not snapping your wrist enough.

Corsair
01-10-2009, 03:04 PM
Thanks! I thought pronation was the twisting of the wrist when finishing the motion? Does wrist snapping fall under pronation, or am I misinformed?

Thanks,
-Corsair

caweran
01-11-2009, 06:55 AM
Check your grip first.... It's easier if you have a continental grip for flat serve...and toss the ball in front of your forehead... not behind...

Corsair
01-11-2009, 07:19 AM
I used a continental the first time, then switched to an eastern backhand for flat, and continental for slice. Eastern is my personal preference. The continental just feels uncomfortable on my flat serve. Does it matter which grip you use?

Thanks,
-Corsair

Corsair
01-11-2009, 09:33 AM
Sorry for the double post, but I was watching some slow mo flat serves, and didn't see much wrist snap? Yet the serves were going in anyhow. My wrist also starts hurting a little when I snap it. Am I snapping too hard?

Thanks,
-Corsair

oneguy21
01-11-2009, 09:45 AM
Sorry for the double post, but I was watching some slow mo flat serves, and didn't see much wrist snap? Yet the serves were going in anyhow. My wrist also starts hurting a little when I snap it. Am I snapping too hard?

Thanks,
-Corsair

Post a video of your serve. If your wrist is hurting, it probably means you're trying to pronate your wrist while its stiff. Try to keep your wrist nice and loose then the wrist snap will come more naturally.

Ballinbob
01-11-2009, 09:56 AM
Good luck on developing your flat serve. It used to be my first serve, but after getting used to a slice serve, I never found the need to hit a flat serve again!

After playing some tournaments, I've noticed that many junior players use their slice serve for almost every first serve. Why? I suppose because it's a higher percentage shot than a flat serve (slice has spin; spin is the code for control) and for players who don't have a lot of power or height, the slice serve is a way for making most of your serve.

He is absolutely right about this. A spin serve is usually best for people without the height/power. I'm 6 ft and am strong for my age, and therefore its no wonder my serve is the best part of my game. I use a flat serve for my first and can get it in 55% of time at about 95-100mph, and therefore its my weapon. There's this guy who plays #1 singles for a very good highschool around here, and he's 6"8 and can serve in the 120s. A flat serve is great if your tall, but a slice works good too if you don't got the power ect. Nadal uses a slice to the backhand alot and it obviously is working for him. A good spin serve can be just as effective as a flat if you know what you're doing. If the flat serve isn't working or isn't consistent, just work on your kick or slice. If your going to use a flat serve it should be your weapon, not something you make in 20% of the time.

As for the flat serve, toss in front of you and make sure you hit straight through it for the most speed. Its a very simple serve really. And use a continental grip for everything for serves. You'll thank me later

Indiana Puffed
01-11-2009, 10:45 AM
I find having a loose grip on the racket allows for a more natural wrist snap/ better pronation as opposed to a tighter grip/ death grip which seems to prevent wrist snap. It might help reduce wrist pains.

I have heard that using a grip towards or at an eastern backhand position allows for a more natural wrist snap but whether this is true I cannot say. There is no harm in trying both and seeing which works better for you. I use eastern backhand having recently redeveloped my serve ( while striving to improve constantly), and can hit a flat serve with it. It depends on how much you pronate and what your serve form is like from my own experience.

My serve has improved in part by concentrating on my pronation follow though. I try to have my thumb pointing down after contact. My serves are faster and more accurate when I follow through like this, which I think shows a good technique is better than muscling the serve. Most pros who serve flat serve tend to finish with the racket coming across the body.

Good luck.

Corsair
01-11-2009, 02:43 PM
Thanks! I will take your advice to the court and see what happens!