Saw the saddest site today


The participants:
5 year old girl- cute and into tennis
Dad/coach- clueless

Had a hopper and was having her hit classic waiters tray serves. Why bother?


At least it's not a pancake I guess.

To be fair, at that age at least they can start to play a game with their friends with that serve. It it possible to teach an normal 5yo a proper serve?


Worse is the parents who can't accept their kid simply doesn't have the talent to make it who insist on pushing them hard. I have sometimes been tempted to go over and give said pushy parent a few good hard wacks with my racket. Leave the poor kid alone and stop sucking the joy out of the game.

Morch Us

Sure, there are 5 year olds who can hit really good serves. But majority of 5 year olds, does not have enough strength to cause a waiters tray go "fault" or does not have enough hand eye co-ordination to make a last second change of racket angle work (for what you call a proper serve). So I would think for many 5 year olds just getting out and hitting some waiters tray is good.

Same with ground strokes. Many don't have the co-ordination developed to hit a topspin shot or have enough strength to cause a non-topspin direct shot go out, so just hitting through with slightly "open" racket face to get height and going low to high and finish on shoulder is good enough. Closed racket face and topspin might be too challenging/frustrating for many of them.

At least it will get things started and if they keep it and gets interested more, you can introduce better shots/serves later once you see they have developed more co-ordination skills and strength/judgement.

By the way if they were "not" having fun, yea I think it will kill her interest in tennis really soon.

having her hit classic waiters tray serves. Why bother?
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Hall of Fame
There's a website promoting the benefits of the waiters tray serve. With open stance. Now that is the saddest site.


Some of my 3.5 mixed partners have remarkly good waiter’s tray serves. Great placement. Second serve just as fast. Solid under pressure from playing for years against the ladies, and stays low with decent pace. Makes winning in mixed much easier.


Why bother? Because she is 5 and a throwing, overhead motion with good rhythm and consistent contact is all that matters at that age.