Serving into the sun. How do you adjust?

#1
I started missing tons of serves. It was constant deuces as I kept faulting.
I was being left with strobe lights and could barely play the point if my serve went in and it was returned.
It was so miserable I just wanted to forfeit the service game.
The service game seemed to last forever.

Next time, serving from that side, I had no interest in serving marathons.
I took 75% off my serve, and just dinked it in.
Won that game in 4 straight points.
 
#2
Other than a hat or visor, I don't know what to suggest. I'm curious if there is a "pro" trick... maybe they adjust their toss more to the side or over the shoulder?
 
#5
Uh, sunglasses? Baseballers, especially outfielders, and beach volleyballers use them.

Sometimes the sun is just in the perfect position and even adjusting my toss sometimes is not enough because in order to track the toss, I have to get past the sun. One radical possibility, which I've never tried, is closing my eyes after the toss and opening them after the ball has gone past the sun. If the Force was strong with me, no problem.
 
#6
Other than a hat or visor, I don't know what to suggest. I'm curious if there is a "pro" trick... maybe they adjust their toss more to the side or over the shoulder?
Pro trick. Complete control of your toss so you can toss it off the line of the sun. Then ability to hit the serve from a slightly different contact point. Finally don't sweep your head up and across as you toss. Instead only look up at the last second directly to where your toss is, ie where the sun isn't.
 
#8
I got to the point where I decided to start serving with my other hand. I still had some double-faults but some aces too and was never blinded again. Right-handed I use a trophy-pose style and left-handed I used the american style which helped me to not feel so awkward learning to serve with my left hand.
 
#10
@TimeToPlaySets

Since no one on the board takes lessons from a D1 coach and no one on this board is interested in improving their game, I'm certain all of their tips will be absurd. :D

Additionally because they are all lazy 3.5 spazzes, they would never be playing around noontime when the sun is high enough to be bothersome like it would be for 4.0 players like you who are dedicated to improving! :)
 
#12
I noticed that Kevin Anderson blinks his eyes several times during his ball toss. It's either a weird tick or it's something he does to limit sun/light blindness.
 
#16
+1
if the sun is really in a bad spot, or i'm struggling with my serve
but usually i can just get away with hitting slice (right or extreme right of my head), or kick (left of my head)

if it's in a bad spot, hats and sunglasses do not work for me... even if i block the sun, then i just can't see the ball
 
#19
I sometimes pivot a little to the left or to the right, so I can toss exactly the same thing without staring directly into the sun. I've also tossed lower. Some times one method works better than the other. You should try doing one or more trial ball toss before serving to judge where the sun is so you can mentally remember where it is when you're doing the real serve -- this is assuming of course, that you have good control over your ball toss (direction/height wise).
 
#21
Ditto on the Bolle competivision sunglasses, really love them, they really make the sun glare a non-issue and at the same time they don't simply darken everything ...

but, even without them I learned to deal well serving with the sun. And the sun in Vegas can be pretty intense. I just make a slight position adjustment so that I am not straight in line with the sun and fire away ...
 
#24
@OnTheLine
Bolle competivision works great
Used these 15+ years ago when most courts around here were green. Now that most courts in the area are blue, the teal green lenses are not as useful. (But then a lot of the windscreens on the blue courts around here are still green). Do not see pro players, chair umpires and lines persons use them as much these days either.
 
#25
I got to the point where I decided to start serving with my other hand. I still had some double-faults but some aces too and was never blinded again. Right-handed I use a trophy-pose style and left-handed I used the american style which helped me to not feel so awkward learning to serve with my left hand.
I've done this. I normally serve lefty (was 4.5/5.0) but I was able to develop a pretty decent (4.0 level) righty serve.

Pro trick. Complete control of your toss so you can toss it off the line of the sun. Then ability to hit the serve from a slightly different contact point. Finally don't sweep your head up and across as you toss. Instead only look up at the last second directly to where your toss is, ie where the sun isn't.
This. I sometimes adjusted the orientation of my body at bit to adjust. More often, tho', I would just alter the direction of my toss slightly. I would then fix my gaze a bit to the side of the ball toss so that I would pick up the motion of the ball w/o looking at it (or the sun) with my central (foveal) vision.
 
#27
Play at night?

Jeff Cooper had how-to videos of his excellent wicked underhand (underarm) sidespin serves on the Tennis.About.com and on ThoughtCo.com sites. Neither of these appear to be available any longer. Gino (Fava) has a very good version of this serve in the video below. Well worth developing this serve for situations where the sun is an issue or when your shoulder is bothering you.

 
Last edited:
C

Chadillac

Guest
#30
Stare at the sun with your eyes closed, then open them and work your way up.

You can usually hit a slice OR kicker. At 1pm the slice is tough, at noon the kicker is.

Alot, of people try to hit it hard, you need time so your eyes can reajust
 
#31
Same issue here - at 2 p.m., the sun is EXACTLY where the toss pauses before it starts coming back down. Only way to deal with it is, as others have said, practice tossing/hitting at a slightly different spot, a little "off" the sun.
 
#35
What good would a hat do if you still have to look into the sun when your head is upturned?

I vote sunglasses but there seems to be a visceral reaction against this.
Hat + shades + move the toss over slightly? Not sure the D1 coach would come up with this exact combination so I’m sure my recommendation will be deemed absurd. ;) :D
 
#36
Hat + shades + move the toss over slightly? Not sure the D1 coach would come up with this exact combination so I’m sure my recommendation will be deemed absurd. ;) :D
Baseball outfielders have it tougher because they can't choose where to toss the incoming ball. Shades are common in beach volleyball also.
 

Enga

Professional
#37
Sometimes, when the sun was at an angle at 4pm, I would adjust my arm during the ball toss so that my chin was sort of on my shoulder, so that my whole arm would cover the sun.

If I had shades I would use em but I never seemed to find the right kind. And I'm not really in the market for expensive shades.
 

FiReFTW

Hall of Fame
#38
My serve needs alot of work even without sun, so im not talking from experience.. but I would assume based on other sports aswell, that once you really get good at your serve, you have your timing and everything down to a dime.
So having perfect eye contact is not so important anymore, of course it helps, but even if you kind of have closed eyes slightly so you only see a bit through your lashes, foggy (which would help with the sun) you can hit good serves, u don't need perfect vision.
 
#39
Serving into the sun is a challenge everyone must face. Weird it's taken you this long to write this thread.
Hat + Bolle sunglasses + Setup change usually solves the problem to make service games reasonable. Remember your opponent has this issue as well so it all evens out.
I've definitely had games where I had to resort to just spinning in second serves. It happens sometimes.
 
#40
Weird it's taken you this long to write this thread.
Why do you find it weird? 1,000 hours of lessons from a D1 coach to learn continental grip. Another 1,000 hours to learn unit turn otherwise it’s nipples pointing to the net. Another 100,000 hours of D1 coaching to get the back leg to perform the donkey kick correctly. This is just the next step. :D
 
#41
I started missing tons of serves. It was constant deuces as I kept faulting.
I was being left with strobe lights and could barely play the point if my serve went in and it was returned.
It was so miserable I just wanted to forfeit the service game.
The service game seemed to last forever.

Next time, serving from that side, I had no interest in serving marathons.
I took 75% off my serve, and just dinked it in.
Won that game in 4 straight points.
Keep your toss lower and trust your feel for placing the toss in the same spot. I have spoken to many players about this and experience it many times myself in matches and you can't get frustrated on those days. Just roll with it and find a way to get through it the best you can.
 
#42
Had this problem last season, id struggle to hold half of my serving games
Its the difference between winnig and losing

A hat + sunnies solves the problem. I just bought a cheap pair for $5. They have a orange tint so everything looks orange. Works perfectly. Helped my game a lot!
 
#43
if u have a decent serve then its all about the rhythm. To me i just toss and hit. when the motion is fluid i could probably serve with my eyes closed. What really bothers me is a heavy wind, thats when its hard to predict where to swing at the ball.
 
#44
Practice your toss until you can consistently put it in exactly the same spot every time. Then serve with your eyes closed.

Only half-joking.
Had another day with a brutal sun issue.
Direct cause of losing the set 7-5

Ball was hitting the ground before reaching the net.
I actually served a few with my eyes closed.

Next time, I serve UH, and I won't apologize.
If opponent complains, I will say, "You can't return an UH serve? Really? I'll pay you if you serve UH to me"

Problem solved.
 
#47
Had another day with a brutal sun issue.
Direct cause of losing the set 7-5

Ball was hitting the ground before reaching the net.
I actually served a few with my eyes closed.

Next time, I serve UH, and I won't apologize.
If opponent complains, I will say, "You can't return an UH serve? Really? I'll pay you if you serve UH to me"

Problem solved.
Just toss over your head and hit a kick serve or a topspin slice
 
C

Chadillac

Guest
#49
I started missing tons of serves. It was constant deuces as I kept faulting.
I was being left with strobe lights and could barely play the point if my serve went in and it was returned.
It was so miserable I just wanted to forfeit the service game.
The service game seemed to last forever.

Next time, serving from that side, I had no interest in serving marathons.
I took 75% off my serve, and just dinked it in.
Won that game in 4 straight points.
Its one of those things you go into knowing. I look at the sun with my eyes close to get used to the brightness, even closed, its bright.

You can also adjust your serve selection, sometimes the flat is much easier than the kicker (noon).

Its a variable you cant really complain about, its the same everyday.
 
Top