Serve Master Step 1: Coiling
There’s no stroke that has a more non-standard operation then the serve. Some people toss the ball high, some people move their feet, some people toss the ball low, some people use a stationary stance, some people do deep knee bends, some people don’t, and what we know through hours of video analysis is that within these different techniques you’ll find the systematic and commonplace errors that create failure in most average servers.
The serve is the only shot you’ll hit in tennis that is not in response or in reaction to another shot being sent your way. Maybe that creates too much time to think, causing problems, and although small quirks in your serve that work for you won’t kill you or serve, you also want to be sure that you’re being as efficient as possible in your service motion.
So let’s talk about the first step in the 7 MASTER Steps Series that are PROVEN to develop a consistent and powerful serve. We will be releasing a step each week for the next 7 weeks, but let’s start at the very beginning.
Step one is coiling, this is where our service motion begins and the server must be able to rotate the upper body first before tossing/releasing the ball for the serve toss.
This is what we refer to as the coiling stage and this rotation of the upper body will involve a slight knee bend and shoulder turn in sync with one another.
This movement pairing is a critical part of what has been established now for many years and known as the “kinetic” chain it is a well-known element that highlights the linking of movements involved in the service motion that leads to success.
This is the essential rotation to begin your serve motion and it is crucial that you involve the shoulders, this is where we will begin to generate the torque for our service motion.
The most common metaphor is looking at a baseball pitcher who rotates to the degree that the batter is actually able to see his numbers on the back of his jersey.
Now many club players at the average levels of tennis really think they are coiling, but if they were to see themselves on video they would realize they don’t coil properly or to the proper degree necessary.
They often fall into a common trap where they attempt to toss the ball first without the coil, just know that this inhibits potential and it just joins the sequential stage in the beginning stage of the seven steps and that is the coiling stage.
It becomes very difficult to execute the coiling stage properly without an effective upper body rotation, and in this initial coiling stage the crucial thing that must be remembered for the server is to relax, stay loose, and avoid tense muscle movements.
Contracting your muscles or getting tight will work against your ultimate goal and it will inhibit your ability to transfer your weight in a loose, fluid motion, and that is what is primarily responsible for the power that you get.
This is one of the core concepts of the fluid swing system and you will hear it interwoven throughout our courses consistently because our primary belief is that fluid swings will generate the most power, accuracy, and consistency for your tennis performance.
Also, as you will hear repeatedly in our courses, we explain how the one-size-fits-all approach is a major myth and you should adapt the “essence” of the concept (like coiling) into your preferred motion.
You can find extremely successful examples of servers from Roger Federer to Goran Ivanesevic, to Pete Sampras and Andy Roddick that have chosen different ways to approach the coiling stage.
But the one thing they all have in common is that the coiling stage is a primary part of their service motions and gets them started on the path to consistent powerful and accurate serves.
COMING UP NEXT: Step 2