Your serve been flying long on you? Nothing is more frustrating than losing all trust in a particular shot, and the serve is no different. But don’t worry, this article will clear up the problems you’re having.
If your serve is going long on you, there are a couple of things that are likely happening. 1, the contact point is too low. 2, your serve needs more spin. And 3, you are decelerating on your swing through your contact. The true reason for your serve going long could be one or all of these things because they all work together (or against each other.) If you are having this problem, make sure you are meeting these three checkpoints before you do anything else.
In this article, we will go through each of the 3 factors above and explain what you can focus on to change them. Let’s get right to it.
1. Get Your Contact Up High
Your contact point, or the point where your strings make contact with the ball, will ideally be almost as high as you can reach. This will optimize your margin tremendously because the higher you’re able to hit from, the more you can go after your serve without being worried of missing in the net.
When your contact is too low, you will often miss your serve long. This is because you will find that your arm and racket is still going up, which causes a push from the bottom of the ball. Hitting the bottom of the ball is a good thing on the serve, but only when racket head speed is high.
Additionally, a low contact means that you are still in the beginning stages of the motion (you are late). The wrist hasn’t begun to snap, therefore your ball will be pushed long.
When practicing or experimenting with your serve timing, try not to focus on the “why” part that I just explained above. The simpler you can keep it, the better.
2. Your Serve Needs More Spin
Just like any shot in tennis, spin generally leads to more control. The proper spin on your serve will cause the ball to fall into the box. On the other hand, a serve that is too flat may carry too deep and past the service box.
The two spins used on a serve are topspin (kick serve) and side spin (slice serve). Everyone’s serves naturally have their unique spin, so don’t reinvent the wheel there. Generating spin comes from brushing the ball with the strings at contact and speeding up the racket head speed (as we go into in detail below).
3. You Are Decelerating the Racket Through Contact
Finally, the third mistake I see people make on their serve is deceleration. This will cause the serve to go long for a few reasons, but this is related to the first two factors. Acceleration of your racket through contact of the serve will cause a natural wrist snap, which is important for spin and power. Deceleration of the racket will not create that necessary wrist snap, leading to your serve being pushed long.
In addition to that natural wrist snap, acceleration through contact will lead to more spin. As explained above, this will allow the ball to drop into the box instead of sailing long.
A fast swinging and relaxed arm will lead to control for multiple reasons. Players commonly think that if they are missing their serve long, it means they are hitting the ball too hard. This could be the case, especially for beginners. However, higher rackethead speed will most often keep your serve in the court.
If you find your serve is flying long on you, don’t panic. This is a normal mistake and it isn’t usually a complicated fix.
With the serve, you want to keep your thoughts as simple as possible. It‘s an easily repeatable shot, so it can be easy to get in your own head. Focus on the 3 checkpoints above to keep your serve from going long, and you should be in good shape with a bit of practice.