Patrick Mcquillan Aul says that in the game of tennis, the serve is the most important shot. Your serve sets the tone for the rest of the play, and it’s the hardest shot to make. It requires complex coordination of multiple muscles and takes a lot of practice to get perfect.
Consistent practice will help with your muscle coordination as well as your rhythm. “The rhythm and accuracy of the serve are definitely things that can be easily mastered. However, there’s something else you should learn first,” Patrick Aul adds.
Patrick Mcquillan Aul says the most important part of performing a great serve is being able to create enough speed. Patrick Aul sees nonprofessionals make this mistake every day on the court. “When your racquet hits the ball with increased speed, you’re conditioning your muscles and your mind for faster play,” he says. “The goal,” he adds, “is to focus on increasing your racquet speed and have this be a natural part of your game.”
Everybody teaches how to have the proper stance, how to grip your racquet, and how to toss the ball up when serving, Patrick Aul says. But, if you want a more powerful serve, you should focus on the speed of your racquet as it makes contact with the ball. Patrick Mcquillan Aul says most players make the mistake of slowing down the serve in an effort to gain more control over the ball. “This is a big mistake,” he says. “It teaches your muscles that it’s okay to go slower.” Instead, Patrick Mcquillan Aul recommends training your muscles like the professionals do, with all the intensity you can muster.
Patrick Mcquillan Aul says professionals train their muscles for this increased speed by performing what he calls “serving drills.” These are high-intensity practice sessions, he explains, in which you serve the ball as hard as you can without attempting to control where the ball lands. Ideally, he recommends doing this in a large field where there is ample room for the ball to go. “Just let loose and hit it with everything you’ve got,” Patrick Aul says. “Bring a basket to hold a bunch of balls because you’ll need to do it over and over to get it right.”
Another thing professional tennis players learn is pronation. Pronation is a special rotation of the arm and wrist that allows the flat part of your racquet to meet the ball at the crucial moment of the serve. A good tennis instructor will teach you all of this, Patrick Aul adds after your body has become accustomed to the speed.
Once your muscles get used to moving fast, Patrick Mcquillan Aul says, is when you can start practicing for accuracy. “But still keep your speed up regardless,” he says. If you practice enough for speed and intensity, Patrick Aul says your muscles will become accustomed to the higher speed, and that will make you faster and stronger. “That’s the whole trick to improving your tennis serve.”