The Serve Code: Primer

Laying the Foundation for your best serves



The serve code is a framework of 4 phases to organize all key issues you must master for a top level serve.

By separating it out into neatly organized groups, it can aid the mind in dealing with the large numbers of smaller details that are key to serving powerfully and consistently.


The 4 phases are viewed as a 1 + 3 situation:

The #1 phase being the toss location, which while the most important part, is distinct as well for 2 reasons. The 1st reason is how the toss location is a target so key in "allowing" the other aspects to function well. The body can produce power in various levels in a variety of positions, but some positions are great for creating near max power. The toss is key to allowing the body to work from a very advantageous position for creating spin and power.

The other reason is that step 2 is where the real loading for the serve action begins.....so in a sense, the toss is something that is previous to the actual serve actions, while not completely separate either.


#1 is the “Toss Location”... how much left or right...how much into the court... how high

It is key to be quite precise at least in your intent on toss placement, so that you can minimize the variances from toss to toss. How can your toss be excellent if you are not clear on where the excellent toss should go?


#2 is “Setting the Front Side”...(to include the racket mirror position)... with the understanding that if the front side is set up properly, the back side to a large extent must mirror it... it allows you to keep your attention more in front while still controlling the back as well. Sure, the back gets attention during certain learning phases, but not too much during the actual serving.


#3 is the “Launch Up”.....there are many things that go into this, but the server needs to be rising up and into contact, on a tilt of about 12 degrees into the court, even if they can't actually leave the ground because step #4 needs this rising into contact....also the body needs to stay somewhat sideways and not face the court too early. Make the continental grip work for you instead of against you.


#4 is “Racket Orientation” at contact... with body on edge, racket on edge and hitting “thru” the upper right half of the ball (for righties and upper left half for lefties) with the intent to direct the ball into the correct window over the net for the intended spot in the service box. The angle created at the wrist is quite important for proper serve action.


I hope you can relate to this simple organization of the 4 phases of serve fundamentals. A series of articles will follow that explain each of these phases in greater detail.

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