If the serve is the most important stroke in tennis, then the toss may be the most important part of the toss. But a lot of players struggle with getting their toss just right. In this episode, I talk about the need to keep your tossing arm up as long as possible. This will help you avoid pulling off to one side when you're serving and will help to move your momentum into the serve. I also tell you how you can practice your toss anywhere, including at home. You can listen to this episode by clicking on the media player above or by listening in with your favorite podcast app. You can also subscribe in iTunes by clicking on this link: tennisfixation.com/itunes.
SHOW NOTES AND EDITED TRANSCRIPT:
This week I truly have a quick tip for you. It is a tip about the serve, which I know we all need serve tips. It has to do specifically with the toss which I think I have in the past said it is my belief that the toss is the most important part of the serve. Maybe that is my serve that needs a lot of help on the toss but I do think everyone can use some help on perfecting their toss.
Keep Your Tossing Arm Up as Long as Possible
The tip is this. When tossing the ball after you have released the ball, try to keep your tossing arm up as long as possible. If you get out and practice some serves and really think about this, I think you will find that most of us drop our tossing arm a little too quickly. When this happens, dropping our arm means that we are also dropping our shoulder and we are pulling off to our left side if we are a rightie. If you are a leftie you are going to be pulling towards your right. I am a rightie so I am going to talk in those terms.
Dropping Your Arm Too Quickly Shifts Your Body
If you drop your left arm too quickly after tossing, your whole body is pulled off to your left side. The result of this can be two things, two negative things. First of all it shifts your body towards your left. So you are not in your best possible body position to hit your serve. You are more off to your left. That is going to move everything including your right arm and your racket.
Dropping Your Arm Too Quickly Reduced Your Momentum
The second negative thing that can happen is that it reduces your momentum. This is because now your weight has shifted over and instead of your body going up and into the ball and hopefully forward you are sort of going off to your left and you are pulling that weight, that direction away from the serve.
Using the Trophy Position
So what you want to do is try to keep that arm up there as long as possible. I am not talking about an awkward long pause because obviously you need to hit your serve but I am talking about trying to work in a little extra hesitation up there. The best way to adopt this is to practice it, to really force yourself to hold that so-called trophy position, the classic serve position where you have your left arm up, the tossing arm, and your right arm back with your racket, almost ready to hit that serve. Try holding that position for just a split second extra, see how that feels and then try to work that into your service motion. If you can keep that arm up a little bit longer you will have a much better body position, a more forward position when you are hitting your serve and you will get that extra boost in momentum going up into serve as a opposed to being thrown off to the side.
That was a very quick tennis quick tip and it is something you can definitely work on all by yourself when you are out on the court practicing your serve. Let me know what you think. Do you have problems with your toss? Is that the weak part of your serve? It is for me and I am just betting it is for a lot of other players too.
Practicing Your Toss at Home
The great thing about practicing the toss is you can practice at home, throwing up a ball of socks in the air. I think I mentioned that, I have at least two previous podcast episodes just talking about the toss, and I think I mentioned that throw-the-socks drills before.
Leave me a comment below and let me know what you think. Hope you are getting out there and playing lots of tennis this summer. I am really trying to.
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