Are you struggling with your rhythm on your serve? This is actually one of the most common problems tennis players have. Many of them—and even coaches, think that it’s a good idea to move the arms up  together at the beginning of the motion.

WRONG! If players do this, they will disrupt the flow and momentum of their serves.

And if you are guilty of this, Its a good idea to not follow this old school serving myth.

How do you solve this serve rhythm problem?


Make your tossing hand lead the beginning movement of the serve. In other words, the tossing hand has to move ahead of the serving hand and arm.

Don’t have both hands move up together.

When you delay the serving hand, you will learn to accelerate at the right time to deliver that powerful serve

Got any questions, comments, and/or suggestions? Leave a comment down below, and I’ll be sure to get back to you with an answer. We’d love to hear from you!

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  1. Noushin

    Many thanks for sharing your experience! It’s really appreciated!

  2. Cliff


    As I understand your point, when you are going to the trophy position, there would not be a frozen moment where the tossing arm is up, and the hitting arm is back and loaded. Instead, the motion of the hitting arm would slightly lag the motion of the tossing arm, for more of a continuous motion, rather than an overall pause at the trophy position.

    I tried couple of shadow serves this way, and will give it a try on the court.

    • Jeff Salzenstein

      Cliff, yes, you are correct! Keep it moving!

  3. Bruce Wallace

    Your point is well taken: when I look at slo-mo motions of pro serves, most of them lead with the tossing arm and the racket arm catches up. But how does that square with the your advice of “all good serves start with the trophy pose”. To get to the trophy pose, you basically have to have the arms moving (and stopping!?) together.

    • Jeff Salzenstein

      Hi Bruce, Good question. I don’t believe in the pause at the trophy. I like the motion to be continuous.

    • Jeff Salzenstein

      Thank you, Seth! Much appreciated.

  4. Pete Kelly

    I really enjoy your insight, I am a former tour player and tennis director in Indian Wells, I watched you play several times when you were on the tour and was sure you were left handed like me. All the best to you, Pete Kelly

    • Jeff Salzenstein

      Hi Pete, Thank you very much for your kind words. I hope we cross paths again. I am a lefty and we flip the videos.

  5. Ron

    Great video and advice is powerful but Hey, that’s a smallish detail. Look at Wawrinka, classical downt-together-up-together example, yet he is in all time fastest server’s list while Jeff is not.
    Too extreme an example, ok, look at Tomic’s serve.

    Boottom line, while possibly important, this is not one of those things which are absolutely necessary to serve well, other things are.

    • Jeff Salzenstein

      Ron, Thank you for your comment. I believe this is a big deal for rec players.

  6. Andreas

    Hi Jeff

    Thank you for this advice and I am sure it can help many players.
    My Serbia coach said something similar when emphasising ‘ distance ‘
    between left arm ( right handed player) and right elbow ! He didn’t say trophy position however loading.
    Hence distance = loading !
    As you can imagine the fluidity of the service action was guaranteed!
    Unfortunately, I had too much lag
    in my movement and went to a ‘ Federerist ‘ approach by keeping the tip of my racket up to ensure alignment. There, I bored you and most people reading this! Just a contribution!
    Many thanks

    • Jeff Salzenstein

      Andreas, What a great comment. Thank you for sharing. The distance between the arms and hands is crucial.

  7. Paul Fein


    I have two questions. Why is rhythm important in tennis? What are the keys to becoming rhythmical?

    Thank you,


  8. Erwin Herman Krackow

    Hi Paul,

    Thank you for your comment. Having good rhythm allows you to be more consistency and generate effortless power on your shots, particularly in the serve.

    Two big keys to develop great rhythm are relaxation and solid fundamentals on your technique. Shadow stroking is one of the best way to achieve it.

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