Should Your Serve Toss Be High Or Low?
Should you focus on having a higher toss or a lower toss on your tennis serve? In today’s article, I’ll give you the pros and cons of both. Therefore, you can go out and decide what’s going to work best for you.
Let’s start with a higher toss first. The benefits of having a higher toss when you serve is the ability to create more topspin. Why? Because when the ball goes and the racquet is coming up to the ball, it’s easier to create that topspin. Hence, it could be great to have a higher toss if you want to develop a great kick tennis serve.
Now, we don’t want it to be too high because it can actually mess up your service rhythm. Besides, it may lead to an inefficient knee bend, cause the elbow to drop in, and slow the momentum of the swing. Thus, just be careful that your toss doesn’t get too high. However, if you want to create a higher percentage serve with topspin, toss the ball a little bit higher.
Let’s move on with the lower toss. There are players out there on the pro tour who have lower tosses. For example, Dolgopolov and the Bryan Brothers, and both of them are quick with their motion. Roscoe Tanner is probably the most famous player that had that rapid-fire low toss. Then, what are the benefits of the low toss? Glad you asked.
Well, it keeps your swing moving but probably most importantly it allows you to hit a great slice. Thus, if you’re a slice server and want to hit nasty slice on your serve, then consider having a lower toss. It’s really that simple, higher toss more topspin, lower toss more slice, you get to choose. Therefore, make sure to know how your serve is set up best. For instance, do you want the ball to bounce up more or slide off the court? This will determine how high your toss is going to be.
If you really want to master the slice serve, then you’re going to have a lower toss. It’s just the basic physics of the tennis serve. As the ball is going up and dropping, you basically have to come around it to get that nasty slice.
What I found is that when you have a lower toss, there’s a tendency for the serve percentage to decrease. Consequently, if you want to increase your serve percentage, you might want to consider having a higher toss. There is a danger of having that lower toss of rushing and going too fast. If you feel like you do that it matches, you might need to slow down. Let me give you an example of what it would look like to have a lower toss, aka Bob and Mike Bryan.
I’ve had experiences where I go with a quicker toss and miss a lot of serves. This is because I’m rushing and I don’t have my timing correctly. Consequently, you have less room for error when you have that lower toss. But, if you can find that rhythm, you can really hit some nasty slices.
Just be careful again, your contact point might be a little bit lower with a lower toss. Hence, it may cause you to miss some serves by a foot or two feet. Besides, you’ll notice the ball will bounce lower once it hits the ground because it has more slice. As soon as you start tossing the ball higher, you’ll get the ball to jump up higher with more kick.
I’m not here again to tell you what you should or shouldn’t do in this case. Should you have a higher toss?, or should you have a lower toss? I’m just presenting the positives and the negatives of both. They have pros and cons and you have to find what works for you.
Now you can also hit a great slice from a higher toss, you definitely can do that. But, you’re just going to have more of a topspin component involved with that. Then, you can get out on the courts and play around with it.
Someone might ask, can I have a high toss for my topspin serve and a low toss for my slice serve? Well, I honestly recommend that you try to find the right height for all of your tennis serves. There’s that element of disguise, and you can keep the same rhythm. But, if you want to experiment with having different heights of tosses to hit different serves, I won’t stop you.
I feel like tennis is a situational game and you get to find out what works best for you. I’m just here to provide you perspective and ideas. That way you can go out and improve your game easier and faster. I really want you to take action, be an action taker, go to the next level with your game.
By Jeff Salzenstein, Founder Tennis Evolution
Jeff is a former top 100 ATP player and USTA high performance coach committed to helping players and coaches all over the world improve.
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