In today’s article, I’ll explain how to improve your tennis serve by instantly fixing a common mistake related to the trophy pose. I would say at least 80, maybe 90% of all servers are making this mistake when they get ready to serve. Consequently, they’re unable to tap into their true serving potential.

There’s a good chance that you’re carrying too much tension in the body and in the arm on your serve. Hence, your hand gets too far away from the head in the trophy position. As a young pro, I’ve experienced this as well and found that it kept me from serving efficiently.

Hence, I started to study the best servers in the world to discover how to improve my tennis serve. Now, let’s get into a simple tip to help you master the trophy position by getting your hand in the right place.

Trophy Position On The Serve

Tennis serve trophy position


The proper way is to bring your hand closer to your head. Thus, you can accelerate to the ball and feel more relaxed. How do you do this?. Just think about almost having your hand touching your ear, and that’s it. Easy!

I recommend practicing this concept without hitting the ball. Therefore, you can completely concentrate on building the right muscle memory. Then, you can hold your trophy position for 30 to 60 seconds. You’ll be amazed at how effective this can be.

To recap, focus on having the hand closer to the head to efficiently accelerate up to the ball. Give it a try and let me know how this tennis serve tip works for you.


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.

P.S. – Want to take your serve to the next level? Avoid power leaks on your serve with this little known “elbow the enemy” move. ClicK here to get instant access.


  1. Beau Berglund

    Do you think the distinction between having the racket too far behind the head like you demonstrated in this video and having the racket too close to the head has to do with we place the racket behind our head horizontally so that it can drop?

    • Jeff Salzenstein

      Hi Beau, I am not sure I am clear on your question.

  2. Nick Grosdanis

    Jeff, can you also address the racquet drop potential with an outstretched hand vs. one closer to the head during the serve motion. I feel that as I’m coming out of the trophy position my hand will drift back closer to my head and allow for the same racquet drop as my hand in the good starting position as you have described. Thanks.

    • Jeff Salzenstein

      Hi Nick, I am not clear on your questions but I will say that if you follow the tip today, you will have a great racquet drop provided you are relaxed.

  3. Howard

    Great tip Jeff,
    I heard “scratch your back”, but “comb your hair” seem better match what you are teaching here.

    • Jeff Salzenstein

      Hi Howard,

      I am not a fan of scratch your back. Comb the back of your hair is good but the tip in this video goes deeper than just these tips.

  4. Jeff McCracken

    Hey Jeff, Great topic to cover on the serve. I saw you at the Illinois Tennis Coach’s workshop a couple of years ago in Aurora, Illinois. I have been teaching tennis in my area since 1975 and coaching high school tennis since 2000. I consider Vic Braden one of my mentors and he had a drill that addressed this very serving problem. He called it the BALL IN THE ELBOW Drill. Check it out. Put a ball in the hitting elbow then put the racquet in the throwing position. Toss a ball up and hit it. When done correctly the ball in the elbow will follow towards the net the ball you tossed and hit. Thanks for all you do for tennis!

    • Jeff Salzenstein

      Jeff, thank you for your nice message and great tip from Vic. Really appreciate your passion to help so many players.

  5. Adam

    It’s always good to read some new information and learn. Looking forward to try all this on court. Thanks

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