Roger Federer Serveroger federer forehand

Comparing the Serve Mechanics with Tennis Forehand

Dear Reader,

Have you ever wondered why the serve is so difficult to master say as compared with the FOREHAND stroke.

Well, I have a way to help you if you already have a strong understanding of the FOREHAND mechanics

What are the similar components we need to understand ?

  • Both Forehand and Serve have a angular component and forward component to the swing
  • Both swings follow a circular paths in a low to high trajectory
  • Both swing paths have a centre AXIS around which the racket swings rotate around (like a moon rotating around the earth)
  • Both have PIVOT ponts to anchor the AXIS at the ground
    • The PIVOT point for FOREHAND is the right leg (for right handed)
    • The PIVOT point for SERVE is the FRONT leg (for right handed )
  • Start point and End-points
    • The Swing start point for FOREHAND starts from low point (behind lower right hip), goes round, contacts at WAIST height, finishes wrap around at upper LEFT shoulder height.
    • The Swing start point for SERVER starts from low point (behind upper back), goes up , contacts at high upper right and finishes at left upper shoulder.
  • Contact points
    • At both contact points the wrist finishes in a natural pronation (palm down) or supination (palm up) at contact or after contact. These are achieved with the wrist laid back from the start of the forward upward swing for both.

From a 3D spatial perspective, the key difference lies in the centre axis of circular swing paths for both swings

  • AXIS differences
    • The FOREHAND swing path centre axis is the human trunk in a straight standup posture
    • The SERVE swing path centre axis is the human trunk leaning forward and towards the left at perhaps 20-25 degree off a stand up posture.
    • In other words, if one were to try standing in a straight standup posture while trying to throw the ball up similar to a serve motion in a natural circular axis (even with the body rotated to face the front), the ball released will be veered to your RIGHT


With these in mind, to master the serve we should concentrate on achieving a tilted torso and correct pivot point to facilitate a biomechanically correct swing path for the serve.

Let me know your thoughts


Albert Teo

STA\SSC ITF level 1 certified Tennis Coach

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Albert Teo
Author: Albert Teo

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