Hi guys Nick here from Intuitive Tennis.
So the toss is the most important technical aspect on the serve. Without a
good toss you will be consistently forced to improvise and correct these
bad tosses this will lead to many mistakes and a inability to produce
consistent topspin, power and control. So what are the most important technical
aspects on the toss? Check out today’s video and find out. Let’s start
off with the way we hold the ball on the toss and what I like to teach is to
have the ball a little bit higher on the fingers and not too low in the hand and
definitely not in the palm of your hand because if you toss from this position
you’re gonna create too much spin on the ball you want this ball to be as flat as
possible so a little bit higher and your fingers or something like this you also
maybe don’t want it too high on the hand because then you might not be able to
control the toss very well so somewhere around here it’s the best way to hold it.
When it comes to the arm structure on the toss you can do it two different
ways you can have a straight arm and so you maintain the straight arm from
beginning to end or you can have a slightly bent arm when you start with a
bent arm and then you finish with a bent arm and you release the ball. There are
several players on tour who have a bent arm on the toss. Rafael Nadal, Ivo
Karlovic and the Bryan brothers all have a bent arm. What’s not desirable is
changing the arm structure throughout the toss so it’s very common for a
recreational players to for example start with a bend and then go into a
straight arm like this that can create some inconsistencies or the other way
around if we start straight and they go into a bend I this will definitely not
work and it will most of the time send the ball backwards so many people are
double jointed and if you’re double-jointed and maybe the bent arm
structure is best for you this way but if you happen to be comfortable by
straightening your arm I find that this is the most consistent way to toss the
ball and basically having the straight arm from beginning to end. The starting
point of the toss and the release point of the toss is a very important element
that should not be overlooked. So let’s take Andy Roddick’s
serve as an example. He is going to have a very high starting point somewhere
around chest height that means that his left arm will will start the tossing
action from about right here and the reason for this is because he was a very
abbreviated take back like this. So that fits perfectly. Roger Federer on the
other hand he will have a fuller take back with the racket will go all the way
back like this and then up so in this case the hands will simply go back
together and he will toss the ball from around right here. Novak Djokovic on
the other hand has a semi abbreviated take back with the racket will go to
about right here so it’s not as full as Federer it’s a little bit shorter and
therefore his tossing arm that doesn’t go too far back it matches the backswing.
So he goes to about right here and this is his starting point on the toss. There
are a few exceptions of players that have a very fast serving rhythm. A player
like Goran Ivanisevic he would have a high starting point like this with a
full backswing and what this means is a higher starting point it gives us less
time back here and then we have to have a very speedy take back we want to have
a high starting point with a full backswing. So I recommend that you take a
look at your style of serve and match it match it with your starting point on the
toss. The release point of the toss is usually going to be around eye level
somewhere around here. That’s where we let go of the ball and what that ensures
us is that the toss goes inside the court because that’s a very
important part of the toss and that we toss it slightly inside the court and by
releasing it right here ensures us that the toss goes slightly forward. The tempo
of the tossing arm is another very important aspect and usually it should
be slow to fast if you do it slow the entire way you will have a very
difficult time creating enough height on the toss because it’s always better to
throw it too high then too low. So to achieve a higher toss we have to slowly
start and then gradually speed up and that way we get a nice high toss and we
can hit the ball on the way down. If we do it fast the entire way we’re going to
is control too fast and the ball is just gonna go way too high or it’s gonna go
too far forward too far to the left too far to the right
it’s very difficult to control it that way. So we start slowly and then speed up
gradually. The hand position on the ball release is another very important aspect
of the toss. The best way to do it is by keeping the fingers together and keeping
the palm of the hand to the sky like this this makes it very easy to throw
the ball inside the court if you keep your fingers curled like this after the
release and you can send the ball flying backwards and you obviously don’t want
that. There’s a few different styles on tour
that you see. You see some players have the palm of the hand point towards the
back fence. Some do it with the palm to the sky. Some will actually take the ball
and twist their hand like this in the air and these are all different
different methods but it’s very important that the fingers are firm
somewhat together and that there is no type of curling action on the toss. There are
also a few examples Feliciano Lopez is one where they have a weird hand
position on ball release something like this and I really don’t recommend that
and it makes it very difficult to throw the ball consistently in front. And the
most important aspect of the toss is the height of the toss it is always better
to throw it too high than too low. Very common for recreational players
especially beginners is to have a very low toss and something like this and
because the player feels very safe that they’re going to throw it in the right
place and then the racket is angled this way and it just basically tap the ball
over to the other side. With a toss that’s too low there’s really no way to
correct that you will not be able to extend your arm fully and you will get a
bad angle when it comes to the contact point and so speed is going to be
compromised. However, if you throw the ball too high
you can always wait for it to come down so there is a way to correct a toss is
too high. All high level players hit the toss when it’s on its way down even the
ones with super fast serving rhythms ala Goran Ivanisevic, Nick Kyrgios or
the Bryan brothers and the ball is always hit on its way down.
It’s always better to throw the ball too high then too low and when we throw the
ball too high we can correct it very easily by waiting for it and you got to
play around with the right height it has to match your backswing and you have to
remember that all high level players hit the toss on its way down something like
this See there I hit that ball when it came down I’m not actually aware
how much it came down but the feeling and your mind should be slightly down
coming of the ball and then you make contact. The topic of direction on the
toss is a lengthy one so I want to make sure that I cover that in another video
So please tune in next week when I cover the three ways to toss the ball on your
serve. Thank you guys for watching this video, please hit that like button and
subscribe if you haven’t already and leave a comment in the section below and
I’ll be happy to respond. I’ll see you next time

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Dennis Veasley

24 thoughts on “Serve Toss Fundamentals”

  1. Thank you very much, you mentioned that the hand shape after releasing ball, that is really good point for me to learn, thanks!!!

  2. So many little important micro gems in your videos Nick, I never really paid much attention to how I'm holding the ball on the toss this crystallises small but important factos that can improve the serve process. Great video!!!

  3. Hey Nick, great lesson! I have a question about the pinpoint stance. When does the toss actually happen? Do you toss the ball while you bring your foot up? I play platform stance and that' s also because I was struggling with the timing on the toss when I was trying the pinpoint

  4. Hi Nikola, always looking for good explanations and little details that make the difference. Gladly found those within your videos. Besten Dank – weiter so.

  5. The toss encyclopedia to put it simple… 1) Fingers together / never heard this from anyone yet. Will try it though sounds logical and I just trust Nik by definition. 2) Higher toss is better then low toss. Absolutely agree!!! Still there are tons of "coaches" who ruin their student services by insisting on the low toss. There are much more those "from the one hand from the other hand". What I like with Nike advices is the clear cut opinions – this option is the best. It really helps esp kids when they are bewildered with conflicting "experts" tips. Great job Nik! Thank you! )))

  6. Studied your serve and toss videos for quite a while. Turned weakness into strength resulting in major improvement in game. Much appreciated 👍

  7. Like your full study of various players on their motion, instead of textbook motion demo. Good works!

  8. Just great video, great professor :). I must share my experience. I've had a really hart time tossing a ball with strait arm. I was bending my arm all the time. Than I realised I am using (thinking) my biceps during the toss. Now I think of my shoulder or try to throw up my arm with my upper body. I just lean forward a little and throw tossing arm up with the whole body. works great (I think :)))

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