Josh's Fresh Take: August 2018 Edition

The Secrets to a Consistent Serve

Coach and Communications Lead, Josh Martin, weighs in on topics in the world of tennis and shares his two cents.
This month I had the opportunity to sit down with the one and only Dana Radivojevic, a.k.a. Ms. Rad – a nickname Dana has decided to give herself since her last name is nearly impossible to pronounce. I will provides updates in the future if whether or not this nickname actually sticks.
Dana is one of our lead coaches here at the UBC Tennis Centre and has been working here for the past four years. She is also a UBC students and future teacher about to begin the Bachelor of Education program this fall. (This is probably why she gave herself that nickname… it is all starting to make sense now.)
One thing that I have noticed in Dana’s tennis abilities is her powerful and consistent serve. Whenever we hit after work or with other coaches in our free time, Dana impresses everyone and almost never misses. Serving is a skill that I am trying to work on, so I was naturally curious to pick her brain about her technique to have such consistency.
Dana not only gave me a couple of tips to help with my consistency, but was also kind enough to explain a game that you can play on your own. I thought some of you might benefit from her advice, so here it is! Below is our conversation.
Josh: What would you consider to be the most important aspect of serving?
Dana: I think it is really important to establish a routine in order to get your mind focused. A huge part of serving is being able to be focused yet relaxed at the same time. Being able to calm down after a tough point and re-focus for the next is important. Having a routine is a must to get your head in the right space for the next point before you serve. For me, I focus more on the mindset of serving rather than the physical aspects. By really taking your time and slowing it down, you can focus on the next point and gather all your thoughts.
J: If you were to choose one physical element of serving, what would you consider to be the most important?
D: The toss – having a consistent toss that you can count on and knowing how exactly to hold the ball. A toss can make or break your serve. If you toss too far out front or too far behind, that can mess up your rhythm. So I think just having a consistent toss that you can fall back on is really important.
J: Is there a way to always have a consistent toss?
D: I find it helps to always have the same starting point when you toss the ball, for example tossing from the inside of your thigh, and ending at the same point. This way the toss is more controlled and will translate to a consistent serve.
J: What would you consider to be a good serving drill for both competitive and beginner players?
D: I like to play a game where you are practically playing a match against yourself. You start at 0-0 and each time you serve in successfully that is a point for you. If you miss your first serve or it lands out, you get a second serve. If you miss your second serve, then that is a point for your imaginary opponent. A double fault would translate to 0-15. For experienced players, you can create more of a challenge by having specific targets, such as serving down the tee or out wide.
Well there you have it folds. The 4-1-1 on what it takes to have a consistent serve from one of the most consistent servers I know, Ms. Rad. Stay tuned to see if the nickname sticks.
Josh’s Fresh Take, signing off.