Summer of Skill, Tennis

Summer of Skill – How To: Serve like Sampras

24 Jul , 2018  

During the summer , we’ve set ourselves the challenge to get as many kids into sport as possible. I mean… what better way to enjoy the sunshine and warm weather than to play football, tennis or basketball outside with your mates?




We want to help inspire the next generation of footballers, golfers, basketball players and tennis stars, so each week we will be tasking you with learning a new skill in a different sport. Keepy-Uppies? Acing a serve? Nailing a slam dunk?! Who knows, you may find your new favourite activity!


So, Wimbledon has been and gone, all the strawberries eaten, the grass all worn out. The next grand slam tournament rolls around on the 27th August. The destination? New York City! With the US Open around the corner, there’s no better time than now to get yourself ready and raring to go!

We know trying a new sport can be daunting, but with the right guidance and attitude you could be playing at Roland Garros in just a few years!

We’ve got the best guide for you to get started. The brilliant AJ Tennis joined forces with us to create a step-by-step video on how to perfect your serve. The serve is often seen as the most important shot in a tennis players’ game. It should be the dominant feature in your game and it will allow all the other strokes to stem from it.

All you will need for this drill is:

Step 1:

  • Hold your racket using a ‘shake hand’ or ‘chopper’ style grip

Step 2:

  • Place the opposite foot to your racket hand forward pointing towards the net, whilst placing your other foot backwards more parallel to the base line.

Step 3:

  • You can bounce the ball when setting for the serve as a pre-match routine. Once done raise both arms up in a W-like motion and finish in a tick position.

Step 4:

  • Whilst raising your arms, bring the back leg forwards and arch your back to make an ‘archers bow’ shape.

Step 5:

  • When raising the arms, release the ball at nose height to ensure ball travels high and forward. At the same time, bring your racket over your shoulder then propel it forward as it you’re about to throw it over the net.

Step 6:

  • As the racket moves forward bring it across the body on the follow through

Step 7:

  • Practice, practice, practice! You’ll become an ‘Ace’ in no time!




After the session, we had a little chat to AJ to ask why it’s so important to practice your serve in order to improve your overall game…


NWS: AJ! Thanks for filming with us, what skill can people learn from watching this video?
AJ: Players can learn how to bio-mechanically piece together a fluid serving motion.

NWS: So, why did you choose to film the serve in particular?
AJ: I chose to film the serve as it is the most important shot in the game. The serve is also the most technically difficult shot to produce.

NWS: Please take us through a quick step-by-step guide of the skill – how is it executed?
AJ: Feet shoulder width apart, continental ‘chopper’ grip, rock weight backwards and bring arms up together. Release ball at nose height so it goes high and in front of you. Bend dominant arm in throwing action and reach up for the ball. Try and make the action as fluid as possible.

NWS: Roughly, how long would it take someone to perform this skill?
AJ: Children can learn a simple overhead serve within an hour, though truly mastering the serve can take a number of years practice.  

NWS: Why is this skill to important to learn from a tennis perspective?
AJ: It is important to learn as if it cannot be produced then other shots will not be able to be used. The serve should be a dominant feature in a player’s game and will allow tactics to stem from it.

NWS: Can this skill be adapted for game play? If so, how?
AJ: This skill can be produced in a variety of ways to create a number of different outcomes. High level players will vary their serve to stop it becoming predictable for their opponent.

NWS: Can this skill be adapted for two or more players? If so, how?
AJ: The serve is a closed individual skill and therefore cannot be completed with others. In a doubles format, a player’s partner may play a role in determining where the serve should go so they can develop tactics and styles of game play.

NWS: And finally, what Net World Sports equipment did you use for this skill?
AJ: Vermont Archon Tennis Racket and the Vermont Classic Tennis Balls

NWS: Thanks AJ!


Show us your skills and use the hashtag #SummerOfSkill for a chance to win exciting prizes and be featured on our pages!

Keep your eyes peeled for more handy tips and tricks to learn throughout the summer holidays


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