Tennis Ball Toss
How to Toss the ball correctly to give your serve maximum advantage
The tennis serve ball toss is, to be honest, the most misjudged motion of the tennis serve that could destroy your game or be a resource to make you better at it.
For starters, you need to know that there is no logical equation for the ideal serve. The serve is perhaps the most intricate motion in a tennis match.
The throw or better called ‘toss’ is the beginning of the service, and although it is a rudimentary step, it could in all likelihood be the distinction between your services being a strength or any weakness.
A few players have issues with their toss, and some don’t. The individuals who battle with their toss frequently become anxious and wind up sending out a ton of faults in the process.
The toss should be programmed in your head to avoid mistakes. It needs to be set in a specific area to hit the ball. On the off chance you can’t toss well, you can’t serve well.
This is why the toss on the serve is one of the most important parts of the serve. Most players and mentors fail to make this clear enough and focus instead on other parts of the serve.
A quick solution is to practice your toss until you master it and execute it without thinking twice.
In this guide, we will discuss everything you need to know about tossing the tennis ball.
With a deep understanding and in-depth knowledge of how to toss balls, you should have everything you need to understand and improve your tennis games.
Firstly, let’s talk about the importance of a perfectly served ball toss…
The Importance of a Great Tennis Toss Ball
Your tennis serve is extremely important, but so is your tennis toss. Regardless of what you might think right now, you must know that getting your toss right will help you to become a strong tennis player.
There are four primary reasons a perfect toss is important to your game.
You will be surprised as to how much comfort you get from a perfect ball toss when you master it.
This will help you relax and generate more power when you are serving, reducing the likelihood of getting injured.
Only through consistent practice can we learn to be good at tennis. A great toss ensures consistency with your serve.
Like consistency, a perfectly placed toss allows you to repeat the same service movement repeatedly for the ball to be aimed at the exact part of the court you want it to go.
A little bit underrated in our opinion, but a great toss will add more power to your service by helping you benefit from the energy gathered before hitting the ball.
If your toss isn’t placed well, you may overcrowd yourself, making it harder for you to accelerate and generate more power through the serve.
Energy as a Ball Toss Goal
During serving, the player must put as much energy into the ball as is possible with precision and camouflage. A portion will be as active energy (speed), and a part will be in rotating energy (ball spin).
If we strike the ball further away than anticipated, we will waste energy and the serve will not be as powerful as possible.
The angle at which we toss the ball affects how we can hit the ball.
This means it is feasible to hit the ball practically any way from almost any toss, as long as there’s enough movement to do that.
Our capacity to hit an excellent service, however, is ultimately affected by our tossing position (which determines how well we swing at the ball),
Power and Consistency as goals for serving a ball
Power comes from the racquet speed at contact with the ball
Consistency, however, is harder. It is influenced by the repeatability of the actual movement, neurological ‘pointing.’
Notwithstanding, there is one straightforward idea that impacts consistency all around – the higher the racquet contact, the more consistency you get with any serve movement.
We finally need to rapidly drive the racquet, putting as much force into the ball as reasonable and as high over the ground as possible.
So back to the basics, what’s the technique of tossing a tennis ball?
Ball Tossing Techniques
Let’s talk about the technique of tossing a tennis ball with these basic components.
- Using the joints of the arm and the toss
- Leading with the elbow
- Holding the tennis ball in the correct position
Using the Joints of the Arm and the Toss
People underrate the importance of the arm’s joints when tossing a ball.
The work of the joint is to ensure a range of motion that allows your arm to move freely.
To get the perfect serve toss, you need to limit movement within the joints. With this, you can be more consistent with your toss and service.
There are four major parts in your arm that joints are present;
All these parts need to freely to get the perfect toss.
However, other parts are involved in the tossing motion but let’s start with these first.
All these parts increase the margin of error.
To rehearse, set your feet in the right service to your position, and then hold your tossing arm out and your palm raised.
Keep your elbow and wrist straight and work on moving your arm up and down with your shoulder.
Try not to bolt your elbow and wrist by gripping your forearm and flexing your bicep, as this will make it difficult for your body to move smoothly all during your serve.
Leading with the elbow
Another technique you can use to toss the ball is leading the service with your elbow.
It’s an unusual way to toss the ball, but it can go a long way to improve your toss.
To lead your toss with the elbow, imagine there is string tired between your elbow and the tossed ball, making it easier to lift your arm from the position.
It likewise transitions your tossing arm to a smooth lifting motion from a swinging motion.
But that’s not all; you also get to keep your elbow roughly straight while disregarding the joints from the motion.
Holding the tennis ball in the right position
Holding the ball effectively for the serve toss is vital since you want to toss the ball precisely for a decent tennis serve.
A precise ball toss depends on how you use the entire tossing movement with the whole arm; however, in most cases, the toss problem begins with how the player holds the ball.
Essentially, to hold the ball accurately, it should rest in the little space between the fingers and the palm. Place the ball in this exact position, and afterwards hold the ball gently with your thumb.
Perhaps the most well-known error tennis players make is the ball is being held with their fingertips.
When you do that, you will probably make a little movement with your wrist or your fingers as you are tossing the ball. This movement will cause the ball to fly in a somewhat different direction each time, making it difficult to serve.
The objective is to “quiet down” the wrist joints and fingers, so theydon’t upset the tossing movement.
You should put the ball in the center part of the hand where it rests without help from anything else, with practically no compelling reason to hold it but to be “consistent” with the thumb.
As you begin executing the toss, let go of the tennis ball with the thumb and continue to extend the arm in a straight line upward.
You will realize the fingers are not doing much now, and the wrist attempts to keep the hand pointing upwards to the sky with the goal that the ball is lifted and not tossed.
How the Pros Toss a Ball
Let us look at the first serve of some elite tennis players by paying attention to how they toss their ball before serving.
We will look at Roger Federer and Raonic’s method of tossing the ball to give us a better understanding of the almost perfect, if not the perfect, tennis service.
Both players have a great serve. And we are dealing with two players whose height is above 6 feet (Roger Federer – 6’1) and (Milos Raonic – 6’4)
His serve clocks in at about 125 mph.
Roger creates such little power, which is a major piece of why he’s so precise with his serve. When his racquet comes in contact with the ball, Federer’s toss is hardly before him on the first serve.
On his first serve, the ball is at around 82 degrees from his dispatch position on the baseline. This implies that only 14% of the speed from his hop is going ‘forward’ into the court. 99% of the speed goes upwards (using geometry, these two numbers don’thave to amount to 100%).
Federer has a more extreme approach to deal with his second serve toss, set somewhat nearer to him than the first serve toss.
With his focus on the ball spin, he will probably put more energy into the ball, driving an enormous pivot to the ball to cause it to spin as it gets to his opponent.
Raonic’s toss seems, by all accounts, to be somewhat nearer to the baseline than Roger’s. At 6’4, he is the tallest of both players.
Raonic’s toss is at a marginally lower point. The 79-degree hop point he takes implies 19% of his hoping speed is into the court rather than at the baseline (and 98% upwards according to geometry, like we previously mentioned).
At contact with his racquet, the ball is well within the line of his left hip in his hop position, but then from that point, he hits a 140 mph service up the “T”.
Raonic could similarly play a slice serve wide with a great deal of motion from this same toss.
How to Toss a Tennis Ball
At this point, you have a rough idea of how the elite tennis players toss the ball before serving.
Now, we need to break all this information down to get a better understanding.
So, how do you toss a tennis ball as a beginner with the hope that you can perfect it?
The steps below will help, providing you practice them regularly.
- Firstly, make sure your feet are in the right serve stance. Any position you pick is acceptable as long as it’s comfortable.
- With your weight marginally forward on your front foot, bounce the ball off the court a couple of times to release any pressure from your hands, arm, and body.
- Hold the tennis ball gently in your fingertips (following the guideline on how to hold a tennis ball above) and move your hands into the prepared situation with the ball daintily contacting your tennis racquet before you.
- The next step is to move your weight gradually towards your back foot.
- As your weight arrives at your back, your foot begins to move into your trophy posture. For those of us who don’t know what the trophy posture means, it’s when your arm is raised to place the tennis ball at the precise height and direction, with the racket head tilting backwards.
- Let your hands fall together and afterwards lift your tossing arm towards the sky with your shoulder. Lead with the elbow and keep your arm straight. When your arm arrives at the highest point of your head, open your hand wide to deliver the ball.
- As the tossing arm moves upward, permit your prevailing arm keeping your racquet to swing down like a pendulum behind you, and then proceed up behind your head.
- Twist your knees so that you’ve accomplished a full curve when your arms complete their movement.
Here’s a video showing how to toss a tennis ball like a pro…
The Keys to a Good Serve Toss
The five keys to a decent serve toss are placement, eye contact, height, disguise and consistency.
When you ace these components of the toss, you can create a repeatable movement around it.
- Eye contact
To rehearse your ball toss, we suggest utilizing a video recording of your service motion.
You may feel like you are sending the ball to a similar spot without fail, yet taking a look at the video of your serve might show you otherwise.
If your toss is going wrong and you are throwing it in different places, it will be hard to consistently serve.
There are two components of position you ought to zero in on: left to right, front and back.
Left to Right
In general, if you toss the ball too far to one side, you will have trouble generating power on your serve. When you toss the ball straight over your head, you can produce a lot of speed.
Front and Back
The toss should be before the baseline, whether it is the first serve or second. For second serves, some tennis players like to bring it back a touch closer to the baseline, so they are ready to get under the ball better.
For first serves, your toss ought to be around 6-18 inches within the court.
Whenever you’ve tracked down an ideal toss area for each type of service, be it the kick serve, slice serves, or flat serve toss placement. You’ll need to work on hitting that similar spot, again and again, utilizing the strategy portrayed in this article to accomplish exactness and consistency of placement.
Start watching the ball as you toss it. Try not to toss the ball up and then start searching for it in the sky. Watch the ball until contact is made.
When a few players get anxious, they will look to the court before they hit the ball. You need to be sure to remain calm and watch the ball the entire time.
Another significant component of the service that is straightforward to master is the toss height. Tossing the ball too low may lead to a loss of hitting power, while too high may make it harder to time the contact.
You want to toss the ball between 2-3 feet above the highest reach of your racquet. However, it is also important to know that there is no ideal toss height. Therefore, you need to know what works for you.
Also, the height of the contact point changes marginally depending on the type of service you hit. If you’re hitting a kick serve, you have to allow the toss to drop briefly so you can hit the rear of the ball.
For a first serve, you should get your contact point near the highest point your arm and body will allow. Hitting the ball from the highest point will give you more power.
An elite tennis player will plan for your services based on how you toss the ball, whether it’s a flat, slide, kick or topspin serve.
My advice is to learn how to hit every serve from a similar ball toss. This will help you serve better every time.
Watch the top players when you can and observe how they toss the ball, and watch the effectiveness of their serves. John McEnroe and Pete Sampras were experts at hiding their serves.
An accurate toss is essential for a decent serve since it ensures repeatability. The serve is the most repeatable shot in tennis since it is entirely under the player’s control.
Don’t overthink this: it is easy to make a repeatable toss.
The three keys
- Ensure your toss is fluid.
- You toss the ball with light fingers rather than your palm
Practice makes perfect. This was why we suggested watching a video recording to understand what works best for you.
The Perfect Ball Release Point
To be good at this, you need to know when to release the ball.
As you release the ball, there is a high chance you will discover the perfect release point without a problem.
You may be asking, how do I know when to release the ball?
Well, the perfect release point is between your eye levels to the top of the head.
With that release height, the ball is no longer likely to be released too early to cause inaccurate tossing or to be released too late to causing the same problem.
Telegraphing Your Serve
Telegraphing is a relatively new term among tennis lovers. Let me explain…
When you hear telegraphing your serve, this means is that you are showing your opponent the type of ball serve you will hit.
This might happen when the toss placement is different for each type of serve you make. Therefore, a player can tell what you are doing and prepare for it in advance. The element of surprise is crucial in a good serve.
In the case of a good slice or flat serve, your opponent may find it harder to guess where the ball will land because there are little changes to the toss. However, in the case of a kick serve, your opponent may know what you intend to do.
That is why you want to disguise your ball toss
Some Important Tips for Perfecting Your Toss
Here are a few important tips that will help you accomplish a consistent toss.
- You need to hold the tennis ball perfectly by relaxing your tossing arm. You will find it increasingly hard to execute your toss if you put pressure on the tossing arm.
- Starting the ball toss from the correct position by opening your hand to release the ball. This reduces the possibility of the ball coming off your fingertips.
- Keeping the tossing arm straight. This will ensure your shoulder doesn’t drop prematurely, which is rampant among tennis players causing inaccurate tosses.
- Ensure you keep your head up and don’tlook down until you hit the ball. This will ensure that you get the placement angle right.
- Pick your perfect service and release the ball at the correct height.
- Make sure you toss the ball to the proper height.
Training Equipment & Tools
To practice your ball toss it’s a good idea to use a ball hopper.
A Ball Hopper or Basket – Wilson Tennis Ball Pick up Hopper
A ball hopper will make you practice your toss repeatedly without having to run after a handful of tennis balls all over the court every time you make a mistake. With Wilson Tennis Ball Pick up Hopper, you can hold up to 90 tennis balls. It also has lid hooks on top to stop balls from spilling. More so, the handles fold in legs that are lockable for easy ball feeding, making it the perfect instrument for practice and training.
You can get them from any good sports store.
So, there you have it…
All you need to know about tennis tossing the ball: if you are still confused about anything and have questions, please do not hesitate to reach out to us.