Bollettieri Q&A: Serve structure and strategy

by: Nick Bollettieri | June 08, 2011

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I’ve noticed that there are many ways to serve. Some players rock to the back heel and then bring the back foot to the line (Andy Roddick). Some, like Roger Federer, don’t move the back foot at all. Is one of these motions better than the other?—unsigned from Atlanta
There will always be different styles of play in all sports, so don't try to teach one style of play. What everyone must accept is the end result of your game. If you are successful, don’t change it, even if it might be a little unorthodox. When you serve, you must think and believe you can do it—and if your motion isn't similar to Roddick, Federer or Sam Stosur, but you’re having success, that’s OK. My preference? I wouldn't teach the feet close together, or for the back foot to move to the front foot for beginners.

Dear Nick, I understand the concept of pronation on the serve, and when I practice it in drills or in parts, it feels great. But the problem comes when I try to incorporate it into my complete serve. What can I do to make pronation part of my service motion?—Samuel
The majority of players, including some pros, find it difficult to pronate because they feel more secure hitting right to left, especially on their second serve (they supponate). You’ll hit left to right when making contact with the ball with the palm of your serving hand facing outward, and the butt of the handle being on the outside of your wrist when at contact. Practice this motion without a follow through. When you have this motion down, continue your swing outward and come back to the right side of the ball, finishing on the left side of your body (if you’re a right-handed server).

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Nick Bollettieri of the Bollettieri Tennis Academy has trained many collegiate and professional players, including 10 who reached the world No. 1 ranking.

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