As we’ve previously discussed on this blog, the backhand serve has so many advantages over a forehand serve when the server is serving from their forehand side of the court. It allows the server to move straight towards the T-Position as they hit the ball, to watch their opponent and it also creates an angle that keeps the ball closer to the side wall after it hits it. This last point means that returns of serve are often significantly weaker, which is perfect for you as it might give you an easy opportunity to attack or win the rally immediately, leaving your opponent struggling to get into the game.
The common mistake
Almost everyone serves using their forehand on both sides of the court when they start playing, which can make the backhand serve seem unnatural. This often leads to people having a go at it but giving up on it when it feels awkward or gangly. The easiest thing to do is to treat the backhand serve as a backhand volley, which is exactly what it is. By imagining that you are hitting a backhand volley, a player can shred some of the awkwardness that often causes backhand serves to be short or go out of play. Players with perfectly good backhand volleys will often go to play a backhand serve with a really strange and awkward looking technique and movement.
Throwing the ball
As well as the awkward swing, the other thing that often hampers players playing the backhand serve is throwing the ball too close to their bodies as they go to serve. This adds to the awkwardness of the swing as the server then has little space in which to swing. When you throw the ball up for a backhand serve, make sure that it goes away from your body and gives you space enough to step towards the ball and swing with plenty of space. You might need to try a this a few times to get a feel for how much space you need to provide yourself with when you throw the ball. You can also check out our posts on using different throws when you serve and how to use the throw to make your lob serve even deadlier.
If you are struggling with the backhand serve, persevere. The dividends in the long run will be incredible. Experiment with the throw a little bit to ensure you have enough space and make sure your swing is fluid and resembles the swing you would use when hitting a backhand volley. It won’t be long before you get the hang of it and it will start to become a staple of your game.
For more tips on how to play the backhand serve, check out our page dedicated to it here.