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Three tips to a better serve

By Meike Babel

Are you struggling to keep your serve toss consistent? These three tips will help you improve your technique and consistency.



Point your tossing arm to the net post.

You do see variation amongst top players, of course. Roger Federer, of course, has his toss arm parallel to the baseline and actually still looks at his opponent until shortly after he releases the ball. But he’s Roger Federer. My clients have a lot of success pointing their arm to the netpost and moving it up continuing to point towards that direction because it’s an easy visual cue. And, of course, you can always repeat it which is key in consistency.



Keep your tossing arm straight

A lot of issues with your toss come from your arm or wrist when you bring your tossing arm up. Try to keep your elbow and your wrist straight. Any bend in the elbow or wrist can lead to you just “flicking” the ball up. I like to hold the ball loosely within the first 2 links of my fingers so that I can release it very easily.




Release the ball between the chin and the top of the head

All top players have the release point between the chin and top of the head because - provided you have a straight arm and wrist - your hand at that point is parallel to the ground and your toss will go straight up. If you release the ball below this point it is very likely that your toss ends up going too far in front. If you're holding on to the ball longer you will most likely toss the ball behind you.

Meike is a former world-class tennis player, reaching a career-high of #27 in singles and #45 in doubles in 1995 on the WTA Tour. In 1992, Meike was nominated for the WTA “Rookie of the Year” Award.


She played in 19 Grand Slams and represented her native country, Germany, in Fed Cup competition. Some of her best results include wins over Helena Sukova, Natalia Medvedeva, Zina Garrison, and Gigi Fernandez.


After retiring from the WTA Tour, Meike was the Assistant Coach for Women's Tennis at Tulane University and Vanderbilt University. 


In 2008, Meike graduated from Vanderbilt with a degree in Human and Organizational Development. She received further training from Duke University Integrative Medicine to assist clients in behavior modification and she is also a Mental Toughness Specialist certified by Dr. Jim Loehr’s Human Performance Institute.


Meike is currently coaching in Denver, CO, and works as a Mental Skills coach with the Women's Tennis team at Vanderbilt as well as individual athletes from different sports. She is also serving as USTA Regional Training Center Mental Skills Coach.



Meike Babel 

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