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QT003 – Scratch the “Backscratch” Off the List When Serving

In today’s quick tip, I will show you one of the most common teaching and playing mistakes when it comes to learning the serve properly, the “Backscratch” position.  You will see from my example and those of the pros how this common error can be corrected very easily giving you:

1. Faster racquet head speed
2. More consistency
3. More accuracy

The Simple Solution: Keep your racquet head UP as you start to load.

The racquet face should drop after the leg drive, trunk drive and shoulder drive, much like a pitcher in baseball or a quarterback in football.
In this video, I will show you how the pros do it and how you can correct any errors that you may have with your serve.
Please let me know what you think by commenting below or by contacting me by email.

I woud love to hear any thoughts on this.

Good Luck!
Coach Mick, USPTA



  • KDR

    What is the timing of the ball toss and knee bend. Same time or toss then knee bend?

  • ChrisMichalowski

    Thanks for your question. In general, yes the knees start to bend at about the same time as you start to toss the ball up. Somewhere between waist and shoulder with your tossing arm is when knees generally start to go down. If you compare someone like Federer (higher toss) with Dolgopolov (lower toss) you will see that Dolgopolov is loaded much earlier because of the lower toss, but still extended at contact (impt). So in other words, the “down-up” is quicker with less hesitation in between. On a second point, I like the quicker motion of Dolgopolov because the ball is pretty much stationary at the peak (stopped) giving him a lot of room for error in his timing (ball stays in sweet spot 20-30 times longer) and it is harder to read for the returner. One other important note is that it is very common for recreational players to have a “Powerful Ball Toss” And by this I mean that players whip do not execute the “Kinetic Chain” properly tend to synchronize the arms and the legs together, meaning that when the legs go down, the arms go down and then when the legs go up, the arms go up and follow and toss. The problem with this is that they have neglected Newton’s “Law of Reaction” (For every Action there is an Equal and Opposite Reaction). You bend and push down to get the rest of the body accelerating up. Since this type of server is “Up” already, there will be no opposite force helping them out, so all they can use id their arms to hit the ball. They actually used their legs to toss the ball up (incorrectly). This is what i call a “Powerful Ball Toss.” What i like to have my students do is to practice tossing the ball up and then bending at the same time without hitting the ball and then go for it after they are comfortable. The timing will depend on the height of the toss. I will make this one of my next “Quick Tips” Thanks and please keep the questions coming so I can provide the content that you are looking for.