Vertical throwing to develop the serve by Mark Tennant

Vertical throwing to develop the serve: 

If you get your kids throwing overarm to practise serving, you might find these pictures of the developmental stages of the throw interesting. (I’d love to tell you where I got them from, and I’d like to give the author credit, but I honestly can’t remember) The problem is that a lot of throwing (including for sports like baseball and cricket) is done horizontally. Whilst this is good for coordination and practising an overhead release, it doesn’t replicate what’s needed for the serve.

Once the children master the fluid overarm action with good rhythm and technique, it’s important to learn to throw on a more vertical arc to tilt the shoulders and the push out the lead hip. That’s because the serve is an ‘up and out’ low to high action where vertical drive becomes as important and linear or forward momentum. Next time you work on throwing, throw for height first and distance second.

Tips to get players throwing vertically:

  1. Just ask players to throw for height rather than distance!
  2. If you coach on indoor courts, get them to throw the ball along the arc of the roof without hitting it
  3. If you coach outside, stand players close to and either side of a high fence and get them to throw over it to each other. If you coach indoors and have dividing curtains between the courts, get them to stand close and either side of the curtain and throw over it
  4. Stand players at the baseline with the front foot on a box, bench or chair. This tilts the hips and gives a more vertical arc
  5. Stand at the net and throw a ball up high. Stand the players on the baseline and get them to throw their own ball at it at its highest point

Should you want to know more about teaching the serve, sign up to Tennis(24/7), inspire2coach’s online resource hub, at www.tennis247.co.uk , where you will find over 3 hours of videos and drills plus articles on teaching the serve at different levels.


We look forward to hearing a lot more from Mark in the near future.  He is an expert in the coach education field and is fresh from presenting at the Grand Slam Conference in Melbourne just before the Australian Open kicked off.  To see more about Mark and more about i2ctennis and Tennis(24/7), please check out his web page here… 

Mark Wylam (Owner sportsprosconnect.com)



January 19, 2018 Categories: Uncategorised