The Three Service

By Doug Eng, EdD PhD

Three service rhythms: key in understanding the pro serve and your serve.

The service motion is arguably the tennis stroke with the greatest variety, and perhaps also the most analyzed. Debates on the ideal toss, how power is generated, and the use of the wrist have been hotly contested, and tennis coaches and players will probably never reach agreement on these issues.

In this new series of articles, however, I want to investigate a less well-known and less discussed aspect of the serve that is just as important or more important in developing a great serve. This is the rhythm of the motion.

I believe there are three distinct rhythm styles.

These are:

1. The Classic Rhythm
2. The Abbreviated Rhythm
3. The Staggered Rhythm

To comprehend what goes on in high level serving you have to understand rhythm styles and what they mean. And the same goes for building or improving your own service motion.

The Three Rhythms (left to right): Andy Roddick in the abbreviated rhythm, Andy Murray in the classic rhythm and finally Dinara Safina in the staggered rhythm.

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Doug Eng, EdD PhD, CSCS is a USPTA- and PTR Master Professional, one of only 13 in the world. He has been named divisional pro of the year 2 times by each organization. He is a member of the USTA National Sports Science Committee and has interests in sport psychology, biomechanics and techniques, and strength and conditioning specifically for tennis. He is a Director at the Tennis Academy at Harvard, and has been a college coach for 16 years and has worked with dozens of ranked players.

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