Acing Your Serve With Venus Williams

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Her average serve flies at well over 100 miles per hour—faster than the top speed of the cars most of you are driving around.

Venus Williams is the queen of the court when it comes to serving up serious heat. During the 2007 French Open, her serve was clocked at 128 mph. Her ability to serve these fastballs is the result of consistent hard work. "I practice my serve every day," Venus says. "It's very important to my game."

With three Olympic gold medals and more than 40 career titles, Venus is well qualified to offer advice on serving up aces; and she is more than willing to share the secrets of her success.

1. The Grip

When it comes to serving, hand placement is the first priority. Venus suggests using an extreme eastern grip: the base of the index finger will be on Bevel 4 for right-handers and Bevel 1 for lefthanders. This grip allows you to hit the ball higher and further away than other grips. If your skill level doesn't mesh with this grip, find another one that's comfortable.

2. Holding the Ball

The key is to hold the ball with your fingertips instead of in the palm of your hand. Holding it in the palm can force the wrist to bend more on the service, which can result in the ball changing movement in air and thereby cause a bad hit. Holding the ball in your fingertips allows for more control when throwing the ball straight up.

3. Stance

Positioning yourself properly is essential for keeping the serve in play. Venus suggests taking a slightly staggered stance, with the foot opposite your serving hand placed forward and pointed diagonally towards the net post. This helps force the body to rotate upon serving to keep the ball in play.

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