Ratchet Up Your Tennis Game With the Topspin Serve

Build a devastating tennis serve by learning how to add topspin with instruction and a drill from Olivia Self.

Tennis Serve

The topspin serve is a tennis player's secret weapon. For this move, the player slides the racquet up and over the ball as s/he hits it, creating spin on the ball, which requires an opponent to use more force to return it.

Though topspin can be used aggressively, it's typically reserved for safe second serves or as a way to throw off an opponent.

Correctly executed, the topspin serve produces a "heavy" ball, which immediately bounces higher than a flat serve and hopefully higher than your opponent's striking zone.

Topspin Fundamentals

Eastern Backhand Grip

Eastern Backhand Grip

The Grip. Start with a continental grip, then shift your knuckles slightly to an eastern backhand grip (rotate the racquet slightly to the right) to get a better kick on the service bounce. It's easier to get a good topspin serve if your the index finger is slightly separated from your other fingers, pointing up on the racquet.

The Toss. You will generate more topspin if the toss is over your head or slightly behind you rather than out in front of you like a regular flat serve toss. This way, you can arch your back and really come up under the ball, generating tons of spin.

Contact. When you hit the topspin serve, the racquet should go down your back and then make contact with the ball in a brushing motion. It should feel as if you were quickly brushing up from your back and then brushing up under the ball. The ball should roll from the top of your strings to the bottom. When you push down through the service motion, the ball travels toward your target.

Topspin Serve Drill

Take a basket of balls to the outside of a tennis court and serve them over the fence with a topspin serve. This requires you to produce a massive amount of topspin from a proper grip, toss and brushing motion. View a video of this drill here:

Read more:

Getty Images

Photo Credit: Getty Images // Thinkstock