The tennis serve for short players is a very interesting topic in the sport of tennis.
Other than a great athletic form requires power and strong psychological support during the matches which can vary in duration, situations favourable or unfavourable and you still have to push yourself to the limits.
In addition to this serve plays an important role in each tennis match being responsible for 70% of the points at a professional level. The tennis serves for short players is something which can be improved even if you are not a professional as it would help you winning tennis matches, or at least to win when you are serving which means half of the set’s game.
The size of players changed with the years and more recently taller players are having the edge. 6 of the 16 men in the last eight of the Us Open between 2004-2011 were at least 6’5 and 7 of the 16 women are at least 5’10 which means size matters when it comes to groundstroke, net coverage, and mostly serve. So some tricks have to be found if you are a short player and still want to be successful. Some of them can be using their speed at the back of the court and trying to let the taller players run more however when we talk about service the slice service can be saved.
4 Types of Tennis Serves
Before we go to explain how to do a slice service for short players as the main title said we need to explain what the four types of service existent are:
1. Kick serve
Kick serve is the most valuable to learn for players and one of the most difficult as well.
The advantages are the following:
- With time it will develop into a very consistent service
- Increased control with the high amount of kick and topspin
- High bounce ball can destabilize a lot of opponents
The disadvantages instead are:
- Slower pace, as it does apply an incredible amount of topspin the service is slow so your opponent has the time to approach it and return it properly while you will also have the time to position yourself inside the court to get the opportunity to play.
- Height of it. If you don’t apply enough topspin this service will reach the waist height of the opponent making it a very simple shot to return and you could find yourself in a very defensive position.
2. Slice service
Tries to hit it on the outer side of the racquet while moving your opponent outside the court. It is very useful on the grass as you’ll have the time to attack the net while your opponent will have a smaller space to try to pass with its forehead from the position back and side in the court.
The advantages are:
- Easy and natural to hit if you use the continental grip
- Low bounce
- Open up the court as your opponent will have to run sideway
- Opposite side of attack if you play against a player who is left-handed or vice-versa if you are left-handed and play against a right-handed player.
The disadvantages instead are:
- Consistency, as it required a big amount of topspin sometimes players used to exaggerate making it a simple service to read.
3. Flat serve
The flat service is the standard one, with the toss of the ball straight above you. This is the service used by most of the players able to apply power and get many aces in their game.
The advantages of this service are:
- Speed of it, if you are applying enough speed on it and place it in the court it would be very difficult for the opponent to react and return it
- Low bounce, as the service, flat as the world said has a minimal spin on it makes a very simple execution limiting the errors
The disadvantages are:
- You have a very low margin of error so to keep it in the court with a good amount of speed is not that easy
- Serve and volley might be difficult with this kind of service as you’ll be very much behind the line till the end of the execution, the speed of it would mean the opponent will be able to return it with speed as well.
4. Underhand serve
The underhand service is the one made before the ball bounces from under your shoulders. A very unconventional way of serving but sometimes it can catch by surprise your opponent
Tennis slice service for short players
As you cannot reach the speed of the tall players the tennis slice service is a very good option to overcome this handicap. It is the opposite of a topspin shot and it helps to put your opponent off timing so it’s used mostly on service against strong baseline hitters. With this serve the ball spins backward as it travels through the air and the same will happen after bouncing, making it more difficult for the tennis player returning it to apply much power on it. Normally in terms of difficulty level, it is much easier to learn than the topspin and it can be used much more often, from the services to different in-play situations.
When we focus on the service with a slice for short tennis players these are the steps to follow:
- Toss the ball in and slightly to the right or the left for left players
- Turn the upper body slight sideway and try to put the weight on the backward
- Rotate your body upwards and front in the direction of the shot
- Swing the racquet to the point of impact at an angle to the side, meet then the ball a bit more to the left than on the basic serve
- Move the racquet upwards across the ball and follow the path of the ball with the upper body
- Land on the right foot or the left one in case you are a left player.
Some of the most famous players in the circuit without a great height had to adjust and use a lot of slice serving to be able to make up for the height which can be a great advantage in tennis.
Schwartzman the Argentinian is one of them, Nadal also isn’t the tallest player in the circuit but he learned to serve a lot with the slice especially in the clay which remains his favorite surface. So it is true that tall players serve better and get a higher percentage of winning first serves mostly, with the percentage staying around 77% but it’s more difficult for them to move around the court as well. Remember that the tallest player ever being number one in the world is Marat Safin, 193cm.
Tennis power service for short players
The possibilities for short players are as well the one to learn to serve with power and this can be done even if you are only 175cm or shorter as statistics show that second serve from tall players (above 193cm) and short ones have a very similar percentage of success. To serve with power, as before mentioned you should use the flat serve which would allow you to create power with a simple movement.
Learning how to slice service and power service is recommended for short players. If you are shorties, it does not mean you cannot be good at playing tennis. It is good idea to find inspiration by looking at the great shortest tennis players in ATP of all time.