Instruction - Learning The Serve
Under the Strategy section of this web site, I have written quite a bit about what you should try to do with your serve and have given you some ideas on how to add variety to your serve as your serving ability improves. This page is intended for those players that are having trouble just getting their serve in the proper area of the court.
As an experienced player and volunteer teacher introducing new players to the game, your primary focus will usually be on helping the players learn the rules of play, practicing some of the basic skills such as forehand, volley, and serve, and then to play some games. As time permits, you will also be trying to give them some basic strategy as to where they should stand when serving or receiving.
As this group starts to play games, there will occasionally be a player that almost never gets their serve into play when you have this beginning group play games. This is not fun for the group and is discouraging for the player making the errors. A good idea that I have seen work is to have the student stand inside the service line to make the serve and if they still miss, have them stand closer until they can get the serve in. Often, they will start to relax and hit the ball more in the center of their paddle when they are not trying to hit the ball so hard. As they start to have success with their serve, you can move them back 1 step at a time. If they start to miss again, then move them closer again.
A new player can often hit the ball well due to other racket sports, but may still have an unusual amount of trouble getting their serve into he court. After this goes on for a while, the player will tend to tense up every time they get ready to serve which makes it even harder for him/her to have success. This player could also improve their serve, by going out to the court on their own and practicing their serve starting from closer to the net and hitting very soft shots and gradually moving back as they start to relax and gain confidence.