The Underarm Server Drill is a flexible drill that can be done with just 2 players on court or easily scaled up to have many children cooperating on court without needing a coach to feed the ball. The variations keep it engaging as player’s work on their skills.
What COACHES, PLAYERS and PARENTS should know about this drill
This is a great activity for so many different reasons:
- We would recommend that players become familiar with serving overarm as soon as possible, but that’s not easy and will take time. In the meantime, and to ensure that the players get a rally after the serve, serving underarm can often be an easier first step
- It’s a really good cooperative activity where the kids can work together on serve and return
- Doing this activity is also great for learning how to feed like a coach, which means that kids can cooperate in activities together without needing the coach to feed for them. You might also try feeding by letting the ball bounce before you hit it, although this isn’t allowed in the rules of tennis for a serve
- Many coaches like to let kids serve underarm for the second serve. That’s OK but as an alternative, try getting kids to put the racket in the non-dominant hand and then throw the ball overarm for the second serve. That way they get to practise more of the overarm action associated with the overarm serve
VARIATIONS of the Underarm Server Drill for coaches, players & parents
- It can be a great competitive activity where pairs work together in competition against other pairs:
- Have both players serving underarm and catching like in the video. Count how many serve and catch combinations a pair can do in 2 minutes, or which pair can be the first to do 10 serve and catch combinations
- Which pair can achieve the most serve-return-third short-catch combinations in 2 minutes, or
- Which pair can achieve the first pair to do 10 serve-return-third short-catch combinations
- The video shows the players serving into the service box, but to challenge the players more, divide the service box into two, so that the serve has to serve to the forehand or the backhand side
- Put some hoops on the court, and try to serve the ball into different hoops. That will really help your accuracy
- This is a great activity to do at home. Try this activity over a bamboo cane or a skipping rope if you don’t have a net at home.
- Do the same progressions with an overarm serve, then you really are doing well!
- Instead of playing a groundstroke for the third shot, why not play a volley instead. Then you will be combining this drill with our recent Up and Volley Drill.
Tennis(24/7)’s TOP TIPS for the Underarm Server Drill
- Stand a little sideways and take your time when serving
- Think about where you are going to aim the serve and why
- Don’t try to hit too hard. It’s hard to win the point from the serve
- Get ready for the return as soon as you have hit the serve. The ball will come back and you need to be ready
- Try to serve wide and then hit your groundstroke to the other direction, just like the pros
- Be ready. The serve is coming!
- Be ready to play a forehand or a backhand. The server may try to serve to your backhand if they know it’s the weaker shot
- Make sure you get the serve back. Don’t give away free points
More Drills on Tennis(24/7)
- Cardio Tennis! Past, Present, Future!
- Summary of Receiving Skills (Part 11)
- Receiving Skills Part 7
- Video Training Series, 10 Step Rally – Part 3
- Underarm Server Drill
- Up & Volley Drill
- Video Training Series, 10 Step Rally – Part 2
- Developing dynamic balance in tennis
- MEMBERS ONLY: Cardio Tennis Approach & Volley Drill
- How to Improve Player Speed & Reactions With a Simple Baseline Drill