A Wonky ‘W’: Coordinating the Two Jobs
We’re about to set the two halves in motion.
Back to Martina Navratilova, who starts her serve sideways to the net, with racket pointing threateningly at her opponent (roughly).
Initially, she rocks onto the back foot as her hands drop.
As racket hand and the placement hand rise up into their respective jobs, she shifts her weight forward, because up and in is the direction of the forthcoming force.
The Server’s ‘W’
Now back to the ‘W’ I mentioned earlier. A good image to have in your head, as you are about to start the serve, is to imagine your hands are at the centre-top of a letter W.
As you prepare to serve, like Steffi below (and also Martina previously), draw a (rounded) W into the air with your hands, as both hands move down and then outwards.
Each hand draws a U into the air (and the two U’s make one W).
A Wonky ‘W’
Granted, those two ‘U’s’ will be different shapes, and it’s not the most perfectly formed ‘W’ – with the proportions of one drawn in a pre-school playgroup! – but you get the idea of both hands doing a rhythmic down-up U to start the two jobs.
Hands Up, Bum Down
Most players launch themselves up-and-in to a serve from a knee bend, but when is the best time to give at the knees?
A general guide is this: when hands rise, the butt falls – or sits – into the knee bend, as both Martina and Steffi do above.
You’ll see variations of hands up, bum down in most serves, including Jim Courier in the third sequence, though his ‘W’ is somewhat lacking.