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Ultimate Serve Toss Drill

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The service toss seems like it should be simple – but executing it consistently definitely it not!

That’s why I’m really excited to share the drill in today’s lesson with you. It’s hands down my favorite to work on your toss height, placement, and overall consistency.

Best of all it can be done virtually anywhere. You don’t need to be on a tennis court!

Comments? Questions? Leave them below. Thank you for watching! 

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  1. Clare Macheca February 15, 2017 at 1:11 pm - Reply

    That was super!! Thank you for all of your support in building our tennis game!

  2. Michael Perry February 13, 2017 at 12:00 pm - Reply


  3. Joel February 13, 2017 at 11:42 am - Reply

    Another example of excellent explaining, teaching and motivating. Thanks.

  4. Noushin Kananian February 12, 2017 at 12:50 pm - Reply

    Many thanks for sharing your experience and knowledge!

  5. Rich Berman February 12, 2017 at 11:30 am - Reply

    Great drill and thanks for sharing. Also, good discussion of the shoulder hinge.
    Thanks, Rich Berman

  6. Rich Berman February 12, 2017 at 11:28 am - Reply

    Great drill, thanks for sharing.
    Rich Berman

  7. James Selak April 2, 2015 at 1:25 pm - Reply


    Thank you once again for your insight. FYI: You may already be aware of the "Ball on a Rope". I am currently using a TENNIS BALL attached to a thin nylon rope approximately 20 feet in length, which can be through over
    any court fence or wall, hosted to the height of a players reach; the key advanages are this can be thrown in a
    tennis bag and is a GREAT VISUAL ORIENTATION.

  8. Ron February 6, 2015 at 1:34 pm - Reply

    I have a couple of clothes pins clamped onto one end of my tennis fence at my preferred ball toss height and usually do several practice tosses before going to matches.

  9. Donald February 6, 2015 at 12:38 pm - Reply

    I noticed that your tennis racket doesn't have a shock absorber on it …….is that normal or is your racket equipped with a built in one….
    Donald J.

  10. Reed Haley January 2, 2015 at 10:28 pm - Reply

    A toss drill I picked up from a magazine back in the 1970's still works well with my students.To get the toss cosistent and out in front I place a second racquet, butt end on the service line, with head toward the net. The goal is to toss the ball so it lands of the strings of the racquet. It's tough now but even tougher with those smaller racquets back then.

  11. Jim December 21, 2014 at 9:11 am - Reply

    Good drill.
    Nice to do drills that you do not need to be on tennis court for.

  12. Fuat December 20, 2014 at 1:49 am - Reply

    Very helpful tips. I found the tape mark and tossing with full arm swing key to get consistency. I would that 50-100 repeats of this exercise in few days will make a difference. Thanks, Ian.

  13. Richard December 19, 2014 at 4:04 pm - Reply


  14. James December 19, 2014 at 10:55 am - Reply

    Very helpful. Is there a such thing as a perfect toss? One that you can hit with eyes closed?

  15. ZoSo December 19, 2014 at 10:10 am - Reply

    Excellent advice. I use a ceiling fan in my living room, the blades are just an inch or two above my target. its'a about the right height for me. 5 minutes a day. You can toss a lot of balls in 5 minutes and really lock your service toss in so that when you are huffing and puffing in a match it doesn't matter. The toss is automatic.

    This world class player is my "model service toss"


    His service motion is one of the most beautiful things in tennis.

    Notice how high the ball is lifted before leaving his hand. Notice how little error he allows by tossing the ball a short distance, requiring a very soft (low velocity toss), and therefore very little opportunity for the ball to go errant.

    The number one problem I see in others is that they release the ball too low, toss it too high, introduce all kinds of throw behavior that launches the ball off target, and therefore introduces a lot of error factors.

  16. Paul Guggenheim December 19, 2014 at 10:10 am - Reply

    Great drill. Simple but effective. I look forward to trying it out.

  17. ruth saunders September 13, 2014 at 4:00 am - Reply

    Hi Ian,
    Great video instruction on many subjects. One topic which eludes me is the pivot step on the forehand and/or how to use ground force reaction to improve my forehand and make it a more powerful shot. Hope you decide to cover this topic – I will be forever grateful.

  18. daniela August 21, 2014 at 8:16 am - Reply

    good drill!

  19. chao July 27, 2014 at 11:53 pm - Reply

    I want to download sites on the tennis teaching video, but I don't know how to download.

  20. Merv July 25, 2014 at 7:21 pm - Reply

    Thanks for the suggestions on the serve toss drill- will try it – it should improve my serve toss.


  21. Yanniss May 30, 2014 at 3:21 pm - Reply

    Many thanks for this video. Sure i like also another one, but this one give answer for my problem. I train one kid 12 years and he don't know toss well, now with this exercice, i'm sure he will progress.
    From Luxemburg

  22. roy steinbach May 7, 2014 at 10:05 am - Reply

    As usual, you get to the point concisely and in a simple manner. Can you offer suggestions to improve the racket drop on the serve. Too often it is dropped in a way that makes leading with the edge difficult.

  23. Peter April 28, 2014 at 7:19 pm - Reply

    Great video Ian! I really need to perfect my toss and this is a great drill. I am going to start using it this weekend.

  24. paul April 27, 2014 at 11:33 am - Reply

    Love your videos especially the 5 part serve series. After serving one way for 30 years, i changed my serve to more reflect the way the you showed on your videos. It was a struggle at first, but now I am getting more spin and consistency on my serve. Thanks

  25. Robert April 27, 2014 at 8:07 am - Reply

    Some years back I was made to make a toss 100 times aiming at the same height point. Over the following couple of weeks or so I repeated the exercise numerous times, and through that process I achieved a stable ability to toss the ball up under control consistently. Since that time my serving motion has changed significantly and what I am doing with serves is very much different, but each change I have made in the process was facilitated by being able to toss the ball where I needed to put it. That practice has made a big difference, and this is a much better drill than I did.

  26. Jose Roberto Parker April 26, 2014 at 3:49 pm - Reply

    Thank you Ian, it was a really worth advice. I can now practice the height of my toss for consistency. Recently, a friend told me that my chin has to be up too, and really help me. Is it important?

  27. mario April 26, 2014 at 4:09 am - Reply

    thank Ian for this really worth advice
    recently, I've had problem what kind of toss is good form me
    your video confirm me that I've been going correct path

  28. Martijn van Beek April 26, 2014 at 3:50 am - Reply

    hi Ian,

    Though it was just a small remark in your video, I think that your remark about using the shoulder to make the toss rather than smaller body parts like wrist, is essential. Great!

  29. Zhuhai_Rob April 26, 2014 at 12:33 am - Reply

    Awesome lesson Ian! I started to do this, but a "lifetime" 3.5 guy at my club said it was worthless. I will start doing it again. It just made too much sense as the (lack of) consistency in my toss is the bane of my tennis game…

    • Ian Westermann April 26, 2014 at 9:01 am - Reply

      Don't pay any attention to those "lifetime" level guys! haha

  30. nestor candava April 25, 2014 at 8:46 pm - Reply

    i like it ian thanks for the tip

  31. jmb April 25, 2014 at 8:12 pm - Reply

    Helpful and clear explanation of a common issue for many of us – how high should your toss be to set up a consistent serve. I liked the idea of a mark/tape on a wall to help with the proper height. Thank you!.

  32. Les April 25, 2014 at 2:18 pm - Reply

    Great visual use of an easy set up on the court for the height and location of the toss

    Les Y

  33. Dae Park April 25, 2014 at 2:12 pm - Reply

    Hi Ian,
    I learn a lot from your videos so I thank you for that.
    I am wondering have you thought about translating all these great videos in Korean?
    I bet a lot of Korean viewers who is in Korea would enjoy same as me.


  34. Tom T. April 25, 2014 at 1:29 pm - Reply

    Excellent and clear demo Ian.

  35. Lorena April 25, 2014 at 12:58 pm - Reply

    Your drill has made my serve unreturnable, thank you!!!!!!!!!!

  36. Michael Gavion April 25, 2014 at 11:38 am - Reply

    Ian , very good info on the toss. Being consistent is very critical in executing a good serve.You do a great job on demonstrating any point that you are conveying to your audience/listener. Great Job.


  37. virginia ocken April 25, 2014 at 10:51 am - Reply

    Love your videos. Thanks a bunch.

  38. DeWitt Thomson April 25, 2014 at 10:45 am - Reply

    Awesome! Can't wait to try this.I'm sure it will help "connect the dots" on this most practiced shot,our "tee" shot.

  39. Weldon April 25, 2014 at 10:37 am - Reply

    Ian this is a good way to figure out the height of your toss. I wish someone showed me this years ago, my toss has been my achilles heel.

  40. Marvin Freed April 25, 2014 at 10:21 am - Reply

    Thanks for the new ball-toss video. I struggle with the height of my toss but unfortunately your new video wasn't designed to help players like me. In the beginning of the video you draw a distinction between those players that have a quick release and those that have a more relaxed motion. You then proceeded to put a piece of tape on the wall about 8" above your outstretched racket to give the relaxed serve players a target to shoot for when they practice. Did you forget about us poor guys with quick motions? At what height on the wall should our piece of tape be?


    • Ian Westermann April 25, 2014 at 10:55 am - Reply


      As I discussed in this video "I can't give you a specific height" that the toss needs to be. It's going to be different for every viewer based on their height and their service rhythm. You need to decide for yourself where the optimum height is to put the piece of tape (or whatever else you use as a target).

  41. hans frantzen April 25, 2014 at 10:19 am - Reply

    Hi Ian
    as to when Dolgopolovs hit his serve, it is a little on the downfall
    here is a link to see it. it looks as if it is on the rise but no

    • Ian Westermann April 25, 2014 at 11:01 am - Reply

      Ya, I figured it probably was dropping at least a little but didn't have a chance to check it before shooting this video. Thanks for the link!

  42. Junior April 25, 2014 at 10:16 am - Reply

    Hi Ian

    This looks like a really useful drill, and very simple to set up and do. I might need a ladder to fix the marker for myself, but I'm going to try it with our juniors at my next serve coaching session. Thanks as always.



  43. Pablo Ghosh Roy April 25, 2014 at 9:50 am - Reply

    Hi Ian,


    Thank you so much for the video about the toss drill. I have one query, does/should the toss height vary if you doing a fast serve or a spin? Or is it irrelevant to the type of the serve!!


    • Ian Westermann April 25, 2014 at 11:02 am - Reply

      The height specifically shouldn't change based on serve type, no. The width may by a little bit, but not the height!