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How To Make a Serve Trainer

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By far the most common flaw in the serves of beginning and intermediate tennis players is meeting the ball too low. You can make a simple device that will train you to hit your serves at full upward extension.

Difficulty: Average
Time Required: 20 minutes

Here's How:

  1. Get an old tennis ball, four feet of rope, a foot or more of stiff wire, and a drill with one small bit and another between 1/4 inch and 3/8 inch.
  2. When drilling a tennis ball, the bit can slip. For maximum safety, clamp the tennis ball in a table vise. Otherwise, hold the ball with a heavy, puncture-proof glove or a large pliers or clamp.
  3. Wear eye protection.
  4. Use the small bit to drill pilot holes in the ball at roughly 10:00 and 2:00.
  5. Use the large bit (3/8 inch is ideal) to expand your pilot holes.
  6. Fold or twist one end of the wire around the end of the rope so that it will hold tight, but keep the wire-rope union slender.
  7. Poke the wire through the ball.
  8. Use the wire to pull the rope through the ball.
  9. Remove the wire.
  10. Find a horizontal support such as a swingset bar or clothesline that's at least 16 inches higher than your maximum upward reach with your racquet and has at least three feet of clearance in every direction.
  11. If necessary, string up a short, horizontal rope or clothesline.
  12. Standing flatfooted and reaching as high as you can, measure the height three inches below the tip of your racquet.
  13. Tie the rope that passes through the ball into a loop around your horizontal support, with the ball hanging at the height you measured in step 12.
  14. Use a full service motion when hitting your serve trainer, including stretching up on your toes to hit.

Tips:

  1. Hit in a direction that will be safe if the ball somehow goes flying.
  2. Practicing for around 10 minutes a day should make a big difference in your serve.
  3. If you strung up a line to support your device, you can easily make the height adjustable for different users.
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