Ask the Pro
Have a coaching question? Send it in!

Question: What the heck is a “heavy no-spin serve”???
Coach Larry Hodges:I love the phrase “heavy no-spin serves,” don’t you? You can’t help but have a smile some to your lips when you say it. However, when facing someone with a good “heavy no-spin serve,” the last thing that comes to mind is a smile.

A no-spin serve is just that; a serve with no spin. (We’ll get to the “heavy” part in a minute.) It’s what most beginners serve. Surprisingly, a no-spin serve, if served very low and short over the net, is a very effective serve. Consider:

 

This doesn’t mean you want to serve no-spin over and over. An opponent will quickly get used to no-spin, and since there is no variation in spin with a no-spin serve (they all have no spin!). So you need to have spinny serves along with no-spin serves.

But having spin serves don’t help if your opponent can see whether you are serving with spin or not. When serving with spin, you have to use a somewhat large motion (arm and wrist) to get that spin. You don’t need to do that to serve no-spin. However, if you don’t, the whole world will know you are serving no-spin. Therefore, you need to use the same motion when serving no-spin. For spin, you contact the ball near the tip of your racket, maximizing your spin. But if you contact the ball near the handle, you’ll get little or no spin, even if you snap your racket through the ball.

The result? A big spinny-looking serve that has no spin. In other words . . . a heavy no-spin serve! (And yes, you can really load up your no-spin serve by using a bigger and bigger motion while still serving no-spin.)