The net height in the middle is 3 feet (36 inches). Notice that Murray’s ball is the lowest at 59 inches. So even he has two feet of net clearance when playing on average. Roger Federer hits at 70 inches which is exactly two net levels for clearance and Rafael Nadal hits at 90 inches which comes close to 3 net levels.
Net clearance refers to the distance between the ball and the net as it passes over the net. The distance from the net gives us insight into both the accuracy and spin of shots, with flatter shots tending to have less height when they pass over the center of the court. Thus, we would expect players who use less spin on a stroke and aim low will have the smallest net clearances in general.
For whichever foot is in front, make sure that it’s pointed toward the net post-cross-court. If you’re right-handed, you’ll put your left foot forward and angle it toward the right net post.
The more vertical the more height over the net, but less side kick off the ground. The more horizontal the spin, the less clearance over the net, but more side kick off the ground. A pure flat serve has the smallest net clearance and virtually no side spin. A pure topspin produces a the highest kick off the ground, but purely vertical ground bounce.
A serve (or, more formally, a service) in tennis is a shot to start a point. A player will hit the ball with a racquet so it will fall into the diagonally opposite service box without being stopped by the net. Normally players begin a serve by tossing the ball into the air and hitting it (usually near the highest point of the toss).
I want the players to learn to serve from this position. This is the essence of the TED and the first building block of the kick. The player can start close to the net and, as coordination and strength develops, can take the TED back to the baseline. Next I encourage my students to toss over the shoulder to 11 o clock.
When hitting a flat serve, you’ll want your toss to be roughly 12-18 inches in front of you and approximately 6 inches to the right of your tossing arm’s shoulder at the peak of the toss. For an in-depth review of the serve toss, be sure to check out our post on perfecting your serve toss technique.
The Second Serve Mastery video course shows simple, but effective, practice exercises, which can be done on or off a tennis court. The time spent learning a new technique is greatly reduced for anyone who will commit to doing the exercises on a consistent basis.