The Racquet Drop

Often a useful image is to point the butt cap at the ball

And when aligned the player simply pulls the racquet into contact

This pulling action occurs on the forehand and backhand and sometimes referred to as the “slot”

Maybe this would be called leverage

On the serve this “drop” occurs from a loose motion, even enhanced by loosening the grip

And for better or worse this drop may be one of the more difficult aspects of the serve – not for a player to MAKE or FORCE it to drop but to ALLOW or ENABLE

To enable, Vic Braden called this, “Let your arm go spaghetti”

And Don Kerr’s  compelling image was, “Throw a dart in the ceiling”

And in a related issue – when warming up your serve this “pulling up” generally enables you to avoid the net

This is not about adding 5mph to your serve …

And not about moving up another level …

Simply to grow your awareness !!







  • Al

    Reply Reply September 11, 2022

    The errant toss is most responsible for low first service percentage. I watched it happen over and over at this years US OPEN. Especially in the quarter finals.

    • Jim McLennan

      Reply Reply October 4, 2022

      Even there was a video feature in the NYTimes about the toss with Tiafoe- quite good – Jim

  • Donald McDonald

    Reply Reply April 15, 2021

    In a way, I disagree. I think the importance of the racquet drop lies in the position it gets the chest, shoulders and back in, not in the position of the racquet head. Everyone treats the racquet shaft as a solid object. Because of the loose grip, it acts more like a rope with a weight attached. You can throw the racquet head up at the ball, but when you do so it gets there too soon and you end up pushing the racquet head up into the ball weakly. Instead, you need to pull down and across your body. Centrifugal force forces the racquet head up, the racquet shaft does not leverage it up in a good stroke. Leverage is an evil demon, tempting us into a trap. Ask not where the racquet head goes, ask where the elbow ends, down and across.

    • Jim McLennan

      Reply Reply April 16, 2021

      Don I understand about the racquet head getting there too soon – and yes that leads to the push – somehow the longer the butt cap presents to the ball during the up movement – the better – that is the nut of the dart up to the ceiling – Jim

  • ab hilo

    Reply Reply April 13, 2021

    Coach Mac ,
    Thank you for this post , very informative ….. I can’t help but compare Federers’ hitting elbow, the right hip leading up to the ball , to your sons’ elbow and hip , almost identical .
    He must had a great teacher 🙂 Thanks again , all the best . Ab

    • Jim McLennan

      Reply Reply April 13, 2021

      Thanks for this note – and for sure he and I do have fun with the game – interestingly he got a lot of his service action from playing badminton – best Jim

  • John

    Reply Reply April 13, 2021

    Hi there,

    I am in total agreement with what you have said here re the racquet drop. May I also make a suggestion?

    Could you possibly provide further advice (ideally with pictures) re the pathway direction of the racquet face as it falls under gravity behind you? One is talking angles here! I have seen for example in the past the contact strings being parallel initially to the back of the server. On another occasion however it has appeared that this angle at the start of the drop has been more like 90 degrees.

    It is always clear however that with the uncoiling of the upper body, the racquet swings outwards to enable the frame to accelerate upwards towards the ball prior to pronation.

    Perhaps a flow diagram would explain it better, showing the precise location of the racquet strings rather than quoting the need to keep the frame sideways on? This may appear somewhat crass but for many could well create a more helpful picture in their minds.

    I eagerly await your considered reply Sir,


    • Jim McLennan

      Reply Reply April 13, 2021

      John – there is good information from Great Base tennis – and they show the racquet drop orientation slightly different for a sidespin than for a kick serve – and the variation you describe may be just about that – I don’t have a deadline on this but at some point will figure out how to do overhead filming – best Jim

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