Brian Lutz / December 21, 2019

So have you ever served the “frying pan special” or the “waiters tray”?

If you aren’t sure or maybe think you have seen this type of serve you are at the right place.

Let me say this first. There is no “right” way to play tennis or for this matter serve a tennis ball.  But there are more efficient ways to serve, create spin, fluid power and perhaps in the long run greater consistency.  One thing is for sure it’s your serve so you have to “own it”.

I’d say roughly half of my students become obsessed with their serve. So I spend a significant amount of time at the end of lessons when they are fatigued working on the nuance of serve technique. There are a lot of moving parts so in this blog entry we are going to focus on the two most common grips on the serve.


First is the called the “waiters tray” aka Eastern Grip.  I also call it the frying pan special.  It has some positive qualities and I have listed them below.

Benefits of the Waiter Tray Technique

  1. It’s easy to learn.
  2. It’s easy to put in play
  3. There are no grip changes from forehand to serve
  4. You can hit it hard.

Downside to Waiters Tray Technique

  1. It’s a fast serve but it has a low trajectory and low margin for error.
  2. Seconds serves are very slow and high and are easy to return.
  3. It’s challenging to spin the ball effectively.

I actually have a few students that I recommend for the waiters tray at an Intermediate level.  So if you are a 3.0 player or below a waiters tray serve is suffice for your game. There are lots of other things to work on especially ground strokes and consistency. So and effective serve that is reliable that starts the point out with little fanfare is actually a perfect recipe so you can work on installing the rest of your game.


If you are a 3.5 player or above . Let’s call you an advanced player for these purposes you are going to want to consider installing a Continental Grip for your serve.  Mostly because if you want to improve your game it will be challenging to move up the ranks with a frying pan special.  It’s not impossible but severely limits your chances.

In the demonstration video on my Instagram page I’m just going to give you a sample of how to hold the racquet for a Continental Grip or what I refer here in this video as the hammer grip or Home Depot grip.

If you want more information of how to install a Continental Grip serve to your game I recommend taking a private tennis lesson to install this type of technique.

Brian Lutz