I will start.......I wish I could consistently use my serve as a weapon (not necessarily aces galore, but at least setting up winning shots) and not just a method of getting the ball into play.....
I struggle mentally with the idea that you are better off getting in your FIRST serve, even at 3/4 speed, than to let your opponent have the chance to possibly tee off on your second serve. I have a fairly decent flat first serve with some pop, but with a 60%-70% effective rate, I hesitate to whip it out.
What about your guys/girls? What would you change?
Replies to This Discussion
At this point in my pro career (ha ha, I wish!), fitness is my biggest issue. I have many issues, of course, but being able to chase down balls and just getting to a ball in time to set up would be a very big advantage. Alas, discipline is not one of my strong points, yet I'm slowly but surely working on it.
Spoken by the man with the couch potato avatar. :-)
I'd have say to say that the serve improvement MT mentions is for me too. Just get it in play and don't give away free points. Also, learn to control the points more - run the other guy around.
Definitely my serve. I can rip forehands and backhands for winners but I feel my serve is a liability. I'd love to hit a 90mph kick serve. Is that even realistic for a 46 year old 4.0+ player? Haha!
Michael, if you're making sixty to seventy percent of your first serves, you shouldn't hesitate to use it. That's an excellent percentage at any level.
Also, power is really a bit overrated when compared to placement. If you can place the ball to stretch your opponent off the court, you're in control of the rally. It's harder to win a point from a defensive position.
Back to the question. I would eliminate my defensive tendencies against hard hitting baseliners. In the past, I used to get too defensive when I was playing an opponent who hit with significant pace. I'm much better about it today but it still creeps into my game from time to time.
Thats an great point about placement, Alex. Thanks for that. I never thought that 60-70% first serve hit rate was that good, but its good to hear its not really that bad! I too, suffer from going defensive against heavy hitters now and again.....May I ask how you remedy that situation when you see it happening in your game Alex? Thanks!
In my case, I was standing too far back behind the baseline. I forced myself to start playing within a foot or two of the line and took the ball earlier than I was comfortable with. I used a ball machine during some of that transition and had my hitting partner, feed me low hard balls.
The last thing I changed was my grip, I opened up the racquet face, so I was able to hit with a more offensive forehand.
MT, when I read between the lines here, I am thinking that your second serve may need to improve. Is it a real sitter that gets you on the defensive right away? I think having a good kick second serve is important - right now I have that, and folks can not attack it. My problem is that my first serve is not much different and I can not get any aces or virtual aces.
60%-70% first serves happens at the pro level. That's a GREAT percentage! Here's how I look at it. It's better to hit first serves in because they are probably LESS ATTACK-able. The higher you get of that, the more you're on the offensive.
Now, as Sampras says, "You're only as good as your second serve." If you have a second serve that is attack-able, then your offensive % is less than 25% possibly.So add the ["unattack-able" first serve % rate multiplied by number of points] + ["unattack-able" second serve % rate multiplied by number of points].
Or let's think in short term perspective: you got 60% first serve and 40% of those were unattack-able and 10% you won with groundies. You win those points at a 50% rate. Keep that rate going, you're pressuring the returner.
But then let's say you got 90% second serves in but only 25% is "unattack-able". You're gonna be losing at a 60% rate unless you can back it up groundies, lobs or volleys. If you don't get the first serve in, you're at a bad win rate.
Alot of WTA tennis suffers from this, because the second serves are not stronger than the returner's return. The only serves to really spend hours practicing is the second serve, not the flat bomber. So that's what I would change for myself, keep practicing the second serve solely.
Thats good practical advice Tim. I know I can always count on you for the good insight......I plan to apply what you said ASAP. Rock on dude, you are the best!
Thanks, Michael! It pays to be the pawnbroker in your matches. lol
changing one thing oh no doubt. it would be my overhead smash! but you i see a lot of players going along in a match. taking highballs after a bounce. than here it comes a high ball and bang right into the net.i got to defeat myself on this one like all the rest. to get better when the time comes and looking and searching for something said about it, that would click for me.that was the hangup a clear understanding about how to proceed.it when like this put these two together. YOU A QUARTERBACK TAKING A SNAP YOU ARE CROSS STEPPING BACKWARD TO AVOID THE SACK.NOW YOU A BASEBALL OUT FIELDER YOU GOT TO THROW THAT GUY OUT TRYING TO STEAL!!!!!!!!