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View Full Version : what kind of serve should i be working on first?


Edward DFW
10-10-2009, 07:57 PM
If you don't feel like reading my whole post I will sum it up here: I am currently a 3.0 / 3.5 (hard to say until I actually play a league but on my worst day I am no worse than a 3.0) and I am capable of serving with a lot of pace and or spin. My problem has been consistency. Since that is my problem I am thinking that I might be better off focusing on 1 kind of serve and perfecting it rather than playing with different types.


I started off hitting flat 100% of the time with a bad toss and very low consistency. I could drop 4 aces in a row or 4 faults followed by a ping pong second serve.

I worked on my toss and how I held the ball. I went from holding it in the palm of my hand to fingertips only (better) to thumb, middle finger only gripping it with the pointer finger in between there stabilizing (with the ball just resting on it).

I also decided to take a little more time prepping before each serve and taking a deep breath in and holding it before I tossed (releasing it just before or at the point of contact). I find that helps with nerves quite a bit.

Then I started playing with topspin. At the time, my racquet had a lot of lead at 3 and 9 and I think that gave me a ton of extra kick (could be partially psychalogical, but it did help a bit).

For a while I was serving with pretty good consistency and not ping ponging on my 2nd serve. I was hitting a lighter topspin serve with a pretty good success rate and a more topspin on my first serve. On the first serve I was kind of letting the toss dictate what serve I hit. If it was not over my head enough I hit more flat, if it was I tried to hit more topspin. Either way I was getting more consistency.

Then the rain came. I got rained out for several weeks and I did not play much. This wasn't totally bad because it allowed my bad wrist to get a little better and let my shoulder (which I still have problems with) get a little rest.

When I finally got back to playing my consistency was gone and my shoulder got aggrivated again so I could not practice my serve (which I have not done enough of anyway).

Anyway, my shoulder is a bit better now to the point where I think I can practice again so my question is, which serve should I focus on.

I can and have gotten aces against much better players (and instructors) but that has always come from placement rather than pure power. Which serve would give me the most success? I think I need to focus on one and learn to place it and get more control before I start bothering with variety.

Without placement even a hard hit serve can be hit back and neutralized.

exhaleexplode
10-10-2009, 08:06 PM
they say youre only as good as your second serve.

SourStraws
10-10-2009, 08:15 PM
I would go flat first...If you learn the kicker first you might have a hard time learning how to drive thru the ball on the flat

S.S.

coyfish
10-10-2009, 08:25 PM
Think its good to do a bit of each but establishing a consistant 2nd serve is the most important. That way you can use your first serve as a weapon instead of just another 2nd serve or fault.

Tennisman912
10-10-2009, 08:35 PM
Edward,

I would suggest learning a good kick serves first. It will serve you the rest of your career and you really are only as good as your second serve. Hitting lots of aces doesn’t help you if you double fault just as much and as you admit more importantly, don’t have any control over your serve and have no idea what is going to happen with each toss. While it may feel great to hit an ace every so often, consistency with good placement is much more valuable until you advance up the ranks. Remember, more points are lost than one at the 3.0/3.5 level you think you are at.

Also practice the other serves but use the kick serves in a match until you learn to hit the others consistently. Focus on placement of BOTH first and second serves and it will really help you.

TM

xFullCourtTenniSx
10-11-2009, 12:23 AM
Edward,

I would suggest learning a good kick serves first. It will serve you the rest of your career and you really are only as good as your second serve. Hitting lots of aces doesnít help you if you double fault just as much and as you admit more importantly, donít have any control over your serve and have no idea what is going to happen with each toss. While it may feel great to hit an ace every so often, consistency with good placement is much more valuable until you advance up the ranks. Remember, more points are lost than one at the 3.0/3.5 level you think you are at.

Also practice the other serves but use the kick serves in a match until you learn to hit the others consistently. Focus on placement of BOTH first and second serves and it will really help you.

TM

Eh. This can be taken a number of different ways.

I would suggest the slice serve. But before that, I suggest getting the consistent toss down. If you improvise on your serves, I will read it, and I WILL make you suffer for it! If you can't decide what kind of serve you'll hit on me and where you'll put it and execute exactly what you want, you will get KILLED! You want to be able to decide beforehand what kind of serve you want to hit and where you want to hit it.

After you get your toss down, I suggest learning the slice serve. You can go through life without a good kicker. But it's harder to go through life without a good, reliable slice.

After you get the good slice down, get your topspin serve back. You want to be able to hit both of them with nasty amounts of spin while being able to change up the pace and amp up the speed.

Then, you want to be able to hit both of them off of the exact same toss.

And once you've mastered that, you've got one killer serve! (Nobody needs a flat serve, it's even less necessary than a kick serve)

And today I scored 4 aces and 4 double faults. But I look to use my second serve as a weapon and a majority of those double faults came from going for aggressive placement and second serve aces. And one of those 4 aces is a second serve ace, hit on set point. :) I kind of think like Pete and Federer in the fact that my second serve is a second chance to be aggressive (albeit with less pace). Though 4 double faults is a really bad number for me, but I was being extra aggressive today.

SystemicAnomaly
10-11-2009, 12:31 AM
they say youre only as good as your second serve.

Absolutely. Develop a decent 2nd serve, a spin serve of some sort, before trying to develop a 1st (flatter) serve. The best thing that you can do to develop your 1st serve is to have a good, reliable 2nnd serve to back it up. That 2nd serve doesn't have to be a kicker, but some measure of topspin would be desirable. If you find it easier to hit a topspin-slice serve that doesn't actually kick up, that is fine. Go for any spin serve that is reliable at first. You can add pace, placement, kick and variety later.

Once you've got that reliable 2nd serve down, just go for a bit more pace or placement for a 1st serve. You can learn the flatter serve, with more pronation, after you can achieve this.

Nellie
10-11-2009, 02:50 PM
Develop a decent slice serve (toss above your hitting shoulder) - you can get a good percentage and can vary the serve to get more/less pace. the key is to get the feel of leading with the edge of the frame so you get a brushing sound.

LeeD
10-11-2009, 05:21 PM
Other's may vote any way, but I say your first real development in a serve should be the basic topspin serve. It's used for fast firsts, and more importantly, for safe slower seconds.
Trying to develop a kick/twist is out of the picture. Takes years and you still mishit a few.
Topspin is just that, hit horizonatally into the court.
Twist/kicks are hit upwards, so higher arc, more bounce, more skill needed.

BullDogTennis
10-11-2009, 05:37 PM
I would go flat first...If you learn the kicker first you might have a hard time learning how to drive thru the ball on the flat

S.S.


don't do this...because your flat serve probably won't be that high percentage then you wont have a second serve. if you have a good kick serve than you can use that on first and second and wont be on the defense when you miss your flat serve...

Majik
10-11-2009, 06:04 PM
Isn't it the best stratagy to start a match doing second serves until you can rely on it, and then from there try more flat first serves? If so, then work on your second serve first.

BullDogTennis
10-11-2009, 06:11 PM
Isn't it the best stratagy to start a match doing second serves until you can rely on it, and then from there try more flat first serves? If so, then work on your second serve first.

yes, because a good second serve puts you in a point a lot better than missing a lot of first serves then dinking in a second one...

OverTheHill
10-11-2009, 07:25 PM
Just nail your aces. You don't need any other type of serve.

(just kidding)

darthpwner
10-11-2009, 07:37 PM
A slice second serve would be very effective. If you can learn kick serves, then take that over slice.

35ft6
10-11-2009, 11:44 PM
I would suggest the slice serve. But before that, I suggest getting the consistent toss down. I think I kind of agree with this. It gives you margin for error and the motion itself is pretty neutral.

jserve
10-11-2009, 11:50 PM
I learned flat first, then slice, then kick and that seemed to be a pretty natural progression.

wyutani
10-11-2009, 11:50 PM
u are only as good as ur 1st serve.

SuperDuy
10-12-2009, 12:09 AM
u are only as good as ur 1st serve.

Dude! Dont give false info,

Saying goes "You're as good as your second serve"

Work on your second serve ex: Slice/Kick do just second serves to practice.

What I do is I go to tennis court and practice just second serves for an hour, then once I got my groove I do some hard flat serves..

cellofaan
10-12-2009, 12:29 AM
I would suggest the slice serve. But before that, I suggest getting the consistent toss down.
Second that.

If you decide which kind of serve you're going to hit based on where you happen to toss the ball, you basically just can't toss. When the spot you toss the ball varies that much, you have to adjust your stroke every time, so you hit a lot of errors.

It's the same as with groundstrokes. You don't wait and see if the ball comes in reach and then decide if you have to stretch your arm a little bit more or less. No, you decide what kind of groundstroke you're going to hit and manouvre yourself in such a way that your position to the ball is as ideal as possible for that specific stroke, then hit that stroke.

On the serve, you decide what kind of service you're going to hit, then toss the ball accordingly, and hit the serve. If you toss it to far away from your head to hit a kicker, you let the ball drop and toss it again. If you're not consistent in tossing the ball, you won't get the stroke build in your muscle memory, because the stroke is different every time, and you can't anticipate on it.

doom
10-12-2009, 12:40 AM
Isn't it the best stratagy to start a match doing second serves until you can rely on it, and then from there try more flat first serves? If so, then work on your second serve first.

It depends how effective your second serve is... I would think its better to take a little pace off your first serve and give it a little spin rather than hitting a full blown second serve.

A first serve should set you up to win a point, whereas a second serve puts you in a neutral position

charliefedererer
10-12-2009, 01:09 AM
Topspin is the key to get the ball spinning down into the court, just as much on the serve as on groundstrokes.
If you can master a good topspin serve you will have the basic service motion that will take you to the next level.
Simply toss the ball a little more back, and you will increase the safety of your second serve.
Simply toss the ball a little more forward and you will have a more powerful combination topspin serve with slice, but you will be using the same basic service motion.

If this 14 year old girl can learn this serve from The Serve Doctor at the Bolletieri camp, so can you:
http://video.google.com/videosearch?hl=en&resnum=0&q=the%20serve%20doctor%20bollettieri&um=1&ie=UTF-8&sa=N&tab=wv#q=the+serve+doctor+bollettieri&hl=en&emb=0tor

xFullCourtTenniSx
10-12-2009, 01:53 AM
I learned flat first, then slice, then kick and that seemed to be a pretty natural progression.

This is how you're supposed to do it. I went kick, flat, slice. I'm STILL struggling with hitting a REALLY good slice serve because the fundamentals behind the slice and kick serves are TOTAL opposites. However, I have two very reliable kick serves. One has more kick and less twist, and the other has more twist and less kick (which I can also put some more heat on). Though the latter has been developing more kick recently. But I'd rather keep both to keep my opponent's guessing a little more on how much action (and what kind) of action the ball will have. And being able to hit kickers has allowed me to hit both topspin and flat serves. Though at the immediate moment, I favor the topspin serve for higher percentages and more kick which still maintains good pace. Before I used a hard flat serve with some topspin.

Anyways, that's my background to why I support learning the slice. It's a VERY important serve to have, much more than a kick serve. You can live without a kick serve, because a topspin or flat serve can still be hit to the backhand corner or slightly wide on the ad, but you can't replace a slice. You can't open up the forehand side as easily and you essentially make yourself one dimensional. Thankfully, my slice is good enough that I'm not one dimensional, but of all my serves I want to improve that one the most. It's an excellent serve down the T on the ad court, but out wide to the deuce I have trouble getting it anywhere but the corner.

A slice second serve would be very effective. If you can learn kick serves, then take that over slice.

Never let one serve completely replace another! This makes you one dimensional. You want to hold onto EVERY shot you have. What you do is hit a bunch of kick serves to abuse their backhand. Then you change it up a few times and hit a good slice into the other corner, catching them off guard. Chances are you'll get an error or maybe even an ace. I use my kick serve so much, that anytime I hit a decent slice for a second serve, I get an ace. It's just that people lean so much towards that side. And once they see you have this extra weapon up your sleeve, they'll stay honest and they won't lean so far to one side anymore (unless they doubt your ability to keep hitting this serve, and if you can, punish them for it and get some cheap aces). And since they opened up their backhand side again, start punishing away!

Also, this makes you less vulnerable to players who have better backhands than forehands. You have a different serve to readily deal with them. I mean, you have the kick jammer into the body, but that's easily dealt with. Probably more so than the slice jammer into the body.

Isn't it the best stratagy to start a match doing second serves until you can rely on it, and then from there try more flat first serves? If so, then work on your second serve first.

This is only good if your second serve is unreliable and decent enough to keep people from killing you. But it's far better than hoping your first serves will go in then throw in a horribly weak serve. I did this when I was developing a kicker to develop confidence in it, but I never had problems with people attacking it. However, if you want to get better, you must accept a lot of losses in the short term to get better in the long term. It's an undeniable fact in tennis. Your kick serve will never be match ready right away, and you must develop the muscle memory in practice as well as in matches where there is added pressure (as well as in break point pressure, and even greater pressures beyond that). Don't wanna double fault a great match away like Verdasco did to Nadal at the 2009 Australian Open Semifinals.

Then it got to the point that I was fine hitting my second serves, so I would bomb my first serves looking for aces with each one and use my second serve as a safety. I was that confident in my second serve, and that's what a good second serve SHOULD do. It should give you confidence to go for a little more on your first serves.

To fortify this confidence in my second serve under pressure, I played sets where I only got 1 serve. So every serve counts. You can't double fault a single time. Not only that, I played a LOT of tiebreaks, where every service point you play, you MUST convert in your favor. And that adds pressure when you have to hit a second serve. After a few of those, I stopped double faulting on break points. I could go through 10 break points in a game and not double fault on a single one even if I had to hit second serves on each one. And I've gone through moments like that before. The big thing is to gain faith and a positive mentality on your second serve.

It depends how effective your second serve is... I would think its better to take a little pace off your first serve and give it a little spin rather than hitting a full blown second serve.

A first serve should set you up to win a point, whereas a second serve puts you in a neutral position

No. Your first serve should either be hit to win the point with a service winner, ace, or easy putaway at net (if your serve is big enough) or to set up a point (if you have great groundstrokes). The second serve should be hit with aggression to either set up the point or to get a short ball.

The minimal goal you should have in mind for EVERY serve you hit, first or second, is to set up the point for the shot you want to hit (in my case, forehands). In addition to that, you should look to try and open up the court if you can. This gives you quick access to being the first striker (first strike tennis). So you should hit your second serve aggressively with the intention of setting up the point. If you can do this, you know that you are playing at a very high level and/or you have an exceptional second serve for your level. This is why I emphasize the fact that a good slice second serve is an excellent compliment to a wicked kicker. You ALWAYS want more options on the court. This is how you tear your opponent's game apart and get into their head.

And THIS is why your skill is defined by your second serve (in other words, "you are only as good as your second serve"). There is so much personal experience I can throw into this that will back this up so much, but this post is long enough as it is.

Anyways, develop a good, reliable slice second serve before you move on to a kick serve.

Slazenger07
10-12-2009, 03:02 AM
I learned the slice serve first, thats what Id recommend. It makes a great first serve cause you cant hit it with pace and it is a higher percentage serve than a flat delivery generally, also the nasty side spin can really give people trouble, at least mine does. After youve got the feel for putting spin on the serve with the slice, then id move on and try to learn the kick serve, its by far the best option for a second serve. I sometimes even use it for my first serve, but generally I hit a flat or slice first serve and a kick second serve.

doom
10-12-2009, 03:59 AM
No. Your first serve should either be hit to win the point with a service winner, ace, or easy putaway at net (if your serve is big enough) or to set up a point (if you have great groundstrokes). The second serve should be hit with aggression to either set up the point or to get a short ball.

The minimal goal you should have in mind for EVERY serve you hit, first or second, is to set up the point for the shot you want to hit (in my case, forehands). In addition to that, you should look to try and open up the court if you can. This gives you quick access to being the first striker (first strike tennis). So you should hit your second serve aggressively with the intention of setting up the point. If you can do this, you know that you are playing at a very high level and/or you have an exceptional second serve for your level. This is why I emphasize the fact that a good slice second serve is an excellent compliment to a wicked kicker. You ALWAYS want more options on the court. This is how you tear your opponent's game apart and get into their head.

And THIS is why your skill is defined by your second serve (in other words, "you are only as good as your second serve"). There is so much personal experience I can throw into this that will back this up so much, but this post is long enough as it is.

Anyways, develop a good, reliable slice second serve before you move on to a kick serve.

Um, no yourself.

Your goal for a second serve first and foremost is to get it in 100% of the time and make it difficult to attack.

Trying to use your second serve 'aggressively' is a recipe for double faults.

A good second serve is one that goes in ALWAYS and one which you can place to the forehand, backhand or into the body on both the deuce and ad sides.

You should develop a very reliable topspin or kick second serve before you try and develop a slice serve. A slice is lower percentage. Lower percentages are not what you are looking for in a second serve.

Personal experience doesn't mean anything when compared to tried and true conventional wisdom.

nfor304
10-12-2009, 05:12 AM
Um, no yourself.

Your goal for a second serve first and foremost is to get it in 100% of the time and make it difficult to attack.

Trying to use your second serve 'aggressively' is a recipe for double faults.

A good second serve is one that goes in ALWAYS and one which you can place to the forehand, backhand or into the body on both the deuce and ad sides.

You should develop a very reliable topspin or kick second serve before you try and develop a slice serve. A slice is lower percentage. Lower percentages are not what you are looking for in a second serve.

Personal experience doesn't mean anything when compared to tried and true conventional wisdom.

Agreed. Unless your name is Pete Sampras, or you are a pure serve and volleyer on both serves, trying to be aggressive on your second serves is suicide. Being able to place it and keep it high and deep is what you should be aiming for on a second serve.

I don't know what level xfullcourttennisx has played at, but once you get to higher levels a slice second serve, unless you are phenomenally consistent with it, becomes a liability. Unless your hitting the lines and corners a slice serve is going to be straight into the returners hitting zone, and I certainly don't recommend aiming close to the lines on a second serve.

There's a reason almost all pro's always hit a kick or topspin second serve. Its because its high percentage and the above shoulder ball is difficult to take a full blooded swing at even when it bounces a foot inside the lines.

A slice serve is lower over the net and needs to be closer to the lines to be effective. If you dont do those things a good player will knock of a slice serve all day in his wheelhouse.

I've played some pretty good players in my years and a heavy, high bouncing second serve is an absolute must if your going to hold serve against good players.

GuyClinch
10-12-2009, 05:16 AM
A topspin slice serve is what you should learn first, IMHO. Its probably the most natural to hit if you use a continental grip. Your swinging up and across the ball.

Once you get your spin serves going if your like me you will find hitting the flat one in is the hardest. I hit all three (slice, topsin and flat) serves (and despite having what feels like a hitch in my stroke) its the one shot I get tons of complements on. Of course it helps to be 6'4".

I am not sure I would call my topspin serve a "kicker" because it kicks like once a match. What I mean by kick is that it bounces to the backhand side of a righty and catches em off guard.

It's awesome the first time you do that though. Its better then an ace.

Pete

xFullCourtTenniSx
10-12-2009, 06:25 AM
Um, no yourself.

Your goal for a second serve first and foremost is to get it in 100% of the time and make it difficult to attack.

Trying to use your second serve 'aggressively' is a recipe for double faults.

A good second serve is one that goes in ALWAYS and one which you can place to the forehand, backhand or into the body on both the deuce and ad sides.

You should develop a very reliable topspin or kick second serve before you try and develop a slice serve. A slice is lower percentage. Lower percentages are not what you are looking for in a second serve.

Personal experience doesn't mean anything when compared to tried and true conventional wisdom.

Haha. So Sampras has one of the worst second serves in the history of top pros then, yes? God I guess everybody in the world is totally wrong about him having the best second serve in the history of the sport as well as being one of the 3 candidates of tennis' GOAT. Guess we should toss him out. Oh, Federer double faults and uses his second serve aggressively too... Let's throw him out too. Oh my! So does Laver! Guess he's not worthy anymore. Oh crap! So does a majority of the pro tour! Guess nobody's a good player except for those who dink their serves in and never double fault. Gee... Guess I should've emulated that pusher's serve that I saw the other day...

You don't realize what those with the best second serves do with their second serves.

Sampras had more double faults than your average top 100 touring pro. Now why is that? Because he's aggressive with his second serve! He has surpassed the fear of double faults entirely! He even has this mentality on break points! This is why he hits more second serves than anyone else in the history of the sport! And that is why he is known to have the best second serve of all time.

I can serve with plenty of double faults in a set (4-5 on a bad day) and still not get broken. How? Because all the other second serves I get in are either unreturned or give me a short ball to kill (usually the former). To have a great second serve, you transcend the fear of double faulting and commit to a plan. I throw them onto sidelines, throw extra pace, or extra kick onto them. I even go for the occasional second serve ace.

And if people had serves that always went in, they should be #1 in the world by your logic yes? WRONG! We want to control the amount of double faults we hit, but if you hit 0 double faults, you're got one sh*tty second serve! Anyone who doesn't hit double faults will be attacked! I would much rather risk a few double faults to put my similar level opponents on defense and keep higher level opponents from attacking me.

Even Roger Federer with one of the most consistent second serves in the game double faults! Even Nadal double faults! Even Roddick double faults! EVERYONE DOUBLE FAULTS! You must accept this fact. If you fear it, you can never use your second serve as a weapon. If you fear double faults and using your second serve as a weapon, or at least a tool to set up points in your favor, you will not improve as a player. Your fear will control you. Federer uses his second serve as a weapon, takes risks with it, and does not fear the double fault. This is why this man, who has such an unbelievable second serve, can go from 0 double faults in 3 sets to 3 double faults in 1 set. He uses it as a weapon and attacks with it. Yes, there's the fact that there's better opponents that put pressure on our serves. But what do we do then? We up the ante! We put in a better second serve and accept the added risk of doing so. We don't let them push us around! If the opponent doesn't put pressure on my second serve, I can go the whole day with 0 double faults. It's not hard. But I'm hitting one that's not nearly as good as my regular one.

There's a difference between being aggressive with your second serve and being stupid with it. Clearly if you aim to hit flat serves on sidelines for a second serve, you're not going to get anywhere. But do you know that you can be aggressive with second serves using a combination of pace, spin, and placement?! You can place it out wider than normal. You can attack a weakness. You can throw it to the body. You can put an extra 5-10 mph of a few. Some you can add extra spin for extra movement and action. What Sampras did was constantly place it aggressively (near/on lines with phenomenal amounts of pace for a second serve). But he still played it safe by using heavy spin and playing within himself. Clearly you don't want to go for a 110 mph 6 foot kicker on the sidelines if it's outside your ability. You want to be as aggressive as your abilities allow, and sometimes a little beyond that. People like you who stay inside their little box and stay comfortable never grow up.

One must always look for the best combinations of pace, spin, and placement that they can create to be aggressive. People can easily place the ball to all 3 important serving positions and never double fault. But maybe they'll do it without pace, or without spin even! Spin adds safety and allows us to add more pace on the ball. These two things allow us to be more aggressive with the serve. As you get better, you notice that you're more aggressive with your serve than before. This is why we swing faster on second serves than first serves! We must not back down because of fear of hitting a double fault!

And develop a reliable topspin or kick serve before a slice serve?! ARE YOU MAD?! You do realize how complicated a kick serve's motion is compared to a slice serve right?! And lower percentage? I know someone who hits a flat serve for first and second serves. If she takes the pace off the second serve, it is very unnoticable, but she doesn't double fault too often. And she doesn't hit a weak flat serve either. General trends in percentages are good guidelines, but they can always be surpassed. She put a lot of work to make her serve as consistent as possible. Look at Nadal. He primarily uses a slice serve for a second serve. Yet he double faults less than Federer! But Federer hits almost exclusively kick serves... So gee... Federer must have one crappy, inconsistent kicker... Dang... Never knew Federer was such a terrible player. Why the hell are we crazy enough to consider him the tennis GOAT? Every tennis fan must be mental.

You do realize that when you start hitting topspin serves and kick serves, that those are low percentage serves too right? I think that flat dink serve of yours has a far higher percentage than those kickers. So why aren't you hitting those dinkers? CAUSE THEY LACK AGGRESSION! Why do we choose to hit kickers instead of topspin serves? Topspin serves are simpler and offer the same, if not better, percentages. It's because a twist serve is more aggressive! It's movement ATTACKS the opponent. Why do you think that people can't attack good second serves? BECAUSE THEY'RE BEING ATTACKED BY THE SECOND SERVE! This is why we use spin instead of dinking serves!

A slice serve is a serve that MUST be developed because of how useful it is as both a first and second serve. It opens up the court far better than a kick serve and is still a higher percentage serve! It is a crucial serve to learn! A slice serve and a flat serve are far more dangerous than a kick serve and a flat serve! Also, the motion is simpler, which is better for developing players. And the fundamentals of that translate well into a kick serve, not the other way around.

If God gives you lemons, you make lemonade! If God gives you a slice serve, you make it the best darned slice serve you can make of it through hard work and lots of practice! You don't go b*tching to God saying, "but a kicker is a higher percentage serve!" There are ladders of progressions that one must work through before they can go into advanced technique and concepts. Clearly, you don't learn to hit a 100 mph forehand before learning to get the ball in. And you don't learn spin before you can get consistent contact with the ball. If you skip steps, you hurt your overall development as a player.

And you're wrapping up with the idea that personal experience doesn't mean anything compared to true and tried wisdom? Well... I just provided a LOT of evidence, from my personal experience as well as those of others, disproving your "true and tried wisdom".

Why do you think lefties hit slice serves out wide instead of kickers to the other corner for second serves even though "a slice is lower percentage"? For one, they've worked hard on that slice and it's become as consistent, if not more consistent (I'm gambling on more consistent actually), as most people's kick serves. Second, using a kick serve to the other corner isn't nearly as aggressive as that slice serve to the backhand. Gee... Guess you never noticed the subtleties of tennis and how small things combined can lead to massive amounts of aggression (whether it be passive or active). Granted you want to lean more towards passive aggression than active aggression, but Sampras constantly resorted to active aggression, and worked hard in practice to make it as consistent as possible. The result... Well... At least 10% of his aces are second serve aces? 20% at Wimbledon? Nadal clearly uses a more passive aggression, and Federer uses something between Sampras and Nadal (Federer's placement on the second serve is far more aggressive, and riskier, than anyone else on the tour).

xFullCourtTenniSx
10-12-2009, 06:25 AM
So if Federer, Sampras, and Laver came up to you, saying the exact same thing I did, you'd say "your personal experience doesn't mean squat! Being aggressive on second serves is against true and tried wisdom!"

You clearly don't know what it means to be aggressive. There's passive aggression and active aggression. Passive aggression is doing something easy that you know ****es off the other guy. So that's like me hitting low slices to people who hate low balls or hitting high topspin shots to midgets, or even hitting to a player's weaker side all day long (or for some people, bunting dead balls in all day long). Active aggression is taking a risk (how big depends on how aggressive you want to be based on your abilities) and doing something that clearly hurts the other person (and would work on nearly everyone). Some examples are going for corners or sidelines, hitting the ball with crazy pace and penetration, taking the ball on the rise, hitting into the open court or down the line all day long, or even drop shots.

Setting a goal to never miss and to be unattackable is simply trying to learn by looking at two different directions. You must find your medium and work with that. Setting a goal to never miss is ambitious unless you don't put that much on your serve. I think people should aim to keep their double faults under 2 a set and hit the most aggressive serve they can under those conditions using aggressive placement, then aggressive spin and/or pace. A double fault once you developed a solid second serve is a good measurement of how aggressive you are relative to your abilities. If you hit more than 3, you are probably being a little too aggressive with your serve (unless nobody can do anything against it and you're not getting your serve broken, in which case stick with it or tone it down just a little). If you hit 0-1 double faults in a set, you aren't aggressive enough with it. Place it in a more aggressive spot, then from there if it's still not aggressive enough add more spin and/or pace. I think 2-3 double faults a set is ideal (assuming your groundstrokes aren't terrible) to maximizing safe aggression. Of course, some people may prefer to hit only 1 double fault. That's fine. People have different preferences (just make sure you don't say 10 is acceptable; I don't think more 4 is acceptable for anyone, and I personally like it at around 2). I don't want people saying straight up "I won't hit any double faults!" I want them to set a limit. I want them to regulate how aggressive they should be on their serve using their double fault count as feedback. Does that mean you should be looking for double faults? No! But you want to accept them. If you double fault, you shouldn't be like, "d@mn it! I double faulted! I don't want to miss anymore!" If you think like that, you'll ease up on your serves and this will lead to more, resulting in a cycle that destroys your second serve. Then you go to your coach and ask "what did I do wrong?" He'll say you slowed down your racket because your feared the double faults instead of accepting them as a part of occasional human error. Things are what you make of them. If you don't have the right mentality when approaching second serves (to keep double faults to a minimal, accept them, and to be aggressive with how you use it) then you won't improve your second serve and turn it into a weapon.

I'm often told that people would rather return my first serve than my second serve. Now most people would rather return a second serve than a first serve, because the second serve is slower and easier to be aggressive on and put back into the court. So why do people dislike my second serve? Well they don't like the placement and spin I use. I like to put as much spin as possible on my kicker and place it very close to the corner (and on the ad court I occasionally go for short up the sideline). This aggression on my part (both active and passive) makes it harder for others to attack my second serve, and sometimes allows my second serve to attack them! Most people like to place their second serve a few feet inside the lines (even top pros do this a lot of the time), but as you get better, you'll want it closer to the lines so it's harder to attack. Then you practice it to make sure that it is within your abilities to consistently do so (and even then you're still taking a risk; the smaller your target the larger your chance to miss).

If you don't get it yet, you never will...

It's like my English professor always says, "those who stay in their box get nothing! Present a closed fist to the world, and you get nothing! Open up your hand and you will receive something." Entrepreneurs always take risks when they start a business, but the good ones take calculated risks and when they succeed, the payoffs can be MASSIVE. You think McDonald's got to where it is now without people taking risks on it? NO! You think Federer got to where he is now without taking risks? NO! He dropped out of school and gave up soccer to pursue tennis! School almost guarantees him an income and job when he grows up, and he was really good at soccer as well! You must open yourself up to risk to gain anything worthwhile. Clearly nobody gets second serve aces when they don't look to do much with it. There are always the few who will go against "conventional wisdom" and come out of it with huge returns! Monica Seles - two handed forehand, not a conventional shot; she received a HUGE return for her risk (pun not intended). John McEnroe - doesn't volley in a conventional way, but he's the best volleyer in the game's history. Sampras - went big and took risks on second serves; now known as the owner of the best serve (and second serve) in the sport's history. Sampras - traded his excellent two handed backhand for a one hander; won 7 Wimbledon's, 5 US Opens, and 2 Australian Opens in return for his insanely huge risk. Nadal - played lefty instead of righty; reached #1 in the world, consistently beats Federer, known as the king of clay, has a great two handed backhand on the run, and I think he got a pretty damn good return for his risk!

xFullCourtTenniSx
10-12-2009, 06:26 AM
P.S. 90% by itself it a great percentage for a second serve. Do the math. Even if you only get 10% first serves in, you only double fault on 9% of your service points. If you have good groundstrokes, you're going to be difficult to break even if you donate about 1 in 10 service points to your opponent. And if you have an aggressive second serve, and use it for both first and second serves, your chances to double fault are 1%! If your second serve is at a ridiculous 95% success rate (which is probably true for most pros), and your first serve percentage is 50%, then you donate 1 in 40 points to your opponent on serve. As long as it's not on break point, you're fine. So if you can hit a good serve at a 90% success rate, you have a good second serve as it is. If you can hit the same serve at a 95% success rate, it's twice as safe! That means you can be slightly more aggressive in how you use it and drop it back down to 90% and have an even better serve! 90-95% is probably the idea success rate for a second serve, not 100%. Although, in practice, you want it as close to 100% as possible, but in a match 90-95% is VERY good, even if your first serve is nonexistent. Do the math! The numbers don't lie! And decent servers have their first serve percentage at 50-60%. With those numbers, a 90% success rate second serve is a 4-5% double fault rate. That's 1 in 20-25 points. That's already 6 games worth of serving! Someone who serves at 60-70% sees 1 double fault in 25-33 points! Someone who serves 70-80% sees 1 double fault in 33-50 points! I can keep easily my first service percentage above 50%, and sometimes get it up to around 70-80%! So even with a 90% success rate second serve, I see very few double faults. At 95%, you pretty much almost never see one. But if I'm doing so well on serve, why not drop my success percentages a bit to greatly increase my point winning percentage? Sampras probably serves around 85% second serves in, but he has his first serve percentage around 70%. The result is that he sees 1 double fault in 20-25 points on serve. With his serve, that's one double fault a set with like 5+ aces! Oh, that and he easily holds serve! The percentages are clearly in his favor! Sampras can easily serve 100% first serves in, but he takes a 15% risk and his serve becomes many times harder to return! His second serve is essentially a slightly more consistent first serve created by taking off 10-20 mph. It's the same concept with first serves. The more we go for, the less we'll make in. But we need to put something on it otherwise we'll get attacked or are wasting the serve itself! Nadal has reduced his first serve percentage in recent years to improve the pace he gets on it. Has it made him a better server? Absolutely! He hasn't even lost that much in terms of percentages! He used to be up in the high 80s. Now he's in the high 60s to high 70s! And he's gained like what? 20 mph total? That's a REALLY good trade off. Could he use his first serve as a second serve and still win? Maybe if he popped it back consistently into the 70s, then YES! If your first serve is ALWAYS well into the 70s or even higher, you can use that as a second serve. Consider the percentages: 2 serves with a 70% success rate means a 9% failure rate. 1 double fault in 10 points. But if you win 70% of first serve points (like most people do), then you win 7 of those 10 points. If you win 50% of your second serve points (and you'd be REALLY lucky or REALLY good to), and serve 70% first serves, and win 70% first serve points, you still come out to 7 out of 10 points won on serve. You really haven't lost anything on serve! Can Nadal get away with doing this on the tour? Depends on who he plays. But he actually could. However, there is a flaw with using two high percentage, yet aggressive, first serves. Serving percentages vary from match to match. Second serves are where you try to minimize the fluctuations in percentages. But if you can consistently hit a first serve in the 70s, then you can use it as a second serve as well if your winning percentage is high enough (or your second serve winning percentage was low enough) to pull out a total point winning percentage greater than if you used a second serve. If you pull out the same winning percentage, it's probably just better to use the second serve to minimize free points given away. But the idea of returning 2 first serves can be mentally taxing for the opponent. In that case, you want to use this passive aggression and mess with them. Am I advocating that you use your first serves as second serves? Not unless your first serves are that consistent day in and day out (which very few people other than Sampras are). I've seen people do it with success before, and it's a scary thing to go up against. So you might be thinking, if I can get my first serve percentage in the 70-80% range like I claim, then why don't I use my first serves as second serves? Well, like I explained before, people hate my second serves more than my first serves, and I think my second serve winning percentage is actually higher than my first serve winning percentage against many players anyways. :) Plus, passive aggression! Which is why I actually can go the reverse way and throw kickers as first serves all day long to get me out of break points and get away with it. Basically, the numbers support my personal experiences and personal preferences. Got any evidence to back up your side of the argument? I seem to back up my side of the argument pretty d@mn well. Numbers support it, pros support it, other players' experiences support it. And you've got what? You're "conventional wisdom"? Yeah... Have fun living in your box!

Djokovicfan4life
10-12-2009, 06:37 AM
Holy text blocks Batman! I got your point after the first couple sentences.

xFullCourtTenniSx
10-12-2009, 06:42 AM
I don't know what level xfullcourttennisx has played at, but once you get to higher levels a slice second serve, unless you are phenomenally consistent with it, becomes a liability. Unless your hitting the lines and corners a slice serve is going to be straight into the returners hitting zone, and I certainly don't recommend aiming close to the lines on a second serve.

There's a reason almost all pro's always hit a kick or topspin second serve. Its because its high percentage and the above shoulder ball is difficult to take a full blooded swing at even when it bounces a foot inside the lines.

I've played some pretty good players in my years and a heavy, high bouncing second serve is an absolute must if your going to hold serve against good players.

I don't know what level you've played at, but you've never played a lefty have you? :-?

There's also a reason that all good servers can get away with hitting a good slice second serve to the forehand too. Cause it's not expected, and they're leaning to the other side. Also, it keeps them honest and prevents them from leaning to the other side, opening up that side again.

Gee... I wonder what all pros started with... Must've been the kicker! They totally didn't start with a slice serve when they first learned the game. The idea is insane! If they started off with a slice serve, they couldn't possibly own a kick serve. Go figure, your logic and understanding of the thread is airtight! Gee... Gosh darn I wish the title of the thread wasn't "what kind of serve should i be working on first?" Then I might've won this argument...

*rolls eyes*

I'm sure this guy is going to jump from a 3.5 to 5.0 in no time! So we can skip steps and just skip the slice serve. It's not like anybody can get an ace or force errors off that measly thing anyways.

Oh... Just wondering by the way... Have you ever heard of a "change up"? Or perhaps the concept of "NOT being one dimensional"? "Variation on the serve"? Perhaps "a complete game"? No... Damn! Don't know what level you play at... But gee they must be boring...

Oh and unless you're hitting lines and corners my slice will be right in their strike zone eh? Well... Gee... Guess the fact I'm hitting lines and corners with my kick serve means I'm either doing something wrong, or am phenomenally consistent with it... Gee... Not hitting lines or corners... Guess we should throw out the idea of placing our serves now shouldn't we? Second serves shouldn't be placed anywhere near lines or corners or we might miss! Oh no! Let's throw it right in the middle of the box! Yes that'll save us!

I've never seen so much short-sightedness in such a short amount of time... You go enjoy your box too!

nfor304
10-12-2009, 04:36 PM
I don't know what level you've played at, but you've never played a lefty have you? :-?

There's also a reason that all good servers can get away with hitting a good slice second serve to the forehand too. Cause it's not expected, and they're leaning to the other side. Also, it keeps them honest and prevents them from leaning to the other side, opening up that side again.

Gee... I wonder what all pros started with... Must've been the kicker! They totally didn't start with a slice serve when they first learned the game. The idea is insane! If they started off with a slice serve, they couldn't possibly own a kick serve. Go figure, your logic and understanding of the thread is airtight! Gee... Gosh darn I wish the title of the thread wasn't "what kind of serve should i be working on first?" Then I might've won this argument...

*rolls eyes*

I'm sure this guy is going to jump from a 3.5 to 5.0 in no time! So we can skip steps and just skip the slice serve. It's not like anybody can get an ace or force errors off that measly thing anyways.

Oh... Just wondering by the way... Have you ever heard of a "change up"? Or perhaps the concept of "NOT being one dimensional"? "Variation on the serve"? Perhaps "a complete game"? No... Damn! Don't know what level you play at... But gee they must be boring...

Oh and unless you're hitting lines and corners my slice will be right in their strike zone eh? Well... Gee... Guess the fact I'm hitting lines and corners with my kick serve means I'm either doing something wrong, or am phenomenally consistent with it... Gee... Not hitting lines or corners... Guess we should throw out the idea of placing our serves now shouldn't we? Second serves shouldn't be placed anywhere near lines or corners or we might miss! Oh no! Let's throw it right in the middle of the box! Yes that'll save us!

I've never seen so much short-sightedness in such a short amount of time... You go enjoy your box too!

Again I have no idea what level you have played at, but i'm willing to bet i've played at a higher level and against better players than you have if your out there hitting slice second serves.

You clearly have a strong opinion on this that is very different from mine and thats fine, whatever, but no need to get this riled up.

This topic is far from conclusive.

I never said a second serve should be in the middle of the box, I said it shouldn't be too close to the lines, which it shouldn't.

If you think hitting 4-5 double faults is fine in a set than good for you. You just keep doing what your doing.

gameboy
10-12-2009, 04:41 PM
Hell, I would be pretty happy to serve only 4 or 5 double faults!!!

I could get that in a couple of games. :)

doom
10-12-2009, 04:45 PM
Haha. So Sampras has one of the worst second serves in the history of top pros then, yes? God I guess everybody in the world is totally wrong about him having the best second serve in the history of the sport as well as being one of the 3 candidates of tennis' GOAT. Guess we should toss him out. Oh, Federer double faults and uses his second serve aggressively too... Let's throw him out too. Oh my! So does Laver! Guess he's not worthy anymore. Oh crap! So does a majority of the pro tour! Guess nobody's a good player except for those who dink their serves in and never double fault. Gee... Guess I should've emulated that pusher's serve that I saw the other day...

You don't realize what those with the best second serves do with their second serves.

Sampras had more double faults than your average top 100 touring pro. Now why is that? Because he's aggressive with his second serve! He has surpassed the fear of double faults entirely! He even has this mentality on break points! This is why he hits more second serves than anyone else in the history of the sport! And that is why he is known to have the best second serve of all time.

I can serve with plenty of double faults in a set (4-5 on a bad day) and still not get broken. How? Because all the other second serves I get in are either unreturned or give me a short ball to kill (usually the former). To have a great second serve, you transcend the fear of double faulting and commit to a plan. I throw them onto sidelines, throw extra pace, or extra kick onto them. I even go for the occasional second serve ace.


Great essay. 10/10

Thats great that your second serve is so good that you get unreturnables and easy set ups.

Its also amazing that you manage to hit 4-5 doubles in a set and not get broken. Thats amazing talent right there. I cant think of a single pro who hits 10 doubles in a match and still manages to hold every game.
I gaurantee once you start playing better players and better returners that aggressive slice of yours isn't going to be so effective. If you get to a higher level and your still hitting a second serve slices and hitting 5 doubles in a set you will get broken and you will lose.

Yes unless your Sampras with the best serve of all time or your a serve volleyer like Sampras or Laver than you should not be aggressive on your serve.

Name me 1 player in the top 10 who slices their second serve.

As for Federer, you know how many double faults were hit in the 2008 Wimbledon final? Just 1. Between BOTH Fed and Nadal.

doom
10-12-2009, 06:02 PM
I can serve with plenty of double faults in a set (4-5 on a bad day) and still not get broken. How? Because all the other second serves I get in are either unreturned or give me a short ball to kill (usually the former). To have a great second serve, you transcend the fear of double faulting and commit to a plan. I throw them onto sidelines, throw extra pace, or extra kick onto them. I even go for the occasional second serve ace.

And if people had serves that always went in, they should be #1 in the world by your logic yes? WRONG! We want to control the amount of double faults we hit, but if you hit 0 double faults, you're got one sh*tty second serve! Anyone who doesn't hit double faults will be attacked! I would much rather risk a few double faults to put my similar level opponents on defense and keep higher level opponents from attacking me.

Look, if you believe your serve is so good that you mostly get unreturnables from your second serve than thats great. You have accomplished something that 99% of pros cannot accomplish.

If you can control the amount of doubles why would you want to hit any at all?

I think your either full of it or your playing players who aren't very good. There is no way your playing decent players who cant return a second serve, even if it is this beast of a second serve that you claim to have.



One must always look for the best combinations of pace, spin, and placement that they can create to be aggressive. People can easily place the ball to all 3 important serving positions and never double fault. But maybe they'll do it without pace, or without spin even! Spin adds safety and allows us to add more pace on the ball. These two things allow us to be more aggressive with the serve. As you get better, you notice that you're more aggressive with your serve than before. This is why we swing faster on second serves than first serves! We must not back down because of fear of hitting a double fault!

When did I say that you shouldn't use pace spin and placement? I said that you want to be more conservative with a second serve, not aim as close to the lines, be able to hit spots in the box to mix it up, keep it high and out of the strike zone.

As YOU get better you will realise trying to use your second serve like your first is a disaster waiting to happen.

Yes Laver could do it, Sampras could do it, Ivanisevic could do it.

Mark Philippoussis couldn't do it. He would frequently lose matches because he hit a dozen doubles because he was being too aggressive on his second serve.

Are you better than Philippoussis?

Roddick and Isner have 2 of the best serves in the world, but their second serves are two of the heaviest kickers of anyone on tour. They aren't trying to hit aces and trying to hit slices on their second serves.

You do realize that when you start hitting topspin serves and kick serves, that those are low percentage serves too right? I think that flat dink serve of yours has a far higher percentage than those kickers. So why aren't you hitting those dinkers? CAUSE THEY LACK AGGRESSION! Why do we choose to hit kickers instead of topspin serves? Topspin serves are simpler and offer the same, if not better, percentages. It's because a twist serve is more aggressive! It's movement ATTACKS the opponent. Why do you think that people can't attack good second serves? BECAUSE THEY'RE BEING ATTACKED BY THE SECOND SERVE! This is why we use spin instead of dinking serves!

A slice serve is a serve that MUST be developed because of how useful it is as both a first and second serve. It opens up the court far better than a kick serve and is still a higher percentage serve! It is a crucial serve to learn! A slice serve and a flat serve are far more dangerous than a kick serve and a flat serve! Also, the motion is simpler, which is better for developing players. And the fundamentals of that translate well into a kick serve, not the other way around.

If God gives you lemons, you make lemonade! If God gives you a slice serve, you make it the best darned slice serve you can make of it through hard work and lots of practice! You don't go b*tching to God saying, "but a kicker is a higher percentage serve!" There are ladders of progressions that one must work through before they can go into advanced technique and concepts. Clearly, you don't learn to hit a 100 mph forehand before learning to get the ball in. And you don't learn spin before you can get consistent contact with the ball. If you skip steps, you hurt your overall development as a player.

And you're wrapping up with the idea that personal experience doesn't mean anything compared to true and tried wisdom? Well... I just provided a LOT of evidence, from my personal experience as well as those of others, disproving your "true and tried wisdom".

Why do you think lefties hit slice serves out wide instead of kickers to the other corner for second serves even though "a slice is lower percentage"? For one, they've worked hard on that slice and it's become as consistent, if not more consistent (I'm gambling on more consistent actually), as most people's kick serves. Second, using a kick serve to the other corner isn't nearly as aggressive as that slice serve to the backhand. Gee... Guess you never noticed the subtleties of tennis and how small things combined can lead to massive amounts of aggression (whether it be passive or active). Granted you want to lean more towards passive aggression than active aggression, but Sampras constantly resorted to active aggression, and worked hard in practice to make it as consistent as possible. The result... Well... At least 10% of his aces are second serve aces? 20% at Wimbledon? Nadal clearly uses a more passive aggression, and Federer uses something between Sampras and Nadal (Federer's placement on the second serve is far more aggressive, and riskier, than anyone else on the tour).

nobody is talking about 'dinkers'.

When did I say that if you can only hit a slice serve you should just not hit it?

If it works for you then go ahead and hit it whenever you want. This is about DEVELOPING a serve, not developing serves you already possess.

If you think that a slice is higher percentage than a kick serve or a topspin serve than again good for you. You believe whatever you want.

I prefer to believe common sense and the fact that every decent level player I have ever seen uses a topspin or kick second serve rather than a slice over what some 4.5 is telling me.

If your going to pull out hard number they have to actually come from somewhere irrefutable rather than from your *****.

And Sampras is the greatest server of all time. Players who can serve like him are once in a generation. Why dont you tell me your imaginary stats on the rest of the top 100% whats the percentage of aces from second serves of Davydenko for example? Maybe he should take your advise and start trying to hit aces on his second serve?

Please.

doom
10-12-2009, 06:04 PM
^^ top 100 not 100% in last paragraph.

doom
10-12-2009, 06:19 PM
You clearly don't know what it means to be aggressive. There's passive aggression and active aggression. Passive aggression is doing something easy that you know ****es off the other guy. So that's like me hitting low slices to people who hate low balls or hitting high topspin shots to midgets, or even hitting to a player's weaker side all day long (or for some people, bunting dead balls in all day long). Active aggression is taking a risk (how big depends on how aggressive you want to be based on your abilities) and doing something that clearly hurts the other person (and would work on nearly everyone). Some examples are going for corners or sidelines, hitting the ball with crazy pace and penetration, taking the ball on the rise, hitting into the open court or down the line all day long, or even drop shots.

I know exactly what it is to be aggressive. A high ball to the backhand on the second serve is just as effective as a low skidding slice on the line to the backhand. The kicker is just higher percentage because it doesn't need to be close to the line to be effective.

Setting a goal to never miss and to be unattackable is simply trying to learn by looking at two different directions. You must find your medium and work with that. Setting a goal to never miss is ambitious unless you don't put that much on your serve. I think people should aim to keep their double faults under 2 a set and hit the most aggressive serve they can under those conditions using aggressive placement, then aggressive spin and/or pace. A double fault once you developed a solid second serve is a good measurement of how aggressive you are relative to your abilities. If you hit more than 3, you are probably being a little too aggressive with your serve (unless nobody can do anything against it and you're not getting your serve broken, in which case stick with it or tone it down just a little). If you hit 0-1 double faults in a set, you aren't aggressive enough with it. Place it in a more aggressive spot, then from there if it's still not aggressive enough add more spin and/or pace. I think 2-3 double faults a set is ideal (assuming your groundstrokes aren't terrible) to maximizing safe aggression. Of course, some people may prefer to hit only 1 double fault. That's fine. People have different preferences (just make sure you don't say 10 is acceptable; I don't think more 4 is acceptable for anyone, and I personally like it at around 2). I don't want people saying straight up "I won't hit any double faults!" I want them to set a limit. I want them to regulate how aggressive they should be on their serve using their double fault count as feedback. Does that mean you should be looking for double faults? No! But you want to accept them. If you double fault, you shouldn't be like, "d@mn it! I double faulted! I don't want to miss anymore!" If you think like that, you'll ease up on your serves and this will lead to more, resulting in a cycle that destroys your second serve. Then you go to your coach and ask "what did I do wrong?" He'll say you slowed down your racket because your feared the double faults instead of accepting them as a part of occasional human error. Things are what you make of them. If you don't have the right mentality when approaching second serves (to keep double faults to a minimal, accept them, and to be aggressive with how you use it) then you won't improve your second serve and turn it into a weapon.

Your just making assumptions on how players will react based on your own experiences here. Thats exactly why its silly to try and prove things with your own personal experiences. Your experience will not always be the same as everyone else.

I'm often told that people would rather return my first serve than my second serve. Now most people would rather return a second serve than a first serve, because the second serve is slower and easier to be aggressive on and put back into the court. So why do people dislike my second serve? Well they don't like the placement and spin I use. I like to put as much spin as possible on my kicker and place it very close to the corner (and on the ad court I occasionally go for short up the sideline). This aggression on my part (both active and passive) makes it harder for others to attack my second serve, and sometimes allows my second serve to attack them! Most people like to place their second serve a few feet inside the lines (even top pros do this a lot of the time), but as you get better, you'll want it closer to the lines so it's harder to attack. Then you practice it to make sure that it is within your abilities to consistently do so (and even then you're still taking a risk; the smaller your target the larger your chance to miss).

If you don't get it yet, you never will...

Again thats great for you. I'm glad your real name is Ivo Sampras Roddick.

It seems your whole argument is based on the fact that your second serve is aparently unbelievable and you can put it anywhere at anytime with any spin and any pace.

Not everyone is like that. In fact most pros are unable to do that consistently, so they dont. Ever watch Safin play? 95% of his second serves are high kickers to the backhand side.

But I guess he's just a crap player.

If I went and said to a 2.5, hey dont worry about trying to develop a high percentage topspin second serve, just try and hit the lines and hit any kind of spin you want people would tell me i'm the worst coach in the world.

I guess I would just have to say 'but it works for that xtennis guy'.


It's like my English professor always says, "those who stay in their box get nothing! Present a closed fist to the world, and you get nothing! Open up your hand and you will receive something." Entrepreneurs always take risks when they start a business, but the good ones take calculated risks and when they succeed, the payoffs can be MASSIVE. You think McDonald's got to where it is now without people taking risks on it? NO! You think Federer got to where he is now without taking risks? NO! He dropped out of school and gave up soccer to pursue tennis! School almost guarantees him an income and job when he grows up, and he was really good at soccer as well! You must open yourself up to risk to gain anything worthwhile. Clearly nobody gets second serve aces when they don't look to do much with it. There are always the few who will go against "conventional wisdom" and come out of it with huge returns! Monica Seles - two handed forehand, not a conventional shot; she received a HUGE return for her risk (pun not intended). John McEnroe - doesn't volley in a conventional way, but he's the best volleyer in the game's history. Sampras - went big and took risks on second serves; now known as the owner of the best serve (and second serve) in the sport's history. Sampras - traded his excellent two handed backhand for a one hander; won 7 Wimbledon's, 5 US Opens, and 2 Australian Opens in return for his insanely huge risk. Nadal - played lefty instead of righty; reached #1 in the world, consistently beats Federer, known as the king of clay, has a great two handed backhand on the run, and I think he got a pretty damn good return for his risk!

Your English teacher is a wise man. You should realise there are players out there very different to you and what works for you will not work work for everyone.

Those players you mentioned, yeah its great for them. Maybe if you start coaching a kid you can teach them McEnroes volley technique, Seles' two handed strokes and make them play lefty when they are righties. I prefer to rely on technique that works for everyone rather than what works for the once in a generation talents.

Again I would prefer to listen to the multitude of high level coaches who have helped me on my second serve than some 4.5 non tennis coach guy from the internet telling me to shun conventional teachings.

doom
10-12-2009, 06:34 PM
P.S. 90% by itself it a great percentage for a second serve. Do the math. Even if you only get 10% first serves in, you only double fault on 9% of your service points. If you have good groundstrokes, you're going to be difficult to break even if you donate about 1 in 10 service points to your opponent. And if you have an aggressive second serve, and use it for both first and second serves, your chances to double fault are 1%! If your second serve is at a ridiculous 95% success rate (which is probably true for most pros), and your first serve percentage is 50%, then you donate 1 in 40 points to your opponent on serve. As long as it's not on break point, you're fine. So if you can hit a good serve at a 90% success rate, you have a good second serve as it is. If you can hit the same serve at a 95% success rate, it's twice as safe! That means you can be slightly more aggressive in how you use it and drop it back down to 90% and have an even better serve! 90-95% is probably the idea success rate for a second serve, not 100%. Although, in practice, you want it as close to 100% as possible, but in a match 90-95% is VERY good, even if your first serve is nonexistent. Do the math! The numbers don't lie! And decent servers have their first serve percentage at 50-60%. With those numbers, a 90% success rate second serve is a 4-5% double fault rate. That's 1 in 20-25 points. That's already 6 games worth of serving! Someone who serves at 60-70% sees 1 double fault in 25-33 points! Someone who serves 70-80% sees 1 double fault in 33-50 points! I can keep easily my first service percentage above 50%, and sometimes get it up to around 70-80%! So even with a 90% success rate second serve, I see very few double faults. At 95%, you pretty much almost never see one. But if I'm doing so well on serve, why not drop my success percentages a bit to greatly increase my point winning percentage? Sampras probably serves around 85% second serves in, but he has his first serve percentage around 70%. The result is that he sees 1 double fault in 20-25 points on serve. With his serve, that's one double fault a set with like 5+ aces! Oh, that and he easily holds serve! The percentages are clearly in his favor! Sampras can easily serve 100% first serves in, but he takes a 15% risk and his serve becomes many times harder to return! His second serve is essentially a slightly more consistent first serve created by taking off 10-20 mph. It's the same concept with first serves. The more we go for, the less we'll make in. But we need to put something on it otherwise we'll get attacked or are wasting the serve itself! Nadal has reduced his first serve percentage in recent years to improve the pace he gets on it. Has it made him a better server? Absolutely! He hasn't even lost that much in terms of percentages! He used to be up in the high 80s. Now he's in the high 60s to high 70s! And he's gained like what? 20 mph total? That's a REALLY good trade off. Could he use his first serve as a second serve and still win? Maybe if he popped it back consistently into the 70s, then YES! If your first serve is ALWAYS well into the 70s or even higher, you can use that as a second serve. Consider the percentages: 2 serves with a 70% success rate means a 9% failure rate. 1 double fault in 10 points. But if you win 70% of first serve points (like most people do), then you win 7 of those 10 points. If you win 50% of your second serve points (and you'd be REALLY lucky or REALLY good to), and serve 70% first serves, and win 70% first serve points, you still come out to 7 out of 10 points won on serve. You really haven't lost anything on serve! Can Nadal get away with doing this on the tour? Depends on who he plays. But he actually could. However, there is a flaw with using two high percentage, yet aggressive, first serves. Serving percentages vary from match to match. Second serves are where you try to minimize the fluctuations in percentages. But if you can consistently hit a first serve in the 70s, then you can use it as a second serve as well if your winning percentage is high enough (or your second serve winning percentage was low enough) to pull out a total point winning percentage greater than if you used a second serve. If you pull out the same winning percentage, it's probably just better to use the second serve to minimize free points given away. But the idea of returning 2 first serves can be mentally taxing for the opponent. In that case, you want to use this passive aggression and mess with them. Am I advocating that you use your first serves as second serves? Not unless your first serves are that consistent day in and day out (which very few people other than Sampras are). I've seen people do it with success before, and it's a scary thing to go up against. So you might be thinking, if I can get my first serve percentage in the 70-80% range like I claim, then why don't I use my first serves as second serves? Well, like I explained before, people hate my second serves more than my first serves, and I think my second serve winning percentage is actually higher than my first serve winning percentage against many players anyways. :) Plus, passive aggression! Which is why I actually can go the reverse way and throw kickers as first serves all day long to get me out of break points and get away with it. Basically, the numbers support my personal experiences and personal preferences. Got any evidence to back up your side of the argument? I seem to back up my side of the argument pretty d@mn well. Numbers support it, pros support it, other players' experiences support it. And you've got what? You're "conventional wisdom"? Yeah... Have fun living in your box!

Again, numbers that you pull out of your ***** mean NOTHING. I can make up a bunch of random figures too to support my argument but i'm not that stupid to think anyone would actually believe me.

Your whole position on this is based on your own personal experiences and these 'numbers' you have presented here.

Mine is based on logic. Every pro player hits a topspin or second serve. Every one. The only exceptions are the pure serve and volleyers, and even then players like Edberg and Rafter hit 90% of their second serves as kickers.

People out there, you can either listen to me and develop a very consistent topspin or kick second serve that you can place wide, body or middle, or you can listen to this guy and try and use your second serve just like your first, and try to hit aces and unreturnables like xtennis claims he is able to.

I think I would rather try and do what the pros do since I dont seem to have the god given Sampras-esque talent that xtennis apparently has.

In the end this is all just opinion and there is no concrete evidence either way to which is better.

I apologize for taking up so much space on the board, but I feel I needed to defend my position against xtennis' rantings and ravings.

Sorry if I have offended you xTennis, but if your going to flat out tell me I'm wrong on something as contentious as this than I am not going to let you. I am also not going to let you call me an 'idiot' for giving information that is being taught all over the world instead of pusing something that is pure opinion.

BTW Just a little about my background. I am a full time tennis coach. I have played high level tennis for many years (itf top 100 as a junior many years ago), though I would probably rate myself as about 4.5 now as I'm out of shape and getting on in years, and have received personal coaching from the following people on my own second serve: Mark Woodforde, Tony Roche, John Newcombe, Allan Stone, Pat Cash, Kim Warwick. All guys who I believe know more than xtennis.

Have fun in your fantasy land xtennis.

Hopefully that monster serve of yours will carry you to the top and you can show everyone how to hit a REAL second serve.

doom
10-12-2009, 06:35 PM
Great essay. 10/10

Thats great that your second serve is so good that you get unreturnables and easy set ups.

Its also amazing that you manage to hit 4-5 doubles in a set and not get broken. Thats amazing talent right there. I cant think of a single pro who hits 10 doubles in a match and still manages to hold every game.
I gaurantee once you start playing better players and better returners that aggressive slice of yours isn't going to be so effective. If you get to a higher level and your still hitting a second serve slices and hitting 5 doubles in a set you will get broken and you will lose.

Yes unless your Sampras with the best serve of all time or your a serve volleyer like Sampras or Laver than you should not be aggressive on your serve.
Name me 1 player in the top 10 who slices their second serve.

As for Federer, you know how many double faults were hit in the 2008 Wimbledon final? Just 1. Between BOTH Fed and Nadal.

Should be second serve.

darthpwner
10-12-2009, 06:43 PM
Maria Sharapova must have one of the best serves at the moment. 21 double faults means she's got a great 2nd serve eh:)

darthpwner
10-12-2009, 06:44 PM
doom and xfullcourttennis stop being !Tym wannabes

doom
10-12-2009, 08:06 PM
Maria Sharapova must have one of the best serves at the moment. 21 double faults means she's got a great 2nd serve eh:)

Apparently. Don't forget Dementieva and Jankovic. They must be super aggressive servers to get that many doubles.

doom
10-12-2009, 08:08 PM
^^^Reported

Calm down. Your acting like this is a topic of absolutes. You need to accept other people have different opinions without flying off and abusing people.

I cant believe your in college, you act like your 15

doom
10-12-2009, 08:13 PM
^95% kick serves

xFullCourtTenniSx
10-12-2009, 08:17 PM
Great essay. 10/10

Thats great that your second serve is so good that you get unreturnables and easy set ups.

Its also amazing that you manage to hit 4-5 doubles in a set and not get broken. Thats amazing talent right there. I cant think of a single pro who hits 10 doubles in a match and still manages to hold every game.
I gaurantee once you start playing better players and better returners that aggressive slice of yours isn't going to be so effective. If you get to a higher level and your still hitting a second serve slices and hitting 5 doubles in a set you will get broken and you will lose.

Yes unless your Sampras with the best serve of all time or your a serve volleyer like Sampras or Laver than you should not be aggressive on your serve.

Name me 1 player in the top 10 who slices their second serve.

As for Federer, you know how many double faults were hit in the 2008 Wimbledon final? Just 1. Between BOTH Fed and Nadal.

Do you know how many double faults he hit against Del Potro? Way too many for me to count!

In the 2007 US Open finals, he was knocking 2-3 a set!

Federer may keep his double faults insanely low for a majority of his matches, but when you play as close to the lines as he does, you're bound to pile them up eventually.

And I never said I served 4-5 doubles. I serve2-3. 4-5 and I'm scoring second serve aces and come out with 7 or 8 total aces. And if you do serve that many, you better be hitting a really strong second serve and have a very high second serve winning percentage because otherwise you shouldn't even be trying to pull this off.

And don't you read? I have a kick serve. And people can easily improve their slice serve to the level where they won't be attacked. All you need to do is put more topspin on it like Nadal or vary the height, speed, and spin.

And I've already played college players and top ranked juniors in Southern California. I can imagine some of them would've attacked a slice serve if I used it constantly as opposed to using my kicker constantly. But the idea is to have BOTH. If you have both, your serve is FAR more effective. I don't care how well you can place your d@mn serve. If you can't vary the spin well, then you've already let your opponent know 50% of what they need to know on every return they hit.

Federer, Nadal, Henin, Davenport, Sharapova (before the shoulder injury). Just off the top of the head. Damn... Nadal slices EVERY second serve too... Gee... Wonder why people aren't attacking it...

BullDogTennis
10-12-2009, 08:20 PM
Do you know how many double faults he hit against Del Potro? Way too many for me to count!

In the 2007 US Open finals, he was knocking 2-3 a set!

Federer may keep his double faults insanely low for a majority of his matches, but when you play as close to the lines as he does, you're bound to pile them up eventually.

And I never said I served 4-5 doubles. I serve2-3. 4-5 and I'm scoring second serve aces and come out with 7 or 8 total aces. And if you do serve that many, you better be hitting a really strong second serve and have a very high second serve winning percentage because otherwise you shouldn't even be trying to pull this off.

And don't you read? I have a kick serve. And people can easily improve their slice serve to the level where they won't be attacked. All you need to do is put more topspin on it like Nadal or vary the height, speed, and spin.

And I've already played college players and top ranked juniors in Southern California. I can imagine some of them would've attacked a slice serve if I used it constantly as opposed to using my kicker constantly. But the idea is to have BOTH. If you have both, your serve is FAR more effective. I don't care how well you can place your d@mn serve. If you can't vary the spin well, then you've already let your opponent know 50% of what they need to know on every return they hit.

Federer, Nadal, Henin, Davenport, Sharapova (before the shoulder injury). Just off the top of the head. Damn... Nadal slices EVERY second serve too... Gee... Wonder why people aren't attacking it...

bc he is a TOP NOTCH proffesional hitting his 100% better than you or me or anyone else here can DREAM of hitting it...i want to see videos of your amazing serve, if its been posted please send me a link to where it is....

doom
10-12-2009, 08:24 PM
Do you know how many double faults he hit against Del Potro? Way too many for me to count!

In the 2007 US Open finals, he was knocking 2-3 a set!

Federer may keep his double faults insanely low for a majority of his matches, but when you play as close to the lines as he does, you're bound to pile them up eventually.

And I never said I served 4-5 doubles. I serve2-3. 4-5 and I'm scoring second serve aces and come out with 7 or 8 total aces. And if you do serve that many, you better be hitting a really strong second serve and have a very high second serve winning percentage because otherwise you shouldn't even be trying to pull this off.

And don't you read? I have a kick serve. And people can easily improve their slice serve to the level where they won't be attacked. All you need to do is put more topspin on it like Nadal or vary the height, speed, and spin.

And I've already played college players and top ranked juniors in Southern California. I can imagine some of them would've attacked a slice serve if I used it constantly as opposed to using my kicker constantly. But the idea is to have BOTH. If you have both, your serve is FAR more effective. I don't care how well you can place your d@mn serve. If you can't vary the spin well, then you've already let your opponent know 50% of what they need to know on every return they hit.

Federer, Nadal, Henin, Davenport, Sharapova (before the shoulder injury). Just off the top of the head. Damn... Nadal slices EVERY second serve too... Gee... Wonder why people aren't attacking it...

Federer and Nadal do not 'slice' their second serves.

This thread was about a begginer trying to develop his serve, and your saying that on a second serve you should be hitting the lines, mixing up spins with slice, topspin, flat etc and now your saying you shouldn't even try it unless you have a high second serve winning percentage?

Thats a head scratcher.

Now your saying you have a kick second serve. What happened to all that garbage about mixing it up with spins, placement, pace, hitting the lines? If your hitting a kick serve 95% of the time your not even taking your own advise.

doom
10-12-2009, 08:28 PM
From the USopen website:

"For the match, Federer converted just 50 percent of his first serves and had an unbelievable 11 double faults to just 13 aces."

So 11 double faults for the match makes that 2.2 per set, and thats a terrible service day for Federer. Thats half of the 4-5 you claim you can get away with on your serve against similar levels.

doom
10-12-2009, 08:30 PM
And I've already played college players and top ranked juniors in Southern California. I can imagine some of them would've attacked a slice serve if I used it constantly as opposed to using my kicker constantly. But the idea is to have BOTH. If you have both, your serve is FAR more effective. I don't care how well you can place your d@mn serve. If you can't vary the spin well, then you've already let your opponent know 50% of what they need to know on every return they hit.

Thats exactly my point. A slice second serve is less effective than a kick second serve.

Thats why you use it 95% of the time even though you claim you mix it up 'like Sampras'.

Thats why pro's use a kicker as the second serve.

You know it, I know it, the whole world knows it.

xFullCourtTenniSx
10-12-2009, 08:57 PM
Your just making assumptions on how players will react based on your own experiences here. Thats exactly why its silly to try and prove things with your own personal experiences. Your experience will not always be the same as everyone else.

It seems your whole argument is based on the fact that your second serve is aparently unbelievable and you can put it anywhere at anytime with any spin and any pace.

Not everyone is like that. In fact most pros are unable to do that consistently, so they dont. Ever watch Safin play? 95% of his second serves are high kickers to the backhand side.

But I guess he's just a crap player.

If I went and said to a 2.5, hey dont worry about trying to develop a high percentage topspin second serve, just try and hit the lines and hit any kind of spin you want people would tell me i'm the worst coach in the world.

Your English teacher is a wise man. You should realise there are players out there very different to you and what works for you will not work work for everyone.

Those players you mentioned, yeah its great for them. Maybe if you start coaching a kid you can teach them McEnroes volley technique, Seles' two handed strokes and make them play lefty when they are righties. I prefer to rely on technique that works for everyone rather than what works for the once in a generation talents.

Again I would prefer to listen to the multitude of high level coaches who have helped me on my second serve than some 4.5 non tennis coach guy from the internet telling me to shun conventional teachings.

If I could hit any spin I wanted perfectly, I'd be hitting 3+ second serve aces because of how far I can get people to lean to their backhand side on the second serve. A kick into the forehand corner doesn't do much to scare people off of doing it.

And if you can develop a kicker as good as Safin's, with a first serve that powerful, and have those insane groundies, then you can play 95% of your kickers to the backhand. College players will pick up on that and rip forehands on your kickers.

And if you go to the 2.5, you teach them HOW to serve before you teach them what to do with it. Once they can hit a solid one, then you have them work on being more aggressive with it. You really don't understand how people should progress do you? First you develop the stroke, then you figure out what to do with it. And as you improve, you should look to do more with the shot. At the 2.5 level, they shouldn't aim for the lines on anything because the benefit isn't that much higher. They can't get balls in anyways. But at a 6.0 level, you need to start hitting on or close to lines. Otherwise people have an easy time getting everything back (or worse, punishing you for them).

When I teach people to play, I teach them how to do things conventionally. Whether or not they want to stick to that is their personal choice. I have no right to force anything on them. But if they do go away from the ordinary, I want them practicing that as much as possible. Some people can pull insane things off if you let them do what they want and have them practice it. If people wanted to be big servers on second serves, they can do it. It's just requires TONS of practice. Sampras spent hours everyday on his serve perfecting his placement and spins on first AND second serves.

And conventional teachings say learn the slice before you learn to kick. You learn to walk before you learn to run. Ever heard of that one?

xFullCourtTenniSx
10-12-2009, 09:01 PM
Every pro player hits a topspin or second serve.

And just because everyone has a topspin serve at that level, you're saying this guy should start off learning a topspin serve... READ THE NAME OF THE THREAD!

Yeah... I'm sure all those pros started off with kick serves. No way in hell they ever learned to slice before they hit a kick serve...

Nellie
10-12-2009, 09:16 PM
A beginning player should develop a topspin slice serve:

http://tennis.about.com/od/serve/ss/servetsslicesbs.htm

Note that the toss is over the hitting shoulder (note especially the contact point in Frame 6).

With topspin slice, you can got to a flatter serve with the same swing path and can got wide/down the middle.

With a topspin/kick - you need to develop a different swing path, could hurt your arm, and will have trouble going wide on deuce court/ down the middle on the ad court (for righties).

doom
10-12-2009, 09:20 PM
READ THE NAME OF THE THREAD!


I need to read the name of the thread?

Lets look back at how this little disagreement started shall we....

First you disagreed with what I said here:


A first serve should set you up to win a point, whereas a second serve puts you in a neutral position

By saying this:

No. Your first serve should either be hit to win the point with a service winner, ace, or easy putaway at net (if your serve is big enough) or to set up a point (if you have great groundstrokes). The second serve should be hit with aggression to either set up the point or to get a short ball.

The minimal goal you should have in mind for EVERY serve you hit, first or second, is to set up the point for the shot you want to hit (in my case, forehands). In addition to that, you should look to try and open up the court if you can. This gives you quick access to being the first striker (first strike tennis). So you should hit your second serve aggressively with the intention of setting up the point.

Now however you seem to have done a backflip and your saying this:


and if you go to the 2.5, you teach them HOW to serve before you teach them what to do with it. Once they can hit a solid one, then you have them work on being more aggressive with it. You really don't understand how people should progress do you? First you develop the stroke, then you figure out what to do with it. And as you improve, you should look to do more with the shot. At the 2.5 level, they shouldn't aim for the lines on anything because the benefit isn't that much higher. They can't get balls in anyways. But at a 6.0 level, you need to start hitting on or close to lines. Otherwise people have an easy time getting everything back (or worse, punishing you for them).


Its you who needs to read the name of the thread.

doom
10-12-2009, 09:23 PM
It's just requires TONS of practice. Sampras spent hours everyday on his serve perfecting his placement and spins on first AND second serves.

You learn to walk before you learn to run. Ever heard of that one?

Yep I have heard that one.

Thats why a player learning to serve should be aiming to get the ball in the court before they start trying to get all Sampras.

xFullCourtTenniSx
10-12-2009, 10:58 PM
QUOTE=xFullCourtTenniSx;4021030]READ THE NAME OF THE THREAD!


I need to read the name of the thread?
Lets look back at how this little disagreement started shall we....

First you disagreed with what I said here:



By saying this:



Now however you seem to have done a backflip and your saying this:



Its you who needs to read the name of the thread.[/QUOTE]

At the 2.5 level, they need to develop a second serve. A 2.5 that can hit lines on second serves consistently and at will is not a 2.5. You are as good as your second serve, and with that they could be at least 3.5-4.0 even with minimal spin. But if they could do that, then learned both the spin serves, they'd eventually become the next Sampras (for whatever level they reach) because of how accurate they are. That will allow them to use the second serve to aggressively set up points.

At the 2.5 level, any decent serve will keep them in neutral or even be difficult for the other player because at that level, they struggle with consistency on EVERYTHING. At the 2.5 level, they don't know how to serve to set up their best shot. The balls come so slow anyone willing to run around the place can hit their best shot regardless. At 4.0+ you need to set up points to your strength. Balls aren't coming as slowly and it's more difficult to get your favorite shot. That's why you need to start serving to spots with something on it (heavy spin, pace, good placement) so your opponent can't do as much on the return and you'll have a better idea of what you're going to consistently see. As the levels go higher, the spin, pace, and accuracy required are much higher.

You should take the risk if the benefits outweighs the risk. And even then you shouldn't risk going much higher than what you know you're capable of. If you can easily get within 3 feet of the lines, try going 1 foot within the lines on a few. A 4.0 shouldn't aim to hit a 5.0 level kick serve unless he has the ability to do so. And a 5.0 shouldn't be using a 4.5 level kick serve because it's not nearly aggressive enough for his level. If he's serving like that, he has to go back to practice and start working on putting more on his serve, whether it be added spin, pace, or accuracy (or better yet a combination of all 3).

GuyClinch
10-12-2009, 11:01 PM
I don't think xfullcourt tennis guy is wrong. Your service game strategy depends on two things - the level of your serve and that of your opponent.

I have a good serve for my level. its not going to bother 4.5s or 5.0s but its good for a 3.5. But my groundstrokes - while not weak can be inaccurate at times.. So naturally I go for more on my serves. This leads to double faults but its an effective trade off.

Pros OTOH hit against guys with great returns and have great groundstrokes to back up their serves. So on their second serves it makes total sense to go for a serve thats good enough to not get smacked for a winner.

Nadal at the US Open was hitting 80mph puff serves - just good enough to not get smacked for an instant winner. But that was enough for him to win some matches. He has a very high percentage of serves in though..

But back to the topic - if your starting out you want to learn a decent spin serve - and the the topspin slice is most natural. Good luck with that..

Pete

doom
10-13-2009, 12:15 AM
^^ I didnt think he was neccessarily wrong either. Like I said this is an issue where different coaches differ in their approach.

I have strong opinions and so does he.

But he went after me when all I said was this in relation to the first post and topic of the thread:


A first serve should set you up to win a point, whereas a second serve puts you in a neutral position

So I defended my position, and he blew up and came back with insults to me and the guy who quoted me, and a 5 page verbiage of 'evidence'.

I didn't want to be a jerk and pollute the board with this crap but when someone publicly calls me wrong and an idiot I will respond in kind.

darthpwner
10-13-2009, 06:44 AM
^^^Reported

Calm down. Your acting like this is a topic of absolutes. You need to accept other people have different opinions without flying off and abusing people.

I cant believe your in college, you act like your 15

You talking to me? Im not in college. I am 14. I was just referring to the fact you made those essays just like !Tym used to.

nfor304
10-13-2009, 04:39 PM
You talking to me? Im not in college. I am 14. I was just referring to the fact you made those essays just like !Tym used to.

I think that was referring to a post that has since been deleted by mods

SystemicAnomaly
10-13-2009, 05:21 PM
P.S. 90% by itself it a great percentage for a second serve. Do the math. Even if you only get 10% first serves in, you only double fault on 9% of your service points. If you have good groundstrokes, you're going to be difficult to break even if you donate about 1 in 10 service points to your opponent. And if you have an aggressive second serve, and use it for both first and second serves, your chances to double fault are 1%! If your second serve is at a ridiculous 95% success rate (which is probably true for most pros), and your first serve percentage is 50%, then you donate 1 in 40 points to your opponent on serve. As long as it's not on break point, you're fine. So if you can hit a good serve at a 90% success rate, you have a good second serve as it is. If you can hit the same serve at a 95% success rate, it's twice as safe! That means you can be slightly more aggressive in how you use it and drop it back down to 90% and have an even better serve! 90-95% is probably the idea success rate for a second serve, not 100%. Although, in practice, you want it as close to 100% as possible, but in a match 90-95% is VERY good, even if your first serve is nonexistent. Do the math! The numbers don't lie! And decent servers have their first serve percentage at 50-60%. With those numbers, a 90% success rate second serve is a 4-5% double fault rate. That's 1 in 20-25 points. That's already 6 games worth of serving! Someone who serves at 60-70% sees 1 double fault in 25-33 points! Someone who serves 70-80% sees 1 double fault in 33-50 points! I can keep easily my first service percentage above 50%, and sometimes get it up to around 70-80%! So even with a 90% success rate second serve, I see very few double faults. At 95%, you pretty much almost never see one. But if I'm doing so well on serve, why not drop my success percentages a bit to greatly increase my point winning percentage? Sampras probably serves around 85% second serves in, but he has his first serve percentage around 70%. The result is that he sees 1 double fault in 20-25 points on serve. With his serve, that's one double fault a set with like 5+ aces! Oh, that and he easily holds serve! The percentages are clearly in his favor! Sampras can easily serve 100% first serves in, but he takes a 15% risk and his serve becomes many times harder to return! His second serve is essentially a slightly more consistent first serve created by taking off 10-20 mph. It's the same concept with first serves. The more we go for, the less we'll make in. But we need to put something on it otherwise we'll get attacked or are wasting the serve itself! Nadal has reduced his first serve percentage in recent years to improve the pace he gets on it. Has it made him a better server? Absolutely! He hasn't even lost that much in terms of percentages! He used to be up in the high 80s. Now he's in the high 60s to high 70s! And he's gained like what? 20 mph total? That's a REALLY good trade off. Could he use his first serve as a second serve and still win? Maybe if he popped it back consistently into the 70s, then YES! If your first serve is ALWAYS well into the 70s or even higher, you can use that as a second serve. Consider the percentages: 2 serves with a 70% success rate means a 9% failure rate. 1 double fault in 10 points. But if you win 70% of first serve points (like most people do), then you win 7 of those 10 points. If you win 50% of your second serve points (and you'd be REALLY lucky or REALLY good to), and serve 70% first serves, and win 70% first serve points, you still come out to 7 out of 10 points won on serve. You really haven't lost anything on serve! Can Nadal get away with doing this on the tour? Depends on who he plays. But he actually could. However, there is a flaw with using two high percentage, yet aggressive, first serves. Serving percentages vary from match to match. Second serves are where you try to minimize the fluctuations in percentages. But if you can consistently hit a first serve in the 70s, then you can use it as a second serve as well if your winning percentage is high enough (or your second serve winning percentage was low enough) to pull out a total point winning percentage greater than if you used a second serve. If you pull out the same winning percentage, it's probably just better to use the second serve to minimize free points given away. But the idea of returning 2 first serves can be mentally taxing for the opponent. In that case, you want to use this passive aggression and mess with them. Am I advocating that you use your first serves as second serves? Not unless your first serves are that consistent day in and day out (which very few people other than Sampras are). I've seen people do it with success before, and it's a scary thing to go up against. So you might be thinking, if I can get my first serve percentage in the 70-80% range like I claim, then why don't I use my first serves as second serves? Well, like I explained before, people hate my second serves more than my first serves, and I think my second serve winning percentage is actually higher than my first serve winning percentage against many players anyways. :) Plus, passive aggression! Which is why I actually can go the reverse way and throw kickers as first serves all day long to get me out of break points and get away with it. Basically, the numbers support my personal experiences and personal preferences. Got any evidence to back up your side of the argument? I seem to back up my side of the argument pretty d@mn well. Numbers support it, pros support it, other players' experiences support it. And you've got what? You're "conventional wisdom"? Yeah... Have fun living in your box!

OMG. You should avoid using this particular keyboard. It appears the the ENTER key is malfunctioning. My poor aging eyes don't even want to attempt to read a long post like this that doesn't have some white space (specifically, paragraph breaks). My brain tends to view this "no-paragraph" style a mindless rant.

Hrandyrko
10-13-2009, 06:10 PM
I'd say that the second serve is the one you should develop consistency with first. That way, you can go for more on the first serve.

wyutani
10-15-2009, 05:56 AM
anyone got the pic of where to toss to hit different types of serves?

5263
10-15-2009, 08:14 AM
they say youre only as good as your second serve.

Amen!
I'd take this to mean a slice second serves as it is a great platform to build all the serves from.

LeeD
10-15-2009, 11:06 AM
I'd say a TOPSPIN serve is the basis to work from.
There, you can add top/slice, pure top, or top twist.
Then you can learn a higher, more arc'ed, twist, kicker, and forehead high bouncing serves.
A pure sidespin slice really only works up to maybe a 4.0 level, because the height of the bounce is well within EVERYONE's strike zone.

5263
10-15-2009, 08:19 PM
I'd say a TOPSPIN serve is the basis to work from.
There, you can add top/slice, pure top, or top twist.
Then you can learn a higher, more arc'ed, twist, kicker, and forehead high bouncing serves.
A pure sidespin slice really only works up to maybe a 4.0 level, because the height of the bounce is well within EVERYONE's strike zone.

This would probably be a nice way to do it, but anyone asking this question is probably not going to learn a TS serve with any high degree of skill any time soon. Much better off to learn something they can get better with quickly.
A 4.0 serve is more than fine for greater than 75% of this forum, but Not sure what you mean by pure sidespin slice, as IMO, that would not be a proper slice serve. No wonder it won't work past 4.0 for you. A proper slice should be taught with an aspect of TS. Pete Sampras used this as a first and second serve with slight variations with good success at the highest levels.