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MasturB
10-12-2009, 12:07 AM
Right now, I'm trying really hard to get a consistent 2nd serve.

I'm not worried too much about a first serve, but I do need a reliable 2nd serve to at least get the ball in play.

I'm a self taught player, so I've never had any coaching.

I want to learn anything... a kicker, a topspin serve, a slice serve.

Here's my issue right now: Serving from the deuce court (right side of the court to left) is fine right now. It's WAY more consistent than my serve from the AD court (but right now that's not saying much). Another thing is, for both sides... I'm hitting the ball either long a few feet past the service line, or hitting right under the tape. If I can just find that middle ground, I'd be getting a serve in consistently.

I need to know a few things:
1) On a kicker, topspin, or slice... where should I make contact with the ball? At it's highest point? Should I let it come down a little bit since I'm going to be brushing it?

2) Ball toss? Behind me? Right over me? In front of me? To my right? To my left? Also, I'm curious to how is it every time I watch any pro match, I hear some commentators say someone like Federer has a hard serve to read because his ball toss is the same for every type of serve?

3) Numbers like 6-12, 3-9, 8-2. I noticed from the deuce court, whenever I try a 3-9 or 8-2, and I make contact, the ball goes slightly wide to the right of the out line of the returner. Probably has something to do with my ball toss I guess?

xFullCourtTenniSx
10-12-2009, 03:00 AM
Right now, I'm trying really hard to get a consistent 2nd serve.

I'm not worried too much about a first serve, but I do need a reliable 2nd serve to at least get the ball in play.

I'm a self taught player, so I've never had any coaching.

I want to learn anything... a kicker, a topspin serve, a slice serve.

Here's my issue right now: Serving from the deuce court (right side of the court to left) is fine right now. It's WAY more consistent than my serve from the AD court (but right now that's not saying much). Another thing is, for both sides... I'm hitting the ball either long a few feet past the service line, or hitting right under the tape. If I can just find that middle ground, I'd be getting a serve in consistently.

I need to know a few things:
1) On a kicker, topspin, or slice... where should I make contact with the ball? At it's highest point? Should I let it come down a little bit since I'm going to be brushing it?

2) Ball toss? Behind me? Right over me? In front of me? To my right? To my left? Also, I'm curious to how is it every time I watch any pro match, I hear some commentators say someone like Federer has a hard serve to read because his ball toss is the same for every type of serve?

3) Numbers like 6-12, 3-9, 8-2. I noticed from the deuce court, whenever I try a 3-9 or 8-2, and I make contact, the ball goes slightly wide to the right of the out line of the returner. Probably has something to do with my ball toss I guess?

Well... I recommend learning the slice before the kicker. Or better yet, a topspin slice. Either is fine really.

What you should focus on, is a good brushing motion. You shouldn't hear much (if any) flat impact with the ball. You should hear something like a shhhukkk instead of a pok. Generate heavy spin.

Right now, you should focus mainly on generating heavy and reliable spin. Get something you can consistently get in during practice while accelerating the racket. If anything, the second serve should have more acceleration than a first serve.

As for the ball toss, it should be consistent. As for placement of the toss and timing of the swing, it should be where ever and whatever is most comfortable for you. You can mess with the toss later to create different spins and paces to see which result you like best, but right now, we're focusing on nothing but a consistent toss, a consistent motion, and heavy spin caused by plenty of brush. However, some key details I must stress is that you should never toss behind you or right over you. Toss a little in front of you. But if you like it extremely in front, your call, but it must be in front of you to hit an effective serve. I'll give you a general starting point to experiment: above your tossing shoulder, and forward into the court, either above the baseline or a few inches in front of it. Something around there. You can mess with it a bit to see what will feel most comfortable to you. (Last time I saw Gasquet's second serve, his second serve toss was in front of his body and to the right of his hitting shoulder instead of slightly to the left of his head, but it's what he's most comfortable with. When you go for consistency, you must also go for comfort.)

Also, yes there are a lot of pros who have very similar ball tosses for their serves. But you shouldn't aim for that yet. You should aim on getting down the correct motions. Don't get ahead of yourself.

Now, seeing as you're looking to hit a slice serve, aim to brush the ball from left to right. I don't care where you contact it (as long as it's not the top of the ball) or how you do it, but put a lot of brushing action on the ball and spin it into the court.

Next, we have to make it match worthy (for the 3.5 level). Play some regular sets in addition to this where I want you to hit nothing but your second serve. The more match practice the better. Keep doing this until you feel your double faults are at a number low enough so you don't get broken (or at least can win matches with it). You won't win matches or see improvements immediately, but you must accept losing in the short term as a sacrifice to win and improve in the long term.

Now, we take this a step further and give you even more difficult practice. I want you to play sets with a friend around your level and play everything the same as normal, except that both of you (or better yet just you) can only hit one serve per point. This means one fault and your opponent wins the point. No second chances. You get to try your second serve and get it in. That's it. This will put added pressure to get your second serve in (especially if your opponent gets 2 serves and holds easily). Get used to it! Make it so that feeling is nonexistent in your mind and heart. If you get scared, you'll never be able to develop a great second serve.

You can take that another step further by doing that exact same thing, but doing it in tiebreakers. In a tiebreak, every point is essential. You don't want to drop any points on serve. This puts added pressure on your serve. The more pressure you can put on yourself, the better. This way, when you go out to regular points you'll have experienced it before and you won't feel it. You'll develop a resistance to it.

Finally, I want you to work on placing the ball where you want it. Before, we just wanted you to get it in the box, now it's time to use it as a weapon! Pick your spots, and serve to them. Repeat the drills (or whatever) I mentioned above to again reinforce your nerves.

Congratulations. You now own a VERY reliable slice second serve. If you don't, then you skipped a step or two, maybe more. That's what you get for cheating!

Now, the final step, is to repost a thread on adding a kicker to your arsenal. This is enough for you to digest for now and is more than enough to get you a match worthy second serve you can use to attack your opponents.

As the saying goes, "you are only as good as your second serve", and in my belief, if you can't attack with the second serve, you can't attack at all.

LeeD
10-12-2009, 09:56 AM
As said, first serve to learn is the topspin/slice serve, where the toss goes basically directly over your head, and if the ball was allowed to drop, would land just inside the baseline. You hit this with conti grip, as flat as you can control, which means lots of topspin/forward spin to arc the ball into the court with about 3' of net clearance. Ballspeed is slower than first flat serves, but spin is much faster.

Fedace
10-12-2009, 09:57 AM
i also think it is easier to hit 2nd serves hard if you have spin stirng. better the ball sticks to the ball

LeeD
10-12-2009, 10:03 AM
I think it's more technique than strings.
I use 15 gauge cheapo nylon, 18x20, DunlopMfil 200, and I hit the spinniest second serves of anyone short of 5.5 levels. And it goes in maybe 95% now that I play tennis once every 3 weeks. It was better when I played more.

EikelBeiter
10-12-2009, 10:09 AM
i also think it is easier to hit 2nd serves hard if you have spin stirng. better the ball sticks to the ball

If you have a great kick serve you can do it with any string. Poly or gut, 15g or 17g, black or blue, it's all about technique

spacediver
10-12-2009, 10:22 AM
nice post xfullcourt.

One thing I've noticed that makes a huge difference when learning any new movement, especially complex ones, is dedicating a great deal of mental preparation, body awareness, and focus. I believe these sorts of things can dramatically enhance the learning process.

BullDogTennis
10-12-2009, 10:55 AM
If you have a great kick serve you can do it with any string. Poly or gut, 15g or 17g, black or blue, it's all about technique

i agree...no way my serve is "great" but i can hit it with my racquet or a walmart racquet...doesnt really make a difference.

MasturB
10-12-2009, 11:46 AM
As said, first serve to learn is the topspin/slice serve, where the toss goes basically directly over your head, and if the ball was allowed to drop, would land just inside the baseline. You hit this with conti grip, as flat as you can control, which means lots of topspin/forward spin to arc the ball into the court with about 3' of net clearance. Ballspeed is slower than first flat serves, but spin is much faster.

Ok i'm confused....

But he said...
However, some key details I must stress is that you should never toss behind you or right over you. Toss a little in front of you. But if you like it extremely in front, your call, but it must be in front of you to hit an effective serve.

MasturB
10-12-2009, 11:53 AM
Ok, when I say behind me, I don't mean behind my racket arm (or since my body is perpendicular to the court, to the right of me). I meant behind my tossing shoulder so I'd have to create a back arch, almost like I was really looking directly up into the sky.

Here's a diagram I photoshopped a few years ago.

http://img381.imageshack.us/img381/3091/fedsampl.jpg

Where should I be tossing the ball for these 2nd serves? It's 2-D, so it only allows you to tell me what direction I should throw it in, and not how deep or far into the court or near me.

Does it change depending on if i'm deuce or ad, since the direction is drastically changing?

Kostas
10-12-2009, 12:23 PM
www.fuzzyyellowballs.com is your friend

xFullCourtTenniSx
10-12-2009, 12:26 PM
Ok i'm confused....

But he said...

He means toss at position B and an inch inside the baseline.

And LeeD is right that "spin string" (I assume you mean a good poly) isn't necessary. It does enhance your abilities to hit spin, but it is by no means required to hit a heavy spin serve.

And LeeD, 95% is still good assuming your opponents can't attack it or, even better, they struggle to put a decent return back in off of it. That's a double fault every 20 second serves assuming 0% first serves in. If you have a decent percentage on the first serve like 60%, then you double fault once every 50 service points, more than enough to last you most full sets even with a tiebreak. Just don't double fault at the wrong time. (Not that we can control that too much)

I say a 95% success rate for a second serve that puts you in the advantageous position at the start of the point (or even gives you a few free points) is a VERY good second serve. 100% success rate is highly overrrated unless you can serve second serves aces with that. Though the reverse is true that second serve aces are overrated unless you can hit those level of serves with at least a 85% success rate. (In that case, add 10 mph and that should be your first serve as well; that's what Sampras did). Though for most people, you shouldn't drop farther than 90% success rate, and that's assuming you have a very aggressive second serve in terms of placement, spin, and pace that can actually force errors.

StuckInMalibu
10-12-2009, 12:39 PM
Here are videos that could help for second serve:


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A0H6JceDqlg


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6gWAww8FSes&feature=channel

I think when people say toss the ball over your head, they really mean toss the ball in line with your head. You can toss the ball much more forward into the court, but the ball should still be in line with your head.

LeeD
10-12-2009, 02:30 PM
My second serve is struck as fast as I can swing a racket, goes maybe 65-75mph, most returners complain the ball is OVAL and hissing loudly, usually lands 3' inside the service line rather than long, and gets killed by anyone I worry about playing (usually 5.5's and up).
Don't matter if I top/slice it out wide to their backhands or twist it forehead high to their forehands, they just step in and crush it.
However, it works well against lesser players.
First serve % closer to 20%.

MasturB
10-12-2009, 08:02 PM
Here are videos that could help for second serve:


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A0H6JceDqlg


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6gWAww8FSes&feature=channel

I think when people say toss the ball over your head, they really mean toss the ball in line with your head. You can toss the ball much more forward into the court, but the ball should still be in line with your head.

That's what I was thinking. When I thoguht they meant toss it over my head, I thought they meant toss it as if you didn't swing it'd fall on my head.

xFullCourtTenniSx
10-12-2009, 09:12 PM
My second serve is struck as fast as I can swing a racket, goes maybe 65-75mph, most returners complain the ball is OVAL and hissing loudly, usually lands 3' inside the service line rather than long, and gets killed by anyone I worry about playing (usually 5.5's and up).
Don't matter if I top/slice it out wide to their backhands or twist it forehead high to their forehands, they just step in and crush it.
However, it works well against lesser players.
First serve % closer to 20%.

:shock: In that case, might want to pop that first serve percentage up.

65% is always a good number to aim for.

And 5.5s have a very large strike zone. You need it over their head to get outside of it. :(

Only thing you can do against that is up the pace by at least 10 mph. But you need more than one practice session every 3 weeks to do that. So you're kind of stuck until you can get in more court time.

BullDogTennis
10-13-2009, 09:53 AM
Ok, when I say behind me, I don't mean behind my racket arm (or since my body is perpendicular to the court, to the right of me). I meant behind my tossing shoulder so I'd have to create a back arch, almost like I was really looking directly up into the sky.

Here's a diagram I photoshopped a few years ago.

http://img381.imageshack.us/img381/3091/fedsampl.jpg

Where should I be tossing the ball for these 2nd serves? It's 2-D, so it only allows you to tell me what direction I should throw it in, and not how deep or far into the court or near me.

Does it change depending on if i'm deuce or ad, since the direction is drastically changing?

mine is personally A or B depending if im going for a kicker (B) or a twist (A)...but i TRY to not toss them to much different.

ubermeyer
10-13-2009, 06:08 PM
pushing it in is better than missing

my 1cent

Roy125
10-13-2009, 06:53 PM
Ok I thought that topspin and kick serves were relatively the same thing.

wyutani
10-13-2009, 07:23 PM
Ok I thought that topspin and kick serves were relatively the same thing.

no there are two types of kick serves. the twist and the topspin. theres a huge difference but they are relatively the same mate'...

MasturB
10-13-2009, 09:02 PM
What is the difference?

xFullCourtTenniSx
10-13-2009, 09:07 PM
A topspin serve is a simple twist serve.

A topspin serve just goes high over the net, drops into the box because of the heavy spin, then jumps like 6 feet high.

A twist serve goes high over the net, curves like a slice in the air (not as heavily as a regular slice serve or slice serve variations), drops into the box because of the heavy spin, then jumps 6-7 feet high AWAY from a right hander's backhand (if you placed it in their backhand side, if you put it in their forehand side, it goes into their body). This is assuming the right hander hit it. But the ball jumps in the direction away from the backhand of someone with the same playing hand as you. (so lefty kick jumps away from lefty backhands, righty kick jumps away from righty backhands)

Forget about hitting these serves until you have a solid slice down that you can use as a second serve.

Once you master the slice, move onto topspin. Then if you feel up to it, you can try the kick. You need a slice and topspin serve. A full on twist isn't necessary. But the time you learn it, people can get it back anyways.

MasturB
10-13-2009, 09:22 PM
mine is personally A or B depending if im going for a kicker (B) or a twist (A)...but i TRY to not toss them to much different.

If you're serving from the AD or DEUCE court, does it make a difference?

MasturB
10-13-2009, 09:30 PM
A topspin serve is a simple twist serve.

A topspin serve just goes high over the net, drops into the box because of the heavy spin, then jumps like 6 feet high.

A twist serve goes high over the net, curves like a slice in the air (not as heavily as a regular slice serve or slice serve variations), drops into the box because of the heavy spin, then jumps 6-7 feet high AWAY from a right hander's backhand (if you placed it in their backhand side, if you put it in their forehand side, it goes into their body). This is assuming the right hander hit it. But the ball jumps in the direction away from the backhand of someone with the same playing hand as you. (so lefty kick jumps away from lefty backhands, righty kick jumps away from righty backhands)

Forget about hitting these serves until you have a solid slice down that you can use as a second serve.

Once you master the slice, move onto topspin. Then if you feel up to it, you can try the kick. You need a slice and topspin serve. A full on twist isn't necessary. But the time you learn it, people can get it back anyways.

I was at the courts for 2 hours today. I was getting in my slice serves at 80% clip. I was trying it on my first and 2nd serves, during a practice set. I think 2nd serve I only missed it two or three times and DF'd.

Can you break down what I should be hitting on these serves? Now that I know where exactly to toss it, that's not becoming an issue. I just need to know how I need to brush on it now (9-3, 6-12, 8-2,etc). For the most part I was hitting 9-3 on the slices from the AD, and 8-2 on the deuce.

From the AD court I was consistently hitting the slice to my opponent's forehand side (deep left corner of the service box from my view, close-right corner for him). Deuce Court I was landing them all near the T.

xFullCourtTenniSx
10-14-2009, 01:48 AM
I was at the courts for 2 hours today. I was getting in my slice serves at 80% clip. I was trying it on my first and 2nd serves, during a practice set. I think 2nd serve I only missed it two or three times and DF'd.

Can you break down what I should be hitting on these serves? Now that I know where exactly to toss it, that's not becoming an issue. I just need to know how I need to brush on it now (9-3, 6-12, 8-2,etc). For the most part I was hitting 9-3 on the slices from the AD, and 8-2 on the deuce.

From the AD court I was consistently hitting the slice to my opponent's forehand side (deep left corner of the service box from my view, close-right corner for him). Deuce Court I was landing them all near the T.

That's a good start, but I want you to aim for 90-95% second serves in. You can go for 95%-100% if you want, but that's not completely necessary, but at least you will probably feel more confidence if you know you can get it that high.

Anyways, you should be hitting spin on these serves. LOTS of it. Don't decelerate the racket, accelerate it more than a first serve. As long as you can do that, I don't care what spin you use right now.

After you can go a few sets with 2 or less double faults a set, then work on topspin serves. To do that, you need to aim for swinging from 6-12 and send the ball as high as you can with as much spin as you can produce (just like with the slice serve). That's the next serve I want you working on once you master the slice serve.

Also, you should aim to serve the ball MOSTLY to the opponent's backhand. In addition to that, you should learn to be able to change up the placement into both their body and their forehand at will. If they lean too far to their backhand side, change it up and keep them honest.

wyutani
10-14-2009, 03:02 AM
2nd serve all the way man...

moroni
10-14-2009, 08:05 AM
same problem man... its awesome and smooth and fast when i serve in the duece side but its a little inconsistent when i hit in the AD side so i go for a less agressive 1st/second serve when serving in the later ..anyway..go for a topspin serve at the start then start practising the slice..that worked for me

LeeD
10-14-2009, 09:38 AM
WHERE you hit your second serves all depends on strengths and weakenesses, your's and your opponent's. You try to match your strength with their weakness. If it's a mismatch in your favor, exploit it. If tis a tossup, you'd better vary your placements and spins and probe for a weakness in your opponent's returns.
Personally, I find a pure slice serve a handicap at higher levels, as it's bounce height is right in the strike zone of most 4 and above level players. So I use topspin serves to get the bounce around shoulder high, and twist/kicks to get the bounce up around head to forehead heights.
Vary the placement, pace, spin, and bounceheight unless you found your opponent's weakness.

MasturB
10-14-2009, 11:40 AM
WHERE you hit your second serves all depends on strengths and weakenesses, your's and your opponent's. You try to match your strength with their weakness. If it's a mismatch in your favor, exploit it. If tis a tossup, you'd better vary your placements and spins and probe for a weakness in your opponent's returns.
Personally, I find a pure slice serve a handicap at higher levels, as it's bounce height is right in the strike zone of most 4 and above level players. So I use topspin serves to get the bounce around shoulder high, and twist/kicks to get the bounce up around head to forehead heights.
Vary the placement, pace, spin, and bounceheight unless you found your opponent's weakness.

Serving from the AD side to a right hander, a slice serve for me is useless since it's to his forehand side, unless I know he doesn't have good reach.

I mainly use the slice from the deuce side to hit the T and stretch him wide.

I'm trying to learn a topspin/twist kicker. I had some good success yesterday.

MasturB
10-14-2009, 11:41 AM
same problem man... its awesome and smooth and fast when i serve in the duece side but its a little inconsistent when i hit in the AD side so i go for a less agressive 1st/second serve when serving in the later ..anyway..go for a topspin serve at the start then start practising the slice..that worked for me

LOL, I'm the wrong side.

Unless you're lefthanded.

My problems lie in the deuce court (serving from left side of the court to right side), while the AD court (from my right side to the left) is consistent.

LeeD
10-15-2009, 10:34 AM
I played yesterday with a solid 4.0 guy who couldn't top/slice up the middle (he lefty) in duece court. He'd run the ad court returner well off the doubles alley and into the fence, but could only serve to the duece returner's forehand over and over again.
He got broken maybe 5 times in 3 sets.
I played like stink, hit like stink, and got broken once because I missed 4 volleys in one service game.
Maybe better to work on serving to both sides of the court.
And I should learn to open my eyes when I move to service line and attempt first volleys.