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View Full Version : How to Hold Serve?


Roy125
02-13-2012, 06:29 PM
Holding serve is probably the weakest part of my game. I have a decent first serve that I can aim well, and a mediocre topspin second serve that I can place but not too confident about.

But the problem I'm facing is when I'm up against players that are able to neutralize my serve advantage. Then my chances of holding serve reduces quite a bit.

I guess what I'm asking for here are tips to hold serve, and I'm desperate for anything.

LeeD
02-13-2012, 06:35 PM
As you know, NO one can hold serve every time.
But your chances increase if you ...
1. Never serve into their "sweetspot".
2. Never miss your shot after the serve.
3. Hit your shot where your opponent doesn't like it.
4. Hit your third shot into the open court.
5. Don't miss you 4th shot into the other open court.
6. It's OK to miss your 5trh shot, you tried hard enough....:)

FoxHound
02-13-2012, 06:42 PM
you need to practice that second serve! next time you have a practice match just hit all second serves. also you'll get more spin by really going after it. you'll never develop confidence or the spin needed to make the second serve effective. also if you can hit your spots go for the weaker side of the opponet or use your serve to pull them off the court. most likely they will hit a weak return and leave you some open court to hit to

Kevo
02-13-2012, 06:45 PM
I agree that the second serve action is key to holding serve. It's much easier to hold if you know you can always get that second serve to go in with enough pace and spin to force your opponent into hitting it with their weaker shot. It also helps if you can get enough kick on it to make them have to hit it above their shoulder.

Roy125
02-13-2012, 06:53 PM
My second serve is still developing though; I'm still getting used to brushing up on the ball and throwing it right. I need to practice more....lol.

It's terrible right now:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5rK_OX96YTI&feature=plcp&context=C31a8634UDOEgsToPDskLhXEGYLcv5ZFPCp5U4-0JA

FoxHound
02-13-2012, 06:56 PM
you need to practice that second serve! next time you have a practice match just hit all second serves. also you'll get more spin by really going after it. you'll never develop confidence or the spin needed to make the second serve effective. also if you can hit your spots go for the weaker side of the opponet or use your serve to pull them off the court. most likely they will hit a weak return and leave you some open court to hit to

i ment you'll never develop the confidence or spin to make the second serve effective by backing off from it"

ugh when am i going to be able to edit my posts

Roy125
02-13-2012, 06:59 PM
What if you hit your second serve as hard as your first serve and it goes out of control? :/

LeeD
02-13-2012, 06:59 PM
Dang dude.
Please practice your second serves! You swing about 60% speed, when a real second serve topspin is hit nearly 90%, a twist maybe 75% of your swing speed.
Your body is all over the place, and you vary everything all the time.
Your arms and body IS nice an loose. Kudos. Now add some speed. You cannot possibly win any points pushing in a slow top, top/slice, or top/twist when you don't know when to hit which, and you hit it slow with little spin.

FoxHound
02-13-2012, 07:01 PM
go to youtube and type in "sick kick serve" this should bring up a video of this girl hitting amazing kick serves and the coach explains how to work on hitting this kind of serve.

sorryi can't give you a link right now but I'm doing this from my phone

FoxHound
02-13-2012, 07:18 PM
What if you hit your second serve as hard as your first serve and it goes out of control? :/

control will come with practice. you need to have a goal or intent for practice. weither its making good contact everytime, keeping your tossing arm up a little longer, making sure to watch your contact with throughout the entire swing, making sure to get good body rotation,.. ect.. if youre out of control you need to find out why.. are you making bad contact/framing the ball? missing into the net? keep your head up longer..you need to find the why and work on that.. I'll try to watch your vid later and see if i can help.

Finster
02-13-2012, 07:40 PM
I have the same problem. But one of my problems is that when I hit a good first serve and get a weak short ball return back, I tend to shank the easy put away. I lose a lot of gimme shots that way. That's one way the serve advantage is taken away.

LeeD
02-13-2012, 08:26 PM
Finster, read post #2.
No one GIVES you your service game. You have to earn it, just like the return of serve game.

FoxHound
02-13-2012, 10:07 PM
ok heres that video... this should help you with developing a better topspin/kick serve... just look at what she's doing.. Keeps her head and her tossing arm up.. shes watching the ball throughout serve so that she can make great contact..also notice that she is really going after the ball..

http://youtu.be/ds6CZ4qCXD4

ATP100
02-13-2012, 10:07 PM
Holding serve is probably the weakest part of my game. I have a decent first serve that I can aim well, and a mediocre topspin second serve that I can place but not too confident about.

But the problem I'm facing is when I'm up against players that are able to neutralize my serve advantage. Then my chances of holding serve reduces quite a bit.

I guess what I'm asking for here are tips to hold serve, and I'm desperate for anything.


Do what most people won't do....practice your second serve only. When you are confident in it, it is easier to hit a first serve.

NLBwell
02-13-2012, 10:13 PM
Relative to the Title of the OP - Hit lots of aces.
LeeD is almost never wrong when he talks about the serve, but post #8 is wrong. On the second serve, swing at 110% of the speed you swing for your first serve. The first serve can be more relaxed when hitting a flatter ball. Most of the energy goes into spin rather than speed - the hours of practice are in getting the proportion of spin to speed correct and to be able to vary it as you please.

OTMPut
02-13-2012, 10:20 PM
On the second serve, swing at 110% of the speed you swing for your first serve. The first serve can be more relaxed when hitting a flatter ball. Most of the energy goes into spin rather than speed - the hours of practice are in getting the proportion of spin to speed correct and to be able to vary it as you please.

+1

the more tentative you are with your swing the more likely you will wreck it.

martini1
02-13-2012, 10:40 PM
Your are as good as your 2nd serve. Without a good 2nd serve it is a lot harder to hold.

A mix of pace/placement/spin is a lot better than pure speed. Think like a baseball pitcher.

Roy125
02-13-2012, 10:45 PM
For like the past two years, I've hit most of my second serves at full throttle, yet that has given me an inconsistent service motion. :( I've been rebuilding my second serve lately and I'll probably increase the speed of it once I get the basics down.

But anyways, is there anything I can do besides the serve to maintain an advantage during my service game?

shindemac
02-14-2012, 01:03 AM
You need to practice your serve more. The motion is all over the place.

Sure, there's lots you can do. But the reason pros can hold their serve so well is because of their serve.

USERNAME
02-14-2012, 01:44 AM
Work on a heavy spin first serve, topspin or hard kicker just get one that goes in a lot and kicks up. Use that as your primary delivery and practice it a ton. Second serves should have more spin and you should be swinging about as fast as you do on your first (just brushing more). The big thing is getting a first serve that jumps that is consistent, high first serve percentage is huge in holding. You can drop the hammer or throw in a slice here and there but stick with something consistent most of the time.

martini1
02-14-2012, 04:14 AM
For like the past two years, I've hit most of my second serves at full throttle, yet that has given me an inconsistent service motion. :( I've been rebuilding my second serve lately and I'll probably increase the speed of it once I get the basics down.

But anyways, is there anything I can do besides the serve to maintain an advantage during my service game?

If you can't get on the driver's seat after the 3rd stroke, everything is being neutralized. It'll be played out just like a regular rally where you need to be good in being consistent, can generate pace (or drop shot), and being able to hit angle shots when the opportunity comes. Strategies plays an important part, like playing to your strength and to the other guy's weakness.

LeeD
02-14-2012, 03:29 PM
I don't believe we should ever swing at 110%, unless we're screwing around.
Since 100% is the FASTEST that we can control, and we can agree we need some control on second serves, you need to slow it down some.
Say a first flat serve is about 80% as fast as you can swing. You'd like to get a few in once in a while, yes?
So maybe 70% on twists because it's an awkward upward swing.
So for SECOND serves, 90% of your fastest swing speed, allowing a little for margin of error.
As for focusing away from the serve, read post 8, it pretty much details what you need to NOT lose your serve.

USERNAME
02-14-2012, 10:25 PM
If you (OP) do decide to slow your 2nd serve motion down, be careful. You dont wanna have a super safe serve that sits up screaming "BLAST" most of the time, the key is keeping the swing very fast but changing how you strike the ball to put more spin and give more margin.
Also make sure your on your toes ready to move after the serve.... Dont admire your IN serve.

DeShaun
02-14-2012, 10:36 PM
Strike a balance between getting 60% of first serves in, and ensuring that each one made elicits an unreturnable or very weak reply. That can be difficult to do, however. So, then we are left with the second serve. This should have on it copious amounts of spin--I mean a ton!--although it probably cannot have very much north-south velocity. I was thinking about this just a couple hours ago while walking around outside (actually while standing on a rain-covered public tennis court in the dark). Now that I have essayed half-jokingly to contribute constructively to this thread I will circle back to actually read everyone else's remarks because I, too, would very much like to know how to hold serve, as this has been a problem of mine lately against this one guy whose ground game just barely manages to rush me however consistently (so, I would like to start earning a few more cheap points on serve to relieve some of the presssure).

DeShaun
02-14-2012, 10:41 PM
ok heres that video... this should help you with developing a better topspin/kick serve... just look at what she's doing.. Keeps her head and her tossing arm up.. shes watching the ball throughout serve so that she can make great contact..also notice that she is really going after the ball..

http://youtu.be/ds6CZ4qCXD4

That dude must want to have sex with her so bad.

USERNAME
02-14-2012, 10:57 PM
That dude must want to have sex with her so bad.

For the lols
Good vid though.

DeShaun
02-15-2012, 12:29 AM
I agree that the second serve action is key to holding serve. It's much easier to hold if you know you can always get that second serve to go in with enough pace and spin to force your opponent into hitting it with their weaker shot. It also helps if you can get enough kick on it to make them have to hit it above their shoulder.

I know a guy who hits two second serves both with much topspin at slow speeds, on loopy trajectories. I tee off on his stuff because it's not violent enough. He scarcely does more than roll it in, at forty-five miles an hour. "Boom!" Take me just over two return games before I start tattooing his serve. So you gotta watch out laying too much emphasis on the second serve, as though it were different not in degree but in kind than the first, because they can be very closely related. A sound approach to service development might include finding out what serves one can hit in ninety percent of the time, and all serves between these and those that one can hit in sixty percent of the time, and then attempting his absolute best to execute the one serve that tends to land in so often. That way, one has the full range to play with (just don't dip below 60% at worst) and can adjust his risk levels depending on how he feels and what serve he knows is his most reliable, whether or not it would be his strongest, in a perfect world, given the current and real situation. One must know (and listen to) "his serves[-plural]". . .and then dance with them in turn.

OTMPut
02-16-2012, 10:14 PM
I don't believe we should ever swing at 110%, unless we're screwing around.
Since 100% is the FASTEST that we can control, and we can agree we need some control on second serves, you need to slow it down some.
Say a first flat serve is about 80% as fast as you can swing. You'd like to get a few in once in a while, yes?
So maybe 70% on twists because it's an awkward upward swing.
So for SECOND serves, 90% of your fastest swing speed, allowing a little for margin of error.
As for focusing away from the serve, read post 8, it pretty much details what you need to NOT lose your serve.

not quite.

think about swinging for your forehand. you don't need to swing the fastest to produce a very fast ball. on the other hand you need to swing really fast to produce a lot of topspin.

spin => control.

Roy125
02-16-2012, 10:22 PM
not quite.

think about swinging for your forehand. you don't need to swing the fastest to produce a very fast ball. on the other hand you need to swing really fast to produce a lot of topspin.

spin => control.

So hitting the ball as quickly as I can on all my strokes to produce a lot of spin actually gives me more consistency? I will try to do that tomorrow, just absolutely hit everything as fast as I can.

USERNAME
02-17-2012, 01:13 AM
So hitting the ball as quickly as I can on all my strokes to produce a lot of spin actually gives me more consistency? I will try to do that tomorrow, just absolutely hit everything as fast as I can.

It's not just swinging fast, it's how you strike the ball. To get a lot of topspin on a forehand you do need lots of racquet speed, just like on serve when you want more spin for a kick or topspin serve you need a lot of speed. Think more about hitting up on the ball rather than through it.

LeeD
02-17-2012, 04:10 PM
A good trained player, 4.5 and above, can swing his maximum controllable speed and play quite well.
A 3.5 needs to moderate his swing much more, because not only is his body out of shape, out of training, but his mind is also out of shape, out of training, and cannot concentrate long enough to hit hard shots more than a few strokes.
You LEVEL tells yoiu how hard you can hit consistently. Blindly choosing one over the other is just a 3.0 decision.

martini1
02-18-2012, 03:05 AM
The motto is first learn hit with pace, then learn how to keep them in. Spin alone may help in the 2nd but you still need to learn how to give it some pace. As fore ground strokes lots of spin may make your balls go short and invite your opponent to come in for a kill if he is not afraid to hit on the rise.

Chyeaah
02-18-2012, 03:09 AM
3 locations to serve usually. Backhand, Forehand, Flat to their body.

Improving your serve would be the easiest part of your game, you don't require a hitting partner, whenever you have time go to your nearest court and just serve for an hour.

Chyeaah
02-18-2012, 03:11 AM
A good trained player, 4.5 and above, can swing his maximum controllable speed and play quite well.
A 3.5 needs to moderate his swing much more, because not only is his body out of shape, out of training, but his mind is also out of shape, out of training, and cannot concentrate long enough to hit hard shots more than a few strokes.
You LEVEL tells yoiu how hard you can hit consistently. Blindly choosing one over the other is just a 3.0 decision.

Yes, I have experienced this SOOOOOOOOO SOOOOOOOOO MUCH.

First 45 when i start playing i play really well, then my concentration goes downhill, im not fully tired yet but in the first 45m to 1 hour i just hit so well and then everything just goes downhill from there, being lazy, not concentrating, always hitting balls long.

The thing about the "sick kick" is that you should take the ball earlier, split step and when she does that kick serve motion jump forward and pound it back.

Logan71
02-19-2012, 02:31 PM
I after many years of playing avoided fixing my serve,I was younger didn't have the resources to get coaching and the internet didn't exist.

Really wish I was a teenager now with the info available for free on tennis.Anyway I was well into my thirties before I finally built a proper serve.If lower level players or Rec players are honest we are more likely to break serve than we are to hold unlike the pro's.

Reason being the guy across the net is like you in that he may as well serve with a frying pan the way he serves.

I really go after my serve now 1st and 2nd.I'm a shorter guy so I go for an elemnt of spin on first and second serve.The only difference in my serve is the location in the toss,more forward for the first and further back for the second.This gives me a workable serve mechanically that's identical in toss height and motion considering my limited playing time in a year.

I hold better now but give games away more due to hitting a couple of double faults in a game somewhere in a set.If it get's bad I could do that in 3 games so lot's of work to do.

However it's worth it because your whole game will benefit from a good serve even if it's not big you will develop confidence in it.

Roy125
02-19-2012, 04:30 PM
Hmmm I think I know why my second serves aren't consistent. It's because that's when I get most tight.