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Tennis120PlayerA
12-02-2012, 11:12 AM
Hi Everyone,

I a question I'm hoping someone else out there can help me answer. I am a solid 4.0, and I also play on the 4.5 level against many other 4.5 men/women. I can beat many 4.0s and some 4.5s. However, lately for some reason, I have been having issues on my service game. I don't double fault all that often (maybe 2-3 times tops in a match), but when I do, it's sometimes on a game/crucial point. It doesn't always happen every time I play, but it has been happening often lately for some reason. I know I have a strong serve and the people I play against often tell me they have a hard time returning my serve. I have been trying to focus on keeping a fluid motion no matter what, and keeping a consistent toss at 1 o'clock in front of me. Sometimes it will happen when I'm down 30-40 or 15-40. It usually only happens in one game out of the match, but I need to work on something crucial like this. With this exception, the rest of my strokes really keep me in the match. I mix up my shots with a variety of topspin and flat balls. I come in and I'm aggressive when I play. I'm able to get to many balls because I am fast and fit. I don't really feel any pressure when I play, I usually just go for my shots, and I love playing the game. However, I think I do feel some slight tension when I serve (because this issue has been happening lately), but I think I'm not sure if I'm actually trying too hard to focus on crucial points. I don't really feel the nerves as much as I do trying to focus. Has anyone had this happen to them, too? I know I have the correct service motion down, but it tends to be too "jerky" on some points. How can I help my focus to keep a fluid motion regardless?

Tennis120PlayerA
12-02-2012, 11:33 AM
I forgot to add that I do play tiebreakers and that seems to help a little

pvaudio
12-02-2012, 11:44 AM
Just sounds like normal tightness. What I would recommend is what I do on those big points that you're down: spin. I can't be sure, but I would imagine I hit my second serve with more RHS than my first but put most of it into spin. If you have a good second serve that doesn't let you down often, then go that route. Force the opponent to make a return instead of trying to force a weak return. When I play friendly matches, I tend not to do this because big serves under pressure are a good weapon, and it's good to practice that. However, if the match counts (even for family bragging rights :D ), then it's two second serves, one wide on the deuce court to make a sharper angle, and one up the middle on the ad court to have the ball dance away from their normal forehand. The wide serve on the ad court is my favorite first serve, but for seconds, I really need to get some RHS on it to make it as effective.

LeeD
12-02-2012, 01:17 PM
Practice.
Firing all second serves, you should get in maybe 45 out of 50.
When you go for exact placement, and take your time, at least that.
So on a pressure point, take your time, focus on smooth fast swing, and aim up the middle with lots of net clearance for a slightly better percentage ratio.

fuzz nation
12-03-2012, 04:21 AM
I don't double fault all that often (maybe 2-3 times tops in a match), but when I do, it's sometimes on a game/crucial point.

Sometimes it will happen when I'm down 30-40 or 15-40. I think I'm not sure if I'm actually trying too hard to focus on crucial points.

This might be the problem right here. If you are thinking about some points as being more crucial than others, then you're likely to be manufacturing pressure on those points more than is necessary. Think about it - just what points are NOT crucial?...

One of the greatest disciplines in tennis is the ability to play each point to the best of our abilities. Plan at least the starting action of every point and get after it... because every point is indeed crucial.

In terms of your actual serve, you may be doing too much with your first serve and too little with your second serve. If you're trying for lots of "rock star" cheap points off first serve bombs that don't land with much consistency, that means that you need to hit too many second serves. If this is the case, get serious about landing more first balls.

If you want your serve to be more reliable, also consider getting the same fundamental motion, including the tempo of the swing, about the same with your first and second serves. Eventually you may find that both serves are almost identical in many cases, except that you're not aiming as close to the lines on your second serves.

LeeD
12-07-2012, 04:54 PM
Sorry, FuzzN... You always give good advice, as far as I can ever remember on here.... sorry.
Are you suggesting hitting both serves the same, on each and every point?
Are you losing your mind? :):)
First serve, go for your best shot.
Second serve, spin it in to which side you like at the height you want to give, but safely away from the lines.....that is the answer.
To suggest TWO serves the same has gotta be nether world...nether, never, whatever.....
Who serves first and second serves the same?
Only the weak, the lame, the scared, the foodstuff of the world, not the hunters.

Chas Tennis
12-07-2012, 05:42 PM
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alexander_technique

To sum up the point, if you 'have' to do something such as getting a serve in it might cause unintended tension to soon develop in some of your muscles. Perhaps that tension is what screws up your serve (and also many clutch serves of ATP and WTA players).

Alexander - as I understand it - if he were serving, might have said to himself 'I don't have to get this serve in'. Actually saying this would prevent his auto sequence of muscle tightening and relax him.

The next time that you are serving at 5-4 for the match tell yourself that you 'don't have to hold your serve'.........

LeeD
12-07-2012, 06:07 PM
..or, on stress points, you can take a deep breathe, let it out, think of long flowing lines and symmetry, and hit your best second serve right where you want it to go....
Since it's kinda mental anyways, think positive and visualize your serve going IN, but you need TIME to think and visualize, so rushing right into your second serve after missing the first is not always the best idea.

boramiNYC
12-07-2012, 07:05 PM
Alexander Technique can be very effective in this kinda problem but some effort must be put in to reap benefits. it really makes you observe your own body by feel, thus ultimately improving proprioceptive capability. but how this is related to performance anxiety is one of the fascinating subjects of AT.

it is a mental problem but it's a part of the mind that's linked to the body and its control and AT elucidates how that connection can be exploited to our benefit.

compared to a professional performing artist performing a difficult piece in front of thousands of people, making the serve in is a walk in the park. to make this concise, the more you focus on the immediate execution as clearly as possible the less likely you'll make mistake under pressure situation. in this case you must know how to serve in as much detail as possible and clearly decide the target as early as possible. focusing on the details of execution usually takes a lot of pressure from the score or winning or losing.

to learn in more detail how all this work I recommend AT as well.

wanted to add that knowing the correct details of how involves understanding anatomy and biomechanics and the study of forms for activities and posture.

rten885
12-07-2012, 08:42 PM
If you tighten up on your kick serve try not to rotate your hips and stay sideways during the whole sequence. You will get a ton more spin on your serve. You will definitely double fault a lot less but some of your kicks will land a little shorter in the box.

Tennis120PlayerA
12-16-2012, 06:27 PM
Thanks for the replies, everyone! Does anyone know where I can find something online regarding specifically tennis and the Alexander Technique?

Cheetah
12-16-2012, 07:05 PM
Make sure you have a routine that you follow.

NLBwell
12-16-2012, 07:20 PM
Don't think about it. Think about whether you are coming in or staying back or whatever after you get the second serve in.

zapvor
12-16-2012, 07:59 PM
this happened to the last match i played. i won 11 straight games, up 6-0 5-0, my serve. what do i do? get broken.

NLBwell
12-16-2012, 09:12 PM
That was probably more just laziness and lack of focus because you were so far ahead.

zapvor
12-17-2012, 03:28 PM
yea i did lose focus i think.

boramiNYC
12-18-2012, 11:14 AM
Thanks for the replies, everyone! Does anyone know where I can find something online regarding specifically tennis and the Alexander Technique?

There's little or no info about AT and tennis, but I know at least one coach who is also an AT teacher.

http://www.tenniswithouttension.com/

AT is still not well known in athletic realm while it is very well known in dance, acting, and performing arts field. There are lots of books about AT on Amazon and getting a book is probably the best way to introduce yourself to AT. Anatomy books by Dr. Dimon (AT teacher) are fantastic functional anatomy books that deal with principled approach to posture and form. There are numerous websites about AT. Check out the concept.

http://www.alexandertechnique.com/at.htm

You'll have to connect the dots between the AT and tennis yourself but I think it's worth it for someone who's serious about tennis. This is not a simple and quick solution but rather more of a comprehensive and systemic approach imo.

badmice2
12-28-2012, 09:36 PM
Do you have the same swing speed on your second serve as your first? To fuzz's point, if your serve is technically sound and reliable as you say, racket head,speed + swing speed should be the close if not the same on both serves. The only difference is how much spin you put on the ball and where you aim.

Maybe the solution is to practice hard spinning first serves (kick, twist, slice, or however you hit your spin serve) so that you get get familiar feel with the control + motion of your spin serve. Once you get the hang of it, it will be a matter of how you decide to make contact.

t135
12-28-2012, 10:12 PM
Hi Everyone,

I a question I'm hoping someone else out there can help me answer. I am a solid 4.0, and I also play on the 4.5 level against many other 4.5 men/women. I can beat many 4.0s and some 4.5s. However, lately for some reason, I have been having issues on my service game. I don't double fault all that often (maybe 2-3 times tops in a match), but when I do, it's sometimes on a game/crucial point. It doesn't always happen every time I play, but it has been happening often lately for some reason. I know I have a strong serve and the people I play against often tell me they have a hard time returning my serve. I have been trying to focus on keeping a fluid motion no matter what, and keeping a consistent toss at 1 o'clock in front of me. Sometimes it will happen when I'm down 30-40 or 15-40. It usually only happens in one game out of the match, but I need to work on something crucial like this. With this exception, the rest of my strokes really keep me in the match. I mix up my shots with a variety of topspin and flat balls. I come in and I'm aggressive when I play. I'm able to get to many balls because I am fast and fit. I don't really feel any pressure when I play, I usually just go for my shots, and I love playing the game. However, I think I do feel some slight tension when I serve (because this issue has been happening lately), but I think I'm not sure if I'm actually trying too hard to focus on crucial points. I don't really feel the nerves as much as I do trying to focus. Has anyone had this happen to them, too? I know I have the correct service motion down, but it tends to be too "jerky" on some points. How can I help my focus to keep a fluid motion regardless?

Rhythm. Focus on rhythm when you serve. At crucial points you just focus on the rhythm. It sets your kind at ease kind of like deep breathing and meditation. Do it during practice and throughout the match.

goran_ace
12-28-2012, 11:55 PM
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