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View Full Version : How do you overcome a bad serving day?


Rodzilla
10-06-2005, 02:45 PM
What do you recommend one to do to get over a bad day of serving, especially if the serve is a weapon? I was thinking just to remember the basics and keep them flowing in your mind, like remember that the serve requires your whole body in motion. I was also thinking to loosen up, as in don't be so nervous, especially in the arm. Is there any other advice that you could dish out on how to get your serve back in sync?

If it helps, my other weapon is the forehand. My backhand is pretty much just a consistent wing, and the rest of my game is basically still falling in place.

Thanks in advance,
Rod

kevhen
10-06-2005, 02:52 PM
Last night my serve was off, but I figured that was more because of the wind and cold, so I didn't worry about it and the rest of my game was fine and still won easily. Try to get the toss to the right spot and go with a high percentage serve and gain some confidence while getting them in before going for more.

PM_
10-06-2005, 03:04 PM
Rod, depends on your outlook.
Usually after a bad serving match, I'll practice a few serves all by myself but never in autopilot. I want to figure out what went wrong: was I playing injured; was I tense; tired, whatever.
But it's better for me visualize everything b/c I do that so well. I can replay every point of the match in my head and figure what improvements I need to make or how I need to adjust the next time I play the same guy.
Jamie Moyer, the pitcher, has a written log of each hitter and how he has to pitch to that particular guy, and I do the same mentally. (although I should write my own log).
But getting back to serving, it's better to shrug it off for the night, think fresh the next day and get back into a positive groove.

rilokiley
10-07-2005, 01:38 AM
I hit two second serves if I'm having an off day. with alotta spin. and once I feel comfortable i'd go back to flat serve. *shrugs*

TennsDog
10-08-2005, 12:52 PM
My game is based around my serve and pretty much any time it is off I lose serve multiple times and thus lose the match. If you can't put the ball in play, you can't win. Whenever my serve sucks for a match, I stay on the court and hit serves until I stop being mad at myself or until I fix whatever the problem was, whichever comes first. Confidence is probably the biggest thing in getting serves in when you're having trouble. Don't let up, continue to pound the ball into the service box, perhaps adding a little more spin. You need to know that the ball is going to go in and let your body actually do it. They say tennis (and every other sport ever created) is mostly mental...it's not. Your mind will never hit that tennis ball. Your body is the only thing that knows how to put the ball in the court, so let it do it.

Baseline Basher
10-08-2005, 05:19 PM
You just said that confidence is the biggest part of getting serves in, but then you contradict yourself and say serving is not mental at all?

tennismx
10-08-2005, 05:28 PM
You are right about keeping the basics in mind. What I do is warm up my serve slow. Just focus on form and getting it in first, then pick up the speed. If I realize during a match that my serves are bad, then I just make sure my serve gets in (not trying a difficult serve) and then focus on the winning the point another way.

TennsDog
10-09-2005, 10:50 AM
Baseline Basher, that is not a contradiction. You need to have the confidence in your game to simply let your body do the work. As Morpheus said in the Matrix, "Stop trying to hit me and hit me!" Same thing here. When you are having a hard time, you need to stop trying to hit the serve in and just hit it...it will start going in (ideally).

Galactus
10-09-2005, 12:02 PM
Seriously, I drive home from the tennis club and buy a couple of bottle of Chilean red wine....I drink them and I forget all about the 20+ double-faults I served 2 hours earlier...:|

hyperwarrior
10-09-2005, 07:59 PM
I think when you got this kind of day, you try to remind yourself doing the basic thing. Using slice or topspin might get you into the rythms gradually. I think it's better to use moderate pace and trying to avoid the 2nd serve...

PM_
10-10-2005, 09:55 AM
Seriously, I drive home from the tennis club and buy a couple of bottle of Chilean red wine....I drink them and I forget all about the 20+ double-faults I served 2 hours earlier...:|

my kind of therapy:cool: :cool:

Marius_Hancu
10-10-2005, 09:58 AM
tell yourself to:
flex your knees more
toss higher

Marius_Hancu
10-10-2005, 09:58 AM
sorry, this was a repeat ...

FiveO
10-10-2005, 12:57 PM
What do you recommend one to do to get over a bad day of serving, especially if the serve is a weapon? I was thinking just to remember the basics and keep them flowing in your mind, like remember that the serve requires your whole body in motion. I was also thinking to loosen up, as in don't be so nervous, especially in the arm. Is there any other advice that you could dish out on how to get your serve back in sync?

If it helps, my other weapon is the forehand. My backhand is pretty much just a consistent wing, and the rest of my game is basically still falling in place.

Thanks in advance,
Rod

If we're talking about making corrections mid-match, the first thing is to recognize where you are missing the serve. The misses, the effect, have their related causes. Netted serves can indicate a toss which is too low or too far out in front or it can indicate a loss of focus on hitting out and UP on the serve. Hitting long can indicate a toss which is not far enough in front or that you are not "trusting" your motion enough to keep your racquet speed up while swinging upward and outward. Errors can also come from not maintaining precise contact points. Merely aiming to "hit the ball" as the toss hangs in space can be pretty inexact and can yield results which vary widely. Focusing on very precise contact points on the ball limits the variance on your errors and successes. Maintaining more precise contact points will necessitate keeping your eyes and head up on contact too, which is a good thing.

Realize too, especially if you view your serve as weapon, which for most people erroneously equates exclusively to pace, that there is no such thing as a flat serve. There are flatTER serves but they too should be hit with a degree of topspin/slice. One must be seven feet tall or taller to have the angle to hit an absolute flat serve which clears the net and stays within the service box.

IF the other elements of your serve are "grooved" and while keeping the above things in mind, the quick fixes should be simple. Not necessarily easy, but simple. Everyone's swing thoughts should be, by definition, unique to each individual but the analysis of errors should be rooted in the above.

Your motion is your motion grooved by practice and made part of your muscle memory. Mid-match, your corrections should be kept short and simple. Your swing thoughts should be limited to the same thing, short and simple. My pre-serve ritual is to select what serve and location I want based my opponent's strengths and weaknesses and on my serving tendencies to that point. Then my thought is "relaxed and loose." From there its go time. My thoughts during the motion are "accelerate up and out" and "contact point". "Accelerate up and out", means the swing path for the serve I've selected and to trust it and "contact point" means to focus on the precise spot on the ball I need to hit for the serve I've selected.

If you have a consistent toss and the motion is grooved, if you're hitting in the net it means you're not hitting up enough. Long and you're missing those precise contact points and/or not accelerating fully. If you're missing too many firsts and percentages are suffering, hit your firsts LESS flat but with just as much or more racquet head speed for greater spin and safety. Simple fixes mid-match.

If the motion itself is suspect that has to be corrected in practice sessions. Toss and motion have to be grooved there and brought into match play from there. In your matches, your motion is your motion. But even with a so-so toss/motion, remaining relaxed, keeping your racquet head speed up and hitting up and out through precise contact points will cure alot of ills.

Rodzilla
10-22-2005, 05:30 PM
After not spending some time strictly on my serve for a while and not getting repetition, my timing is not flowing, not in sync. I'm feeling tight, not as comfortable. Any tips? I tried to incorporate some of the tips given in this thread, which did help a little.

Marius_Hancu
10-22-2005, 06:18 PM
After not spending some time strictly on my serve for a while and not getting repetition, my timing is not flowing, not in sync. I'm feeling tight, not as comfortable. Any tips? I tried to incorporate some of the tips given in this thread, which did help a little.

if you don't have flow, your Rocking Motion is probably gone AWOL

check the Sticky thread (the one at the top of this forum)
for my posting
Serve Power and Placement
and check the thread on Rocking Motion (weight transfer)

FiveO
10-23-2005, 12:13 PM
Another "quicky fix" for getting the motion flowing is to hit your serves at 80-90% of your maximum power. Sometimes the thought of hitting the serve "hard" causes one to "muscle up" losing flow and the very racquet speed the server is looking for on the serve. Muscling up is counter-productive. Muscling just one link breaks the kinetic chain and interrupts the building "flow" of energy used in hitting effective serves. The motion will feel "off" or disjointed.

So if you're trying to crush the serve, don't. Hitting 80-90% of max effort can result in the server relaxing enough to allow the kinetic chain to flow from link to link more naturally and efficiently. You'll probably have more pop on the serve than when really "trying" to blister it.

AngeloDS
10-23-2005, 05:53 PM
I don't let it bother me. We all have our bad days :p, even pros have their bad days. All you can do is move on and make no excuses. If you continue to have bad days, they aren't flukes. You need to change something your game if it's happening constantly.

I just try to make it up in other areas. I was playing doubles. In the 10 minute warmup, my forehands were not there. I had to take the backhand side, and take all backhands. My backhands never fail me, but they aren't as powerful or technical as my forehands.

snoflewis
10-23-2005, 11:15 PM
make excuses that your serve was bad

ironchef21
10-24-2005, 07:56 AM
If my serve is consistently off the first thing I do is take off pace and add spin - usually topspin to get some confidence back.

You also need to make sure your toss is consistent.

I've found that when I rush my motion my serve is usually off. So I try to tell myself to slow down my motion. I keep Ivan Lendl's motion in my head where it seemed he would toss the ball and wait an extra moment before hitting his serve.