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View Full Version : How long did it take you to get a serve?


Oxford
09-12-2006, 09:19 PM
MAN!, I've never had a serve. I am a dang pusher trying to learn REAL tennis. I can get by with all my lame pusher methods but I'm done with that. It's top-spin, slices and a real serve for me.

SO I went the court tonight after studying a bunch of DVDs and bombing serves into my garage a few nights...and tried out some serves.

I got the set up and toss pretty well but trying to side slice the ball into the court was nuts. I was about 5%. And those were luck. Balls were flying everywhere. I think I will get a coach.

How long did it take you guys to get a good consistent serve? Did you practice JUST SERVES alone often to master it.

This is harder than I thought...:cry:

OX

HyperHorse
09-12-2006, 09:29 PM
Seriously, get coaching as soon as u can...
Once you have a consistent easy service action worked out, practise practise practise so the form becomes 2nd nature.
I recommend at least 30min EVERYDAY practising your serve.
Keys to a good serve
- Staying Loose
- Focus on your Rhythm, by this i mean your body movements, when you toss the ball, swing ur racquet etc etc..
- A clear head. Dont think about the result of your serve, just focus on ur serve. Take a few seconds before you serve to decide where you're going to serve and previsualise the point u want to play..

Thats all the advice i can give a player of your skill level, that i can think of for now...

tennis_hand
09-12-2006, 10:18 PM
i played one year, but i never got my serve consistent or with enough power.

well, you gotta admit that people just don't practice serves unless they are serious about matches.

Getting a coach should help a lot. but I am teaching myself each step. at least now I can get my pronation almost correct. so i think u can do it by yourself too, just a lot slower. maybe getting a video camera to shoot your motion is another cheap way and faster way.

tennisfanatic
09-12-2006, 11:02 PM
MAN!, I've never had a serve. I am a dang pusher trying to learn REAL tennis. I can get by with all my lame pusher methods but I'm done with that. It's top-spin, slices and a real serve for me.

SO I went the court tonight after studying a bunch of DVDs and bombing serves into my garage a few nights...and tried out some serves.

I got the set up and toss pretty well but trying to side slice the ball into the court was nuts. I was about 5%. And those were luck. Balls were flying everywhere. I think I will get a coach.

How long did it take you guys to get a good consistent serve? Did you practice JUST SERVES alone often to master it.

This is harder than I thought...:cry:

OX

1. Get a coach to teach you proper techniques on serve.
2. PRACTICE- I used to hit 500 balls just on serve per session.

Talon
09-12-2006, 11:47 PM
It takes alot of practice. The way I did it was to practice one part of the serve until it got comfortable. First i would develop a consisent ball toss. Then I would practice using continental grip and get used to the service motion. Then I would add a knee bend and a back arch. Then I would learn to transfer weight. Put it together you have a serve.

I mostly studied Sampras serve and analyzed his stance, service motion, body positioning, and even how he holds his racquet before the serve.

Also keeping your wrist loose is important or you will hit the ball into the opposite fence instead of the court. Last thing, focus on the ball when you toss it up.

emo5
09-13-2006, 02:48 AM
Try aiming and THINK about what you are doing.
You could hit serve up 1000 balls and still not improve the slightest bit. You'd be wasting your time.
Focus on your technique and start slow, remember what your coach says!

wyutani
09-13-2006, 02:58 AM
it really easy to hit a serve. just imagine the tennis ball to be someone you really hate. eg. like the girl that aced you in tennis, ur ex-gf. really easy, just use ur anger mate'/

WayneCM
09-13-2006, 03:16 AM
Take the serve apart, 1st work on ur starting postition:
Feet wide apart r close 2gether.... Then work on getting a good consistant toss, this is vital because if u can stabalise ur toss this can prevent a lot of service issues...
I chose 2 use Roddicks tossing routine ie. the hand raises above the head b4 release the arm stays up palm facing the sky...

Then focus on the hitting arm, ensure ur technique is a flowing comfortable motion that u feel u can reproduce... Try by hitting floating slice serves into the middle of the service area... What this will do is give u a wide margin of error cause u'll b hitting it high and the slice will give it a little variance...

When u get better with that try and juice it up a little by turning ur body into the serve more.. It's key that in your serve that u turn your body in to get more power and also it can help open up angles on the serve...

If u are more advanced then that work on using your legs ie. knee bend... This again will add power, and with the combination of all previous steps then the serve will steadily improve...

raiden031
09-13-2006, 05:28 AM
I am living proof of someone who can go years with a horrible serve and finally correct it and have success with it.

I was playing for like 5 years off and on and I didn't know the proper technique so I'd just throw it up and hit it as hard as I could for a first serve. It rarely went in, and my second serve was just a frying pan dink because I just couldn't get any consistency with my bad form.

Finally about 2 months ago I started playing religiously and my goal has been to get out of this plateau of sucking and losing to pushers. So I started watching videos and reading websites where they describe the proper form, and I just started doing it with very little power in my serve. After a few sessions of practicing I noticed they started going in consistently (while still hitting them softly). Then I just gradually started giving more and more power. I suggest working on your top-spin and slice serves first, rather than flat serves because they are much easier to control. Now after 2 months I hit my top-spin serves and slices as hard as I can and they go in about 85% of the time. My 2nd serve is no longer a dink, but a top-spin serve with about moderate effort and goes in about 99% of the time.

I still need to work on my flat serves, but I definitely have seen enormous improvement since I dropped the crap technique and went back to the basics. I almost never double fault and I primarily lose matches because of my inconsistent ground strokes, not from a crappy serve.

Tennis Man
09-13-2006, 06:01 AM
It's very important that someone shows you how to serve properly. I couldn't get it work for me until one of my buddys broke it down for me.

Then, it's all about practice. I practiced a couple of hours per day just serving.

Keeping loose is very important. Think of your entire arm and shoulder as a whip and your entire body (legs and back) as a spring. When you toss a ball, you bent you knees and back while bringing your "whip" behind your back.

Then you push your entire body up and loosely swing your whip. You have to be loose until you actually hit the ball by tightening and snapping your wrist.

It's also important to hit the sweetspot or slightly above it for a powerful heavy serve. Heavier HL racquets help a lot.

JordanR
09-13-2006, 06:44 AM
It's very important that someone shows you how to serve properly. I couldn't get it work for me until one of my buddys broke it down for me.

Then, it's all about practice. I practiced a couple of hours per day just serving.

Exactly.

I've been playing for 6 months and at first I would have a crappy first serve then I would just have to bump my second serve in because I didn't have anything else. Have someone show you the right way to serve. The biggest difference for me was moving from the frying pan grip (haha which I guess is trying a western grip on serve...whoah) to a continental grip, but I wouldn't have figured that out unless someone told me. Well maybe I would, but I wouldn't have figured it out in 5 minutes on a Wednesday night.

Once you have the idea of what you need to do, go do it...a lot. When I go and practice I usually hit against a wall for maybe 30min to an hour and then its all serving for the next hour or two. I get my ball basket and start on the ad side (just because of the layout of these courts I go to, start wherever you want) and serve the entire basket of balls over. I get every ball over, if a ball hits the net I pick em up and serve em over.

I usually do this routine:
2 baskets each side w/o worrying about direction
1 basket each side of slice serves
1 basket each side of kick serves
1-2 baskets each side of serving and trying to hit the corners (down the line and out wide)

And then I'm done :) I'm sure other people here do even more than that, but practice the right strokes a lot and you'll get it.

DRtenniS1112
09-13-2006, 06:57 AM
I am only answering your initial question not offering advice here but I know my first serve came before my second. I had my first serve after about a 2 years and my second serve took me 4 years to the point where it is no longer a liability.

Nextman916
09-13-2006, 12:29 PM
4 and 1/2 months for me to start actually getting them in the service box at some sort of percentage, but still couldnt place it. After 8 months i had developed tons more pace but still placement was an issue, once i had consistent serves with good pace i started to go out with a full hopper of balls and serve every at least 4 days a week for about 4 months. Ever since then my serve has been about the same, im always around 100mph, i have the ability to hit around 110 but that leads to more errors. So all in all it took be about a year and a half to learn the current motion of the serve i use now. BTW I had a coach, so that might have speed the process a little as well.

alan-n
09-13-2006, 01:21 PM
Here is a tip: You can't have a consistent serve without a consistent ball toss. And even then, as part of your service routine you should put up a practice toss to have have confidence in your toss before you perform your full service routine... IE bouncing the ball, looking at your opponent to make sure he's ready. Best to do this before you step up to the service line so your opponent knows you are just doing a practice toss motion.

VGP
09-13-2006, 01:27 PM
it really easy to hit a serve. just imagine the tennis ball to be someone you really hate. eg. like the girl that aced you in tennis, ur ex-gf. really easy, just use ur anger mate'/

that's the way of the dark side

Bryant
09-13-2006, 02:55 PM
I've been playing about three months...in that time I've established a semireliable Topspin serve, and also a topspin slice...(2nd serves)...my first serve (flat)...is getting there...though it goes in maybe 10%...every session it seems to improve abit...

My only piece of advice is: Think about what you are doing...picture each step in your head before you do it. Also, keep your head clear...dont worry about the last point...serving frustrated only leads to further frustration.

Nextman916
09-13-2006, 03:14 PM
Its very misleading that you have to have a good toss for a good serve, of course if its an extremely bad toss you cant hit a good serve. However i was taught by many coaches that you should try to hit every toss, so you have the ability to. Its horrible to be toss dependent, especially in match play, ive seen so many rec players do this just because they think its not a good toss, and then have to retoss and screws the whole rythym. You should work on technique for your serves overall and eventually your toss will fix itself, you shouldnt have to work on your toss alone. Its not gonna hurt, probably even help a little if you go out and practice you toss only, however its not only boring but your not getting any practice with your service motion in. Nobody should have to go out and work on tosses just to make their serve better.

Zets147
09-13-2006, 03:42 PM
It took me 2 years for a first serve (Flat, slice, mix)
I still haven't found my second serve (Stupid Kick only appears once in 50 serves.. bs lol)

Don't let the 2 years discourage you though lol, I taught myself for about a year (I had the form, just not the consistency, then went and played for school for a year).
You should always get the form down before anything. Watch pros and try to mimic their style.
Just remember 3 things:
DO NOT POKE AT THE BALL, DO NOT SERVE A POWDERPUFF SERVE, DO THROW A JUNK SERVE TO MESS UP THE RETURNER. (<--- This one worked rofl).

pNoyr3D
09-13-2006, 04:09 PM
I have been playing for about 5 years now and 2 of them years were on and off cause I was involved in other sports.

Once I got back and stopped playing other sports it actually took me a whole year to be able to get a consistent and strong first serve/second serve.

I currently use a Slice first serve and sometimes topspin
My 2nd serve I usually try a kick serve but doesn't work often and second serves are "supposed" to go in. So I usually use a slightly weaker slice serve.

My first serves go in about 75% of the time which I think is great.
My second serves go in about 90% of the time.

So yeah i'm still improving on putting more power and better placement onto the service boxes, but I am improving.

I used to use a flat serve like you I believe and I switched to a slice serve. I used to use the usual eastern for my flats now I have switched to a continental which made my serves way better!! Also I started bending my knees more and using a more fluid motion. Another thing I changed was instead of tossing the ball high I tossed it mid and a little to the right which made it easier to slice.

Well yeah, anyways it took me almost a whole year to get my serve, lol!

Sorry for the long reply, lol.

Oxford
09-13-2006, 06:42 PM
Thanks for all the great responses folks...much appreciated :)

Follow up:
I went out and bought a ball hopper and a case of balls (snagged some loaner Babolats too):mrgreen:

Then met with the top coach in the area (he certifies instructors all over the world) and we have a 1.5 hour sesson next Wednesday. He saw the fire in my eyes and got pumped up.

I may be 54 but I'm gonna nail this thing or at least get as good as I can get ;)

Thanks again
OX

d_frank
09-13-2006, 07:00 PM
I never had a problem learning the flat serve, cuz it was the natural thing to hit. I was never coached, so i just picked up on the motion from watching my cousin who won the state tournament. When I tried to slice it (changing grip to continental) I failed horribly, but realized i had to "aim" my racquet in a different place. Since every ball was shooting off to the left (im a lefty), i angled the racquet more towards the right when i made contact, and thus the serve is now a legitimate weapon. Also, i just started doing the topspin serve a few weeks ago, throwing the ball above my head instead of off to the side.

tennis_hand
09-13-2006, 09:01 PM
if you are talking about serving flat using eastern grip, it feels natural.
but it is not the correct way. pros use continental grip for almost all serves. Using continental to serve the flat is not so natural to beginners any more.

gabos
09-14-2006, 09:11 AM
Its very misleading that you have to have a good toss for a good serve, of course if its an extremely bad toss you cant hit a good serve. However i was taught by many coaches that you should try to hit every toss, so you have the ability to. Its horrible to be toss dependent, especially in match play, ive seen so many rec players do this just because they think its not a good toss, and then have to retoss and screws the whole rythym. You should work on technique for your serves overall and eventually your toss will fix itself, you shouldnt have to work on your toss alone. Its not gonna hurt, probably even help a little if you go out and practice you toss only, however its not only boring but your not getting any practice with your service motion in. Nobody should have to go out and work on tosses just to make their serve better.

Funny, I got the opposite instruction from teachers-- never try to hit a bad toss, because (they say) it reinforces the bad toss motion. And I've also been told to always go out and practice just the toss as much as possible (in addition to practicing the whole service motion, of course.) I know the williams sisters used to practice just the toss at home over and over, trying to hit a mark on the ceiling. Also, I saw the classic 2000 rafter-agassi wimbledon match on dvd recently, and about 10 times in the match rafter purposefully stopped and caught a bad toss and then started over (he apologized each time, too). Different things work for different people though.

CoconutGT
09-14-2006, 11:06 AM
You should always get the form down before anything. Watch pros and try to mimic their style.

Amen, brother. (no pun intended) :p

Get the (GOOD) form down... then polish it. That's the best way to go imo. Unless you want to run around and push the ball in at 5 miles/hour looking like you know who and never improves.

MasterTS
09-14-2006, 11:19 AM
When I was learning how to hit a kick/twist serve I would take a bucket of 50 balls and hit serves. Each sesson I'd hit around 150 serves and I did this about 4 times a week for several months. I then used only kickserves in matches for about a year.

Best way to develop a serve is to keep hitting it over and over. Even right now I'll go out with a bucket of balls and practice and refine the serve.

f1 tech
09-14-2006, 12:20 PM
My serve is so inconsistent. I try to practice serving for about 1 hour or so when I get the chance. It has gotten a lot better, but still not good enought. One thing that does help, if you don't have a coach, is to video yourself. You can then compare your form with the pros.

Zets147
09-14-2006, 01:26 PM
Amen, brother. (no pun intended) :p

Get the (GOOD) form down... then polish it. That's the best way to go imo. Unless you want to run around and push the ball in at 5 miles/hour looking like you know who and never improves.

One of my acquaintance has a "snake" serve, it is almost impossible to return because you can't stop laughing.

dave333
09-14-2006, 02:36 PM
not too long, unless u count the time i used a semi-western grip for a serve :P I just got used to the continental by just dribbling w/ continental, hitting against a fence. then i imagined throwing a baseball+federer motion and voila, a serve. After that it was just cleaning up and getting more speed and hitting it cleaner. working on my kicker, can only do it only continental, cna't do it eastern. did it thru combo of TV, internet, and moi.

NamRanger
09-14-2006, 03:24 PM
if you are talking about serving flat using eastern grip, it feels natural.
but it is not the correct way. pros use continental grip for almost all serves. Using continental to serve the flat is not so natural to beginners any more.



Not true, some professional players DO use an eastern forehand grip on their first serve. I think Kiefer uses eastern forehand grip, his serve is just pure flat.

MasterTS
09-14-2006, 05:06 PM
Its very misleading that you have to have a good toss for a good serve, of course if its an extremely bad toss you cant hit a good serve. However i was taught by many coaches that you should try to hit every toss, so you have the ability to. Its horrible to be toss dependent, especially in match play, ive seen so many rec players do this just because they think its not a good toss, and then have to retoss and screws the whole rythym. You should work on technique for your serves overall and eventually your toss will fix itself, you shouldnt have to work on your toss alone. Its not gonna hurt, probably even help a little if you go out and practice you toss only, however its not only boring but your not getting any practice with your service motion in. Nobody should have to go out and work on tosses just to make their serve better.

HHAAH so instead of correcting the toss, you just hit it.. two wrongs make a right? That is the most ridiciously thing I ever heard.

The serve is centralized on a proper toss... A bad toss day will throw your serve rythm to sh1t and you wont place or have any power. For the advanced player the toss can be key to power, placement, and disguise..

Your serve should be toss dependent.. just as your groundstrokes should be footwork dependent.. You want to hit everything the same way using muscle memory and repitition.. dont reinvite the wheel.

Cindysphinx
09-14-2006, 07:08 PM
I'm no expert, but it seems to me that trying to hit a bad toss is a losing proposition. It's called a "bad toss" for a reason, no? There's something wrong with it. If you hit it, you will not throw down your best serve because you're improvising. So why not catch the thing and try again?

Anyway, I had a 2.5 serve last year. After taking a serious beating from someone who knew how to handle a 2.5 push serve, I worked all winter on my serve, including using the proper grip and learning to slice. This was a combination of lessons and lots of quality time with a hopper full of balls (only once a week, though).

Now I'm trying to learn to control the beast. I have no friggin' idea where it's going to land in the court. It will kick out wide and people will ooh, and ah, only I was trying to go up the middle.

So it's definitely a work in progress, but I really want to get to 3.5 level, using spin and placement. Maybe in 2 more years?

Rickson
09-14-2006, 08:03 PM
MAN!, I've never had a serve. I am a dang pusher trying to learn REAL tennis. I can get by with all my lame pusher methods but I'm done with that. It's top-spin, slices and a real serve for me.

SO I went the court tonight after studying a bunch of DVDs and bombing serves into my garage a few nights...and tried out some serves.

I got the set up and toss pretty well but trying to side slice the ball into the court was nuts. I was about 5%. And those were luck. Balls were flying everywhere. I think I will get a coach.

How long did it take you guys to get a good consistent serve? Did you practice JUST SERVES alone often to master it.

This is harder than I thought...:cry:

OXHow long did it take to get a good serve? I'll say it took until 2008.

Frenchie
09-17-2006, 09:56 AM
It took weeks of private lessons and then months of going to a court and serving to evolve from serving with a forehand grip.

Ten.Is
09-17-2006, 09:05 PM
It took me a good three months. I practiced for about 3-5 times a weeks. 2 out of 5 just practing serves and the other 3 playing against friends. It just takes practice...the whole saying, "practice makes perfect" is so very true