How much is having a consistent serve the difference between winning and losing?

Discussion in 'Tennis Tips/Instruction' started by HughJars, Nov 13, 2013.

  1. HughJars

    HughJars Banned

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    Heres my hypothesis: a player with 3.5 strokes and an accurate, consistent serve will beat a player with 4.0 strokes and an inconsistent serve (eg: low first % and weak second serve).

    How much is the serve the difference?

    Ive seen players with reasonably strong groundstrokes or net games get beaten simply cos they cant hold serve, either from double faulting, or missing the big bomb first serve and going the frying pan for the second.

    An example of one of these players is me.

    Last pennants match I held serve once, and broke serve 8 times. End result I lost 6-4, 7-5. Trying to smash in the first serve, then cos I had no second serve to resort to, I just fluffed in the second. Either double faulting or watching it go past me. Im not going to say I lost to a worser player. He won the match, overall he had the better game, and I acknowledge him as a better player. His serve was more consistent. Mine was complete cack.

    So, for the last two weeks (had a bye on the weekend) Ive been working hard with my coach on developing that consistent second serve. Will be interesting to see how I go this weekend.
     
    Last edited: Nov 13, 2013
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  2. bblue777

    bblue777 Banned

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    Serve is about 45%
     
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  3. UCSF2012

    UCSF2012 Hall of Fame

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    If you don't have a good, reliable 2nd serve that opponents can't attack (T-off on), you have no right doing a first serve.

    If you cant get your first serve in the majority of the time, then you're going for too much. Find your strongest serve that will go in more than half the time. 130mph that goes in 10% of the time isn't as good as 115mph that goes in 50% the time.
     
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  4. GoaLaSSo

    GoaLaSSo Semi-Pro

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    In doubles, serve can be 80% of a match and the most important stroke.

    In singles, I would argue the serve is still the most important stroke. A strong serve can win you a ton of free points and leaves you feeling confident about your service games, which takes pressure off of you during returning games.

    It is the only shot where your opponent has no influence. You can develop a serve on your own time without relying on other people.
     
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  5. comeback

    comeback Professional

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    As a teacher and tournament player..the serve cannot be emphasized enough. But it is usually the one stroke that lags behind until the player realizes he has to develop a good one. As the other poster said you can develop a good serve on your own time. But i make my students sprint to the net between each practice serve to simulate real play. I have seen many players get in good serves in practice but not in a real match.
     
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  6. travlerajm

    travlerajm Hall of Fame

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    I agree that the serve is the most important stroke.

    But I would argue that the serve is more important in singles than in doubles, for two reasons:

    1) In singles, you serve 50% of the points. You only serve 25% of the points in doubles.
    2) In doubles, you can be a top doubles player with a so-so but consistent kick serve (like Leander Paes or Todd Woodbridge); as long as you are good at charging the net and hitting a decent first volley, you will be able to hold serve consistently because you'll end up with 2 players up against 1-up-one-back, which tends to gives your team an edge in the point. This is not true in singles. A so-so but consistent kick serve in singles will start the point in a neutral situation for a baseline rally. And if you serve and volley, the same 'decent' first volley from knee height that works so effectively in doubles will set you up to get passed unless you can angle it perfectly. To hold serve consistently in singles, your serve must be enough of a weapon to consistently give you the upper hand in the point or give you a couple of free points a game.

    My serve is no longer the weapon it was when I played more frequently (mainly due to lack of serve practice). I feel this limits my upside in singles more than it does in doubles (I'm 4.5-5.0, used to be 5.0+ when my serve was big, even though my forehand was probably worse then than it is now).

    I think the higher the level, the more important the serve becomes for singles. This is less true for doubles, where volley skills (and blocked returns, which are similar to volleys) become the most valued coin of the realm.
     
    Last edited: Nov 13, 2013
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  7. HughJars

    HughJars Banned

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    Yep, this is the mentality Ive been playing with for too long. Smash the first serve and hope (cos when it goes in, its almost a sure point, and I feel like a hero), then have nothing to back it up with. Both of my pennants games this season so far Ive had a first serve percentage of about 10%....normally its about 50%, but under pressure it well and truly goes to s*it...

    Im lucky Ive found a good coach who has completely reworked my technique (I was getting shoulder pain, as well as having a service action that breeds inconsistency), and already this has helped. Im serving much slower, but meh, its controlled, consistent, has more kicks which allows for more net clearance.

    Playing pennants for the first time ever this summer has made me realise the need to have a decent serve, even amongst the lower grades, where Im coming up against youngsters just out of juniors who are well drilled and decent players
     
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  8. dominikk1985

    dominikk1985 Legend

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    at the lower Levels rebreaking a lot can work. I would say that at 3.5 serve is more of a disadvantage rather than Advantage.

    however the higher you climb the more you will Need to hold serve because the opponents won't gift their serves all the time.
     
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  9. NLBwell

    NLBwell Legend

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    An excellent serve can make a 4.0 NTRP a 5.0 and a 6.0 Futures player a top 100 pro (i.e.. Dr. Ivo).
     
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  10. newyorkstadium

    newyorkstadium Semi-Pro

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    I've read a lot of your posts travlerajm. Isn't your backhand better then it used to be? So lack of practise on your serve stops you from playing at a higher level. I can certainly relate to this. I'm in the same boat. Do you throw in many double faults? That's a problem for me. My first serve isn't good enough either.
     
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  11. GoudX

    GoudX Professional

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    If you have a first serve like Karlovic, then a high first serve percent wins you the match. If you are a chronic double faulter, then a low second serve percent will lose you the match.

    However most people have a somewhat effective yet inconsistent first serve and a consistent yet easier to attack second serve. Naturally you should hit a first serve which is hard to attack and has a minimum 40% chance of going in. And on the second serve you should hit a serve which goes in at least 90% of the time, keeping it as hard to attack as you can while keeping the ball in.

    If someone has much higher or lower percentage than these there will be an obvious advantage to one player, but other factors are still important.
     
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  12. shindemac

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    Simply put, you need the best serve possible if you want to win. First serve needs to be faster than players your level, consistent enough (>50%), and be able to hit your spots whether that be the backhand, forehand, down the T, etc. Given all that, you also need to be smart and figure out the opponent's return weaknesses. Sometimes that means going for their forehand. Sometimes you have to hit weak serves. It all depends on the situation, and you need to be able to read it.

    Second serve needs to be consistent (>95%), have enough pace so you start neutral, and directional control is a big plus. Sometimes hitting a slow serve to their backhand is enough for them to make an error. Confidence in your second serve will lead to having a big first serve. If you have a really consistent second serve, there's no reason not to go big on your first.

    It's a lot to ask for if you can do all of the above. But the point is, you practice your serve enough so that it is better than serves of players 1 level above you. Like the op, I realized I could never hold my games even when I had fairly strong groundstrokes for my level. So I made the decision a long time ago to work on my serve. Let me say it works. I don't get broken as much anymore. I've gotten fairly easy games off better players just by having a good serve.
     
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  13. HughJars

    HughJars Banned

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    This. In other words its the old adage - you're only as good as your second serve. Is it fair to say that a good second serve is the foundation of a consistent game?

    Nice post.
     
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  14. PhrygianDominant

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    I can say from personal experience that the serve makes all the difference.

    I play once or twice a week with this guy who is better than me. All his strokes look like crap but he is naturally more athletic, coordinated, and confident than I am. I only manage to win sets when I am hitting my second serve well. My first serve goes in about half the time and usually is good for the point because he doesn't have a good backhand.

    However, if I am double faulting or somehow off on my second serve, he just gets too many points. I go down a game or two, and then I start playing tight and getting frustrated. When I am grooved on my second serve, I am confident in my service games and I usually get a set, if not two.
     
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  15. dominikk1985

    dominikk1985 Legend

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    I don't think karlovic ground game is 4.0. he actually has a pretty strong FH if he has time to set up. his ground game just looks like crap compared to 7.0 players.

    his ground game is probably still as good as lower end college players or WTA players (i.e. 5.5+ male level).
     
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  16. anubis

    anubis Hall of Fame

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    Serve is overrated at lower levels, but I'm only a 3.0. My 1st serve % is around 80%, 2nd serve is 95%, but it doesn't win me games -- ground stroke mechanics wins me games. I don't get free points off my serves.

    I've lost more matches vs. players with dinky "love tap" serves than I have with monster serves.
     
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  17. Fintft

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    Well, my last match was against a better player who also served very well. Plus I've only seen his second serve towards the end of the set!
    (I've never experienced the likes of it in a ladder match before- but he's been learning tennis as a kid)

    And he would return well 75% of my serves + that I would have a couple of DF besides my 25% winning serves...
    It was a massacre, also b/c I've returned like crap (Plus a foot injury that impeded my movement somewhat, getting to his short, sliced returns and ground strokes, or the top spin FHs in the corners)! He only had a crappy TS BH, but he sliced it consistently instead.

    Myself I get a decent first serve (that goes in about 60-65% of the times), that I also use as a second serve (talking only a bit off it and slicing it more).
     
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  18. Dimcorner

    Dimcorner Professional

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    I've seen the opposite for me.
    Serve is my biggest weapon and I can hold 90% of my service games. Doesn't mean I'm acing them, but even with the 2nd serve they don't usually attack because I have decent placement on serve and l can slice/top/twist the serve in so it keeps them on their toes (harder to tee off on them).

    I normally start out hitting only 2nd serves for the first 2 games or so before I start cranking up the flats. If I start hitting too many 1st serves into the net I back off and hit faster 2nd serves as a first serve before I retry my flat.

    Here the last match I played 3.0 (won 6-1, 6-1). I'm in red shorts.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sa96gkG--b4&feature=share&list=UUYyfJ_JeyukHY0l0z7UaC5w
    BTW if it sounds funny is because the racquet I was using was my backup with 36lbs tension.
     
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  19. mightyrick

    mightyrick Hall of Fame

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    I'm not trying to be a negative nelly, but some of the responses in this thread made me scratch my head a little bit. OP, was asking about a consistent serve and then before you know it, there are responses talking about Leander Paes, Tood Woodbridge, Karlovic, et cetera. 115mph and/or 130mph serves. Really???

    Guys, OP is talking about NTRP 3.5. This is the land of inconsistency, the land of double faults, and the land of 75mph first serves... 60mph second serves.

    To the OP: At NTRP 3.5, in any match, the more consistent player wins generally. It really doesn't matter what the strokes look like. As long as the ball can consistently be kept in court, you'll win.

    At 3.5, I've seen pushers with almost no backhand, dink serves, and slow moonball lob forehands beat guys with prettier looking strokes... 6-2, 6-1. But it is because the pusher is much more patient and consistent.

    So my answer to you is that having ANY kind of consistent strokes (serves, forehands, backhands) is the difference between winning and losing. A consistent serve doesn't do crap for you if your forehand is an inconsistent mess.
     
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  20. Fintft

    Fintft Hall of Fame

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    I agree with you. As I was blabbing in my post above when faced with someone with an exceptional consistent (and powerful) serve and very consistent ground strokes (starting with 75% of the returns), I was smashed.
     
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  21. Lukhas

    Lukhas Legend

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    FWIW, I played few games today. I play only about once a week, so it's far from being high rec level tennis. Let's be frank, I got ruined by my total absence of a serve. I perfectly was able to win points during rallies on the return but kept giving up games after games of double fault. Trying to play two flat, two slices, hitting very softly, anything really. To the point I struggled more to hit the ball in the box rather than actually figure out my opponent. Hello reality check.

    Of course hitting buckets after buckets of serves isn't efficient. But serve is primordial. If I were able to tape myself serving, I'd be grateful; because according to other guys I know technically speaking how to serve. But I can't put the ball in the box to save my life.

    YMMV on the question on the importance of serve. But personally, it's on the top of my list.
     
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  22. LeeD

    LeeD Bionic Poster

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    4.0 beats 3.5 regardless of serves.
    At any level, while a serve is important, and we can take "45%" as realistic, a player can win with almost any serve, at any level.
    Did Connor's have a great serve?
    Did Hewitt?
    Does Ferrer?
    Did Chang?
    Yes, they had serviceable serves.
     
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  23. shindemac

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    For a 3.5, being able to serve 85-90mph is as fast as most 4.0 level players. It's a respectable speed that will enable you to take command of service games and impose your will on the opponent. It's doable, but will still take quite a bit of effort.

    Double faults can be reduced by learning spin. Inconsistency is because of a lack of practice. I bet most 3.5 don't even practice their serve once a week, so how can they expect to be good at it. There's no reason a 3.5 can't get a better serve by practicing and learning spin. Like I say in most of my serve posts, you need to spend some time on the serve and practice, practice, practice!

    If all things are equal, then yes, the more consistent player will win. But you never want to play the same game as your opponent since that's not very smart tennis. Anyways, this is veering off topic.

    There are many ways to win. If you are not able to hold most of your service games, why is that and what can you do? The natural conclusion is because of the serve. Let's take 2 players. One improves his serve and consistently wins more games by holding his serve more. Another works on his groundstrokes, but is hard pressed to win more games. Sometimes he wins more games. Other times the results are the same. In other words, his results are very inconsistent and dependent on his opponent. Against weaker players, he can get more games. Against pusher and stronger opponents, it's more of the same. Meanwhile the player who worked on his serve can hold serve against all these different types of players.
     
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  24. skiracer55

    skiracer55 Hall of Fame

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    What they said...

    ...at all levels, you need a reliable second serve, but you also need a first serve that goes in 60% of the time, minimum, and puts you in the driver's seat as far as controlling the point from the get-go.

    I coach a bunch of 3.5 through 4.5 players, and until they get a Serve Intervention from me, they're invariably obsessed with forehands and backhands...but figure they'll get the joke on the serve later on (and also, volleys, but that's another story). Unfortunately, by the time they discover that the serve and the return are the two most important shots in tennis, in that order, their serve mechanics are so bad that a quick tuneup won't fix the problem...a complete overhaul is in order.

    Not saying that's where you are, but you might be in that part of the woods. Also note that most NTRPers are either obsessed with (a) beating their beer buddies, (b) winning matches at their NTRP level, (c) moving up a level, or (d) all of the above. If you want to separate yourself from the competition, give your forehand and backhand work a rest, and focus on the serve...
     
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  25. LeeD

    LeeD Bionic Poster

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    Personally, if I were to consider a "60% first serve" percentage, I'd throw away my flat first serves, totally.
    That would result in a loss of about 25mph ball speed, making my opponent return 75 mph puff balls. That means at least 90% of my serves get returned.
    Not a good thing for a guy who can't run.
    I'll take 40% first flats, because I have at least 95% lefty second serves that I can top/slice, kick high, or twist up to eye high levels to almost any player.
     
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  26. TimeSpiral

    TimeSpiral Professional

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    OP,

    The serve is the most important shot in tennis. The second most important shot is the return of serve. Everything after that varies greatly based on style.

    A few rules of thumb that I like to use:
    1. Beyond hitting your spots--which is hard enough as it is!--you need to have multiple first serves: fastballs, sliders, kickers, changeups, and finally the pressure point serve.
      1. I used baseball terms because serving and pitching are almost identical in many ways. That last one, the pressure point, is a first serve that you can go to and get it in 80% of the time: one that you're supremely confident with.
    2. Your second serve is going to vary wildly, so you need to be prepared to hit the next shot with the following in mind:
      1. A standard second serve should put you immediately on the defense.
      2. A bad second serve and you should probably lose the point, or at least start way behind in the rally.
      3. A good second serve might start you in a neutral rally.
      4. A great second serve might even win you a point.
    3. Always take the easiest possible path to victory.
      1. If your opponent cannot return your pancake second serve and put you under pressure, you should never ever double fault in that match. Just get the serve in and win the rally.
      2. If a serve you think is good is not working, don't keep hitting it, and vice versa.
    4. Each returner is different. Common sense, yes, but important.
      1. First serves: some people love the fast ball, or a high kicker, or a wide angle. You have to change your serve strategy based on how they are returning. You must adapt.
      2. Second serves: you must find the second serve that troubles your opponent, or at least prevents him from attacking. Sometimes this is not possible. Try different serves on the second serve to figure out what this is.
    5. Have a serve meltdown reset button.
      1. Revert back to the most comfortable first and second serves, regardless of your opponent.
      2. Miss long. No matter what, miss long.
    I feel like I have a decent ground game and a net game, but if I'm not serving well I have to steal the match to win it. Typically, if I serve well, the whole match is played on my opponent's serve. If I'm playing poorly, it becomes a "must break" situation every time your opponent serves and eventually, one hold decides the set and I usually lose these matches.


    There is my take, for what it's worth.


    Most guys can throw a ball 60 MPH. Lots of the 4.0 guys I play with are hitting both first and second serves at a decent pace. A 60 MPH serve is essentially unheard of.
     
    Last edited: Nov 14, 2013
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  27. Fintft

    Fintft Hall of Fame

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    And as a by-product, it's truly disconcerting to lose matches(due mainly to serves, ros and nerves) to players who can’t hang out in rallies with you during the pre-match warm-up…
     
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  28. Lukhas

    Lukhas Legend

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    Deleted post.
     
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  29. Fintft

    Fintft Hall of Fame

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    I may still use a serve that didn't work the first few times (maybe after alternating with something else first), just to see if my oponent is able to keep executing (while I'm trying to improve my serve's execution).

    In order to miss long, my second serve is not much slower then my first, just more sliced....

    As for needing to break my opponents serves each time my own serves collapses, lately I've been winning in TBs (even when I play TBs for fun, I do better then in regular sets).

    Another factor that helps my serve's percentage at times, is when I S&V.
     
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  30. LeeD

    LeeD Bionic Poster

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    First of all, you CANNOT be double faulting.
    While a consistent serve can sometimes allow you to win, it oftentimes allow your opponent to break your serve.
    Consistent is predictable, and not neccessarily a forcing serve.
     
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  31. TimeSpiral

    TimeSpiral Professional

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    Oh yeah, tie breaks. I always feel like a tie-break is "mine to win." I don't always, of course, but surpsingly, my tie-break record in 2013 is 4-0 (100%)! Ha. I lol'd when I saw that. I thought, "geez, how can I avoid the commentators curse by knowing this?"

    Yeah, I'm not suggesting that you hastily abandon your gameplan--just to be clear. If a serve is not working, it should be pretty evident. What I'm saying is that you need to change that serve, which sometimes people won't, or can't do.
     
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  32. Fintft

    Fintft Hall of Fame

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    Well since I don't have a 95% good second serve, I keep both my first and second serves pretty close in power and at around 65% (the second one having usually more spin and different placement).
     
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  33. Fintft

    Fintft Hall of Fame

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    Thanks, I do change my serve at times (even drastically), but it also becomes better on its own towards the end of the sets (i.e. more fluid, relaxed).
     
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  34. skiracer55

    skiracer55 Hall of Fame

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    Fine, that'll work, too...

    ...I don't necessarily go with flat on the first serve because some players love a flat serve. I'll do whatever it takes to open up the point for me, and I said 60% because I'll take some risk in terms of placement and pace. Like you, that's okay, because I can keep the returner honest with my second serve...
     
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  35. LeeD

    LeeD Bionic Poster

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    Lots of guys can return 100mph flat serves, even at my level, but NONE like that same serve going into their bodies.
     
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  36. skiracer55

    skiracer55 Hall of Fame

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    Yep, true...

    ...again, depends somewhat on the NTRP level. If you can consistently serve at, say, 85 mph, even if it's straight down the middle of the box, and kick your second serve at, say, 70 mph and never miss it, you'll probably do okay against a 3.5 player, and a lot of 4.0s, too. As you've noted, let's say you move up to 4.0/4.5 and all you have is a consistent serve...you are breakable, so now you need to come up with more on both the first and second serve. Again, if your mechanics are okay, maybe you only need a tuneup. If your mechanics are off...well, it's time for major surgery...but that's something you could have/should have done back at the 3.0 level...
     
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  37. mightyrick

    mightyrick Hall of Fame

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    I'll say it again. People need to stay on topic. The OP is talking about...

    NTRP 3.5

    There are absolutely 60MPH serves. I guarantee you that the average second serve speed for all of 3.5 is probably around 60MPH. Serve speed should not be a goal in 3.5 at all. I'll go you one better. There are 60MPH slice and kick serves that many 3.5s have difficulty returning.

    Speed is not everything with the serve. Placement and spin is much more important.

    If I gave advice to a 3.5 trying to get a 4.0, it would be the following (btw: I'm a 4.0, too):

    1) Develop a 90% second serve to the opponent's backhand. Whatever the
    speed.
    2) In a single rally, be able to consistently hit a FH to your opponent's backhand over and over again -- from any spot on the court (DTL, inside-out, inside-in, CC, short sitter, from the baseline)
    3) Be able to beat a 3.5 pusher.

    If someone can do those three things, they will absolutely make 4.0. At that point, the new 4.0 will be destroyed because their backhand will likely suck and get broken down by better 4.0s. At that point, time to strengthen the BH and then increase the serve difficulty.
     
    Last edited: Nov 14, 2013
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  38. Fintft

    Fintft Hall of Fame

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    ^^^^
    1. It's funny but usually my first serve goes to my opponent's BH, while my second usually goes to his FH (but better placed and with more spin).

    2. I'll try hitting more to my opponent's BH, but it's not only a matter of lowering the percentages of my shots, but usually my shots are penetrating enough(or so I think) lol

    3. As for beating a pusher, so far I've relied mainly on my baseline game and started to come more to the net only recently.
     
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  39. anubis

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    I absolutely agree with you. At 3.5 and below, you're lucky to get a 60 mph serve. I know my serves aren't faster than 60 mph, and neither are anyone else I play at 3.0 or 3.5. I even have numerous 4.0 friends who can't serve faster than 80 mph.

    Honestly, I don't know any 3.0 or 3.5 who consistently wins points off of there serve. At this level, it just starts the game, that's all. It's not a weapon.

    Every time I step up to the line to serve, I expect the ball to come back. The only reason it doesn't, is if my opponent can't return a 50 mph serve.

    When I play 3.5, 100% of my serves come back to me, period. At 4.0, 60% of my serves come back as winners that I can't return. At 4.5 level, there are no rallies, lol :)
     
    #39
  40. TimeSpiral

    TimeSpiral Professional

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    Sure, okay ... but instead of guaranteeing me, why don't you just say, "if I had to guess," at least then you're being intellectually honest. I don't really care to generalize about NTRP. It's extremely relative, almost to the point of meaninglessness.

    60 MPH is very slow for a tennis serve. It's almost what I would classify as a drop-serve slow, and yes, some people do hit 2nd serves this slow.

    I agree that placement and spin are more important than pace for the first serve, at almost all of the rec levels, but it all depends on the returner (not the NTRP rating). If the returner can step around your drop-serve to his backhand and crack a FH winner, or a pressure shot, you're in big trouble and that point, you need to take away his time to run around the shot by serving faster (or tricking him with a FH serve).

    Besides perhaps your MPH estimations, my experience is similar to yours. Some of the lower 4.0's I face, with particularly weak second serves, you can essentially just play a return winner almost every time. This eventually puts them under so much pressure that they start double faulting constantly. In my particular area, if your serve is not a weapon, you have an extremely hard time winning matches.

    For the sake of conversation, I consider myself--on a good day--a decent server for my level. But I've gone against a few opponents who absolutely eat my serve for lunch. There was this one match, on clay, where I felt I was having a great service match, and this guy was cracking clean winners of first serves. It was unlike anything I've ever seen ... It's not about the player's rating. It's all about his skill on that day during the match.
     
    Last edited: Nov 14, 2013
    #40
  41. Fintft

    Fintft Hall of Fame

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    Maybe I don't understand your US rattings, but when I play a 3.5, only about 65% of my serves come back. When I play a 4.0, only 10% come back as winners and only about 75% come back at all...

    Myself on the other hand, I either have very good returns, or like a dufus, miss a lot, going for too much.
     
    #41
  42. LeeD

    LeeD Bionic Poster

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    Can that be construed as a defeatist attitude?
    We are very close in playing level. I have lost to league 3.5 players.
    But you gotta believe, and back that up with PRACTICE, first top/slice serves that land within 6" of the sidelines, on EITHER side, and also that same serve hit deliberately into the body, to cause doubt and confusion even in a 4.5 player's mind.
    I mentioned recently I have a 8 to 0 winning record against a top 30 Girls 16 in NorCal. Lots of guys say it's impossible for a "3.5-4.0" man to do this. Well, it's not only possible, it's true. And I cannot run, I cannot cover within 4' of my alleys when she hit's her forehands.
    But I take her seriously, hit my best shots, don't rally with her, change my spins and pace constantly, and move my serves around.
     
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  43. 2ndServe

    2ndServe Professional

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    I'm glad people are preaching this, I tell this to all the people I play with who like to hit 100 forehand/backhands when we practice and they are fairly high level players. But come time for 4.5 sections or 5.0 league and the opponent never lets them hit their comfort forehand/backhand it's rare they get to setup and hit that rally ball they practice. The points are all literally 2-3 shots or 4 shots at most.

    The serve and the return dictates how you the entire point goes. People should be practicing these shots if they want to win, everything kind of flows from these first shots.
     
    #43
  44. HughJars

    HughJars Banned

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    Hey, thats some nice play there. I really like your serve. My new serve technique seems very similar (or working towards being very similar) to yours. Nice and simple. Easy take back, no exaggerated movements = consistency.
     
    #44
  45. LeeD

    LeeD Bionic Poster

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    Nice arm speed, but would like to see you use some stomach crunch at contact, so you bend over when finished. Upper body should be bent forward on followthru.
     
    #45
  46. HughJars

    HughJars Banned

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    I think Im actually referring to he land of the strong 3.5 to 4.0. Yes, Im a 3.5, maybe even a 3.0 mainly because of my serve and lack of a consistent top spin backhand, though Im trying to develop a stronger slice to compensate, but even the lower divisions that I play in are predominately made up of good, young players coming from juniors that dont have the rating yet to play up divisions, (cos that how it works here). You dont see dink slow serves, terrible backhands and moonballs. Thats reserved for the lower divisions of the over 35's, who took up the sport late or cant move properly.

    As I said in my OP I can almost match them on the groundstrokes, and my returns and net game is relatively quite strong (hence being able to break serve). Its the serve that is killing me and its my prime focus at the moment with my training
     
    Last edited: Nov 14, 2013
    #46
  47. Topspin Shot

    Topspin Shot Legend

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    So, you're consistently beating a three star recruit? I don't think I can buy this.
     
    Last edited: Nov 14, 2013
    #47
  48. LeeD

    LeeD Bionic Poster

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    I don't know what your 3 star recruit is.
    Next year's top 30 NorCal Junior girl's in the 16's.
    8 sets to zero might be construed as "consistent" ??
     
    #48
  49. TomT

    TomT Hall of Fame

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    I suppose I agree with your hypothesis. Serve is extremely important. Not sure I could put a number on that though.

    And yeah, if you break your opponent's serve 8 times in a two set match, then you should win. I can't count the number of matches I've lost because of double faults. Lots of them. The serve seems to set the tone for the match. If I'm getting decent serves in at a high percentage, then I tend to make fewer groundstroke errors also, and usually win. For example, in my last match, which I won, I got 79% of my first serves in and 100% of my second serves. Using the same motion that I use to hit hard serves, I took something off the serve. Not so much as to be a pitty pat, but enough that I could get it in at a very high rate.

    I've experimented with serving like you described, hard first and pitty pat second. Didn't work. Most of the time I've served two hard serves, which I used to get in a total of between 70% and 75%. Hasn't worked in recent months, because somewhere along the line my hard serve got ungrooved. I've been stuck in a 50% rut for quite a while (and in some matches even lower). Definitely not good enough to win. Even if I'm hitting a lot of service winners, I'm still giving away way too many service points to win matches.

    So, for the time being, I've adopted a more reserved approach which should get me into almost all points against opponents at my level. When I'm not double faulting hardly at all, but still not hitting ridiculously slow pitty pat serves, then my attitude and focus in a match seems to be much better.
     
    #49
  50. TimeSpiral

    TimeSpiral Professional

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    Yeah, you should probably be bumped up soon.

    I usually will not even try for a full speed serve until the third or fourth service game. If it goes three sets, that's usually when I'm serving the best.

    I will go entire matches and only feel the need to hit one or two flat serves sometimes. Don't underestimate the first serve kicker and the first serve slider. Spin screws my opponents way more than pace does (even though I hit both of those first serves pretty hard).

    Second serve--barring any ridiculous meltdown, which does happen--is a pretty standard low-level kicker.
     
    #50

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