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. Mrnoital

    Mrnoital Banned

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    First time on a public forum?
     
  2. Overdrive

    Overdrive Legend

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    Yeah, I hacked the forum into getting 4,000+ posts and being here for nearly a year. Learn to proof read. No wonder you put 'psychiatric hospital' in your location...
     
  3. Mrnoital

    Mrnoital Banned

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    Wow, you really thought my comment was to be taken literally?
     
  4. Overdrive

    Overdrive Legend

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    Unless if you are JoelDali, Sureshs, Sentinel, F1, or FreeBird, I can't tell if anyone is being serious around here. That is how bad the trolling is...
     
  5. arche3

    arche3 Banned

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    Funny Asian girl makes her appearance. Love ttw. :)
     
  6. Dimcorner

    Dimcorner Professional

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    Against overweight players I switch to "make them hit extra balls" to wear them out. Don't care if I barely win the first set. Against fit opponents I try to play with depth of shot and see which one they don't like and start feeding them that all match as much as possible. Don't like being up at net? Believe me I'm going to hit more than a handful of short balls even thou I don't have a drop shot in my arsenal. It will make them uncomfortable. So yes, in 3.0 - 3.5 you can have strategy. Doesn't have to be a lock-step setup, but can be as simple as hit more to backhand or give him more loopy shots.

    And I still stand by the belief that a 3.5 with a great serve will win more often than a 3.5 with 4.0 strokes and a crappy serve. Even with great strokes when someone can feed you directional fast serves you will be more often than not on the defense. You might not win EVERY point but you will hold your serves easier and pressure the other server on their serves. A good serve doesn't have to be a +110 mph shot, but can be one with good spin control and good directional control. It's difficult to attack a serve at this level when you really don't know what to expect (flat/slice/kick/twist).
     
    Last edited: Nov 19, 2013
  7. anubis

    anubis Hall of Fame

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    You have nice serves, good form and good timing. This isn't a criticism or anything, but they are average 3.0 serves. Very similar to mine, no better and no worse from what I can see. Those serves wouldn't give too much trouble to most of the 3.0s in my area. But again, that's not a bad thing.

    If you can get them in at a high % of the time, then you will be above the "curve" and should do very well at 3.0.

    What's your record for this year?
     
  8. mightyrick

    mightyrick Hall of Fame

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    Well, report back when you get bumped up. Your serve is an average to good 3.5 level serve, so you're going to get to test that theory.

    But I think you're in for a rude awakening.
     
  9. Fintft

    Fintft Hall of Fame

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    Oh, I'm just stupid :D

    To the original point: I might have said that, but I couldn't even touch someone with great consistent and hard serves + consistent returns (while my own serves were good only maybe 50%, but then I've also DFed and returned [FONT='Verdana','sans-serif']horrendously[/FONT]).
     
  10. TimeSpiral

    TimeSpiral Professional

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    You are such a freaking troll, it's outrageous. You've earned my first and only ignore.

    Goodbye, have fun, and good luck out there.
     
  11. Dimcorner

    Dimcorner Professional

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    In 3.0 I'm 10-2 singles, 9-5 doubles (including tournaments)
    I just joined a 3.5 and I'm 3-1 doubles (#2 and #3)

    I have just joined a 3.5 so I can report :)

    I'm only playing me doubles right now, but I still hold my serves somewhat consistently. I don't ace people, but I do get weak or neutral returns. I think it's because of variety of spin and pace. I don't always hit flats on first serve, I don't always hit kick on 2nd and I don't always go for the backhands. I don't think my serve is a weapon on it's current form at this point, but it sure isn't a liability and at worse I can at get the point on neutral ground. Whether I can capitalize is a different story and I wholly believe I do need more practice, but I don't get players jumping my serves and putting me on the defense right off the serve. I would say I'm currently holding about 75% of my service games in 3.5
     
    Last edited: Nov 19, 2013
  12. shindemac

    shindemac Hall of Fame

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    If I had listened to the advice here, I would have believed it would be impossible for 3.5s to develop any spin, power, or placement until I got into 4.0 or 4.5. Good thing I decided to go my own way.

    But after seeing a 3.0 develop a good serve for his level, I hope others see what's possible if you're willing to put some work into it. My point is, this proves it's never too early to start developing a good serve!
     
  13. mightyrick

    mightyrick Hall of Fame

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    First, he's 10-2 in singles at his level. Over 80% win rate. He isn't a 3.0. He is a 3.5 and should have been DQed half way through the season. Secondly, nobody said that it is impossible to develop spin, power, or placement until 4.0 or 4.5. That's a pretty ridiculous statement.

    What has been said over and over and over again is that a 3.0 or 3.5 player should prioritize groundstroke consistency over something like serve pace.
     
  14. Dimcorner

    Dimcorner Professional

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    Mightyrick

    I agree with your comment on developing serve pace way later. When I practice serves I don't practice for pace. I practice for spin and placement about 95% of the time. I hit a few flats to just to keep fresh, but I don't hit them to practice them. I also think that the focus should be on ground strokes and footwork in the beginning, but I don't think you should ignore or put aside the serve until later. Definitely focus on getting correct motion even if you hit 50mph balls but don't try to blast 100mph serves. More than likely you end up getting hurt if you don't do it correctly.

    Some people will find it more natural to hit a serve than ground strokes. I played years of competitive badminton and a tennis serve is basically the same motion as a smash except you get to toss the ball in exactly (well... theoretically) in the spot you want to hit it. :)

    BTW I do have videos of me hitting last year (around the time I first started playing league) and I think I have improved quite a bit since then.
     
    Last edited: Nov 19, 2013
  15. Fintft

    Fintft Hall of Fame

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    ^^^^
    I only agree about placement :) I.e. I usualy serve for placement and power; spin and slice only occasionally...
     
  16. TimeSpiral

    TimeSpiral Professional

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    Don't cast us all in that net. Some members here are extremely valuable resources of tennis knowledge. Some are completely wrong about almost everything. It's difficult, admittedly, to sort through it all.

    Well, some were saying that the USTA doesn't think you should have power and placement until 4.0-4.5, which is of course, not true.

    The USTA does provide this nice rubric, for those who may not have seen it before: http://assets.usta.com/assets/1/UST...A/Document Assets/2006/04/03/doc_13_12278.pdf

    Serve and return at respective NTRPs, as per the USTA:

    3.0
    Developing rhythm;

    little consistency when
    trying for power;
    second serve is often
    considerably slower
    than first serve; can
    return serve with fair
    consistency

    3.5
    Starting to serve with

    control and some power;
    developing spin; can
    return serve consistently
    with directional control
    on moderate shots

    4.0
    Places both first and

    second serves, often
    with power on first
    serve; uses spin;
    dependable return of
    serve; can return with
    depth in singles and
    mix returns in doubles

    4.5
    Aggressive serving with

    limited double faults;
    uses power and spin;
    developing offense; on
    second serve frequently
    hits with good depth and
    placement; frequently
    hits aggressive service
    returns; can take pace
    off with moderate
    success in doubles
     
  17. anubis

    anubis Hall of Fame

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    Win rate has little to do with getting bumped up. It's more about the competitiveness of the matches. If he's going 3 sets with close scores then he may not get bumped. I won 80% of my matches last year and I didn't get bumped... and I was a self rate to boot.
     
  18. Mrnoital

    Mrnoital Banned

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    It's the other way around.... if you do not yet have control over your shots, you are not a 4.0. No one is saying what you think they are saying.


    If a 3.5 had all the tools you think he does then 3.5 would be the highest level to attain.
     
  19. shindemac

    shindemac Hall of Fame

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    I did prioritize groundstrokes when I was younger, but it didn't work for me. Focusing on serve helped me win more games. I still work on groundstrokes, volleys, and lobs too just in case anyone thinks I spend 100% of my time on serve.
     
  20. mightyrick

    mightyrick Hall of Fame

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    Actually, win-rate and everything else has a lot to do with it.

    The USTA won't publish their algorithm, but effectively what they are doing is applying player match characteristics against a normalized distribution.

    When a player falls out of line with the distribution, it is supposed to be reviewed closely.

    At a given NTRP, no matter how you slice it, an 80% win rate where each match is close and competitive is extremely rare over the entirety of the season. You expect a lot more variation.

    Nonetheless, I know that some USTA sections watch closer than others. The complaints around sandbagging wouldn't exist if the USTA watched closely. In my area, I can tell you they watch very closely. But the USTA officials around here actively speak with players and is very interactive.
     
  21. tennis_balla

    tennis_balla Hall of Fame

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    I commented in this thread earlier and I know that unless I explain things perfectly, in detail and leave no stone unturned, no doubt as to what I am suggesting....well there will always be certain people who will twist and turn and push their own agenda.

    A good serve will a large majority of the time give the server an edge, REGARDLESS of the level they are playing at, because it puts them in an offensive position from the first ball they hit. The serve is the ONLY shot in tennis where you're not receiving the ball from your opponent and you have complete control on how you hit the ball. Crap serve, crap outcome. No excuses, nothing to hide behind.

    The serve is the most difficult shot in tennis and one of the least practiced. Using the serve to just get the point started is wasting an opportunity given to you. If you have awesome groundstrokes thats great, congrats. Now imagine how much more effective you'd be with those groundies if you spent some time developing a better serve? Self explanatory. Also, I don't care how good someones first serve is, you're only as good as your second serve. This is especially true at the club level. First serve: WHAM!! Second serve: bunt....its like watching a falling leaf.

    The return of serve is the second most important shot in tennis after the serve because it allows you to neutralize your opponents advantage. If they are asleep at the wheel and neglect to develop even a half decent serve, punish them for it by hitting deep consistent returns, no errors and put them on the defensive from the first shot you hit and take control of the point, the game, mentally and ultimately the match by breaking them over and over again.

    This is tennis 101, elementary school.
     
  22. Mrnoital

    Mrnoital Banned

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  23. Mrnoital

    Mrnoital Banned

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    No it's not.
     
  24. tennis_balla

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  25. Mrnoital

    Mrnoital Banned

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  26. bad_call

    bad_call Legend

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  27. mightyrick

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    Yeah, it's obvious people are just going to have to agree to disagree.

    At 3.5, one side thinks a good serve and crap groundstrokes is better than a crap serve and good groundstrokes. One side thinks the other way.

    In order to win matches, you have to do two things. You have to hold serve and you have to break serve.

    At 3.5, with good groundstrokes, I can do both. With bad groundstrokes, I can't break my opponent and I'm probably going to have a tough time holding serve.
     
  28. dknotty

    dknotty Semi-Pro

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    Amen to that.

    For anyone who thinks otherwise:

    [​IMG]
     
  29. Mrnoital

    Mrnoital Banned

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    Right like the Department of Statistics & Statistical Laboratory at Iowa State University who actually studied the issue. Why listen to all of these fancy studies and statistics when a guy on the internet claims otherwise.
     
  30. shindemac

    shindemac Hall of Fame

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    [​IMG]

    I don't think MrAnnoying counts. He's just trolling us.
     
  31. Dimcorner

    Dimcorner Professional

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    According to your link:

    Tennis Wins Determined by Percentage of Return Points, Not Speed of Serve

    Statistics from all four Grand Slam tournaments reveal that returning well is more important in a tennis match than serve speed. The research, published in Significance, the magazine of the Royal Statistical Society and the American Statistical Association, sought to discover if players with the fastest serves win, and if making too few unforced errors can inhibit winning.

    A team led by Sarah Budrus from the Department of Statistics & Statistical Laboratory at Iowa State University reviewed tennis statistics for players in Grand Slam tournaments, which comprise the Australian Open, the French Open, Wimbledon, and the U.S. Open. They investigated characteristics that make it more likely for players to reach the quarter-finals.


    First off they are looking at the grand slams only. I don't think there are any 3.5 or even 4.5 that have made it to a grand slam to play in it.

    Also to me you don't need to run stats to say that return games will determine who wins. If you can't win return points you don't break and you won't win. That said if you have a terrible serve and get broken all the time you won't win either.
     
  32. shindemac

    shindemac Hall of Fame

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    I do think it's possible for a 4.0 to have good groundstrokes and a crappy serve because I've seen that. But the amount of time needed to develop it is prohibitive for most adults. Think about it. Your typical 3.5 baseline basher has a strong forehand and mediocre backhand. So that means to be a 3.5 with good groundstrokes, you would need an excellent forehand and strong backhand. I think for most weekend warriors, they won't have the resources to develop such a game. (Resource means time and worthy opponents)

    Now look at the people who put in as little as a couple weeks to a few months to work on their serve. They immediately start seeing results, win more games and more matches.

    If you are new to the game, I don't advocate having a strong serve and subpar groundstrokes. No one is saying that. But if you have a strong serve and decent groundstrokes, you will go a long way. My advice is more for the weekend warriors who have been stuck at 3.5 for a long time, feel they should be winning matches they aren't, and are looking to get over that hump.
     
  33. dknotty

    dknotty Semi-Pro

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    Another troll has made it to the ignore list. Goodbye.
     
  34. Mrnoital

    Mrnoital Banned

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    :confused: I don't know what your argument is. My link was provided to contradict the specific claim that tennis_balla made and you're talking about 3.5 players in grand slams? What the...?
     
  35. Mrnoital

    Mrnoital Banned

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    I hope I make it to the top of your list~
     
  36. mightyrick

    mightyrick Hall of Fame

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    This is all I have been saying. If you have decent (par) groundstrokes, then fine... work on bringing the serve to par, also.

    At 3.5, I wouldn't recommend bringing the serve better than par, though. I personally think it would be wiser to work on the backhand to bring it up to par. But we're splitting hair at this point.

    At 3.5, if you can consistently serve to your opponents backhand and sustain a long rally hitting to your opponent's backhand... you'll make 4.0.
     
  37. TimeSpiral

    TimeSpiral Professional

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    Hey, guys, see this post right (below) this sentence?

    He is correct. This has been said by me, and several others in this thread already. Why is this post a little different? Because Balla is much better at tennis than me--and probably everyone posting on this thread--by a long shot.

    Granted, you don't have to be great at tennis to know what you're talking about, but it certainly helps.

    I will echo Balla: this is fundamental, basic tennis principles.

    Yes. For anyone who hasn't ignored you-no-who yet (see what I did there?), and maybe just think he is a well-intentioned member: he's not. He has a couple hundreds posts of purely adversarial nonsense. Ignore him (with the forum's ignore function).
     
  38. Topspin Shot

    Topspin Shot Legend

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    You don't get it, do you balla? Logic is useless in discussions like these. What you need is a trump card you can whip out anytime you feel the need to disagree with someone. Like this:
    [​IMG]
     
  39. chatt_town

    chatt_town Hall of Fame

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    That's not true dude. I'm a perfect example. I've won most of my matches because I move better than most. There are some women that have served better than I do yet I've manage to take down 4.0's and 4.5's. I've run across one guy since 2002 that could consistently hit bombs on one side of the court. He served up 18 or 19 aces in two sets and lost 1 and 2 because he couldn't get the b*tch in on the ad side. I ran him in the ground. I have also lost close matches because of my serve but I can assure you of this. The guy on the other side could hit ground strokes as well as I could or he would have lost. 90 percent of the people I play have better serves but I win most of the matches. So a good serve with no ground strokes will not get you far in 4.0 and not ground strokes will get you killed in 4.5.

    Peace,

    Chatt_town


     
  40. GuyClinch

    GuyClinch Hall of Fame

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    +1. This.

    It's like I said MOST of the shots you hit are in fact forehands. Unless your serve is good that you never have to hit any balls back - how are you going to win with lousy groundstrokes?

    FWIW never seen a 3.5 that just aces everyone - any player who has that kind of serve has likely worked on his groundstrokes some.
     
  41. Ballinbob

    Ballinbob Hall of Fame

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    I don't agree that a good serve is beneficial regardless of level. Again, if a 3.0-3.5 gets their first serve in, gets a sitter, and can't do anything with it, then well... That's not an advantage

    Groundstrokes/consistency are VASTLY more important at that level.
     
  42. 5263

    5263 G.O.A.T.

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    But if your serve is crap and you can't hold serve, then you can't win much either.... no one is saying that a well rounded game is not good and it sounds like your serve is fine for your level, but your movement is where you break out.

    Part of why 2ond serve is so important is how it affects confidence. Good 2ond allows you to be aggressive with your 1st serve and also allows you to swing free on your other strokes. Few things can paralyze your game like loads of double faults and/or getting your serves whacked for winners. It will even start to affect your rtn game as well. See this all the time with Jrs in tournys.

    A solid serve is a must to get into a match. If your serve is enough not to cause you to lose the match...then it is solid for that opponent.
     
    Last edited: Nov 19, 2013
  43. 5263

    5263 G.O.A.T.

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    Love to see that study and see how they broke out where the serve or rtn was making the difference. :)
     
  44. 5263

    5263 G.O.A.T.

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    Sorry, but you misinterpret the study...

    Study is based on serve speed...not consistency as the OP questions.
     
  45. winstonlim8

    winstonlim8 Semi-Pro

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    Good first and second serves (reliable with enough spin and pace to avoid being attacked) are absolutely important in my opinion.

    One thing I have noticed is that most players at my club (and occasionally even in the early rounds at tournaments) just seem to automatically serve to my backhand even though it's my stronger side. It's like they don't even notice that they're getting in trouble doing that or think of getting more safety by going the other way. Or simply can't do that because they've trained themselves to always go for the backhand so much that they've got no other option.

    Another reason for being able to place both first and second serves reliably with some sting, in my opinion.
     
  46. GuyClinch

    GuyClinch Hall of Fame

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    At lower levels people with crap serves/and strong groundstrokes will hold serve just fine vs. people flawed groundstrokes.

    The guy returning those crap serves doesn't have the tools to do anything with them.. So they are not a liability. The serve simply gets the point started.

    The guys usually this approach at 3.0 level will actually do better because most players can hit a gravity based serve that seems to always go in. So they rarely double fault..

    But the guys who are actually trying to hit some serves with pace tend to double fault - and they shank their spin serves far more often then the get the point started crowd..
     
  47. 5263

    5263 G.O.A.T.

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    And that is why I said if you serve is crap AND you can't hold serve.....and didn't say that if your serve is crap ...that you can't hold serve....see the difference?

    If you can hold serve, then your serve is solid and consistent enough for that level match.
     
  48. Ballinbob

    Ballinbob Hall of Fame

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    How often are 3.0-3.5's holding serve because of their great serving? Not often... Actually, I have never seen it. Not once

    To hold serve you need to hit a good serve that puts you in an advantageous position and then hit a decent shot so as to keep you in the drivers seat. Hitting a good serve, getting a short ball and dinking it back doesn't do anything. I see this all the time

    I mean it's great if you have a good 3.0-3.5 serve. It means once your groundstrokes get a little better you will have an easy transition to 4.0+ levels.
     
  49. HughJars

    HughJars Professional

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    Youre at the top of mine, d*ckhead ;-)
     
    Last edited: Nov 19, 2013
  50. 5263

    5263 G.O.A.T.

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    You are reading way too much into what is said....Op said consistent or solid serve....mentioned too many DFs. If you can hold serve regular...by definition your serve is good enough...or solid for that level....otherwise it would cause you to lose serve.

    He did not say hitting service winners and aces or dominating with the serve. At the levels you mention, it is good serving if they can get them in the box and avoid DFs.....even better if they can get it to the Bh.

    It is all relative....:)
     

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