Post-Traumatic Doublefault Syndrome

Discussion in 'Adult League & Tournament Talk' started by Cindysphinx, Nov 14, 2013.

  1. Cindysphinx

    Cindysphinx G.O.A.T.

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    I was playing 7.5 ladies combo. I had been serving well all night, especially to the 4.0 opponent in the deuce court.

    Tight match. First set 5-7. Second set 6-6.

    In the second set tiebreak, I hit a doublefault. "That's weird," I thought. "No reason to change anything. I've been serving fine." I DF'ed again in the set tiebreak, but we won it.

    Then we had the 10-point match tiebreak. I DF twice more, which means I am now DF's on half of my service points.

    Somehow we still managed to get to 9-6. I stepped up to serve to the 3.5 player in the ad court. Whappo, into the net. Second serve, into the net.

    Now it's 9-7. I serve to the 4.0 player in the deuce court. Whappo, into the net. Second serve, hits ground before going into the net. 9-8.

    My partner received serve in the ad court, got it into play. Opponents missed a shot, we won, 10-8.

    I am used to my serve going in, even on break points, set points, match points. I can't chalk it up to being nervous, because I wasn't.

    OK, how on earth am I ever going to have confidence in my serve again? Is this how the service yips start? It's way too cold to go out and practice. I am not looking forward to my next match . . . .
     
    #1
  2. Govnor

    Govnor Professional

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    aim higher
     
    #2
  3. anubis

    anubis Hall of Fame

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    Perform a self-check on all the basics of your serve, the next time you get a chance to practice serves.

    Are you...
    1. Shifting your weight from back foot to front foot?
    2. Tossing the ball in front, so it lands well inside the court if you didn't hit it?
    3. Keep your tossing arm fully stretched, in the air, until you are about to hit the ball?
    4. Bending your knees while in trophy stance?
    5. Pushing up with both your legs as you uncoil and begin the swing?


    Most likely it's #3: you're probably dropping your tossing arm too quickly. Dropping your arm as soon as you toss the ball in the air will drop your left shoulder prematurely, which will cause you to dump balls into the net all day long.

    Sometimes we take all of these steps for granted, as if they are repeated all the time regardless of our emotions at the time. This is not true, it is very easy to skip one or more of these steps at any time during any match.

    Professionals on the tour have exactly the same service motions, everything from walking up to the line, bouncing the ball, and where they put their feet. It helps them to make sure they do everything the same way every time, to ensure consistency.
     
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  4. Adles

    Adles Rookie

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    Just remember that each and every time you've served that badly, you've won!
     
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  5. Bdarb

    Bdarb Hall of Fame

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    don't drop your elbow. Was nearly always my problem when my serve was going to crap.
     
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  6. Power Player

    Power Player Talk Tennis Guru

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    Don't think about all that stuff. Its brain overload.

    Usually its a bad toss. Just trust in the process and the serve you have developed. Don't get tentative or you will cheat on your racquet drop and lose the head speed needed to keep the ball in the box.
     
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  7. tennis tom

    tennis tom Hall of Fame

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    I would recommend therapy for this ASAP, practice hitting a million top-spin second serves until you can do it in the dark. Your first serve is only as good as your second serve. YOU weren't nervous but your sub-conscious was, it's normal even pros double fault under pressure.

    Mechanically if your serve was going into the net you were probably tossing the ball too far out in front. Your topspin second serve toss needs to be at the twelve o'clock position above your head. At least your not in denial blaming it on the wind or Mercury being in retrograde.
     
    Last edited: Nov 14, 2013
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  8. rufus_smith

    rufus_smith Professional

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    Just blame it on a former husband or boyfriend. Most things are their fault.
     
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  9. gmatheis

    gmatheis Hall of Fame

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    Sounds to me like you got a bit tired and started dropping your head when you were serving.

    Remember to focus and keep that head up.
     
    #9
  10. LuckyR

    LuckyR Legend

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    You strayed out of the Zone because of the timing of the first DF (which may have been random).

    Since the definition of the Zone is the absence of thought, how does one NOT think about something on their mind? Think actively about something else.

    Think about your footwork and swing harder.
     
    #10
  11. LeeD

    LeeD Bionic Poster

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    Double faults into the net, you choked from the pressure, and shortarmed your motion so it won't go long, so you hit the net.
    Double faults long, you choked from the pressure, as you don't want to present a sitter to your opponent, so you hit deeper than your skills allow.
    Double faults from both long and net, you didn't practice your serves enough, besides choking from the pressure.
    A second serve is to start the point with you somewhat favored. You are NOT trying to win the point outright, so get it in to backhand side, forehand side, or into the body.
     
    #11
  12. Gut4Tennis

    Gut4Tennis Hall of Fame

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    I can almost guarantee you were rushing, but you might not admit it. After a double fault you need to slow down and take an extra breath.

    Anna Kournikova Serves 17 Double Faults
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hjOw8rDhUt0
     
    #12
  13. Bdarb

    Bdarb Hall of Fame

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    She looks great doing it though.
     
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  14. skiracer55

    skiracer55 Hall of Fame

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    What they said..

    ...also in general, leave it in your rear view mirror. Tennis isn't something you can bottle up and release whenever you want to. If your serve usually goes in but doesn't one day, just let it go. Some days you eat the bear, some days the bear eats you...
     
    #14
  15. Spokewench

    Spokewench Semi-Pro

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    Don't worry about it Cindy! When I'm having a weird issue like this I just realize that I need to compensate for these issues.

    If it went into the next, most probably, your service toss was too far out in front (that's what causes me to go into the net). So, I have a thing I do when I serve, I take a big deep breach before my serve (which helps me calm and also slows me down just a fraction); I think under all pressure situations, toss the ball higher and break my wrist at the very top of impact so as to get nice spin (sometimes kick) and keep that ball in the service box when it clears the net.

    These two simple thoughts and the higher ball toss almost always does it!
     
    #15
  16. Tennisguy3000

    Tennisguy3000 Semi-Pro

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    Work on your second serves more than you first... I had to do this too and it has improved my first serves as well as I don't worry about missing my first anymore ;-)

    A spinny kick serve is a very high percentage second serve that is easy to get in once you learn it. I had a bad case of double doublefaultitis... not fun.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F7z7vEVqz1A

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zkHDmfQ-iW4

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lGkMgQ2bymo

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LQEpn7spU8o
     
    Last edited: Nov 14, 2013
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  17. LeeD

    LeeD Bionic Poster

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    As a GUY, a spinny second serve that bounces 5'9" high at the baseline is a good tool to have, but...
    As a 5'4" female, that serve might only go right into the sweetspot of the returner, so it get's killed, causing the server to stretch and retrieve
    immediately.
    Watching WTA tennis for 3 decades plus, it's better to have an accurately placed slice serve with a hint of topspin, than trying to copy an ATP second serve.
    Like my flat serves, maybe 110 on a good day, would just be killed against a 5.5 level player, while being extremely effective at 4.0 levels.
     
    #17
  18. beernutz

    beernutz Hall of Fame

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    I agree with Power Player, in my own case usually those serving issues result from a bad toss. I also tend to cheat and look at my target before the racquet hits the ball but that is for another thread. Tosses are one of those small things that is very important but doesn't tend to be thought about or practiced on its own much. I recently switched just the way I was holding the ball prior to the toss after watching a tennis coaching video and it was amazing how much that one little thing improved my overall serve.
     
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  19. sovertennis

    sovertennis Semi-Pro

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    Been there, Cindy. Next time, maybe focus on keeping your toss arm high, your head up and say to yourself "go up and get it."

    You'll get past this.
     
    #19
  20. LeeD

    LeeD Bionic Poster

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    Since a serve has little to do with the opponent, it's a good thing to never look at the opponent's court, a good thing to adopt a ritual before each serve, and a good thing to visualize toss location that leads to the proper net clearnance, before each and every serve, especially pressure second serves.
    Take the receiver out of your serving equation, and you will serve much better and more effectively.
    I often look at where I'm NOT trying to hit, just for the fun of it.
     
    #20
  21. sureshs

    sureshs Bionic Poster

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    Cindy, you are never going to get over this psychological barrier from now on. Underhand serves are the only option now.
     
    #21
  22. dominikk1985

    dominikk1985 Legend

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    -more BH grip (for more spin)
    -loose grip
    -fast swing

    trust the spin to bring the ball down and don't worry if you occasionally miss once by inches.
     
    #22
  23. LeeD

    LeeD Bionic Poster

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    Keep your service motion, but practice more. 48 out of 50 IN in a row is a starting goal.
     
    #23
  24. Frayed Mains

    Frayed Mains New User

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    Tough to make a mechanical suggestion without seeing firsthand. Under pressure on serve, usually try to: Focus on pre-shot routine (like as in golf), keeping toss high enough, and going up after it aggressively with good racquet head speed

    Probably an aberration.

    After all, some days we all serve great, and some days we just serve average - this is just one click down from there, no?
     
    #24
  25. dizzlmcwizzl

    dizzlmcwizzl Hall of Fame

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    When ever I miss a serve I remember the chorus to this classic .

    Then I remember to bend my knees, keep my head up and "get up get, get to get down"
     
    #25
  26. LeeD

    LeeD Bionic Poster

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    Possibly, the mindset of a female second serve is polar opposite to what the GUYS need to do.
    If most girls just try to swing faster and get more hops, it might lead to a sitter for the returner.
    For most guys, swinging faster and more hops lead to weaker returns.
     
    #26
  27. Attila_the_gorilla

    Attila_the_gorilla Professional

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    Looks more like "post-doublefaults trauma" syndrome. Don't touch that rope!
     
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  28. Cindysphinx

    Cindysphinx G.O.A.T.

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    Thanks everyone.

    I guess strokes go off in matches all the time. If you can't find your BH, hit more FHs and hope the opponent doesn't notice.

    There's no getting around a service meltdown, huh?

    Maybe I was just tired. It was 11 pm and that was my fourth hour of tennis that day.

    Or maybe I was just arrogant. "She'll never hit a good return because she has been struggling all night. I'll just whip one in and we'll get out of here so I can go to bed. Who cares what kind of toss it is. Just hit it!"
     
    #28
  29. jussumman

    jussumman Semi-Pro

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    Don't you have a second safe serve as a safe haven serve? Use that for 1st serve until you get some in..
     
    #29
  30. sureshs

    sureshs Bionic Poster

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    Chances are your rhythm went off and will not come back for months, even years.
     
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  31. Fintft

    Fintft Hall of Fame

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    ^^^^
    Or half sets, games?
     
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  32. TimeSpiral

    TimeSpiral Professional

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    That's essentially a full-on service meltdown.

    For me it's important to have a safe serve; one that you can revert to in case of a meltdown. Have a safe serve for both the first and the second serves.

    My experience is consistent with yours. I can typically serve a second serve into a break point, set point, or match point and not be overly worried about doublefaulting, but every once in a while ... the serve demon shows up and says, "you shall not serve."
     
    #32
  33. NLBwell

    NLBwell Legend

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    Cindy - forget completely about it. Just one of those random occurrences.

    By the way, I love the title of this thread. Thank you for being you.
     
    #33
  34. Ripper014

    Ripper014 Hall of Fame

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    Think less... and just aim for the service line.
     
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  35. Gut4Tennis

    Gut4Tennis Hall of Fame

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    I once had a service games where I was serving to stay in the match at 3-5 and double faulted every point. I felt sooooo embarrassed, but never had any problems moving forward. cant say the same for Guillermo Coria

    From wikipedia: ''Despite Coria having a consistent season in 2005, it was during his tournament victory in Umag that he started to suffer from the service yips, a psychological condition that renders a tennis player unable to hit the ball at the correct moment when serving. At first, it wasn't really noticed but it really came to light during the 2005 US Open when Coria served a combined 34 double faults in his fourth round win over Nicolás Massú and his quarter final loss to Robby Ginepri.''
     
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  36. Cindysphinx

    Cindysphinx G.O.A.T.

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    Thanks, NLBwell!

    If this thread title spoke to you, I'm guessing you must have a traumatic service experience somewhere in your subconscious.

    Would you like to share with the class? No one will judge you, I promise. :)
     
    #36
  37. Chotobaka

    Chotobaka Hall of Fame

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    Do not over-think it and do not make wholesale changes. You already, know you have a good serve so just grip it and rip it.
     
    #37
  38. tennisee

    tennisee Rookie

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    (puts hand up)
    I had my own meltdown yesterday Ms Sphinx.
    Had been serving averagely throughout doubles (Maybe one df/set).
    Singles I really focussed and played a very clean set 6-0, then in the second my opponent lifted his game. I had the early break, but after that most games went to a few deuces, and I had to save many break points, manage to win a couple of really tight ones to hang on to the break.
    It was total concentration - and then serving at 4-3 I threw in FOUR DOUBLES.
    Count em. (I did) FOUR in one game.
    I could tell at the time my toss was too low and I was rushing, but too tired to really care or fix it.
    In my league we play TBs at 5 all. Luckily I took the second in the TB 11-9 on my first match point. Oddly the meltdown did not really shake my confidence - I knew that if I executed properly they'd go in.

    BTW - I'm not sure I agree with this "safe" serve idea. Any serve of mine will go out if I don't get the fundamentals right.
     
    #38
  39. tennis tom

    tennis tom Hall of Fame

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    Also keep in mind that the balls are wearing out and not as lively towards the end of the match, if your not changing them every seven games, which usually is not happening in rec play.
     
    #39
  40. Cindysphinx

    Cindysphinx G.O.A.T.

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    Dang. Four doubles in a game!

    Am I a bad person if I feel a lot better now?
     
    #40
  41. tennisee

    tennisee Rookie

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    Of course not Ms Sphinx - only more human.
    Thinking about it further, it was a funny match - a day of statistical anomalies. I play on grass, so we get bad bounces, but in one game I lost three straight points and the game, all on bad bounces on my side. (I then uttered a profanity).
    In another game I held to love serving four unreturnables -three in a row of which hit the lines.
    Just one of those days.
     
    #41
  42. sureshs

    sureshs Bionic Poster

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    I told you. Once it is in your head, you can never get over it. Think of Nadal and Federer.
     
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  43. NLBwell

    NLBwell Legend

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    It's possible that I've had many, but have succeeded in blotting them out of my mind.

    I am now always successful at serving in the clutch.
     
    #43
  44. tennis tom

    tennis tom Hall of Fame

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    Damnit! I've been playing/practicing rec-club tennis from 8:30 to 12:30 today and on my last serve of the day, was shooting for four double-faults in one game. I lost track of the score and only got three in before it was set point--that's what happens when you're tired, lose track of the score and don't keep your head up long enough. At least they were all into the tape and nearly identical--humble brag.
     
    #44
  45. Cindysphinx

    Cindysphinx G.O.A.T.

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    I played today and served well. Except for that one DF on break point down.

    At least I identified and corrected the problem in my next service game (more legs, more legs!).
     
    #45
  46. sureshs

    sureshs Bionic Poster

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    I served 3 games in a doubles set today and DF-ed only once.
     
    #46
  47. Centryx

    Centryx Semi-Pro

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    were your legs cramping? not getting the same lift on your serve? shoulder tired? battling fatigue? someone at your advanced age (with all those easy 2 set wins) maybe struggled with just being tired in a close match??? :confused:
     
    #47
  48. tennis tom

    tennis tom Hall of Fame

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    If you don't DF once in a while you're not trying hard enough.
     
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  49. Fintft

    Fintft Hall of Fame

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    I double fault more due to nerves during matches, than when playing for fun (be it right afterwards- at that point I'm more relaxed and my serve technique and rhythm are better, including more bending of the knees etc)
     
    #49
  50. struggle

    struggle Hall of Fame

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    sounds like the yips to me.

    i also agree with much of what tennis tom has to say.

    every now and then i just lose it, toss is all over the place etc.
    good thing i'm not a pro.
     
    Last edited: Nov 18, 2013
    #50

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