Practicing the serve = conquering fears

Discussion in 'Tennis Tips/Instruction' started by Rubens, Apr 12, 2014.

  1. Rubens

    Rubens Semi-Pro

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    The fear of looking ridiculous. Yes, I admit it. Even at this stage in my life. Still scared of looking like a total novice. Scared ****less.

    You can't cheat with the serve. Somehow, you can get away with a bad groundstroke. It's acceptable. Forgivable. But the serve is something else. Deep down, a man cannot help but consider the serve as a measure of his manliness. And there lies the fear of not measuring up. The pressure. Every first serve has to be a bullet. Every second serve should kick to the other court. Anything short of that, is a total humiliation. So what do we do? We avoid practicing the serve. Instead, we rally. Practice our groundtrokes, over and over, even though we know that we should be practicing our serves. No wonder most recreational players' serves suck and break down in match play. Not enough practice.

    Practicing serve makes me sick. I wish I had my own private court to practice my damn serve. But I don't, so I have no choice other than to practice on a public court. But I sure don't enjoy it. I feel the same way about it as I felt about taking driving lessons as a teen. For someone with such a macho pride, it was hell to be seen as a beginner behind the wheel.

    Even practicing against the wall is hard. Every time I go to the wall with the intention to practice my serve, it only takes a few minutes before some @#$%& comes to show off his powerful serve, even though most of the time the guy does it with a bad technique, forehand grip and all. It's still annoying because here I am trying to practice the correct technique/grip and it results in a weaker serve, which is normal when you're a beginner, whereas the @#$% besides me is showing off how much more powerful his serve is. So what do I do? I start to hit groundstrokes against the wall. And it makes me feel instantly better about my game, because my groundstrokes are ridiculously better than my serve.

    Damn, I need to man up and practice the serve more often. Even if it makes me want to throw up.

    Am I the only one who feels like this??

    Anyway, thanks for reading. I hope this will help me for my next practice session.
     
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  2. mikeler

    mikeler G.O.A.T.

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    Google narcissism
     
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  3. Chotobaka

    Chotobaka Hall of Fame

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    I'll bet the shower room really stresses you out.
     
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  4. Rubens

    Rubens Semi-Pro

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    lol good one. No problem there, actually. It's just the serve.
     
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  5. Steady Eddy

    Steady Eddy Hall of Fame

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    I was jealous of the simplicity enjoyed by people who just smacked their serves with a forehand grip. Now I hit my serve with an eastern forehand and I hit overheads with it too. Maybe the continental/backhand grip for serves isn't right for you?
     
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  6. Rubens

    Rubens Semi-Pro

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    I've been considering that, as a last resort. Actually, maybe that's the reason why many recreational players use the FH grip. Instant power. I'm not saying that that's the case with you personally, but in general. Serving with the conti/BH gives access to more power EVENTUALLY, after months of serving like a weakling. Whenever I serve under 70mph, it's like a stab to the heart ( my ego actually).
     
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  7. darthpanda

    darthpanda New User

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    i practice my serve every chance i get. this is because the serve is so important when it comes to matches. i remember people laughing when i first started learning to serve, now people compliment on my good serve.
     
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  8. hawk eye

    hawk eye Hall of Fame

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    After reading the OP: life must be very hard for you..
    But then to be honest, I used to have something similar when sometimes in doubles my forehand all of a sudden went totally of. When warming up it all went fine, but in the match after a couple of misses it could break down and then I could hardly get it over the net. But then it was and weak and short, waiting to be punished. I knew it was lack of hitting though the ball, but still couldn' t solve it right away. When it happened I just became scared of hitting a FH. Not a nice feeling..
    It came to the point that after the match one of my opponents told us they kept targeting my forehand, because I didn't have any. While you know it normally is your strongest shot..
    It almost happened only in doubles, probably because you don't get to hit a that many forehands so you it's hard to find your groove again. This 'thing' has kept away now for over year, probably because recently I didn't take a winter break of 3 months and hit a bit more often.

    But in your case, realize that the serve is the only shot you have total control over (or better, CAN have total control over). You toss the ball, you hit it. I wouldn't be surpised if your toss is inconsistent, and therefore your serve. You can practice that outside the courts. Plus, I wouldn't make it so hard on myself to demand a bullet every first serve. BTW, it's not even good tactics.
     
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  9. boramiNYC

    boramiNYC Hall of Fame

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    Unfortunately practice usually don't make perfect. Learn the know how soundly first.
     
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  10. Fintft

    Fintft Hall of Fame

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    I only agree with this part and I even remember how my serve was more powerful before I've tried to re-learn it with :

    At least now it's placed (i.e. I can ace people with second serves), has higher percentages, and at times sounds and feels good (while also having some power on the first serve, while the so called second serve can only be killed once or so per set).
     
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  11. GuyClinch

    GuyClinch Hall of Fame

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    I have some fears - I don't like driving in NYC. I don't like helicopter rides. I avoid double black diamond ski trails etc.

    But the serve? An easy way to start is with the racquet already back even past the trophy (a little) position. This will simplify the motion and take some stress off you I think.
     
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  12. LeeD

    LeeD Bionic Poster

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    Wait until you guy try conti grip serving with your OTHER hand!
    I play with the same crowd either hand, weekday tennis. My oft hand is about a true 3.0. Serving closer to 2.5, but KNOWLEDGE around 4.0, so it can compete using any grip.
    Don't every WIN, because I cannot hit a winner serving right handed.
     
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  13. mbm0912

    mbm0912 Professional

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    I know exactly how you feel.
     
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  14. winstonlim8

    winstonlim8 Semi-Pro

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    I can understand anxieties when serving. When practising, I don't have a problem hitting topspin serves but when I am tired, I often tend to try to pull the ball down into the court because I am hitting upwards and afraid of the ball going out when I swing up at it. And, of course, the ball goes into the net. When it's a tight situation, I find myself hitting either a flat-topspin or a slice because of that.
     
    #14
  15. jz000

    jz000 New User

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    I felt the same way when I first practiced serves alone. Man I gotta hit a bug serve when someone shows up in the court next to mine. I also miss more often getting nervous about what others think. But over time I used this opportunity to gauge how solid my serve is. If I can get past this pressure then it is a good indicator that my serve is become gmore reliable.
     
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