Second serve help, Hitting too much through ball

Discussion in 'Tennis Tips/Instruction' started by snr, Mar 25, 2011.

  1. snr

    snr Rookie

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    Hey Guys,

    I have searched and have read many second serve threads, I'm just wondering if anyone can give me any insight on my particular issue.

    I'm about 5'11 and serve with a platform stance and continental grip. I'm somehwat happy with my first serves but obviously always want to improve.

    All around, my game is all right but my issue is a good second serve which creates a mental barrier for me at the moment; the second serve isn't up to par with the rest of my game and that saying about "you're only as good as your second serve" proves true.

    With the second serve, while I can do softer kick serves I don't like to as I know how much they sit. , whenever I want to try to get a penetrating kick, I end up hitting through the ball too much even if I am swinging up behind the ball.

    Also when I try to swing up on the ball without any rotation I also end up spinning it too much and having it spin into the net (after arching up, then arching back down).


    Do you guys think I should exaggerate anything in particular? A toss? Change to an eastern backhand grip?
     
    #1
  2. charliefedererer

    charliefedererer Legend

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    For your second serve, be sure to "wind the shoulders" more.

    Check out this video from Pat Dougherty, the Bollitieri Acadamy "Serve Doctor": http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ixx-MCC7D88

    He emphasizes that to hit a second serve, you want to wind your shoulders further around. (His specific discussion of this starts at 3:52 into the video, but you'll need to watch the first part to understand what to do on your first serve, so as to contrast the bigger shoulder wind on your second serve.)

    Will Hamilton of Fuzzy Yellow Balls makes the same point in this video, but has some great overhead shots that really shows this well: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qfwJqFaBEVs&NR=1&feature=fvwp
    This photo is central to the message in the video:
    [​IMG]


    If this idea seems to make sense, then you may want to watch other sequences on the kick serve from Will for other pointers on the toss, swing with pronation, and how to practice it with an easy motion until you feel comfortable enough to add in your bigger leg pushoff and power.

    Tennis Kick Serve - Kick Serve Step 1 - Toss http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TkAj6MmwxHw&feature=relmfu

    Tennis Kick Serve Progressions: Step 1: Swing and Pronate: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F7z7vEVqz1A&feature=relmfu

    Tennis Kick Serve Progressions: Step 4: Full Motion http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LQEpn7spU8o&feature=relmfu

    Don't forget that the kick serve, like the first serve, depends on you to "aim your chest" up at the ball, and that means getting your heels well off the court so you can bend your knees and "lean back" with a back that is relatively straight, rather than overly arched back [and hence very prone to an overuse back injury.]. (Your back only is only "arched" momentarily from your big leg pushoff, not from the beginning of your racquet takeback:
    [​IMG]

    And yes, practice, practice, practice until the "muscle-memory" is engrained so you don't have to think about the mechanism any more, but can concentrate on just a perfect toss, and coming out of the serve ready for the return.
     
    Last edited: Mar 25, 2011
    #2
  3. TheIrrefutableOne

    TheIrrefutableOne New User

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    if your serve is spinning into the net move your contact point back
     
    #3
  4. spaceman_spiff

    spaceman_spiff Professional

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    One easy thing that helped me with my technique was to imagine the ideal path of the ball.

    A friend of mine told me to visualize the ball crossing the net 5' or 6' feet off the ground and landing at the back of the box, just inside the line.

    When I visualize that, it helps me hit with the right combination of pace, spin, and height on my kick serve without having to overanalyze the technique.
     
    Last edited: Mar 25, 2011
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  5. Djokovicfan4life

    Djokovicfan4life Legend

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    Sorry, we need to see a video for this thread to be of any help to you. It's just that more often than not, a player's description of their game is completely different from what is actually happening. You could be doing most things right and just need to tweak one small element. Then again, you could have no clue how to hit a topspin serve and need to rebuild your technique from scratch.

    But we'll never know until then, and we'll just be making uneducated guesses.
     
    #5
  6. LeeD

    LeeD Bionic Poster

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    Basically what SpacemanSpiff said....
    Swing as fast as you can control. Aim the serve 3' higher than the netcord height (it varies by 3"). SPIN it in, so it goes about 30 mph slower than your first serve, so it ARC's downward and in.
    But swing at least full speed.
     
    #6
  7. mightyrick

    mightyrick Hall of Fame

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    I tried Will's FYB videos regarding kick serves, but I just couldnt "get it". Then I saw a video by Brent Abel. He has a great drill regarding the second serve. Try to hit as high of a serve as you can, but still keeping the ball in the opponent's service box.

    After I did that 30 or 40 times, I found myself having to toss the ball over my head and I even started putting topspin on the ball. I don't have a fast kick serve (yet), but my second serve is pretty wicked from a spin perspective and I can place it fairly accurately. It kicks up anywhere from 6 to 8 feet.

    I'm not saying it would work for you, but it worked wonders for me.
     
    #7
  8. wihamilton

    wihamilton Hall of Fame

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    That's a good drill and Brent is a heck of a coach. Great thing about the web is that you can get advice from a bunch of quality sources... each coach has their own unique way of explaining a particular concept, and that explanation is going to resonate with certain people.

    Just FYI, my lessons resonate best with the "30-and-under Transformers and Redskins fans" demographic... it's somewhat parochial =)
     
    #8
  9. mightyrick

    mightyrick Hall of Fame

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    No worries, Will. I have gotten a ton out of your videos and I'm an FYB subscriber. Your forehand progression videos alone have helped me so much. Watching you rally with Yann Auzoux also helped me immensely because you (like me) have an Eastern grip... and I could actually see what my stroke is supposed to look like -- by watching a player hit with it. As opposed to watching Federer, who I find nearly impossible to emulate. I also couldn't emulate Brent Abel's forehand... his seems strange to me.

    Your kick serve progressions videos are actually very good, but the only thing I couldn't "get" was that feel. I think that has to be tough as hell to communicate the expected "feel" of a topspin serve in a video.

    Anyways, major kudos/thanks to you, and keep up the great work. You've done a lot to improve my game.
     
    #9
  10. DeShaun

    DeShaun Banned

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    Keep your tossing arm up all day long: exaggerate this. Keep it up three times longer than you think is necessary. This can help to create the sensation of time slowing down, that you are "seeing" the ball "for longer" and, thus, you time your swing better. Try corkscrewing your torso in a more exaggerated style, too, especially if you are feeling secure and well balanced above that platform stance. Start worrying about incorporating a deep knee bend only after you have ironed out the upper body motions.
     
    Last edited: Mar 26, 2011
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  11. DeShaun

    DeShaun Banned

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    The "feel" for me is as though the hoop were being snatched upwards by something from above, something that tugs suddenly at the hoop in a way that is consistent with a fish hook being embedded into a fish's jaw by an angler who is making one quick jerking motion with his tackle rod.
     
    Last edited: Mar 26, 2011
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