Serve, pace overrated?

Discussion in 'Tennis Tips/Instruction' started by zaph, Apr 5, 2014.

  1. zaph

    zaph Rookie

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    Is pace on the serve overrated? At club level lots of players seem to have very similar serve, no real bounce, very flat, tends to be hit out wide most of time, and it isn't very effective.

    I have been playing around a bit, and found that increasing the kick, on both first and second serves is more effective than pace. Once it is out of my opponents hitting zone, I get the mistake, or a weak return.

    Placement, I am amazed at the number of players who can't serve down the centre line. Yet that level of predictability makes their serve easy to return, however hard they hit.

    So is service pace overated, and would most amateur players be better off concentrating on developing other aspects of the serve, like kick, placement, and side spin?
     
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  2. psv255

    psv255 Professional

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    Yes
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  3. Lukhas

    Lukhas Legend

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    FYB did a series of videos on that matter. I mostly agree.
     
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  4. PoisonSky

    PoisonSky New User

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    At the very earliest levels pace is the most important thing on the serve. Because at a certain point, let's say 80mph, people who haven't played tennis for long might not be used to returning fast serves and miss almost every first serve that goes in. Plus, if it's really fast and it's close to the lines they might not know for sure where it landed and give you the benefit of the doubt. Also sometimes a very fast serves gets some ooohs and aahs and are fun to hit

    But basically if you're playing someone who can already handle your pace there's little point using more pace, better placement and stuff would be more effective yeah
     
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  5. Ash_Smith

    Ash_Smith Hall of Fame

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    Serve priority checklist...

    1) Consistency
    2) Accuracy
    3) Spin
    4) Speed
     
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  6. Topspin Shot

    Topspin Shot Legend

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  7. TeamOB

    TeamOB Professional

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    YES! Serve speed is one of the most overrated stats in tennis. Especially at the rec level. My average first serve is probably around 85-90 mph but I hold serve more often then one of my fellow juniors who hits 110s. Its all about placement at the rec level. I much rather return a 110 right up the middle of the box then return an 85 into the corner and with spin. The best way for recs to practice their serve is to try to be able to hit every spin to every target. Much better then just mindlessly going for speed.
     
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  8. Aggro

    Aggro Rookie

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    Agree in it's entirety!
     
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  9. Maximagq

    Maximagq Banned

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    Is this a response to the rec serve speed threads
     
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  10. movdqa

    movdqa Legend

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    You have the basic flat, kick and slice serves and it's good to mix it up along with different pace and location as it keeps the receiver off balance. If you hit a kick-serve to the backhand all of the time, then the receiver will get grooved to it (or should) and be able to return it fairly easily.

    I played doubles today and one of the players was the local high-school #1 player and he only had a flat serve. He was tall, in good shape and very fast but he could improve quite a bit developing slice and kick serves. I hit mainly kick serves but throw in flat and slice serves when the receiver gets grooved to the kick serve.
     
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  11. zaph

    zaph Rookie

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    Not really, it was more observing other rec players. Lots of them have flat, very low serves, and they are not as effective as the raw speed suggests they should be.

    In fact pace at that level can often be counter productive. Generating pace can be difficult, using someone else's pace against them is much easier.

    I tend to hit two kick serves, one harder than the other and it causes alot of players difficulties. They find it difficult to deal with a ball outside their hitting zone.
     
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  12. Steady Eddy

    Steady Eddy Hall of Fame

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    In tournaments they post the speed of every serve, and some people get the idea that speed is what it's all about.

    Lots of people in attendance don't play or understand tennis, so they just focus on how fast the serves got up to. The same way many baseball fans only show up to see home runs.

    Serve speed isn't so important. With spin and placement you can serve around people, instead of trying to blast through them.
     
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  13. GoudX

    GoudX Professional

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    In general that's the correct order of priorities, but its not always that clear cut, for instance I'd happily give 10% of my consistency for 10% more speed against an opponent who struggles with pace.
     
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  14. Nickzor

    Nickzor Semi-Pro

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    Well recently as in like maybe just the other day I've started to hit my serves in with around 70% power, they're still fast enough to be unreturnables or aces at times and well that just worked out so much better, generally i just go all out on about 80% of the time a hit a first serve which ends up going in about 50% or less of the time, but when i was going for 70% power and i slowed down my service motion as well it just went in almost every time, or about 70% of the time, i'd say pace is overrated if you can't hit a heavy fast serve everytime without putting your whole body into it and tiring out or ending up with a very low 1st serve %, the Pro's can probably get into the 120's without going 100% power so for them it isn't overrated as they can place them very well unlike most rec players I'd say
     
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  15. eelhc

    eelhc Professional

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    Unless it comes with placement... way over rated.

    I play against a few guys who have a flat 1st, kick 2nd routine... no changes. One of the guys have a such a wicked kick I find his 2nd serve harder to handle than 1st.

    I approach my service game like a pitcher in baseball... always have them guessing.

    I also find the change up very effective... variation in speed works well at the club level.
     
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  16. movdqa

    movdqa Legend

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    > I approach my service game like a pitcher in baseball... always
    > have them guessing.

    I think that's the most effective approach unless you can serve like Isner or Berdych. I've noticed that there aren't a lot of people that talk about the slice serve - it's nice for a change-up as it's a bit slower and stays lower than the kick and flat serves. If someone is used to hitting the ball at a certain height, the slice serve can throw them off.
     
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  17. Will Wilson

    Will Wilson Rookie

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    Its not very sexy but just getting a high percentage of first serves at the club level will garner lots of free points the return of most players isn't great so if you just make them hit lots of returns you will inevitably get free points. I have more success serving slower with more spin as I think making club players move is always a good strategy
     
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  18. RoddickAce

    RoddickAce Hall of Fame

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    Depends on what the returner is good at returning and it is also useful to mix up your serves.

    I love returning against kick serves cuz I can just stand far back and crush them. But I don't like returning slice serves that skid low. Flat serves, it depends on placement.
     
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  19. LeeD

    LeeD Bionic Poster

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    Serve speed is No.4 in importance for those who can't hit fast serves.
    Serve speed is very important for those who CAN hit fast serves, maybe No.2.
    For those was averagedly fast serves, placement trumps speed.
     
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  20. GuyClinch

    GuyClinch Hall of Fame

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    If you can really bring the heat - placement doesn't matter as much. Anything under 110 or so people can block back if they guess the right spot though.

    Think of it like Nolan Ryan. That guy could throw it right down the middle - he didn't even need to aim it to get guys out. The natural movement was enough. If on the other hand you don't hit with much pace - adding a bit more pace doesn't help that much.

    40, 50, 60, 70 - if you hit serves of that pace it doesn't really matter. If anything the 70mph serve is easier to hit.
     
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  21. TennisCJC

    TennisCJC Legend

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    I have played a lot of matches where I feel like I hit a serve fastest than average only to see it come back almost as fast. Then, I will hit a slice into the body that is 15% slower and it causes errors or weak replies.

    I think changing spins, speeds and location is important when serving.
     
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  22. dknotty

    dknotty Semi-Pro

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    So true. Yesterday I was playing a chap who's serve has got harder. However, it wasn't placed well meaning it was easy to return it with interest.

    Varying spins makes it much harder to get a good contact.
     
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