serve practice - how often?

Discussion in 'Tennis Tips/Instruction' started by luvforty, Feb 4, 2013.

  1. luvforty

    luvforty Banned

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    for regular hits, I probably serve about 50 balls during point play.

    but lately have added some time designated to serves only... hit about 100 of them tonight, feels like shoulder will need a couple days rest.

    what's the recommended frequency and number of serves?
     
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  2. Topspin Shot

    Topspin Shot Legend

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    That depends on many factors. Basically, if your arm hurts, you hit too many serves. It's counterproductive to hit 100 serves and then have to take 2 days off. You'd be better off hitting 50 serves all three days for a total of 150 serves and no pain.
     
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  3. _craze

    _craze New User

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    That depends on many factors. Basically, if your arm hurts, you hit too many serves.

    Or hit too many serves incorrectly. Generally speaking (maybe it isn't you), quality over quantity makes the serve.


    Especially since collecting the balls afterwards is always a *****.
     
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  4. 2ndServe

    2ndServe Professional

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    100 is what 1 1/3 baskets? Your arm should not be hurting after this many. Might be a mechanical issue.
     
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  5. TheCheese

    TheCheese Professional

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    It really depends on you form and fitness whether or not you get sore after serving. With proper form, you should be able to hit quite a few and be alright.
     
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  6. luvforty

    luvforty Banned

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    I do have a slight tear in the shoulder.

    I said it needs a rest... not hurting :)

    mechanical issue..... sure... who doesn't lol... i am not arming it though.
     
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  7. zapvor

    zapvor Legend

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    the better question is how to practice
     
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  8. Nellie

    Nellie Hall of Fame

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    ^^^exactly. If you watch pros practice serving, they are not hitting it 100% - rather, they are using easy, fluid motions with lots of attention to timing/form.
     
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  9. zapvor

    zapvor Legend

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    i wish i learned this earlier. stupid me serving 100 balls all wrong technique for months:(
     
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  10. goran_ace

    goran_ace Hall of Fame

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    100 in a row? Ouch. My quads are burning at the mere thought of that. At least break that up into sets of 25 to give your body some time to recover. Pushing past fatigue with 5-10 more serves is good, but hitting say 30 more serves beyond that point is when your form will break down and you start going bad things or you start putting yourself at risk for injury.
     
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  11. NLBwell

    NLBwell Legend

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    Slight tear in the shoulder is not good.

    Work on making your serve as relaxed and flowing as possible. Practice making your arm feel loose like jelly and just flowing through the stroke. The arm and hand are just the tip of the whip.

    If you are perfectly healthy with good form, even a few hundred serves shouldn't bother you the next day. With an injury, you must be much more careful.
     
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  12. luvforty

    luvforty Banned

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    thanks for the inputs.... not 100 in a row lol.... 4-5 balls per batch, then walk to the other end.

    slight tear - yeah, will be careful.... been there for years.
     
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  13. WildVolley

    WildVolley Legend

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    Take it easy and build up that shoulder. Do your thrower's 10 exercises and scapular pushups and general strength training. I was bombing serves until I injured my shoulder.

    I've decided that it is usually best to work on serves a little every practice that your shoulder is healthy. But always warm up first and don't hit to many. It is also good to do a little serve practice, then work on something else (perhaps server return) and then go back to serve practice.
     
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  14. dr325i

    dr325i Legend

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    I do the Serving and returns EVERY time I play (4 times per week): 1 hour rallies, 45 minutes serving/returns, 15 minutes cool down

    Those 45 minutes I serve like we play the point (1st/2nd), then we play the full point, not calling close outs, not keeping the score, playing relaxed. I estimate I get to serve about 60-80 times, usually 50 1st and 30 2nd. Then, the opponent serves, and I practice returns for 20 min.

    Sometimes, we do 10 "points" each, then we switch, about 8-10 series each.

    But we practice serving EVERY time.

    Since I travel a lot, Serving is the thing that goes first, and only after 4-5 days...
     
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  15. TennisCJC

    TennisCJC Legend

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    I usually hit 2 to 3 hoppers in a session with a session once or twice a week - my hopper holds max 60 balls but probably around 50 in it. So, 100-150 per session.
     
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  16. maggmaster

    maggmaster Hall of Fame

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    It all depends on what type of serves I am hitting. Loose flowing topspin serves, I can hit 200 with no issues. Harder flat serves I may hit 50 and be done. Maybe less if I have done any leg work in the gym.
     
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  17. Relinquis

    Relinquis Hall of Fame

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    always, always warm up.

    if you're serving from a hopper then take breaks after every 50-75 serves. a few minutes gathering balls or something that doesn't involve using your shoulder. don't start doing forehand drills. Seeing as you have had past shoulder issues, maybe the ten serves, then gather balls and switch sides is a better way. I've started doing this recently even though my shoulder is healthy as i'm playing tennis more regularly now and don't want to over-work it.

    also, get a good coach to make sure that you're using the proper form. taking a video of yourself will help you identify form issues as well.

    get your shoulder checked out. do you do physio?

    As to how to practice, I do consistency drills and/or placement drills (splitting the service targets into three to mimic shots to the backhand, into the body and to the forehand).
     
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  18. Say Chi Sin Lo

    Say Chi Sin Lo Legend

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    I wouldn't do back-to-back days of serve practice. That's just me being cautious because I came back from two shoulder surgeries already (I'm 27 and I had those surgeries at ~17 and ~22)

    This is just from personal experience and I would suggest the same to you guys, simulate "real" match-like stamina in your serving practices so you don't burn yourself out. That is, after X amount of serves, take a short (~10-30 seconds break). Think about it, you would never hit 20+ serve nonstop in a real match. It's 1 or 2, then play the point, and serve again.

    For me, I serve out to a love game nonstop, 1st+2nd serves. So after 8 serves, I walk along the baseline for ~30seconds to give my rotator cuff muscles a rest (like they would in a real match after hitting a serve). Then back for 8 more.

    I can go ~200 serves of mixed variety. But if I'm working on my kick serve, I cap it at ~75. Again, I would not do back-to-back days of serving practice.
     
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  19. zapvor

    zapvor Legend

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    well probably more like 75 but yea. the worst is my technique was ALL wrong so my shoulder is paying for it now. and my serve. good news is i was able to fix my technique so my serve is ok for now.
     
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  20. Tmano

    Tmano Professional

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    of course your sholder is hurting you...you are just not used to serve so many serves in a raw. however your serve is probably the most important shot and practicing it often is what you have to do to get to a point in which you trust it and become really effective. I used to pratice my serve a lot maybe 3 times per week a few hundres balls......the fist sessions were brutal but then it gets better and your arm/ sholder get used to the work.
     
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  21. watungga

    watungga Semi-Pro

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    I'm worried about my shoulder as well. Methink its a positional issue and a lack of racquets Swing Weight. I use stock Wilson PS 95.

    Positional issue: I'd better hit the ball when my chest still in front of the tossed ball. I think this is preferable stance for aging players like me.

    Low SW issue: Trying to re-compensate the lack of impact on the ball, I was exerting more effort on my shoulder to produce higher racquet speeds. I will lead up my racquet for this.
     
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  22. TimothyO

    TimothyO Hall of Fame

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    This is good advice and, for we older players, I take it one step further.

    Frequent serve practice does wonders for your confidence and consistency and hitting several in a row helps you get a feel for your serve's rhythm. That also improves safety since good rhythm allows you to serve loose and smooth.

    After over-doing a serve practice session a couple of years ago I decided to change my approach and it has been both comfortable/safe and useful for my development.

    1. Instead of a basket of balls I start with 8-9 balls: a few in my pockets, one in my hand, and the remainder back along the fence.

    2. As others have mentioned I focus on form and staying smooth/loose. You're more consistent and get more pace this way and it's better for your body.

    3. With this number of balls available I have a couple of useful practice options. Sometimes I try to nail 8-9 of the same serve (eg deuce side, down the T) or I try a "service game" of four points to develop my first-serve/************* rhythm (ie I hit first and second serves to deuce, first and second to ad, etc. until I've served 8 balls alternating side and serve type as in a match.)

    4. When my 8-9 balls are depleted I then walk to the other side and rinse/repeat. If focusing on a single serve type when I crossover I'll either repeat that serve or try it from the other side (eg down the T from deuce on once side and then do down the T from ad when I crossover).

    With this practice pace I've never had an injury and can serve many, many cycles. In fact, it's my legs and core that get tired rather than my arm or shoulder.

    Most importantly, instead of being almost afraid of serving I now relish the opportunity since I'm so confident in it. It's actually fun for me instead of being something I dreaded as when I first started playing.
     
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  23. Ash_Smith

    Ash_Smith Hall of Fame

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    TimO - I'm a big fan of this kind of simulated practice. Whilst there may be a situation where the player needs to hit a full bucket (working with a very specific technical focus for example), in general most players would benefit from the type of practice you describe above. I see too many players just "mindlessly" bashing basket after basket with seemingly no real thought process or target. As a general rule, practice should be as realistic as possible, so serve in pairs, alternating sides, picking a target each time and ensuring your routines stay intact.

    cheers
     
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  24. tennisfan69

    tennisfan69 New User

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    If you look up youtube for Federer at probably 15-16 training, his coach had a drill. couple of cones spread out along the base line and couple in the no mans land. he would make Fed run around the cones as if rallying back and forth with out balls but with shadow tennis. then stop, put two serves, 1st and 2nd. then run around the cones simulate rally, stop put two serves.. repeat the cycle many many times. Now get it why you almost never see Fed gasping for breath after long/intense rally and cooly comes up to serve at the perfect spot.
     
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  25. Say Chi Sin Lo

    Say Chi Sin Lo Legend

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    Or because he grew up serving and volley, so he got used to serving again after an explosive sprint up to the net, regardless if the serve was in or not.
     
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