Serves Feel Good But Not Going In?

Discussion in 'Tennis Tips/Instruction' started by TennsDog, Aug 30, 2006.

  1. TennsDog

    TennsDog Hall of Fame

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    I don't know about you, but I have had many times when I am serving and can't seem to find the service box consistently, even on second serves. The problem comes from the fact that the serves felt right, like I was hitting them just the way I wanted, but they still weren't going in. When this happens, many people will "just get it in" and don't worry about doing anything with it. I have found this to be the exact opposite of the best solution. Instead of just putting it in play to start the point, look at a specific spot in the service box, say 1'x1', focus on that spot for a second or two, then toss and serve while thinking about hitting that spot. You don't need to break any sound barriers or kick it over the opponent's head or anything, just hit a solid serve that feels good. It amazed me the first time I tried that and my first serve actually hit the exact spot I had envisioned. The trend continued through my serving session.

    As best as I can tell, this works because the mind gets a bit confused when you stop aiming and use the whole service box as a target. The ball takes up about 1/500th (guessing) of that court area, which gives you a lot of margin for error, but it also means you get lax and don't hit with the same precise motion.

    I will add a note that this method likely only works with players who already have good ability to place the serve. I'm not saying that lesser servers shouldn't try it or it won't work, but it seems like if you don't know how to hit it there anyway, thinking about it won't help. However, over a period of practice like this, you should develop good serve placement.

    This also helps explain how some players have decent groundstrokes but impecable passing shots, and a similar mentality could improve groundstroke consistency too.

    Good luck and happy serving. :)
     
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  2. travlerajm

    travlerajm Hall of Fame

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    This has happened to me at times. The cure that works every time: increase my swingweight.

    My control seems to deteriorate when my racquet head speed gets too fast. By adding a little lead to the hoop, it increases my consistency. And as a bonus, my serves are faster, heavier, and harder to return.

    I think this is one reason why Sampras was playing with much higher swingweight at the end of his career. He started in the 360s, and I've heard he was in the 380s during the last few years he was playing.
     
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  3. ZPTennis

    ZPTennis Semi-Pro

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    good post. thats the best mentality you can use IMO.
     
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  4. cghipp

    cghipp Professional

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    I agree completely. In fact, I had my mixed doubles partner start giving me signals when I'm serving. Aside from the strategic advantages, it helped my first serve percentage dramatically. Trying to "just get it in" is the kiss of death for my serve. Visualization is an excellent tool and may be the most under-used technique in tennis.
     
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  5. jimiforpres

    jimiforpres Rookie

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    Good post, but your chance of getting it in depends on the box size, not the ball size. That last comment was totally irrelavent
     
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  6. jimiforpres

    jimiforpres Rookie

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    Good post, but your chance of getting it in depends on the box size, not the ball size. My last comment was totally irrelavent
     
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  7. bleno567

    bleno567 Rookie

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    I agree with the part about having a good mentality helping your game, but i dont think you should just do whatever feels right to do on the serve. The body does wierd things that are often technically unsound. For me what works best is forgetting how my body wants to serve, and focusing on how to make my serve as technically sound as possible, regardless how i feel about it
     
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  8. TennsDog

    TennsDog Hall of Fame

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    When I say "feels right," I mean you are going through the proper service motion and it feels like it should when you are hitting it in and you can't figure out why they aren't going in. Sometimes, when I'm missing serves, I just feel off like maybe my toss is off or my backswing isn't right or whatever. When I hit a good serve, I can feel it the whole way through the motion and it feels right based on years of hitting and thousands of serves hit. My point was to correct missing in this latter situation, when you know you are feeling right on your serve. Hope this makes sense.
     
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  9. Ripper

    Ripper Hall of Fame

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    Yes, it does.
     
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  10. deluxe

    deluxe Semi-Pro

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    His serve is going out, so he should change his racquet????? If I'd increased my swingweight everytime my serve felt good but kept going just long, then you'd all be playing tennis inside the black hole that my racquet had become.
     
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