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-   -   Slap it like Sally or Slam like Sampras? (http://tt.tennis-warehouse.com/showthread.php?t=440747)

aurelius 09-20-2012 06:08 PM

Slap it like Sally or Slam like Sampras?
 
Playing in the USTA, it seems like everyone attempts a much more timid or safer second serve but there seems to be a suggestion our there that two firsts is better than a weaker or safer 2nd.

What do you recommend? Would if differ if you're playing on the singles line or doubles line? Combo team - should the higher rated person do a double first?

Here's a link to some stats and argument - http://www.nytimes.com/2010/08/30/sp...oc.semityn.www

jonnythan 09-20-2012 06:12 PM

Depends on the level. At the lower levels, your opponent is not at all likely to be able to hit a putaway winner on a soft second serve.

IA-SteveB 09-20-2012 06:15 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by jonnythan (Post 6911098)
Depends on the level. At the lower levels, your opponent is not at all likely to be able to hit a putaway winner on a soft second serve.

Agreed. When I was playing 3.5 early in the season, I had not gotten a decent second serve developed so it was way under paced. My opponents didn't really crush it back and rarely returned a winner on me. Compare that with playing against high 3.5/4.0 people and I quickly realized my second serve needed prompt attention. :) I probably have a 50-60% first serve, so I needed a good second obviously.

NTRPolice 09-21-2012 12:28 AM

Depends on so many things.

In the large scale of things most people do not have a "second serve" that they can take a full swing on. For your second serve to be "good" you have to be able to take a full and confident swing. The biggest misconception about second serves is that you swing softer so it goes in more. A properly executed second serve uses a full swing.

In doubles you have to take into account how each of the receivers are taking your ball and whether or not your partner at net is being effective. If your partner at net is getting killed you may want to serve that person harder than if he/she is just doing generic returns and poaching the return is common.

In singles you have to consider how many of your first points youre winning compared to your second. If you're losing more first serves than you are second serves you're serving too hard and making too many errors.

mib 09-21-2012 01:06 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by aurelius (Post 6911096)
Playing in the USTA, it seems like everyone attempts a much more timid or safer second serve but there seems to be a suggestion our there that two firsts is better than a weaker or safer 2nd.

What do you recommend? Would if differ if you're playing on the singles line or doubles line? Combo team - should the higher rated person do a double first?

Here's a link to some stats and argument - http://www.nytimes.com/2010/08/30/sp...oc.semityn.www

Most people, who play USTA do not have the first serve that is both deadly enough and reliable enough to try this strategy.

Say, if your hard serve goes in 30% of the time and always wins the point, while the soft second serve goes in 90% of the time and wins only 40% of the points, you would still be better off serving the soft second serve.

Clive Walker 09-21-2012 01:53 AM

THe majority of people I play with in UK league tennis could do with upping the commitment to the 2nd serve- while taking 10% off of the first serve. THere's too much of the all out wrench on the first serve (and therefore a low percentage of serves in) followed up by the dolly 2nd serve.

Maui19 09-21-2012 04:41 AM

I hit two aggressive second serves (playing mostly doubles). A soft second serve will often get my partner killed. I find I have more success hit mostly kick serves and changing speeds and locations than I do with a hard first and spin second.

therecanbeonlyone 09-21-2012 04:56 AM

I took a whole high school season to develop a great 2nd serve. I didn't hit any 1st serves that whole season. Even after a 10 year layoff, that 2nd serve confidence is still there. One advantage that is often overlooked is that the returner's mindset changes for second serves (maybe they relax a bit), and I am almost certain I have hit more second serve aces than 1sts lately.

NTRPolice 09-21-2012 08:13 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by therecanbeonlyone (Post 6911644)
One advantage that is often overlooked is that the returner's mindset changes for second serves (maybe they relax a bit), and I am almost certain I have hit more second serve aces than 1sts lately.

Yup. I catch myself all the time doing that. I either over swing (over confident) or get lazy with the feet (under estimate) and make a pointless error. I catch myself making more errors on second serves than on firsts all the time especially when im playing for fun.

SlapShot 09-21-2012 08:25 AM

I think it gets more critical as you move up the NTRP chain. My first season at 4.5, I was amazed at how much harder it was to hold serve based on my serve alone, so I had to really focus on being on point for both firsts and seconds.

That being said, I am still mostly aggressive on my second serve, and am OK with hitting 2-3 doubles if it means that I hit 6-7 unreturnables and start most points off with an advantage rather than neutral ground.

OrangePower 09-21-2012 10:35 AM

It really depends on so many things, including level, how good your serve is, etc.

Personally, I tend to go for bigger serves in dubs than when I play singles.

In dubs I'm looking to win the point on my serve, either service winner, or weak return that can be finished off at the net. That goes for 1st and 2nd serves. I'm willing to risk a few more DFs as a trade off.

In singles, I'm looking to get some free points off my 1st serve, but on the 2nd I am more conservative. I don't want to risk DF and am ok with just getting into the point with a slight advantage.

TomT 09-22-2012 06:28 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by aurelius (Post 6911096)
Playing in the USTA, it seems like everyone attempts a much more timid or safer second serve but there seems to be a suggestion our there that two firsts is better than a weaker or safer 2nd.

What do you recommend? Would if differ if you're playing on the singles line or doubles line? Combo team - should the higher rated person do a double first?

Here's a link to some stats and argument - http://www.nytimes.com/2010/08/30/sp...oc.semityn.www

Interesting article, thanks. Yes, I think serving two first serves makes sense -- focusing not on the power of the serves, but on varying the placement and speed just enough to keep the receiver off balance. While staying well within your power capabilities, but serving essentially two first serves, you should produce more unreturnables (more service winners) and more weak returns than hitting a faster first serve and much slower second serve.

Doing it is just a matter of getting past the mental block of the erroneous notion that serving a much slower second serve with some spin on it gives you better chances. For many, maybe most, players the better percentage play is to hit two first serves. At least that's what the numbers suggest.

LeeD 09-22-2012 11:51 AM

Depends on the player and his mindset.
Some like to crush (and miss 75%) of first serves then hit a second.
Some like to percentage in a weaker first, to avoid seconds.
Some have great second serves.
Some have puffball second serves.
Some like to play aggressive tennis.
Some need to play percentages.
Which are you?

TennisCJC 10-03-2012 12:02 PM

The articles points to the statistical probability of winning more points if you hit your 2nd attempt like a 1st serve. But, I noticed when they interviewed the players that did not agree with the theory.

I think the common sense approach is to work to have a good 2nd serve that is not as fast as your 1st serve but goes in 90+% of the time.

If my opponent is a good returner, I will attempt a faster or more aggresive placement on a 2nd serve but I will not hit every 2nd serve like a 1st serve.

I have never played anyone or seen any good players who hit both serves like 1st serves either.

LeeD 10-03-2012 12:07 PM

Well, we both have played plenty of players who hit a second serve for every serve, their first attempt just a little faster than their second try.
Kinda like Connor's/Agassi tennis, where their groundies and passing shots are sooooo superior, they need only to start the point with their serves.
But, if you can serve like Roddick or Milos, why not use it?
As for the second, you need to play your percentages.....hard fast second for a weak return or a double fault!


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