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-   -   practicing serve (http://tt.tennis-warehouse.com/showthread.php?t=441808)

spectastic 10-01-2012 08:46 PM

practicing serve
 
how long did it take your serve to mature to the level of your groundies? I play on weekends only, and my serve is always my weak point. Sometimes, my flat serves and topspin serves are just "on"; I get aces left and right. Other times, I get 1 serve in, and all the other ones are double faults. It is really bad when the first serve goes into the net or long 90% of the time and the second serve is almost slower than my groundstrokes. Nevermind serving to the backhand/forehand, or slice/topspin. I'm more worried about simply getting the ball in. I've thought about just practing my serve for a couple of hours to improve my consistency until something clicks, and I start serving consistently. In the mean time, I'm just wondering how other people have developed their serves over time.

gmatheis 10-01-2012 09:01 PM

Nothing gets better without practice, and playing on weekends only is hardly enough practice for your groundies let alone your serve.

Try to get out once a week and hit serves for like an hour or so. You'll be happy you did.

zapvor 10-01-2012 09:05 PM

its critical that when you practice you are doing it right. i see way too many people repeating terrible service motions

spectastic 10-01-2012 09:26 PM

I don't have a coach, and I'm not going to film myself. However, I have seen just about every serving video on youtube. I'm also unsure whether I should change my serving motion to slide my dragging foot in. I can see how that will help me in the long run to get more kick in my serve; but that motion is more inconsistent for me, especially in high wind situations because I have less control over my balance.

zapvor 10-01-2012 09:38 PM

hmm......well you said no video, so good luck!

by the way, balance? do you mean your toss?

donnygg 10-01-2012 10:21 PM

Why won't you film yourself? It's a great way to evaluate yourself. You'd be surprised how different you serve from what you THINK you look like. You don't have to upload it but do yourself a favour and film yourself. For me, it's a huge reality check and helped me improve A LOT.

spectastic 10-01-2012 10:27 PM

I don't want to film myself because that would require me to spend $100 to purchase a camera. I don't even have a point/shoot. All have is a crappy 0.1 MP webcam on my laptop. But I think my form is good, really.

Quote:

by the way, balance? do you mean your toss?
when I change my footing in the middle of a toss, it might throw me off a little. It's really a timing issue. Without the step, I get more control on when to jump. With the step, you really have to get the timing right.

Wilander Fan 10-01-2012 10:51 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by spectastic (Post 6930650)
how long did it take your serve to mature to the level of your groundies? I play on weekends only, and my serve is always my weak point. Sometimes, my flat serves and topspin serves are just "on"; I get aces left and right. Other times, I get 1 serve in, and all the other ones are double faults. It is really bad when the first serve goes into the net or long 90% of the time and the second serve is almost slower than my groundstrokes. Nevermind serving to the backhand/forehand, or slice/topspin. I'm more worried about simply getting the ball in. I've thought about just practing my serve for a couple of hours to improve my consistency until something clicks, and I start serving consistently. In the mean time, I'm just wondering how other people have developed their serves over time.

Its all about practice with the serve since there are a number of things you need to have locked in like toss, timing, swing, etc. Also unlike groundstrokes and timing which come back quickly, serve takes awhile to reacquire and will go away if neglected.

At one point I was practicing just the serve twice a week and i went from a double fault machine to both serves being reliable weapons in about 2 months. Unfortunately, I stopped and the feeling and timing slowly deteriorated even though i still played a couple sets a week. A year later, I am back at double fault machine.

slowfox 10-01-2012 11:17 PM

Once a week I go out and serve like 50-100 balls to both deuce and ad courts. Practice practice. My serve used to suck big time (double faults, arm hurting etc). When I decided to seriously fix it, I started by reading everything I could find on *proper* serve technique, and studied videos too. No coaching, just playing around and figuring things out on my own. It may not be perfect, but it's definitely a lot better. The process is ongoing.

syc23 10-02-2012 01:04 AM

I go out to hit 100 balls at least once or twice a week to keep my timing on serves and motion in check.

For me, I had no serve when I started playing from scratch in Aug 2011, it took me 2/3 months before I had a serve but my toss was still very unreliable. It improved more once round about March when I fixed my toss and then from May-July, I drilled in the racquet drop and pronation after contact.

Then during the course of Aug - Sep, I've been out practicing 1,2 or even 3 times a week hitting at least a couple of baskets even when I had 30mins to spare (luckily there's public courts 5 mins from where I live). Working on my kick, slices and flats.

Just be mindful that you warm up properly before you practice serves - I use resistance bands to warm up and also keep your grip loose.

samarai 10-02-2012 05:39 AM

if you cant hire a coach, you have to have a video. DO you have a smart phone, im pretty sure you have some way of making some short videos, otherwise how are you gonna know what your serving motions are. I was just cranking out crappy serves for 2 years thinking I had everything straight until I decided with the help of a friend who plays a lot better to get a short clip. Boy was I amazed at all the glitches that was hindering my serve. I tried to isolate each component in about 2 months time my serve is probably about 100 percent better.

spectastic 10-02-2012 08:29 PM

ok maybe I will try to find a way to film myself serving.

any suggestions for affordable yet reliable recorders? lol

zapvor 10-02-2012 10:13 PM

your camera phone? if you dont have one, i am sure someone within 100ft will have an iphone you can borrow for 5min

fuzz nation 10-03-2012 04:11 AM

Without even seeing a video, it sounds like the fickle condition of your serve right now can be addressed, at least to a certain degree. I very much agree with our pals that everyone is smart to practice their serve, even players who get out a few times a week. Unless we hit a bucket or two a week (a bucket being maybe 65-70 balls), serves are rarely as grooved as they could be with a little attention outside of a competitive setting. Careful though; logging hours of serve practice at a time is overkill.

That first serve being only the occasional "ace-fest" while your second serve can get slower than your strokes is NOT a rare scenario for lots of players. My first thought here is to encourage you to consider getting your first and second serves more similar to each other. Eventually your service motion should be about the same tempo for any serve you hit. While you'll want some decent racquet speed to hit a flatter heater, you'll also want to make a full move on the ball to make enough spin on your other serves. Look at the pros on TV and you'll see not-too-much contrast between the delivery of their first and second serves.

If dragging your foot forward as you wind into your serve feels natural or "right" for you, use it. We're all a little different in terms of serving stance. Your balance, etc. will depend mostly on getting your toss into the right spot up in the air so that you can make a consistent move on it. In building a dependable serve, a good toss is a must. Work that out now if it needs some attention.

texacali 10-03-2012 07:11 AM

I say getting a consistent second serve is more important than a power serve first. If you are double faulting because you don't have either a reliable first or second serve, then I believe it is better to have two similar second serves, with kick and slice variety than a flat 1-ace-in-200 first serves power stroke.

If you can be down 0-30 or even 0-40 on serve and know your serves can still carry you through to possibly winning the game, then you know you have a pretty decent stroke.

I think my second serve is harder to return than my first...I have learned to place it, sometimes give it some pace, and spin it a couple of different ways. When your opponent challenges you to serve it at their strength and you can consistently go to the weaker side, you are at so much more of an advantage, even if you are not serving a heater.

I practice serve more than any other, because I can take a bucket and hit for an hour any time. I have said it before also, serve starts with the proper grip (I believe
Continental)...uncomfortable in the beginning but worth practicing.

NJ1 10-03-2012 07:30 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by spectastic (Post 6930650)
how long did it take your serve to mature to the level of your groundies? I play on weekends only, and my serve is always my weak point. Sometimes, my flat serves and topspin serves are just "on"; I get aces left and right. Other times, I get 1 serve in, and all the other ones are double faults. It is really bad when the first serve goes into the net or long 90% of the time and the second serve is almost slower than my groundstrokes. Nevermind serving to the backhand/forehand, or slice/topspin. I'm more worried about simply getting the ball in. I've thought about just practing my serve for a couple of hours to improve my consistency until something clicks, and I start serving consistently. In the mean time, I'm just wondering how other people have developed their serves over time.

If you're able to hit aces left and right then it doesn't sound like you need work on much, maybe just 40 mins practice twice a week for a month. For reference, as a 5.0 I hit maybe one ace per match. It may be your opponents movement or lack thereof, but either way aces are a good and rare thing at amateur levels.

TheCheese 10-03-2012 12:23 PM

You should first develop a spin second serve that you can get in 80% of the time, at least. THEN work on developing a first serve.

It's no good hitting 1 in 5 service winners if you're doubling faulting 2 or 3 of those.

Surecatch 10-03-2012 12:28 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by spectastic (Post 6930694)
I don't have a coach, and I'm not going to film myself. However, I have seen just about every serving video on youtube. I'm also unsure whether I should change my serving motion to slide my dragging foot in. I can see how that will help me in the long run to get more kick in my serve; but that motion is more inconsistent for me, especially in high wind situations because I have less control over my balance.

My serve did not mature until I started to actively work on it, and that involved almost every serve video on tTube too. I tried many different things until I settled on what worked for me. I saw Dogopolov's compact motion and tried to emulate it.......didn't work for me. I settled on the fact that I don't have to take a huge leap into the pronation. My feet don't really leave the ground much. It's not necessary. Getting a consistent toss is crucial and that just takes practice practice practice. My toss is about one oclock and a bit out front of the baseline.

Keep working at it. And when it matures, keeping working more. Good luck!

Surecatch 10-03-2012 12:34 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by fuzz nation (Post 6932853)
Without even seeing a video, it sounds like the fickle condition of your serve right now can be addressed, at least to a certain degree. I very much agree with our pals that everyone is smart to practice their serve, even players who get out a few times a week. Unless we hit a bucket or two a week (a bucket being maybe 65-70 balls), serves are rarely as grooved as they could be with a little attention outside of a competitive setting. Careful though; logging hours of serve practice at a time is overkill.

That first serve being only the occasional "ace-fest" while your second serve can get slower than your strokes is NOT a rare scenario for lots of players. My first thought here is to encourage you to consider getting your first and second serves more similar to each other. Eventually your service motion should be about the same tempo for any serve you hit. While you'll want some decent racquet speed to hit a flatter heater, you'll also want to make a full move on the ball to make enough spin on your other serves. Look at the pros on TV and you'll see not-too-much contrast between the delivery of their first and second serves.

If dragging your foot forward as you wind into your serve feels natural or "right" for you, use it. We're all a little different in terms of serving stance. Your balance, etc. will depend mostly on getting your toss into the right spot up in the air so that you can make a consistent move on it. In building a dependable serve, a good toss is a must. Work that out now if it needs some attention.

That's another thing...the foot drag totally screwed up my balance. So I canned it. There are plenty of pros that don't use it. And I agree about the toss. It's probably the most crucial part of the serve. When I toss correctly, it almost always goes in like I want it too and feels good and natural. If it is off, all bets are off. Think about how deliberate the pros are with their service motions, how much time and concentration they put into each one. There is a reason for that.

LeeD 10-03-2012 01:17 PM

Shadow swing your service motion, at dawn or late in the evening before sunset.
Use availible mirrors also.
Don't think your toss is such a epiphany. For pro tennis players, with almost perfect tosses, they only get their fastest serves in maybe 50
%, seldom better. As you start to swing faster, use your kinetic chain, you start lowering your chances of getting the ball in FAST and with good placement.


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