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-   -   Why does my serve fall to pieces going from practice into a match??? (http://tt.tennis-warehouse.com/showthread.php?t=458947)

HughJars 03-27-2013 06:29 AM

Why does my serve fall to pieces going from practice into a match???
 
Ive been putting a lot of work into my serve, developing a routine, doing exercises to develop pronation (like the serving on the knees exercise) and of course practicing a lot of serves to build up consistency, including working on aiming. Going into a match I feel confident and eager to try out my serving. Things normally go well for the first one or two games, but then everything is just coming to pieces. Double serve after double serve. And its driving me out of my mind. I played an entire game of double serves recently and it really got me down.

My confidence also drops, and it wrecks other parts of my game. End result -humiliating losses with embarressing errors. Pansy second serves and simple missed ground strokes. Arghhhhh!!!!!

Please help. :cry:

mikeler 03-27-2013 06:33 AM

How is your fitness? Are you getting winded after the first few games? Do you get tight later in sets?

HughJars 03-27-2013 06:44 AM

Fitness is ok I think. Play footy (AFL) as well so that keeps me quite fit. And we normally play 5 set games.

Wilander Fan 03-27-2013 06:50 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by HughJars (Post 7306903)
Ive been putting a lot of work into my serve, developing a routine, doing exercises to develop pronation (like the serving on the knees exercise) and of course practicing a lot of serves to build up consistency, including working on aiming. Going into a match I feel confident and eager to try out my serving. Things normally go well for the first one or two games, but then everything is just coming to pieces. Double serve after double serve. And its driving me out of my mind. I played an entire game of double serves recently and it really got me down.

My confidence also drops, and it wrecks other parts of my game. End result -humiliating losses with embarressing errors. Pansy second serves and simple missed ground strokes. Arghhhhh!!!!!

Please help. :cry:

Are they going long or into the net?

luvforty 03-27-2013 06:53 AM

there must be a major flaw... post video please.

Greg G 03-27-2013 07:10 AM

What helped me immensely was learning not to rush myself during the serve. I settled on a routine before every serve. 4 bounces, exhale and relax, then serve as relaxed as possible going into trophy. Everyone will have his own routine, but having one and sticking to it is important, IMHO. Another thing is having a short memory. Don't carry over the emotions of the previous serve into the next one. Easier said than done...

HughJars 03-27-2013 07:27 AM

Cheers for the advice all. Yeah, sometimes I find myself rushing things going from first to second serve cos I just want to have another go and get one in. Previously I tried a routine of 6 bounces and visualising my serve, but it didnt seem to work...

My first serves are all over the place, but Id say a majority are smashing the tape. Then in the second serve I either try to over compensate or do a pansy soft pancake serve and still get no accuracy. I should be shot for these second serves. It must look horrible.

There is just no consistency. Even after all this practice and studying it feels like I go a step forward then two steps back.

Will definetly try to post a video in the next day or so, so you can have a look and help out.

luvforty 03-27-2013 07:39 AM

ok, so you soft tap and really don't have a 2nd serve....

can't fix without seeing it, and it will take several stages to get it good.... i.e. video followed by focused practice then repeat the cycle.

soft tapping players have LOTS of issues - grip, swing path, swing sequence, ball toss etc.

if you are willing to go thru this, then do it.... once you get it, it's like riding a bicycle.

or pay somebody to get it fixed.

just hitting buckets of balls on your own is not gonna work.

rufus_smith 03-27-2013 07:52 AM

my two cents of advice from decades of experience:
Your entire shoulder and arm need to stay always loose on the serve. Since a match is more tension-inducing than practice, it is easy to mistakenly tighten up some part of the arm on the serve. Focus on loosening up the grip and entire arm on the serve and to trust in it.

charliefedererer 03-27-2013 08:16 AM

As the others have stated posting your service motion would help.

Something that hasn't been mentioned is that if you really do have a much better serve in practice, that in matches a big difference may be the adrenaline your body produces when under stress.

Adrenaline is real. And you don't have to be having a "Mac attack", or have a Wimbledon title on the line to have it released and change the way your muscles fire just enough to make a difference serving.






For most, the more match play, the more they get comfortable with the situation, and the less adrenaline (at least early in a set - not so much down 7-6 in a tiebreaker.)


My advice for now would be to concentrate on hitting your very best spin second serve as your first serve.

The extra spin should give you better net clearance and at least get the point off in a postitive direction (rather than starting at a disadvantage from a very timid second serve.)

During the match, you ought to have a game or two when you are up 40-0 or 40-15, and you can try your "first" serve, but with the greater confidence that your second serve is working.

Dimcorner 03-27-2013 08:31 AM

I tell myself it's just like practice and to trust your practice.

I also start matches basically serving 2nd serves just a tad harder than my actual second serves to get into the groove. By 3 service game I'll start pushing in 1st serves and should be really into it by 4th, but I'm slow to warm up.

Nellie 03-27-2013 08:42 AM

You should work on a good spinning serve (a slice or topspin serve that you swing at pretty hard, but mostly brush). If you have to ease up to hit your second serve, it will never be reliable because you can't really control how soft you are hitting. Also the spin will bring the ball into the court so that you can hit higher over the net but still get the serve in the service box. Once you have that second serve, you can hit it twice on each point and can really reduce the number of double faults.

spaceman_spiff 03-27-2013 08:51 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by charliefedererer (Post 7307099)
My advice for now would be to concentrate on hitting your very best spin second serve as your first serve.

I agree wholeheartedly. Once you have the general technique for a topspin or kick serve, the best way to improve your serve game overall is to play a few matches where you hit nothing but second serves (best done in practice matches rather than waiting for tournament/league matches).

Once you can be competitive hitting nothing but second serves, you'll always have a safety net to fall back on when your first serves aren't working. That should make you more relaxed on first serves and make it easier to fix any problems that you're having on the day, so you should see some improvement with those as well.

anubis 03-27-2013 09:39 AM

IMO, top reasons why serves fail during amateur level matches:
  1. Nerves
  2. Uncertainty of one's own skill
  3. Fear of losing
  4. fatigue

LeeD 03-27-2013 01:06 PM

Once you finalized your service ritual and swing...
Practice your serves using less than 4 balls. Jog over after hitting two first, and two seconds.
Serve when you're winded, not when you're fully recovered.
Pressure kills loose wrists.

SystemicAnomaly 03-27-2013 01:06 PM

Have you been working primarily on your 1st serve or your 2nd serve? You really need to develop a solid=reliable spin serve that you can get in 85-95% of the time (or better). Not a pansy serve but a real spin serve that will usually go fairly deep in the box (unless you can hit the outer side line). Start off developing a very consistent serve with good net clearance that will go to the middle of the box and then work to get to get it deeper (or somewhat closer to the lines).
.

coaching32yrs 03-27-2013 04:06 PM

If you have the right grip, the right swing path, and the right contact point that's 95% of the game. Usually it's the contact point/ball toss that goes off during a match. Focus on 1 thing only when serving during the match. Hope this helps.

SystemicAnomaly 03-27-2013 04:49 PM

^ Shouldn't you change your name to coaching35yrs at this point?

Good advice in your post. I wonder if the OP's toss is becoming too low or too erratic after a few games. Or perhaps he is letting the ball/contact point drop too low. Make sure that you get a good night's sleep prior to your matches. When I do not get enough sleep, the 1st thing to go is the toss (but the rest of my serve mechanics is fine). I might be ok for a set or so but then my serve toss and serve return become erratic.

LeeD 03-27-2013 04:53 PM

Seriously now.....
Is ANYONE's match serves as consistent as their best practice service sessions?
Usually, for most players, their match serves are their worse performances, and we're all judged by our worse performances, not our best.
Oh, WE judge ourselves by our best days, of course.
But everyone else only sees our worst performances.

TomT 03-27-2013 05:03 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by HughJars (Post 7307005)
Cheers for the advice all. Yeah, sometimes I find myself rushing things going from first to second serve cos I just want to have another go and get one in. Previously I tried a routine of 6 bounces and visualising my serve, but it didnt seem to work...

My first serves are all over the place, but Id say a majority are smashing the tape. Then in the second serve I either try to over compensate or do a pansy soft pancake serve and still get no accuracy. I should be shot for these second serves. It must look horrible.

There is just no consistency. Even after all this practice and studying it feels like I go a step forward then two steps back.

Will definetly try to post a video in the next day or so, so you can have a look and help out.

I can empathize with your situation. The single most important thing that helped me to improve, both first and second serves, but most importantly second serves, was just increasing the frequency of my practice serving ... and, very importantly, not overdoing it, but really focusing on what I was doing. This resulted in a marked improvement in serving during match play ... to the extent that my opponents weren't just commenting on it, but also I was winning points and games that I previously would have lost.

So, my two cents, more quality serving practice. Relax, focus, repetition of the best technique you're capable of (while also occasionally experimenting with possible positive changes). Your proficiency, confidence, and consistency in match play is guaranteed to improve. Just be patient, but persistent. Good things will happen if you continue steadily working on it.

A vid of where I was at a couple of months ago before I got sick again:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v2SlPsVFVQE


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