Originally Posted by salsainglesa
It also, only happens to me in tournament play.
Play more tournaments.
Get a great serve that you are proud and confident in.
Get a great second serve, you're first serve is only as good as your second.
Practice with singles sticks, all those serves that are just clearing the net in rec matches will be hitting the tape in tournaments and dropping on your side, especially as your toss starts being lower and your head starts dropping in the late going.
Think about how your opponent is feeling the same pressure as you are.
In rec play, I go for big serves on critical points: set point, tie-breaker, or match point and it's been working for me, but I've been playing for many years.
The server has the advantage. They have the ball in their hand, they know where the ball is going (theoretically). The receiver is at a disadvantage and has as much or more potential for choking.
In the end it's a matter of confidence built on past success--success breeds success.