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Old 10-07-2012, 06:02 PM   #28
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Join Date: Sep 2006
Posts: 1,890

Sorry to not use the poll answers. I'd be hard pressed to pick the best as I've been given some true gems but 1 I will never forget came from a rather unexpected source. A long time ago I was playing a big jr. tournament and after an early round win I was coming off the court and a little old man, who had been watching the match, came up to me to congratulate me and say how much he admired my serve. 'One thing though', he said, 'you have the same rhythm on every serve, you should mix it up'. I said thank you and explained that I purposefully tried to have the same rhythm, same toss, continuous motion, etc, to have a good, repeatable serve as Pancho Gonzales had taught me. He said 'No, that's not what I mean. Everytime you serve you walk up to the line, bounce the ball 3 times, look up, then serve. Someone will key in on that to help them time their returns'. I said thank you and sort of dismissed it and walked away thinking 'whatever'. But later in the tournament I was involved in a close match against a player who was catching on to my serve. My service games were getting tougher. At 1 pt. I was facing break point when I remembered what the old man said. So I bounced the ball 3x, looked up, then bounced it 2 more times, then served. My opponent completely shanked the return. After that on big points I varied the bounces and nearly everytime my opponent missed the return. After that I made it a point to mix up the number of bounces before I served. I remember looking for the old man to see if he had any other little gems. Now sometimes I do forget and get burned by a good return but it is something that has not only worked for me but for many of the players of all levels that I have coached--I recently passed it on to a WTA player I work with. Ironically it also helped my return game because I learned to key in on my opponent's rituals. So you never know where you will get a tip that you will remember forever. And sometimes the best tips have nothing to do with stroke fundamentals.

Last edited by JW10S; 10-07-2012 at 06:31 PM.
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