Causes for double faults?

HuusHould

Professional
Can anyone explain how an extremely spinny second serve can "boing" long by a couple of feet. My main issue is netting the second serve, but sometimes for some reason the initial trajectory must be too much upward and it balloons way long. Can anyone demystify the factors that lead to the ball going into the net vs long. I feel like the excessively spinny second serve has inconsistencies at contact that vary more in varying conditions (relative to a more flat strike), to the point that the safety given by the spin can be offset by environmental variables such as heavy balls due to humidity (i.e. you can't predict whether the ball will grip or skid along the strings). Any thoughts on the topic are appreciated.
 

FiReFTW

Legend
In my case it happens because I get nervious and tight, because I realize that I MUST NOT miss this or I gift the point away.

Technically it could be many things, toss location ,racquet angle etc..
 
Can anyone explain how an extremely spinny second serve can "boing" long by a couple of feet. My main issue is netting the second serve, but sometimes for some reason the initial trajectory must be too much upward and it balloons way long. Can anyone demystify the factors that lead to the ball going into the net vs long. I feel like the excessively spinny second serve has inconsistencies at contact that vary more in varying conditions (relative to a more flat strike), to the point that the safety given by the spin can be offset by environmental variables such as heavy balls due to humidity (i.e. you can't predict whether the ball will grip or skid along the strings). Any thoughts on the topic are appreciated.
Netting a serve for me usually means I slowed down my racquet due to tension and not wanting to miss. It could also be because I hit it too flat with not enough margin of error.

When I hit long, it's because I didn't use enough spin and the ball didn't come down soon enough.

If your serve is going long because your trajectory is too upward, that means you didn't use enough spin for that trajectory, regardless of the fact that it was "extremely spinny". Or it means you need to lower the trajectory. Or a combination. How far over the net are these long serves going?

I'd file worrying about humidity under the "overthinking category": yes, humidity does play a role. But it's a pretty small factor relative to the angle of the racquet face, amount of spin/drive, and trajectory.
 
I had the same problem. The ticket for me was to start aiming where over the net i want the ball to go, so i had a target over the net.
Before that I focused on the mechanics of a topspin serve, but the spin only helps so much if you hit the ball so its goes x feet over the net.
Think of it as a ball throw. On your first you aim lower over the net so its harder to return. On your second throw you would throw with less power and higher over the net. In tennis less power means on the second serve more spin less speed.
(I know power ia the same but I imagine it like that.)
And if you get good at that how often would you really miss a ball throw if you can aim 5 feet over the net and it still would drop in?
;-)
 
I had the same problem. The ticket for me was to start aiming where over the net i want the ball to go, so i had a target over the net.
Before that I focused on the mechanics of a topspin serve, but the spin only helps so much if you hit the ball so its goes x feet over the net.
Think of it as a ball throw. On your first you aim lower over the net so its harder to return. On your second throw you would throw with less power and higher over the net. In tennis less power means on the second serve more spin less speed.
(I know power ia the same but I imagine it like that.)
And if you get good at that how often would you really miss a ball throw if you can aim 5 feet over the net and it still would drop in?
;-)
 

Dragy

Legend
If it feels good at contact, feels very spinny, but actually struggles to find consistent window between netting and going out, it’s most likely too much slice and little topspin, where reason is tossing to the right (for righty) too much instead of overhead.

In the meantime, even if it feels natural, the reality can appear bad - video review may display:
1. Inconsistent toss, which produces various initial trajectories.
2. Flawed motion, jerky or something, producing inconsistent swing.
3. Mishitting the ball, which can be unrecognized due to very brushy contact.

Also as folks above said, it could be match tightness and resulted lower RHS and insufficient spin to bring the ball down.
 

Traffic

Hall of Fame
I tend to DF when I get anxious on a critical point. My toss goes into the court too much because I don't trust my serve that I've been hitting all match long and in practice.

I actually go long when I slow down my swing and don't get enough spin.
 

HuusHould

Professional
If your serve is going long because your trajectory is too upward, that means you didn't use enough spin for that trajectory, regardless of the fact that it was "extremely spinny". Or it means you need to lower the trajectory. Or a combination. How far over the net are these long serves going?
They're going I'd say a metre and a half over the net, whereas a good second serve for me goes about a metre over. I'll have to look at it on video, but I tend to give the net a fair bit of clearance, which is why netting the serves fairly regularly doesn't make much sense. I think for me it's definitely a ball toss issue at times and taking my eye of the ball before contact. But you're right you need the right amount of spin for the initial trajectory and speed.
 
They're going I'd say a metre and a half over the net, whereas a good second serve for me goes about a metre over. I'll have to look at it on video, but I tend to give the net a fair bit of clearance, which is why netting the serves fairly regularly doesn't make much sense. I think for me it's definitely a ball toss issue at times and taking my eye of the ball before contact. But you're right you need the right amount of spin for the initial trajectory and speed.
@Jens Gabler had a good suggestion about targeting a specific point/zone above the net and then adjusting your spin to hit it [rather than starting with a certain amount of spin and varying your height above the net].
 

HuusHould

Professional
@Jens Gabler had a good suggestion about targeting a specific point/zone above the net and then adjusting your spin to hit it [rather than starting with a certain amount of spin and varying your height above the net].
Yes it's a very good point, I was once told similar by a tennis mentor of mine who was a very good player and coach. I find a similar approach has helped me to hit the heavy topspin roll backhand with bite, I had a good topspin lob, but used to pop up the roll, but visualising the target (like a bullseye) and adjusting the spin/contact point to go through it seems to have worked quite well.
 

HuusHould

Professional
@Jens Gabler had a good suggestion about targeting a specific point/zone above the net and then adjusting your spin to hit it [rather than starting with a certain amount of spin and varying your height above the net].
Yes it's a very good point, I was once told similar by a tennis mentor of mine who was a very good player and coach. I find a similar approach has helped me to hit the heavy topspin roll backhand with bite, I had a good topspin lob, but used to pop up the roll, but visualising the target (like a bullseye) and adjusting the spin/contact point to go through it seems to have worked quite well.
 

Wise one

Hall of Fame
Can anyone explain how an extremely spinny second serve can "boing" long by a couple of feet. My main issue is netting the second serve, but sometimes for some reason the initial trajectory must be too much upward and it balloons way long. Can anyone demystify the factors that lead to the ball going into the net vs long. I feel like the excessively spinny second serve has inconsistencies at contact that vary more in varying conditions (relative to a more flat strike), to the point that the safety given by the spin can be offset by environmental variables such as heavy balls due to humidity (i.e. you can't predict whether the ball will grip or skid along the strings). Any thoughts on the topic are appreciated.
Double faults are impossible if you make your first serve.

What is your string and tension?
 
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RyanRF

Professional
When I miss second serves it's because I am not reliably controlling spin:
  1. I go for my usual second serve and mis-hit it slightly. I get too much side spin and not enough topspin. The ball goes long.
  2. Next second serve I focus particularly on the topspin. I get the topspin, but my motion was a little bit timid because I was being so careful. There's not enough speed/lift and the serve dips into the net.
If my second serve misses don't resolve on their own after a few points, I'll start serving topspin on first serves until everything clicks again.

In general, if your second serve is radically different from your first serve (in terms of pace, spin, tempo, motion, etc) then you may have trouble switching between the two.
 
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anubis

Hall of Fame
Can anyone explain how an extremely spinny second serve can "boing" long by a couple of feet. My main issue is netting the second serve, but sometimes for some reason the initial trajectory must be too much upward and it balloons way long. Can anyone demystify the factors that lead to the ball going into the net vs long. I feel like the excessively spinny second serve has inconsistencies at contact that vary more in varying conditions (relative to a more flat strike), to the point that the safety given by the spin can be offset by environmental variables such as heavy balls due to humidity (i.e. you can't predict whether the ball will grip or skid along the strings). Any thoughts on the topic are appreciated.
Not looking at the ball when it's in the air. Dropping your chin too soon. Look at the ball during and through contact. Only drop your chin once you've hit the ball.
 

Chas Tennis

G.O.A.T.
Serve technique unknown. Performance of technique unknown.

Get some reliable observations using high speed video to identify your serving technique and how the racket is impacting the ball.

240 fps is adequate. Motion blur should be small so video in bright sunlight.

Without high speed video who knows what you are doing?
 

HuusHould

Professional
When I miss second serves it's because I am not reliably controlling spin:
  1. I go for my usual second serve and mis-hit it slightly. I get too much side spin and not enough topspin. The ball goes long.
  2. Next second serve I focus particularly on the topspin. I get the topspin, but my motion was a little bit timid because I was being so careful. There's not enough speed/lift and the serve dips into the net.
If my second serve misses don't resolve on their own after a few points, I'll start serving topspin on first serves until everything clicks again.

In general, if your second serve is radically different from your first serve (in terms of pace, spin, tempo, motion, etc) then you may have trouble switching between the two.
This is very similar to what happens with me and I take the exact same approach as you do, except I only spin the first serve in if I'm not getting a high percentage of flat ones in. Yes, there is a radical difference between the two serves for me.
 

Wise one

Hall of Fame
This is very similar to what happens with me and I take the exact same approach as you do, except I only spin the first serve in if I'm not getting a high percentage of flat ones in. Yes, there is a radical difference between the two serves for me.

There should not be. It's easier to be consistent when they are similar.
 

HuusHould

Professional
First thing i'd ask is. Are you practicing 2nd serves enough just as your first serves?
Very relevant question, the answer is I practice 90% first serves and 10% second serves. Partly because the heavy spin puts more stress on my shoulder and also I just get more satisfaction out of the cleaner flatter hit, it makes a better noise haha. But you may have thought outside the square and found one of the main solutions to the problem, how often we overlook the obvious!
 

HuusHould

Professional
There should not be. It's easier to be consistent when they are similar.
Yeah I agree, this will take a lot of practice for me to close the gap between the two. What's the best example of a professional player with first and second serves very similar?
 

HuusHould

Professional
Serve technique unknown. Performance of technique unknown.

Get some reliable observations using high speed video to identify your serving technique and how the racket is impacting the ball.

240 fps is adequate. Motion blur should be small so video in bright sunlight.

Without high speed video who knows what you are doing?
I'll get my cameraman onto it, I don't know how to post videos on here, but I get a fair bit out of discussing general concepts.
 

HuusHould

Professional
There should not be. It's easier to be consistent when they are similar.
This tip has been useful, I'm serving less doubles (and expending less energy) not trying to put so much spin on the second ball and trying to make it more similar to the first serve. My first serve before I started mucking around with it was always my best shot,largely due to it's accuracy (I tinkered with it to try to get more power,following the John Daly premise that "if it aint broke then break it" and my second serve has generally been one of my worst, so it makes logical sense in my case in particular to try to make the second as similar as possible to the first.
 

HuusHould

Professional
Putting massive amounts of spin on the second serve may make it dip more and if you can get it deep it can make it kick up substantially, but it doesn't necessarily make it more accurate, I find I'm much more accurate with a clean strike on the first ball. And it doesn't necessarily mean you're more likely to get the ball in, after all you have to get it to do most of it's dipping after it clears the net or it of course hits the net. It also makes you more prone to dropping the serve short, which at the higher levels is fairly similar to double faulting anyway.
 

Pete Player

Hall of Fame
Just for the record, I’m hardly ever practicing first serves and only serve my spots in practice with about 80 to max 90%.


Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk
 

Dartagnan64

G.O.A.T.
My topspin second serve goes long for one of two reasons:
1) I hit off center leading to less spin and a ball sailing long especially too near the top of the frame
2) My toss was too far forward, leading to a swing path alteration that accentuates forward racket motion rather than "up and out" racket motion

So in the end it comes down to toss consistency and keeping my head up and eye on the ball. When i do those things, viola, good second serves. Of course if I do those things with my first serve, I'm rarely hitting second serves.
 
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Attila_the_gorilla

Guest
The trajectory can be too high if the toss is not forward enough, resulting in the ball sailing long.

The trajectory can be too low if the toss is too far forward, resulting in the ball hitting the net.
 

John marth

New User
There are many factors that cause me to double fault,hitting a bad toss and not aware it was a bad toss or not deciphering between just a slightly bad toss and a good toss, losing focus of the correct form such as kneebend, staying more sideways, more fore arm pronation and spin on second serve, sudden wind , tightness or anxiety on key points that lead to bad timing or lack of fluidity in the serve motion, or unnecessarily thinking too much about outcomes, what ifs?
 
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Deleted member 23235

Guest
#1 reason for me missing my 2nd serve kicker, is i drop my head down too early.
 

OnTheLine

Hall of Fame
What @nytennisaddict said.

My 2nd is a combo top and slice serve (mangled per my coach) that I hit from roughly 7 to 2 .... if I drop my head that sucker is going in the net. My goal is to keep my head up nearly past the follow-through ... if I do it, usually all is good.

If I am having a match where the serve just isn't clicking, I go to my 3rd serve which is a very safe moderate paced flat to the T. It won't do any damage to my opponent or to me.
 

mnttlrg

Professional
OP: Long spin serves are usually the product of arming the ball instead of moving your body, which is what people do when they get tentative / nervous.

Also, 75% of my double faults come not having my feet set and supporting me as I move into the shot. If my knees buckle or I am lunging or not stepping properly with timing, I miss. My swings are rarely the problem.


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John marth

New User
For me its usually tightening up and number one problem is not pronating, dont know why but when i get anxiety i tighten up lose the spin, stop the wrist and elbow movement on the pronation, which lock up on me, pronation can become abandoned, can temporarily lose the second serve motion, when that breaks down there is lack of fluidity in the motion
 

dgold44

G.O.A.T.
Can anyone explain how an extremely spinny second serve can "boing" long by a couple of feet. My main issue is netting the second serve, but sometimes for some reason the initial trajectory must be too much upward and it balloons way long. Can anyone demystify the factors that lead to the ball going into the net vs long. I feel like the excessively spinny second serve has inconsistencies at contact that vary more in varying conditions (relative to a more flat strike), to the point that the safety given by the spin can be offset by environmental variables such as heavy balls due to humidity (i.e. you can't predict whether the ball will grip or skid along the strings). Any thoughts on the topic are appreciated.
I find the kick serve more geared to a 5.0 plus player
It is very hard to do and not only that the ball must have enough speed so it does not sit up.
I hit a few big top spin serves but it was so slow that my opp . just crushed it.
I find the mini-slice Second Serve to be a better alterative to a more average player

The Kick or Top spin serve takes far far more hand eye coordination and technique and its only for higher level players. I am not that guy

Roger could probably hit 20 big kicks in a row with little effort without missing.
 
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Attila_the_gorilla

Guest
I find the kick serve more geared to a 5.0 plus player
It is very hard to do and not only that the ball must have enough speed so it does not sit up.
I think this is absolutely vital. Good kick serves hit the fence well above waist height. The only way that is possible if the spin applied is a "forward spin", with a low-ish ball trajectory, trying to get on top of the ball. Rather than getting under the ball and hitting it upwards.
 

HuusHould

Professional
I find the kick serve more geared to a 5.0 plus player
It is very hard to do and not only that the ball must have enough speed so it does not sit up.
I hit a few big top spin serves but it was so slow that my opp . just crushed it.
I find the mini-slice Second Serve to be a better alterative to a more average player

The Kick or Top spin serve takes far far more hand eye coordination and technique and its only for higher level players. I am not that guy

Roger could probably hit 20 big kicks in a row with little effort without missing.
I tend to agree, I think your timing has to be very good, and/or you need to be super powerful. I do agree on the slice serve for the second serve, but the only down side is that it swings to toward the righty forehand and can find its way into the slot especially to the deuce court.
 

HuusHould

Professional
I think this is absolutely vital. Good kick serves hit the fence well above waist height. The only way that is possible if the spin applied is a "forward spin", with a low-ish ball trajectory, trying to get on top of the ball. Rather than getting under the ball and hitting it upwards.
Yeah I think the initial trajectory is where I'm often going wrong, generally ball toss related I think.
 

HuusHould

Professional
Ball toss depth has a big effect.
So you mean how far into the court the ball toss is? I agree, I often find myself varying the amount of force I apply to the serve to try to get it to go in, so rather than catching it if it isn't in the right spot, I'll apply more force and hit up more on a toss that's too far out in front (and often too low as well), and I'll try to hit down more, and possibly swing slower as a reaction to a ball toss that's too far back, (generally almost directly above the baseline). I posted a thread on here re tips on the ball toss technique, but it's still a work in progress for me!
 
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