Coaching advice: Spin serve

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So my son turning 14 this month plays pretty well. But his Achilles right now is his second serve. He can't generate enough spin on the ball consistently. I feel like he is hitting through the ball too much and not brushing the ball enough.

It's gotten worse when I pulled him from full bed poly (Gamma Moto Soft) to some hybrids.

Now, I feel like he should just stick with the hybrid and keep working on his technique. But with a tournament coming up, should I just give him his crutch back for this weekend and put the hybrid back in afterwards?

He's playing on Cyclone 17/OGSM 17 @ 48/52 right now. His last tournament he was playing Black Widow 17/PSGD 17 @ 55/53. His second serve started to go toward the end of his second set of his first match. Way too many double faults to be competitive followed. He continued his double faulting ways on his second match.

He previously played a tournament on full bed of Gamma Moto Soft 17 @ 53/53 and didn't double fault once.

How much can a "spinny" string make up for technique?

So should I arm him with equipment that could assist him with his game (full bed Gamma Moto Soft again) or just let him work it out? Or another option was to string the Cyclone 17/OGSM 17 a little tighter to lower the power just a touch. Maybe back to 50/53?
 
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dct693

Semi-Pro
All this talk about equipment... Once I'm dialed in with a string my level of consistency on the 2nd serve doesn't waver. Yes, some strings will give you more spin, but you barely say anything about your son's technique. Maybe it's his technique that needs adjusting? That would be my guess. You don't give someone a racquet with a really good spin string and expect them to suddenly become considerably more effective with their second serve. IMO it's technique that's 90% of the equation.
 

xFullCourtTenniSx

Hall of Fame
A sh*tty string will feel like it doesn't grab the ball. A great string feels like it should be banned.

But that's the difference between some of the worst you can find versus some of the best you can find. The difference between the best and good isn't enough to ruin you.

But even with not so great strings, he should be able to figure out how to make it work. Even with a setup that's not so great for spin, I find a way to get my second serves in. I know what my preferences are, but I'll adjust if need be. All you gotta to is put a bit of practice into it.
 

schenkelini

Semi-Pro
You should video tape his serving in slow motion and see what he is doing wrong. It is probably something small that can be easily corrected.
 

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All this talk about equipment... Once I'm dialed in with a string my level of consistency on the 2nd serve doesn't waver. Yes, some strings will give you more spin, but you barely say anything about your son's technique. Maybe it's his technique that needs adjusting? That would be my guess. You don't give someone a racquet with a really good spin string and expect them to suddenly become considerably more effective with their second serve. IMO it's technique that's 90% of the equation.
Yes. Absolutely agree with you on the fact that I can pick up a racquet with nylon string and hit a good spin serve. My son gets spin on the ball. But I know he can generate more. His serves are usually about 2 feet long when they miss. The arc is more like a power top rather than a top spin or spin serve. It's got a nice gradual arc. I'd like to see a more dramatic dip. I feel with more spin, he can get his serves in more consistently. Now, he has an awesome first serve that's difficult to return so I know that he has the power for it. Just can't seem to flip the switch and stop hitting through the ball so much.

Well, he'll have one more private coaching session prior to the tourney... Maybe his coach can make something click for him.
 

LeeD

Bionic Poster
CHANGE his spin serve grip closer to eastern backhand, so he can swing as fast as he can, impart a ton of spin, and SLOW down the ball speed about 30 mph slower than his fastest serves.
He has to embrace the idea that a spin second serve goes in SLOW, while retaining a lot of spin, with at least the same swingspeed as his fastest serves.
 

dct693

Semi-Pro
Yes. Absolutely agree with you on the fact that I can pick up a racquet with nylon string and hit a good spin serve. My son gets spin on the ball. But I know he can generate more. His serves are usually about 2 feet long when they miss. The arc is more like a power top rather than a top spin or spin serve. It's got a nice gradual arc. I'd like to see a more dramatic dip. I feel with more spin, he can get his serves in more consistently. Now, he has an awesome first serve that's difficult to return so I know that he has the power for it. Just can't seem to flip the switch and stop hitting through the ball so much.

Well, he'll have one more private coaching session prior to the tourney... Maybe his coach can make something click for him.
Yeah, it's tough to stop hitting through the ball since he's so used to it from his first serve. I had/have the same issue at times. I try to concentrate on swinging more up than forward. Also, as LeeD suggested above, I turn my grip 1/2 towards the Eastern backhand so the racquet approaches the ball with a more closed face.

Video is invaluable. It's impossible to see everything your son is doing from observing in real-time. Too many moving parts.
 

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I never really learned my grip definitions. Had to wiki it. :)

Ok, so I did the same in high school when I wanted to really put some spin on the ball. Turn 1/2 towards eastern backhand. I'll ask if he is changing his grip between serves.
 
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