Curious how you guys hit your second serves?

In the spirit of all these "the serve is a throw/not a throw" threads popping up, I wanted to ask how you guys hit your second serves?

I almost literally just throw my hand past the ball as hard as I can. It's different from the first serve, because I throw it more sideways and less forward, and don't release into the contact like I do on a flat serve, but the mental idea of throwing is critical for not double faulting for me, especially on big points.

Also, I mostly just throw really hard instead of aiming. I get enough pace and topspin that even when the ball is right to the guy, it's usually still a neutral rally (unless they're really, really good - I've had winners blasted by me doing this and had to change it up).

I don't even know how I would internalize the service motion without the throwing idea, to be honest, and it's that mental cue that lets me add racket speed to my serve without messing it up. All the isolation cues like "use your legs" have always created dis coordination, whereas "throw harder" syncs everything up. The second serve is where that's most important. If I contact the ball cleanly, it'll go in, no matter how fast I swing, but if my swing is discoordinated I'll mishit it and double fault.

Do you guys hit your second serves just by hitting vague heavy topspin towards the middle of the box? Or do you prefer to aim it, but go for a little less? Does the idea of throwing the racket help you not double fault?
 

Dragy

Legend
In the spirit of all these "the serve is a throw/not a throw" threads popping up, I wanted to ask how you guys hit your second serves?

I almost literally just throw my hand past the ball as hard as I can. It's different from the first serve, because I throw it more sideways and less forward, and don't release into the contact like I do on a flat serve, but the mental idea of throwing is critical for not double faulting for me, especially on big points.

Also, I mostly just throw really hard instead of aiming. I get enough pace and topspin that even when the ball is right to the guy, it's usually still a neutral rally (unless they're really, really good - I've had winners blasted by me doing this and had to change it up).

I don't even know how I would internalize the service motion without the throwing idea, to be honest, and it's that mental cue that lets me add racket speed to my serve without messing it up. All the isolation cues like "use your legs" have always created dis coordination, whereas "throw harder" syncs everything up. The second serve is where that's most important. If I contact the ball cleanly, it'll go in, no matter how fast I swing, but if my swing is discoordinated I'll mishit it and double fault.

Do you guys hit your second serves just by hitting vague heavy topspin towards the middle of the box? Or do you prefer to aim it, but go for a little less? Does the idea of throwing the racket help you not double fault?
Quite close to what you describe:
- “throw” more up (from below the ball) and across the target line;
- stay turned away longer, the ball will go somewhere to the left, if not behind me (as it feels);
- make contact “before release”.
(y)
 
- make contact “before release”.
Oh! Yeah this is kinda what it feels like. I've noticed if my toss is in the wrong place and I end up making contact right at the release, it's extremely difficult and awkward to make it work. That's a really good insight, thanks.
 

eah123

Semi-Pro
First serve: choose left or right side of box, toss in front, hit it hard.
Second serve: choose left or right side of box, toss less in front (almost straight above my head close to baseline), brush up on the ball very fast!
 

ubercat

Professional
Depends on opp. I try a kick serve and slice with high and low contact. There's normally one they don't like.
 

Dartagnan64

G.O.A.T.
I serve two first serves. Not even joking.
I play frequently with a guy that does that. One speed for everything. Never met someone that can turn a 40-0 service lead into an adventure like he can.

I'm still trying to figure out a best way to hit a decent second serve with my re-vamped motion. It's more relaxed but less consistent then my old all arm serve.
 

nyta2

Professional
Do you guys hit your second serves just by hitting vague heavy topspin towards the middle of the box? Or do you prefer to aim it, but go for a little less? Does the idea of throwing the racket help you not double fault?
i always go after my second serve (the image of "throwing my racquet" at the contact helps me)... the more spin it has, the more clearance i have over the net. when i don't, it's an attackable dink if it even goes in. but occasionally when going after it, particularly when i drop my head too early, i will epically shank it over the fence. i'm comforted in knowing even the pros do this :p

typically aim bh (usually their weaker wing), but usually kicking out wide to the bh of a tall player is a bad idea (sits up in their strikezone), so i'll opt for body-backhand... more important than direction is the depth in the box (forcing them to make contact behind the baseline gives me time time react even on great returns)... or if short, it better be stretching them out wide. main goal is for them not to be able to attack it (as a receiver i'm always looking to put pressure on the 2nd serve return (contact inside the baseline, run around the bh, aim for slightly more aggressive targets, swing a bit bigger (time permitting), etc...)
 

RyanRF

Professional
I almost literally just throw my hand past the ball as hard as I can. It's different from the first serve, because I throw it more sideways and less forward, and don't release into the contact like I do on a flat serve, but the mental idea of throwing is critical for not double faulting for me, especially on big points.

Also, I mostly just throw really hard instead of aiming. I get enough pace and topspin that even when the ball is right to the guy, it's usually still a neutral rally (unless they're really, really good - I've had winners blasted by me doing this and had to change it up).
I think I'm in a similar category as you.

Most people at my level have complimented my second serve. It's one of the few parts of my game that is reliably decent.

My #1 priority with second serves is to swing hard and upwards to maximize topspin. #2 priority is placement to the opponents weaker side. However as you had mentioned, if you get a good enough kick most people won't be attacking the return regardless of where it lands in the box.
 

socallefty

Legend
I am a lefty who hits either topslice (moves to right after bounce) or kick (moves to left) for 2nd serves. It is pretty much the same up/out motion with an EBH grip and only the toss location is different - toss more to the left for topslice and over my head for kick. Just like with 1st serves, I split the service box into thirds in terms of target location and decide whether to serve wide, body or middle - wide/deuce and middle/ad is usually a kick serve while the other locations are topslice. 1st serves are either flat or slice and I like serving wide or body mostly.
 
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SystemicAnomaly

Talk Tennis Guru
I am a lefty who hits either topslice (moves to right after bounce) or kick (moves to left) for 2nd serves. It is pretty much the same up/out motion with an EBH grip and only the toss location is different - toss more to the left for topslice and over my head for kick. Just like with 1st serves, I split the service box into thirds in terms of target location and decide whether to serve wide, body or middle - wide/deuce and middle/ad is usually a kick serve while the other locations are topslice.
As a lefty, I found that my slice and topslice was so effective against most opponents that I rarely hit flat or kick serves against them. The robust lefty slice & topslice drove most of them crazy -- especially if they tried to run around it. I would throw in an occasional twist kick to keep them guessing. I primarily used a faster flat serve against 5.0 and 5.5 NTRP players who were not phased much by my lefty spins.
 

Bender

G.O.A.T.
Into the back fence

Just kidding. Seems mostly an aggressive topslice serve (or that's what I'm aiming for), but if I hit it into the body or out wide from the ad court it has a bit of a proper twist kick.

New guy joined two weeks ago and we played games for the first time yesterday night. He played for his school team in university (but he prefaced that by saying his university did not have a particularly strong team), and had really nice textbook modern technique on all his shots. He made my week when he said that my second serve was very heavy and difficult to return. I always considered my second serve to be a major weakness so that felt good to hear. That said I did have a good serving day, double faulting only once in an hour, whereas normally I'd double fault far more often.
 

McGradey

Professional
I try to have fun with it. Embrace the second serve as another opportunity to hit a great serve and put pressure on your opponent.

I find this helps me to really go after the ball and avoid my swing slowing down, which is something that still happens to me on occasion.

I also try to hit it as deep in the box as possible because this stops people attacking it. I'd rather it went long than in the net.
 

HBK4life

Professional
Depends on opponent. Tall bangers get more of a slice for example. Someone that likes pace gets a knuckle ball.
 

Shroud

G.O.A.T.
In the spirit of all these "the serve is a throw/not a throw" threads popping up, I wanted to ask how you guys hit your second serves?

I almost literally just throw my hand past the ball as hard as I can. It's different from the first serve, because I throw it more sideways and less forward, and don't release into the contact like I do on a flat serve, but the mental idea of throwing is critical for not double faulting for me, especially on big points.

Also, I mostly just throw really hard instead of aiming. I get enough pace and topspin that even when the ball is right to the guy, it's usually still a neutral rally (unless they're really, really good - I've had winners blasted by me doing this and had to change it up).

I don't even know how I would internalize the service motion without the throwing idea, to be honest, and it's that mental cue that lets me add racket speed to my serve without messing it up. All the isolation cues like "use your legs" have always created dis coordination, whereas "throw harder" syncs everything up. The second serve is where that's most important. If I contact the ball cleanly, it'll go in, no matter how fast I swing, but if my swing is discoordinated I'll mishit it and double fault.

Do you guys hit your second serves just by hitting vague heavy topspin towards the middle of the box? Or do you prefer to aim it, but go for a little less? Does the idea of throwing the racket help you not double fault?
throwing and the 2nd serve. The 2nd serve would be more like the football throw where you roll out to the left but throw back right acrossed the field. Not much down the field throwing.
 

Injured Again

Hall of Fame
This is my serve (from when I was a playtester for the Pure Strike v3):


First six are about a 70% swing first serves using minimal legs and minimal shoulder tilt. Serves 7 and 8 are both mis-hit second serves, and the last two are about 80% swing speed topspin second serves.

As I've gotten older and have lost velocity, I've found it very effective to change speeds and spins with every first serve, so my opponent never gets the same serve twice. Second serves I usually hit at around the same speed but vary the amount of topspin I use, throwing in an occasional kicker (which is hard on my shoulder and sometimes hurts pretty badly due to an impingement). Anything to make my opponent have to hit a ball at a different height or against different spin, so they can't get into an aggresive groove on their returns.

I don't know that I ever really thought about throwing my hand or maximizing hand velocity. I always pictured the serve by visualizing a few positions I wanted to achieve, and let my natural swing get me from one position to the next.
 

TagUrIt

Hall of Fame
How fast are they? Spin? Are you certain that they are not two 2nd serves?
I am VERY sure they're not two second serves. My serve speed averages 100mph-115mph. My highest this year was 127mph. I can place it too, played a singles match last night and had 8 aces. (yes I won btw. 6-3, 6-4) :giggle:

I play frequently with a guy that does that. One speed for everything. Never met someone that can turn a 40-0 service lead into an adventure like he can.

I'm still trying to figure out a best way to hit a decent second serve with my re-vamped motion. It's more relaxed but less consistent then my old all arm serve.
I hear ya, but I have a lot of confidence in my serve, also most people step in when an opponent is serving a second serve. Now, I'm not saying I don't throw in some double faults, but I don't mind the all in approach especially when it produces aces, or unreturnable serves.
 

TagUrIt

Hall of Fame
I've been here long enough to know how this forum works so here ya go. I conduct my serve practice with tennis cansIMG_1234


IMG_1237




IMG_1049

tit
IMG_1048



IMG_1044


What's sad is even after posting this, the naysayers will still come.:sneaky:
 

Dartagnan64

G.O.A.T.
I hear ya, but I have a lot of confidence in my serve, also most people step in when an opponent is serving a second serve. Now, I'm not saying I don't throw in some double faults, but I don't mind the all in approach especially when it produces aces, or unreturnable serves.
I played with my friend the other day and he managed the rare 8 straight faults on a 40-0 lead. Drives me nuts as a doubles partner as my greatest asset to the team is my net play and he takes me totally out of his service games. Everything is a service winner or fault. I'm just there to keep score and pretend I don't care about retrieving endless balls out of the net.
 

FiddlerDog

Professional
I played with my friend the other day and he managed the rare 8 straight faults on a 40-0 lead. Drives me nuts as a doubles partner as my greatest asset to the team is my net play and he takes me totally out of his service games. Everything is a service winner or fault. I'm just there to keep score and pretend I don't care about retrieving endless balls out of the net.
Nothing more annoying than partner who can only serve aces
 

fuzz nation

G.O.A.T.
In the spirit of all these "the serve is a throw/not a throw" threads popping up, I wanted to ask how you guys hit your second serves?

I almost literally just throw my hand past the ball as hard as I can. It's different from the first serve, because I throw it more sideways and less forward, and don't release into the contact like I do on a flat serve, but the mental idea of throwing is critical for not double faulting for me, especially on big points.

Also, I mostly just throw really hard instead of aiming. I get enough pace and topspin that even when the ball is right to the guy, it's usually still a neutral rally (unless they're really, really good - I've had winners blasted by me doing this and had to change it up).

I don't even know how I would internalize the service motion without the throwing idea, to be honest, and it's that mental cue that lets me add racket speed to my serve without messing it up. All the isolation cues like "use your legs" have always created dis coordination, whereas "throw harder" syncs everything up. The second serve is where that's most important. If I contact the ball cleanly, it'll go in, no matter how fast I swing, but if my swing is discoordinated I'll mishit it and double fault.

Do you guys hit your second serves just by hitting vague heavy topspin towards the middle of the box? Or do you prefer to aim it, but go for a little less? Does the idea of throwing the racket help you not double fault?
I think that when we go for a general idea or feeling like a throwing action when hitting a serve, that can be really good for finding a natural tempo. Everything can be smooth and in sync. But when we focus on one component - you mentioned focusing on your legs - that's trouble. When we try to actively will ourselves through a specific move, that gets our brains in the way of executing a move that we already know how to do.

No, the idea of a throwing motion isn't the best for everybody trying to hit a good serve, but it can be great for sorting out things like weight transfer and finding a full, smooth release through the ball. Sounds to me like when you "throw" through your serve, everything clicks when you do it harder or softer. No need to fix what isn't broken. For the record, I love using the image of an upward throwing action to cue myself to drive in the right direction when I hit my serves.

I try to use the same tempo when I hit my 2nd serves and many of them might also include a similar degree of spin with placement that's just not as close to a line as the first serve. Flat bombs and spin serves both require that I "go for it" and use a full motion - full yet consistent when I use my natural tempo. If I "go for it" with my spin serves, I'm generating enough racquet speed to get the ball turning a lot. That lands that ball in a bigger window than if I swing at two-thirds speed and it's going to take less of a funky bounce with less spin, too.
 

WestboroChe

Hall of Fame
In the spirit of all these "the serve is a throw/not a throw" threads popping up, I wanted to ask how you guys hit your second serves?

I almost literally just throw my hand past the ball as hard as I can. It's different from the first serve, because I throw it more sideways and less forward, and don't release into the contact like I do on a flat serve, but the mental idea of throwing is critical for not double faulting for me, especially on big points.

Also, I mostly just throw really hard instead of aiming. I get enough pace and topspin that even when the ball is right to the guy, it's usually still a neutral rally (unless they're really, really good - I've had winners blasted by me doing this and had to change it up).

I don't even know how I would internalize the service motion without the throwing idea, to be honest, and it's that mental cue that lets me add racket speed to my serve without messing it up. All the isolation cues like "use your legs" have always created dis coordination, whereas "throw harder" syncs everything up. The second serve is where that's most important. If I contact the ball cleanly, it'll go in, no matter how fast I swing, but if my swing is discoordinated I'll mishit it and double fault.

Do you guys hit your second serves just by hitting vague heavy topspin towards the middle of the box? Or do you prefer to aim it, but go for a little less? Does the idea of throwing the racket help you not double fault?
I throw the ball more vertically than on a first serve and hit with as much topspin as I can muster. The key is to keep your arm relaxed and just slow down your motion so that the likelihood of the ball dropping instead of sailing is increased. Aim for the backhand and pray.
 

kayak4water

New User
I still consider myself somewhat a beginner, but try to hit kick and hope topspin brings it down, into the backhand or at the body. Sometimes, just hit a quick surprise underhand (also done on a first serve, too. Good for a laugh and sometimes an ace)

They almost always get the kick back, but they seldom hit a winner, even if my serve doesn't kick as high as I'd like. Yup, still a beginner.
 

LuckyR

Legend
The key to second serve consistancy is to use the same racquet head speed as your first serve, just use a higher percentage of the energy for spin, instead of pace. Do not slow your swingspeed.
 

sredna42

Hall of Fame
Kick serve to their BH mostly. Sometimes their FH when you get the odd person that really doesnt like funk to their FH. i break it up with a covered serve (flat/slice) to a "safe box" i mentally visualize or into their body
 
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