First Ball In

Dan Huben

Semi-Pro
I find this practice on the first serve more often and flex than I do in league play. I’m not a big fan of it, as I feel I’m conceding the first service release the first point. I don’t really think that it speeds up the game at all by cutting out 20 seconds to warm up in three served Eastside. But what do I know. Is first serve in an acceptable way to start a match?


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Max G.

Legend
This thread is being discriminated against. After all, three other threads with the exact same text got replies - why not this one???
 

eelhc

Hall of Fame
Not a big fan... It takes at least a dozen serves to get my shoulder loose. Particularly this time of the year when indoor court temps here in the Northeast can be below 60*F.

I generally defer the serve at the start of the match unless I have a lot of time to warm up and feel completely loose/warmed up. In casual play with FBI... I'll generally try not to serve big until well into the set.
 

RyanRF

Professional
Depends on the group.

For some guys '1st ball in' means they serve like normal, but get a few extra chances to put the ball in. This is fine.

For others '1st ball in' means hitting flat rockets until they get lucky. They'll miss 4, 5, 6 balls in a row with the same wild swing. Meanwhile the other people on court are playing ball-pickup to help this guy reload so we can start the damn point. Finally they'll get one in and it's unreturnable. They congratulate themselves and then go back to their normal slow serve for the next point. This is lame.
 
Don't like it at all, if people use it for just social that's fine but always use fbi NO ACES, that way the returner can just wait for any serve they want
 

Gemini

Hall of Fame
Not a fan but in social tennis, as said, it's fine. I also allow aces. Once I agreed to let you take as many serves as needed to get the ball in, it's on me to be ready for whatever comes over the net.
 
I'm fine with fbi in rec/social play, BUT, when --(it's usually the last guy to serve who pulls this)--they take practice serves, AND then want fbi--then they are inconsiderate, clueless, narcissists. Everyone else has taken fbi before them and then they are getting practice serves and fbi.
 

Gemini

Hall of Fame
I'm fine with fbi in rec/social play, BUT, when --(it's usually the last guy to serve who pulls this)--they take practice serves, AND then want fbi--then they are inconsiderate, clueless, narcissists. Everyone else has taken fbi before them and then they are getting practice serves and fbi.
We usually shut that behavior down before it really gets started. If the other 3 players have taken FBI without practice serves, we make sure the 4th person is held to that same standard.
 

eelhc

Hall of Fame
I'm fine with fbi in rec/social play, BUT, when --(it's usually the last guy to serve who pulls this)--they take practice serves, AND then want fbi--then they are inconsiderate, clueless, narcissists. Everyone else has taken fbi before them and then they are getting practice serves and fbi.
A lot of people simply have no clue when it comes to basic tennis etiquette.

A couple of my big peeves are in warm-ups before the match even starts:
  • guys who try to drill winners in warm-ups
  • guys who return your warm up serves
WTF?
 

tennis4me

Hall of Fame
FBI is really helpful in some circumstances. For example in cases where we have limited court time for practice. It's also helpful when we play in really cold weather where it'll take forever to warm up ground strokes, not to mention serves and the shoulder. Of course I only believe in FBI in social tennis, not in USTA matches. No ace in FBI, please - otherwise I'll call it FAI.
 
We usually shut that behavior down before it really gets started. If the other 3 players have taken FBI without practice serves, we make sure the 4th person is held to that same standard.
I'm in Metrofornia--any criticism of others is viewed as being harsh and unhumanitarian--the clueless would not even get the point.
 

Mongolmike

Hall of Fame
A lot of people simply have no clue when it comes to basic tennis etiquette.

A couple of my big peeves are in warm-ups before the match even starts:
  • guys who try to drill winners in warm-ups
  • guys who return your warm up serves
WTF?
I don't like when they hit returns on my warm up serves either, but on the positive side, I just take more warm-up serves then. Fine by me.
 

Cindysphinx

G.O.A.T.
I am OK with FBI. I think it is good mental practice to try to hold serve when your serve is not at its best. It's going to happen in a competitive match someday (injury, sun/wind, just a bad serving day), so why not build up some mental strength?
 

eelhc

Hall of Fame
I am OK with FBI. I think it is good mental practice to try to hold serve when your serve is not at its best. It's going to happen in a competitive match someday (injury, sun/wind, just a bad serving day), so why not build up some mental strength?
Has nothing to do with mental strength. A relief pitcher doesn't just come in and start pitching right away without any warmup. Serves are the same... I need at least a 1/2 dozen serves to get the shoulder loose. I swing as hard... if not harder getting my more reliable serves (spin or kicker) in. Why risk injury if one can help it? In many match situations, I will actually defer serve if I win the toss.

For casual play where I really don't care about the outcome I can just start with a warmup serve but in a semi-serious match why just give up free points on the serve?
 

Cindysphinx

G.O.A.T.
Hit your warm up serve as an fbi. Then prepare to hold without your best serve. If you can do that, you have expanded the list of things you can do.

No need to risk injury and swing hard. That would kind of miss the point.

And um. What exactly is a semi serious match? Either you are in a competitive match, or you are practicing or playing socially. If the latter, then yes, learn to hold off of what is for you a weak serve.
 

eelhc

Hall of Fame
Hit your warm up serve as an fbi. Then prepare to hold without your best serve. If you can do that, you have expanded the list of things you can do.

No need to risk injury and swing hard. That would kind of miss the point.

And um. What exactly is a semi serious match? Either you are in a competitive match, or you are practicing or playing socially. If the latter, then yes, learn to hold off of what is for you a weak serve.
Most guys I play against will tee off against warm up serves. I suppose I could just double fault a couple of points deep. May as well give the game away.

I play a lot of semi serious matches... Non league and non USTA... Between buddies for bragging rights and smack talking. In some ways more important... I could care less about NTRP or making sectionals/regionals... But can't have my beer buddies smack talking.
 

Bluefan75

Professional
FBI is so 3.0.
You'd love the guys I play with on vacation in Florida. (Note they are great guys, it's for fun, and they're all older than my parents, so I don't really care). They give the guy the option of FBI or practice a few serves when the serve turn comes up. There haven't been any in warm up, we just get going, but it is confusing when one guy wants FBI, the other wants to hit 4-5 then play....
 

Dartagnan64

G.O.A.T.
Most guys I play against will tee off against warm up serves. I suppose I could just double fault a couple of points deep. May as well give the game away.

I play a lot of semi serious matches... Non league and non USTA... Between buddies for bragging rights and smack talking. In some ways more important... I could care less about NTRP or making sectionals/regionals... But can't have my beer buddies smack talking.
My warm up serves are just as powerful as my usual serves. I swing loose and that generates good rhs. I just am wild with placement.

Once I start going for placement and higher percentage, I tighten up and lose velocity.

So I’ve not seen folks tee off on FBI. And I don’t risk injury. I make sure before I even go on the court I do theraband rotator cuff exercises to warm up the shoulders. That takes about 1 min.
 

eelhc

Hall of Fame
My warm up serves are just as powerful as my usual serves. I swing loose and that generates good rhs. I just am wild with placement.

Once I start going for placement and higher percentage, I tighten up and lose velocity.

So I’ve not seen folks tee off on FBI. And I don’t risk injury. I make sure before I even go on the court I do theraband rotator cuff exercises to warm up the shoulders. That takes about 1 min.
If I attempted full service strokes without warming up, I wouldn't have a shoulder left.
I don't swing any slower or fuller on my higher percentage serves. Kicker and spin would go into the net if I did.

I choose to receive first whenever it's FBI... and in many cases when it's not FBI.
 

Random Guy99

New User
fwiw - my partners and I play you get two FBI opportunities your first service game. If the game goes to deuce, you lose one if you have any left. This motivates us to not use our FBI.
 

silentkman

Professional
I find this practice on the first serve more often and flex than I do in league play. I’m not a big fan of it, as I feel I’m conceding the first service release the first point. I don’t really think that it speeds up the game at all by cutting out 20 seconds to warm up in three served Eastside. But what do I know. Is first serve in an acceptable way to start a match?


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of course not, its ridiculous. Just have a service warm-up like normal people.
 

Morch Us

Professional
How many times do you see that?
Aren't you going to get smacked a return if your FBI "warmup" serve is IN?

Whatever the argument is, FBI is generally bad, and does cause a lot more injuries, since you are NOT going to get proper warmup on the FBI. The only way you can warmup your serves on FBI is hitting them purposely out or to the net. On a doubles, infact two guys can warmup their serves together from both corners. Why waste time of 3 guys by using FBI?

There is NO confirmed benefit to FBI. It is just equal to saying, I dont like to warmup, lets just go and play. Well worse than that, lets just go and play, and allow me go for more than I usually do on my first serve. On top of that if I am foolish enough, I will injure myself right at the start of the match, call it a day, and waste others time for coming in.

FBI really should be banned irrespective of whether it is rec play or not, for the benefit of players. If one dont have 5 minutes to warmup, he/she better stay home and watch TV.

Hit your warm up serve as an fbi.
 
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Gemini

Hall of Fame
A lot of people simply have no clue when it comes to basic tennis etiquette.

A couple of my big peeves are in warm-ups before the match even starts:
  • guys who try to drill winners in warm-ups
  • guys who return your warm up serves
WTF?
The only time I ever "return" serves during the warm up is only to let my opponent know that I'm ready to begin play. Even then, it's just bumping it back across the net.
 

eelhc

Hall of Fame
The only time I ever "return" serves during the warm up is only to let my opponent know that I'm ready to begin play. Even then, it's just bumping it back across the net.
Yep... and I always say "whenever you're ready" once I'm done.... Although while my opponent is warming up their serves, I will go through my receiving motion - split step, turn, take the racquet back, etc but just catch it rather than hitting back.

Some of the guys that try to pound winners and return serves during warm ups are just jerks but a lot of them don't know any better. I wish the USTA would produce a short video that must be watched for USTA play that goes through some basic rules and etiquette. Once a year, as a requirement for the first team one registers to play for that year. With several sections of video followed by a few questions one has to answer (so you can't just turn it on and walk away).
 

silentkman

Professional
Yep... and I always say "whenever you're ready" once I'm done.... Although while my opponent is warming up their serves, I will go through my receiving motion - split step, turn, take the racquet back, etc but just catch it rather than hitting back.

Some of the guys that try to pound winners and return serves during warm ups are just jerks but a lot of them don't know any better. I wish the USTA would produce a short video that must be watched for USTA play that goes through some basic rules and etiquette. Once a year, as a requirement for the first team one registers to play for that year. With several sections of video followed by a few questions one has to answer (so you can't just turn it on and walk away).
I agree 100%.
 

NTRPolice

Hall of Fame
I've never seen anyone do FBI in competitive play. It only happens here in casual play where people are literally coming in cold off the bench. For any competition situation, a real warmup and stretch should be done prior to the match starting. The 5 min warmup is literally just to lock everything in by running through all the strokes and meeting your opponent. It's not for 5 mins of ground strokes, then when a court monitor says start your match you ask for a few OH's and FBI. That's not how it works. lol

In every case where strict 5 min warmup protocol is strictly enforced there are always courts available for a real warmup. If people are so concerned with injury then maybe they shouldnt show up 1 min prior to the start of the match and then decide they want to regrip their rackets, apply sun screen and bengay to their entire body, before putting on their suit of armor which includes actual braces, neoprene braces, and very expensive tape that has no scientifically proven effect other than anecdotal testimonial evidence.

If it's a match where no warmup courts are available (like a public park that has only two courts or whatever), then there isnt really a court monitor to enforce the 5 min warmup anyway so everyone should be able through all the strokes, (ground/volley/OH/serve) in around 10 mins.

In social tennis people are showing up to general locations and general times, so they're literally being put on court after they arrive. When you have a match, you have a specific start time or large window where you can take a good warmup.
 

tennisisgood

New User
A lot of people simply have no clue when it comes to basic tennis etiquette.

A couple of my big peeves are in warm-ups before the match even starts:
  • guys who try to drill winners in warm-ups
  • guys who return your warm up serves
WTF?
I’ve never understood the dislike of warm-up returns. If the issue is presented in a friendly way and both players return serves then why not?
 
D

Deleted member 23235

Guest
I’ve never understood the dislike of warm-up returns. If the issue is presented in a friendly way and both players return serves then why not?
because usually it's very one sided, and the returners don't reciprocate.
if i take a couple warmup returns, i'll always ask if they want to return a few.
 

Bender

G.O.A.T.
People do FBI for competitive play???

We do FBI for everyone when we play our first set. I'm the only one who gets aces and unreturnables on FBI, but it balances out IMO because I usually get my first serve in and so never end up using FBI (I end up DFing later, just almost never on the first point). And if I miss my first serve, I will hit second serves regardless of how many chances I have to hit a serve in.

I also hit returns off other people's warmup serves but I didn't know it was improper tennis etiquette until I read this thread. I figured I was just hitting the ball back to them to keep warming up their serve if they wanted--otherwise they bunt the ball back over and I warm up my serves.
 

eelhc

Hall of Fame
I’ve never understood the dislike of warm-up returns. If the issue is presented in a friendly way and both players return serves then why not?
Can you always return at a moderate pace so your opponent can catch or pick up easily? If so you are much better than me and everyone I play against.

Or do you expect your opponent to go fetch your returns like most D-bags who return warm up serves? Then it's the equivalent of attempting to drill winners during warm up rallys. Hence the dislike for the practice.
 
I’ve never understood the dislike of warm-up returns. If the issue is presented in a friendly way and both players return serves then why not?
It's fine for casual rec play, between you and your buddies, but if you ever do that in a real tournament or a practice match against a tournament player, it will inform your opponent that you're a rookie and give him a big psychological advantage over you.
 

tennisisgood

New User
Can you always return at a moderate pace so your opponent can catch or pick up easily? If so you are much better than me and everyone I play against.

Or do you expect your opponent to go fetch your returns like most D-bags who return warm up serves? Then it's the equivalent of attempting to drill winners during warm up rallys. Hence the dislike for the practice.
Sometimes people return just my final 2-3 practice serves. Seems like a good compromise if I have to fetch them (?).
 

eelhc

Hall of Fame
Sometimes people return just my final 2-3 practice serves. Seems like a good compromise if I have to fetch them (?).
This is what the Pros do... even with ball boys/girls, they do not return warm up serves until the end. That said... the warm up is somewhat ceremonial in that they already hit the practice courts beforehand with their hitting partner.
 

Dartagnan64

G.O.A.T.
This signifies he is done with his warm-up serves, that works for me, I'd rather hit some more serves then ROS--the serve is the most important shot in tennis.
And the RoS is the second most important shot. So admittedly it would be more important to take a few more RoS opportunities since Serve can be practiced and honed by yourself.
 

Acushla

New User
What good does it do to return my warm up serve. That’s not the serveyou will see in a match.
Amen to this. I never let them see my first serve in warm ups. But that also means I usually don't serve at full pace till I'm very warm...
 
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