How long did it take?

Discussion in 'Tennis Tips/Instruction' started by Janne, May 12, 2006.

  1. Janne

    Janne Semi-Pro

    Apr 29, 2006
    How long did it take for you guys and girls to develop a pretty good flat serve that almost always goes into the right box and with a pretty good speed?

    The reason I want to know is that I´m a beginner, only taken 3 lessons, 1 hour each and I´ve tried to practice my serve on my own for the last 3 days around one and a half - two hours, and I still hit it so it bounces before it hits the net, or screw it up in another way.

    My throwing is also a problem. I usually throw it so that it would land on my head, behind me, or too much infront, so I end up throwing it up about 4-5 times before I actually hit (dont know if you can even call it hitting :( ) it.
  2. jamauss

    jamauss Hall of Fame

    Jan 25, 2006
    I have quite a bit of perspective on this so I'll share.

    Currently, I have a flat, hard-as-I-can-swing first serve that goes in about 40-50% of the time. It has literally taken me YEARS to get it as good as it is now. Same for the 2nd serve. My 2nd serve is a topspin/slice serve that goes in most of the time and has a fairly good "kick" to it. I average about 2 or 3 double faults per set on my serve. Maybe once per service game. That might sound like a poor percentage but my 2nd serve is about 80-90 mph and when my serve is "on" I tend to get a lot of free points from it - even on my 2nd serve.

    I've spent many hours on the court practicing my serve. I've also spent time practicing nothing but my toss. I took a piece of chalk with me to the court once and drew a circle on the court where I thought my toss should land and just kept practicing my toss until the ball landed in the circle 5 times in a row. Your toss is just as important of a piece of your serve as your swing, I think. Knowing when you've made an acceptable toss is important. If you watch pros play you'll notice that they toss the ball up and just catch it occasionally and toss it again because they can recognize a poor toss.

    Getting your rythm/motion down takes practice. Remembering to watch the ball for as long as possible takes practice. Learning how to place the ball takes practice. All these things take weeks/months/years to perfect, not minutes or hours. Stay dilligent and motivated and it will come with practice and time.

    For me, I had to train myself to where the toss, motion and swing became automatic. I don't have to think much about remembering to shift my momentum back, bend my knees, when to release the ball on my toss, and everything that goes into the kinetic chain.

    But previous to that, I spent months not getting it right. I played lots of matches where I double faulted because I had a weak 2nd serve. It's just a "growing pain" of getting better that everyone goes through.

    Anyway - if you have anymore questions feel free to post them. My thoughts were kinda all over the place in my response. I'll try to answer better next time. :)
  3. kevhen

    kevhen Hall of Fame

    Feb 20, 2004
    Auckland, New Zealand
    It takes awhile to learn, like a couple years or more. Work on getting the toss to a consistent spot and the rest will come with proper practice.
  4. Fatmike

    Fatmike Semi-Pro

    Feb 11, 2005
    Easiest thing to get for me was the serve. I have a consisent throw.

    One thing that help, place your racquet on the ground, just where your ball should fall for a correct throw (like one feet in front of you and one feet to the right, assuming you're right handed, or evreywhere you're comfortable with.). Then throw the ball like you were going to serve and try to make it fall on your racquet evreytime. Your throw will become more consistent.
  5. unsung

    unsung New User

    Apr 21, 2006
    I am also a beginner & have been having lots of problems with the toss. This site has been VERY helpful!

    Basically, the tip that I found most helpful was to imagine a string connected to the inside of your elbow like a marionette. Imagine slowly letting your arm relax and drop down, then having that string yanked up in one smooth, quick motion. Don't try to throw the ball or think about your hand or wrist at all. Just think about the string tugging on (the inside of) your elbow.

    Also, don't track the ball with your eyes as it goes down and up. Keep your head up and look up in the general direction of the toss until the ball enters your field of vision.

    Good luck!
  6. Saito

    Saito Professional

    Jan 28, 2005
    To the OP:

    Search this thread for some good tips on serve... I would but I'm too lazy and it really isn't that hard to do so.......

    It takes a while, esp. for a beginner to develop a good serve. I know when I was learning, I would make myself go through an entire teaching pro basket (probably like 200+ balls in it, but seems like so much more when you actually do it) for each side. I would try to do at least 8 baskets (four times on each side). That might be rough on you early, so try to do two baskets (one on deuce and one on AD side. But just doing that won't help. Before even attempting something like that, make sure you have good form, your toss, and timing down. That should be what you are learning in lesson. Then it's all about drilling.
  7. Slazenger

    Slazenger Professional

    Nov 1, 2005
    It took me about 3 months. I had a VERY good teacher, who could teach me the aspects of the serves but most importantly (for me at the time) could SHOW me how to hit the serves. I'm a very visual learner. Don't tell me to bend my knees. Show me how YOU bend your knees and I'll get it.
    Once I had the flat serve down he taught me the slice and twist in the same week.

    If you're a visual learner you will greatly benefit from having someone serve (properly)right in front of you like a hundred times. You'll get it very quickly.
  8. Janne

    Janne Semi-Pro

    Apr 29, 2006
    Thanks for the answers everyone! I´ll check out some threads and then try again tomorrow! And Slazenger, I´m also a visual learner. Its impossible for me to do it if I dont see anyone showing it to me first, though the problem is that the tennis club I recently started going to is going to take a break now (only one lesson left) and then It'll be hard for me to practice on my own for like 2 and a half months >.<
  9. FiZ

    FiZ New User

    Sep 30, 2004
    took me two years by experimenting and hitting with a ball basket over and over and over again
  10. Duff

    Duff Guest

    I've been struggling for a long time w/ serve but I'm finally getting the hang of it. The most important info for me was getting used to a continental grip. I've felt horribly crappy and retrogressive when I found out my serve was just not what it had to be. Try to do this: Get the toss right, and with your continental grip, swing the racquet up. If you watch the slow Sampras video from uspta on the stickies, it is obvious that there is a line, from his racquet tip to his toes. Just achieving this makes serving so much better. It worked for me. Over two months of feeling like crap and after 2 days I'm very confident in my serve(not speed-wise yet, but consistency-wise, very much so).
  11. Woodstock_Tennis

    Woodstock_Tennis Rookie

    May 8, 2006
    Play almost everyday of the week for the last two years, and still don't have complete control on serve with the pace I'd like.
  12. theace21

    theace21 Hall of Fame

    Feb 25, 2004
    You can take an athletic baseball player and in a couple of days, he will be pounding serves. The key is the motion, and using your body to generate power...
  13. MoneyBall

    MoneyBall New User

    May 5, 2006
    Try Brent Abel serve lessons. It took me around 3 months to hit the flat with consistency. Practice 2 times a week an hour each time.

Share This Page