serve placement

Discussion in 'Tennis Tips/Instruction' started by lendl lives, Aug 20, 2004.

  1. lendl lives

    lendl lives Semi-Pro

    Feb 23, 2004
    i've been thinking a lot about serve placement lately. a guy i know is ranked no. 1 in nor cal 5.0 doubles or was until very recently. i was much better than him in high school but he stuck with tennis and i didn't. anyway he's my motivation. =).....i told him about how i lost this match to a pusher after gettting back into the game after 6yrs of inactivity. he laughed and said, "you have way too much game for that". He then kidded, "how hard is it to hit to his backhand?"......

    it was all in fun but got me thinking about how important placement is, especially on serve. i was watching one of fed's olympic matches and was trying to predict where each serve would go. i was getting them all wrong. until i started picking the opposite of my initial pick..... when they do a shot spot on where players are serving it surprised me how often on 2's a pro will hit religiously to the bh side. if people do that to me i start ripping em. of the few matches i've seen lately fed's serve is hardest to predict where he'll place it. his opponents always serve to his bh (why don't they mix it up more?). maybe not such a good idea. .......or is his fh that friggin scary?!
  2. TennsDog

    TennsDog Hall of Fame

    Feb 26, 2004
    Placement (and depth) is one of the biggest factors in tennis and determining one's ability level. It is generally a good idea to go to the returner's backhand on a second serve because the second serve is not typically as aggressive as the first and can more easily be attacked. Going to the backhand is to help minimize the ability of the returner to attack the weaker serve. Except for that, it is nearly impossible to predict where a serve will go. That is the key to good serving: mix it up and keep your opponent guessing. There should be no logic or pattern to serve placement unless one serve is working particularly well. Even then you don't want to overdo it because it will become less and less effective.
  3. papa

    papa Hall of Fame

    Jul 13, 2004
    Not sure I agree with you (TennisDog) on the statement that the serve "should no be any logic..." with the serve placement. Wide serves are going to provide good angles for the returner whereas deep serves into the body or down the middle reduce those possiblilities - especially in doubles. Maybe down the middle more on the duece court and into the center of the court on the ad side - again deep.

    BB knows so much about serving his advice might cleariify this for everyone.
  4. doubletrouble

    doubletrouble New User

    Feb 27, 2004
    I think placement is fundamental. My philosophy is my serve is going to dictate the return I get so I'm going to serve to set up returns where I feel I can quickly gain the advantage based on how we match up. I'll stay with that as long as it keeps working.

    I'll change up if I see my opponent trying to change that for example by say running around his backhand but I'm pretty much" if it ain't broke don't fix it" in other words he is going to have to show me he can beat me before I change my game plan.
  5. Bungalo Bill

    Bungalo Bill G.O.A.T.

    Feb 19, 2004
    Yeah Tennsdog,

    I think you need to clarify what you mean. A couple of statements sounded a little scary to me:

    1. is nearly impossible to predict where a serve will go...
    It isnt that hard to predict where a server will serve as a lot of servers telegraph where they are going, or have certain "movements" to indicate where they are going.

    2. ...there should be no logic or pattern to serve placement unless one is serving particularly well...

    The serve should be thought through even if it is breifly. It is the key shot that starts your shot combination. The reason pros go to a certain spot frequently is because they know the tendancies of a player, they can easily serve it to a different place and sort of "freeze" the returner, they are executing a shot combination or a play, or they want to stay within the strategic matchup they want to execute for their game plan.

    That is why you practice your serves so you can use the serve with a combination of the other strokes you practice to execute plays to hold serve and win points.

    Much like the return of serve has a plan, you also need to have a plan for your serve - even if it is hitting to the backhand all the time. At the club level, that isnt a bad idea.

    I think the reason they serve a lot to Federers backhand is because he slices a lot of balls back. The slice is not a devastating weapon. Also, Federer doesn't try to win points off the serve - he wins them with all the other tools he has and just gets the point started. He is a very smart player.
  6. TennsDog

    TennsDog Hall of Fame

    Feb 26, 2004
    I would say my serve is my biggest weapon because of spin, pace, and placement. Most people I have or will play against will not be able to tell where a serve is going until it leaves the racket. When I hit my flat serve I let the ball drop about 6 inches further because that is the only way I can get it in (don't ask). I have never had anyone who can even read that big of a difference to be able to know that a fast, flat serve is coming, let alone where. As to no logic, I don't mean there should be no pattern throughout the match. I mean that before any given point, the returner should not be able to correctly guess where the serve is about to go. If a wide serve is being successful, then you would of course use that more often, but other serves need to be used as well to keep that wide serve effective. One of my favorite things to do is to hit a high kicker to their backhand for a second serve to try to still be offensive on second serves, but I cannot do that everytime because they can get used to it early in the match and then that is gone. The idea is to never let your opponent get too used to any one serve...unless it is so good that they can never do anything with it.

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