What minimum percentage for your first serve?

Discussion in 'Tennis Tips/Instruction' started by markch, Sep 13, 2018.

  1. markch

    markch New User

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    What minimum percentage shall I practise to achieve for the first serve? for example, I get only 30% in for first flat serve , and get 80% for the second topspin serve . shall I use the topspin as the first serve too ?
     
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  2. Dartagnan64

    Dartagnan64 Legend

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    No because people will groove to you if you show them the same serve over and over again.

    Work on your flat serve to get it more reliable. Take some pace off and work on placement if you can't get consistent. I can compete with 4.0's even with my pop gun serve because I can keep the 1st serve percentage at 60% or higher and can put the serve into different corners. I'm like the Greg Maddox of tennis serving. Never show them the same spin, bounce or location. Especially effective in doubles where they only see you serve every 4th game.
     
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  3. dominikk1985

    dominikk1985 Legend

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    I would say under 50% sucks. If you are under 50 just mix in enough spin serves to get back to 50
     
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  4. TagUrIt

    TagUrIt Rookie

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    My honest opinion is you should practice both equally. I have a pretty good flat serve, I can place it pretty much where I want. My kickserve is a work in progress, but I will occasionally depending on my opponent serve a kickserve as my first serve and a flat serve as my first serve. I agree with another poster, you do not want to become predictable. To answer the question my first serve percentage is about 65%-70%.
     
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  5. Wise one

    Wise one Semi-Pro

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    80-90%
     
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  6. IowaGuy

    IowaGuy Hall of Fame

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    Here's an article with some good food for thought on the balance between power (and a low 1st serve %) and consistency (high 1st serve % but not much of a weapon).

    https://www.braingametennis.com/num3ers/first-strike/

    ~ 62% is the magic number for most pros...
     
    Last edited: Sep 13, 2018
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  7. Wise one

    Wise one Semi-Pro

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    Nonsense. Hitting all those extra serves is a waste of energy. Get the first one in. I once (1997) hit 24 (at least) first serves in a row in a singles match, then hit 17 in a row the next week (also a singles match). In 2009, before I ruptured some discs in my back, I won all but two points in a doubles match (partner missed a volley, and I hit one DF). With adidas Nastase wood racquet.

    https://www.****-kleinanzeigen.de/s...eger-nastase-professional-/621738407-230-6442
     
    Last edited: Sep 13, 2018
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  8. esgee48

    esgee48 Legend

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    I think of it a slightly different way. I target 75% 1st serves in. That 3/4th of your 1st serves. That puts pressure on the returner. 50% sucks. That's 1/2 of your 1st serves are no good. To achieve my target, I will take some speed off, but try for more spin; slice or top to different areas of the service box. That's to prevent the returner from getting use to the serve.
     
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  9. ChaelAZ

    ChaelAZ Hall of Fame

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    This season in Flex I am only missing first serves a few times and might double faulty a couple times in a match. But I am also serving relatively light so it is easier to hit spots and stay in the service box all together.
     
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  10. Wise one

    Wise one Semi-Pro

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    The first serve is not hit harder, just a little flatter and closer to the edges. The second serve is hit a little more conservatively in terms of location, and a with a bit more spin. In my case, there is very little difference.
     
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  11. rogerroger917

    rogerroger917 Hall of Fame

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    Because your serve is bad.
     
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  12. TennisCJC

    TennisCJC Legend

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    you goal is to hit at least 60% 1st serves into the box for singles and closer to 70% into the box for doubles. If your "flat" serve cannot go in 60% of the time for singles, it is worthless. People here become enthralled with the big "flat" serve. On ATP, almost every 1st serve has loads of spin. An ATP "flat" serve is really a fast spin serve. Federer averages around 115-120 mph on 1st serves and you can see the ball bend in the air from all the spin he puts on the ball.

    Your 30% flat serve should ONLY be used when you are 2 or more points ahead in the game such as 30-0, 40-15 or 40-0. You should develop a fast spin serve that bends in the air and that you can make 2 out of 3 times on average.

    It is simple geometry. To have any margin of net clearance on the serve, the ball MUST bend in flight. There are 2 ways to make a ball bend in flight. One is to hit it fast with spin and the other is to hit it slowly so gravity bends it into the box. YOu should practice to bend it fast with spin as the gravity method results in lollipop sitters for your opponents.

    It has been well documented, that a true "flat" serve that has little bend in flight has practically no net clearance unless you are tall like John Isner. Pete Sampras is considered to be one of the best servers in history. He average approximately 2,500 rpm for 1st serves and over 3,500 for 2nd serves. His spin angle was also steeper (more topspin) than the average ATP. Yandell's site has an article about this. The best server in history spins the heck out of the ball and TWers are trying to hit flat boomers. Go figure.
     
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  13. Wise one

    Wise one Semi-Pro

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    Actually, not true. I serve better than most players my age/skill level.
     
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  14. Dartagnan64

    Dartagnan64 Legend

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    I'd love to be that consistent. I think the best I've ever done is 8 first serves in a row over two games and i think 7 of 8 were service winners or aces.
    That being said I get a fair number of errors off my second serve so it's definitely worth missing a few first serves to give them a look at a whole different pace and spin. I know people that have a second serve that is a slightly slower version of their first serve and that's no good. You need to develop a second serve that looks entirely different.

    My general serving strategy is:
    point 1- first: flat serve down T, second: kick serve to body
    point 2 - 1st: Slice serve down T, 2nd: kick serve to body
    point 3 - 1st flat serve down T, 2nd: kick serve down T
    point 4 - 1st: slice down T, 2nd: kick out wide
    point 5 - 1st: slice out wide, 2nd: kick out down T
    point 6 - 1st: flat out wide, 2nd: kick out wide

    I keep that pattern up and rarely does anyone figure it out (largely because I don't always hit my spots lol). I tell my doubles partner what I'm doing so he knows and we don't have to bother with signals for the most part. He knows where I'm sending most of my first serves. And most of my second serves are going to the BH but I usually start with mid-box second serves until I'm grooved a bit.
     
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  15. r2473

    r2473 G.O.A.T.

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    Are you winning free points with your first serve when you get it in? Any idea what your points W/L is with your first serve and second serve (just your guess)?

    A lot of the answer to this will depend on if your 1st serve is worth a damn when you get it in and if your second serve gets killed.
     
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  16. Wise one

    Wise one Semi-Pro

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    Even the best of players don't return anywhere near 100% of serves that go in, so even a 'modest' first serve delivered with a high degree of consistency will prove more valuable in the long run than blasting your first serve in, making only 40 or 60 % of them. If you get 90% of your first serves in, it puts tremendous pressure on your opponent. He's not going to return even 75% of them, so you should win if all else is equal. Play the percentages!
     
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  17. r2473

    r2473 G.O.A.T.

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    I return near 100%. Just block / float back deep. Or hit a low slice. And it’s just as you say. The simple fact of getting every serve back, creates pressure. Especially over time.
     
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  18. Wise one

    Wise one Semi-Pro

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    Well, that's good. Some days I can return better than others, but my return percentage is lower than my first serve percentage. Someone serving at 40% first serve, and weak second serve, is not a threat.

    What amazes me is the fact that there is almost no comprehension of 'percentage play' among coaches and pros today.
     
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  19. r2473

    r2473 G.O.A.T.

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    I started doing this after reading Pancho Segura’s book. He says you shouldn’t miss more than 5 returns a match. At first I thought he was crazy. Now I get it. And that percentage play has carried over to the rest of my game as well.

    It’s so easy to win a lot of my matches now
     
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  20. SystemicAnomaly

    SystemicAnomaly G.O.A.T.

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    Agree with 60% or better for 1st serves in singles and 70% or so for doubles play.

    The Sampras RPM figures that I’ve come across are higher than the numbers you’ve quoted. A US Open spin study from the late 1990s had Sampras’ first serve averaging 2700 RPM (120 mph), sometimes exceeding 4000 RPM. In this study, Pete’s 2nd serve averaged over 4200 RPM, sometimes exceeding 5000 RPM.

    https://web.archive.org/web/20110914062943/http://wings.avkids.com/Tennis/Project/usspin-07.html
     
    Last edited: Sep 15, 2018
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  21. J011yroger

    J011yroger G.O.A.T.

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    What's the point of only serving big when you don't need to?

    J
     
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  22. Chas Tennis

    Chas Tennis Legend

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  23. rogerroger917

    rogerroger917 Hall of Fame

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    I just have to lol at the 3.5 brigade talking about 1st serve %. You guys play other 3.5 players. It doesn't matter your %. You can dink it in and your opponent can't do anything with it. They dink it back.

    There is a reason advanced players go for the big 1st. Go figure it out if you ever improve enough to need to go for 60% big 1st serves.

    It's like a echo chamber for beginner tennis players in here.
     
    Last edited: Sep 15, 2018
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