When do you GET the serve?

#1
How many years in? Or pretty quick for you?

Isn't it a great feeling to finally get it? It's probably similar to the other strokes but the serve feels super special being the toughest stroke to crack!

Share your experience, your journey to find the Holy Grail ? :)


For me, 8 months and a lot of youtube viewing, doing own thinking and analyzing.
 

aimr75

Hall of Fame
#5
Its taken a few years as I can go weeks and months without getting on a court due to other commitments. Couple that with it being my least practiced stroke even though it deserves more attention. Things are clicking more these days though with it so feel like its a serviceable stroke
 
#6
Its taken a few years as I can go weeks and months without getting on a court due to other commitments. Couple that with it being my least practiced stroke even though it deserves more attention. Things are clicking more these days though with it so feel like its a serviceable stroke
I have my own preference and enjoyment but to grow, I have to force myself to like other things. I used to hate the volley and it was hard to give it time and practiced, but slowly learned to like it and that's when it started to get better!

Same deal with the serve. I didn't need a much better one, having my groundstrokes carry my games, but just learn to see it as a challenge, a fun thing to do. The serve is very cool to have in that its reward is immediate and warrants a lot of respect :)
 

moonballs

Hall of Fame
#7
Over 20 years. Serve came easily because I was pretty good at volleyball. But I didn’t realize the need to hit up because the volleyball spike is hitting down. So I was content with the infurior serve till a couple years ago when i had shoulder pain. Which force me to look into the technique. Now I am improving but the consistency still lacks.
 

aimr75

Hall of Fame
#9
I have my own preference and enjoyment but to grow, I have to force myself to like other things. I used to hate the volley and it was hard to give it time and practiced, but slowly learned to like it and that's when it started to get better!

Same deal with the serve. I didn't need a much better one, having my groundstrokes carry my games, but just learn to see it as a challenge, a fun thing to do. The serve is very cool to have in that its reward is immediate and warrants a lot of respect :)
Yes, people instinctively stick within their comfort zone.. I dont mind serving, just never spent a lot of time on it owing to lack of hours spent on tennis in general. Dont know if i've "got" it but think im getting it.. :)
 

vex

Hall of Fame
#10
Serve improvement never really stops.... even for many pros. Heck Fed and Djoker are serving better than ever in thier 30s even as other parts of their game are declining.

For me the big milestones were:
- Realizing I need to hold the ball with my finger tips to get an accurate toss with a "rose petal" release.
- realizing I can't hit up the ball effectively unless I've got my contact point to at least 12/12:30.
- realizing I don't need to hit crazy plow thru as much as I need to hit crazy topspin and great corner accuracy.
 
#12
Over 20 years. Serve came easily because I was pretty good at volleyball. But I didn’t realize the need to hit up because the volleyball spike is hitting down. So I was content with the infurior serve till a couple years ago when i had shoulder pain. Which force me to look into the technique. Now I am improving but the consistency still lacks.
I only started to understand and do a more sound serve motion now after spending the last 8 months analyzing it. Before that I was also hitting down, for almost 10 years, but I never have any shoulder issue. I think when we're strong, we can force and compensate a lot of things with strength.

A crazy thing about the serve is, and it only adds to the confusion, that you see different pro's do it very differently but all of their serves look effective and repeatable for them.
 
#13
Change the title to "When will I get the serve?".
Haha, for a s&V player like yourself I would think you got the serve down on day one. No?

In years of playing I have met several really good servers, but none of them could show me how to serve, and they tried. They couldn't unpack the difficulty into simpler steps.

And, I also play with a few very good match players who serve FH style. They settled for it and hit hard but the bread and butter of their game is their running, defense and very experienced shot making.
 
#14
Haha, for a s&V player like yourself I would think you got the serve down on day one. No?
I've mentioned it before: even at the 4.5 level, there are opponents who don't deal well with the pressure of a relentlessly net-crashing opponent. Of course I'm going to get smoked by the upper 4.5s who love a target and will pummel my 2nd serve. But it doesn't take a great serve to apply pressure.

I think the single biggest improvement I can make to get to 5.0 is the serve.
 
#15
I've mentioned it before: even at the 4.5 level, there are opponents who don't deal well with the pressure of a relentlessly net-crashing opponent. Of course I'm going to get smoked by the upper 4.5s who love a target and will pummel my 2nd serve. But it doesn't take a great serve to apply pressure.

I think the single biggest improvement I can make to get to 5.0 is the serve.
Oh I believe you, since that's also my observation. Even at 4.5 level, the serve can be very erratic. Some 4.5s are just really good runners/defenders and not much else.

IMO, S&V works better than it does in pro level. There are too many flaws with rec players. Weak minds, distracted minds, one trick ponies with the fh or the bh, etc. If you can do one thing super well, it can return the investment.
 
#16
Oh I believe you, since that's also my observation. Even at 4.5 level, the serve can be very erratic. Some 4.5s are just really good runners/defenders and not much else.

IMO, S&V works better than it does in pro level. There are too many flaws with rec players. Weak minds, distracted minds, one trick ponies with the fh or the bh, etc. If you can do one thing super well, it can return the investment.
Exactly the point I've made before: what the pros do [or don't do] is irrelevant to me. S&V has died as a main strategy at the pro level because of physical power, racquet and string technology, slower courts, <insert your favorite reason here>. But my opponent isn't a pro: he may have Nadal's racquet and strings but he doesn't have Nadal's shotmaking ability and power. Neither, of course, do I have Edberg's volleys. So it's an equalizer. I know I'm going to win a certain # of points merely by approaching the net. The question then boils down to how well my net game stacks up against his ground game. And, at least in my experience, that's not an a priori losing proposition [although it can definitely be a post-hoc losing proposition!].
 
#17
Depends what your definition is of "get it"

@user92626

A solid rec serve?

A technicaly sound high quality serve?

Being able to hit 100mph+ and accurately place the serve?


Also, some people get it sooner while others never get it.

Some people may argue that everything is about working hard and you can reach x level or x quality stroke, but alot of it is actually about your innate talent.

Someone is just more talented at certain things and for some reason picks up that faster and reaches a higher level.

Just look at any sport and u will see it, everyone works extremely hard but there are many different types of players with strength and weaknesses.

Look at how many atp or wta players have crappy serves, or look how many have awesome serves (and not tall ones im talking average height).

Alot has to do with ur natural ability, certain things u just have an innate high ceiling at while at others its lower.
 
D

Deleted member 23235

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#18
How many years in? Or pretty quick for you?

Isn't it a great feeling to finally get it? It's probably similar to the other strokes but the serve feels super special being the toughest stroke to crack!

Share your experience, your journey to find the Holy Grail ? :)


For me, 8 months and a lot of youtube viewing, doing own thinking and analyzing.
lol i have glimmers of "omg i got it"... ie. ii'll hit 10 flat serves at the T, and explode the targes i put there...
or i'll serve out games at love...
but then i'll miss 70% 1st serves in the next match...

so i don't think i've gotten it... like life, it's an ongoing work in progress
that said, practicing serves almost daily in 2018 spring/summer/fall has greatly improved my serve...
but ironically, rather than thinking i'm that much closer to "getting it", i feel i'm much farther away from getting it (ie. a serve being automatic/unconscious), but i'm on the right track..
and then any time i introduce a tweak/improvement (ie. more coil, or more hip load, etc...), i get knocked down 10 pegs, and it feels like i start all over again

also depends on what your bar for "i got it" is. for me the bar is constantly moving (more pace, more spin, better consistent placement, consistent depth, etc...)

so i'll go with "never".
 
#19
Depends what your definition is of "get it"

@user92626

A solid rec serve?

A technicaly sound high quality serve?

Being able to hit 100mph+ and accurately place the serve?


Also, some people get it sooner while others never get it.

also depends on what your bar for "i got it" is. for me the bar is constantly moving (more pace, more spin, better consistent placement, consistent depth, etc...)

so i'll go with "never".
I'm practical. I define "getting it" by seeing I make more serves in, the swing is more comfortable and definitive, like doing a FH with full control, and my opponents start to stand farther back!


FireFTW, I think your bar is too high, like you're aiming for pro quality, ie 100 mph. IMO, if you play at city courts -- and all the recreational players eventually end up there :) -- you're gonna have a hard time finding opponents, especially singles. You'll end up with doubles and have to carry the worst players or stay home!

I don't believe in "everything is about working hard" either. I recognize talents and aptitudes.
 
#20
lol i have glimmers of "omg i got it"... ie. ii'll hit 10 flat serves at the T, and explode the targes i put there...
or i'll serve out games at love...
but then i'll miss 70% 1st serves in the next match...

so i don't think i've gotten it... like life, it's an ongoing work in progress
that said, practicing serves almost daily in 2018 spring/summer/fall has greatly improved my serve...
but ironically, rather than thinking i'm that much closer to "getting it", i feel i'm much farther away from getting it (ie. a serve being automatic/unconscious), but i'm on the right track..
and then any time i introduce a tweak/improvement (ie. more coil, or more hip load, etc...), i get knocked down 10 pegs, and it feels like i start all over again
So, it sounds like you've not gotten down like, say, you do your FH?

You know, since last summer, I took out my hopper a few times but I really didn't practice the serve. Most of the time I did exploring, experimenting, paying close attention to the physical mechanics and the ball behaviors and logics.

I don't believe that I should be practicing (rehearsing) anything ad nausea if I haven't understood it cold. Has that thought occurred to you? Just curious.
 
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#21
I'm practical. I define "getting it" by seeing I make more serves in, the swing is more comfortable and definitive, like doing a FH with full control, and my opponents start to stand farther back!
wow, that's vague.
if i'm playing a 3.5, i can hit a kicker to the bh all day, forcing him back, and I'll never miss
i played a utr12 yesterday, and he crushed (power + placement) any kicker that landed short, and ran around the bh on any kicker that strayed a bit.
FireFTW, I think your bar is too high, like you're aiming for pro quality, ie 100 mph. IMO, if you play at city courts -- and all the recreational players eventually end up there :) -- you're gonna have a hard time finding opponents, especially singles. You'll end up with doubles and have to carry the worst players or stay home!
lol, aiming to be the "best at the pickup games on city courts" is a pretty low bar... right up there with, i "just want to have a hit & giggle with my friends"
I don't believe in "everything is about working hard" either. I recognize talents and aptitudes.
lol, folks who don't believe in "working hard" (due to not being talented) ... are just lazy, and use that motto to justify their laziness.
true, an untalented person will never beat a talented person presuming the same amount of work put into it... but you also will never find your max talent unless you actually try
 
#22
I'm practical. I define "getting it" by seeing I make more serves in, the swing is more comfortable and definitive, like doing a FH with full control, and my opponents start to stand farther back!


FireFTW, I think your bar is too high, like you're aiming for pro quality, ie 100 mph. IMO, if you play at city courts -- and all the recreational players eventually end up there :) -- you're gonna have a hard time finding opponents, especially singles. You'll end up with doubles and have to carry the worst players or stay home!

I don't believe in "everything is about working hard" either. I recognize talents and aptitudes.
Nah I was just wondering what ur definition is nothing else :p

Nothing to do with my bar, alltho personaly i hope i reach the highest level possible, i have alot of players that i can play all the way up to utr12/13 which is way higher than il ever reach so no problem hehe :cool:
 
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#23
So, it sounds like you've not gotten down like, say, you do your FH?

You know, since last summer, I took out my hopper a few times but I really didn't practice the serve. Most of the time I did exploring, experimenting, paying close attention to the physical mechanics and the ball behaviors and logics.

I don't believe that I should be practicing (rehearsing) anything ad nausea if I haven't understood it cold. Has that thought occurred to you? Just curious.
of course... doesn't make sense to practice bad reps...
so i practice, video, analyze, compare, tweak, practice... occasionally take a lesson... apply lessons, rinse repeat.
has it occurred to you that in practice, every rep should be a refinement on the last one.
 
#24
wow, that's vague.
if i'm playing a 3.5, i can hit a kicker to the bh all day, forcing him back, and I'll never miss
i played a utr12 yesterday, and he crushed (power + placement) any kicker that landed short, and ran around the bh on any kicker that strayed a bit.
That's not vague. LOL. You're doing it exactly like I do -- use your own environment/competition to assess your serve.
 
D

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#25
That's not vague. LOL. You're doing it exactly like I do -- use your own environment/competition to assess your serve.
my point is that you'll never "get it" then...
because maybe it works at 4.5, but if i get to 5.0, i need to revamp it... and so on and so on...
 

atp2015

Hall of Fame
#26
I thought I got it after 2 weeks of hitting to learn the serve with a conti grip - after waking up to many false dawns, one thing is certain you will get the feeling of "I finally got this" many times. I have emailed/texted myself that I got it and what the last missing link was. nyta said "never", but IMO it's the exact opposite. - you are likely get the feeling more often than you should. Initially, it occurs every week, then months and probably years.. in my current stage, I get the feeling every few months.
 
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Deleted member 23235

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#27
I thought I got it after 2 weeks of hitting to learn the serve with a conti grip - after I waking up to many false dawns, one thing is certain you will get the feeling of "I finally got this" many times. I have emailed/texted myself that I got it and what the last missing link was. nyta said "never", but IMO it's the exact opposite. - you are likely get the feeling more often than you should. Initially, it occurs every week, then months and probably years.. in my current stage, I get the feeling every few months.
perhaps you get the feeling for barA... but once you raise that bar, and need to add things (load more power sources), you'll feel like you're farther away than when you started.
take someone who's "perfected" their frying pan serve. then they switch to conti grip. it's like starting all over again.
 
#28
I think it doesn't take that long to get it if you can have someone who knows how to teach it show you. It took me a long time to figure it out on my own.

Getting to the point where you can successfully play in a match with something approaching 90% of your potential takes a lot of regular practice.

If only youtube was around back when I was learning.
 

atp2015

Hall of Fame
#30
perhaps you get the feeling for barA... but once you raise that bar, and need to add things (load more power sources), you'll feel like you're farther away than when you started.
take someone who's "perfected" their frying pan serve. then they switch to conti grip. it's like starting all over again.
Since the highest bar is a discovery and could change (I don't know if it changes, but let's assume it may), we are not likely to know how far the bar really is. I always felt I'm this close and one day I get a feeling that I have accomplished it. And within a few hours or days, I suddenly realize I was missing a huge chunk to explore. It has happened to me so many times, I don't know what's next. Currently my goal is to add 10mph to my serve from my current range (70-80 sensor and not radar reading), but I'm still discovering what all is needed - I'm sure I'm likely to reach many false dawns before I hit that 10 extra mph range.
 
#31
my point is that you'll never "get it" then...
because maybe it works at 4.5, but if i get to 5.0, i need to revamp it... and so on and so on...
You're mistaken understanding, getting something with high performance. They're too different things.

Most of the youtube instructors got it. Eg. Jeff, Tomaz, Kevin, etc. but we don't know if they could compete at 6.0 or however high.



(It's interesting to me to see that whatever you say, you always have certain fanboys like mad dogs, fireft ready to agree. LOL)
 
#32
lol, are you hoping to "get it" through osmosis? perhaps a mantra you've learned recently on yt?
Comon, where's your reading skill? It's only a couple lines above.

I said clearly above that "Most of the time I did exploring, experimenting, paying close attention to the physical mechanics and the ball behaviors and logics."

That's not "osmosis". That's active, self research and teaching.
 
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#33
You're mistaken understanding, getting something with high performance. They're too different things.

Most of the youtube instructors got it. Eg. Jeff, Tomaz, Kevin, etc. but we don't know if they could compete at 6.0 or however high.



(It's interesting to me to see that whatever you say, you always have certain fanboys like mad dogs, fireft ready to agree. LOL)
we all like each other's posts, because our mindsets are similar... probably listening the same podcasts/books/etc...
or maybe you need to do a better job defining "get it"... what it means to me, is clearly different to what it means to you.
 
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#34
Comon, where's your reading skill? It's only a couple lines above.

I said clearly above that "Most of the time I did exploring, experimenting, paying close attention to the physical mechanics and the ball behaviors and logics."

That's not "osmosis". That's active, self research and teaching.
ah, that's fair... but even when i'm practicing daily (ie. i do take the hopper out daily during spring/summer/fall), part of that practice is experimenting, exploring, etc... to me it's all practice.
maybe to you "practice" is just the reps? to me, every rep has some sort of refinement associated with it.
 
#35
we all like each other's posts, because our mindsets are similar... probably listening the same podcasts/books/etc...
or maybe you need to do a better job defining "get it"... what it means to me, is clearly different to what it means to you.
I used the FH as a way to describe the feeling. Then, further elaborated it with multiple guaging measures (%, opponent's position in returning).

I think most of us long time players can relate to the feeling of our FH, whether we think we got it good/average or mediocre. It's a relatively easy and most used stroke.

IMO, I think I got a decent FH. :) I got it. But no way I could take it to a 5.5 tournament. That kind of thing.
 
#36
Most of the youtube instructors got it. Eg. Jeff, Tomaz, Kevin, etc. but we don't know if they could compete at 6.0 or however high.
Jeff was a former atp top 100 player
Kevin played D1 and futures
Alex was a former atp top 200 player

These guys get it and could compete at 6.0 and higher.

(It's interesting to me to see that whatever you say, you always have certain fanboys like mad dogs, fireft ready to agree. LOL)
Reading all the posts, it’s clear to me which tennis players have enough experience and really understand the learning process and which ones haven’t gotten there yet. It’s obvious to me @nytennisaddict is someone who has ample experience and really gets the learning process when it comes to tennis. On the other hand from reading your posts, I’m not quite sure you do. Good luck in your development! :)
 
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#39
I used the FH as a way to describe the feeling. Then, further elaborated it with multiple guaging measures (%, opponent's position in returning).

I think most of us long time players can relate to the feeling of our FH, whether we think we got it good/average or mediocre. It's a relatively easy and most used stroke.

IMO, I think I got a decent FH. :) I got it. But no way I could take it to a 5.5 tournament. That kind of thing.
but even my fh, arguably my biggest weapon, is also a work in progress.
against a 3.5 pusher, that's feeding me sitters all day... i "get it" on my fh.
but against a 4.5+ or 5.0, that's pushing me deep (not even necessarily with pace,... just good depth and spin), suddently my fh feels really awkward, and unsure, and i can't take the same feeling swipe i usually do.
 

TnsGuru

Professional
#41
You get your serve or for that matter any strokes by trial and error. A little tinkering and analyzing and how the stroke feels under pressure will determine when you "have it". But let's be honest, look at some of the top pros and the evolution of their strokes over the years to include guys like Federer. If you watch a young Federer playing early 2000's, his strokes were a little different than they are now.

Both FH and BH strokes were slightly less compact and his serve was mostly hit with kick. Over the years I'm sure he adjusted his game to keep up with the harder hitting old and new generations alike. It's nice to say I have it, but there is always room for improvement! Never be satisfied, find ways to help your game. All players tinker, whether it is with their stroke technique, fitness or equipment but if you feel like you have it now it will pretty much stay stagnant IMO.
 
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#42
but even my fh, arguably my biggest weapon, is also a work in progress.
against a 3.5 pusher, that's feeding me sitters all day... i "get it" on my fh.
but against a 4.5+ or 5.0, that's pushing me deep (not even necessarily with pace,... just good depth and spin), suddently my fh feels really awkward, and unsure, and i can't take the same feeling swipe i usually do.
Sigh...So right. And that’s what makes tennis so frustrating. :)
 
#43
but even my fh, arguably my biggest weapon, is also a work in progress.
against a 3.5 pusher, that's feeding me sitters all day... i "get it" on my fh.
but against a 4.5+ or 5.0, that's pushing me deep (not even necessarily with pace,... just good depth and spin), suddently my fh feels really awkward, and unsure, and i can't take the same feeling swipe i usually do.
@user92626 When it comes to “getting” the serve, there are many levels and layers of understanding to getting it. Depending on what level and layer you want to get to will determine how long it takes for you to get it.

@nytennisaddict has a higher standard for his serve than you do.
Ah..this is where my understanding of the stroke is different from you guys'.

IMO, my FH mechanic works for ALL levels. But at higher level, I don't simply don't have the strength and speed needed. Not to mention the footwork to support the FH.
 
#44
I wonder if getting it has to do with achieving the Big L BEFORE contact and at this point your hand being in the right position such that ISR/pronation strikes the ball just right. I think this may be the most difficult part to train since your brain wants to open up the racquet on the way up.
 
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#45
@user92626

When it comes to “getting” the serve, there are many levels and layers of understanding to getting it. Depending on what level and layer you want to get to will determine how long it takes for you to get it.

@nytennisaddict has a higher standard for his serve than you do.
hehe, i've recently read https://markmanson.net/not-giving-a-**** talks about the bars we set for ourselves, and how one person can wonder why another could be so unhappy about their lives... the reason is that satisfied person has set a much lower bar, than the unhappy person (i'm cutting it short but that's the gist).

great example was how guitarist mustaine was kicked out of a band, which drove him to practice, and ulitmately succeed (megadeth - went platinum and by most standards a huge success), but the "bar" he set for himself which caused him a lifetime of pain, was to "stick it the band that kicked him out"... only problem was that band that kicked him out, was called "metallica".
 
#46
It makes perfect sense since I really don't believe in fixing the minute, degree details, and I often dismiss such effort. This correlates with my observation of the pro's. They really do have different looking strokes.

But of course there are recreational guys that think they need to revamp stroke to x degree, etc.
 
#47
Ah..this is where my understanding of the stroke is different from you guys'.

IMO, my FH mechanic works for ALL levels. But at higher level, I don't simply don't have the strength and speed needed. Not to mention the footwork to support the FH.
Strength, speed, movement are all part of the stroke mechanics. I say this because when you play against stronger players, their constant pace, depth, placement, spin, and penetration will cause your movement and footwork to breakdown which in turn causes your stroke to breakdown.
 
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#48
Ah..this is where my understanding of the stroke is different from you guys'.

IMO, my FH mechanic works for ALL levels. But at higher level, I don't simply don't have the strength and speed needed. Not to mention the footwork to support the FH.
hehe, to me "technique" includes the mechanics, and speed...
but to be fair, most folks obsess too much with mechanics... when really their mechanic is probably decent, but they just need to hit a million balls as hard as they can... and the mechanics fix themselves over time (obviously i'm exaggerating, but the point is you sometimes just need to stop analyzing/searching for the perfect technique and hit alot more balls)
 
#49
hehe, to me "technique" includes the mechanics, and speed...
but to be fair, most folks obsess too much with mechanics... when really their mechanic is probably decent, but they just need to hit a million balls as hard as they can... and the mechanics fix themselves over time (obviously i'm exaggerating, but the point is you sometimes just need to stop analyzing/searching for the perfect technique and hit alot more balls)
Another post that clearly shows you “get” it. :)

Can’t help but “like”. ;)
 
#50
Strength, speed, movement are all part of the stroke mechanics. I say this because when you play against stronger players, their constant pace, depth, placement, spin, and penetration will cause your movement and footwork to breakdown which in turn causes your stroke to breakdown.
Well, if you wanna roll everything into one, suit yourself.

I like to break things down to separate and detailed understandings.

I mean, for the sake of argument, you include "strength, speed, movement" as part of the stroke and responsible for its breakdown, then someone else, even more arrogant, comes along and argues "water" too. Water is a part of the stroke, too. You certainly need proper hydration to do your stroke. Where's it going to end? LOL
 
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