Why does my serve fall to pieces going from practice into a match???

#1
Ive been putting a lot of work into my serve, developing a routine, doing exercises to develop pronation (like the serving on the knees exercise) and of course practicing a lot of serves to build up consistency, including working on aiming. Going into a match I feel confident and eager to try out my serving. Things normally go well for the first one or two games, but then everything is just coming to pieces. Double serve after double serve. And its driving me out of my mind. I played an entire game of double serves recently and it really got me down.

My confidence also drops, and it wrecks other parts of my game. End result -humiliating losses with embarressing errors. Pansy second serves and simple missed ground strokes. Arghhhhh!!!!!

Please help. :cry:
 
#4
Ive been putting a lot of work into my serve, developing a routine, doing exercises to develop pronation (like the serving on the knees exercise) and of course practicing a lot of serves to build up consistency, including working on aiming. Going into a match I feel confident and eager to try out my serving. Things normally go well for the first one or two games, but then everything is just coming to pieces. Double serve after double serve. And its driving me out of my mind. I played an entire game of double serves recently and it really got me down.

My confidence also drops, and it wrecks other parts of my game. End result -humiliating losses with embarressing errors. Pansy second serves and simple missed ground strokes. Arghhhhh!!!!!

Please help. :cry:
Are they going long or into the net?
 

Greg G

Professional
#6
What helped me immensely was learning not to rush myself during the serve. I settled on a routine before every serve. 4 bounces, exhale and relax, then serve as relaxed as possible going into trophy. Everyone will have his own routine, but having one and sticking to it is important, IMHO. Another thing is having a short memory. Don't carry over the emotions of the previous serve into the next one. Easier said than done...
 
#7
Cheers for the advice all. Yeah, sometimes I find myself rushing things going from first to second serve cos I just want to have another go and get one in. Previously I tried a routine of 6 bounces and visualising my serve, but it didnt seem to work...

My first serves are all over the place, but Id say a majority are smashing the tape. Then in the second serve I either try to over compensate or do a pansy soft pancake serve and still get no accuracy. I should be shot for these second serves. It must look horrible.

There is just no consistency. Even after all this practice and studying it feels like I go a step forward then two steps back.

Will definetly try to post a video in the next day or so, so you can have a look and help out.
 
#8
ok, so you soft tap and really don't have a 2nd serve....

can't fix without seeing it, and it will take several stages to get it good.... i.e. video followed by focused practice then repeat the cycle.

soft tapping players have LOTS of issues - grip, swing path, swing sequence, ball toss etc.

if you are willing to go thru this, then do it.... once you get it, it's like riding a bicycle.

or pay somebody to get it fixed.

just hitting buckets of balls on your own is not gonna work.
 
#9
my two cents of advice from decades of experience:
Your entire shoulder and arm need to stay always loose on the serve. Since a match is more tension-inducing than practice, it is easy to mistakenly tighten up some part of the arm on the serve. Focus on loosening up the grip and entire arm on the serve and to trust in it.
 
#10
As the others have stated posting your service motion would help.

Something that hasn't been mentioned is that if you really do have a much better serve in practice, that in matches a big difference may be the adrenaline your body produces when under stress.

Adrenaline is real. And you don't have to be having a "Mac attack", or have a Wimbledon title on the line to have it released and change the way your muscles fire just enough to make a difference serving.






For most, the more match play, the more they get comfortable with the situation, and the less adrenaline (at least early in a set - not so much down 7-6 in a tiebreaker.)


My advice for now would be to concentrate on hitting your very best spin second serve as your first serve.

The extra spin should give you better net clearance and at least get the point off in a postitive direction (rather than starting at a disadvantage from a very timid second serve.)

During the match, you ought to have a game or two when you are up 40-0 or 40-15, and you can try your "first" serve, but with the greater confidence that your second serve is working.
 
#11
I tell myself it's just like practice and to trust your practice.

I also start matches basically serving 2nd serves just a tad harder than my actual second serves to get into the groove. By 3 service game I'll start pushing in 1st serves and should be really into it by 4th, but I'm slow to warm up.
 

Nellie

Hall of Fame
#12
You should work on a good spinning serve (a slice or topspin serve that you swing at pretty hard, but mostly brush). If you have to ease up to hit your second serve, it will never be reliable because you can't really control how soft you are hitting. Also the spin will bring the ball into the court so that you can hit higher over the net but still get the serve in the service box. Once you have that second serve, you can hit it twice on each point and can really reduce the number of double faults.
 
#13
My advice for now would be to concentrate on hitting your very best spin second serve as your first serve.
I agree wholeheartedly. Once you have the general technique for a topspin or kick serve, the best way to improve your serve game overall is to play a few matches where you hit nothing but second serves (best done in practice matches rather than waiting for tournament/league matches).

Once you can be competitive hitting nothing but second serves, you'll always have a safety net to fall back on when your first serves aren't working. That should make you more relaxed on first serves and make it easier to fix any problems that you're having on the day, so you should see some improvement with those as well.
 

LeeD

Bionic Poster
#15
Once you finalized your service ritual and swing...
Practice your serves using less than 4 balls. Jog over after hitting two first, and two seconds.
Serve when you're winded, not when you're fully recovered.
Pressure kills loose wrists.
 
#16
Have you been working primarily on your 1st serve or your 2nd serve? You really need to develop a solid=reliable spin serve that you can get in 85-95% of the time (or better). Not a pansy serve but a real spin serve that will usually go fairly deep in the box (unless you can hit the outer side line). Start off developing a very consistent serve with good net clearance that will go to the middle of the box and then work to get to get it deeper (or somewhat closer to the lines).
.
 
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#17
If you have the right grip, the right swing path, and the right contact point that's 95% of the game. Usually it's the contact point/ball toss that goes off during a match. Focus on 1 thing only when serving during the match. Hope this helps.
 
#18
^ Shouldn't you change your name to coaching35yrs at this point?

Good advice in your post. I wonder if the OP's toss is becoming too low or too erratic after a few games. Or perhaps he is letting the ball/contact point drop too low. Make sure that you get a good night's sleep prior to your matches. When I do not get enough sleep, the 1st thing to go is the toss (but the rest of my serve mechanics is fine). I might be ok for a set or so but then my serve toss and serve return become erratic.
 

LeeD

Bionic Poster
#19
Seriously now.....
Is ANYONE's match serves as consistent as their best practice service sessions?
Usually, for most players, their match serves are their worse performances, and we're all judged by our worse performances, not our best.
Oh, WE judge ourselves by our best days, of course.
But everyone else only sees our worst performances.
 

TomT

Hall of Fame
#20
Cheers for the advice all. Yeah, sometimes I find myself rushing things going from first to second serve cos I just want to have another go and get one in. Previously I tried a routine of 6 bounces and visualising my serve, but it didnt seem to work...

My first serves are all over the place, but Id say a majority are smashing the tape. Then in the second serve I either try to over compensate or do a pansy soft pancake serve and still get no accuracy. I should be shot for these second serves. It must look horrible.

There is just no consistency. Even after all this practice and studying it feels like I go a step forward then two steps back.

Will definetly try to post a video in the next day or so, so you can have a look and help out.
I can empathize with your situation. The single most important thing that helped me to improve, both first and second serves, but most importantly second serves, was just increasing the frequency of my practice serving ... and, very importantly, not overdoing it, but really focusing on what I was doing. This resulted in a marked improvement in serving during match play ... to the extent that my opponents weren't just commenting on it, but also I was winning points and games that I previously would have lost.

So, my two cents, more quality serving practice. Relax, focus, repetition of the best technique you're capable of (while also occasionally experimenting with possible positive changes). Your proficiency, confidence, and consistency in match play is guaranteed to improve. Just be patient, but persistent. Good things will happen if you continue steadily working on it.

A vid of where I was at a couple of months ago before I got sick again:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v2SlPsVFVQE
 

LeeD

Bionic Poster
#21
I think Luvforty is on track.
You don't deserve a first hard serve until you can hit a real solid second serve, swung faster than your first serve, goes IN 99%, and can be directed to any of the 3 quadrants.
Learn a second serve, then your first serve will work just fine.
 

TomT

Hall of Fame
#22
ok, so you soft tap and really don't have a 2nd serve....

can't fix without seeing it, and it will take several stages to get it good.... i.e. video followed by focused practice then repeat the cycle.

soft tapping players have LOTS of issues - grip, swing path, swing sequence, ball toss etc.

if you are willing to go thru this, then do it.... once you get it, it's like riding a bicycle.

or pay somebody to get it fixed.

just hitting buckets of balls on your own is not gonna work.
Agree. Second serve should not be, and doesn't have to be, the silly little soft tap that many or maybe most sub-3.5 players resort to. I think that the main problem is just lack of quality practicing. As you say, just hitting bucket after bucket of balls is not necessarily going to result in improvement. One simply cannot allow oneself to practice bad technique over and over and expect to improve. Practice shouldn't be rushed or frenetic. It's relaxed and calm focus and quality, along with sufficient quantity, of practice that begets improvements.
 
#24
Some fantastic advice here. Thanks for everyones contributions.

Coming to think of it, I definetly think I get tight during a match. And when Im stressed and upset about double faulting I get tighter. And things snowball. And I stop having fun. It becomes a match against two opponents. And you know what - often I hit a few practice balls during changeovers and between sets and they almost always go in, and I turn to my partner shake my head and shrug my shoulders. No pressure for them to go in, but they do. Just like practice I guess. So one thing Im going to focus on is staying loose and relaxed in the arms and shoulder.

The pansy paddle second serves come out when Im really tight. They have no top spin and consequentially sail long, or I do a pathetic jump and net them. My toss also falls to pieces under pressure. Goes behind me, or its too low... Maybe because Im holding the ball too tight under pressure.

Ive been working on my topspin serve and feel its coming along in practice, but yes I have to admit my practicing hasn't really had a focus on first serve versus second serve. Probably because of confidence - when I see the ball hit the back net hard with my I want to do it again, and I guess it gives me a confidence boost as opposed to landing slower second serves. I think working on my second serves is something I definetly will have to do. At least by playing actually first serve/second serve practice games.

And, of course, having my technique reviewed by the good people here via video and/or by an experienced coach is something I need to invest in, cos things are going nowhere by self-anaylsis. Im too inexperienced at this game to go by feel and judge what I need to be doing.
 
#25
Seriously now.....
Is ANYONE's match serves as consistent as their best practice service sessions?
Usually, for most players, their match serves are their worse performances, and we're all judged by our worse performances, not our best.
Oh, WE judge ourselves by our best days, of course.
But everyone else only sees our worst performances.
Does apply to the professionals as well?
 

LeeD

Bionic Poster
#26
I think so.
In the '77 TransAm (ATP men's), ColinDibley was hitting some serves on the next practice court to us. BIG. Ended up at the GoldenGateway timed event, he won it with several 149's (mph). Looked like he could nail at least 70% of his fastest serves, just hitting.
He lost in the 2nd round to HaroldSolomon, and for the life of him, barely seemed to get 30% of them IN against the dimunitive baseliner.
 
#27
I have to disagree with some of the advice here. You cannot go out and hit bucket after bucket of practice serves. It's too much strain on the shoulder. Limit your serve practice to about 10 minutes a day. So many tennis players have shoulder injuries.
 

LeeD

Bionic Poster
#28
Even 10 minutes is excessive, if you fire them off like the vids of Verdasco practicing a few warmup serves.
In match situations, you seldom hit more than 10 total any given game, which takes at least 4 miinutes to complete.
OTOH, if you working on your motion, don't have it down yet, and swinging 2/3rd speed, 10 minutes is quite OK.
 
#29
Technique can totally go out the window when nerves and loss of confidence kicks in.

Glad you've recognized that.

Hopefully you can learn and practice the proper technique that it becomes muscle memory and second nature so in those times of nerves, the memory kicks in.

Mind works in mysterious ways, huh?
 
#30
Another question I have is about where to hold the racket. Im finding a lot of times the racket is twisting in my hands when I hit the ball - Im guessing it could be because the ball is not striking the racket in the sweet spot? In the tail end of my match last night I tried choking the racket a bit further up and things were feeling a little more controlled in both my serves and groundstrokes. Maybe Ive been holding the racket too low???
 
#31
This happens if you don't build up match toughness and spend most of your time simply "practicing". I would recommend spending 50% of your practice time doing drills, working on your strokes, etc, and the other 50% on match play. Play out a competitive set with your practice partner and make sure you don't play with the same guy too frequent because you'll get too comfortable. Matches are rarely that comfortable. As each set progresses, you'll feel more pressure to hold your serve, especially if you're down 4-5 or up 5-4 (even professionals double fault much more in these games). Only ways to get better in this area is to play more matches or maybe visit a sports psychologist. If you aren't extremely fit, your serve will naturally lose pace or maybe become inconsistent at the tail end of a long match. Shouldn't be happening in the first set because of fitness however :). Gl bro!
 
#32
R-E-L-A-X

Focus on one thing... Look at one thing... The only thing that matters... The fluffy yellow ball.

This cures everything. It cures your ball toss being too low/high/left/right/back/front, it cures mishitting, it cures mis-coordination, it cures not hitting through the ball, it cures not hitting the ball on the right side, etc...

Guess what? During a match you're not going to have an alternative. What else are you going to do? Get on your knees and serve to get your grove back?
 
#33
I have an absolutely terrible flat serve. I didn't have any confidence in my game until I developed a good slice. Now I can hit that a lot and throw in the flat for variety. It helps a lot, not just because I am winning points with my slice, but also it keeps my motion fast and snappy, so I don't get too tight on flat.
 
#34
Some fantastic advice here. Thanks for everyones contributions.

Coming to think of it, I definetly think I get tight during a match. And when Im stressed and upset about double faulting I get tighter. And things snowball. And I stop having fun. It becomes a match against two opponents. And you know what - often I hit a few practice balls during changeovers and between sets and they almost always go in, and I turn to my partner shake my head and shrug my shoulders. No pressure for them to go in, but they do. Just like practice I guess. So one thing Im going to focus on is staying loose and relaxed in the arms and shoulder.

The pansy paddle second serves come out when Im really tight. They have no top spin and consequentially sail long, or I do a pathetic jump and net them. My toss also falls to pieces under pressure. Goes behind me, or its too low... Maybe because Im holding the ball too tight under pressure.

Ive been working on my topspin serve and feel its coming along in practice, but yes I have to admit my practicing hasn't really had a focus on first serve versus second serve. Probably because of confidence - when I see the ball hit the back net hard with my I want to do it again, and I guess it gives me a confidence boost as opposed to landing slower second serves. I think working on my second serves is something I definetly will have to do. At least by playing actually first serve/second serve practice games.

And, of course, having my technique reviewed by the good people here via video and/or by an experienced coach is something I need to invest in, cos things are going nowhere by self-anaylsis. Im too inexperienced at this game to go by feel and judge what I need to be doing.

Hugh, in my opinion, the comment I have highlighted is very important. If you are still working on your topspin serve in practice, then it is not ready to be used in a competitive match situation as you cannot have full confidence in that shot and if you don't have confidence in it then you will start to doubt yourself and find yourself with a negative mindset.

My recommendation would be to stick with the same technique you use for your first serve but take a bit of pace off it, hit it around 75% of your max and focus on getting that ball over the net and in but without changing your technique in order to make this happen.

Another mental tip that I find extremely helpful is; if you miss your first serve, rather than just taking the second ball out, giving it a few bounces, chucking it up and hitting it with no real preparation of forethought, "step-out" of the aftermath of your negative shot, step back from the baseline and compose yourself, this might even involve turning away from the court for a second or two, then decide in your mind what you are going to do with the second serve (at this stage "ball over and in" could be your inner-command) then "step back-in" to the baseline and go through your full routine again. At this stage it is vital that you prevent yourself from saying things like "DO NOT DOUBLE FAULT" as this will just allow the negative feelings to creep back in.

Then just chuck the ball up and hit it!

I know that sounds like psycho-babble but I believe it can work for anyone, you just have to embrace it.
 
#35
I take a weekly practice group lesson and I get there 30 minutes before anyone else just to hit a whole bucket or 2 of serves (mix of 1st and 2nd, mostly 2nd serves). Last 2 weeks I have been able only miss about 5-8 balls out of the whole bucket so when game time comes, I'm pretty confident that it will land in (unless it was this Monday where the wind was gusting up to 30mph).

I think if you practice your 2nd spin serve to the point you can get it in with +90% you will be good to use it in matches as your first AND second serve. Sure percentage might drop down during match situations, but you just have to not think about it and trust your practice. After a few matches that you can get maybe only 1 or 2 double faults then you can slowly incorporate your first serve.

Like I said I always start my matches hitting only 2nd serves for a few before trying to crank out my first serves but I'm only a n00b.
 
#36
the real solution is to build a swing that has more tolerance, that does not require match toughness or relaxation or lots of practice to get it consistent.

grip, ESR/ISR - that's all you need to have a swing that controls the racket face from the bottom of the racket drop to 3 feet past impact.

if you get this right, you can be nervous and tight as drum and still get the serve in with some action.

most rec players don't realize - the true reason for any type of break down, is the fact that the racket face is looking at 327 different directions from the start to the end of the swing.

nervousness is automatically removed if you can reduce 327 to 1.

and the way to reduce 327 to 1, is NOT hitting **** load of balls... you don't need a ball... take VERY SLOW shadow swing, and figure out how the "1" can be achieved.
 
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#37
the real solution is to build a swing that has more tolerance, that does not require match toughness or relaxation or lots of practice to get it consistent.

grip, ESR/ISR - that's all you need to have a swing that controls the racket face from the bottom of the racket drop to 3 feet past impact.

if you get this right, you can be nervous and tight as drum and still get the serve in with some action.

most rec players don't realize - the true reason for any type of break down, is the fact that the racket face is looking at 327 different directions from the start to the end of the swing.

nervousness is automatically removed if you can reduce 327 to 1.

and the way to reduce 327 to 1, is NOT hitting **** load of balls... you don't need a ball... take VERY SLOW shadow swing, and figure out how the "1" can be achieved.
I think you still need a ball because your toss is also affected by nerves so the 1 simple swing reverts to about 200 when trying to hit a wandering toss :)

Shadow swings are good, but eventually a ball needs to be in that spot and if you are nervous, that ball might be in a different zip code.
 
#39
Please, I beg of you.

The world does not need yet another player who bombs a first serve into the net or long at a bazillion miles an hour and then dinks the second serve like he's never played tennis before.

Forget the first serve. Hit topspin or slice -- whichever you can master more quickly -- for your first and second. You will be forced to use the proper grip. Once you are consistent and have more confidence, you can go for more and use good placement.

Only then should you start going for big flat bombs. Assuming you still feel you need to.
 
#40
Another question I have is about where to hold the racket. Im finding a lot of times the racket is twisting in my hands when I hit the ball - Im guessing it could be because the ball is not striking the racket in the sweet spot? In the tail end of my match last night I tried choking the racket a bit further up and things were feeling a little more controlled in both my serves and groundstrokes. Maybe Ive been holding the racket too low???
I would think that it is more likely that the grip size might not be correct for your hand -- it could be either too small or too large.
 
#41
OP try this.

grip the racket more towards the fingers.... and you are gonna grip it as if you are throwing a dart, with the butt end being the sharp tip of the dart.... bevel 2 should be securely against the inside of the base knuckles.

with this motion you can load/unload the wrist forcefully while keeping the racket face looking the same direction while you brush thru the ball..... the loading and unloading of that wrist should feel almost identical to throwing a dart.

this should fix your 2nd serve right away.

with such quick unloading of the wrist, you can be nervous, stiff, have bad ball toss, but still put racket speed on the ball and get that serve in.

then you practice to engage the external/internal rotation of the shoulder, the chest rotation and the unloading of the legs.

but the hand is the first KEY.


edit - related to this, is why you don't want to use a standard conti grip for the 2nd serve... with conti you have the palm side of the base knuckles on b3, which is good for slapping the 1st, but no good for brushing the 2nd... with conti, when you brush, now the pressure points in the hand are against heel pad of the thumb.... the meaty part of the palm, you end up with a 'wobbly' release of the wrist.

it's a tiny adjustment, but makes a big difference.
 
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#42
I have to disagree with some of the advice here. You cannot go out and hit bucket after bucket of practice serves. It's too much strain on the shoulder. Limit your serve practice to about 10 minutes a day. So many tennis players have shoulder injuries.
Serving can, indeed, be very stressful to the shoulder. However, I believe that this is usually due to a number of factors -- polyesters strings, harsh racquets that transmit too much shock to the arm/shoulder and/or, possibly most important... improper serving mechanics. Best to use an arm-friendly racquet with strings that are not too stiff. Do not use a very light racquet (less that 10.5 oz?) if you serve with moderate-to-high power. A racquet that is very light or has a very low swing weight can transmit too much shock to the arm/shoulder = too much stress. A racquet that is too heavy for your arm can also be a problem.

Before serving a couple of buckets of balls, warm up the shoulder with some dynamic stretching, no static stretching. This warmup can include arm circles, arm swinging, etc. When you start serving, hit a number of easy ones at first -- do not go all out with your first dozen serves. You can 100 balls or more a day if you do it correctly (with the proper equipment). If you serve for an extended period of time (more than 10-15 minutes?), do it several time/week rather than every day.

Another option is to alternate your serve practice with other strokes or actions. Serve for 5-10 minutes and then practice your toss and/or your groundstrokes for a while before coming back to your serve practice. I will say more about proper serve mechanics in my next post.
 
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#44
To the OP: Forget about practicing your 1st serve for a while. The best thing that you can do for your first serve is to develop a solid/reliable spin (2nd) serve.

More about proper serve mechanics:

Make sure that you are not muscling or "arming" the ball -- do not rely solely/primarily on your shoulder to generate racquet head speed. Your grip and your arm should be fairly relaxed for most of the serve motion. (Refer to post #40 regarding the proper grip size). Too much tension in the hand, arm, and shoulder can be overly stressful to your arm/shoulder.

Try to use some leg drive (bend your knees at least a bit) if you are trying to generate more racquet head speed. If you are not ready for the knee bend and the leg drive, then stick with a moderate pace on your serves.

Do not rush your windup or racket preparation. You can even start from the trophy position if you are rushing the prep or if the takeback/windup is creating hitches in your serve motion. Make certain that your trophy position is correct and you execute an adequate racket head drop from that trophy.

The trophy should have some shoulder tilt and the elbow (or the racket arm) should be directly in line with that shoulder tilt. (See image below). The elbow should not move much above the shoulder line -- doing so places excessive stress on the shoulder. Take a look at the link of Sharpova's trophy position. Her elbow is slightly above the shoulder line in this image. This slight "flaw" might not really be too bad. However, many servers let the elbow come up quite a bit more above the shoulder line on the trophy or during the racket head drop. This is not good for the shoulder at all.


http://www.optimumtennis.net/images/improve-tennis-serve.jpg

As the racket head is dropped, the vertical tossing arm also starts to come down. The shoulder line becomes horizontal (parallel to the court surface) as the front shoulder drops (and the back shoulder moves upward with the racket head drop). The elbow should still be in line with the shoulders. Note that body had been coiled for the toss and the trophy position. As the serve motion continues from the trophy, the body uncoils and a shoulder-over-shoulder cartwheel action is employed. These actions should help to minimize stress to the shoulder.

As the serving arm reaches upward to hit the ball, the front arm and shoulder should be pulled down so that the shoulders have a reverse tilt. The elbow is still pretty much in line with the shoulders at this point. Take a look at the middle image of Andy Roddick in the link below:

http://www.optimumtennis.net/images/andy-roddick-serve.jpg

Take a look at how Sampras bends his elbow on his follow-thru after contacting the ball in the 2 images below. This action probably helps to alleviate stress to the arm and shoulder on the follow-thru.


http://www.tennisserver.com/turbo/images/turbo_03_12/Sampras7.jpg
 
#46
During matches, if your 1st serves are going in less than 50% of the time, then you should change strategy. There is nothing more frustrating than losing points and games, due to double faults.

In order to build a better service game, learn the topspin kick serve and use that for both the first and second serve. A lot of times, we get so pressured for our second serve having to go in, we try to baby it in, and end up missing it anyways.
So, this way, you have 2 chances to get the second serve in.
Don't change anything from the first second serve to the second second serve. Same pace, same trajectory attempt, same spot, just have 2 chances to do it.

When this works for you, you will have a solid second serve, thus now you can take some chances with a different more aggressive first serve.
 

LeeD

Bionic Poster
#49
I think we should, each and every one of us, play tennis the way WE want to play.
All my tennis life, my first serve percentages were close to 40%. And my second serve percentage, hit with a FASTER swing, lefty, placed to any and each of the 3 receiving quadrants, was close to 99%. Tops, topslices, twists.
So, I hammer 80% of my first flats.... KNOWING my second spinning serve is superior than anyone's spin serves (me lefty and playing at low levels).
Now I admit it's NOT the strategy for ATP tennis, nor WTA, but.... it's fun for me at my level, up to Q's and A/Opens.
FUN...why I play tennis.
 

beernutz

Hall of Fame
#50
I sometimes have the same problem as the OP and it can be infuriating. The other day before a league doubles match during the serve warm up I hit beautiful pinpoint serves on probably 10 of the 12 practice serves I took. Then when the match started I couldn't get it in the box to save my life.

I think my problem is that I stop looking at the ball all the way through contact once the match starts since I'm trying to serve and volley on all first serves and a lot of second serves. So WATCH THE DAMN BALL.
 
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