View Full Version : Lesson: The Second Serve

09-29-2007, 01:51 PM
I feel that the second serve needs more attention than the first serve. Just as the first serve can be you best friend, the second serve can be your worst enemy! Many players have second serves that are easily attackable, meaning the returnee can hit the ball where they want in the court and possibly come into the net to finish an easy point. The problem with many player’s second serves is not the fact that they are slow, although it's not a bonus having a slow serve. What hurts these players is the fact that their second serve has little or no spin, and lands too shallow in the service box.

To keep the opponent from attacking your serve I feel you need to do two things. First you need to learn how to hit a deep second serve, this will force your opponent deeper into the court making it harder for them to attack the serve and come to the net or flat out hit the winner. The second thing you need to do is use lots of spin to hit the second serve with. The two goals listed go hand in hand. The more spin you can get on the ball (not a slice serve, but kick serve or topspin serve) the deeper the ball will bounce once it hits the ground. This again will push your opponent away from the net creating a second serve that is not as easily attackable. Many people are afraid to hit their second serve hard. If you refer back to the advantages of the topspin serve, consistency is an advantage of the topspin serve, this is due to all spin. A good goal to keep in mind is this, swing as hard at your second serve as you do your first, but use all spin when hitting the second serve. Pete Sampras was the master at this. He hits so much spin on his serves, more than anyone else ever has, which helps to make his second serve one of the best ever. Practice hitting the topspin serve and the kick serve as second serves before and after your matches, it does not take long to improve on these serves to have the confidence to use them effectively in a match. If you do this, and do it well, you will have a much better second serve and it will take the pressure off of you to not be attacked off of the second serve.

Another problem with people second serve is the fact that they do not aim the serve. Many people can aim their first serve, but just fire off a second serve just hoping it goes in, not caring where, just as long as it is in. If your opponent has a strong forehand, and is continually hitting winners off the forehand side you obviously do not want to hit second serves to his/her forehand side. Again, being able to aim the second serve can greatly decrease the chances of your opponent controlling the point from the get go.

The second serve is just as important as the first serve. With a solid second serve it puts less pressure on you to hit a first serve in and it keeps you from being instantly attacked on second serves. Work on your second serve as much as you can. Learn to generate good spin and hit with good depth to be effective.

Reprinted with permission from the Tennis4You Lesson Lounge (http://www.tennis4you.com/lesson-lounge/lessonlounge.htm)
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