View Full Version : Lesson: Mixing up your Serves

09-29-2007, 01:53 PM
Mixing up your serves during a match can make the difference between you holding your serve and getting broken on your service game. There are tons of variations of ways to serve mixing up pace with spins and so on. Being able to keep your opponents guessing where and how you might serve next will keep them on their toes and will most likely keep them from getting in a rhythm when returning your serve.

When most people think about mixing up their serves they think of using placement and spins. You can go beyond these two options and also mix speed and your stance location into the mix. Below we will take a look at each option you can mix in.

Placement is always important, and maybe the most important of all the options to have in your arsenal in my opinion. With placement you can pull your opponent off of the court with a wide serve. You can also hit the ball at their body and jamb them. Placement of the serve also allows you to direct the serve to their weaker side and control more points. The placement of the serve will be the option that makes your opponent move the most. Moving your opponent out of position, or into the position you want will help win you more points.

There are 4 different types of serves in terms of spins. The flat serve, slice serve, topspin serve and kick serve. Each of these serves has it's own advantages and disadvantages. However, if you use all 4 types of serves effectively during a match your opponent will have to adjust to hit each one and again not letting them get into a rhythm while returning your serve.

Speed is a tough one to think about because people always think that the faster you can hit a serve the better. Being able to hit a hard serve is certainly an advantage, but without placement it is not nearly as effective. When you mix up the speeds of your serves it makes it harder for your opponent to get a good read on the ball. If you have been hitting 110 mph serves and throw a 90 mph serve in they may swing early expecting a 110 mph serve and hit an error. The same idea goes for the opposite situation. If you have been hitting slower spin serves and all of the sudden you hit a flat serve at a much faster pace it may throw your opponent off.

This is probably the least important of the 4 ways to mix up your serves. However, if you like to adjust where you stand to hit your serve it can also keep your opponent guesses and wondering where you plan on hitting the ball. This may cause your opponent to stand in a different spot (or uncomfortable spot) than usual to return serve. If you stand way out wide to hit the serve you will be able to hit a serve with a much greater angle to pull your opponent off of the court. However, by doing this you also make yourself vulnerable by leaving much of the court open for your opponent to hit a winner. I have seen players stand out wide to hit serves and it really throws off their opponent because they are not used to people standing so far out wide to hit serves. However, if you are not used to hitting serves from out wide it might also play with your head as you to hit a serve you are not used to hitting.

In the end, mix up your serves as much as you can. Keep your opponents guessing what serve might come next. If you mix up the 4 options listed above, the number of options you have to mix up your serve are almost limitless!

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