2018-02-01 / Community

Regarding the serve: Keep opponents guessing

ADAM LANE

There are three things you need to be able to vary to be an effective server: speed, spin and location.

My goal when hitting my serve is to make my opponents have to guess about all three of the above. They might guess the right location, but still can be wrong on the other two. I hope that even if they guess one of them right, they will still be off balance and hit a weak return. This will allow my team to stay on the offensive from the onset of the point.

When practicing your serve, work on using either the location or the spin of the serve as your primary weapon. The least important of the three (unless you can overwhelm the returner) is speed. If speed were the greatest factor, Andy Roddick would have been the best player of all time. As a matter of fact, just about every time that he played Roddick, Roger Federer had more aces in the matches. This despite the fact that Federer was averaging serves 15-20 mph slower than his opponent.

A great drill to practice honing your location and spin begins with looking for the second bounce after the ball hits on your opponent’s side. Your opponent will hit the ball close to where the second bounce hits the ground. Try to expand your second bounce wider than the doubles alley. This will allow you to move the opponent off the court and allow a weak return your partner can volley into the open court. Make sure, though, that your partner is guarding the line and ready for your opponent’s return.

Next time you are hitting serves, in practice or a match, think about using the spin and location of the serve to move your opponent to where you want him and stay on the offensive from the first hit.

Adam Lane is a tennis professional at the Bonita Bay Club. He can be reached at Lane@swspotlight.com

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