I’ve always considered that a high percentage serve deliverability, especially under pressure, depends on… the player’s mental strength.
As a player prepares to hit the second serve, thoughts of “I’m going to hit it into the net”, “My opponent will attack me” or “I’m going to miss it” often distract and impede him/her from hitting it with confidence.
You see, when players get ready for the first serve, there is very little pressure involved other than the desire to go for a winner or place it strategically (e.g. to opponent’s weak side).
But when the second serve is about to be delivered that’s when our thoughts begin to challenge us.
One must understand that the serve is very sensitive to the negative thinking: your racquet “becomes” heavy, the arm too tense, the whole body gets shaky…
To avoid these feelings before you are about to serve (second serves in particular) practice the following:
- Think positive thoughts (“I know I can”, “I have confidence”, “I can do this”).
- Visualize positive outcomes (“see” the ball going over the net and inside the desired service box).
- Have a ritual (bounce the ball a certain number of times, etc.).
- Relax your body (exhale slowly).
- Take your time… Position your feet, adjust the grip and hold the racquet in your most comfortable way. Take one more look toward your opponent’s position and at the service box you are about to send the ball to.
“If you believe you can, you might. If you know you can, you will.” ― Steve Maraboli
For video lessons to improve your serve technique check out our Tennis Technique Lessons section.