I’ve always found that my tennis serve delivery depends on my mental attitude.
As I prepare 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” often distract and impede me from hitting it with confidence.
It took me years of playing and analyzing to realize that what was happening on the court was the result of what was going on in my mind.
You see, when we get ready for the first serve, most of the time there’s just the excitement of hitting the ball hard or placing it strategically. But when the second serve is about to be delivered that’s when the nerves take over. It is then that you must be in control of what happens in your mind.
One must understand that the serve is very sensitive to negative thinking: your racquet becomes heavy, the hand is tense, and the whole body gets shaky…
To avoid these feelings when you are about to serve (second serves in particular) practice these:
1. Think positive thoughts (“I know I can”, “I have confidence”, “I can do this”).
2. Visualize positive outcomes (ball going over the net and inside the desired service box).
3. Have a ritual (bounce the ball a certain number of times, etc.)
4. Relax your body (exhale slowly).
5. Take your time… Position your feet, adjust the grip and hold the racquet in the most comfortable way. Take one more look toward your opponent’s position and the service box that you are about to send the ball to.
“If you believe you can, you might. If you know you can, you will.” ― Steve Maraboli