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Second Serve – Spin, Tactics, and Mental Tips

preparing to serve

Second serves are the ones that you cannot miss.
The pressure is on you and your opponent knows it (if they are a savvy player, they will prepare to attack your second serve).

1. Before you toss the ball up, tell yourself what you intend to do with your second serve:
– if your opponent shows an intention to attack it, consider slicing it (brush sideways). That will keep the ball low and difficult for your opponent to go for an aggressive shot.
– if your opponent stays back most of the time, a simple kick serve should do it to dip the ball over the net and make it bounce high off the ground.

2. Everything you’ve learned in practice… forget about it. This is not the time to think about your technique. You should just let your habits take over your movements. Toss the ball up and hit it after you previously told yourself what you’d like to accomplish (see the previous point).

3. Hit your second serve with confidence. It is easy to let doubting thoughts cripple your mind, therefore training your mind to stay on the positive side is crucial for delivering consistent second serves.

Have fun on the court!

Cosmin Miholca

Cosmin Miholca

Certified Tennis Teaching Professional

Visit the Training, Coaching and Kids Tennis sections at WebTennis24 – lessons, tips and drills for players, coaches and tennis parents.

2 Reasons Why You Shoud Slice Your Second Serve

tennis serve

Even as an experienced player, I have had to pay for multiple serves I wouldn’t tactically place right when playing against some of my top juniors.

To not begin the point in a defensive situation, we will be looking at one very important tennis stroke that you should perfect – the second serve.

You just missed your first serve.

While preparing your second serve, you see your opponent stepping inside the baseline, ready to attack. You’re in trouble. Once you land that shot, your opponent will be all over your second serve.

What can you do so that your second serve will not put you in defensive mode?


Why slice and not topspin or kick?
For these two simple reasons:

1. Slice (side-spin on the serve) will keep the ball low.
As a result, your opponent will be forced to play the ball by hitting up, decreasing their chances of putting it away (or attacking it) from a low contact point.

2. The spin will make it harder to control the ball when your opponent returns it.
Especially if you are a doubles player, think about serving and volleying… Would you not prefer to hit a slice so that your opponent would return the ball high and set you for a high volley?
On the other side, if you choose to go for a topspin serve as a second delivery and move up to the net, the returner will attack the high bouncing serve of yours and put it down to your feet.

In conclusion, practice your slice serve as often as you can so that you will see great results when the time comes up to hit a second serve.

Cosmin Miholca


Cosmin Miholca

Cosmin Miholca

Certified Tennis Coach

Check out my work at WebTennis24 where I share with you my best video tennis lessons, drills and tips for players, coaches and tennis parents.

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