For many, the second serve is the shot that should just go into the proper service box and begin the point. But not for me and my students…
To exemplify this I would like you to consider the following:
You just missed that first serve and now you are about to get ready for the second one. How do you feel?
If you are like most of the players then your first concern would be to get it in to deprive your opponent of a free point. But if you are ready to push it a little further than this and dare to be proactive, the second serve is really about two main aspects:
1. Get the ball in to start the point.
2. Deliver the second serve in a manner that makes it hard for your opponent to attack you.
Since the first aspect is quite obvious, the second one is many times overlooked.
(Serve Tactics for Singles Play)
Now how do we make the second serve hard to attack?
Spin and Depth! You thought I was going to say – hit it hard!? 🙂
Yes, spin that ball! Don’t just push it in, spin it! And spin it hard!
Consider the following: a ball hit against a wall, flat, straight on, will come back in the same direction (more or less) from where it came; whereas a ball with spin will be carried in the direction the spin dictates.
The spin you impart on your second serve will make it more difficult for the returner to control and attack your served ball. This associated with a deep placement into the service box will give you the perfect combination to get you on a good start for the rally.
Now, if you add to the spin and depth the placement to your opponent’s weak side then that’s what I call the ultimate second serve. But I know that that would be pushing the envelope too far for most of the players who read this article.
So, I’ll leave you with this thought: should you spend more time on developing a good slice or topspin second serve?