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 analysing that what was happening on the court was the result of what was going on in my mind.
You see, when we ready for the first serve, most of the time it is just 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 when you must be in control of what happens between your ears. (Serve/Return Tennis Drills)
One must understand that the serve is very sensitive to the negative thinking: your racquet becomes heavy, the hand too tense, 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 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
Are you tired of serving double faults and giving your opponents free points?
How frustrating is it when you see that the tennis ball is in your hand, you have total control at the beginning of the point and then… you fail to get one out of the two tries in. (Tennis Serve Lesson – videos)
The following tips will help you avoid missing your serves and enjoy your tennis:
1. Use Spin Imparting slice or topspin on your serves in particular on the second attempt will always save you from giving points away or being put on a defense by your opponent’s return. The spin brings the ball down due to the air friction therefore you will not miss long too often.
2. Relax Your Arm Begin your serving motion with hands, arms relaxed and in front of your hips. Many times I see people beginning their service motion holding the ball and racquet too high (chest level) before tossing the ball – this action tightens your shoulders and arms. Keep a loose grip on the racquet at all times.
3. Breath Your breathing should be slow and shallow before you begin your serving motion. Inhale as you toss the ball up then exhale as you swing up to hit it.
4. Toss It Right One way that will improve your toss consistency (and as a result your serve) is to always “push” the ball up with as little spin as possible. That action will relax your arm and your toss will not affect your body balance.
5. Visualization Before you toss the ball up visualize the racquet hitting it, the ball going over the net and landing in the desired spot inside the opposite service box. This is probably the most powerful aspect of your serve – believing and seeing what you want to happen.
Try these pieces of advice not in the match but in your practice first. Then as they become your habits, you will carry them into your matches too.