The serve is one of the most important shots in tennis, and one that you have no choice to master. Unlike every other shot in tennis you have no alternative but serve, and it commences every game.
You should frequently work with your tennis coach in your private tennis lessons to ensure your service technique improves. And when you get more advanced you can start to bring in service strategies to your game.
There are two types of basic serves: a flat powerful first one, and sliced or spinned less powerful second one.
It is hard to believe but the second serve is probably the most important as your whole game is only as good as your second serve. You should therefore adopt “best practices”when it comes to serving.
- Flat Serve – normally the starting point for serving utilising a forehand grip. It allows power and normally does not have any spin.
- Slice Serve – normally played with a continental grip allowing the ball to curve when it lands.
- Kick Serve – this serve is to achieve topspin and therefore the ball bounces higher when it lands. A lot of professional player use this as their second serve.
The aim for any player is to perfect all three types of serves, and the best players can disguise which serve they are about to deliver.
Strategies For Serves
- Flat Serves – only use them for your first serve, and they are usually more effective on fast surfaces such as grass.
- Slice Serves – are great for first serves also, and are best played on surfaces that do not allow much bounce as grass, and carpet.
- Kick Serve – is the norm for a second serve, and is most effective on slow / medium surfaces such as clay. Using this on grass is a little more uncertain as there is not sufficient bounce.
Different Service Patterns
Often first serves are hit flat, but this does not mean you cannot vary the direction of where the ball will bounce. A good tactic to vary your flat serve is to occasionally deliver it at the body of your opponent, this gives them little time to react and jams them up.
If you are facing a player who favours a western forehand grip then consider a slice forehand especially if you are playing on grass.
As stated before a kick serve are very effective on slow surfaces, surfaces such as clay are gritty and they make the ball bounce even higher. One handed backhand players do not like the kick serve one little bit as it is very wareing physically.
Practicing your serve both technically and tactically is a continuous process, you should always spend some time in your practice time to keep on improving.