Before we get to my simple serve tip, I want to let you know about the latest post up on Tennis Fixation this week where I let you know why I'm so proud of the amount of sweat I'm generating on court and just what I do to deal with it. That post is called Good Things Come to Those Who Sweat on the Tennis Court and is sponsored by Wristpect Sport, maker of the world's most stylish sweatbands. Wristpect has a special discount just for Tennis Quick Tips listeners and I'll let you know all about that at the end of this episode.
But right now – let's talk about just where you should be targeting your serve.
We all know that the server usually has an advantage at the beginning of a game. This is because the server gets to choose exactly where the serve is going and how it's going to get there. Maybe it's a hard flat serve right up the middle. Maybe it's a topspin serve that bounces high out of the returner's strike zone. Maybe it's a short wide serve that forces the returner to hit his or her return on the run. Whatever the situation, the server is the one who can initially exploit his or her opponent's weaknesses through the choice of serve and specifically, through the choice of a serve target.
So let's talk about different serve targets and what the pros and cons are for each one.
Serve Target No. 1 – The Serve Up The Middle
First, we have the down-the-T or up-the-middle serve that goes right down the center service line. This is a great serve to use when serving to a rightie who is returning from the deuce court or to a leftie returning from the ad court because in each of those situations, you're serving to your opponent's backhand which will often be their weaker shot. And when your up-the-middle serve is to your opponent's backhand, well, it's very difficult for them to run around that and hit it with their forehand because it leaves so much of their court wide open. This is also a great serve because it cuts down on your opponent's reaction time since it is the serve that covers the shortest distance from the server to the service box. And, it can be a nice serve for you to hit because it travels over the lowest part of the net, meaning a little less likelihood of you hitting the net. Finally, if you're facing a returner who likes to hit sharp angle returns, this can be a great serve because it can take away the ability of your opponent to hit those angled returns.
Probably the biggest disadvantage of this serve is that, because you are serving into the shortest part of the service box, you many hit this serve long more often than you would serves targeted to other areas with longer distances from you.
Serve Target No. 2 – The Serve Out Wide
Another great service target is the serve that goes out wide, in the service box but out towards the doubles alley. This can be a great serve when your opponent is a rightie playing on the ad side because, in that situation, the wide serve is to your opponent's backhand, which may be their weaker shot. This is also a nice serve to use if your opponent is not good at moving quickly to get to your serve or is not good at hitting shots on the run. The wide serve is also nice because it opens up the court for you. If you can draw your returning opponent off court with your wide serve, you may be able to follow that up with a nice volley right into the middle, now open, part of the court.
The drawback to this serve? If you have an opponent who is good at hitting angle returns, this serve can definitely set that up and allow your opponent to hit that sharp angle.
Serve Target No. 3 – The Serve Into The Body
This is a great serve for jamming your opponent and forcing them to hit a less-than-stellar return. And this works particularly well if your opponent is tall or doesn't move well or just doesn't get out of the way of the ball. This is also a great serve for players who seem indecisive as they may need an extra 1/2 second to decide whether to hit their return with a forehand or a backhand.
The con to this serve is that, if your serve is to slow or loopy, it can give your opponent plenty of time to run around and hit with either their forehand or backhand, whichever they prefer. So it can set them up to hit a great return if they have enough time to run around the ball.
So those are your three serve targets – the serve up-the-T, the serve out wide, and the serve into the body, and the pros and cons of each. Ideally, you want to have all three of those targets in your arsenal of serves. So be sure and work on those targets when you are practicing your serve and try to utilize each of them in your matches.
RESOURCES AND LINKS FROM THIS EPISODE
Check out the other episodes in the Simple Serve Tips series:
- Simple Serve Tips: Where You Should Stand When You Serve – Tennis Quick Tips Episode 103
- Simple Serve Tips: How and Why to Use the Continental Grip on Your Serve – Tennis Quick Tips Episode 105
- Simple Serve Tips: What Is The Right Service Stance For You? – Tennis Quick Tips Episode 107
- Simple Serve Tips: What Makes a Good Serve? – Tennis Quick Tips Episode 110
- Simple Serve Tips: How to Hold the Tennis Ball When You Toss – Tennis Quick Tips Episode 115
- Simple Serve Tips: Where to Place Your Toss – Tennis Quick Tips Episode 131
- Simple Serve Tips: The Importance of a Relaxed Service Motion – Tennis Quick Tips Episode 143
- Simple Serve Tips: How to Get a Smooth, Fluid Service Motion – Tennis Quick Tips Episode 144
Check out these other Tennis Quick Tips episodes for even more serve tips:
- How to Serve Smart in Tennis Doubles – Tennis Quick Tips Episode 41
- Target Your Serve – Tennis Quick Tips Episode 1
And be sure and check out my post Good Things Come to Those Who Sweat on the Tennis Court where I let you know exactly what gear I recommend for dealing with on-court sweat. One of the things I have been using to keep sweat under control are sweatbands from Wristpect Sport. You can check out that post and see the super cute Wristpect sweatbands I've got by going to tennisfixation.com/wristpect. Wristpect is a Tennis Fixation sponsor and is offering a special discount to Tennis Fixation followers and Tennis Quick Tips listeners throughout the month of November. Just use the discount code FashionFix throughout the month of November to get 15% off your Wristpect purchases. These sweatbands make adorable holiday gifts so if you're looking for something for yourself or your favorite tennis pals, now is the time to get these at a great price.
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This podcast episode was sponsored by Wristpect Sport.