Do you have the confidence to step up to the baseline and
hit a variety of serves regardless of the score? Since the
serve is the most significant shot in tennis, it is
important to gain control over it and feel comfortable
when the heat is on during a tight match. It is amazing
how some players can develop an aggressive forehand or
backhand yet never be able to use it to its full potential
simply because they are starting with a weak serve. Here
is a little drill that will put some pressure on you in
practice and allow you to develop confidence as you
compete against yourself.
The object of the drill is to play a set against yourself
using only a first serve. Play one set from the deuce
court and one from the ad court. If you are a new player
and have difficulty preventing double faults, simply
getting the serve anywhere in the box counts as a point
for you. Without switching sides, serve again and award
a point either to yourself or an imagined opponent. For
instance, if you get your first serve in, you're up
15-love. Missing the second serve makes it 15-15. It
might sound easy but you can put certain hitting areas
up to increase the difficulty.
Let's say you are a solid player with a relatively good
serve. Your problem happens to be that you can't get
your serve into the backhand on big points. Place cones
in the center of the service box to divide the box into
a forehand and backhand side, then only award yourself
points when your serve lands in the backhand side. As
you become more proficient, progressively make the
target area smaller to increase difficulty. (See the graphic at the right).
You can even add spins to the mix. I recently had a
collegiate player who wanted more kick on his serve.
He played a serving set against himself but each serve
had to hit the back fence in the air to win the point.
Now that makes you concentrate!
As you can see there are several variation to this
drill. The thing I like most is you don't need anyone
else to do it and it still helps you with the most
important shot in the game. It's also just about
impossible to conquer as long as you keep increasing
the difficulty. My collegiate player lost 6-3! As you
develop more and better serves using this drill you
will start carrying the confidence gained into match
play and confident serves leads to confident points!