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Hardscrabble Scramble
September 1997 Article

Hardscrabble Scramble Archive

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Slow Down The 2nd Serve?

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Mike Whittington

Have you ever heard the phrase "you are only as good as your second serve"? This really does bring up the point of having an effective second serve. You need to have a serve that you can consistently place and still keep your opponent from hitting an offensive return. One of the most common problems I see is that a player will have a bullet for a first serve and then need a calendar to time the second serve.

Many players attempt to hit a big flat first serve and if they miss they follow it with a wimpy flat serve that they just push over. I'm not suggesting that the ball travel the same speed on first and second serve but I do recommend that players learn a spin serve to slow the ball down. With spin you can keep the same rhythm on your serve and keep your arm moving at the same speed but by hitting the side of the ball the spin will slow the ball down and make it drop into the court.

Slowing your swinging arm down too much will make it difficult to find a rhythm and will also make it difficult to get into a groove with your first serve. You don't want your second serve to just be a "slower first serve" -- you still want some pace and direction. By working on putting spin on your second serve you can hit up more and gain more net clearance, keep the same arm speed, and hopefully throw your opponent off balance. But most importantly, you will keep from having that old dinky second serve. Go for it more on the second serve and you might just find out you should be using it more on your first serve!

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This column is copyrighted by Mike Whittington, all rights reserved.

At the time at which he wrote this column, Mike Whittington was a USPTA pro in Fort Smith, Arkansas, where he served as director of tennis at the Hardscrabble Country Club.


 

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