Win more service points with RANDOMNESS [Archive] -

Win more service points with RANDOMNESS

07-04-2012, 03:19 AM
I once played my young instructor, Matt, in a tournament, and was expecting to be “blown” off the court by his serve. Instead, he served with such unpredictability that he essentially “confused” me off the court.

Here’s the “thinking man’s” way to win matches with the serve.

Don’t hit every first serve flat.

Most of my opponents serve in a familiar pattern: Flat first serve, spinny second serve. Flat first serve, spinny second serve. It’s easy to read. But Matt randomly mixed in flat, kick, and slice serves on his first serve. He was very clever to set up off-speed serves with fast, flat ones. When he sensed I was expecting another bullet…and promptly served up a slow but high bouncing serve. The result: an early swing, an error, and another easy point for him.

You probably serve to your opponent’s backhand TOO much.

This is probably the most predictable tactic I find at my level (4.0). And it does work for a while, but on the way to the end of the first set I’ve returned so many serves with my backhand (I usually slice them back) that it actually becomes MORE reliable than my forehand. Serving to the backhand is a fine tactic, but choosing that side any more than 66% of the time is too much.

Disguise your intentions with a hard-to-read ball toss.

What good is a random serving pattern if your opponent can “read” it after a few games? Try to place your toss in the same spot each time regardless of how or where you’re hitting it. Here’s a great discussin on camouflaging your intentions:

Original article as posted on VolleyCam blog:

07-23-2012, 10:24 PM
Randomness is a poor choice of word.. Variety is what it is, and this has always been preached :shrug: however, variety in my opinion works better against better players. The way I see it, in general who cares about variety. If they guy is struggling on the backhand, I'm going to hit against his backhand until he can make an adjustment. You could perhaps throw a little variety in such a situation, so it makes it even harder for the player to get used to his backhand being attacked, but really adding variety to your game can be very difficult to execute. In short, easiest way to look at things, is it find out a game plan that works best for you and the situation you are faced with. Variety may work for Federer, but it seems to fail him against Rafa. Ball bashing may work for Soderling against Nadal, but it fails against Federer. You have to keep differences in mind all the time.