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Old 05-18-2008, 10:01 AM   #1
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Default 2nd Serve Opinion

Well my coach and I had a discussion that I should mix up my second serves more by throwing in a slice serve about 50% of the time however I disagree with him because I find that the slice serve doesn't clear the net like the kick serve can, so I just leave slice serves for a first serve mix up. Since my first serve goes in about 50-70% of the time and gives me a lot of easy and free points, I typically put a little extra pace to my kick serves when I am hitting a second serve, especially when I am up during my service game. While I do double fault at least a few times during a match, the effect is quite minimal because I don't really lose points on my service games so I could lose free points here and there. But when I'm playing another top junior, I can't afford to play like that because I need all the points I can get so what ends up happening is my second serve gets picked on because the kick serve will just sit up there or I will double fault trying to go for more off the second serve.

So what my coach has proposed is for me to use a slice serve on my second serve half the time. Obviously I am improving my kick serve everyday, so it isn't like I'm stuck. But to "procrastinate" the situation a little longer, should I be using a slice serve as a second serve?
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Old 05-18-2008, 03:32 PM   #2
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Default Re: 2nd Serve Opinion

You can certainly experiment with second serves in practice and perhaps in exhibition matches too. Variety is a great weapon to have, but if you feel that you have a winning game then I wouldn't change it too much. You could throw in a slice 10-20% of the time rather than 50% if you feel like it.
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Old 05-18-2008, 04:29 PM   #3
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Default Re: 2nd Serve Opinion

Quote:
Originally Posted by HKz View Post
Well my coach and I had a discussion that I should mix up my second serves more by throwing in a slice serve about 50% of the time however I disagree with him because I find that the slice serve doesn't clear the net like the kick serve can, so I just leave slice serves for a first serve mix up. Since my first serve goes in about 50-70% of the time and gives me a lot of easy and free points, I typically put a little extra pace to my kick serves when I am hitting a second serve, especially when I am up during my service game. While I do double fault at least a few times during a match, the effect is quite minimal because I don't really lose points on my service games so I could lose free points here and there. But when I'm playing another top junior, I can't afford to play like that because I need all the points I can get so what ends up happening is my second serve gets picked on because the kick serve will just sit up there or I will double fault trying to go for more off the second serve.

So what my coach has proposed is for me to use a slice serve on my second serve half the time. Obviously I am improving my kick serve everyday, so it isn't like I'm stuck. But to "procrastinate" the situation a little longer, should I be using a slice serve as a second serve?
Sounds to me like your coach has made a great call. As StevoTG says, stick to your winning game with the kick serve when you're having success with it, but if you feel these high level plays are going after it then definitely throw in a few slice serves to disrupt their timing. I feel it works very well for me personally, and it's a great shot to have in your armory, so by all means practice with it and see how you go.

I would recommend using slice on both your first and second serves quite a lot if you're playing on grass or carpet...it won't come back often. Hard courts / clay though, you'll still be wanting to use your kick serve for the second serve 70-80% of the time, the slice just won't be as affective.

Hope this helps. I'm no coach so I could be talking a load of bullshit there, but I'm just speaking from personal experience of what works for me.
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Old 05-18-2008, 04:33 PM   #4
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Default Re: 2nd Serve Opinion

Forgot to add, I also find the slice serve great for following in, as a double surprise tactic if you will. As it stays low it forces them to hit up, so if you're proficient at volleying you have a good chance at putting their return away.
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Old 05-18-2008, 05:53 PM   #5
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Default Re: 2nd Serve Opinion

If you don't mix up your serves, your opponent gets used to the amount of spin or pave you're throwing at him, and the effectiveness of your serve decreases. Your coach has made a good point, because throwing in a slice serve every once in a while will throw them off and keep them guessing, and it will give you free points because they won't recognize it and it will throw them off. Same reason you mix up placement, or throw a heavy kicker in as a first serve every once in a while. Its a mix up play.
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