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Serve it Up … and then Repeat

Posted on Jul 01, 2017 in Seaside Tennis , Tracy Townsend , July–August 2017

I love watching the best players in the world serve when they are in trouble in a tournament. How many times have you seen Roger Federer down Love – 40, and then he pulls out three aces to bring it back to deuce? The top players, at least the top 25, all seem to have the ability to serve themselves out of trouble.

I hate watching some of the

lower ranked players double fault at key moments to lose a game or even a set or match. It is truly painful to watch a double fault knowing the work these players have put in. I find it amazing that they’ve reached the career level they have with a weakness that can be so costly. They are young and working on improving, and so should you. Sometimes the part that is missing in the serve is simply between the ears.

I have some helpful advice for those of you who suffer the same serving pain in your matches: repetition. I see some really crazy service motions at the tennis courts, but what I have noticed is that, like on TV, some of these motions hold up under pressure, and some don’t. The consistent servers have an advantage, simply because they never donate a point. A double fault is like starting down Love -15. So many matches hinge on just a point or two.

So, giving up a point is just painful.

Back to the advice: get on the court with a basket of balls and work on your serve! I highly recommend a lesson first to improve your technique. All servers are different. There is no one correct way. Watch the pros with good serves. Their motions are not all the same, and yet they are all effective. Watch the bad servers, too. They don’t look fluid. They have “hitches” in their motion, and they lack confidence.

Repetition builds confidence. It makes your motion more fluid, and in a match you have to be able to repeat that same motion over and over while under pressure. Why is your second serve so much weaker than your first serve? I say it is lack of confidence. How do you solve that? Repetition. Repetition. Repetition.

There are entire books written on the serve, and I can’t go into all the facets of serving in this short article. But having a bad serve is unacceptable to me. Go see a pro. Work on your toss; you can do better. Work on your stance; it can be improved. Keep your arm moving. Why have a “hitch” that is ugly and feels bad? There are so many things you can do to improve your serve, but the biggest thing that helps is worth repeating: repetition. See you on the courts. c

Tracy Townsend is the Director of Tennis in Seaside. A resort tennis expert, his company 30A Tennis manages Seaside Tennis on behalf of Seaside Community Development Corp. You can reach him at or call

(850) 231-2214. For news, events and court conditions, find Seaside Tennis on Facebook.

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