Develop a Tennis Serve Rhythm

September 2012 Newsletter

I CAN NOT stress enough the importance of “Developing a Service Rhythm.” For the first several years of playing tennis before I met my coach, I would walk up to the baseline and serve immediately without taking my time or going through a specific motion in order for me to serve at my best. When I missed the first serve, the second serve would be even more rushed. I was serving as if I wanted to “just” get it in play. I watch club players and juniors do this ALL the time.

The Serve is the most important shot in tennis! It starts the point and often dictates how the point will be played out. A good tennis serve can immediately put an opponent on the defensive. It is also the only shot that you have full control over, so why not take advantage of it?! Watch the pros prepare for the serve and you will quickly realize how seriously they take it. You will notice that they have a specific routine for the first and second serve. This routine/rhythm puts their body and mind in the same place where they can serve at their best each time. Some players go through their routine faster while others much slower. This really depends on their preference. Usually pro players will also take a little more time during important points.

Next time you play/practice, check your Tennis Serve Routine and see if it is working for you. If you notice yourself double faulting on bigger point situations or rushing through a second serve, this is a sign that you need to work on developing a rhythm. Here is a good tip: usually a player that does not have a Service Rhythm needs to slow down their serve. A good place to start is by bouncing the tennis ball several times before serving.

“Semi” on the Run Forehand

This is a shot that I learned after I stopped competing. This shot/movement would have helped me tremendously while I was competing. None of the teaching pros I have worked with taught me the “Semi” On the Run Forehand. I had to do lots of research and try different ways of hitting to understand the movement. These days, you see almost all pros, top collegiate and junior players hitting a forehand on the run very comfortably. Once you understand the movement, you no longer have to just block the ball back while you are on the run. You can actually generate lots of pace! Combination of Footwork, Body Rotation and Balance is the recipe for this shot.

Tennis Coach David and Tae Discussing Nadal

My Coach David Breitkopf and I catching up over dinner in New York during the US OPEN Qualifying Week. Just like old times, talking about tennis, of course! If you want to get to know a little bit more of our history, click here.

During the evening, David mentioned Rafael Nadal’s ability to take the pressure off during a past French Open match. Nadal wasn’t playing his best and he told the press, “I don’t have to win this French Open. I’ve won many before.” He ended up winning that French Open. At any competitive level, there is pressure. How do you deal with that pressure? Everyone deals with it differently and some deal with it better than others. Sometimes not making the situation too big inside your head can relieve a lot of pressure!

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