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Player to Player: Serving Technique

January 14, 2013 12:21 PM
Have a question? Receive advice from your fellow tennis players!
Real Tennis Players - Like You! - Asking For and Offering Advice on the Sport They Love
Player to Player is USTA.com’s regular feature in which everyday tennis players are given a forum to ask advice on the sport they love – and their fellow players will dish out advice. We’ll post a number of the best responses we receive to our question of the week.
Player to Player:
This week's question, from Coach Leonard:
Since some believe that 2013 is a year for bad luck, does anyone want to share any superstitions or pre-game rituals? You can add the source of the origin or a success story, too. The pros on tour still have theirs, like the same ball-bounce count prior to serving or racquet spins prior to receiving. I recall watching a player consistently fussing with the tennis ball just before serving. I asked her why after the match. She said that she wanted her strings to catch the side of the ball that had the printed logo. She said it gave her serve more spin. Don't laugh. There are still pros who won't step on a line when walking on and off the court.
Please share your thoughts by e-mailing Player@usta.com, and include your name and hometown.

Got a question of your own? Send that along, too!
Last week's question, from James:
(Please note: There is no need to send additional responses to this question.)
If I serve and volley, should I land on my right or left foot? It looks like players in the past came in on their right foot and current players land on their left foot.

Player Responses:

Coach Leonard, Walnut Creek, Calif.

Landing on the right foot from serving in the past was primarily due to flatter serving among the pros. With the tour now having more athletic players who are taller, the spin serve has become a more common weapon of choice. Whether slice or topspin, it requires the motion of the body to rotate more aggressively, thus bringing the left side forward. Now that we have Karlovic at 6-foot-10 and Isner at 6-foot-9, the toss will be farther forward, which will also pull the left leg for full extension. I learned from my USPTA mentor, George Basco, that instructors and players need to know the difference between cause and effect. In order to find out how to fix a problem, you need to recognize the cause, not so much the effect. For example, if you had a drain pipe leaking that has left a puddle, look for the leak, not the puddle. You shouldn't be too concerned about which foot you finish on as much as how you serve. Talk to a pro and get your serve evaluated. Then you're starting on the right foot. I'm just not sure which one you'll end up on. Remember, as long as you're serving well, it's never your fault.

Kenny S., Highland Park, Ill.

You don't see that much serve and volley these days, but it is still very effective if done well – mixing it up and having strong volleys and half-volleys. Try to mix up your speed and placement of your serve and think where you are going before you serve and volley. Don't run through the volley, and make sure you don't get caught in no-man's land between the service line and the baseline. Practice your overhead because you will need it, and don't swing at the ball.
*Please note that any advice given out in this forum should in no way be confused with actual medical advice. Before starting any new exercise regimen or altering your existing one, we strongly urge you to consult with your regular physician.
Click here for USTA.com's Player to Player Archive.


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