The tennis serve is often neglected in
practice and one of the reasons is that it’s quite boring to serve into an empty
box. Players therefore only choose to commit a few minutes of their practice
to serving. Serving into an empty box is necessary however to learn a proper
serve because we cannot always work on our serve when playing out points. When
we play out points we’re concerned with several things, we’re trying to construct
a point we’re also very competitive and want to win and therefore are not
willing to experiment with the serve and potentially make double faults or miss a
lot of first serves. So the big difference between serving into an empty box in
practice versus serving in a real match is anxiety that you’re feeling when
you’re serving in a match. Under certain score lines you will get tight and
you’re gonna have the fear of missing and we have to find a way to somehow
recreate this when we’re practicing serves. And a great way to mimic this
fear of missing in practice is to do the serve percentage drill. Basically, you’re
going to take ten balls and now you’re going to select a serve you can do a
flat serve a kick serve or a slice serve and you’ll serve ten times. You’re going
to keep score how many out of ten you’ve made. In this instance, I’m gonna
work on my kick serve. To make this drill even more difficult I’m gonna
force myself to serve to a specific location, in this case, I’m gonna aim out
wide. If my serve happens to go down to T or to the body I’m going to count it
as a mistake. You don’t have to do this you can simply
serve anywhere in the box and if you make it it counts as in. And the great
thing about this drill is if I start missing serves early I’m gonna get
pressure right away. Also if I continue to make serves and I get to eight out of
eight or nine out of nine then all of a sudden I have pressure because I have to
make the last two. So it works great either way. So let me get started the
kick serve is gonna go out wide and let’s see how many out of 10 I get in. Okay here’s the last one. I missed
two this is a disaster so far so I got to make this one to make it somewhat
acceptable getting eight out of ten it’s okay, seven out of ten is a disaster that
means it’s three double faults and we can’t accept that. Alright I made it
normally I would keep going until I get nine out of ten or even ten out of ten
it that’s what you can do as well if you don’t get it on the first try you can
keep going until you get to the desired number of balls that you want to get in.
So now I’m going to do a flat serve here it’s okay to get six out of ten
sixty percent I would be happy with because I’m going to hit it hard I’m
gonna aim out wide just like I did on the kicker so I got to redeem myself now.
Come on Nick! I just got rained on in the middle of my flat serve exercise and this is great because now I’m even more agitated so
it’s a good mental practice. So let’s start over, this is the flat serve drill.
I’m trying to get six out of ten. Alright I only missed one, there were a
couple that were kind of in the middle but I’m gonna give them to myself anyway
they were enough on the out wide. Okay so I got eight out of nine that’s pretty
good. Last one! There’s a little bit of tightness now I’m gonna try to relax
stay calm take a deep breath and get nine out of
ten. Come on Nick! Alright, so you can see this adds a little bit of excitement
a little bit of anger. This is good. So eight out of ten on the flat serve I’m very
happy with that. So I really encourage you to try out the serve percentage drill.
It’s a good way to spice up your serve practice.