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By Richard Wigley

 

THE SECOND SERVE

Second Service

The second serve must be hit on an upward angle. Hitting up is the most important key to having a good second serve.

The variations of Kick, slice and basic topspin all come from having the strings of the racquet meet the ball below its horizon moving upward to impart spin. This spin causes the ball to eventually dip or pull down into the court with velocity and movement.

The toss must be above the head rather than in front of the body as to swing upwards is the most critical factor of this shot. An important clue to having the ball in the right place is being able to hit up into the ball as it starts to descend towards the racquent.

Once the swing can be slower or faster depending upon the effect you are seeking to create. Hitting too hard will not allow the action of the spin to take place as the power overcomes the effect of the rotation. Finding a good balance between speed and action of the ball shows a talent of measuring the right effect. Overhitting is an especially important point on the second serve as a double fault is one of the worst ways if not the worst to lose a point.

When figuring out where to hit the second serve there should not be a great deal of confusion as you should hit to the weaker side 80% of the time. Unfortunately hitting at your opponent works only if you have a fairly strong second serve. If you do jamming the player is very effective. If no side appears weaker then you must determine where the returns are going and force the returner to hit to your stronger side to win the point on the second shot.

Often the fear of hitting too long causes a second serve to go long. This is because topspin is necessary to bring the ball down into the court. Weaker players will learn how to "take something off" the shot and wind up having a very mediocre second serve. The better the server the more fluid the swings are on the first and second and the less the differential in speed.

The best compliment you can have is that "your second serve was tougher than your first to return." If you receive this comment then continue to win your matches with a good second and decide to place your first serves with more accuracy.

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