Develop a Reliable Second Serve
By Roger Haeske, Copyright 1999
How to develop a reliable second serve during critical points.
Here’s a common question from many tennis players.
How do I prevent myself from worrying about double faulting during a
critical point in a match? In these situations, I usually get very nervous
and end up hitting a terrible second serve and double faulting.
Here is what you can do.
1) Develop a solid second serve: You have to
have a reliable second
serve to start with. There is a saying in tennis, “Your serve is only as
good as your Second Serve.” One way to do this is to find an effective
second serve and practice it the same exact way over and over again. Some
players have so many different ways to hit their second serves that they
haven’t burned in a reliable second serve into their subconscious minds.
Practice doing this second serve so that you can hit ten in a row almost all
the time. Once you’ve practiced with a bucket of balls and have been able to
hit 10 in a row over and over again, then you’ll have much more confidence.
I teach two very effective second serves, the Super Slice and a Kick Serve
with Lefty Spin. These serves are great because they are easy to get in and
very difficult for even advanced players to return.
2) Become detached from the outcome: The
first thing you should do is
ask yourself a question. What is the worst thing that could happen to me if
I double fault? Get mentally prepared for the worst ahead of time and you
won’t be as nervous when the situation arises again the next time. The next
thing to realize is that there is no real pressure. This serve is the same
as any other serve except when you attach all sorts of emotions to it. The
pressure is created all in your own mind, therefore you can control it. Here
is a simple technique I use to lessen my self-imposed pressure during
critical points. Before I hit the second serve, I pretend that I’m at
practice hitting a bunch of second serves. In a practice situation, I don’t
feel any pressure. That is how I want to feel during any second serve. If I
have added pressure, there is a much higher chance that I’ll miss the serve.
This technique has helped me many times.
3) Focus on the desired result: All this
means is to focus on seeing
your serve going in and not on double faulting. Your mind will tend to
produce the results you visualize. Therefore, if you see your serve going in
you are much better off than trying to, “Not double fault.”