Second serve. For some players it is a possibility to put pressure on the opponent. For others it is a scary moment when hand is shaking and thoughts about making a double fault come to mind really quickly. Players are individuals so their reactions but being aware of these facts will help take proper approach while returning second serves.
At almost all levels of play there is the same rule according to serving. First serve is hit to get a point or at least force the opponent to return easy ball. Second serve is hit will less power to make the ball in and start the rally. Only world-class players have skills to put pressure on rival both with first and second serves. So knowing how players approach serving what should we do while returning?
Return of the second serve can be a crucial factor that will decide who will win the match. Most of the players don’t hit consistent powerful first serves so during the match there are a lot of situations where returners have opportunity to deal with second serve. There are 2 options to choose: make return in with less risk or to attack it. Tennis experts say every time that modern tennis is based on power so top players have to attack all second serves but this piece of advice is also effective on lower level of performances. It doesn’t matter if you are an amateur or intermediate player if you will learn how to put pressure on your opponent while attacking second serves you will see that matches can be won much easier than before.
Why should you attack second serve?
- It is easy opportunity
Second serve can be compared to the rally ball that bounces inside the service box. This kind of balls have to be attacked to stay offensive. Most of the second serves don’t include enormous power of spin so easy ball that is bouncing up is a huge chance to hit straight winner or to put opponent in defensive situation. Remember to use your all body and have bigger target to aim at to make sure that your attack give you points – not your opponent!
- More double faults
The more you attack the bigger chance that your rival will try to change something. Most of the players try to use different tactic when they lose a lot of points so this is your goal while approaching second serve’s returns offensively. If your opponent will try to risk more using more power or going for smaller targets your job is done. You will see that player who doesn’t have exceptional serving skills will start to make more double faults.
- Make your own serve more comfortable
There is no worse feeling than to save break points while serving. All players (especially male athletes) know that serve should be hold so every time break point happens there is a lot of tension going on. That is why if you attack second serves and break your opponent it is much easier to serve on your own because you already have an advantage.
One little aspect can have many benefits in different areas that are included in tennis. Attacking second serve gives you lead in score but it also creates advantages in strategy and mental battle. Next time your opponent misses first serve make sure you step in and go for it. Dare to be brave to achieve better results!
Marcin Bieniek is a professional tennis coach and founder of instructional website http://tennisisland.us. Marcin has been working with USTA, top 100 ITF and WTA/ATP players. He is a frequent contributor to TennisPro and TenisKlub magazines and he was a speaker at International Coaching Tennis Symposium 2016 at Hilton Head Island, USA.