Use Your Serve as a Weapon
The serve in women’s tennis is often seen as the most vulnerable part of the game. Indeed, in professional women’s tennis (Serena’s severe notwithstanding), women generally tend to receive/break serve more often than hold serve, whereas pro male players tend to hold serve 80% of the time.
At GlamSlam Tennis, we do not believe this perceived weakness is a physical issue but a practical and mental one. In a recent New York Times article, former pro player Lindsay Davenport said she thinks many top women players have become too blasé about their service weaknesses. We see the lack of priority on a strong serve in club tennis play as well.
So how do you turn your serve into a weapon? Number one: Go out often and serve a bucket of balls. Serving once or twice a week in a match or social tennis is not going to improve your serve. Only practice will. Be sure you have your technique for a first and second serve (see your local pro if you don’t) and then practice it again and again. If it’s raining, use the garage or large covered room to shadow swing your serve so you develop the muscle memory. There is no replacement for regular serve practice.
Number two: believe that you can hit good serves. So much of tennis is mental, as we all know, and the serve is one of the most stress-inducing parts for many club players. Be intentional when you get up to the service line. Take your time, breathe, and visualize where you will serve the ball. Think about your technique, your breathe release, and focusing on the ball. Tell yourself you can hit out on the ball because you’ve been practicing, because you are ready. Don’t let your mind fill with negative self-talk. Then, go for it!
And…. keep practicing!
Remember that the serve is one of the most important shots in tennis because it is the one shot that you have total control over. It should be something you use as a weapon, not let it be your weakness.