The Laws of the Battle - Singles - Laws of the 2nd Serve

Tennis, like everything else in life, has a set of rules that make life easier when followed but complicate matters when not. I call this set of rules: the laws of the battle. They describe the ideal response to any situation that a player may encounter on the court, just like a chess manual describing the best move for every position on the board. They are the theory behind the tactical aspect of the game, and the first step towards helping players understand how to use their weapons effectively, or in other words understand where to hit their shots to have the best chance of winning the point.

Let's take a look at the laws of the second serve in singles:

1) The goal of the second serve is to keep the returner in a neutral position.

From the returner’s perspective a second serve is an opportunity to attack. Your goal as a server is to make sure you do not start the point on the defensive. If the opponent is constantly able to attack your second serve, you should take the hint and start practicing more.

2) Serve mostly to the opponent’s weakness.

A very important element of the second serve is placement. You should be able to force the opponent to return using his weaker shot, not allowing him to run around your serve and use his strength.The goal of the second serve is to keep the opponent from attacking you and if you are not able to force him to return with his weaker shot, you will most likely start the point on the defensive.

3) Use the serve into the body against an opponent who is chipping and charging.

Many attacking players will try to use the opponent’s second serve to get the net. To do this effectively, they need to start moving toward the net before the server makes contact with the ball, allowing them to meet the ball well inside the court. Serving into the body will make a smooth transition to the net a good deal more difficult since the attacker will have to move away from the ball to hit it and will lose forward momentum in doing so.

4) Hit the serve at the maximum speed at which you can make a 100 percent.

A double fault is one of the worst mistakes in tennis. Besides costing a player the point, it is a blow to his confidence. Nothing affects your confidence more than not being able to count on your second serve. You need to find the ideal balance between power and control. Remember the old saying: “A player is only as good as his second serve.”

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