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Steal this Drill: Games To Improve Your Serve

Often times, the server takes a back seat to the rest of the game. It is practiced at the end of the workout when the player is fatigued and the least attention is available for improving the shot. It is true that the serve is the type of shot that can be practiced on your own. In reality, however, how many people get to do this?! 

To improve your serve - and particularly the second serve - try doing serve specific workouts. My favorite drill involves serving a game up to thirty points where one player serves the entire game. Also, the player is allowed only one serve. This is a great way to build up stamina for the serve and learn how to win points on your second serve. You will be so much more relaxed on the first serve if you know that holding the game with the second serve is "a lock". With two players of equal ability, the server should win (if you follow the stats of the best professional players, you will always see second serve percentage of points won that exceed 50%). With developing players, however, this is not always the case; they hit way too many double faults and, initially, their serves will be shaky even if they manage not to miss. But the serve will get noticeably better from week to week as the player learns to RELAX UNDER PRESSURE. This drill will definitely shine a light on the player's serving skills. Furthermore, this game is far superior to the baseline game as it is purposeful practice. 

Once this drill is mastered, the players can transition to other serving-based games. Another favorite drill is for the players to play a set where one person serves the entire set (this time, she gets two serves). Then, the other player will serve the entire second set. Another variant is for each player to serve two games at a time (and they play an 8-game Pro Set). These games are intended to build stamina and confidence. In addition, as one of the most important strokes in tennis, the serve will once again take center stage. 

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