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Court Tennis Tips - What to Do When Serving in Court Tennis

What to Do From the Good End of the Court Tennis Court

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Here are six valuable ideas that can help you when you're serving. Many thanks to Ivan Ronaldson of Prince's Court for consultation on these tips.

For best results, review these tips in advance, write these six bold phrases on a card, and review them right before you begin to serve:
  • Vary the Serve - However good your serve, if you hit the same type of serve every time, your opponent will begin to figure it out and learn how to handle it. Once that starts to happen, switch serves to keep him or her guessing. It's a fine idea to vary your serves, and quite valuable to be able to deliver different serves even when you're serving from just one part of the court. Serving from the same spot each time is also the best way to improve your serve. If you can deliver three different serves from just one spot, and over the course of an hour-long match hit each in equal proportion, you'll have practiced each for twenty minutes. Serving only a few different serves also means you will start to learn how your opponent is likely to return each one, which will help you get prepared for that return. By varying your serves just a bit, you can quickly find the serve your opponent likes least, and serve a lot of those!
  • Get Ready Quickly After Serving - You want to get quickly into position in front of the dedans after you have hit your serve. Rather than standing still to admire the beauty and potential efficacy of your serve(!), move quickly into good court position. In singles, this position is usually between chases 2 and 3, and centered in the middle of the court. It is also useful to get your racquet head up and ready, and get your weight leaning forward just as your opponent hits.
  • Attack the Tambour - You have a wonderful advantage from the serving end of the court; namely, the ability to hit the ball at the tambour, which, when struck, creates a very difficult ball for the receiver to play. Most of your groundstrokes should be hit towards the main wall just in front of the base of the tambour. This will confound most opponents.
  • Allow No Chases - Do not lose the strong advantage that this end of the court conveys. Run hard and fast to get every ball. Make an attempt to play every ball. Hit your own shots with enough control so that your shots remain within the unlined area of the receiving end (thereby creating no hazard chases).
  • Volley Guard the Dedans - The serving end is quite different from the receiving end in that you should hit high volleys to guard the dedans. There is a dedans directly behind you and you do not want to lose lots of points by allowing your opponent to hit balls into the dedans. You must volley those balls whenever they will be going into the dedans. If they are going to be higher than the dedans, relax! They will hit the roof, bounce up, and come down, thereby giving you plenty of time to line up a good groundstroke.
  • Remember the Chases & Pick Your Targets Appropriately - Before you play a chase, take the time to think about where you want to hit, and where your opponent wants to hit the ball. When you are defending a chase, serve something that makes the opponent's preferred shot difficult to execute. Once the point is underway, you might hit into the hazard galleries to end the point if you are presented with a good opportunity. Or, hit low and so hard that your opponent will not be able to hit with control in return. Remember the chase and let your opponent's ball drop to its second bounce if it is a losing shot for your opponent. Do not even play it.

Note: These tips are targeted for players of handicap range 35 to 80. More advanced players will likely need more advanced ideas, although a review of fundamentals never hurts.
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