Being able to hold one’s serve is very ingredient to becoming a great
tennis player. There are a few factors that will increase your chances of holding
serve even without a powerful serve.
   First off, we would like to get at least 60% of our 1st serves in. When we
continue to put the 1st serve into play we are putting pressure on our
opponents. If we are constantly having to hit 2nd serves in or lose the point we
are putting that same pressure on ourselves. So a consistent 1st serve with
good pace and placement is a must.
   Second, we would like to place the ball in the service court. This means we
consistently hit serves that land in one of three (3) places. In the deuce court
we can serve the ball out wide, pulling our opponent off the court and opening
up the court for our return. We can also serve down the middle at the “Tâ
€�. This serve is good because it is hit at most opponent’s weaker side,
the backhand for right-handers. This area is also good because it doesn’t
allow for much angle to hit winners with. The last serve is into the body. A serve
that is placed down the middle of the service box will hopefully to produce a
weak return that will allow us to end the point with a winner.
   The third and final element is ball speed. Ball speed in this case refers to
spin. The amount of spin a ball has directly affects its speed. Hitting a serve
with spin will help keep the ball in place and allow for a faster swing. Hitting a
ball flat with no spin should be used for the most power but it also creates more
faults. Although spin slows a ball down, it allows us to hit a hard serve and use
the spin to control the placement.
   Using these three elements of a serve at the proper time is important.
Changing up the spin and placement on our serves will keep your opponent off
balanced. Try hitting a 1st serve with 2nd serve power & spin or try hitting your
2nd serve with more power than your 1st. That should throw your opponent off
guard.  So when you're trying to win those close matches, having a reliable
serve that’s well place should allow you to “hold� serve more.

Doug Hofer, USPTA                               October 14, 2005