One of the amazing things about tennis strategy is that you don’t have to win the point for a certain tactic to pay off.
This obviously sounds counter-intuitive, but with tactics like attacking the second serve, it’s true.
The big thing about attacking the second serve is that you’re showing intent and ramping up the pressure on your opponent.
Through your court positioning and taking time away from your opponent, you can make a statement that puts them under pressure for the entirety of the match.
We’re not saying attacking the second serve isn’t a good idea in itself- it is – but it’s also a great tactic because of the way it influences the game further down the line.
Why Attack the Second Serve?
Quite simply, the second serve is one of the weakest shots you’re likely to face all point.
It’s a short ball, that comes at you with limited pace on it, and although skilled players will be able to use spin to make it more difficult for you, it’s eminently attackable.
The second serve return represents a great opportunity to get the first strike in and start the point on the front foot.
Not only does this put your opponent under pressure but it’s a great way to set the tone of the match and establish yourself as the aggressor.
How to Attack the Second Serve
There’s no set way you need to attack the second serve, but a great way to maximize the pressure on your opponent is by stepping in and taking the ball early.
If you can take the ball nice and early, using a short swing, then you’re going to give your opponent little time to react and get back into position.
If you can master this technique of taking the ball early with a short swing, you can use the power already on the serve and the fact your taking time away from your opponent to put them under serious pressure.
You probably know from when other players have done it to you that it’s a horrible feeling when your opponent seems to be taking your second serve to pieces, so why not flip the script?
Attacking the Second Serve – The Effects
If you can learn to do this well, then it’s a great way of taking control of the point without taking too many risks.
You don’t have to go for an incredible shot when attacking the second serve, you’ve just got to use the opportunity to take time away from your opponent.
When you successfully do this though, the results are more than just winning a few extra points.
Every time your opponent comes to hit a second serve, they’re going to be aware that you’re putting them under pressure and they need to come up with a good second serve to win the point.
It’s a small difference, but putting this doubt in your opponent’s mind can bring you free points at key moments in the game.
You’ve made a small change in your mentality but it can have a significant effect on the way the game pans out.
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Article by: Will