Mixing up your serves during a match can make the difference between
you holding your serve and getting broken on your service game.
There are tons of variations of ways to serve mixing up pace with
spins and so on. Being able to keep your opponents guessing where
and how you might serve next will keep them on their toes and will
most likely keep them from getting in a rhythm when returning your
When most people think about mixing up their serves they think
of using placement and spins. You can go beyond these two options
and also mix speed and your stance location into the mix. Below
we will take a look at each option you can mix in.
Placement is always important, and maybe the most important of all
the options to have in your arsenal in my opinion. With placement
you can pull your opponent off of the court with a wide serve. You
can also hit the ball at their body and jamb them. Placement of
the serve also allows you to direct the serve to their weaker side
and control more points. The placement of the serve will be the
option that makes your opponent move the most. Moving your opponent
out of position, or into the position you want will help win you
There are 4 different types of serves in terms of spins. The flat
serve, slice serve, topspin serve and kick serve. Each of these
serves has it's own advantages and disadvantages. However, if you
use all 4 types of serves effectively during a match your opponent
will have to adjust to hit each one and again not letting them get
into a rhythm while returning your serve. To
read in more detail about the 4 different types of serves click
Speed is a tough one to think about because people always think
that the faster you can hit a serve the better. Being able to hit
a hard serve is certainly an advantage, but without placement it
is not nearly as effective. When you mix up the speeds of your serves
it makes it harder for your opponent to get a good read on the ball.
If you have been hitting 110 mph serves and throw a 90 mph serve
in they may swing early expecting a 110 mph serve and hit an error.
The same idea goes for the opposite situation. If you have been
hitting slower spin serves and all of the sudden you hit a flat
serve at a much faster pace it may throw your opponent off.
This is probably the least important of the 4 ways to mix up your
serves. However, if you like to adjust where you stand to hit your
serve it can also keep your opponent guesses and wondering where
you plan on hitting the ball. This may cause your opponent to stand
in a different spot (or uncomfortable spot) than usual to return
serve. If you stand way out wide to hit the serve you will be able
to hit a serve with a much greater angle to pull your opponent off
of the court. However, by doing this you also make yourself vulnerable
by leaving much of the court open for your opponent to hit a winner.
I have seen players stand out wide to hit serves and it really throws
off their opponent because they are not used to people standing
so far out wide to hit serves. However, if you are not used to hitting
serves from out wide it might also play with your head as you to
hit a serve you are not used to hitting.
In the end, mix up your serves as much as you can. Keep your opponents
guessing what serve might come next. If you mix up the 4 options
listed above, the number of options you have to mix up your serve
are almost limitless!