To help the server improve the accuracy and variety of direction of her serve; to encourage confidence and commitment when playing this shot.
players play a practice set with the server being allowed only one serve per point. the server is penalised two points if a clean winning return is hit past her but only one point for a serving fault. this difference in scoring should prompt the server to hit with more positive and committed technique, allowing her to develop the shot rather than just being satisfied with serving the ball into court.
DRILL 1.12 Constructing a Second Serve Pattern
by Visualising the returner’s Court Position
To improve serving accuracy; to visualise patterns of play by indicating where the returner is likely to be positioned.
Instead of putting serving targets inside the service box, the coach can place them along the baseline, as shown in the figure, to indicate where the server wants the returner to play the ball from. These targets help the player understand how to construct a second serve pattern because she visualises where the returner is positioned on the court and therefore where her second shot could be played. Using second serve technique only, the player tries to hit 10 serving targets (i.e., she makes the ball travel directly over the baseline target) from 30 attempts. The server should aim for a different target with every serve because this remains realistic to a match situation, in which the server alternates serving sides after each point.
As the serve improves, the target total should be increased. The coach should make a note of which targets the player hits most often to raise her awareness of her favoured serving directions.
DRILL 1.13 Neutralising the Point Using a Second Serve Pattern
To learn how to use the direction of the second serve effectively; to develop specific second serve patterns of play.
players play first to seven points with the same player serving until completion. the server is allowed only two shots (including the second serve) to neutralise the point with. Given that the returner will try to dominate off the return, the server must be in at least a neutral (50:50) position in the point after her second shot; otherwise, the ball is stopped and the point lost immediately. players switch serving and returning roles at the end of the drill.
the point is allowed to continue even if the server hasn’t reached a neutral position. If she wins the point, she is awarded one point; if she wins the point and reaches neutral after two shots, she is awarded two points instead.
the coach should encourage specific serving patterns. He or she should ask the server what she thinks her opponent’s returning strengths are and what type of second shot she wants to hit after serving. the server should judge whether she has recovered to a neutral position, and the returner should judge the same. It is interesting to note each player’s perception of the balance of power after a three-shot rally.