The Second Serve - Putting on the Spin

Published 8/9/2008 9:08:47 AM by Shane Barrow from Dallas, Texas

Second serves in tennis are not just a backup for a missed first serve. A player's second serve should be a different shot altogether. For first serves, ATP pro tour players generally use a flat serve with little spin; for the second serve, the same players use either slice or topspin. Competitive and recreational players should use the same format when hitting their first and second serve. 

In order to hit slice the first and most important thing to remember is the grip. The continental grip is only grip that will produce any spin on the serve!  The ball toss must be directly above the head.  Do not alter the ball toss from serve to serve (doing so will give away the location of the serve).

Come around the outside of the ball.  Another way to say this is to hit the "right half of the ball" at contact. This will produce the slice each player greatly desires. Aim to the right of the service box (for a righty). Slice forces the ball to spin in towards the left. Depending on how hard you serve and how much slice you are hitting will depend on how far left you need to aim. If the ball lands to the left of the box, simply aim further to the right. After time, you will understand how to control the spin and be able to aim closer to the box.

Follow through may remain the same (across the body).   Make sure you are patient with your second serve spin. When starting out you should not expect to control the spin. After several weeks of practicing you will begin to notice the serious positive changes in your tennis serve.