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Thursday, April 20, 2017

Serving Focus

Concentrate on the work at hand...

This week's posts have centered on reinventing my serve by hitting it harder, lower, and deeper. A serve with those factors increases the a lot. I ended an earlier post by mentioning how a lack of focus often results in my serve carrying well beyond the baseline. Today's post will discuss the common elements used by pros in their service routines and how they can be used to improve our games.

Mark Renneson has a video that analyzes pros' serve routines called How to Serve Like the Pros, shown at the bottom of the post. The following photos are taken from the video.

The first photo shows Christine McGrath with her pre-service routine of bouncing the ball. It doesn't matter what the routine is. It can be as simple as staring at the ball. The purpose is to ensure mental readiness prior to serving.

The second photo shows Christine's drop point. The ball is simply released and allowed to fall straight down. The simpler the drop the better. Pros generally do not toss the ball upward.

The third photo show the point at which Christine hits the ball. The impact point is out in front of her body and off the front foot.

The fourth photo shows the follow through. While better seen in the video, it is a relaxed flowing motion from start to finish.

The routine element that is my priority is the pre-serve routine. I need to improve my focus level when getting more aggressive with my serve. 

One of the earliest "themes" that I heard as a beginner was the "2-second rule". This rule of thumb stated that a server should wait for 2 seconds before hitting the serve after getting into position. This aligns with step 1 above in allowing a server to mentally prepare and focus. While I heard the rule, I never really used it. At the time, I also labored under the idea that a serve was just the way to start the game and the sole objective was to get it in. 

As pickleball advances (see yesterday's post), the serve becomes more important in setting up the point. Focus technique is something I need to learn. I plan to use something to mentally prepare, whether that is bouncing the ball or just waiting for a couple of seconds. 

Mark's video follows.

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