The tennis serve is the most important shot in tennis. If I could revisit the past, preferably through a time machine (sooner than you think?), I would find the best tennis coach for serve technique. I would then serve buckets upon heaping buckets of tennis balls until exhaustion (with perfect technique, of course). It worked for Milos Raonic.
I present to you the 5 top reasons to practice your tennis serve:
Reason #1: You start the point with a serve half the time
Think about it. In a tennis match, each player or team alternates serving each game. This means that half of the time, you are hitting a serve to start the point. Starting anything off on the right foot is a big key to success. Similarly, having a finely tuned serve will allow you to start the point with an overwhelming advantage (as long as you can hit a groundstroke or volley once in a while).
Reason #2: You can shorten the points with a good serve
If you can place the serve well or hit powerful serves (preferably both), then often times your opponent won't be able to return your serve. Pretty sweet, right? Hit one shot, boom point over. Or, slightly more taxing, hit a serve, the balls floats over the net, and you hit it in the open court for a winner or forced error. If you practice proper serve technique and develop placement and power, then you can shorten points.
Reason #3: You will be more well-rested with a good serve
Reason #1 + Reason #2 = Reason #3. See below:
If, half of the time, you serve the ball and end up with short points due to your superior serve, you will be a well-rested tennis player.
Imagine two players: (1) Art the Ace booms his serves in and usually only gives up one or two points per service game. (2) Gary the Grinder has a mediocre serve that he spins in the court, relying on his superior ground game to win his points. They end up going to a third-set in their match in 90 degree heat. Who do you think will have more energy left in the tank (assuming they lay off the PEDs and have similar fitness levels)?
Reason #4: If you have a weak serve you are in big trouble
If you have a weak serve or bad technique, then you will either double fault in tight situations, or hit powder-puff serves that your opponents can pounce on. Your serve may go in during tennis practices, but unless you can stay supremely relaxed, your technique will break down under pressure and you will hand over free points in the form of double faults.
There is no worse feeling than walking up to the line on break point or match point and hitting two serves in the net. If you have good technique that you have practiced over and over, then hitting a strong serve will be second-nature.
The biggest flaws in a serve include a bad ball toss, not hitting up on the ball, and not looking at the ball when you hit it. Work on your serve and you will thank me later when you're the one serving with confidence on the big points.
Reason #5: A good serve sets up the rest of your game
To play your best tennis, you need to be like a well-oiled machine: all the parts work seamlessly. If you have a great backhand, solid forehand, strong volleys, but a crappy serve, then it's like having a car with a strong body and tires but a faulty engine.
I speak from experience when I say that, if I am serving well, the rest of my game follows. Conversely, if I am serving poorly, then that lack of confidence often will seep into other aspects of my game. Every card in the house needs to stand on its own or the whole house will crumble.
The tennis serve is the most important shot in tennis. And you don't need anyone to work on it with either. Practice your serve, get a coach if you can afford it, watch serve videos, read about it, and videotape your technique.
They say that 80 percent of the outcomes come from 20 percent of the work. The same applies here. If you devote time to your tennis game, you might as well devote the majority to the shot that will impact the outcome of your game the most: the serve.
Have more reasons why you should practice your tennis serve? Comment below!