The complete server has mastered five ingredients to his deliveries:
Consistency. Get it in. It’s impossible to win if you double-fault excessively. Against tough opponents, offering too many second serves can cost you the match.
Depth. Deep serves pin the returner back so he can’t hurt you. Mediocre depth usually invites attack.
Placement. Identify the returner’s weaker side and serve there most of the time. Continually going to the stronger side is suicide, especially on second serves.
Spin. Spin bends the ball’s trajectory so you can aim higher over the net. Spin also curves the ball left and right so you can keep the returner guessing.
Pace. Controlled pace is a result of high racquet head speed. Toss the ball further out in front and lean into the serve with your weight going forward.
Don’t get your priorities get mixed-up. For example, don’t try to blast it until you can put it into play consistently. And don’t try to spin it until you have learned how to place it.
Don’t skip-over priorities either. Your serve is like a sandwich: it’s best with all the extras!
Gary Sherby is tennis director at Racquets and Togs Tennis Center, 115 Bradford St., just off the downtown square. His tennis tips appear Sundays.