Do Not Fear Double Faults

Guilty. I think of double faulting like a Cardinal Sin in Tennis. But according to

Nick B
well-known coach, Nick Bollettieri, that is the wrong attitude to have.

He writes in an issue of “Tennis Magazine,” that you should accept them as part of your game; and that rather than just dinking in a second serve (that your opponent crushes for a winner), it is better to go for something more on the serve and accept it when it turns into a double.

For my tennis psyche, I can accept the double fault if I “went for it,” put some pace on the ball, and missed it long. The double fault that I HATE is the wimpy one that doesn’t go over the net.

A tennis pro friend of mine advises: swing as hard on your second serve as you do on your first; just put the energy more into the spin than the forward motion. That way, you are less likely to choke and more likely to put a stronger and safer second serve in.

Better to be bold and lose on your own terms, than to choke and not even hit the ball.

3 thoughts on “Do Not Fear Double Faults

  1. I had a college coach that said “Never, ever double fault by hitting the second serve into the net. If you double fault, the second serve better be long!”

    Jack – come to think of it, why hit ANY ball into the net?! geo

  2. I definitely subscribe to the philosophy tha it is better to go down fighting (double fault) than to wimp out (serve a floater and get creamed by a hard return). BUT, there is another option that seems not to be discussed. Why not hit a hard second serve and make it your first serve? Ideally, if you produce enough spin, it will hold the ball in the service box, thereby increasing your first serve percentage, but it will put pressure on the receiver to hit a good return, which is not so easy to do with a serve that has a lot of “action,” and will set you up for either an easy volley or otherwise to take control of the point. Who says you need to hit a flat first serve with great pace to win at tennis? Unless you are playing against an Andre Agassi/ Jimmy Connors clone, whose service return off of anything other than a screamer will put you instantly on the defensive, this is a good tactic that I do not think is used enough in amateur tennis. This tactic has one additional benefit — your first service motion and delivery will be essentially identical between your first and second serves, so if you happen to miss the first serve on occasion, it will likely not be by much and you have already taken what amounts to a practice swing for delivering the same action on your second serve. The only danger with this tactic, I think, is that a decent returner may begin to groove on the same serve coming at him/her too often. So, to combat that, every now and then by all means go for a hard, flat screamer on the first serve and also vary the direction and placement of the serve even if you continue to hit spin (i.e., second) serves as your first serve. Try it. It works!!

    Marty – Right on. I believe many players hit their first serves way too hard and their seconds way too soft. tks — geo

  3. Spot on! I don’t get upset about my double faults….except when it IS that dinky serve that doesn’t even make it over the net.
    Good post.

    Marc – tks … “Down with the Dinky”! geo

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