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Serving against a very good, tall aggressive player

Discussion in 'Techniques / Training' started by pwakankar, Dec 6, 2004.

  1. pwakankar

    pwakankar Regular Member

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    Hi:

    I just joined this forum and this forum is great. I have one question from the experts on this forum.

    When I am playing doubles against this one particular very good, tall and aggressive player, I am hesitant to serve low thinking that I will get smash to the body or my serve off the net will be too high. So I always end up serving high to him. So there is no surprise when I my serve to him. He knows that I am going to serve high to him and is ready for it.

    I am ok with other good players. I can mix up my serves to keep them off balance.

    I have asked this guy how I can improve my play and serve against him (he was a coach for a national team and is pretty good about answering anyone's questions and suggestions for improvment) and he said I just need to get over this and play through it.

    Any suggestions from experts on this forum?
     
  2. blckknght

    blckknght Regular Member

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    Hello,
    There are a couple of things you can do. My coach said the way she serves against someone who likes to rush serves is to slow down your service motion a lot. give it a try. the other thing is, get a cardboard box, get 200 shuttles, and serve them into the box. keep it tight to the net. If you do this, you'll have plenty of confidence in serving to a player like that.







     
  3. ctjcad

    ctjcad Regular Member

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    Regarding this, i notice that Tony Gunawan serve the same way everytime, esp. during the finals against the tall Denmark players in the recent US Open tournament in L.A. And he hardly serve high and deep, about 90-95% of the serves are low and short, nothing more.

    Now i'm not saying i'm an expert, but usually when I encounter this situation, what i do is :
    1. to keep serving as close/low to the top of the net as possible, even if you hit it to the net, it's fine also. You just want to prevent the rusher to not kill the shuttle right away and getting an easy point.
    2. make the speed of the shuttle slow, so even if you know it will fall short of the receiving line, the shuttle "will seem it will land in play".
    3. take your time serving, don't rush or get anxious.
    Remember, a receiver who likes to rush at a service will most likely return/hit the serve even if it's short or a fault, unless he/she can sense/judge it.

    Serving in doubles, IMO, is the most single important play, because it will set up whatever the following play and rest of the rallies/actions. I know a lot of people have trouble serving the underhand/doubles serve-for some reason it seems awkward for them to do that. But practice and more practice helps, one way is what blckknght suggested. Once you can get the underhand/double serve down and do it consistently, you'll be in good shape.


     
  4. pwakankar

    pwakankar Regular Member

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    Thanks Blckknght and ctjcad for your suggestions.

    I have been practising the low serve just over the net whenever there is court available and it has improved a lot in the last couple of months.

    I have been trying not to get anxious when I am serving to him especially at a critical point but it still happens. I am trying to follow this guy's advice and keep serving low to him even if he kills it.

    ctjcad: you suggested to slow the shuttle speed. How do you suggest I do that? As it is when I serve low the speed of the shuttle is not that great.

    I am thinking of developing a fast serve aimed toward the chest or head of the receiver. I have a serve like that that I use for singles and it almost always wins me a point (either the return goes in the net or I get a weak return). I am trying to duplicate that in doubles. The trouble with that in doubles is that if I hit it too hard it ends up being long.
     
  5. ctjcad

    ctjcad Regular Member

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    One more thing to ask, where do you stand to serve??Do you stand a few inch or feet behind the service line??Or do you stand at about the T line at the front. If you do the latter, then that's the "best spot" to do a serve(at least in doubles). It's not a "must" that you stand there, but if you stand a few steps or feet back from the service line, then you have to have a stronger flick to have the shuttle go over the net. You could also stand there if you want to do the fast/hard serve, because the angle will allow it.

    Exactly, the hard/fast serve "sounds" ideal. But usually when you serve underhand with a fast serve, it will go high, which you want to avoid(remember when you serve the shuttle need to be at max. at your waist, not higher). Yes, I've seen those kinds of serve, but most likely either they're "illegal" or the person stands a few steps back from the service line. Thus if you are aiming at his chest or head, it means you will hold the shuttle above your waist in order for you to get it over the net, at least in line with the area of your serve. Or you have to stand a few steps or feet back from the service line.

     
  6. pwakankar

    pwakankar Regular Member

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    cjtcad:

    I undersand theat the shuttle needs to be below waist level when I am serving. That has never been an issue.

    For doubles, I stand probably 12-18 inches behind the T when I serve. I am serving with my forehand.

    When I serve that fast serve in singles I am almost halfway between the T and back lobby. This allows me to give a flatter trajectory closer to the net and even if the receiver misses or ducks, the shuttle ends in the back lobby.

    I am trying to do the same serve for doubles.
     
  7. 604badder

    604badder New Member

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    I'd suggest that you don't go fast, as it will be easy to drive it back to you flat. What you want to aim for in doubles is a serve that is already heading down as it crosses the net. That means the shot should apex (reach its highest point of flight) BEFORE it gets to the net.

    You were also saying that you were using a high serve against a player that has a strong rush and smash. The best way to neutralize a rusher and a strong smasher is to always serve low. You'll have to do as one of the posters already said, just get a ton of shuttles, and practice for an hour or two. Learn to first get the feel of the serve in terms of distance. Get it to land near the T without going too tight above the net at first. Then as you do it 100, 200, 300 times, you can gradually feel what variations you need in your stroke to control both the height and distance. Then slow bring the height down. Then you won't be nervous when you go into a match, because you know you can do it!

    Good luck with your low serve practice. I've been there myself, and I can tell you practicing your low serve is well worth it.
     
  8. ctjcad

    ctjcad Regular Member

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    pwakankar,
    Ever wondered why the underhand serve used in single play is rarely or almost never used in doubles play, esp. in professional level??..
    hmm, i don't know if you've used the backhand serve before...why not start/try to learn to do a backhand serve near or at about the T line. Even some single play are using this kind of serve.. :)

     
  9. Gollum

    Gollum Regular Member

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    For doubles, there is no doubt that the backhand low serve from the T is the best serve. That's why the top players almost always use this serve (in mixed, however, the man serves from further back).

    You will never see any top doubles player serve from anywhere but the T, except for the man in mixed. You will never see any top doubles player use a forehand serve.

    It helps to be able to produce good service variations using the same initial action. You want the receiver to be unsure whether you will serve low. Ideally, you would be able to serve low and wide to the tramlines, and flick serve both straight and to the tramlines. You only use these occasionally; the aim is not to beat the opponent on service, but to stop him from rushing your low straight serves, which should normally be used at least 70% of the time.
     
  10. Neil Nicholls

    Neil Nicholls Regular Member

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    The most recent I can think of is Michael Sogaard.
    He was serving forehand in the MD final of the 2001 Danish Open
     
  11. Tomsk

    Tomsk Regular Member

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    When I joined my club, I was intimidated by some of the better players when I served. Even though my serve improved a great deal (lots of practice serving over a string across a doorway into a shoebox :D ) I was still nervous when serving to them. My breakthrough was realising that the receiver didn't matter when I was serving. The only thing to concentrate on was my serve. I now have one of the best serves in my club and in a game of doubles will quite easily gain 5 or 6 six points just off my serve.
    Now I just need to work on the rest of my game ;)
     
  12. Winex West Can

    Winex West Can Regular Member

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    My suggestion - vary your serves. If you are serving short (other than the obvious of serving low), serve to different positions (e.g. to the T, to the alleys, right at the server) and occasionally flick serve. This will force the receiver to reconsider rushing the net all the time.

    Most of the time I would say that I would anticipate taking a serve quickly to put the serving team on the defensive but as has said on the forum before "Think Forward but be Prepare to Jump Back".

    The trick to low serve is to ensure that the shuttle is at its peak when it crosses over the net. If you can do this and get it just at the net level, then the receiver would have no choice but to lift as the shuttle would have been below the net level and s/he can't knock it down.
     
  13. jamesd20

    jamesd20 Moderator

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    One of the taiwanese XD players (the lady) does as well.

    Mia Audina does occasionally in her doubles games too.


    It shouldnt matter if they are tall, short, fat, thin, quick, slow. If you do a good quality serve, with the highest point being over the net, then you will not lose too much of the advantage.
     
  14. Gollum

    Gollum Regular Member

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    That'll teach me to say "never" ;)

    Nonetheless, forehand serves are extremely rare in top-class doubles. There's a reason for this.
     
  15. Aleik

    Aleik Regular Member

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    You are in between a rock and a hard place here. A fast, agressive, tall player can't be flick served very often, and if you do squeeze one in for variation, you really do have to squeeze it in! There comes a point, or area, in the air you have to aim for, whose distance from the ground is high enough to exceed the relaxed reach of your opponent and low enough to hang in the air for the required amount of time, i.e. just too little for your opponent to be able to back-track and leather it back.

    So my advice is for you to flick-serve only when you are confident where you need to put it. It all depends on your opponent's stance, his balance, his reach, his reaction time and his leg speed. I'm quite tall too (6'4"), so the best flick serve you can do against me is to stand about a yard back from where you usually do, and flick it to an apex of about 10 ft, straight to the back line. This is the only flick that will beat me on my day. The crucial point is this; I already know that you will flick serve, as you are standing too far back, and I can compensate a little by standing further back myself, as a low serve will take longer to pass the net.

    However, there are other options. A flick serve is successful if it is outside your opponent's "hitting zone" as it passes him, and lands in. If you are tall enough, your flick can land on the back line, and only apex at about 6 feet. In this case, it is a matter of how quickly your opponent will be able to react to the serve and adjust his hitting zone in time. The key is to make your approach the same as for a low serve. A slow swing back is crucial on the backhand serve. I've made the mistake for many years of making a panicky swing back, and a bad contact on flicking.

    Don't flick to this guy until you know EXACTLY what you are doing.

    Aleik.
     
  16. jamesd20

    jamesd20 Moderator

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    I dont see the problem. If you flick serve, this means that you serve above the opponents head, so he has to move back to hit the shuttle. This is the same whether the oponnent is 4'10" or 7'1", the only difference is your trajectory.

    The problems you will have if your flick serve is weak, and the guy can simply reach his racket up in the air and hit the shuttle. In this case, just practice your trajectory, and alter it for the player (wether he stands close or back, or whether he is tall or short)

    IMO it is harder for taller players to recive flick serves since they have to crouch lower to reach the net level where they need to be to recive serve, so have to move up higher (more distance) when they go for the flick. Then, if this guy doesnt crouch low to get his racket at net level for the return, then a short serve will be easy, as his racket isnt in position to rush the serve.
     
  17. Aleik

    Aleik Regular Member

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    Good point.

    You say a taller player will need to crouch lower, but in what way? I rely a lot on my reach to get to low serves, so that i can still be equally balanced between left and right foot when I crouch. I make sure I'm not biased forward when crouching.

    Aleik.
     
  18. jamesd20

    jamesd20 Moderator

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    When I say crouching, I mean that your racket position must be at net level, since this is where you are going to hit the shuttle, if you return correctly. If you are 6'10", then you would need to crouch to reach this level, whereas if you were 5'2" (level of the net), then you wouldnt need to crouch.

    It always makes me laugh if I see people recieving the service, standing on close to the service line, with their rackets above their heads!! :D

    On the subject of reach, that shouldnt matter (or at least negligible), since you begin with your nonracket foot leading, and then hit the return in this position. The arm should be the same distance as your comfortable position at the start. Your body simply translates position to two feet near to the net and you hit the stroke. A lot of mistakes are made by reaching for the brush return, and hitting the shuttle in the net (also since you are reaching, your muscles are tense, so not easy to consistently hit a good shot.)

    Not a critiscism of your action (since I obviousley havent seen it) but just a comment. ;)
     
  19. pwakankar

    pwakankar Regular Member

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    Thanks to everybody who replied and offered suggestions. I have stated practising the backhand low serve. I knew I needed to devlop that but was just putting it off.

    As I mentioned this guy is pretty good and he knows when my serve is short an also recovers well even if I catch him rushing forward with a long serve.

    Thanks once again.
     
  20. notnimdab

    notnimdab New Member

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    I am a 6'6" player and am concidered tall, when i play with my friends in doubles my weakness is always very low shots to the opposite hand of me, also you can try to fake the player out by using alost of movement or not alot to make them move prior to the serve, another tecneque in singles it to drive it very long and high, this way they will have a weaker shot becuase they are going to be backing up.
     

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