Estimated reading time: 3 minutes, 23 seconds

First Serves that Goes to the Net:
Yes, this happens often, isn’t it? Your child has worked hard on their first serves, but still, the first serve landing on the net happens more than often. What could be the prime reason for the same?What do you tell your team to work on? There might be more than one reason on why someone’s first serve goes to net numerous times, but one of the dominant factors could be that your child is not reaching UP to hit that first serve. Yes, ask your child to REACH UP. Your coaching team will know this better – on how to reach up, but this appears to be one of the leading factors responsible for that first serve hitting the net.

Another thing we have noticed –  lower the first serve hits the net less our kids are reaching up while hitting their first serves.Watch where the serve hits the net not just it hits the net. Caught the tape, almost there. Middle of the net or it kisses the bottom of the net, kids need to reach up. This will be a great thing to observe and a good input for your team to work on.

To some numbers now 🙂

We had a quick look at some Pro (ATP) serves. Roger Federer, David Ferrer, and John Isner were picked. We selected these three players because in ATP Serve Stat page you will find Roger to be at no 3, David Ferrer at no 72 and Isner, well at No 1. We also kept in mind that Roger is 6′ 1”, David Ferrer is 5′ 10, ” and Isner is 6′ 10″ in height.

Here is what we got –
(note: on mobile phones read by rotating the phone,  table below looks better in landscape mode OR slide on the table from right to left if you don’t want to rotate your phone)

Player Total Serves  Net Total Matches Net Per Match
Roger 23425 3024 284 11
 Ferrer 3374 542 51 11
 Isner 2276 180 27 7
Player Hitting Net %
Roger 13%
 Ferrer 16%
 Isner 8%

The above data set gives us a range of 8% to 16%.  Around 7 to 11 serves per match have gone to the net as per above data.

Below are serves hitting the net (%) with their intended direction (Wide, Body, T)

Player Wide Net % Body Net % T  Net %
Roger 55% 6% 38%
Ferrer 40% 20% 40%
Isner 60% 4% 37%

David Ferrer despite being the shortest does well to stay with Roger and Isner. In fact, he is better than Roger and Isner when it comes to firing wide serves. He falls behind a lot when he goes for body serves. He is almost there when it comes to T serves. Pros have their serve technique built on very solid serve fundamentals. However, their style might be different. We did not record serve speeds for this study.

Do we have this kind of numbers for our kids? Why not? When our kids go out and serve do they know which serves works best for them and do they select the best option available to them at critical points? How many times have we seen them hitting the net under pressure? At 30-40 for example? Or do they compromise at 30-40 by serving something low in quality that gets whacked as a serve return?Why not go for the best serve at 30-40?As a parent whenever you get the time you need to record these details for your child and then work with your team to come up with a plan to improve. Imagine if you would have recorded this every Sat/Sun over the years and had some information with you.

It’s never too late.

We will analyse more on what Pros do when they are under pressure with their serve. Do they surprise their opponent or do they go for what they are best at? Stay tuned for more insights and do measure your child’s net hitting serve numbers and share that with your team for them to work on it.