In life, a first impression can determine whether a relationship gets off to a positive or a negative start. In essence, it is a tone-setter. Similarly, the effectiveness — or lack thereof – of your serve, — often determines whether or not you start a point in a positive/offensive position, or in a negative/defensive one. Therefore, your goal is to make your serve a weapon.
That said, unlike Tennis, where you have the safety net of having two serves to start the point, in POP Tennis, you only are allowed one underhand serve. So you have less margin for error on your one POP Tennis serve. The key for you is to be able to have an effective serve, with sufficient margin for error, so that you know – in crunch time – that you can safely execute a strong serve without (fear of) serving “out” or faulting. The means by which to accomplish this, is to hit your serve with spin — whether it be topspin, sidespin, underspin, or a combination of underspin and sidespin.
As you will see from our instructional videos (they will soon be up), Scott Freedman, Sol Hauptman, Russ Garber, and Will Segar have penetrating topspin serves that often put the person returning serve in a defensive position. Similarly, Daryl Lemon, Austin Doerner, Scott Doerner, and Roberto Donati have classic sidespin/underspin serves, which cause the serve returner to hit “up” on the ball. As a direct result, these servers and their doubles partners can make offensive volleys off their opponents’ less offensive/weak service returns.
All of the aforementioned individuals have one thing in common: They hit their serves with enough spin to insure that in almost all instances, they can serve aggressively without fear of faulting. Just watch the serving styles of these individuals and other top POP players to determine which serving style suits you the best. Then take some balls onto the court and practice your serve. Once you can offensively hit 8 or 9, out of 10 serves in the appropriate diagonal boxes, you’re well on your way!