Evan is back with his new take on the second serve. He calls it “Change is on the horizon.” Let me know what you think about in the comments below.
Look in the distance. Can you see it? Something’s coming. Can you feel it? Probably not. It’s going to pass you by if you’re not paying attention. Change is on the horizon.
What is it? It’s a big wave. A wave full of knowledge but if you can’t see it or feel it, you will be crushed and washed away with your dogmatic thoughts. I first felt the wave when I read pieces by Craig O Shannessy, The brain. The Shaunmeister. Shaunny Shaunnington. Two Shauns don’t make a right.
Yes they do. Second serves are disappearing. Kick serves hold less value. Don’t you agree? I watched a match last week between Marton Fucsovics and Nikoloz Basilashvili. They’re second serves held no value during the match. Every time there was a second serve, the other guy was licking his chops. And the stat line showed.
During the rallies, there was a problem I noticed with location that I will touch on another time. So, I watched Shapovalov also. Huge second serves, which is why he holds a lot easier. Yes, with some double faults mixed in. If you’re going to win only 20% of your second serve points, why not go a little bigger.
You know who taught me this? A student. He got sick of me ramming his second serve down his throat, so he started sneaking in bigger second serves. And he caught me.
“Now, Come on,” I said as I shook my head. “That’s B.S.” He laughed.
But over time it worked a lot more and then all of a sudden, I had to be more alert on the return. I had to wake up from my cloud, and actually get ready to return instead of sleeping on the second serves. I watched Ivashka. Same theory. I watched Felix, FAA. Same theory. The young guys get it.The announcers don’t. They think the players have weak second serves, so they have to go for two firsts. Or they question the strategy. It’s hilarious. They don’t see the change coming.
You know who else doesn’t? Coaches. College coaches. Junior coaches. Parents.
You see, the parents go to the tournaments. They come back and tell the coach what happen. Lots of double faults. So, the coaches work on crappy, consistent, second serves for the next five years and the kid is no better off than five years ago.
Really, the player should be hitting more buckets of serves anyway. But when they’re so wrapped up on technique and emotion, good luck. Shannessy said, stop hitting 100s of crosscourts a while ago, yet you’re still doing them. Why?
Because you are the Scarecrow in The Wizard of Oz. Which brings me to an important song that just popped into my head. Take a listen.
“The Trolls go marching one by one hurrah hurrah
The Trolls go marching one by one hurrah hurrah
The Trolls go marching one by one
The little one stopped to suck his thumb
And they all go marching down into the ground
To get out of the rain.”
Don’t be a troll! Don’t fear change. If you do, you’re the teacher we laugh at for not “getting with the times.”
I don’t follow Craig O Shannessy verbatim. I don’t follow anyone verbatim. Everyone tells me I march to a beat of a different drum. I don’t know if I do. I just don’t listen and follow the leader as much. I always lost at that game. These words may make sense, they might not. Never believe anything 100%. Unless someone asks you, “What’s one plus one?” There’s a fact.
It’s funny. The hoarding of knowledge. This is why the game of tennis is not progressing. Look at knowledge as money and you will see that the top guys have it and the rest don’t. We’re all dinosaurs. Most of us anyway. Change the way you train. Use your brain. Beware of youtube. Cut the baseline into pieces and work on combos. At least that will get you started.
Don’t fear change. My style as a player has changed since I was a kid and my coaching has changed every few years, adapting to the game. Just don’t fall into the trapdoor of no-ad scoring. No REAL player would ever want that. The people who advocate for that are Charlatans. Phony’s. A scoring system that stops using the brain and adds luck to the element.
Buddy! In your heart of hearts, you know it is wrong. I’m going to send Homey the Clown after you. Look Homey up on youtube. You might learn something.
Last thought. I remember being in Florida, watching a few futures tournaments. Two fifteen-year-olds caught my attention. They played different. More like the pro game. One boy was Denis Shapovalov. I wrote his name down in my phone. We know what happened to him. Another boy was Patrick Kypson.
Let me tell you, I liked Patrick’s game and fearlessness just as much as Shapovalov’s. I watched him knock of seasoned college players. He had the look in his eyes also. The warrior. I wrote his name down too. I followed his tourneys and saw him rise. He even won Kalamazoo and got a wild card into the US Open.
I went to the Open that day to show a buddy about this young kid who might light it up also. But as I watched the match, I didn’t see the same look in his eyes. He looked unsettled. Unsure. It pissed me off. I thought, “What happened to him. He’s still solid, but he wouldn’t pull the trigger.”
He didn’t have that warrior look. He was turned into a machine, like jack Nicholson in ‘One flew over the cuckoos nest.’
Then I thought about myself at his age and all the coaches trying to program me to be a system guy. The coaches didn’t know what to do with me. I had too many options.
The funny thing is Patrick went on to play a year in college and he did something that made me laugh on youtube at the end of a match. Why did I laugh? I would have done the same thing. Look. My hope is to see him break through He’s still grinding, but time is running out. Do you think Denis can win a major? Not in his current form, right? Keep an eye on his change this year. New coach. What’s he going to do? I have an idea.
-Evan The Meathead